Transmission issue

The car is a 98 Olds Intrigue with a 4spd automatic, 156k.

I had the oil changed on the car two days ago. Later that day I noticed while driving on the highway that the car wasn’t shifting into fourth gear. After checking the transmission fluid level it appeared that it was WAY over filled.

I took it back to the shop that did the change and spoke to the person that did the change. Of course, he claimed he didn’t add fluid (there is no charge for added trans. fluid on the bill). Seems a little suspicious.

Is the only way to remove the excess fluid to drop the pan as the mech. said? I think I know the answer to this one, but it the transmission problem likely to get worse? Is there any way (as the mech. suggested that maybe a seal blew and that’s why the level is so high? Last question, if I decide to approach the owner of the shop, any suggestions? Thanks everyone.

Does anyone have any ideas?

take it to a transmission shop. have them check it out.

what shop did the oil change? brand name lube company? or local mechanic?

you do risk damaging the transmission by driving it over filled.

get it checked out before its a huge bill.

in other words a second opinion.

First off, I’m no tech. There. I’ve CMA.

The tranny fluid likely foamed possibly resulting in faulty shifting and possibly blowing a seal.

There is another way to lower the fluid level other than dropping the pan.

You can use a small diameter hose (plastic) and a turkey baster or use a gas siphon (Hose and bulb).
Stick the hose down the tranny fluid dipstick pipe until it bottoms and draw out the excess fluid.

Head to your favorite auto parts store and find a siphon pump. You won’t be siphoning, but if you put the suction hose down the dipstick tube and give it a few pumps, you should be able to draw out the excess fluid.

It does seem suspicious that it would stop working right after you took it in, but I think it seems equally unlikely that they would add transmission fluid for no reason. Those places are out to make every nickel they can.

However you do it, whether you use a turkey baster, a suction pump or whether you drop the pan, get that fluid level back to normal. Overfilled transmissions will slip due to the inner components churning up the fluid causing air bubbles in the system. Be absolutely sure on your Intrigue that you check the fluid level with the transmission hot and parked on a level surface with the gear selector in Park. Get the level as close to the full mark as possible. Slightly over (1/8") will not harm it but dont go over that.


Ya beat me to it…top skills.

Thank you everyone for the replies; I appreciate them.

After posting, the car died. The transmission started whining and the check engine light came on and it stalled. After sitting for about 20 minutes it started I drove it about 20 feet and parked it.

I know no one is psychic, but even if I drain the excess fluid at this point, the trans. is toast right?

The shop that did the change was a local mechanic, not a chain. I’m going to speak to the owner on Monday. Is there any way something else leaked into the trans? I assume it’s a closed system. The fluid is checked at least once every two weeks (when I check the oil) and always has been just below the top fill mark. Now it’s about five inches above. This mechanic is the only one who’s touched the car in the past 85k. Would it be reasonable to assume that it was their mistake? How would you approach them?

Thanks again.

I am going to give you a possibility that nobody else suggested so far–namely that your mechanic (or a new, inexperienced shop assistant) added motor oil to the transmission by mistake–hence a transmission that is malfunctioning, is overfilled, and then seems to totally die.

If I were you, I would check the level of the crankcase oil showing on the dipstick. There is a possibility that the crankcase is underfilled, and the transmission is overfilled, with a connection between the two events. If my theory is correct, then I think that you have this guy by the short hairs.

Good luck!

FIVE INCHES!!! Check your engine coolant and reservoir. Does the coolant look like it has ATF mixed in with it??? If the coolant looks good then drain the excess ATF out of the transmission and try it again. Five inches above the full mark will cause the transmission to do crazy things, if it hasn’t destroyed it yet.

Good luck and let us know what you find out.


Second that!

Thanks everyone! I’ll be sure to post back on Monday after I check everything out and speak to the owner of the shop.

Somebody would have to be real clueless to mistake a transmission dipstick tube with an engine oil cap, but I guess it could happen… It definately would be something to check. I’ve seen stranger things in my years.