YACT: Transmission problem

Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
14,523
9,895
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I have a 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis with ~180K miles on it. I know a lot of people are just going to say time for a new one, but car has a lot of meaning to me. It was given to me by my dieing grandma and it is the only car I have ever owned. Here is my question:

I just got the transmission serviced. Right afterward, I noticed that the car didn't like shifting out of first when cold. Normally would shift around 10mph and you only noticed if you were paying attention. After the service when cold it would shift around 15mph and it would be really slow, like someone bad at driving a stick. Then it started the problem of not saying in drive when cold. It would go into drive for a second then shift into neutral. But it stopped that after a minute and I was able to drive 125 miles. Now the car wont stay in drive at all. It will stay in Reverse, though. Also it is not slipping, or lurching, just wont stay in drive.

Before the tranny service the only "problem" was that it would shift really hard into third from overdrive, but that is how it has always been in this car.

So my question is do you think the tranny is burned up or do you think it could be some smaller, like a computer problem or vacuum problem, etc?
 

fbrdphreak

Lifer
Apr 17, 2004
17,556
1
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What "service" was done and by whom?

Check the transmission fluid. If it is low, add more immediately; be sure to get the right kind, there are different types. The fluid should look pink; if it is dark, or rust colored, or feels gritty, you need to change the fluid and probably have other issues too.

EDIT BTW, from what I hear Ford transmissions that old are absolute crap. You may just need to find a refurb tranny and have someone install it; the tranny itself may not be too expensive. I'm not a fan of rebuilding the one you've got personally
 

funboy6942

Lifer
Nov 13, 2001
15,295
391
126
FYI if your car or one you know hasnt been serviced regularly and it has alot of miles on it the worst thing you can do at this point s get it serviced. It is actually all the gunk holding it together and when you have that many miles with sludge in the valve body and you drain and put in fresh fluid with all the fresh detergants it "cleans" out what was holding it all together, then next thing you know the trans isnt working right. This is more true for Dodges but it happens to all of them with alot of miles and never been serviced or been a long time between.
I should mention mainly the older cars before there was this sythetic tranny fluid used or no service needed auto trans. Unfortunatly yours, op, isnt the later.
 

Zenmervolt

Elite member
Oct 22, 2000
24,512
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Was that the first transmission service?

Sounds like the flush got rid of some gunk that was in there and now the tolerances are too large. You're looking at a rebuild. Probably around $2,000.

ZV
 

Pacfanweb

Lifer
Jan 2, 2000
13,149
57
91
Shouldn't be that much. It's just an old AOD, maybe an AODE trans. You should be able to get that one built for a grand, tops.

Replacement won't be hard to find, either.

First thing is to check the fluid level, though...it may just be low.
 

Zenmervolt

Elite member
Oct 22, 2000
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Originally posted by: Pacfanweb
Shouldn't be that much. It's just an old AOD, maybe an AODE trans. You should be able to get that one built for a grand, tops.

Replacement won't be hard to find, either.

First thing is to check the fluid level, though...it may just be low.
It may be different for him, but I was quoted $2,000 for a full rebuild on the AOD-E in my old Mark VIII. Just over a thousand for the actual transmission work and the remainder in labor to remove it from the car and then replace it when it was done. Then again, the Mark VIII used a chassis that was never designed to hold a V8 and Ford shoved the DOHC 4.6 into it, so the time required to remove and replace the transmission was probably longer than on the Crown Vic / Grand Marquis.

ZV
 

Pacfanweb

Lifer
Jan 2, 2000
13,149
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91
Originally posted by: Zenmervolt
Originally posted by: Pacfanweb
Shouldn't be that much. It's just an old AOD, maybe an AODE trans. You should be able to get that one built for a grand, tops.

Replacement won't be hard to find, either.

First thing is to check the fluid level, though...it may just be low.
It may be different for him, but I was quoted $2,000 for a full rebuild on the AOD-E in my old Mark VIII. Just over a thousand for the actual transmission work and the remainder in labor to remove it from the car and then replace it when it was done. Then again, the Mark VIII used a chassis that was never designed to hold a V8 and Ford shoved the DOHC 4.6 into it, so the time required to remove and replace the transmission was probably longer than on the Crown Vic / Grand Marquis.

ZV
Ouch. Well, that Crown only has a 5.0, so it's not as hard to work on. Very simple, in fact.
 

SampSon

Diamond Member
Jan 3, 2006
7,160
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The transmission sounds fried. If you got 180K out of it then you've got great life out of it and shouldn't expect much more out of it.

As for sentimental value, it's a car, and becoming not economically viable. If it REALLY means that much to you, but it in storage.
 

Zenmervolt

Elite member
Oct 22, 2000
24,512
21
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Originally posted by: SampSon
The transmission sounds fried. If you got 180K out of it then you've got great life out of it and shouldn't expect much more out of it.

As for sentimental value, it's a car, and becoming not economically viable. If it REALLY means that much to you, but it in storage.
Actually, even if it keeps breaking, it is almost always cheaper to keep an old car running than it is to make payments on a car.

