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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Time to replace trans.....

Well, to give everyone the readers digest version, last night I was coming home from my brothers house, going about 55mph, when the rpms started going up and down; went from approx 1650rpm all the way up to 3200, and sporadically went up and down. I took my foot off the gas, trans grabbed again and stayed at around 1650rpm or so, then did it a few more times before I got home (this happened about three miles away from my house). I nursed the car home, parked it, and checked the tranny fluid. Fluid is still pink but has an odd smell to it. I had the transmission fully flushed a little over a month ago. I did a pretty intensive search through the forums (God I love that search function) and found that it is more than likely a fried clutch in the trans. Now I'm down to the MR2, which is still in rough body shape due to being a work in progress. Haven't driven the MR2 in 15 months, so complete oil change is in order (I have however, started this car up every week and let it run for approx 20 minutes or so, enough to get up to operating temp and stay there for several minutes). Due to time constraints, right now I'm looking at purchasing a used / junkyard trans. Most prices I see vary from $200 to $400 and have varying degrees of mileage on them. I know I have to drop the gas tank, but does anyone have any other suggestions to make this as painless as possible? My car has 160,xxx miles on it; the motor was replaced and has approx. 75000 on it, but I'm going to assume that the trans is original. Torque converter seems ok; would you recommend that I replace it when the trans is out? Junkyard trans will have fluid flushed and filter replaced. I know that a lower mileage trans is preferable, but how many miles is too much for a used junkyard trans?

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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 12:05 PM
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Get a new TC it doesn't have to be something crazy either, maybe a marauder TC, replace the front and rear seals of the trans while your there. A J-mod. A rear main seal wouldnt hurt either since those like to leak. If you want to do any rearend work now is a good time to do it. If you don't have an aluminum driveshaft and want one you should do that as well, oh and a fuel pump. These are things I just did to my car when I had the trans out minus the J-mod.and fuel pump since I did mine last year. Honestly if you don't have the money to go crazy at least replace the trans seals I mentioned and the rear main, they are inexpensive seals will save you in the long run.

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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Get a new TC it doesn't have to be something crazy either, maybe a marauder TC, replace the front and rear seals of the trans while your there. A J-mod. A rear main seal wouldnt hurt either since those like to leak. If you want to do any rearend work now is a good time to do it. If you don't have an aluminum driveshaft and want one you should do that as well, oh and a fuel pump. These are things I just did to my car when I had the trans out minus the J-mod.and fuel pump since I did mine last year. Honestly if you don't have the money to go crazy at least replace the trans seals I mentioned and the rear main, they are inexpensive seals will save you in the long run.
I may actually get the rebuild kit for the trans, and since it is already going to be torn down, I should do the J-Mod as well. Luckily I have less than 1/4 tank of gas; was going to fill up yesterday but for the first time in a while, let the gas gauge go lower than 1/4.

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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 01:49 PM
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...These are things I just did to my car when I had the trans out minus the J-mod...

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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 02:25 PM
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I've never pulled the transmission but why does the gas tank have to come out?
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 02:41 PM
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Either the tank or the diff, one has to be lowered or removed to get the driveshaft out of the trans.

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Either the tank or the diff, one has to be lowered or removed to get the driveshaft out of the trans.
My school of thought is that the gas tank is the lesser of the two evils. Gas tank doesn't look bad to drop from what I saw either.

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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 03:12 PM
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rofl, yeah right. You still have to unbolt the driveshaft. All you have to do is remove the 4 big nuts and let the diff swing on the axles. Then the drivesahft will slide back out of the transmission.
Removing the gas tank sucks. Hoses and lines like to break on old cars, connectors too.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 03:31 PM
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I probably should have specified in that post when I mentioned one needs to be dropped or removed I ment you either need to
1: drop/lower the differential carrier assembly from the car and let it hang on the axles.

Or

2: remove the gas tank, hoses, lines, straps, deal with that heavy awkward beast, I wouldn't drop a tank again unless I was changing the fuel pump at the same time.

Ex: My fuel pump burned out so I replaced it with a walbro 255 and upgraded/changed my driveshaft and u-joints at the same time.

Seriously depending on the mileage it's a toss up, I'd only drop the tank if you are changing the pump.

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the heads up dirtyd0g and Chris Murder; based on that information I will lower the diff. carrier assembly. Saved me a big headache.

