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Old 11-22-2007, 12:29 AM   #1
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Default Rebuilt tranny, can't shift

I have a 1991 LE, and the transmission was rebuilt on 7/5/07. Just recently (Tuesday afternoon), I started having trouble shifting into Reverse (stuttering, no grinding, had to shift into D before I could jump back to R).

Checked everything, topped up the fluid with some Advance Auto 'multi-car' Dexron III (can you even get Dex. II now? I went to four shops and couldn't find any), though it wasn't too low. Now I can't shift at *all*.

Plan is to have the car towed back to the shop for a warranty-covered check, but that'* $250+ for a tow that I just don't have, not to mention the costs involved if it turns out to be something else. My stepfather is afraid that the torque converter is gone, but this is a problem of not being able to shift into anything but N, and the car was working *perfectly fine* Tuesday morning (no jumping, no skipping, no slipping).

Any advice? I'm not exactly much of a mechanic, but I can certainly follow directions. I'm hoping that there'* something I'm missing (which is likely).

*edit*

(I already thought of the filter, but I can't do that myself, I assume it would have been checked when I had the rebuild, and I can't really afford to tow it to a local shop. I'd normally have my stepfather check it, but he was pinned by a forklift last week and isn't exactly excited to do a bunch of work.)
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Old 11-22-2007, 02:12 AM   #2
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Ask the transmission shop if the tow is covered under the warranty.
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Old 11-22-2007, 02:22 AM   #3
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Good idea, but I can't do that until Friday... at least.

I'll also be asking them if they'll cover work up here. I know a few people who've had cars serviced way out of town and had referrals to friend-of-the-owner shops nearby in lieu of being forced to have it towed. I'm not counting on either of the options, though.
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Old 11-22-2007, 10:44 AM   #4
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Sounds like your pump may have taken a dump. A last stitch effort [never a good idea], but if you want to get that one last drive out of the tranny, try revving it up in gear and seeing what happens. For me to get 3rd gear I gotta get the revs at least at 2k, otherwise the 2-3 shift is neutral. The other thing before doing this, max out your TV cable [easiest way being adjusting it, if that'* broken just grab some vice grips and hold it far out, then play with the throttle in gear.

Also, low fluid levels cook pumps... 1/2quart low won't do it, but anything past 1qt is danger zone. I drove a 3t40 corsica on 2qts low and never had problems with the tranny... but that was just because i didn't care about the car...
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:51 PM   #5
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I actually took a look at the TV cable, but it has no adjustment. clip. (I assume I'm looking at the right thing - there'* a metronome-weight-shaped bob where the cable attaches to the throttle assembly, next to the throttle cable.) If I trace it back, I see the 'nozzle' that the cable comes out of, but there'* no clip, just a big rubber boot.

And which pump? If I wait for my stepfather to regain full use of his back again, can it be field-replaced?
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Old 11-22-2007, 01:38 PM   #6
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The pump I speak of, is the transmission pump. It'* technically field replaceable... with removal of the engine. So um no... but if the pump is what took a dump, its possible that with extra RPM the pump can generate enough pressure to find a gear. If this does occur, the transmission, if it stays in gear at idle, 95% likely will drive a 5-10mi distance. I saw a cadillac do this, pump threw out, and needed to be revved in gear to like 4k and then would engage. Kid drove it like that till the clutches wore out... which was like 2wks. Will you be that lucky? probably not, but it is Thanksgiving, and I suppose your possible luck is at its highest. May as well go try it... it'* snowing here, so if it'* cold where you are, hopefully will help create a tighter tolerance between whatever may have failed and possible hold together long enough to drive to the shop to get the warranty and avoid towing. Towing here, if you time it properly [as in not needing to be towed off the interstate ditch at 2am] , it'* $45 for up to 20mi. My mother'* boyfriend is head driver, so it'* free for me... heh .

Also check the level cold... the dipstick should be about twice the crosshatched level up. So the crosshatched let'* say it'* 1" up the stick, it should be about 2" up the stick cold. Roughly on mine it'* just a bit under the top of the twist of the stick [cold]. Make sure it'* there. If it'* lower, add up some fluid if ya got it, if it'* in the crosshatched cold, it'* about .5qt low. Then try away. A good luck from all of us I'm sure on this Thanksgiving day
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Old 11-22-2007, 01:46 PM   #7
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Heh. 80 miles to the shop, so yeah, I guess the drive won't be happening.

$250 for the scheduled towing. My dad used to work for a local towing company, and my mother went to school with his son, so I might be able to get a favor. Uncle'* friend has his own truck, too, so hopefully I'll be able to work out something.

I'll go out and check it again, but I'm all the way up the crosshatch when hot (added a little more last night, let everything settle, cranked it, ran through the 'gears,' and came up about 1/16" low).

Thanks for all the advice and the well-wishing. I just hope the warranty covers it. :p

Happy thanksgiving.
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Old 11-23-2007, 04:41 PM   #8
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Minor update, the transmission place I took the car to originally (Cotton'* Transmission, LaGrange, GA) is paying for the tow. I wanted to mention it since, well, good service deserves recognition (even though I think towing charges should be covered under any warranty, it doesn't always work out like that).

Also, I walked by the car earlier and noticed I'm leaking coolant now. Heh. At least that repair won't break me (haven't investigated, but just looks like a cracked reservoir or hose).

These things always happen on the holidays. :p
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:16 PM   #9
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Thats sound more like a Valve body issue as opposed to a Pump failure... There is also an issue of O - Rings that were nicked in the rebuild process....

Let us know how it all turns out..

And I have said this a lot in the past.... Its hard to find someone who can really do a good job of rebuilding a GM FWD Trans...

Good Luck

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Old 12-28-2007, 12:26 AM   #10
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Got it back a few weeks ago, working perfectly now, though I've sprung a small leak in the radiator. Have to put on a new one as soon as I have the cash.

My parents picked it up, when I have time (during business hours), I'll have to give the shop a call to find out what was wrong with it.

Thanks for all the advice.
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