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 1957 Buick Chassis manual
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Thread: Cost to pull transmission

  1. Cost to pull transmission

    Hi Guys
    Pretty sure my anti freeze leak on my 1950 Buick Special with a 248 is the rear freeze plug in the engine. Mechanic says the transmission needs to come out to get to it. Anyone have any idea how much it should cost to pull the transmission, fix the freeze plug and put it back in? I don't have the place to do it myself, so I'm going to have to pay someone to do it and I don't want to get screwed.
    Any input would be GREATLY appreciated

  2. Scott,
    what I'd do is advertise on craigslist for "mechanical services".

    you can check references before the work starts, and go with the best offer. shop hourly rates vary from state

    during these times of high unemployment, $30 - $40/hr
    would sound reasonable for a certified out of work mechanic.
    good luck

  3. What rear freeze plug? In the head? In the block? If it's the one in the block you wouldn't have to remove the trans...maybe I'm missing something here. Could you post a pic of where you think it's leaking?
    1953 Special Riviera 45R
    1965 Skylark Hardtop 300-4V
    1965 Mustang (in the family since 1968)
    1965 Corvair Monza Convertible

  4. Cost to pull transmission

    There are several ways to approach a leak in the head on the rear of the head.

    One case shows they measured the location and then drilled a hole in the firewall for access

    The other recent suggestion was to get a soft plug with a bolt that tightens it. It is a tight fit, but perhaps a mechanic with experience on these old 8's might be the way to pursue.
    Dropping the trans means droppping the whole rear end. Might be easier to pull the engine forward to gain access.

  5. Cost to pull transmission

    Well here's a consnesus of input I've received so far:
    Most people tell me that if it's the rear freeze plug, it's going to require either a) pulling the engine, or b) pulling the transmission to fix it. I have heard from some people that pulling the transmission will not work because the freeze plug is too high up on the engine.

    Another bit of input I've received is to cut a 4-6 inch hole in the firewall to access the freeze plug and replace it and then weld it back into place once it's fixed.

    Yet another piece of advice is to put GM cooling tabs in and see if that stops the leak.

    I've heard that if I pull the transmission it's going to be a huge expense because the rear end has to be pulled to get the transmission out.

    Looking for any other input people may have or feel free to weigh in on the options listed above.

  6. when I was a youngster back in the 50s I helped a mechanic at the corner ESSO service station. He had been a mechanic at the local Buick dealer for many years. His method was to put a bumper jack against the reat axle and against a cross member on the frame and jack the rear end back until it fell out of the transmission. the coil springs would just strech sideways. I don't remember if we took the shocks or brake line loose. I think if I was to try that now I would use a come-a-long to pull it back in favor of the bumper jack.

  7. I have used the come along method to pull the axle back for both a 53 and 56 Buick. Really not too difficult, but use a block of wood as a spacer to keep the cable from pushing against the gas tank. You can pull the axle back a click at a time until the torque tube pulls out of the transmission.

    1956 Buick Century Estate Wagon

  8. cost to pull transmission

    Hi guys, I received this reply today from someone on another board. Please take a look and let me know your input:

    The freeze plug on that block is on the back of the cam shaft and covered by the bellhousing. So when looking at the engine it's on the passenger side just below the cover that covers the push-rods.
    An expansion plug won't work.. there is only about 3/8" space behind the freeze plug and then you have a turning cam shaft.

    Pulling the trans and rear end is NOT easy on one of those, did one a few weeks ago and they are made to stay in the car.. The 3 crossmembers are all in the way, some thin paper gaskets between everything.. messy to say the least.

    Drilling a hole in the firewall won't work, unless you are planning to also drill a hole in the bellhousing/clutch/pressure plate or torque converter.

    Pulling the engine is a lot of work on one of those, because the engine is so long and heavy you pretty much need an a-frame, cherry picker won't handle it too well. And it's hard to do with the hood on.

    So I guess what I'm saying, no matter what you decide to do, it's going to be hard. My advise (and yes I've done this before) is to pull the engine.
    I've attached a picture of a bare block so you can see where the freeze plug is. Mine is still out (it was leaking ;-)

    One more thing I forgot to mention.. This motor has a chicken/egg problem that's no fun to work around. This is true for a manual car, not sure about the automatic trans setup. You can't remove the bellhousing with the flywheel in place and you can't remove the flywheel with the bellhousing on the engine.

    The flywheel has to come of first as there are bolts behind it that hold the bellhousing on. The only way to take the flywheel of is while it's attached to the crankshaft. So, you have to pull the crankshaft/flywheel assembly (2 man job!!) before you pull the bellhousing and can get to the plug.

    Replacing that freeze plug requires you to take the whole engine apart.

    Also, if you are leaking coolant it's not the freeze plug at the back of the engine, which only holds in engine oil.
    Last edited by sconnors; 02-27-2011 at 03:16 PM.

  9. Most any job like this would be at least a two-person job for me.
    I think I'd weigh the man hour options; ie: pulling the engine, or removing the right front fender/inner fender and the radiator/grill support.

    then remove the bolts holding the block and tranny in place and just moving the engine forward enough to get to the back of the block.

    hope you keep us posted when you decide what to do

  10. According to the picture in your post it's obvious that you will not have to pull the engine or tranny. You need to keep looking for where the leak is really coming from as it is almost impossible to leak coolant from the cam plug. Check to see if there is a freeze plug in the back of the head that could be leaking. If that is not it and you are convinced that it is coming from the back of the engine I would look into the possibility that the head gasket is leaking. Pulling the head ain't fun or cheap but it's better than pulling the engine or tranny.
    Last edited by BigRivy; 08-27-2010 at 12:33 AM. Reason: typo

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