Author Topic: Transmission repair  (Read 2938 times)

PhoenixHeat

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Transmission repair
« on: January 03, 2017, 07:20:53 AM »
Hi everyone,

Have a 2003 town car I bought 17 months ago now has 105,000 miles on it. Runs excellent, etc. I bought it for the supposed durability and longevity. Plus I drive a lot being in sales and it is roomy and comfy for a big guy like me.

Transmission just started not engaging in drive. Took it to the mechanic and had them flush/change filter/replace fluid hoping would help. Doesn't appear that helped.

Will be calling tranny shops today..From my research I can have it taken apart and rebuild what is broken (potentially less cost) or replace with a new (remanufactured) tranny with a 3yr warranty.

Ironically (somewhat) I have been taking the MMM car recommendations to heart and recently considering getting a different car that can hold two car seats behind a tall driver and more efficient.  Problem is the town car seems to work well for this so am reluctant to do this despite average 20 mpg overall. Now my hand is forced a little bit.

Repair the towncar via rebuild or replace with reman unit? Sell towncar straight up as is and get different car? Repair and sell? Repair and hope it continues to be highly durable for years to come with no other major repairs? I may have become biased to the town car reliability but I believe with a new transmission and motor working fine with only 105k it should good for a long time?

Kind of a rant with multiple questions thrown in there but I respect the reasoning logic and insights of the folks I see (read) on here. Look forward to your thoughts. Thank you in advance and please let me know if more info is needed.

Cwadda

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2017, 08:21:59 AM »
I had the same problem. Car would not shift into 5th but otherwise ran smoothly. Luckily I found a super good, HONEST mechanic and I asked what would you do if it was your car? He replaced the valve body for $800 instead of charging me $2500 for a new transmission.

I think a lot of this kind of stuff just depends on your mechanic.

Spork

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2017, 08:53:04 AM »
I've only had an auto tranny done once.  In hindsight, I wish I hadn't.  Maybe if you found an honest mechanic and had an easy problem like Cwadda says... but that isn't what happened to me.  I spent about $3k to fix a tranny on a car that was worth about $3k.  Hindsight said that was a bad choice.  I sold it about a year later for $2500.  It was still working but I was suspicious that I was starting to feel very early signs of failure.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2017, 09:57:38 AM »
Get a 2nd opinion. I had a manual transmission that was failing to engage in 2nd and/or 3rd gear when i shifted. first shop i brought it to (not a tranny specialist) said my transmission was shot and said installation of a refurbished tranny would cost me 3000$

Unacepptable!

Brought it to a tranny specialist for a 2nd opinion. Was told nothing is wrong with my tranny. Merely had loose bolts that connect my gear shifter to the transmission, too much slack and some of the gears could not engage. Total cost of parts = $0. Mechanic only had to remove central console and shifter boot to get to the bolts. Tightened it up and wham! Like new again. Was charged 1-2 hr of labor only.

I was almost fleeced!

Spork

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2017, 12:21:42 PM »
Get a 2nd opinion. I had a manual transmission that was failing to engage in 2nd and/or 3rd gear when i shifted. first shop i brought it to (not a tranny specialist) said my transmission was shot and said installation of a refurbished tranny would cost me 3000$

Unacepptable!

Brought it to a tranny specialist for a 2nd opinion. Was told nothing is wrong with my tranny. Merely had loose bolts that connect my gear shifter to the transmission, too much slack and some of the gears could not engage. Total cost of parts = $0. Mechanic only had to remove central console and shifter boot to get to the bolts. Tightened it up and wham! Like new again. Was charged 1-2 hr of labor only.

I was almost fleeced!

I will also mention: Manuals should NOT cost that much even for a total rebuild.  And... manual transmissions are totally DIY'able rebuilds.  I'm not sure I'd attempt an automatic though.

daverobev

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2017, 02:14:22 PM »
Those cars are rock solid. Depends, though, on how much town driving you do (ironically for the name, driving around town is the worst thing).

I'd get the current trans repaired rather than an unknown unit, but it won't make much difference. Should be easy to work on either way.

I had an 03 Crown Vic. Loved it. Ha, you could've had the trans out of it - it'll be at a scrap yard somewhere now. It had... hm, close to 300k km on, no trans work that I know of. So yeah, fix and drive for another 100,000 miles.

TMBear

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2017, 06:58:19 PM »
I helped my neighbor to recondition his ~2000 Ford F150 automatic transmission. It didn't look that complicated from inside. However, it took him a couple of months to figure out a few problems like wrong clutch thickness or that valve repair kit requires addition holes to be drilled (RTFM!). The most difficult parts were removing and putting it back (nightmare!). I'd say it's Do-It-Ourselves (as opposite to DIY) job, you just need to be a bit stubborn.

