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Automatic Transmission Problems - I need your input


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The car is a 1994 Subaru Legacy Station-wagon (non turbo).

 

I wish to thank everyone for their help here. You have really helped me greatly. I was having starting issues but I replaced the water coolant sensor and the engine light is gone and the engines purrs really good.

 

But its a bitter-sweet victory as the automatic transmission is having slippage. It would get really bad last year but the stick showed plenty of fluid. I would still put a half of quart in and it would stop for a month or two then start up all over again. When it did act up, the tact gauge would be going up to high rpms to get the car to move. It happens in 1st and 2nd gears and would be hard to get going at a full stop. Once it getting moving, it does fine till the next stop. I put in some Lucus Transmission fix and it did help some.

 

I now only use the car to go to Walmart once a month for grocery shopping. It makes it the 2 miles to Walmart but has some difficulty getting back home. I have to go easy on the gas pedal to get it to engage. One night, I had to shift to 2nd gear to finish the journey home. I figured the fluid is getting hot and thinner on the drive back.

 

The fluid is red but has shown some black at times when I checked it, which means some parts got burnt.

 

I was thinking of releasing some of the fluid and replacing it with Lucus Transmission fix as it would add more grit to the fluid. I am a social security retiree and mechanic shop is way beyond my budget. I have had the car for 12 years and have been the sole mechanic for it. I need it for grocery shopping as I have two bad knees and a bad right hip. Carrying too much weight on a bus system that runs sunday schedule 24/7 isn't working for me.

 

I was thinking of doing the releasing the fluid in July as I need to get it smog that month as registering the car is due in August. It's not going to make it to a smog shop (at least not without some difficulties and then there's the journey home) in the shape it is in.

 

Any input would be welcomed, even if the news is bad.

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You can keep limping it along by putting thicker fluid in it (lucas stuff) but at some point it will leave you stranded. I'm going through the same sort of issue with my other car, it'd drive fine ish while cold and once it gets warm it slips a lot. Turns out it was a failing torque converter since the fluid was replaced a few times as well as the filter, and added lucas to bandaid fix it but only got a few weeks out of it before it fully failed ($1500 bill to swap a good used trans in.) From the sounds of where you are in the process, I'd say you can add lucas but I'd only expect a month or so left out of the trans. The costly part of transmission issues is labor, not so much the parts, you could possibly get lucky finding a mechanic hungry for work willing to swap a used trans in for $500 plus the cost of the used transmission but still, the juice might not be worth the squeeze.
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