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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 04:54 PM
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Either the tank or the diff, one has to be lowered or removed to get the driveshaft out of the trans.
Learned something new today as I do most days.
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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 10:15 PM
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$400 and have varying degrees of mileage on them. I know I have to drop the gas tank, but does anyone have any other suggestions to make this as painless as possible? My car has 160,xxx miles on it; the motor was replaced and has approx. 75000 on it, but I'm going to assume that the trans is original. Torque converter seems ok; would you recommend that I replace it when the trans is out? Junkyard trans will have fluid flushed and filter replaced. I know that a lower mileage trans is preferable, but how many miles is too much for a used junkyard trans?
Spned $2K & do it right or beat your head against the wall at $200 - $400 a clip & end up with something worth absolutely ZERO.... MINUS the couple grand you wasted at $200 - 400 a clip like an IDIOT.

GET OFF MY LAWN~! ... & Let's not forget guys... There's still a dead Imaginary Ex-Girlfriend out there...
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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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Spned $2K & do it right or beat your head against the wall at $200 - $400 a clip & end up with something worth absolutely ZERO.... MINUS the couple grand you wasted at $200 - 400 a clip like an IDIOT.
Not sure why you would feel the need to insult me based on my question; not everyone has $2k to spend on a shop redoing a trans. I have the resources, space, and time to put a used lower mileage trans in my car. I have 2 kids and a mortgage to pay. I don't know (or care) what your financial situation is, nor would I insult you for a question that you asked. Helping is one thing; responding with the type of tone in your post is another. I'd rather live within my means and do something to get the car running again.

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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 12:27 AM
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Spned $2K & do it right or beat your head against the wall at $200 - $400 a clip & end up with something worth absolutely ZERO.... MINUS the couple grand you wasted at $200 - 400 a clip like an IDIOT.
I have made these statements to people and gotten the similar response tons of time. Realistically it takes about $1500 minimum to get a worthwhile transmission but most people have to learn the hard way. Anymore it just seems easier to tell them how to do it right, watch them do it wrong and take bets on how many times they will continue to do it wrong before doing it right.

Low mileage used transmission, that is a joke these cars have not been built since 1997 you have to get a late transmission and tear it apart to make it work. Stock converters will always be crap and most people who install a transmission in one of these cars in their driveways make the car a pile of junk in the process.
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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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I have made these statements to people and gotten the similar response tons of time. Realistically it takes about $1500 minimum to get a worthwhile transmission but most people have to learn the hard way. Anymore it just seems easier to tell them how to do it right, watch them do it wrong and take bets on how many times they will continue to do it wrong before doing it right.

Low mileage used transmission, that is a joke these cars have not been built since 1997 you have to get a late transmission and tear it apart to make it work. Stock converters will always be crap and most people who install a transmission in one of these cars in their driveways make the car a pile of junk in the process.
Alan
Realistically I don't expect to install another used transmission and get another 160,000 miles out of it. Obviously spending the extra cash would net me something that would last a long time. I just need something to last me through to next spring. After that, when I can put the extra money (and I'm not pressed for time having my winter car; which happens to be the Thunderbird, down while I come up with $1500-$2000 to build a 100,000 mile trans) into a built trans, then I'll do it. Don't get me wrong, the advice is appreciated. The attitude he displayed is another story. I treat people the way I like to be treated, unless they give me reason not to. You don't have to agree with me; hell, you don't even have to like me......but I'm not going to let someone be an ass to me and play Ghandi. I appreciate knowledge but not ignorance towards people. My best friend of 18 years is going to help me with the swap (he is an ASE certified mechanic that has been wrenching on cars since the day I met him). I'm not an idiot and don't plan on tackling an automatic transmission for the first time, by myself. I've worked on manual transmissions before, automatics are a different animal. So if either of you think I'm an idiot, then so be it.

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post #16 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 01:34 AM
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Ok this is the internet you must have missed the introductory visit. Just because someone says somethign that is not what you want to hear does not mean they are making a personal remark towards you. Buck is actually trying to help and you are misunderstanding. I know him well enough to know what he is trying to say is.
"don't make the same mistake I did once, save your money and do it right it will cost less."

And I stick to my thoughts on low mileage used transmission. Here are what you can buy for these cars in this day and age.

