Transmission Traumas?

Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
You've got that new, or new to you, vehicle and
the transmission needs to be rebuilt/replaced
already?? Here's the place to discuss the problems
and fixes.

KarenS/Edmund's host


  • sam775sam775 Member Posts: 22
    Hello all. I have a 96 Neon with 25,400+ miles on it. It's the 3 speed (argh) auto and I have the base engine. Well, I serviced my transmission at 15k just as the owner's manual suggested. Now at 25K it appears I need service again (hesitation in shifting gears) 5k short of 30K the next suggested service. Does this seem unusual to anyone else besides me? I do mostly city driving. I've read how Chrysler vehicles tend to have transmission problems (which if I had known at the time I would have brought that Civic, Protege or Escort I was considering). Should this be a concern? I'm getting it done this weekend and if there is cause for concern I want the dealer to be aware of this problem in case something happens after the bumper to bumper warranty expires (7-99). I have an extended warranty, but if it's a known problem to Chrysler, I feel I shouldn't have to pay the $50 deductible in case my tranny goes snap, crackle & pop.
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    Do not hesitate to mention this to your dealer. 30K is far too early for a transmission to be experiencing late-shift problems. How is your transmission oil?
  • mazzocmazzoc Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1984 VW Rabbit with an Auto trans. The car vibrates quite a bit when I shift into reverse at idle. The fluid looks good and the engine idles smoothly. There is no vibration in park or neutral. I had a Jetta with a newly rebuilt trans that did the same thing. Is there something I can do to eliminate or reduce the vibration?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Dear Mazzoc....this doesn't sound transmission related, maybe motor or transmission mounts would be my guess. The early Rabbits are edgy cars to begin with, and the auto trans. setup isn't the very best design, so you may have to just live with certain things. But by all means, have the mounts checked--they crack or get eaten up by oil, etc.

    Dear Sam....that Neon trans does not sound encouraging...another service might help, but it sounds like some of the valving is sticking or perhaps there is an internal leak. Sometimes all you can do is just wait and see.
  • jfbricejfbrice Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 Dodge Datota 4wd extended cab,
    v6 with transmission problems. Dealer wants to
    fix instead of replace. I want a new transmission.
    Dealer says No becuz the problem has to be 80%
    bad. We feel we bought a new truck and also a new
    tranmission. Doesn't that allow us to have a new
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Dear jfbrice....very often, an automatic transmission malfunctions because of some little rinky-dink part, or maybe just an internal seal. Unless the trans has literally self-destructed in smoke and flame, there's no reason to have a new one...they can just break yours down and replace the malfunctioning parts. It's really more like asking to have the engine replaced because a hydraulic lifter is sticking.

    If they fix the trans and it happens again, well, then you can start talking new maybe and it's possible they'll go along. But right now I doubt the factory would authorize a complete replacement.
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    Not necessarily. The dealer, if it supplies a warranty transmission, has to send the old transmission into the factory for credit on the new one. If the factory finds that the transmission could've been fixed by the dealer, then the dealer won't get credit for the part (I believe this is how it works). You can see why the dealer is eager to fix, rather than replace the transmission. I think that if you go to get the transmission fixed (under warranty), and the problem recurs, you may have a better case for a new transmission.
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    mr. s slipped in there!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well, gus, at least we said the same thing!
  • jerry16jerry16 Member Posts: 22
    My 93 firebird doesn't properly shift into fourth gear. One mechanic said to disconnect my battery so that the computer could reset itself, another says to look into having it replaced. Can these trannys be repaired or am I looking at replacement? Thanks.
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    Well, is it a standard or automatic? (I'm guessing automatic). Is the fourth gear an overdrive setting, one that can be controlled by a switch?
  • lapislapis Member Posts: 1
    My tranny died! Went to back up and no Reverse. Just sits there and makes a whirring noise...(like your tires are spinning when you are stuck in the snow)
    Mazda 323 '89 automatic overdrive 1.6l.
    I called local mechanics and much to my dismay I was quoted an average of $1900 to replace it. Parts and labor.
    The car has 124000 miles, needs a timing belt replaced and a valve cover gasket. (again!!! =( )

    All of this work is way outside of my price range. Any suggestions on what to do? Should I just have it towed to a local junk yard or what?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Either that, lapis, or get a good used tranny to put in, but I wouldn't spend more than $500 parts and labor....better to put the money toward a new(used) car for $2,500 or so, if you need basic wheels that won't break down.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    Hey guys, here's one I've wondered about for years.

