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Old 01-02-2008, 04:46 PM   #1
raceddaily
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1997 SL2
Default Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

97 DOHC SL2 Auto Trans

Ok, car got stuck in stuck and took a serious beating from me getting it out.

Car seemed to drive normally until I was driving down the highway when it downshifted into 2nd gear and stayed there. Reverse gear then became "clunky" not slamming but a definite clunk each time I touched the gas. I let the engine cool (I drove to the bar ) and then started to ease the car home. Well, lo and behold the transmission behaved flawlessly!!

Until...

I got into it for work the next morning and started driving. I got about 3 blocks from home when pow pow the engine shot to redline and the car slowed to a stop and started rolling backwards.

Now, no matter what gear I select the engine revs up to abbout 3grand expecting the transmission load but nothing happens.

I pulled the DTCs that came along with my headache and although I don't remember the exact numbers they were

Incorrect Ratio Gear 1
Incorrect Ratio Gear 3
Incorrect Ratio Gear 4

I checked the transmission fluid and it was definetly full and of a good colour although it did a smell a LITTLE burnt it was by no means broken down.

I grabbed a half bottle of lucas trans fix and obviously it did nothing but hey, it was laying around so I figured what the heck?

Now, last time I saw codes like these the car had pressure related issues I don't remember if it was blocked lines or bad pump.

Has anyone seen this EXACT issue or something similar? I'm prepared to replace the transmission. Infact marshall auto salvage are prepared to send me my new trans tomorrow for 315 shipped to my door if I give them the word. But, I'm getting ready to sell this car as we are moving interstate so I don't want to spend 315 if I don't have to but I don't want to do a patch job and then sell it to some college kid. I want to fix it right. But if it's a $10 part and 10 hours labour then thats the path I'm going to take. I've already repllaced the transmission in this car once and I really don't want to do it again! especially since it only has 130xxx mi on it.

Anyone know whats up?

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Old 01-02-2008, 05:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

Typically, the result of hard tire spinning, as when stuck in snow, is a failure of the differential pin, which throws itself out of the diff gears and punches a hole in the transmission case. But that results either in a massive fluid loss (if the hole is directly to the outside) or at least some leakage (if the hole is in the surface that faces the engine). In either case, you'd see either a little or a LOT of tranny fluid on the ground or around the tranny. Is the outside of the tranny case dry?

That said, if the tranny fluid smells like anything but brand new fluid, it's beyond toast. Presuming you've been changing the fluid and filter every 30,000 miles according to the owner's manual, if you got the fluid to smell at all "burnt" just by this one episode, I can only conjecture that it's done some significant damage to the tranny. There are some folks on here who really know the auto trannies on these cars, and they might know whether you got lucky, and all you'll need to do is replace the valve body. If you are looking at that replacement tranny, make sure it's from another DOHC car (SL2, SC2, SW2).

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Old 01-02-2008, 05:08 PM   #3
raceddaily
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

yeah it was hard tire spinning like I said...forgot to mention that I had a bit of smoke coming out of them.....in the snow. I really was left with no choice as I would much rather not put ANY transmission through that sort of hell.

The fluid/filter on this was changed when I had the new trans put in. This trans has about 26,xxx put on by me and about 60-80xxx by the previous owner. I don't know how they treated it.

Dealing with cars all day long I'm not bothered by a light transmission odor. It doesn't indicate that trans is toast. Especially not considering it was coming up to being swapped out again.

Yes, I double checked that the trans they had for me was for a DOHC as that raised the price by about $40. Still, my local junkyard wanted $500.

The diff pin was the failure of the previous transmission. I still have the final drive gears that fell out of the back of the trans when my wife had it towed up on the flatbed. There is definetly no leaking on the ground and the trans is not wet at all.

I think you might b right though, I may be facing another diff pin failure.....I wonder if it's worth tearing it apart and replacing it?

...
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Old 01-02-2008, 06:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by raceddaily View Post
Dealing with cars all day long I'm not bothered by a light transmission odor. It doesn't indicate that trans is toast. Especially not considering it was coming up to being swapped out again.
I was referring to the fluid more than the tranny itself. Given the 30,000-mile service life of the fluid, it should never be in long enough to get that well-known burnt tranny fluid odor.

I'm confused about the history. You say this trans has 26,000 + 60-80,000 (-ish) miles on it, and you've owned the car for the 26,000-ish, but you mention seeing the diff pin failure of the previous tranny. :confused:

Still, I would think if there were a diff pin breach, causing this level of problem, you'd be seeing blood, either directly or through the mating between the engine & tranny. The fluid not being low is something of a contraindication of a diff pin failure.

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Old 01-02-2008, 07:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

hmm, sorry to be butthead thats confusing! LOL

Ok, we had a new transmission put into the car about 26,xxx miles ago that had about 60-80 mi on it.

When we had that transmission replaced the issue was that the diff pin let go and shot out the side of the case.

We have had the car maybe 30,xxx? The first trans let go not long after purchase as you can see.

So, if not the diff pin, what else could it be? I'm all confuzzled now! lol

...
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Old 01-02-2008, 07:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

Oh, so "previous owner" referred to the tranny's previous host car ("donor"). Hm, when you got that tranny, did it have any fluid in it? How did it look/smell/taste/feel/spread on a cracker?

Dang, did you by any chance keep the old tranny, or scavenge anything off it? It'd be a total stab, but since the old tranny blew the diff pin, it might have still had a good valve body on it. But again, if it's anything like that, I'd wait to hear from the automatic experts.

