Damn this is taking a long time.
To start with, whatever GM engineer decided to use 4 T40 Torx bolts to tighten the bottom of the trans side pan needs to be pimp slapped. I nearly stripped them all trying to get them off. Only a copious amount of penetrating lubricant and a lot of hammering got them loose, and I don't dare put them back on.
Here are some pictures of my progress:
Engine hoist to prepare for subframe drop to change oil pan gasket:
This is how much I dropped the subframe in order to gain access to the side cover:
4 Jackstands for the subframe, and a jack to hold the trans up.
Getting to the side cover was annoying. I had to remove the axle, which I had never done before. Had to call Ken to ask him how. Turns out it was just a matter of prying it off. Fortunately, my trans had been serviced once before, so it came off like butter using a long screwdriver.
Then I ran into a small problem. I can only drop the engine so far down before the downpipe pushes down on the steering rack, which I don't want. Furthermore, for some strange reason, the subframe would not drop any farther unless I lowered the other side, which I also didn't feel like doing because that would mean I'd have to suspend the engine completely and disconnect the engine mounts. So after a bit of adjusting the height of the trans, I got the side cover moved off the side enough to be able to gain access to my defective part.
Here you'll see the shifter linkage plate, connected to a rod of sorts for what I presume to be what tells the transmission what gear you want, followed by a a spring that presses against it to keep it in that position, a 15mm nut to hold it up, and of course, the parking pawl rod.
Once I got the spring removed (one 8mm bolt), it was just a matter of turning the plate to disconnect the gear selector rod and the parking pawl rod. The problem was exactly what I had expected it to be. The following picture shows the old rod with the end flush against the spring, with no tension against the end for obvious reasons.
Observe the end of the broken rod. You'll notice it tapers out toward the end. This tapering makes it impossible to get the end off the rod, as the inner diameter of the rod toward the back is smaller than it is in the opening. Were it not this way, I would have had one hell of a time with a telescoping magnet trying to get that end out of the parking pawl deep inside the transmission.
Here'* a breakdown of what you must to in order to service the parking pawl rod:
1. raise car on jacks.
2. drain transmission oil by dropping pan. Make sure to use a very large catch pan. This would also be a good opportunity to replace the transmission filter. Re-install pan once finished.
3. unbolt steering rack from the subframe
4. with two jackstands below one side of the subframe, use a jack to lift up against the subframe. Once that is done, remove the 18mm subframe bolts. You will need a breaker bar, a GOOD 18mm socket, and an extension.
5. lower the subframe onto the jackstands.
6. repeat for the other side
7. slowly lower each side one after another, one jackstand notch at a time, until you can gain access to the transmission pan from the passenger wheelwell.
8. support the transmission using a jack against a piece of wood to prevent damage to the pan
9. disconnect and remove the transmission mount-to-transmission bracket, the transmission mount, and the subframe-to-transmission mount bracket.
10. remove brake caliper, bracket, and rotor
11. remove axle spindle nut
12. disconnect axle from wheel hub. This is tricky. You may need to hammer out the axle with quiet a lot of force. If you must hammer it, screw the nut onto the axle about 75% of the way so that when you hammer against it, you damage the cheap, replaceable nut instead of the axle.
13. move strut off to the side and pull axle out of the wheel hub.
14. using a pry bar or prying tool, carefully pry against the tri-star rubber part of the axle. The axle should pop off. Use caution to avoid damaging the side cover.
15. Remove all of the side cover bolts. The bolts are 10mm, with the exception of one bolt at the top which is a 13mm. The bottom 4 bolts are T40 Torx bolts. It would be advised that you spray them generously with a good penetrating lubricant (50-50 acetone and ATF works best), and using a 3/8" or 1/2" drive torx bit attachment, hammer against the bolts to loosen them up a bit, as they will likely be seized. Be very careful while removing them to avoid stripping the inside of the bolt. If it doesn't come off easily enough, apply more penetrant and do some more hammering.
16. Remove the side cover. This may take some adjusting of the transmission height.
17. Remove the arc spring with the roller. This is held down by one 8mm bolt. I used two long 3/8" drive extensions to get it off easily.
18. Remove the the 15mm nut using a standard wrench.
19. Lower the plate until you can pull it out of the transmission, and disconnect the gear selector rod.
20. Turn the plate until the notches on the end of the parking pawl rod line up to the opening on the plate.
21. Put it back together in the reverse order.
22. Refill transmission with fluid. Dexron VI is recommended.