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  • OT: Question on transmission repair.

    I have a 98 Ford Escort with 110K on it. Had the transmission replaced at cost of nearly 2K just 13 months ago.

    Fast forward to last week: Tranny is acting up, hard shifting especially when taking off and backing up. I check the fluid level and it's quite a bit higher then it's supposed to be but clear and no burnt smell. The car does not leak on the new concrete driveway. That's important as I just paid $11,000 for the driveway!

    Take it to back to the shop and ask them to look at it for me and see if maybe the screen needed cleaned and maybe the bands tightened.

    They tell me the "seals" are leaking and I'm looking at maybe $1200 for repair. We just bought a new Fusion so this car is just a beater (with great gas mileage I might add, it defrays the cost of owning my fuel guzzeling 2001 Ford F350 Power Stroke 4WD SRS ExtCab Lariat Package w/leather seats and a sunvisor pickup )

    Does it sound like I'm getting hosed here? Don't know if I should just scrap the Escort or seek out more repairmen?

    I'd like to hear from those members who are car nuts with more knowledge then me. If you don't know anything about cars you can just advise me to either tell the guy to "pound salt" or "thank you very much, have a nice day" but not both
    Last edited by Your Old Dog; 06-29-2009, 08:28 AM.
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    Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

    It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

  • #2
    Why not try to find one in a junk yard, or whatever they are called now days. It seems sometimes when you have a transmission that gives trouble it will not be long after rebuilding you will again have trouble. I give much more credit for local junk yards here in honesty than I would any local transmission, or auto repair shop. I think it would also be cheaper to buy a used transmission, have someone put it in than $1200, that's local to me, not sure about your neck of the woods.

    Clint

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    • #3
      Y.O.D, your new driveway is spotless and they say your seals are leaking??? Definately calls for a second opinion by a competent trans shop.JIM
      jim

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jimmstruk
        Y.O.D, your new driveway is spotless and they say your seals are leaking??? Definately calls for a second opinion by a competent trans shop.JIM
        The trans shop will be talking about the seals on the pistons that apply the clutch packs. If they are leaking (Internally) it will take a while to engage a gear. It will require a complete tear down and repair.
        Check out the price at an auto wreckers.

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        • #5
          I'm not clear on this I dont think....when you say trans was replaced,was that a rebuilt unit,scrap yard piece or a fact.reman? If you situation locally is like mine,the scrap yards are honest,but the dont know the condition in most cases,so buyer beware. It seems that alot of the "rebuilt' or 'rebuilders" any more call a gasket set and a cleaning a rebuild;dont take the time to check the hardware unless its "visibly" damaged.Few years ago a fella in town here opened shop and was "rebuilding" power units for heavy equipment,mostly cat and cummins stuff. Seems his rebuild included an extremely high pressure steam cleaning and a "liquid overhaul" from a paint can.....he didnt last long. Some folks definition of overhaul definately doesn match the definition most of us here have.

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          • #6
            2k for the transmission in the first place is a rip unless it was brand spanking new tranny,
            2 1200 to repair it now that is messing up well its a tough call but if you can do the work your self which really is pretty simple then you can save problely 80% of that 1200 bucks..

            a good rebuilt tranny from a wrecker is about 900 bucks average but then you just slap it in and your driving again ,,

            anyhow upto you but for 2k for the one you got there id be checking on a warranty if there was one ,, if there wasnt then you got screw there as well,

            all best of luck hope all goes well

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            • #7
              in this situation ..

              i would make a tray to put on the drive ..would need to be put away every time it rains though ..
              but will enable you to run the car for another couple of years until the thing packs up altogether.

              just get them to adjust the bands ..if that's cheap enough ..

              or find out how to do it yourself, if its not a long job.

              all the best.markj

              Comment


              • #8
                To clarify a few points...First, checking the transmission fluid. The car has to be running, parked on level ground, and warmed up. A lot of people will just pull the transmission dipstick, and invariably, it will read over full.
                Bands? Very few modern transmissions have adjustable bands anymore. They are usually set during the build, and never require touching. Besides, not many mechanics (these days) even know how to open one up. Failed internal seals is an indication of faulty assembly work. But, you mentioned it was hard shifting, bad seals would cause long engagement times and slipping.
                Being a '98 Escort, the transmission is controlled electronically, not analog. A bad manual lever position sensor could cause many of the same problems, unfortunately, not many guys know how to determine this and the sensor is expensive. (Many of these transmissions end up on the junkpile because of bad sensors, though)
                The decision on whether to repair it or scrap it is a judgement call you'll have to make on your own. From an economic standpoint a '98 Escort isn't worth a lot of money. Having the transmission rebuilt is a gamble, it may fail again next year (if that's the case) But, as they do in medicine, I'd definitely get a second opinion. Transmissions are costly to repair, and going on the word of just one mechanic, well, that's kinda chancy. I know when I worked in fleet service, we had dozens of Ford front drives. And a few had failures. But normally, today's automatic transmissions live an amazingly long time...

                BTW, if somebody tries to sell you a "band adjustment" tell them to "pound sand"
                No good deed goes unpunished.

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                • #9
                  Thanks everyone, I knew I could get some answers here.

                  I paid to have the transmission rebuilt at a transmission shop. The guy admitted to me that they were on hard times financially which is what made me wonder if his partner was trying to hose me.

                  The transmission does not leak. It shifts kind of abrutly after a slight pause, that's what made me think it might be bands but I admit it didn't exactly feel like other cars I've had over the years with slipping bands.

                  This car did have one other time when the gear shift lever would not budge. I discovered a small plastic button next to the shifter lever, removed it "crammed" a long bladed screwdriver in there and that solved the problem at the time. This makes me wonder if "saltmine" might be onto something.

