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98 Sport Auto Transmission Overheats

07-27-2010, 03:53 PM
I have a 98 Neon Sport DOHC with an Auto Tranny and 99K miles. Last September, the original tranny lost all pump pressure. I got a Used tranny with 70K miles for $200, and paid $500 to have it installed. The used tranny must have come from a non-sport, because the gear ratio is slightly higher (better gas milage, less engine noise at highway speed). The new tranny seemed to work fine.

In June, I needed Refrigerant in my A/C, so I had it topped off. We had some really hot days, and that is when the overheating problem began. My wife was stuck in stop and traffic, and she pulled over because the needle was too high.

I did the usual cooling flush and thermostat change. Didn't help, my wife called me to rescue her. The car had a burning smell that I believed was clutch burning. I looked at the fluid, and it was burned. It happened once to me as well, and the car lacked power, and the gas pedal was hard to push. I theorized that the Kickdown cable was sticking, and the car was not downshifting when it needed to. This would be worse when the AC is running on a really hot day.

I arranged to have a tranny service done at a local garage, and things seemed OK. The mechanic said that yes the fluid was burned, but not really badly. Otherwise nothing unusual found. This garage advertises that they do transmission services, so I assume he would have caught something wrong. He also pressure tested the the cooling system (OK).

I thought I was out of the woods, since the overheating didn't happen again. There was always a minor late shift from 2nd to 3rd on this car, even with the previous tranny. After the service, the shifts were perfect.

Last night, my wife had the problem again. I checked the fluid, and it was somewhat burned as well. Any ideas on what to try? I usually drive the car, yet the problem usually happens when my wife drives (except for that one time). I think I should tell my wife to force a downshift with the shift lever, if she notices the problem again

08-06-2010, 07:16 AM
Make sure the radiator fans some on - otherwise it will get hot in traffic everytime. This may be why it happens mostly to your wife, if her driving involves being in stop-n-go traffic more than you.

The fans should come on as soon as you turn the a.c. system on, (assuming the compressor is running) or when the temp needle gets 2/3rds of the way up the gauge; maybe after ten or 15 minutes of idling.

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