Hey everyone, I replaced the torque converter and fluid filter in my 2008 Taurus, because the transmission had a shuddering problem that got progressively worse over a one-year period. After researching this problem on the internet, I believed that the source of the problem was a clogged filter, which in turn, caused the torque converter to go bad.
I did all of the work myself, in my garage. I want to share my experience (and a few pictures), because I could not find anything specific on how to do this, when I was searching for answers. For removing and replacing the transmission, I used a step by step procedure from Chilton's. I will mention that I could not perform a couple of the steps as written, so I improvised. I will explain how I worked around those steps, so, possibly, someone with greater automotive repair knowledge than me can point out how to perform them "correctly."
I used an engine hoist (borrowed) to support the engine, before removing the transmission. The procedure called for a special engine support bar and spreader, but I didn't know how or where to obtain one, so I improvised.
I was not able to separate the control arms from the steering knuckles, in order to remove the left and right axle halfshafts, as the procedure specified. Instead, I waited until the removal of the subframe, and the control arm ball joint studs dropped out of the steering knuckle easily. I then removed the halfshafts from the transmission. I don't believe that changing the order of operations caused any problems. I did need a large puller (borrowed from O'Reilly Auto Parts) to separate the splined axle from the wheel hub. The suspension sway bar and the steering rack are bolted to top of the subframe, and must be removed before removing the subframe. It seemed almost impossible to access the mounting bolts for these parts, but eventually I found that I could get a wrench on them from underneath, while lying on my back. The two steering rack mounting bolts are attached with considerable torque, so I needed my impact driver to get them loose.
I like to keep all of the removed parts neatly organized on the garage floor for ease of re-installation
With the transmission removed, the torque converter can easily be replaced. There are videos available on Youtube that will show how to get the new torque converter installed properly.
These photos show what the transmission looks like when you remove the case bolts, and separate the case halves. The filter is attached directly to the fluid pump, and the pump and filter must be removed together. The pump is easily removed by removing three mounting bolts. The pump is mounted over the top of the sprocket and chain that drive it. When re-installing the pump and filter, be careful to not let the drive chain slip off of the sprocket. I made this mistake, and it cost me another removal and replacement of the transmission in the car!
When reassembling the case halves, make sure that the teeth of the ring gear (the unit right next to the pump in the photo) mesh with the teeth of the planetary gear hub (in the opposite case half). When these teeth mesh, the case halves will fit together easily with no gap in the mating surfaces. If the case halves are not fitting together, do not torque the bolts down. I learned this the hard way. I broke the planetary gear hub, and it cost me $40 and two days waiting for the new part
When installing the subframe back into the car, I simply used two floor jacks to support it, and raised it up into place. Remember to get the control arm ball joint studs in place, as you install the subframe...if you removed them the way I did
I've put about 1,000 miles on the new torque converter and filter without a single shudder, and it runs smoother and quieter than before. I did it, and so can you