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why won't shift into second gear?

09-12-2008, 06:49 PM
I have a 97 geo metro Lsi with the 1.3L automatic trans first and third seem to work fine but totally dosent go into second gear if u manually shift it into second from third all it does is rev has anybody else had this problem? is there something like a sensor that goes bad that causes this? it worked fine when i parked last nite and now second gear doesnt work any ideas?

Johnny Mullet
09-12-2008, 09:48 PM
I have heard some guys have luck by dropping the valve body and cleaning it up and installing a new filter and fluid. I would at least try that first.

09-12-2008, 10:16 PM
Mullet's right on that. I haven't had any trouble out of my metro's but on other cars it has helped. Do you have a check engine light on? If so you may want to get it scanned. I blew a fuse once for the neutral safety switch and it still looked like new. I couldn't see any sign that it was blown. It could also be a bad shift solenoid. Try checking and cleaning the wiring to the tranny also. Keep us posted, good luck...

09-13-2008, 12:09 AM
yeah i was gonna change the fluid and filter it dosent smell burnt at all tho i drove it bout a mile from house and went rite back cuz it was like sliping or not going into gear and the engine light didnt come on but i didnt drive it far and im guessing check the bigger plugs on the trans? and is there a way to test the solinoids and where are they located this is my first geo and dont know much bout them but its really starten 2 piss me off cuz theres always something wrong with it

09-13-2008, 12:29 AM
The solenoids can be removed and tested fairly easily if necessary. You will want to be sure your problem is not a simple one first. Here is a photo that will help you get to them. Let me know if you would like testing info.

09-13-2008, 07:35 AM
I like the pic but if u have specs to check the shift solinoids it would be great cuz i can check them when i have the pan off

09-13-2008, 01:25 PM
Here it is. Just be sure not to get ahead of yourself. These things rarely fail (at least in my experience). There are other things that will cause you issue.

09-14-2008, 02:29 AM
thanx for the second diagram Im gonna check them 2mrrw so wat else do u think it cold be? are these trannys shit or r they pretty good? I dont know much bout automatic trannys its not my cup of tea its got 125k on the one thats given me problems is that all there good for?

09-14-2008, 03:17 PM
These transmissions are pretty durable (OD couldn't hurt though). Once you're sure this stuff is OK, clean up the transmission as Mullett described earlier. New fluid and filter.

09-20-2008, 08:51 PM
Here is a simple test to figure out if the problem is with the solenoids/control system or the internals of the trans. Disconnect the shift solenoid connector (circular connect near the rear) and see if you can shift manually into second. If not then the problem is internal - if you are lucky it may be a jammed 1-2 shift valve but if you are unlucky it may be either a jammed/broken intermidiate servo or a broken second brake band.

This simple test should help clear this up.

09-30-2008, 11:40 PM
well the solinoids were good and the tranny was very clean in the inside i put it back 2gether and it shifted once grannying it and then nothing so i said piss on it and i got a trans from a junkyard it shifts threw the gears fine idk for how long tho i think the yard screwed me after i got it installed i droped the pan to change the filter and there was metalic in the fluid i cleaned it out good and changed the filter it shifts better than the old one did and i stuck a magnet on the bottom of the pan so far so good and the fluid isnt getten metalicie or burnt so i think it will be alrite im thinken possible neglect it does have 120000 on the trans is that normal for those trannys?

09-30-2008, 11:52 PM
Well with used trannies from a junkyard you never really know - it might be fine for years or breakdown tomorrow. Did they give you a warranty. Personally I would have taken it apart and replaced all the soft parts (clutch discs and band) as well as all the seals, sealing rings, o-rings and so on. But that takes time and you need the tranny tools so if you have not done it before it may not be something you want to try.

10-01-2008, 12:48 AM
As long as it shifts properly you should be fine. The odds are hopefully in your favor. If it gives you any sign of trouble within the first week or so you may be able to get the junk yard to swap it for another. Don't wait for it to become severe if anything doesn't feel right before trying to take it back. Good luck...