    Overdrive -

    What is meant by "electric" overdrive? What are the other kinds?

    Is this one of those cases where the wrong term was adopted and then became the standard term? It seems to me that any ratio greater than 1:1 (that is, any time you're gearing "up"), is an overdrive gear. By this definition, a lot of cars' top gear is an overdrive.

    What is the difference between a 5-speed trans (with greater than 1:1 top gear) and a 4-speed with overdrive?
  • wpeng1wpeng1 Member Posts: 12
    I am confuse too, I guess overdrive is sth can keep the gear shifting at high rpm to avoid damage to engine and tranny, when the car is over loaded.
    Is that right?
  • jerry16jerry16 Member Posts: 22
    The firebird is an automatic. I don't know how the overdrive is controlled. I'm assuming it's electric or computer driven since a mechanic told me to disconnect the battery to let my car "reset itself."
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Originally, and technically still, i guess, overdrive was a separate (planetary)gearset of sorts, so you could have an overdrive gear not only in top gear but also some of the lower gears. My old MGB was electrically operated, but I could get 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd overdrive, 4th and 4th it could be used like a 6-speed transmission.

    Now, most 5th gears on a 5-speed is an "overdrive" gear. I haven't had the automatic overdrives apart so i don't know much about how they work, but I don't think it's a oomplete additional gearset...I'd need to hit the books and look at some diagrams. Maybe someone can save me the trouble?
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    On Volvos, I know that the 5-speed transmission, where you actually shift into 5th gear, rather than press a button to activate the overdrive, is a single transmission, without a planetary add-on. I'm not saying this is true of all 5-speed transmissions, but on a Volvo it is.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390

    To my mechanically naive brain it seems an inelegant solution. I can't see the sense of 2 ranges of 3rd and 2 of 4th. Why not just build a 5 or 6-speed?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well, back in those days to design and build an entirely new 5-speed was expensive...this way, you just add a unit onto the original three or four speed...a different tail shaft housing. The overdrive in the 3rd gear of a 4 speed was not intended, it's just something you got for free...often, like with jaguar or mg or volvo (1960s, early 70s) they'd only allow you to flip into overdrive in 4th gear, but you could easily by-pass that. On AMerican cars, typical overdrive was activated in the 50s & 60s by a cable under the dashboard..this worked with the typical 3-speed column shift of cars of that era. I don't recall any 4-speed American overdrives.

    Five speeds were rare in the 60s...mostly the exotic Italian cars had them, and that was about it. It was really the Japanese who made them commonplace.
  • wpeng1wpeng1 Member Posts: 12
    But Mr. Shiftright
    Why do we need overdrive?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well, fuel economy and reduction of rpm/engine noise at cruising speeds are two benefits. It's awfully nice, especially with today's high-revving overhead cam engines, to be able to plop it down in 5th or an "overdrive" gear and watch the RPMs drop from a buzzy 3800 rpm to a melllow 3000. The downside is that people sometimes forget that the overdrive gear isn't very good for hill-climbing or any kind of serious work, so they sometimes mash the gas in overdrive and go...nowhere fast...

    Of course, all these extra gears and overdrive circuitry makes for more expensive transmission overhauls.
  • odyceeodycee Member Posts: 33
    My 85 Toyota Cressida has some kind of jerking or clunking sound when I let go of the accelerator during slowing down. It's a AUTO w/ 4sp Overdrive. I think it's a u-joint needs to be replaced. The car have 185K miles on it. Any ideas ? I pray it's not the tranmission.
  • gchernya1gchernya1 Member Posts: 43
    Yes, your prayers positively answered - with a high probability it's engine mounts you have to check first.
  • odyceeodycee Member Posts: 33
    Why engine mount? Do u mean the engine mount is loose from the frame? Can u go a little more in detail. Thanks.
  • gchernya1gchernya1 Member Posts: 43
    Engine mounts on the modern cars is two peaces of metal separated with layer of rubber. With years, rubber is wearing thin and allows more engine movement during the load changes. When You accelerate, certain forces trying to push engine indirection opposite the direction of rotating axles. With bad engine mounts engine can move as much as 1-2 inches. After You remove foot from gas, engine can bounce back under own weight, and you can hear clunk or thud, depends on degree of rubber wear - if little left, or nothing left at all. I hope it will help you understand how it works.
  • odyceeodycee Member Posts: 33
    Thanks for the explaination, I think I understood your answer. I guess it's just like mechanical backlash when the gears are worn out.
  • sad3sad3 Member Posts: 1
    1992 chevy astro van transmission problem no reverse or second gear. Any suggestions on how to solve this problem?
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    Automatic transmission? Doesn't sound good. Even if it's a manual transmission, it doesn't sound good. You may need to take it in for repair or replacement. Have it checked out though, before you just walk into a shop and say "I need a new transmission."
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think you're in for an overhaul...if your van has very high mileage, you might consider a used unit from a low mileage wreck, if you can find one. Don't just drive in anywhere...check out the shop's reputation with the Better Business Bureau (they won't tell you much, but if they say there "is a record of customer complaints" that means they are hinting that there are big problems with the shop). If there's no record, that doesn't mean the place is good, only that they aren't horrible. Best recommendations come from previous customers, or from auto repair shops that send work there.
  • glenn384glenn384 Member Posts: 14
    My 1993 Dodge minivan began having transmission
    troubles at 50,000 miles. It was brought back to
    the dealer twice under warranty. Both times the
    dealer told me that a transmission diagnostic
    showed the tranny was functioning properly. He said it didn't 'trip a code'. Yet, the tranny began having more and more trouble shifting into reverse each month. At 93,000 Miles the tranny stopped going to reverse until it was run through the gears several times.

