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Transmission Troubles

I have a 1991 Nissan 2WD pickup with an automatic transmission. The vehicle has about 56K miles.

When I start the truck and put it in reverse I am able to back out of my driveway. When I put it in Drive, the truck slowly moves forward but won’t shift out of 1st. The transmission then starts slipping and after about 20-30 seconds the truck stops accelerating completely (engine revs but vehicle doesn’t move). The vehicle will not move in reverse either.

If I turn off the engine and wait 15 minutes, I can repeat the process (truck initially moves and then stops).

I checked the fluid level and it does not appear low. Fluid covers the marker on the dipstick to just above the hot normal level (I have never added fluid to this transmission).

This problem started rather suddenly (worked one day, didn’t work the next). Any suggestions before I have it towed to a transmission shop would be appreciated. Thanks.

My guess is you’ve never had the transmission fluid replaced in the 19 years you’ve owned this vehicle.

Maybe now would be a good time.

I’ll bet the maintenance schedule that came with the vehicle specifies a transmission fluid change WAY before 19 years.

You’re use of this vehicle qualifies for the “severe service” maintenance schedule. Look it up and see for yourself.

You may not need a transmission shop. You may just need a transmission fluid change.

If you’re lucky, a fluid and filter change will do the job. If not, count on at least $1000 to bring it up to scratch.

The trans maintenance may be overdue, but maybe not,the vehicle only has 56K on it! 60K is a typical trans fluid service mark.

Granted, it could be very dirty and need a change depending on where it has been sitting all of these years.

I would ask a technician to look it over first, this could be as simple as a fluid and filter change. They will be able to tell you right away.

“The trans maintenance may be overdue, but maybe not, the vehicle only has 56K on it! 60K is a typical trans fluid service mark.”

Actually, 30k miles is a more typical trans fluid service mark, and–of course–there is an elapsed time limit also. For transmissions, this is typically listed as “Every 30k miles, or 3 years, whichever comes first”.

This vehicle is now 19 years old, meaning that–despite the low odometer mileage–it should have had the trans fluid changed at least 6 times already!

In my post I said that the fluid level came just past the hot normal level on the dip stick even though the transmission was cold (engine only running for a few minutes). I did not know if this was significant so I said that I had not added any fluid so no one would think that I had over-filled the transmission.

The transmission fluid was flushed and replaced by a Nissan dealer at 45K miles.