Is It My Tranny Or Converter?

95Stangpa

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Apr 4, 2017
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When I first got my Mustang, 95/3.8, automatic.
It had a shuttering feeling when going into overdrive at about 40 mile an hour. I put that Dr. Shutter fix and, it actually fixed it.

But I did notice whenever I'm putting the car into drive, you can almost count to five before it actually goes in the gear.

But is shifting perfect!!

I did a transmission fluid and filter change and even drained the torque converter.

Today my wife is coming home from work, and said she was pulling out on a hill it was slipping and then would jump into gear.

If you're on the level it don't do it.

When she got it home I test drove it.
If you are on the level it will pull right out. If you're on a steep hill which we have many of them here. When you hit the gas it takes a few seconds and slams into gear like it's slipping.

Could that be the torque converter?
Or actually be the transmission? I don't know why it takes almost five seconds to go into gear when you're putting it in. Any tips or advice would be really helpful.
 
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jozsefsz

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Aug 11, 2013
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In my experience it's usually the transmission. When the slipping starts, and is worse after a fluid change, the clutches may just be worn out or a piston seal no longer sealing. A transmission shop can hook it up to their computer and give you a readout of pressures and solenoid positions, etc., and give you a definitive diagnosis. It could be the torque converter, or even something less worrisome like a solenoid. Don't let them pressure you to rebuild it though, just take advantage of their diagnostics then do what you want. I usually try and find a reasonably low-mileage one in a scrap-yard.

car-part.com has tons of them for a 95 with v6, pretty cheap too.

You didn't mention the mileage on the transmission or what it looked like in the pan when you changed the fluid. Those are helpful to 'internet diagnosis.'
 

95Stangpa

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I actually called my sons...friends....Dad. I didnt know he owned a transmission shop for 35 years. My son left that part out. I alled my local parts guy first and he said this guy is a good person and would ever rip anyone off. Well....I dont trust people...but anyhow....lol

I called him up and told him about the converter being bad and using shutter fix in the beginning and the car always took forever to go into drive.

I did explain the fluid that i drained out was pretty dark when i changed it. But I did it in hopes of helping it. Since it took forever to go into drive. Almost 5 seconds to just go into gear. But shifts very well. But pulling out on a hill under pressure it slips bad then grabs. Was fine thrn just did it out of nowhere starting today. It does go into reverse without delay though.

He said to bring it by so he could check it out, but at 142, 000 or maybe more on it, my odometer is broke. He said it sounds like a rebuild is needed.The last inspection sticker has the same mileage from a year ago. So there could be 160, 000 or so on it. But the motor sounds good. Unless these 3.8' s are just good engines?

He asked me how the motor, body, undercarriage, and interior were before I invested money. Honestly that shocked me. But mine is rust free and nice engine and the interior is mint. Odd for my area.

Anyhow he said 1500 for a new converter and total rebuilt with heavy duty parts. He explained but I was lost. But he also said if I am low on money that I could do the pull and replace myself and he would do it all for a 1000.

But......since you brought it up. I am tempted to try and find a used one. I need a torque converter though. Mine is tired.

I never pulled one on a SN95. I have pulled a lot of trannys, so I dont know if there is anything different on this or not.

I never heard of car-part.com. I'll look them up. Just hope to get a good one used if I go that direction. I seem to have bad luck lately.
 
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General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
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You have better luck than you think with finding your son's-friend's-dad. For a grand I'd pull it and have him do it,
Just flush the cooler and lines and ride off into the sunset.
 
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95Stangpa

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Well just as a sidenote. I may have screwed up.
I know my torque converter's on borrowed time with using shutter fix.

However when my wife pulled in from work yesterday I checked the fluid immediately when she left the car running. I don't know if it showed high on a stick because she just stop the car or what.
But I just warmed the car up today. And it was almost was a quart low. I added a quart of MerconV, And literally got it hot. I hate to say this, I normally don't do this, but I beat the crap out of it.
I was jumping on it pulling out on hills and I won't do it at all. Pulls right out on a hill with no slipping. Unless it's something that can happen randomly. I drove it about 12 times pulling out on extremely steep hills from a dead stop.


