Torque converter or complete rebuild?

I have a 2005 PT Cruiser with about 128000 miles on it. My engine lite came on with a code of p0704 which I learned was a TCC (Torque converter control) error, or a torque converter lockup issue. I changed the oil/filter in the transmission and in doing so noted no debris or sludge in the bottom of the pan. I also did not find hardly any metallic shavings on the magnet. The oil was a brownish red and did need changing. Crossed my fingers, cleared the code, but it came back after some 20 or more miles. I took the car to a transmission shop who hooked it up to their computer and gave me one of their 39 point inspections and told me the electronics part of the car was fine, but the torque converter was failing/coming apart and not locking up as it should. The oil, which was now a week old with normal driving conditions, was still clean they noted. They recommended a new torque and transmission overhaul of $1700. The car has not behaved any differently nor driven any differently that I have noticed. It still drives around town fine, shifts fine, and I have taken it on a road trip without fault. They only thing I noticed, and it could have been because I was subconsciously pampering it, was on one hill, it did seem to take longer to catch the passing gear to get up, but as I said, I did let it decelerate quite a bit before trying to “get” up the hill, which was a steep hill. I saw nor felt no other issues before or since. Could I get by with just changing the torque converter or is a complete rebuild really necessary? I am on a severely tight budget and am trying to do it right, but as cheaply as possible. I just don’t have the extra money if I don’t have to spend it right now. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I did notice, though, that the computer had a powertrain recode/reprogram prior to our purchasing the car, if this matters.

Are you sure that it was P0704 and not P0740? I reverse numbers sometimes - on error codes this is a bad idea.

What kind of transmission shop was this? Your note that they “gave me one of their 39 point inspections” and this makes me think that it was a big national chain-type of transmission shop. If you go to a place like this then you should expect that no matter what your issue is you will be told that your transmission has to come out & should be rebuilt. Ask around among people that you know and find out if there is a locally owned, independent transmission shop.

Up until the service you just did, was this transmission ever serviced before now? Or was that 128K mile fluid & filter you pulled out of there?

If the trans shop believes that the converter has been coming apart then yes, more than likely the trans will need to be torn down. A lot of times this code is set due to wear in the valve body and not just an electrical issue. $1700 is not bad for that transmission. They are definitely in the ball park with that price.


Cig, the code is correct, however I forgot that is just the hey there is a transmission code error, the correct code was 740. It gave me both codes. The place isn’t a big national place, but the do have 2 stores in neighboring towns 45 miles apart. From what I saw, it was the first ever change, the pan was sealed to the tranny with RTV sealer and no gasket. The car drove fine before and since then. The ONLY thing I have seen is my wife told me yesterday that when she got in the car to take the kids to school, she put the car in reverse and “it didn’t want to go”. She put it back in park and then back to reverse and it shifted hard, but drove fine after that. As far as the price goes, I paid that for a replacement/new transmission a few years back, not a rebuild. I wouldn’t think a rebuild would be that much, especially since I can get the parts for 3 hundred total.