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Van started having problems today. Wife put it into drive and it wouldn't go, engine would rev up and then jerk forward. Same thing happened in reverse. I told her to let it sit for a while and tried it out and it shifted into drive and reverse fine but could hear a definitive whine from the engine even when in park. This happened one other time about 2 weeks after we had the transmission flushed (my wife got suckered into it with an oil change...not happy about that). It has been fine for 8 months or so. My question is should I limp this sucker into the dealer to trade it in or repair it? Tips? We are upside down at the moment so...
There are a couple of things. I have had many of these transmission, your problem is not new to me. 1st thing to suspect is the fluid at this flush. Go to Harbor Freight, or Walmart, and buy a fluid pump, about 6-10 dollars, simple hand pump with black or orange plastic hoses, get a gallon jug, a windshield washer bottle empty will do best, and put the pump tube down the dipstick tube and suck out as much fluid as you can into the jug. About 3.5 to 4 qts. Now, mark the jug with a magic marker or tape to the level of the old fluid removed. Pour that fluid into another jug and fill the original jug up to the line with real ATF 4 fluid, the Walmart brand is just fine. Drive the car, it should already start working better if it is fluid. If you notice a difference, do it two more times. Drive about 50 or a 100 miles between changes, this is probably the best way to change the fluid and clean it out in an older model, introducing solvents and cleaners slowly. You have just about all new fluid in at this point. If this does not fix it, try back flushing the AT cooler in the radiator, this can easily clog during a cleaning out and burn the tranny up shortly. If you get crud out, that was probably the problem. Hope this helps.
TW
 

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I would definitely get a 2nd opinion from a transmission shop. The dealers aren’t set up to do much more than total swap outs. If it is a huge repair bill, you might consider just trading on a newer vehicle. Your van is losing resale value massively at this point.
 

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I would definitely get a 2nd opinion from a transmission shop. The dealers aren’t set up to do much more than total swap outs. If it is a huge repair bill, you might consider just trading on a newer vehicle. Your van is losing resale value massively at this point.
Their are two ways to look at that. He is already upside down on the van, so trying to trade it in broken while upside down will add a ton of debt to the price of another vehicle. That isn't a great idea. Yes it gets rid of the current problem vehicle, but others cars have issues as well so your stuck badly upside down on the new vehicle as well and have the chance for even more issues. Sometimes, its best to just accept that vehicles cost money, be better proactive at researching what breaks and doesn't break, and getting it fixed.

I know from reading these forums my transmission is the weak link, so I got the Dorman pan installed so I can easily refill the transmission fluid every 15,000 miles in hopes that it keeps fresh fluid in the system and perhaps will extend the life of the unit. Other then that, the problems seem average as any other vehicle so there isn't much else to be proactive about to keep it running well. Hopefully its just a fluid/filter issue for him, but if he gets another used or new transmission or gets this one working again, probably now knows to do regular drain and refills with a drain plug equipped pan and it should last a long time. No need to mess with the dipstick levels and all that guesswork unless you have a leak somewhere. Drain, refill with 5.5 quarts anytime your unsure where the level is at, and you know it will be perfect everytime.
 

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if you do buy refurbished/rebuilt, make sure whoever you buy from has a transmission dyno

if they don't they haven't even tested it
Most reputable automotive shops, including dealers, doesn't have that equipment, they don't even need it. They buy from reputable rebuilders, so they know what they sell.

Now, if you are buying from a small transmission shop....
 
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