I thought for grand that was a really good price. Which will probably get it done in the future if the car continues to do this.
But I can't get it to do it now. I don't understand were a quart went, because there's nothing leaking out the bottom of the car
 

95Stangpa

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Apr 4, 2017
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Yes sir you're exactly right and I know that. I was just a little brutal on it on the hills, I wanted to see if it would do it. And now it's not.
I did read an article about checking your fluid after the car is sat still for about 10 minutes because the fluid is still partially up in the tube from being driven on the highway and being hot and fluid expansion.
That was my stupidity. Now it seems to be fine I'm going to take it for another ride. Typically I baby my vehicles very much.
 

95Stangpa

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I just did the tranny fluid change, but I see I overtightened the pan gasket. So after a few months she lost a qt.
I should have been checking it.
I honestly do baby my cars all the time.
I wasn't thinking about it being driven on the highway then checking it right away without letting the fluid calm back down so to speak.
 
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jozsefsz

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I'm glad to hear it's behaving better for you with a little extra fluid. I had something similar with a Windstar transmission after I had a used one installed (that one required full subframe removal so no thanks on the driveway in winter). That one would slip on one specific hill that required a left-hand turn beforehand, just low enough to slosh the fluid out of the way I imagine. Adding a quart made it fine, now 30k later as well. So I doubt a few slips will have permanently damaged things. Hopefully it stays that way - mine was better / worse with the weather.

Personally I'll always take a lower-mileage used one over a rebuilt any day. I've not had luck with rebuilds, I've had them fail not too long after the 12 month / 12k warranty that's pretty standard for rebuild places. And the rebuild ran me more than the initial estimate, usually they won't give you the 'final estimate' until they have the whole thing ripped apart (they won't really know what's wrong and what parts it might need until then) and then you're kind of stuck with them. They also tend to reuse whatever's not completely fubar, so sometimes something else fails shortly later. With a used one everything in there (valve body, solenoids, gears) are all lower mileage. If you personally know the shop and they're reputable then you're in better shape.

car-part.com is just a junkyard inventory tool, they don't actually sell anything. you can see what's available in scrap-yards near you, and if there's a low-mileage one with nice pink fluid for cheap, you can decide if you want to take the gamble. most junkyards give you a warranty but it's always a gamble especially if you're paying for installation labor. if you're doing it yourself, you're out another half-day to pull the tranny again if you get a bad one, that's the route I usually go. transmissions on these guys are standard fare for a rear-wheel-drive car, nothing unusual or too challenging. usually the transmissions behind the 3.8's haven't been beaten up too badly, and they do often go hundreds of thousands of miles. the engines are almost bullet-proof except for the darned head-gaskets, those will often blow at whatever mileage they feel like.

so tranny problems are always a pain in the rear, and there's no right or wrong answer. except Aamco, that's generally considered the wrong answer. :) but here's hoping yours goes a long time with the extra fluid!

edit: oh, and the used ones I've bought have always come with the torque-converter as well.
 

95Stangpa

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Apr 4, 2017
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Funny your brought up Aamco. It seems for many years no matter who I talk to has had a very bad experience with them. It's a wonder their still in business.

I was trying to seem if I had to disconnect the exhaust at the headers if I need to do this at one point. I need to jack the car up in a few days. Transmission shop said I can sneak it past the exhaust on a lift but maybe not on jack stands.

He is reputable.....however I can hear it now..." It will cost an extra $$$ after we opened it up".... that crossed my mind. Lol

The yards near me have about 150k or so in their trannys. And aren't cheap. Holy Cow!!

But so far so good. I changed the fluid out and it appears I over tightened the pan gasket because I get paranoid. Not a fast leak. But lost a quart in about a 6 week time frame. Soon as she got topped off, she was happy again.

