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 FAQ: How to - ATX Filter & Install a drain plug (w/ pics 
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Joined: January 27 2005, 7:36 PM
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Post FAQ: How to - ATX Filter & Install a drain plug (w/ pics
This job is fairly simple but it will require that you have a fair assortment of tools on hand. Floor Jack, Jack stands, and a variety of sockets, extensions & ratchets. You may even need a screw driver or two ;) Anyway.. lets get started. In the following pic you will see a decent view of the underside of a 94 MX-3 RS model.


After you get your car up on jackstands, your underside will look like the above pic. Notice the orange circled bolts and the orange arrow? These are indicating bolts that are holding a plastic shroud in place that you will need to first remove.

Once you have the shroud off.. you will need to remove the bolts circled in blue. These are bolts holding this crossmember to your rear ATX mount. Now remove the bolts circled in red. These two bolts hold your crossmember to the body of the car. Now you could drop the front set of mount / crossmember bolts opposit the ones I am showing.. but I kinda liked the idea of there being a transmission support still in place right above where my head was. But its your call.. you can do either. Both ways allow enough room for you to remove the pan bolts circled in yellow.

Your next step is to put a drain pan of some sort under the tranny pan. Now when you remove the pan bolts (and keep in mind that there are some bolts that arent visible in the pic ) You want to do so in a specific order. Start at one of the front corners and loosen the bolts completely - 2 or 3 is fine. Then in progression, loosen the remaining bolts.. but loosen them less the further you get away from the starting corner.. Position the drain pan directly under the corner where you have removed the bolts completely. As you loosen the bolts.. the pan should slowly droop down on that loose corner and let the transmission fluid drain out into the pan. This step is messy. No way around it. I have done dozens of these over the years and have never done one without making a huge mess.. so you might want to have some kitty litter on hand in case you spill the fluid :2thumbsup:

Now that you have your pan drained and out of the way.. lets change the filter out. You can get these at any parts store and they cost less than $25.

Here is a pic of what the tranny filter will look like:


The filter is the object inside the light blue square, the 3 bolts circled in red will need to be removed so you can take down the filter. Then just bolt the new filter in place. Note the bolts are of varying length so you will need to pay attention to which one came from which hole.

Now lets do a step that will help prevent you from ever making such a huge mess of tranny fluid again. Unless you have already decided that its not worth it and you just want to pay someone else to do this, this little $5 step is a gem to any ATX car. First lets look at your tranny pan, it should look like this:


Now notice the two green circles? These weird donut shaped items are magnets.. its a good idea to remove them and clean them while you have the pan down. Now drill a hole at the lowest point of the pan. You can see where I drilled my hole circled in red. It is very important to make sure you have enough clearance for the plug kit inside the pan.. you dont want it hitting the bottom of your tranny somewhere as this will prevent the pan from bolting back in place when your done. Here is a pic of a typical drain plug kit.. I bought this at Napa Auto Parts for a whopping $5.


The items are the sleeve bolt circled in Red, this piece goes through the hold you drilled in the pan. The nylon washers, circled in light blue, go on either side of the pan and the sleeve bolt goes through them both. Now you have the retainer nut, circled in orange. And this holds the whole thing together.. you want to tighten this nut good so you dont get any leaks. Keep in mind that you want to drill the hole in an area that is as flat as possible. Lastly, we have the actual drain plug. This screws into the sleeve bolt from the outside of your tranny pan. It has a rubber o-ring on it so you dont have to crush it hard to get a good seal. Here is a pic of what it should look like, circled in orange, in the pan once its installed.


All thats left is to clean up the lip of the pan and the edge of the tranny so you can bolt it back together. I use a light brush and some brake cleaner to clean with.. then use some paper towels or shop towels to wipe down the edges to get rid of any grease or tranny fluid you missed. I use a bit of gasket sealer (Orange RTV) on the pan lip and then press the new gasket onto the pan. The RTV will hold the gasket in place for you so you can get a couple of bolts started when you bolt the pan back in place. Then just bolt your mount, crossmember and shroud back into place and your done.

Oh and dont forget to put your new drain plug in and fill up your ATX fluid (You can find more instructions in the online shop manual) Hope this helps :2thumbsup:


"So long.. and thanks for all the fish!" "Momma says VW Bugs are the devil" "This one time at band camp.. I stuck a flute in my Throttle Body" ;)
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July 27 2006, 6:36 PM
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Thanks Tunes!

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July 27 2006, 6:42 PM
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