chevy transmission problem

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Okay, the only transmission problem I've ever had with my truck. Its a 94 Chevy S-10 automatic. Was on my way to go turkey hunting with my brother at 4 am yesterday and was cruising at 65 when my transmission just quit, no gears at all. I stopped and checked fluid, it's fine. I then restarted my truck and it went well, changed all gears and was going fine, but after about 2 miles it went out again. I drove home about 20 miles like this. I can restart the truck and it will drive great for 2 miles and the transmission will go out completely. Its in the driveway now and does the same after about 3 minutes, all gears catch and then nothing. It does make noise when it goes out. To top that off my brother got 2 big gobblers. I'm having bad times, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

posted by  jfrank

Wow! The only help I can really give you right now is to tell you that the very top section on the forum index is called "Introduce Yourself". I highly recommend you find it and use it, especially if you want some help with your truck.

posted by  vwhobo

What was the color of the fluid? Did it appear brown?

Your truck has a 700-r4 transmission. Most of the kinks were worked out of these from their late 80's introduction. It sounds to me like your are losing pressure from the front pump once it heats up . This could be due to two things either a restriction in the fluid cooling system or failure of the front pump.

Take a look at the cooling lines for the transmission as they travel fron the body of the trans and end up in the lower tank of the radiator. If you hit a rock or had it on a lift these may be pinched. The next step is to replace the filter and pan gasket on the bottom of the transmission. Not only is should this be part of your regular maintenance a clogged filter will reduce fluid pressure as well.(70,000 miles regular driving-50,000 towing)

If this fails start thinking about a used transmission. The composition discs like any wear item in a car may just be tired.

posted by  hitchhiker

[QUOTE=hitchhiker]What was the color of the fluid? Did it appear brown?

It has been about 50000 since it was changed , the fluid is reddish-brown, dipstick has a little rust on it. I just painted my driveway a nice transmission fluid red! Man life is getting sweet! Got me a filter kit and got everything clean and ready to put on in the morning. What is the little square thing on the inside corner of the pan? It was thick with grease like stuff. I'm gonna try this out first. One more thing, should I seal the gasket with grease or seal-a gasket?

posted by  jfrank

Never use any sealant on a transmission gasket. Unless you have special sealant that in transmission fluid soluble. The gasket should do all the sealing you need. One tip , if you have a ball pein hammer LIGHTY tap the bolt holes in the pan . This makes the holes on the pan concave rather convex. In other words it makes the bolt holes not point in toward the rail. Get It? If not don't bother. If you are unsure you could deform the pan.

I am not sure about the inside corner, other than guessing its a sediment trap for contaminents.Lets hope that the transmission didn't suffer terminal burnout due to neglect.

posted by  hitchhiker

Ok, I changed out the filter, let the trans drain real good overnight. For some reason it took only 3 quarts of fluid to show full on the dipstick, the man at the store told me I needed five off the top of his head and somebody else said seven quarts. My book don't have the fluid capacity for the transmission in it. If 3 is normal for after a filter change please let me know.

Now, I tested it after shifting the gears for a while at idle. It was really slow and even kind of jumpy in reverse backing out of the driveway. I went about 10 miles and it went into all gears great in drive. It does seem to sound whiney but maybe thats just me being more alert than I was before the problems. Got back home, reverse is still pretty bad. I decided to quit while I was ahead for today. Checked fluid again, it reads good. Has some tiny air bubbles on the fluid on the stick.

Please let me know if any of this is normal for a filter change or if these details helped you further determine what's wrong with the transmission.

I discovered that the square thing in the pan is some sort of magnet, I guess it helps clean, I don't know.

posted by  jfrank

1. I'm working on the assumption that you have a 4.3 and a 4L60E. Is that correct.

2. Describe the noise the transmission makes when it stops pulling.

3. How are you checking the transmission fluid level. A 4L60E does in fact take 5 quarts after a filter change.

posted by  vwhobo

Yes, I have the 4.3 V-6 Vortec, I'm not sure what the transmission model is, but I guess it's the same as all of the others I can find on the net, the 4L60E as you stated. All I know is its high dollar to replace. When the trans would stop pulling, it would make a rattling noise. But keep in mind that all of the gears would work fine for a minute or two, including reverse, before my transmission went out. Now that I've cleaned it out and changed the filter, I'm thinking that it might have just been a blockage, and man do I hope so. The test drive I just took went fine, with about 10 stop and goes, but reverse has hardly any drive to it at first, then it jumps around and finally goes. Should I go ahead and add 2 more quarts? The only fluid I removed was from the pan. I'll let it settle overnight and check the level in the morning first.

posted by  jfrank

By letting drain overnight you may have drained extra fluid from the torque convertor. While a regular fluid change does take 5 quarts the torque convertor may hold as much as 7 more! You may have drained a bit more than you needed to.

You can see evidence of it when you get bubbles on the dipstick.

Check your fluid with the vehicle in park on a level surface and the engine running. If the fluid isn't on the stick add until it is and you are sure. Driving without knowing if its a quart or two down can do more harm than good.

Once the fluid level is right , i would recommend letting the vehicle idle on a level surface for a minimum of 15 minutes. This will give the trans a chance to purge itself of air bubbles.

Lastly, it sounds as if you pulled a lot of sediment out of the pan. You may have a problem with the cooler in the bottom of the radiator at this point. Lets hope not, good luck.

posted by  hitchhiker

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