I don't know how long that Dr. Shutter Fixx works for the converters. But I'm sure that will come back to haunt me eventually. I also can tell when I put it in gear it does take about 4 seconds to actually go into gear. Shifts good though. Hopefully lasts a little longer. Especially with having some hard times right now. Going to do the TPS tomorrow. Pulling the throttle body off to do it. Hopefully I don't break that black throttle cable. I think it just pops off but not sure.
 

95Stangpa

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Hoping it lasts about another month. Trying to save money quickly. Still shifting nicely so far.
 

95Stangpa

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The ones near me got about 150,000 miles on them. And it's crazy they want for those ones.
In about four weeks I should have enough money to get a rebuilt done on mine with a new converter.
Have some heavy duty parts put in it.

He's a pretty legit transmission shop my son is friends with the owner son.

I'm trying to look at it in a positive way. My car has no rust., very solid underneath, and the interior is perfect. Although that broken power drivers seat is really annoying me. Lol
The motor sounds pretty solid and smooth. I don't know how long these 3.8/V-6's run. But sounds smooth and is strong still.
I think she's worth putting the money into.
He told me I could pull the transmission and put it back in to save some money. And he will still give me the warranty since he knows me. Hopefully I don't have to drop the exhaust system, I've never pulled one out of all of these cars before but I don't think it will be too difficult.
Honestly still using it daily, driving it very easy and keeping an eye on the fluid still shifting well.
 
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Bad69cat

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If your not afraid to tackle the removal (that hard part) the rebuild part is really not that difficult and you can save yourself a boatload of $. Figure about $400 for a DIY. I hate crawling around underneath trying to dig a trans out. The top 2 bolts are not at all easy to get out - or in! I just did mine last year. This guy has the best how to video around on DIY rebuild...... follow it to a T and you can do it no problem. Lots of good tips and tricks so pay attention. View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6WZE_z9bKQ&t=2s


Otherwise I would just let the shop do it...... removal and install is 90% of the work and no fun without a lift or trans jack.
 

95Stangpa

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Apr 4, 2017
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I have removed a lot of trannys on rwd cars, but never a Stang. I was told I would have to drop the exhaust system down which worries me about breaking bolts off the headers.
But the guy at the transmission shop said he gets the car so high in the air that he gets the transmission nose down and wiggles it out without removing the exhaust.

I imagine it will be frustrating trying to get it out but might be worth it and save me money. I'm going to watch that video this evening.

I'm up my garage right now. I don't know if I have enough nerve to try to rebuild it myself. Yikes!!! Lol

Although if I could do this for $400 and then buy a new torque converter I would be extremely happy. Transmissions scare me, I've never messed around the insides of them
 

Bad69cat

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Alot of guys are that way about trans repair. If you have the skills to pull it, you should have no problems. I did drop my exhaust for the headers - it helps. If you watch the vid, pay attention to how he tests with air pressure (not high pressure!) to know that things are actuating properly. I would open up the trans first and using the video, he walks you through common problems. You should be able to see what the problem is. With the money you save DIY, you could easily replace the TC. It's not that often that TC's go bad though...... but dropping the trans sucks - so use your judgement. I did a lot of upgrades on mine since I was saving the $. I used red alto clutches and kolene steels.... I also bought a mecahincal diode on ebay (used) and ditched the sprague clutch setup, along with some sonax valve body parts. It made a beefier trans and I now get nice solid shifts. She will bark the tires on second gear when I'm on it...... if you order a rebuild kit, get a quality one like Raybestos or Red Alto clutches in it. I used the spiral kit here which is a must IMHO - http://www.oregonperformancetransmission.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=SUP-K010
 

95Stangpa

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Apr 4, 2017
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My torque converter was shuttering. I put in Dr Shutter Fixx. It worked but I'm sure it's on borrowed time.
That's a great video set up for that. I might be able to do this.
He took his time and moved slow.