So I did the filter and fluid change per the DYI. The filler plug was a bear, I ended up dropping the cross member right behind the trans (easy) and that allowed access with a 45 torx and 3/8 breaker bar with cheater pipe. I used some heat from a propane torch as well in case they used something like red loctite. The old filter dropped down with the pan and further investigation showed that it was a sloppy fit into the old seal that was still up in the tranny. That and there was only one of the orange seals instead of two like the new filter came with. I'm hoping that was the source of my problem. The new filter and seals required a firm push to install and is a nice tight fit. Refilled with Valvoline Import Full Synthetic, it took about 6.5 qt to fill. I did an oil change while I was at it since it was nearly time and the car was all jacked up and warmed up. Test drove it and it shifted normally but since it was an intermittant problem I won't know if the problem is solved. I plan to drain an fill the fluid again soon so I get a more complete change but I won't do it on the garage floor next time!
BTW one of the local parts stores (O'Rielly's) had the filter/gasket/seals in stock for $ 29.00
Last edited by Pocket Rocket; 01-06-2013 at 10:03 AM.
Reason: added wording