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Delayed engagement in reverse. And it got worse

I got a 2004 Nissan Sentra 1.8L with 134500 miles on it. It has a delayed engagement for the past month, in reverse only. But this delayed engagement is temperature related because there is no delay engagement when the car is cold, or it’s just very slight I guess. It progressively gets worse when the car is driven for long periods of time. (no codes)
For example when the car is driven for the first 20-30 mins from a cold state the delay engagement is about 1-1.25 secs. Anything over 60-90 mins driving on average 1.6 secs (sometimes little more or less ). I did have some frigid temps come my way in the area and notice that even after 2-3 hrs driving the delayed engagement averages about 1.25 sec.
When I first noticed the delay engagement the first week there was a couple times where the delay was 5-8 sec. But then the week after if the delay was over 2 secs I wouldn’t wait for the whole delay, I put it park and then back in reverse and notice the delay is shorter 1.2 secs, I been doing that ever since I notice when a longer delay happens and same result. I have had.a one long delay almost everyday now, if no long delay it’s a 1.6 secs delay (the car has been in this condition for the first month till 2 days ago).
Two days ago is where it got worse, and how the car is acting now. I have reverse when the car is just started up, even after 20-30 mins but the delay is 1.2 secs about. When the car gets driven over 50 mins I have no feel when the car goes in reverse. When I hit the gas lightly there’s he hesitation or a jerking motion for 5-10 secs till I guess it’s fully in reverse.
Looking to see what this problem could be, if it could be a valve body or solenoid where it’s something I could get involved with to fix?

The problem is a failing reverse clutch in the transmission which would only be properly remedied by a rebuild or another transmission. As a way to delay the inevitable, you could try a fluid change.

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The fluid is in pretty good condition, it got changed once just a drain and refill, the pan has never been dropped so no filter change.

I took my car to a local transmission shop to get it looked at and all he did is spent 1 minute with it. He checked the fluid on the dipstick, felt it on his fingers, smelled it and said the clutches are worn. I described how it was running, he didn’t even get in the car to see how it was running in reverse. Does this sound like a good enough diagnosis of the car?

If and when I put another transmission in the car, what’s recommended a salvage yard transmission or to have my transmission rebuilt which I imagine is more expensive? Is it something I can replace myself, never really did something on this level before. Have seen some videos, and seems like it’s not to bad, but I am also in an area where cars develop a good amount of rust, even though my car doesn’t have a tremendous amount of rust on it.

… then you have to consider doing routine maintenance as appropriate… not as “I made it once…” as you wrote above

your problem is pretty much self-inflicted due to lack of maintenance (fluid changed) and now you are to the end of it where the high replacement costs are due (although it was pretty much avoidable by sticking to proper maintenance)

since your car is rusty (you do not tell how badly) and quite old, it makes no sense to put much money into repairs unless you can get another few years out of it

you have to assess the body condition with a knowledgeable mechanic before spending any more money on it

I would replace the transmission fluid twice and be done with it, it will likely get you some more usable life out of this car

I would never put in a used transmission. Too much labor to invest to maybe find out the transmission I just installed is no better than the one I took out. The only rebuilt transmissions I trust come from Jasper Engines and Transmissions.

Price the clutches, a pan drop and filter change if applicable is worth a shot.

Why not drop the pan and have a good look? New filter, too. And more fresh fluid. Be sure to use only the fluid spec’d by the carmaker.

from my recollection of my daughter’s 1.8 Sentra of similar vintage, the filter is a mesh screen and it’s a very standard ATF to be used, any parts store will have it for substantially less than a dealer.
it is nothing special like Honda or Mazda fluids