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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Doug D said:
Lucas Oil Products - specifically the Lucas Transmission Fix:. It basically softens and expands the seals if they have hardened which usually stops the leaks if the seals had hardened
Well I'll try the Lucas. I grew tired of replacing fluid. Do you think it will grind the gears & kill the trans? (Hope not.)
 

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No, Lucas will have next to no effect on the mechanicals of the transmission. It will only affect the seals.
 

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Atf+4 would be a very thin 80w-80 when compared to gear oil
or an 10w-20 compared to engine oil.
Its one of the thinner atf´s out there and a completly diffrent animal in
both viscosity and function compared to gear oil.
Its more like dedicated psf fluid or an light man gearbox oil but both of these
contains additives that are deadly for a 604 and lacks what the 604 needs- no good at all.
I have had good results with redlines seal saver but then again it cant cure a crack or do wonders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I hear this Lucas Fix Trans/stop leak can weaken the seals and cause them to "blow out". Hmmmm. The Lucas bottle says use half, but maybe I will use 1/4 to be cautious. Just enough to swell the seals but not destroy them.
Doesn't ATF+4 have seal conditioners in it?
 

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ATF+4 does have seal conditioners included in it. A seal conditioner additive may not yield any improvements over what you have now and should be considered a temporary repair at best. There are no miracle solutions here other than a transaxle rebuild. Aftermarket additives a Hail-Mary repair.

You can try to slow a rubber seal leak, but there are no guarantees. If it is a differential-to-bellhousing case crack, there will be no leak improvement. Asking the current transaxle situation to go another 50,000 miles in this condition is really pushing it.
 

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Please, don't waste you money on transmission additives. They simply don't work in these transmissions.

Also, I hate to tell you, but the 41TE/A604 in your car doesn't use a gasket. It's RTV'd at the factory. It shouldn't leak from the pan unless it's damaged or the pan has been removed. If it is visibly pouring out after a fill, it's got a cracked case, a leaking input shaft seal, or a leaking torque converter.

There are no viable 5- 6- etc. options that will just bolt in. Yes, perhaps other newer transmissions will physically fit, but they will require a complete rewiring of the electrical system as well, as these transmissions are all fully electronic.

You can upgrade the 41TE to 42TE specs rather easily and make mods to allow for better shifting (either firmer or smoother), but adding a gear is out on this.

If you want more gears, your only option would be to convert to a manual transmission. You can use the standard or the beefy SRT-4 versions from the Neon, Caliber, Avenger, Sebring, Cirrus, Stratus, etc. but finding them can be hard, and you will probably need to make some modifications to the PCM and will definitely need to add things to the car physically like a clutch pedal.

And as another poster said, those prices are high. An upgraded rebuild kit can be had for less than $500, and any decent shade-tree mechanic could pull the tranny, rebuild it, and reinstall it over a weekend with only one or two specialty tools (that can be rented or substitued for) and a basic tool set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
ImperialCrown said:
ATF+4 does have seal conditioners included in it.
In that case I don't need the Lucas seal conditioner/stop leak. I'll just keep pouring in the Mopar ATF+4 with its conditioners.
Thanks.
 

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Mopar's ATF is some of (if not) the best automatic transmission fluid out there. There are many high-end transmission fluids that still do not meet the specs or benefits of Mopar ATF (especially the new +4). That stuff is good - no one can go wrong using it.
 

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Please, don't waste you money on transmission additives. They simply don't work in these transmissions.
My personal experience is different (as are several others on this board with Lucas). Many of the earlier A604s had internal seals that hardened with age. Lucas will soften those seals and keep the transmission working for a while. I had a 1994 LeBaron with slow engagement in drive when cold. When it would finally engaged it would be in limp home mode. A half bottle of Lucas and that problem disappeared. I know it's a temporary fix, but I drove the car several years that way. I sold the car with full disclosure to someone who continued to drive it.

I'd never trust Lucas to fix an external leak, nor would I trust any stop leak to fix an external leak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I ran the car 100 miles yesterday and didn't notice any problems except once when it didn't want to shift into 1st (uphill). Adding another quart solved that problem. It's a shame the car had a major malfunction at only 140,000 miles but I guess it gives me an excuse to trade for a used prius or insight. ;-) Or maybe the 44mpg Chevy Cruze Eco..... the simplicity of stick shift.
 

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As a running working vehicle now, you might get $1200-$1500 out of it. Once the tranny is gone, it is pretty much salvage which is about $450.00 right now in my neck of the woods.
 

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ATF+4 is not "mandated" to be a synthetic - it IS a synthetic, to my knowledge.

Most shops will gladly quote an outrageous price of $1800+ to replace the transaxle - and anyone that knows that won't buy a $1200-$1500 cars that they think they'll have to put another $1800 into.

You're at that point where it may cost more to fix the car and keep it running than the car is worth at the moment. But, you could look at it this way - spread out across 12 months, that's $150/mo - and there's not too many cars out there once could finance for $150/mo.

You mention used Prius and Insight and then a Cruze Eco - seems apparent that high MPG is a prime goal of yours.
 

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If you're looking at a used hybrid, make sure you check into just how much it costs to replace those battery packs. Depending on the car, they typically last from 3-5 years.
 

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Jerry Simcik said:
If you're looking at a used hybrid, make sure you check into just how much it costs to replace those battery packs. Depending on the car, they typically last from 3-5 years.
And you have data tracking used hybrids that specifically shows this trend?

