Top Gear Trouble

My '97 civic which I have own for almost 2 years now recently (12k miles ago) had its automatic transmission replaced. Not sure what the problem was, as I was not the owner at this time, but they took it to a reputable garage, and I have the paperwork, so that’s that. Anyhow, the problem I’m having is the silly thing doesn’t seem to want to shift into overdrive. It goes thru the gears just fine (though a little clunky, but I’ve heard this is typical for a 90s civic), but when I get to about 60-65mph with the tach at a brisk 3,000-3,200 rpm, I’m expecting the thing to shift into top gear and drop to roughly 2,500 rpm like it did when for the first year and a half I owned it. I checked the fluid level and that’s right where it should be. Is this the early signs that I’m on my way to a 3rd transmission, or do I just need a fluid flush or something?

When was the last time you replaced the fluid???

There is an externally mounted solenoid that controls the torque converter lockup (Its not an overdrive as you called it). Its an easy fix.

IS the check engine light on?

Is the “D4” light flashing?? How is reverse?? Does it work ok??


@Mike – I assume the last fluid flush/change was when the transmission was replaced (approx. 12k miles ago). I have no manual for this car, but I’m assuming its fluid should be changed every 15-30k miles like the Corolla I used to have…?

@Cig – yes, but it’s the P0420 code for that silly catalytic converter. This has been cycling between off and on for the past 3k miles or so, ever since I moved from S. Indiana to S. Minnesota. I’m told it’s the gas… Can the hand-held diagnostic computers only read one code at a time?

@Transman – D4 light is steady. Reverse works fine, as well as all the forward gears. The only abnormality is the abrupt (“clunky”) downshifts when I accelerate suddenly from low speeds.

@keith – yes, that makes more sense than what I was saying for sure. I honestly wasn’t sure whether this car was fitted with the torque converter lockup or not; it’s a pretty basic car. If it is the lockup solenoid, will I be hurting anything by not fixing it for now? This car is only used for errands around Rochester and getting to and from work; anytime we leave town we take the Prius. Because of this, I rarely even drive it fast enough to need to lock it up.

Thanks for all y’all’s help!

This replacement transmission might just be a poorly done rebuild.