Transmission problem of 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera

I own a 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera V6 with automatic transmission and 108,000 miles. I am 61 and disabled on a fixed income. Over a year ago I was looking for a replacement car and getting nowhere and decided to try to carry on with my present vehicle, which has been very reliable. In July I spent $1,000 on deferred maintenance. Now the transmission has a problem. When I start the car in the morning (it is getting cold now here in Minneapolis) the transmission won’t engage until the car runs for one to five minutes. I took it last week to Kennedy Transmission and they offered to rebuild the transmission for $2,400. They said it is a hydraulic problem - the seals are dried up and it requires a higher pressure for the transmission to work than before. I have decided to put the car in hospice care - only fix things to keep the car running. I had Kennedy replace the fluid and filter and clean the pan. They also put in an additive to help the seals. I have had all recommended maintenance done over the years which has consisted of changing the fluid and filter and had no prior transmission problem. If you have any experience with this issue, I would like to know how long I can expect the transmission to continue operating, or if there is some way to get the transmission fixed by paying, say, only for the parts, or if the transmission is likely to seize up in a very short period of time. I can accommodate waiting a few minutes for the transmission to engage, as I am retired. I just need to start a little earlier when I have medical appointments. Thanks to anyone who shares their experience.

A can of Berrymans B-12 Chemtool in the trans will soften the seals and keep the transmission and valve body clean. I have used it and recommended it to a lot of my customers, I have even used it in my own transmission for a short time until I was able to build the trans. You can find it at Wal-Mart, and Pep Boys. Some Advance and Auto Zones carry it.


Listen to transman. The Berrymans solution will work for your vehicle. You can also try raising the engine rpm to about 2k then quickly shifting to reverse after letting off the throttle. My wife used this method for months until we put the Berrymans in her transmission. It still works great 2 years later.