Transmission Won't Shift into Drive!

I have a 1997 Geo Metro LSI 4cyl. 1.3 Liter engine, automatic transmission that the transmission is not shifting into drive. There is’nt any CEL. It all started when I removed the transmission to repair a leak that was caused by the spider gear shaft,in the differental assembly,sheared the steel roll pin which had slide out far enough to wear a hole slot in the bell houseing. I fixed the shaft and installed a new roll pin by splitting the bell housing from the transmission. I removed and replaced the bell housing and drained all transmission fluid even from the tourqe converter and installed a new filter. I’ve already checked the clearance for the shift and kickdown cables and they check within spec. The transmission shifted right before I removed it. What else can I do to fix this problem? I thought having the transmission flushed knowing that there has to be some debrie left inside the transmission. Also would the A or B solinoid in the transmission cause this problem? What do these solinoids control? Any help would be appreciated! Might be time to rebuild or install a transmission!

Did you make sure the torque converter was refilled before you installed it into the transmission?? When you installed the converter, did it engage the pump properly?? Did you install the filter correctly?? Hows the fluid level??


The car drives. It goes into 1st and 2nd when car is in drive but it just won’t shift into drive. The fluid was the first thing I checked and it showed full. I double checked when I reinstalled and checked to make sure that the converter was engaged onto the pump properly. The transmission bolted back together without any force to bolt it together with the engine. I was able to turn the converter after bolting the engine to the transmission prior to bolting it to the flex plate.

Just to clarify, you are saying that you put the gear selector in “D”, vehicle takes off in 1st, shifts to 2nd but will not shift to 3rd??


Yes that is correct. It shifts normaly between 1st and 2nd. When I get up to speed, around 30MPH, in 2nd I can floor it and it down shifts into 1st. I’m wondering if maybe the VSS sensor may be bad? I’m not sure what all it controls. Thanks for your help on this! I was hopeing you would be the one to help me on this!


Have you taken it to above 65 mph to where the normal WOT shift point would be?

I don’t know your automatic, but if it’s shifting normally for the first shift at the normal speed, then throttle and speed sensing is intact, or so I would reason. You also don’t report any “runaway”, so 2nd is not disengaging in the transition where the normal 2-3 shift should occur.

Some communication (of either electric, electro-mechanical, or mechanical) isn’t occurring.

Yes I have had it up to 65 MPH and still no shift. That is correct there is’nt any “runaway” or slipping. It just doesn’t shift into Drive.

Are there any codes set?? You might want a trans shop to scan it and check to see whether the computer is commanding the 2-3 shift.


There is’nt any CEL. I have a scan tool and it is not showing any codes. Would the transmission set a code to the ECM like other emmision codes?

Is there a way for me to connect to the ecm to do this test of shifting into drive. If so what wires do I connect my VOA meter to to see if it is sending the voltage for the transmission to shift into drive. Thanks

Yes, the computer will set transmission codes. You need a high end scanner to access the transmission live data, thats why I recommended a trans shop to see whether the computer is commanding the 2-3 shift.


Guess I’ll be taken it to a transmission shop and have it diagnosed. I hate having to have someone else do work on my cars. But I don’t know much about automatic transmissions as far as the entrenal workings. I think I’ll also have them flus the transmission to get any debri out. Thanks for the advice transman and all else that replied to my posting! I’ll get back to you after I take it to the tranny shop.