Removal, Inspection And Surprises
After removing the drive shafts, transfer case, cross members, wiring, shift cable and transmission cooler lines, the transmission was ready to separate from the engine like so many times before. After separating the two, and getting a good look at the flex plate, we noticed that the holes for the torque converter bolts and the center hole for the converter hub were oblong and no longer round. If the torque converter is not perfectly centered with the crankshaft it will not spin smoothly. Instead, it spins in an off-centered pattern that not only causes vibration, but may also cause a transmission to fail long before its time.
Needless to say, whenever you change the transmission in anything, always check everything for wear, leaks, or potential problems. Rear main seals, wiring, shift cables, oil lines, mating surfaces, flex plate/ flywheel, bolt holes, and anything else that could be problematic. There’s no reason any of these things can’t be repaired while the transmission is out of the way.
Continuing the inspection of all the accessible components with the transmission out, we not only found that the flex plate was bad, but one of the cooler lines was about to blow apart, a bolt had been cross-threaded, a few more had been stripped out and there was even one broken bolt in the cross member that holds the skid plate up.