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Turtle Crawl

I have a 86 Toyota Cressida with 87,000 miles. I had a tune-up done along with adjusting the transmission cable due to rough shifting. The will only go 7 miles an hour on cold mornings for 20 minutes and is fine once it warms up. It does not do this if the weather is warm. The transmission still shifts around 3000 rpm and this is the best the transmission shop can do without a costly replacement. Any ideas why the turtle crawl on cold mornings and how do we fix the transmission without a replacement? My mechanic is stumped.

I’m just curious about this situation.

Are you actually driving this car at 7 mph for 20 minutes?

If you are, please be aware you are a hazard on the road and you are endangering yourself, your passengers, and other drivers who suddenly encounter someone who is driving so slowly. Even on local roads, driving that slowly is a hazard to everyone.

That being said, I would suggest that you first decide how much you are willing to spend on fixing this 23 year old car. If it is–as I suspect–the transmission, the cost to repair it will probably exceed the book value of the car.

Hopefully our resident transmission expert, Transman, will come along shortly to lend his expertise to diagnosing your problem.

I may have not been clear on the car. If I start out cold it will only go 7 mph for two blocks, that is just getting out of the subdivision. If I let it warm up for 20 minutes, it runs fine. I was looking to use the car as my main transportation and am thinking it is going to need a transmission. I have no idea what a transmission would cost. The car is in excellent shape inside & out, minues a tune-up. The previous owner collects cars, this was his wifes car, and he recently painted it to the original factory color. I get alot of comments on the car. Maybe Transman can give me suggestions/thoughts/ideas on the tranamission problem.

What is the rpm when “it will only go 7 mph”? This particular thing sounds like a fuel control problem. What kind of fuel control system does the engine have? Is it TBI, Carburetor, or fuel injection. What size, and type (4 cylinder, V6) is the engine? We don’t know these things because, unlike your mechanic, we can’t open your hood and look at the engine compartment. Isn’t that odd?

Has the transmission fluid been replaced?

I wonder if it knows how cold it is (bad sensor?)

Did it just start having this problem after the tune-up or was it like that before? How long have you had it?  That seems to be low mileage for that age.

I have seen many people say “great car just needs a tune-up” and they have been very wrong.

You have the group that wants to know what a tune up is and a group that thinks a tune up fixes all and the groups overlap.

Thanks for all you replies. I just picked the car up and the rpm is 1100 and got up to 12 miles and hour. I waited 20 minutes and it ran fine. It is a 6 cyl fuel injection. As you can tell I am not mechanically inclined when it comes to a car engine.

Thanks for your reply. The mechanic that did the tune-up mentioned the sensor might be bad, he did not have time to check it out. I needed the car to get to work. The mileage is correct and the car is in great shape inside & out.

Before the engine warms enough for “normal” warm operation, the engine computer listens to the engine coolant temperature sensor (ects) as it complains about, “how cold it is”. It, then, uses that information to set the fuel flow richer for cold running. After the engine warms, the engine computer listens more to other sensors for its information (like the oxygen sensor, etc.).