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Transmission Problem? Say it ain't so

First off, car specs:

1997 Ford E150 Conversion Van

~148,000 miles

Automatic tranny, 8cyl

Just had the breaks repaired/replaced and oil changed



I was driving it on the highway, when all of a sudden the gas pedal stopped responding and I couldn’t accelerate. I’ve had this happen to me on an old car, and it needed transmission repairs.



I had the van towed back to my house, but now it actually starts and drives, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s shifting out of 1st gear (it’s an automatic). Reverse works fine, but when trying to drive I can put my foot to the floor and maybe top out between 10-20mph, and hear the engine working like crazy. The symptoms are different from any other transmission symptoms I’ve encountered, so I’m curious.



People have tried to suggest the copout answer of “water in the gas line”, because it was just sitting in my driveway through December with not much gas in the tank, so I bought a thing of Dry-gas and put it in, but I have a feeling I’m looking at a huge bill for transmission repairs?



Any input/thoughts before I arrange to get it towed to a transmission repair shop? If the repair is going to be over $1000 (which I’m assuming it will be), I’m just going to scrap the thing and try to sell it. Should I even bother having it looked at?

Did you check the transmission fluid level and condition? If this came on rather suddenly a sudden loss of fluid could be responsible - from a blown seal or something. Of course it may have been coming on more gradually without you noticing? Start with a check of the fluid and look for leaks.

If the fluid is fine and you’re hitting the gas and the engine is revving up but no power is getting to the wheels, then the trans is slipping badly and will likely need an overhaul.

I don’t get the connection between the gas petal not working and transmission problems.

While the OP tells us that “the gas pedal stopped responding and I couldn’t accelerate”, he/she also states that the engine is “working like crazy” during this scenario.

To me, that sounds like an engine that is revving with little effect on vehicle speed. My interpretation of that situation is slippage in the transmission. Don’t you think that this is a reasonable interpretation?

Right - in other words, it sounds like the gas pedal is working perfectly well, as is the engine. Its just that the transmission isn’t “transmitting” the engine’s power to the drive shafts. Which means it is slipping.

Reverse works fine, but when trying to drive I can put my foot to the floor and maybe top out between 10-20mph, and hear the engine working like crazy.

I can see the pretty red glow coming from the forward clutches as they slip violently and cry in pain. I think you pretty much killed it with that move.

but I have a feeling I’m looking at a huge bill for transmission repairs?

I think you’re right.

If the repair is going to be over $1000 (which I’m assuming it will be)

It will be over $1,000. Probably, depending on how much damage there is to the hard parts, be close to $2,000-$2,500 (Just an educated guess)

You can check the fluid level like cigroller suggested, thats always the first thing you should check when any automatic starts acting up. If its low, top it off and see how much farther it might get you but all that slipping pretty much killed it.

transman