Join Date: Sep 2002
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Re: Auto-Trans info needed ASAP
It's technically possible to bolt up the t/c first, but without a floor jack to help with transmission alignment I don't recommend it. Here's why...
It's critical that the torque converter be fully seated into the transmission, just like Dave talked about. If you bolt the torque converter onto the flexplate then try to lift the transmission up to it, you won't be very able to rotate the torque converter and feel it 'click' into the transmission.
The two open tab areas on the torque converter 'snout' fit over tabs on the transmission oil pump. If those aren't aligned correctly you will trash your transmission very quickly. You must slide the torque converter into the transmission and rotate it while pushing on it to feel it slip down into the correct position. Once you think it's seated properly, take a straight edge and lay it over the bellhousing. There should be close to an inch of clearance between the straight edge and the front of the torque converter. If you don't have that clearance, keep twisting and pushing to seat it further.
I've installed TH350s and TH400s at least 8 times and only had help twice, and only had a transmission jack once. I find with the 350 that it's easiest to lay under the vehicle with my feet under the engine and my head towards the rear, roll the transmission onto my stomach, then use my knees to help lift it into place. Make sure the alignment tabs are in the engine, and make sure you have two bolts handy to quickly secure the transmission when you've got it in place.