10-01-2008, 03:58 PM
ive put bout 300 miles on it since sunday and the fluid still seams to be fine and it shifts alrite dosent slip the junkyard did give me a 90 day warrenty I think or maybe it was 60 um I was gonna change the fluid one more time to be safe this weekend so its completely fresh cuz u never get all the old fluid out i did drain the torque converter and fill it with new fluid before i installed the trans so i know i got most of it anyway wat do u guys think i know it cant hurt and has anybody figured out how much fluid that thing takes if u just drain the pan i was thinken like 4 quarts i put five in before and i had to drain some out

10-02-2008, 01:06 AM
Around 3.5 qts for a pan drop and around 6 qts after rebuild with a new torque converter as I recall. You can exchange the fluid using the oil cooler lines - that way you can replace most of the fluid in the system.

The MX17 transmission appear to be fairly reliable (apart from mine which I've fixed twice) although I think the second time was my own fault - I replaced the second brake band the first time without doing a full teardown and rebuild and I think some metal leftover caused a fairly catastrophic failure about 24K miles later. I fully rebuilt it the second time - one of the thrust bearings had shattered (between the front planet carrier and ring gear) and the metal had got inside the direct clutch and ground the clutch plates up and also bent the snap-ring and finally all the plates popped out. Also various issues with the valve body as a result. I took the trans apart down to every piece and rebuilt it (including the valve body) and now it's as good as new.

I also got the torque converter rebuilt to get rid of any metal contaminents.

Unfortunately there is not much info on the trans on the various transmission rebuilder databases on known issues but in general they seem to be fairly reliable.

10-02-2008, 06:22 PM
so where do u think the metalic came from? neglect ?cuz theres still some in there thats why i want to change it again and how would i do that with the tranny lines does on line suck and the other one flow out? alls i gotta say is im not liken geo automatics 32mpg kinda is shitty for a geo anyway to get the milage up?

10-02-2008, 09:27 PM
It's most likely metal but it's also possible it is some sort of additive. They've come out with a lot of weird shit over the years.

10-02-2008, 11:05 PM
well i hope its some sort of additive becuz isnt metal really bad in a transmission?

10-02-2008, 11:14 PM
It can be. It's pretty common though in manual transmissions. I'm not sure about automatics. Like I said earlier. If it is working properly just keep an eye on it for a while. If it's still good after a couple thousand miles you will be fine.

10-03-2008, 12:01 AM
To flush the system disconnect both oil cooler lines (Im not sure offhand which one comes out of the torque converter). Start up the engine fluid will start flowing out of one of them. Stop when you expel about 2 qts and refill the lost fluid via the dip tube. Repeat until you use up all the fluid about 8 9i qts should do it. You should see the fluid coming out becoming much cleaner after a while. Of course since you are diluting the old fluid you will never replace 100% of it but you will get a good deal out of the torque converter this way.

As for the gas mileage remember that the MX17 has no OD thats why the gas mileage is crap also the torque converter is non-locking also.

And for the metal depends where it came from. If it came form a non-critical part and got trapped by the magnet then its no big deal. If it came out of a critical part and/or there is more metal in the system the trans could be getting slowing destroyed inside. Hard to say for sure only time will tell. Generally anything other than worn clutch material (the grey fluffy stuff on the magnet) is not good news but hopefully it wont be an issue.

I posed some pics of the rebuild on this site a while back Ill see if I can find the link.

10-04-2008, 01:35 AM
well thanks for your imput guys i really appreciate it i changed the fluid once more it was pretty red after the first time cuz i did empty and refill the torque converter before i installed the trans i also dumped some lucas in there too, im a firm beleaver in that stuff thats wat has kept my trans on many cars alive i think well i will post more if i have another issue but i have 101 day warranty tho

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