ZV
 

jagec

Lifer
Apr 30, 2004
24,442
6
81
Originally posted by: Zenmervolt
Originally posted by: SampSon
The transmission sounds fried. If you got 180K out of it then you've got great life out of it and shouldn't expect much more out of it.

As for sentimental value, it's a car, and becoming not economically viable. If it REALLY means that much to you, but it in storage.
Actually, even if it keeps breaking, it is almost always cheaper to keep an old car running than it is to make payments on a car.

ZV

Assuming you do your own work.

And it's even cheaper to buy another old car that's in better shape....
 

XZeroII

Lifer
Jun 30, 2001
12,572
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There's not much you can do except take it back in. If you just had it serviced, then complain about how whatever they did made things worse and you want to know why. Good luck.
 

Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
14,523
9,895
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What "service" was done and by whom?

I got a new filter and fluid. It was done by a shop that has worked on my in-law's cars forever. I never like doing much involving the tranny so I had it done by someone else. I typically do everything else myself.

Originally posted by: Zenmervolt
Was that the first transmission service?

Sounds like the flush got rid of some gunk that was in there and now the tolerances are too large. You're looking at a rebuild. Probably around $2,000.

ZV

Not the first service. I've done it 3 times since I've had the car, not sure how much was done before me, but I put the majority of the miles on it. I've always been worried about the tranny so I tried to take care of it. For a rebuilt tranny + installition was going to be $1250 before tax from an independant shop.

The transmission sounds fried. If you got 180K out of it then you've got great life out of it and shouldn't expect much more out of it.

As for sentimental value, it's a car, and becoming not economically viable. If it REALLY means that much to you, but it in storage.

Yeah, I think I will stick it in storage for a while since the tranny is messed up, maybe fix it up later, after I finish grad school. I do, do most of my own work, BTW, I just never like f-ing with the tranny - which is why I took to someone for servicing.

There's not much you can do except take it back in. If you just had it serviced, then complain about how whatever they did made things worse and you want to know why. Good luck.

Yeah I called the guy up, he has been working on my inlaws cars forever and he pretty much told me to go f*ck myself. When I picked it up the fluid was a little low, I topped it off but didn't help any.
 

Pacfanweb

Lifer
Jan 2, 2000
13,149
57
91
First of all, that mechanic needs an attitude adjustment. He at LEAST needs to look at his work and see if he made a mistake. If he did an old-style trans service, (e.g., removing the pan and changing the screen), then it could even be loose and not picking fluid up all the time.

He damn sure needs to look at it again. If not, I'd at least have another shop check it out, and if he did do something wrong, give him the change to reimburse you or take him to small claims court.

It is less likely that changing the fluid did the tranny in since you say it's been serviced several times already.
 

Zenmervolt

Elite member
Oct 22, 2000
24,512
21
81
Originally posted by: jagec
Originally posted by: Zenmervolt
Originally posted by: SampSon
The transmission sounds fried. If you got 180K out of it then you've got great life out of it and shouldn't expect much more out of it.

As for sentimental value, it's a car, and becoming not economically viable. If it REALLY means that much to you, but it in storage.
Actually, even if it keeps breaking, it is almost always cheaper to keep an old car running than it is to make payments on a car.

ZV
Assuming you do your own work.

And it's even cheaper to buy another old car that's in better shape....
Even if you don't do your own work it can be cheaper. At $1,250 he's essentially got a $100/month payment. Chances are that will be the only major repair this year.

ZV
 

Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
14,523
9,895
136
Originally posted by: Pacfanweb
First of all, that mechanic needs an attitude adjustment. He at LEAST needs to look at his work and see if he made a mistake. If he did an old-style trans service, (e.g., removing the pan and changing the screen), then it could even be loose and not picking fluid up all the time.

He damn sure needs to look at it again. If not, I'd at least have another shop check it out, and if he did do something wrong, give him the change to reimburse you or take him to small claims court.

It is less likely that changing the fluid did the tranny in since you say it's been serviced several times already.



Yeah I kep going back and forth on whether or not I should take it to a shop. Not sure I want to pay the tow charge just to find out the tranny is shot. But if it isn't shot it would be worth it ;). As for the mechanic I couldn't believe he treated me like that, considering my in-laws' history with him.
 

thecritic

Senior member
Sep 5, 2004
470
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0
Conventional pan drop/filter change is the BEST way to service a tranny, especially high mileage units. This way, the magnets can be cleaned, filter is replaced, and especially the o-ring in the pump pick-up is replaced, as that is often the cause of trouble.

It's never too late to service a tranny...that's a myth. Many of the newer units now contain lifetime fluids...and do not require a service until well past 100k. The problems come when people have a transmission "flushed" with only new fluid after 100k...but no filter change. Detergents can clean-up "gunk" in the unit and clog up the already loaded filter...THAT's where the problems come from.

It's possible, in this case, for the problems you're experiencing to be caused by the transmission "adapting" to the new fluid. I would disconnect the battery cables overnight, reconnect them, and do some driving in the city to allow the transmission to "relearn." Try this before doing anything drastic.