Low mileage transmission from car that sat it's entire life, seals dry rotted, moisture and condensation probably damaging the frictions and sticking valves.

average mileage, works, probably the best thing, keep the fluid that was in it if possible the new fluid may be the death of it.

or the last, been rebuilt at least once by who knows who using who knows what, usually butchered by some aamco using frictions that made OEM early frictions look like great stuff, average life expectancy after rebuild 36,000 miles. (they want you back when the warranty runs out, ask me how I know)

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post #17 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Ok this is the internet you must have missed the introductory visit. Just because someone says somethign that is not what you want to hear does not mean they are making a personal remark towards you. Buck is actually trying to help and you are misunderstanding. I know him well enough to know what he is trying to say is.
"don't make the same mistake I did once, save your money and do it right it will cost less."

And I stick to my thoughts on low mileage used transmission. Here are what you can buy for these cars in this day and age.

Low mileage transmission from car that sat it's entire life, seals dry rotted, moisture and condensation probably damaging the frictions and sticking valves.

average mileage, works, probably the best thing, keep the fluid that was in it if possible the new fluid may be the death of it.

or the last, been rebuilt at least once by who knows who using who knows what, usually butchered by some aamco using frictions that made OEM early frictions look like great stuff, average life expectancy after rebuild 36,000 miles. (they want you back when the warranty runs out, ask me how I know)

Alan
Alan,

If that was what Buck was trying to say, then I apologize for reacting the way that I did. Believe me, I know a junkyard trans is far from the best permanent fix, just need to get her back up and on the road until spring. If a boneyard trans lasts me until then, I'll be happy. I think I may have expedited the death of my current trans; I had it fully flushed approx. a month ago. In retrospect the old fluid was probably the only thing that kept the car soldiering on. In the spring I do want to have the transmission done the right way; right now I have to go the cheap route. I'd let it sit until I could do it the right way, but with summer coming to a close, the MR2 is a horrible car to drive in bad weather. Even with careful driving, the car is too light and handles horribly in the snow and rain. The bird actually handles great in the snow, and as much as I hate to drive either (or any car I give half a crap about) in snow / salt laden roads, the bird is the safest of the two. I guess the good thing is that since the Tbird is down, I can pull it in the garage and redo the rocker panels; every MN12 that I have seen has the same rust problem in that area, and I'd like to nip mine in the butt before it gets any worse. Thanks for the advice though. I don't mean to sound ungrateful and sincerely do appreciate all that everyone has contributed.

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post #18 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 10:55 PM
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& don't forget that I'm a GRUMPY old man & one of the bigger JERKS around here... especially after midnite on a weekend...

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post #19 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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& don't forget that I'm a GRUMPY old man & one of the bigger JERKS around here... especially after midnite on a weekend...
Lol, no worries Buck. Sorry for getting sand in my vagina about nothing. Thanks for the advice.

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post #20 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 11:19 PM
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WE want YOU to be happy... (like me) - Our old POS 4R70W's shift SO badly it;s truly like a new car once they shift sharply & ESPECIALLY if you have a proper DD TC with a teeny bit of Stall & a proper Tranny Cooler - I literally enjoy my car much more every single SHIFT - So if you are going to keep the car do it properly & trust me you'll be happy you did - If not then unload it & IMO go buy a 98 MK... but you'll still need DD even then.

GET OFF MY LAWN~! ... & Let's not forget guys... There's still a dead Imaginary Ex-Girlfriend out there...
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post #21 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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WE want YOU to be happy... (like me) - Our old POS 4R70W's shift SO badly it;s truly like a new car once they shift sharply & ESPECIALLY if you have a proper DD TC with a teeny bit of Stall & a proper Tranny Cooler - I literally enjoy my car much more every single SHIFT - So if you are going to keep the car do it properly & trust me you'll be happy you did - If not then unload it & IMO go buy a 98 MK... but you'll still need DD even then.
I decided to go ahead and purchase a rebuilt trans from a 97 bird; will be a couple of weeks before I get the cash together but I'd rather just go that route instead of getting a junkyard trans. Definitely do not want to be in the same boat 6 months down the road. I'm just glad that the trans started acting up right by my house, so I was able to nurse it home in first and second gear. Third and fourth gear went on a permanent vacation.