PhoenixHeat

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2017, 09:14:56 PM »
I had the same problem. Car would not shift into 5th but otherwise ran smoothly. Luckily I found a super good, HONEST mechanic and I asked what would you do if it was your car? He replaced the valve body for $800 instead of charging me $2500 for a new transmission.

I think a lot of this kind of stuff just depends on your mechanic.

Love thus scenario and glad to hear it was your result. Speaking with a local transmission shop multiple times I don't have much faith in a cheaper fix being an option for me. The tranny shop owner pretty much rebuilds them entirely or will install a new transmission I provide. I get the impression he avoids fixing just the thing that's broke plus he has to pull it completely apart to see what the exact problem may be. If he does fix the one thing that's broke there would be no warranty.

PhoenixHeat

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2017, 09:18:12 PM »
Get a 2nd opinion. I had a manual transmission that was failing to engage in 2nd and/or 3rd gear when i shifted. first shop i brought it to (not a tranny specialist) said my transmission was shot and said installation of a refurbished tranny would cost me 3000$

Unacepptable!

Brought it to a tranny specialist for a 2nd opinion. Was told nothing is wrong with my tranny. Merely had loose bolts that connect my gear shifter to the transmission, too much slack and some of the gears could not engage. Total cost of parts = $0. Mechanic only had to remove central console and shifter boot to get to the bolts. Tightened it up and wham! Like new again. Was charged 1-2 hr of labor only.

I was almost fleeced!

Awesome job avoiding getting fleeced! Not sure this could be a fix for me. I used the suggestions in follow up conversations to probe and see if potential minor fixes like these could be the solution and the owner maintained it was most likely the clutch assembly and a rebuild is in order.

PhoenixHeat

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2017, 09:30:05 PM »
Those cars are rock solid. Depends, though, on how much town driving you do (ironically for the name, driving around town is the worst thing).

I'd get the current trans repaired rather than an unknown unit, but it won't make much difference. Should be easy to work on either way.

I had an 03 Crown Vic. Loved it. Ha, you could've had the trans out of it - it'll be at a scrap yard somewhere now. It had... hm, close to 300k km on, no trans work that I know of. So yeah, fix and drive for another 100,000 miles.

Your post made me feel better even if only serving to validate my bias toward town car reliability :) 

Had the car towed to the shop near me after multiple conversations with the shop owner served to create enough faith to put the job in his hands. He is going to see what extent he can diagnose hooking it up to the computer and looking at the pan. Due to just having the pan dropped and flushed and refilled hoping that would fix it first probably eliminated his ability to diagnose this way.
Feeling low faith now for a quick cheap fix so getting ready to buy a reman unit with a 3yr / 100k warranty so I can continue keeping the car for awhile as originally planned.

Certainly hoping all works out!

Cwadda

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2017, 11:03:01 AM »
What I did was call about 5 of the most highly rated auto shops in the state. 2-3 of them referred me to the guy (transmission specialist) that eventually did the $800 job. You can gauge how honest a mechanic is just by talking for a few minutes and asking a few questions.

PhoenixHeat

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2017, 05:42:30 PM »
What I did was call about 5 of the most highly rated auto shops in the state. 2-3 of them referred me to the guy (transmission specialist) that eventually did the $800 job. You can gauge how honest a mechanic is just by talking for a few minutes and asking a few questions.

This might prove to be where I went wrong. Only talked to one shop after searching shops online and reading reviews etc. The guy seemed honest but you never know. I wanted to get it fixed.

Now I did extensive searching for where to buy a remanufactured trans. Bought one today completely remanufactured including freight $1,515. Local guy charming  $650 to put in.

Might not be the best deal but I feel confident the car will have a new transmission and fingers crossed be reliable for 3-5 years minimum. I might be entirely too hopeful we will see. Also the new tranny has 3yrs parts and labor unlimited mileage warranty. My only concern now is the local installer puts it in correctly.

Open to any thoughts on my actions both good and bad. Always looking to improve however possible. Thanks guys!

Cwadda

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2017, 09:01:04 AM »
I think searching for a remanufactured transmission is commendable and very mustachian. All that waste saved!

PhoenixHeat

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Re: Transmission repair
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2017, 04:18:54 PM »
I think searching for a remanufactured transmission is commendable and very mustachian. All that waste saved!

Thanks for the posititivity!