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Clear TransFluid=Death for innocent car?

I have a 96 Ford Taurus that I’ve had for 6 or 7 years. It seemed to be running fine, until coming home from the store one night when it wouldn’t pick up speed very well when I pressed the gas. Also, the gear shift didn’t seem to be quite in gear, which I moved into place but it didn’t help. When I could pull over and stop, I turned it off and it started right up, and I drove it home; it seemed ok (though it was through town, so not driving very fast). The next morning, though, it definitely wasn’t running right. I took it to a nearby shop, and he said the transmission fluid was clear (he didn’t understand that)- that it needed to be flushed out and refilled. But a couple days later, they called and said he thought that wouldn’t fix it, that I needed a new transmission. I hate to put that much money in on a car with around 200,000 miles, but I really like the car, and it seems to be in pretty good shape otherwise. Do I go ahead and try the flush anyway, bite the bullet and get a transmission, get rid of the car, or try another mechanic?

Get a second opinion. Do not tell the second mechanic what the first mechanic said. If the second mechanic also concludes that you need a new transmission, junk the car. 200,000 on a 90’s Taurus is borrowed time as it is.

Thanks for the comment-- sounds like good advice. One thing I noticed… and I have NO IDEA why I did this (my mind is a sad, sad thing at times)… my car is a Contour, not a Taurus.

A flush is not going to fix a problem like this.
The part I don’t get is the clear fluid. That makes no sense. Is there a history on this car about prior oil change services along with any other fluid changes; maybe at a fast lube facility, etc?

I’ve always taken the car to Walmart, but the oil hadn’t been changed recently when this happened. Nothing had been worked on it for awhile… it was running good. The mechanic seemed confused about the clear fluid as well. He suggested that sometimes unscrupulous people would put break fluid (I think he said) in the transmission fluid to get a car by that was beginning to have transmission problems when they were trying to sell it. But I’ve had the car for years… if a person could put break fluid in the transmission to get a car to go 100,000 miles, everyone would be doing it!

I have seen this before, in a 1977 Mercury. Not absolutely sure what happened, the car had just come from the dealership for its 40k mile service. Changing the transmission fluid was on the schedule, and on the invoice. The car was then driven from the coast to Las Vegas where the transmission begin to act up. The fluid was almost clear, just a hint of brown. I suspect that shortly it would begin to turn ugly brown. Anyway, we did a fluid change and never had a bit of trouble from the transmission.

This dealer had a history of not performing the maintenance they charged for and intentionally inserting faults in customers cars (after warrantee) to encourage them to trade them in. Note: we did not flush the transmission, but we did a full drain, this transmission had a drain plug on the torque converter.

Maybe it appeared to be clear due to engine coolant dilution. This would be caused by a leaking radiator transmission fluid cooler and a problem like this can destroy a transmission pretty quickly.

I would think that if this were the case that trans fluid should also be mixed with the engine coolant. You might check the radiator and note if the coolant has an oil film on top or is sludged up with a brown goo.

No, no oil or brown goo that I could see.