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post #22 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 09:18 AM
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... I'm just glad that the trans started acting up right by my house, so I was able to nurse it home in first and second gear. ....
Karma effect. Your car knows whether or not you appreciate it. My #2 ALWAYS broke down or quit at the most convenient location possible.

I hate to get all metaphysical about it but I am pretty sure about that after 50 years of experience..

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post #23 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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Karma effect. Your car knows whether or not you appreciate it. My #2 ALWAYS broke down or quit at the most convenient location possible.

I hate to get all metaphysical about it but I am pretty sure about that after 50 years of experience..
Funny that you mention that; my alternator / battery light came on a few months ago within 7 miles of my house, and about 2 miles away from the parts store. People where I work don't understand why I make such a big fuss about a 15 year old car, but then again they have never driven a Tbird or Cougar. The guy I work with has a 95 SC with about 90,000 miles on it. He's done some pretty extensive mods to it, so he is the only one that understands my love for these cars.

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post #24 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 12:07 PM
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I decided to go ahead and purchase a rebuilt trans from a 97 bird.
{in the voice of Mater from Cars} that's funny right there!

Seriously rebuilt transmissions are usually worse than high mileage. Too many people think rebuilding a transmission is opening it up and putting in new frictions. Do yourself a favor

Pick up a late transmission, find someone that can adapt it to work and put it in. You'll be dollars ahead with a better transmission.
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post #25 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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{in the voice of Mater from Cars} that's funny right there!

Seriously rebuilt transmissions are usually worse than high mileage. Too many people think rebuilding a transmission is opening it up and putting in new frictions. Do yourself a favor

Pick up a late transmission, find someone that can adapt it to work and put it in. You'll be dollars ahead with a better transmission.
Alan
Right now I have 2 options; the rebuilt trans out of a 97 for $750, or a trans from an 03 Mustang GT (41,000 miles on it) for $650. I think I already know the answer to this, but would you also go with the 03 trans?

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post #26 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 02:01 PM
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Right now I have 2 options; the rebuilt trans out of a 97 for $750, or a trans from an 03 Mustang GT (41,000 miles on it) for $650. I think I already know the answer to this, but would you also go with the 03 trans?
Heck, yes.. assuming it's a match and I have no clue about that...and would have picked it before I read a word from DD. Especially if you know it's never been opened.

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post #27 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 09:05 PM
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03 trans, have someone take it apart and swap in your output shaft and extension housing. Put a good overdrive band and a spiral retainer on it and mod the valvebody to work for you. Use a markVIII flexplate and that converter. The converter being the weak link you'll get 40,000 trouble free miles. Build a better converter and it'll go 100,000 easy.
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post #28 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info / advice everyone. From what I have read, I also have to swap my electronics into the new trans, along with the MLPS, correct? This site is full of excellent information; without you guys I wouldn't have known I could use the PI Intake Manifold on my car. Saved me cash and gave me a better intake manifold when I did the swap.

Currently Own:
1987 Toyota MR2 (project car)
1997 Ford Thunderbird 4.6L
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post #29 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 12:47 AM
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Location: Hickman Nebraska
Age: 31
Posts: 1,273
Garage
yes, the pin-outs are different. and with one that new its entirely possible the whole connector is different. not sure about that, but i know 98+ they change the pin arrangements and you just have to pop them out and move them all around so the right solenoids are connected to the right wires. i believe theirs a wiring diagram around this site somewhere that has the colors from 97 and back compared to 98+. seem to remember seeing something like that. inevitably your gonna have to cut, solder, and shrink tube some noids to put your old harness on the new parts, i doubt the connectors are the same.

RUST!! eating away at me more than the rear fender wells
95 Deep Jewel Green 40th Anniversary Bird / Stock SOHC 190k 96-97 intake swap, 97 Mk8 4R70W, Jmod, 3L27 / energy susp rear spindle, and cobra arm bushings, 93 Mk8 shaft, and LCAs, 225/60r16 on Windstar twin 5spokes, Vogtland 1.6drop springs, Tokico Blues, PBR, and rear-disk swap, 89 SC swaybars
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post #30 of 34 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Manhattan IL
Age: 39
Posts: 81
Well the bird is back together and running better than the day that I bought it. Jmod to be performed next week along with the installation of a tranny cooler.

Currently Own:
1987 Toyota MR2 (project car)
1997 Ford Thunderbird 4.6L
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