Oh, one sorta "duh" thing to check - electrical connections to the tranny. Longshot, but it's possible, given how much you heated it up and rocked it, the connections are either goofed up or loosened up. This would definitely throw those gear ratio SES codes, and cause it not to shift properly.

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Old 01-02-2008, 07:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

I found what appears to be the computer for the transmission attached to the transmission on the firewall side. I checked those plugs and they seem to be ok. I cleared the codes and they didn't come back on at all.

...
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Old 01-02-2008, 07:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

It may still be the diff pin.

the pin dose not have to come completely out when it fails. and if it dose nor come out completely it may not make a window in the tranny.

it may have come out only half way, in witch case one of the spider gears drops out. once a spider gear drops out you have no more go the tranny will present no load and the pcm will scream bloody murder.

but you could check your drive shafts. if you blow a CV joint you will be again stuck with no ability to move the car if it is an inner joint it will be like the transmission is doing nothing.

and from now on keep a shovel and traction aids in your car.

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Old 01-02-2008, 09:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

so either way, I'm probably just better off shelling out the 300 and sliding in a new transmission eh?

and as for the shovel and traction aids...I did, I was seriously stuck...in a ditch with no cell phone reception on a desolate road. You know? The kind of road you worry about wife getting stuck on! LOL

...
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Old 01-02-2008, 10:41 PM   #10
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

Our How-To Library has a thread, started by Wolfman, showing how you can inspect the diff pin "externally", by removing the VSS (vehicle speed sensor) and spinning the driver's side tire. And of course, richpin06 (SF's Haskell Wexler) has a video of the procedure, posted on youtube I believe (his handle there is richpin06a).

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Old 01-03-2008, 05:41 AM   #11
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Our How-To Library has a thread, started by Wolfman, showing how you can inspect the diff pin "externally", by removing the VSS (vehicle speed sensor) and spinning the driver's side tire. And of course, richpin06 (SF's Haskell Wexler) has a video of the procedure, posted on youtube I believe (his handle there is richpin06a).
I'll second verifying whether or not it's the diff pin. I'm thinking that maybe the input shaft nut let go. However, I don't claim to know a lot about that failure. So, that might be a stupid suggestion.

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Old 01-03-2008, 07:02 AM   #12
raceddaily
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

ok, so if they let go I'm still looking at a r&r on the trans correct?

...
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93 Nissan SE-R Sentra - Drag car. Electrical problem .Rod came through block and smashed the alternator

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Old 01-03-2008, 09:29 AM   #13
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

Mildly helpful:
My bro-in-law toasted a trans on my sisterís í78 Corvette by rocking to get un-stuck in the snow.
Repeated forward-to-reverse wheel spinning fries auto transmissions

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Old 01-03-2008, 10:06 AM   #14
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by raceddaily View Post
ok, so if they let go I'm still looking at a r&r on the trans correct?
Actually members have replaced the input shaft nut themselves. There's a lot about it in the How-To Library. However, I would get another opinion before I went digging into it. I'm just not that expert.

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Old 01-03-2008, 03:42 PM   #15
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

while it is something I would do myself I'm still going to have to pull the tranny correct?

...
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Old 01-03-2008, 05:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Our How-To Library has a thread, started by Wolfman, showing how you can inspect the diff pin "externally", by removing the VSS (vehicle speed sensor) and spinning the driver's side tire. And of course, richpin06 (SF's Haskell Wexler) has a video of the procedure, posted on youtube I believe (his handle there is richpin06a).
That he does
Video thanks to Richpin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmPpKEFK9yI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVpLPI-JVcM

no you do not have to remove the tranny to do the input shaft nut
but you do have to pull the tranny to fix the diff pin

...
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Old 01-03-2008, 06:28 PM   #17
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
(SF's Haskell Wexler)
Thank goodness for wikipedia...........

...
http://www.youtube.com/richpin06a

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Old 03-22-2008, 03:53 PM   #18
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

Tried to have the MP3/ MP2 5th gear conversion done today and got the news that it was too late to modify my transmission; the fluid is already turning purple, the previous owner probably damaged the diff pin, and my best bet may be to replace it (although I know a shop with a low-enough labor rate that rebuilding may be an option).

2 questions: does anybody have a best & worst-case scenario for the life expectancy of my current transmission (I would call the fluid SLIGHTLY purple);

AND, what about replacing my whole MP3 with an MP2...I have heard that it will work (although the cruise won't any more). Anyone have different info? My SL2 is a 2002. Will ANY MP2 work...only certain years...or none of them? Without modifications, I mean...

D. Jameson

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Old 03-22-2008, 04:12 PM   #19
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Jameson View Post
AND, what about replacing my whole MP3 with an MP2...I have heard that it will work (although the cruise won't any more). Anyone have different info? My SL2 is a 2002. Will ANY MP2 work...only certain years...or none of them? Without modifications, I mean...

Yes it will work. Cruise may not work. You need a tranny from '98-'02 Fly wheel and clutch plate is different for pre '98

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Old 03-22-2008, 04:33 PM   #20
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Default Re: Stuck in snow....now stuck with no go. Transmission issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by raceddaily View Post
ok, so if they let go I'm still looking at a r&r on the trans correct?
You do not have to pull the tranny to replace the input shaft nut. Do a search in the How-To Library. There's lots of info.

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