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The sensor in question would be the Turbine Shaft Speed sensor. I am attaching a TSB for you to read through on this as well as replacement instructions on that sensor.
Also check over the transmission wiring harness real well to make sure no wires are chafed or broken before replacing the sensor.
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You have to remove the "Main Control Cover" which is the side cover you mention.
It should be as long as you dont damage it.
Here are the instructions on that.
You can safely ignore that and reuse the bolt. You will have enough slack to work with.. not a lot.