    I got the van to the dealer and was told the
    diagnostic showed that the tranny still hadn't
    'tripped a code'. The dealer decided to tear down
    the transmission and found the clutch bands were
    shot (I am not a mechanic, so I hope the term clutch bands is correct. never the less the
    clutches were shot).

    Chrysler denied my request for assistance, siting
    that no computer diagnostic code was tripped while
    the tranny was under warranty. The fact that when
    the dealer found the clutchs to be shot, it still
    didn't 'trip a code' didn't change the rep's mind.
    A dodge factory rebuilt transmission was installed
    at my expense.

    I was told by several mechanics that this was a very common occurrence for Chrysler minivans, both the tranny failure and Chrysler's failure to admit that they have a inferior transmission in a couple of million of their vehicles.

    The rebuilt transmission began having similar
    troubles after It had 42,000 miles on it. I sold
    the van in disgust, and swore never to buy a
    Chrysler product again.

    I would like to find out if this is indeed a very common problem for dodge/Chrysler minivans.
  • cicero1cicero1 Member Posts: 1
    Has there been any reports of transmission or drivetrain problems with the 1999 or 1998 Chev. Tahoes?
    I have a 1999. It had 800 miles on it and I had to have a gear in the transmission replaced. Someone else I know that has a 1998 or 1999 has had drivetrain problems and had it in the shop numerous times and they have basically told her they have done all they can.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You guys might check this site out for answers:

    The Chrysler transmissions on vans have had a spotty reputation, but I'm not familiar with which years or models.

    This story reminds me to remind people to always keep records of every time you go in for a warranty complaint, even if the dealer doesn't do anything. The fact that you hava a record of complaining during the warranty may help you after the warranty. There's this behind the scene battle always going on between dealer and factory as to who is going to pay for what...the factory tries to shaft the dealer who passes the shaft on to....guess....but I really don't know the circumstances of this case in terms of whether the dealer was refused authorization to work on your trans without a computer reaction code. If dealer's aren't sure of re-imbursement, they aren't going to fix it at their expense, that's for sure.
  • odyceeodycee Member Posts: 33
    Everyone at my work who owns a Chrysler/Dodge minivan have their transmission replaced at least once. It's defective design and Chrysler doesn't want to pay for it. Obviously, I never buy Chrysler product, so I bought the Toyota Sienna.
  • sranger94sranger94 Member Posts: 18
    I have a 98 Toyota Avalon XLS with about 11k miles with auto trans that hesitates when shifting from 1st to 2nd. When coasting under 20 mph and then press accelerator, transmission bangs into gear. Dealer has cleaned and adjusted stall converter, adjusted valve body and adjusted #2 trans resistor which had high resistance. Problem still exists. Any suggestions as to what may be wrong?
  • GATESRGATESR Member Posts: 13
    You probably don't have a problem. Many trans have delayed upshift when cold so as to get the cat converter up to speed (temp). The coasting and bang into gear is probably due to you not pressing down enough on the pedal. If it's OK from a standing start I wouldn't worry.
  • sranger94sranger94 Member Posts: 18

    Thanks for the response. I forgot to mention that this happens when the car is cold as well as after the car has thouroughly warmed up. Shifting from 2nd to 3rd and 3rd into overdrive is barely noticeable.
  • golf464golf464 Member Posts: 3
    lapis, I'm NO mechanic, the same thing happened to me when I still had my 83 buick century. I took it to a amaco transmission shop, to get it fixed. Wondering which body part I had to sell to pay for the repair. To my surprise they told me that the transmission fluid pump went out. A simple part to replace which cost me $175.00 including labor. I've had no problems with my transmission since. Up until I blew the engine a few weeks later.