I am not a fan of hybrid vehicles, but I believe the battery replacement issue is blown out of proportion. I see a ton of Prius' on the road as well as Honda Civic Hybrids and Sonata Hybrids. Even if they do need replacing, my understanding is the price has dropped considerably. From $5K-$6K to about $3K - that's about the price of a remanufactured transmission so it is feasable at that point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Even Walmart ATF+4 or Napa ATF+4 is synthetic? It only costs $5/quart so hard to believe. (Mopar costs $8.) And yes my Avenger averages 25 mpg. That was okay when gas cost just over a dollar but now it costs 4 dollars..... I end-up spending the cost of a car every 50,000 miles. So if I'm getting another car, it's logical to cut that gas cost by approximately half.

As for batteries..... Honda designed their cars to continue running even with a worn-out battery (basically it becomes a non-hybrid standard car). Honda is the safer bet. Toyota hybrids can not run without the battery, so they put a lot of effort into extending the life by barely using the battery at all (kept between 50 and 70% state). Here's a consumer reports review of a 200,000 mile Prius: http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2011/02/200000-mile-toyota-prius-still-performs.html

The Chevy Cruze Eco is not a hybrid, so no battery to replace. It uses the same engine as the Volt and two overdrive gears to get its high MPG.
 

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Both the Walmart/SperTech and the NAPA ATF+4 fluids are licensed and meet the MS-9602 spec - yes, they are both synthetic.
Price, like anything, is what the market will bear.

$8000 for 50000 miles - that's about 5 years worth of driving for me. Get a new or used car and figure that you can drop the fuel cost in half with a Prius to $4000 over 5 years, but the monthly car payment could easily be $200/month - over 5 years, that's $12000 - so the Prius will cost $16000 over those 5 years, where my paid-for car will still only cost $8000.

Your wallet may vary, but this is what people found when they went out and traded their paid-for low-MPG cars for higher-MPG and monthly payments - the savings end up negated for those first 5 years.

I wonder just how far Honda recommends one could/should drive an Insight with a failed IMA system - and with the gas engine now doing all the work with no assist, the MPG for that time will most certainly suffer greatly.

Just for grins, I checked fueleconomy.gov, for conventional gas powered cars, between 1995 and 2014. Numbers are the default "combined" rating...
  • 2012 Toyota Prius: 50
  • 2012 Honda Insight: 42
  • 1995-1998 Chevrolet Metro 1.0 L, 3 cyl, Manual 5-spd: 40
  • 2012-2013 Scion iQ 1.3 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (variable gear ratios): 37
  • 2008-2012 smart fortwo 1.0 L, 3 cyl, Auto(AM5): 36
  • 2000 Chevrolet Metro 1.0 L, 3 cyl, Manual 5-spd: 36
  • 2013 Nissan Versa 1.6 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (variable gear ratios): 35
  • 2013 Chevrolet Spark 1.2 L, 4 cyl, Manual 5-spd: 34
  • 2001-2005 Honda Civic HX 1.7 L, 4 cyl, Manual 5-spd: 34
  • 2013 Fiat 500 1.4 L, 4 cyl, Manual 5-spd: 34
  • 2000 Chevrolet Metro 1.3 L, 4 cyl, Manual 5-spd: 34
  • 2000-2001 Suzuki Swift 1.3 L, 4 cyl, Manual 5-spd: 34
  • 2013 Nissan Sentra FE 1.8 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (variable gear ratios): 34
  • 2000 Honda Civic HX 1.6 L, 4 cyl, Manual 5-spd: 33
  • 2003-2005 Toyota Echo 1.5 L, 4 cyl, Manual 5-spd: 33
  • 2012 Fiat 500 1.4 L, 4 cyl, Manual 5-spd: 33
  • 2012 Nissan Versa 1.6 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (variable gear ratios): 33
  • 2012-2013 Toyota Yaris 1.5 L, 4 cyl, Manual 5-spd: 33
  • 2012 Honda Civic HF 1.8 L, 4 cyl, Automatic 5-spd: 33
  • 2011-2013 Ford Fiesta SFE 1.6 L, 4 cyl, Auto(AM6): 33
  • 2012-2013 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4 L, 4 cyl, Manual 6-spd: 33
  • 2011-2013 Chevrolet Cruze Eco 1.4 L, 4 cyl, Manual 6-spd: 33
  • 2013 Dodge Dart Aero 1.4 L, 4 cyl, Auto(AM6) or 6-speed manual: 32
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
I only look at EPA highway.

$16,000 for a Prius? Bah. There are plenty of used Prius/Civic Hybrids out there for $6000 to $7000. Cost of Avenger repair == $3000 for a new trans according to the 3 places I asked. Maybe $2000 if I found a generous mechanic. So Prius or Civic is about $4000-5000 more expensive upfront but would save me ~$3000 a year in reduced gas cost. It would pay for itself in about 1 and half years. (Plus I'd have a newer car with touchscreen, CD/MP3 player, bluetooth, etc).

I don't know how far a Honda hybrid civic or insight would run without the battery. Probably as long as their other 4 cylinder cars that are non-hybrid.

I wish Dodge made a hybrid or other >40mpg car. Oh well. (shrug)
 

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So...you only drive at highway speeds all the time? :huh:

I guessed at a price - you never mentioned model year for a used Prius - and until this last post you never mentioned Civic Hybrid - you HAD, however, mentioned the Insight Hybrid.

You might want to do some reading up on the Insight IMA - from what I've read with no IMA, your standard 12v battery isn't getting charged and it will eventually die.

Dodge doesn't make a hybrid, but it DOES make a >40MPG highway car. The 2013 Dodge Dart Aero - 1.4L Turbo FIRE engine, 6-speed manual, rated at 41MPG highway.
 
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