“We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.”
That’s the familiar tagline to the ubiquitous Farmer’s Insurance ad campaign, but it could easily apply to the guys at TCI Automotive. When it comes to drivetrain products, tech, and installation procedures, they know a thing or two. Or, in the case of installing an automatic transmission, they know a thing or 15 (or more).
The team at TCI has offered a bunch of tips and advice for transmission selection and installation. Below are our 12 favorite pieces of advice from TCI—do’s and don’ts, if you will—for installing your new automatic transmission:
1. Flush often—back flush your transmission cooler to prevent contamination of your transmission and torque converter, and make sure to flush and inspect your existing converter if you plan on reusing it.
2. Inspect your flexplate and driveshaft before installing your transmission. Things to look for include cracked teeth, missing balance weights, or worn yoke or U-joints—all of which will cause vibration.
3. Make sure your converter is properly installed in the transmission before bolting the entire unit into your vehicle.
4. Verify your shifter adjustment before starting your vehicle. It should be in PARK or NEUTRAL only.
5. Make sure your transmission cooler lines are not kinked or touching the exhaust system.
6. DO NOT use Teflon tape when installing cooler fittings.
7. Add at least four quarts of transmission fluid before starting the engine, and then continue filling to the proper level with the engine running.
8. DO NOT overfill your transmission as it will foam and aerate the fluid, causing heat and low-pressure problems.
9. Re-torque your oil pan bolts after installation to prevent leakage.
10. Run your transmission with the vehicle on jack stands or on a floor jack with a transmission jack adapter, so you can correct any mis-adjustments before they cause damage.
11. Replace your transmission filter after initial use, since automatic transmission bearings and clutches have a break-in that generates fiber and metallic particles. TCI recommends replacement of its filter after 20 race passes or 500 miles of street driving.
12. DO NOT use a solid transmission mount because the transmission is not meant to be a stressed member of your chassis.
Be sure to check out our video post for helpful TCI transmission installation tips! It covers things like installing kickdown cables, adjusting a vacuum modulator, and more.