    Something you should have the mechanic check before you pay alot of money for needless work.
  • GATESRGATESR Member Posts: 13
    The Avalon transmission is computer controlled and is linked to the car's ECU. The mechanic should first make sure that the ECU is functioning correctly, receiving and sending correctly. For example, if the problem happens when the car is both cold and hot, the ECU may be reading a faulty temp sensor that "says" the car is cold when it is not. If this is not the case, however, I would want to check any transmission component that controls the 1-2 upshift, servos, switches, whatever. I doubt very, very much if you have any type of a problem that would require a major overhaul. But it is going to take time. Hold on, be patient.
  • ike22ike22 Member Posts: 1
    I have a question for any Toyota Celica owners. I have a 86 Celica gt-s and the transmission will not shift when the temperature is less than 65.
    It will shift after 10 minutes of driving. Is this a common problem with Celica's or my transmission is going bad.
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    It will not shift at all? It certainly doesn't sound right. On some models of Toyota, the transmission will not shift into overdrive until the engine is warmed up.

    By temperature, you mean the air temp?
  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    ike22. Check your transmission fluid level for starters. Your owner's manual should tell you how. A low transmission fluid level can lead to shifting problems.
  • jud123jud123 Member Posts: 2
    I have had nothing but problems with my, at 58,000 miles the ETSoff and Check engine light comes on every 90 miles and stays on for approx 25 miles...i have taken it for services 3 times each time they claim they have fixed it...but as soon as i drive it for 25-35 miles the lights come on anyone else having this problem...any comments welcomed
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    How'd you make a Cavalier last for 58,000mi?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Ike--you should really do a service on the transmission...oil and filter...could be the valving is stuck somewhere or an internal seal. If a service doesn't help, it's probably dying a slow death, but it could take a long time to fail completely. Should it get worse, your car would be a good candidate for a used transmission.

    good luck
  • royalmjroyalmj Member Posts: 1
    Got a '99 Dodge Stratus thats transmission cooling line just burst.My wife was driving it and, I assume that she left the car running to keep warm while waiting for the tow truck.
    1. I can't believe that this happened to an almost brand new vehicle with less than 9K on it.
    2. Have you heard from anyone else with a Dodge with this problem?
    3. I wounder if the tranny had over heated. My wife was driving it and I'm sure that she left the car running while waiting for a tow truck. If the tranny had overheated and the dealer just replaces the cooling line, is there something they can check to see if there will be any future problems due to overheating? I just don't want the car to hit 36001MI and the tranny to go south on me with the mfg, warranty
  • darelldarell Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a 95 Mazda 626 DX W/manual trans. When shifting from 2nd to 3rd at a pretty good rev, there is a crunch. Down shifting creates no such noise. Also, the gas gauge does not read correctly. The fuel (idiot) light comes on when I have travelled only 233 miles on a full tank. 15.5 gal capacity and I get 37 mpg. Is this prob expensive to fix? Got any guesses for these two probs?
  • charles15charles15 Member Posts: 57
    For those of you inquiring about chrysler transmissions, I am on my third transmission in my '92 Voyager and now am leaking transmission oil. Looking for a Sienna or Odessy - will never buy another Chrysler Product
  • KatmanduKatmandu Member Posts: 24
    Sorry to say that the Chrysler Minivan transmissions have always been junk. One of the best selling vehicles in the US and they are total crap. The Dodge Dakota tranny is just as bad. It comes down to this. Chrysler can't make an automatic transmission to save their lives.

    Ford has also had problems with their torque converters causing shudder under lockup and engagement. They still to this day have the same problem. I can't believe that police cars are actually fords! Both of my parents have fords and both have had transmission problems. I don't want to say that GM is the only way to go but to me, the drivetrain is superior to anything. I saw them test the transaxles in a Buick Regal at the GM proving grounds in Michigan. The guy just held the car to the floor and slammed from Reverse to drive until something broke. Then they tore the tranny down and strengthened the part and tested again. To me, that's good testing. After all an elephant is a mouse built to government specifications!!! :)
  • arazaraz Member Posts: 27
    I had to take my Dodge back for a new xmsn cooling line, because the original was able to melt or break. It was a safety recall.
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