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Trans shot or need service (fluid)?

I’ve got a '96 Isuzu Trooper with AT 4x4 (180K miles). In the morning when I back out of the drive and first shift into forward gear, the trans will feel like it slips into neutral for about a half second and then drive like normal for the rest of teh morning. Whenever it sits, the same thing happens. Also, I’ve now started to experience it slipping into neutral when I’m turning from a stop and accelerating hard. This happens primarily when I’m making a right turn into traffic. Sound like low/old fluid or bad torque converter?

Have you checked the level and condition of your transmission fluid? Start there and report the results here.

Bill, I agree, those are the classic symptoms of low fluid. This is a GM 4L30E transmission. Run it until its hot, put it on a level surface and check the fluid level with the shift lever in “P”.


I agree with Whitey and Transman, but I do have an additional question. You have 180,000 miles; have you ever changed the fluid? I am not suggesting that is the problem, but if you have not, and it is just low, it is time to get it changed, along with dropping the pan and changing the filter (assuming your car has a filter).

Good point Joe, this is a perfect time for a service.


Took the Trooper in for service (I couldn’t check teh fluid level myself - it’s not equippe witha dipstick). It was low, just as we suspected. Very low. Due to badly leaking pan gaskets. Whoever did the service last time (I bought the truck at 130K and he told me it’s just been done) must’ve reused the gaskets instead of replacing them. Anyway, it’ll be ready tomorrow. Thanks for the advice!