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Will not engage any gear

Discussion in 'PT Cruiser' started by rwaterson67, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. rwaterson67

    rwaterson67 New Member

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    My son's 2005 PT Cruiser, automatic transmission...

    last night we were driving up a hill at about 10 mph and it seemed to slip out of gear. Now if we put it in gear, forward or reverse, it acts like it's in neutral. It does not feel like it even tries to engage. It was on a country dirt road at night so we have not able to look at it much yet. This old car is not worth any real transmission work so I am hoping it's something like low fluid or the transmission solenoid.

    Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    First step would be to check the fluid level and ad the proper fluid as necessary.
     
  3. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    Welcome to Allpar. If it is very low and you have to add ATF+4, it probably has a leak.
    Look underneath for wetness. A cooler hose may have popped off or a pan ruptured?
     
  4. rwaterson67

    rwaterson67 New Member

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    Cool, I am going to go check that and see if there are any codes. Low fluid would cause these symptoms?

    If the fluid level is good, what would you check next? I am trying to decide if it would be worth it to replace the transmission solenoid.

    Thanks for the reply.
     
  5. ka9yhd

    ka9yhd Active Member

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    The transmission operates on hydraulic pressure which requires transmission fluid. If the trans is low on fluid and the pump can not pickup any fluid then YES the transmission will not operate without transmission fluid.

    Before over thinking this I would suggest following what Doug and Imperial Crown have suggested. Check the fluid level, and if it is low ONLY add ATF+ 4 fluid. And also check for leaks and wet spots.

    If there is a build up of dirt and grease you might need to use a cleaner degreaser to clean the underside of the transmission and trans cooler lines to see where there any leaks if any are present.
     
    #5 ka9yhd, Feb 4, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
    Doug D likes this.
  6. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    The next step would be to have the TCM read for fault codes and CVI (Clutch Volume Index - a measure of wear). Is the Check Engine Light on? Even if not on there may be stored fault codes. Diagnose first before replacing parts.
     
  7. ka9yhd

    ka9yhd Active Member

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    If the transmission will not take any gear not even limp in mode, which is 2nd gear and reverse, this tells me fluid level.

    Lets keep this simple. 1st check the fluid level and if it is low, find out why. Look for leaks. Before pulling codes.
     
  8. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    If it was driving fine up until this point, it could have been a sudden, rapid leak.
    Even if the solenoid (or sensors) are defective, you would still have 'limp-in' (2nd and reverse gears) to get home.
     
    valiant67 likes this.
  9. rwaterson67

    rwaterson67 New Member

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    The fluid level is good and it's red. In our case we have no gears, not even 2nd or reverse. I am going to go read the codes, but does anyone have any theories?
     
  10. valiant67

    valiant67 Rich Corinthian Leather
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    It's not electrical, you'd at last have 2nd and reverse as Imperial Crown mentioned.
    It's an internal hydraulic problem - plugged filter would be about the only cheap fix.
     
    ka9yhd likes this.
  11. rwaterson67

    rwaterson67 New Member

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    There are no codes stored or pending. If the transmission fluid filter was clogged would I be seeing a code for that?
     
  12. ka9yhd

    ka9yhd Active Member

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    No.

    I had that happen once. Driving along and the trans went to up shift and there was nothing there. The engine revved up and nothing. The filter needed to be changed.

    Did a fluid and filter change and all is well again.

    Keep in mind that in the 41 TE trans the filter is mounted on an angle and the filter only has a slot in it and not open on the entire bottom of the filter. So yes it can clog up.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. valiant67

    valiant67 Rich Corinthian Leather
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    An OBDII car is a lot more likely to have a transmission code set than an OBDI car. But the real transmission codes are read from the transmission computer and you need a special scanner to do that.
     
  14. djsamuel

    Level 2 Supporter

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    Not to be too simplistic, but did you make sure the transmission is actually being shifted into gear by the linkage? I wouldn't want you to miss an obvious mechanical problem like a broken cable.
     
  15. russ93spirit

    russ93spirit Active Member

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    I agree with DJ, above. this sounds like the linkage has popped off at the shift lever on the transmission. this is under the battery tray. you can reach under and feel it. Also easy to remove the tray.
     
  16. rwaterson67

    rwaterson67 New Member

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    We took off the pan and changed the filter. Still no go. I did notice that the new filter seemed to have filter type material inside whereas the old one did not. Could that filter material have broken down and caused a clog somewhere?

    I will look into the linkage. Would it make sense that it would pop while driving? We were in drive going up a hill when it "disengaged".

    I am trying to believe that the trans has not just checked out as it was exhibiting no problems up until it just stopped engaging entirely.
     
  17. djsamuel

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    Hard to say. It is an easy check though, as described by Russ above. It would be worth the check just to eliminate the possibility.
     
  18. rwaterson67

    rwaterson67 New Member

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    Well, I took out the airbox and battery. When we move the shifter through the gears it appears to be properly moving at the transmission side. I guess the metal on the magnet in the pan was evidence of a more serious internal injury... although some is to be expected with 176K miles on the car.

    I am almost resigned to the reality that this transmission is done.
     

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