1990 Chevy G20 Van (5.7L V8) Automatic Transmission Issue

I have gotten transmission services every 30,000 miles since I’ve owned this van, with the last one back in March. All of a sudden, the van will not go into 3rd gear. It goes in reverse, first, and second. But when its ready to go into third, its like it goes into neutral; just reves up. Since I’m traveling/living in an unfamiliar area on temp assignment, I just brought a cheap car for now, but I want to get my van fixed. I’d assume if it goes in reverse, first and second, the transmission cannot be 100% shot? One guy said it may be as simple as a loose linkage or it needs a new shift cable. Any ideas? The parasites in this town I’m in just want to charge me $2,500 to replace the transmission (plus tow it in there) without coming to look at it. Since it can only go about 15 mph, I cannot drive it to a shop. Are there any possible repairs I could have a mobile mechanic do to get going again? Any ideas and potential costs for this?

How many miles on this transmission?


240,000 miles. I bought it with 150,000 and have had three transmission services since.

Is this the same van with the steering problems and mismatched tires ? If so it might time to let it go .

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That’s all repaired. Turned out to just be bad tires. Just looking for some advice here.

That’s not bad.

But even if you maintain a vehicle, things are going to wear out.

If you had never maintained the transmission fluid, the tranny would have failed long ago.


It could be a faulty solenoid. Or it could be a band adjustment is required. Or you may need a replacement transmission. Or just a linkage needs adjustment. Hard to say without someone knowledgeable taking a look at the shifting linkages and measuring some transmission fluid pressures. Common sense says to start with a proper transmission service, drop the pan, replace the filter, and refill with fresh fluid. If that helps but doesn’t solve it entirely, drive for a couple hundred miles and try it again.

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I’m assuming you have no idea how well the transmission was maintained in those first 150k miles . . . ?

It doesn’t matter, anyways . . . you did pretty well

Some cars need a transmission overhaul before reaching 240K miles

I know this may not help . . . but I suggest getting your car to a shop that will repair/overhaul your transmission, versus installing another one. Such a shop should be able to diagnose what the actual problem is, versus just telling you over the phone that it needs to be replaced

You might want to ask around . . . there’s got to be a reputable independent transmission shop in the area that actually diagnoses and repairs, even if it’s the next town over. If you’re an auto club member, you undoubtedly have a few tows each year as part of the membership

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