Who has had their trans out (Series II only!!) Subframe Q's - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 02-01-2005, 10:46 PM   #1
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Default Who has had their trans out (Series II only!!) Subframe Q'*

Hi guys, I did the trans on my 97 LeSabre around 1000 miles ago, and have had no problems at all with the new trans. The only issue that arose from my having the car apart is alignment related. I did 4 struts while I had the trans out as well. The guy who did the 4 wheel computer alignment had a problem getting the drivers side front caster in spec (remember caster is NOT adjustable on these cars from the factory). The passenger'* side was in spec at 2.8 degrees positive, and the drivers side was just out of spec at 3.6 deg. positive. Following the alignment guy'* advice, I slotted the one front upper strut mount hole that was not slotted, using a dremel. This now allowed the caster to be adjusted by loosening the upper strut mount 3 bolts and sliding the mount around. The alignment guy then realigned, barely getting the drivers side caster in spec. I now had 3.5 degrees positive caster drivers side, 2.8 passengers side. The alignment was not quite centered when I left the shop, but didn't have the time to take it back a third time. A week'* worth of driving the car, not hitting any potholes, has caused the alignment to go significantly off center already. Either a bushing on the subframe wasn't seated when he first did the alignment and now it is, or he didn't tighten something (strut knuckle bolts, upper strut mount bolts). The car pulls significantly to the right and the steering is off center by probably 10 degrees.

OK IF YOU'RE STILL READING, SERIES II GUYS ---

When you put the L shaped section of the subframe back in (which had to be removed to access the trans), did it have any locator PINS on either mounting surface? My crappy haynes manual, which covers 1985-2000 H bodies, says that there are locator pins to line up when you put the front half of the subframe back in. I did not see any pins (I know for a fact that the front right does not have pins, and I can swear the rear left mount, under the steering column, did not have pins, but I did have trouble getting this rear left subframe mount lined up such that all 4 bolts went in at the same time). Did your 96 and up subframes have any pins?

I'm going to take this car to a very good front end place to have the alignment done properly, no matter how much it cost. I can't stand dealerships and tire shops doing alignments that are worse than when I brought the car in.
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:55 PM   #2
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bill buttermore did the trans install in a 95 SLE. he has an excellent write up. he is your man
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Old 02-01-2005, 11:24 PM   #3
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I already saw the writeup 93. I'm trying to make sure there is nothing overlooked before I have the 3rd alignment done in 3 weeks on this car (I'm really anal retentive about things being perfect). I'm 99% positive there were no pins, just need someone to confirm that.
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Old 02-02-2005, 01:56 AM   #4
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Not '96 -up, but my '95 SLE has the series II. When I put my subframe half back up, I set the RF first, then the LR and spun the LF big bolt in finger tight. The "L-shaped" piece laid in place nicely, and as you noted, was a pretty specific fit. There were no pins that I noticed to locate the piece, but it seems like I needed to wiggle it a bit to get all 4 bolts started in the rear corner. The RF corner was dead on. I did not have time to align mine before the rear main seal popped on the engine, and since I need to do the UIM work, too I will be pulling my drive-train back out here shortly, but in the few days I drove mine, I noticed no apparent alignment problems. No pulling, no squealing on cornering, and the steering wheel was still very close to center.
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Old 02-02-2005, 02:17 AM   #5
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I thought I took some pix of the ends of the subframe. At least we can say for the '95, there are NO pins.

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LR subframe


RF subframe
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Old 02-02-2005, 02:19 PM   #6
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Bill, you're the best, thanks! I am quite sure mine didn't have pins, but my Haynes manual, which covers 15 years with one set of instructions, scared me when I went back to check it. I had to loosen all of the subframe - to body bolts (I actually removed all of the rear ones on both sides) when I installed my 32mm front swaybar (same time I was doing the transmission, exhaust, struts). I had to let the engine cradle pads away from the body about 3" in the rear, on both sides, so I could get the huge new swaybar under the 3" exhaust downpipe. I probably skewed the position of the engine cradle enough to cause a few tenths of a degree caster difference. Oh well, we'll find out when I realign.
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Old 02-02-2005, 08:33 PM   #7
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You're welcome! Let us know how it turns out.
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