                  There is no way I can do this work myself as my health won't permit. (not to mention the work is way over this retired photographers mechanical ability!)

                  I normally read the instructions on the dip stick when checking fluid levels. Someone told me a dirty screen could cause it to read too full?

                  I think I'll just buy a new long bladed screwdriver for the glove box and keep my cell phone charged up and see how long it last.
                  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                  Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                  It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Disconnect the battery for an hour. Reconnect and go for a 30 minute drive during which you go up and down hills and vary speed from slow, in traffic to cruising speed on the highway. This will cause the electronic transmission valve control system to recalibrate. Make sure that you use full throttle a few times and manually let off the gas when you want it to shift. The computer will record this and use it to determine when to shift.

                    Escorts have had electronically controlled transmissions since 1991.
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                    • #11
                      Check on the Lucus oil site and see what they offer. The products they sell work well and may add some life to it. Since it was just rebuilt why won't the rebuilder do it under warranty or at a very reduced cost.
                      It's only ink and paper

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Your Old Dog
                        Thanks everyone, I knew I could get some answers here.

                        I paid to have the transmission rebuilt at a transmission shop. The guy admitted to me that they were on hard times financially which is what made me wonder if his partner was trying to hose me.

                        The transmission does not leak. It shifts kind of abrutly after a slight pause, that's what made me think it might be bands but I admit it didn't exactly feel like other cars I've had over the years with slipping bands.

                        This car did have one other time when the gear shift lever would not budge. I discovered a small plastic button next to the shifter lever, removed it "crammed" a long bladed screwdriver in there and that solved the problem at the time. This makes me wonder if "saltmine" might be onto something.

                        There is no way I can do this work myself as my health won't permit. (not to mention the work is way over this retired photographers mechanical ability!)

                        I normally read the instructions on the dip stick when checking fluid levels. Someone told me a dirty screen could cause it to read too full?

                        I think I'll just buy a new long bladed screwdriver for the glove box and keep my cell phone charged up and see how long it last.
                        I had the same issue with my 2000 Ford Escort at 60,000 miles. I removed the pan and drained the oil. It only holds about 4 quarts not counting the torus cover which can't ordinarily be drained. I replaced the filter and gasket and it shifted like new.

                        It's at 80,000 miles now and If it gets to where it needs another transmission, it will go to Mr. Wrecking yard. I played that game with a 1986 Ford Taurus about 10 years ago. The transmiossion broke and I foolishly had it rebuilt for $1,800 bucks so that I could sell it. I did sell it and got.......$1,800 for it. LOL.

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                        • #13
                          Well first, you should've bought a GM product. But, since you can't do anything about that now ...


                          Everything useful I was going to say has already been said, but ... 2k and you didn't get a warranty that covers this?? Next time, I suggest looking at a Jaspers transmission. Mine cost me about 2k as well, but it has a 3 year/100k mile warranty.

                          Actually, we had the same problem as you do with a Subaru. Turns out that 1999 Subaru Outback Legacy had an automatic transmission built by Ford. So many of them failed (bad seals - we finally took it in after I counted a full 21 seconds pause after putting it in drive before it started rolling) that there was a petition and website dedicated to bringing a class-action lawsuit against Ford. Don't know how it turned out though - if they took Ford to court they clearly lost. Anyhow, I wonder if the Escort's tranny had the same basic design as the Subaru.

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                          • #14
                            Usually, a dirty filter will cause slow or delayed engagement. In extreme cases, shifting will be affected. To paraphrase some great sage;"It couldn't hurt", getting the transmission serviced (ie; fluid changed, new filter, etc)

                            I've flushed transmissions with shifting problems and had great success. But, the transmissions I've saved by flushing were full of burnt, smelly fluid.

                            Since the fluid in your transmission is clean and pink, it's probably suffering from an electronic ailment more than a mechanical one. Slipping anything inside an automatic transmission will discolor the fluid almost instantly.
                            Yeah, Ford Escorts have been using the same transmission since 1991, and your new Fusion also has the same transmission. That's Ford's way. If something works, not perfectly, but works, they leave it alone. When they finally perfect something to the point where it's flawless, then they discontinue it.

                            I doubt if the Subaru transmission is the same as what's in your Escort. The Subaru engine/transmission layout is what is known as "lateral" and the Escort is "transverse"
                            "Lateral" transaxles are common in European cars and Chrysler LHS series sedans, but the "Transverse" layout is much more efficient, mainly because you don't have the torque transmitted through a 90 degree gearset.
                            Last edited by saltmine; 06-29-2009, 03:17 PM.
                            No good deed goes unpunished.

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                            • #15
                              A couple things I forgot to mention for saving your current transmixer. Walmart sells a item call transmedic, it's good stuff, I have both heard, read, and seen with my own eye curing problems just like your having, however it's a gamble, and well worth the $9 or so. Also change the fluid out, replace it with the spec that is called for, do not go overboard buying synthetic etc thinking that will fix it ( I think many of the newer transmission fluids are synthetic anyway) just fill it with a good name brand of the spec the manufacture calls for. Also do some research to see of your transmission is finicky about fluids, like my Honda Accord from reading, and everyone you talk to it's far better to spend the extra to use factor Honda Transmission fluid, as I do. I also use Honda Antifreeze/coolant as well, and I'm a cheapskate that does not believe in manufacture mark ups, however I have dealt with a radiator on a 97 Honda that I pout name brand aftermarket coolant and had horrible problems from that (it was the correct type, not the gm stuff) had to replace the radiator because of this, many many flushing to remove the gunk as well.

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