How to Tell if a Transmission is Going Out?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Ken Scharabok, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I have noticed my Dodge D-350 flatbed has lost considerable power the last couple of months. May need a turned up. Will have a compression check run next week. However, when I start out under load it almost feels like the transmission isn't engaging like it once it. Somewhat feels like slipping.

    Are there are particular ways to tell? I don't want to take it into a transmission shop right off as I suspect they have never met a transmission which didn't need to be rebuilt.
     
  2. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Smell the dip stick for burnt odors, place a bit of the fluid on your underside wrist, take your other hand's little finger and swirl through the fluid, is there grit? Any visible metal flakes in bright sunlight, of the fluid on your wrist? This is a self answering question.
     

  3. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    As Moopups said fluid condition is the obvious sign. The slippage in an automatic transmission is the clutches or band slipping which puts friction material in the fluid which is what turns it brown from the excess heat and worn clutch material. If the fluid is burnt it will have a memorable smell that's got an almost garlic smell mixed in. If memory serves me correctly Chrys. used a material type filter which clogged easily in the trans, might be worth dropping the pan for a look. If you drop the pan if you find STUFF in the pan you'll immediately know you have a problem cause STUFF ain't a good sign.
     
  4. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    If there is a dip stick for the transmission (manual) I'll be dang if I can find it.
     
  5. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    has the fluid and filter been changed?
    I had been given a car, that had had the filter plugged and thus the automatic transmission started to slip, and would even drop out of gear, it had damaged the transmission, but we were able to drive it for about another 30.000 before it went completely out,

    a slipping transmission will feel some what like driving on a slick surface and at times spinning the tires, on the slick surface, but with out the sliding around,
     
  6. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    So you are saying it's a manual transmission? If that is the case then no there is no dipstick, just a pipe plug on the side of the transmission case to check fluid level. The way your post was worded I assumed you had an automatic transmission. If it is a manual transmission the only slippage possible would be in the clutch itself. If while you are driving you get in high gear and then accellerate hard and the engine revs but the truck doesn't increase in speed proportionately you would have clutch slippage. Does the clutch pedal have free play when you first depress it? If it has free play and it slips the fix is clutch replacement.
     
  7. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Bingo, you may well have identified the problem. Hadn't even considered that aspect, but certainly makes sense.

    Truck has about 100K on it, some of it fairly hard pulling. I haven't noticed any softening of the clutch pedal.

    If so, it would be a local repair.
     
  8. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    You were correct. Clutch. It was down to bare metal. Mechanic also found one broken motor mount, one crack one and some type of broken control which was causing engine to idle was too high. While there I had a full tune-up, including compression check. Four cylinders on drivers side were a bit low. Four on passenger's side closer to standard. Truck hasn't run this well in a loooooong time.