Automatic transmission question

09-20-2014, 08:34 PM
Today I test drove a beautiful 1997 Ford Ranger step sides 3.0 V-6 with only 111,000 miles on it.

The dealer let me take it out for a spin so I took it out on two lane blacktop and drove it for a good twenty minutes and got it good and warmed up.
I stopped on a section of clean concrete parking lot, turned off the engine and let it sit for a good 15 minutes and watched for fluid drips. All I saw was water condensation from the A/C.

I also took that opportunity to pull the dipsticks and check the oil and transmission fluid. The engine oil was clean as a whistle and when I pulled the dipstick on the transmission fluid I expected to see crystal clear pink tranny fluid like I do on my Camry that has 155,000 mile on it. Instead, this tranny fluid was the color of Hershey's chocolate. It didn't smell burnt at all and still just smelled like normal transmission fluid. I then started the engine and ran through the gears with the brake set and I did not sense any slippage at all but I'm still a little fearful of that transmission.

I'm afraid that if I take a chance and buy the truck and change the transmission fluid and filter that I may cause further problems. I did that once with a former used car that I bought and after changing the fluid and filter the whole transmission went out on me. I wondered at the time if I had been better off just leaving it alone. It seemed like the new fluid and filter just aggravated an already bad situation.

Other than this issue I love the truck. It's obvious the truck was garaged and well maintained except for this issue.

Would you advise that I make the dealer aware of this concern and ask him to change the fluid and filter and check out the tranny and then determine if I want to pursue the vehicle further based on his willingness to do so? Or...should I just run as fast as I can?

Thanks for your wisdom.

10-12-2014, 07:45 AM
Try first option. If it fails, go for the second. ;)

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