nadya

Transmission Problems (Of Course)

13 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum. I have been lurking for a while now! I don't really know too much about cars, but I am very desperate in learning all I can. I just recently bought a Mazda 626 LX. It is a 1999, 4 cylinder, automatic and it is white. It has become my baby in the past four months. I got it with 179K miles for 1400. Everything was working perfectly. I have put about 4 thousand miles on it. I go to college far from my home and so I have been back and forth a few times now. Just last weekend, I had a someone drive the way back and he tried to "rev" the engine. He thought he was being cool, showing a girl how to rev an automatic I guess. I know that's not good for the transmission. I bought the car knowing it had a bad design, but didn't think much of it. I thought mine would be the exception.

The other day I was driving and it started acting like I was pressing the brake really hard every 50 meters or so. I had a friend drive it and they told me I needed new brakes. I let the car cool down and took it out to go get the brakes checked the next day. Obviously, I didn't make it. I had to pull over because it stopped accelerating. I would press the gas and the RPMs would go up but nothing would happen. I wouldn't go forward. Every once and a while it'd go backwards, but that was only by luck. I am in love with that car. I don't want to see it go. Also I got it at a really good price and everything else is working so wonderfully.

My options:

Get the car towed to a transmission shop and get it checked by a computer to see if it is a simple problem... Which would end up being cheaper. But I doubt it is a simple problem, so that may be a waste of time and gas. I don't want to keep bothering people to help me.

Get the car to a transmission shop and get a rebuilt for around 2,500 to 3,000 dollars. That is worth more than the car. It would have a three year warranty, and as a college student, I am hesitant to pull out more loans.

Get a friend with experience to buy a rebuilt tranny and do a swap in his garage. He has some experience. He said it might be around 1500 in the end.

Sell the car as is and buy a new car. I don't know if I'd get maybe 500 out of it? Then I'd be down 900, without a car. I could also fix the car, then sell it. Hopefully only be down 300 or so. Then buy another car? Or should I keep it? And get a transmission cooler? I want the car for another 2 or 3 years.

Sorry if I'm not making the most sense. This is all very complicated to me and I would very much appreciate some professional advice. I am asking everyone I know.

I have been reading the other transmission feeds and it all seems so hopeless to me. Any information or advice would be so much appreciated!! Thank you for your time and for reading this post! I hope to become an active member if I can get my car running again!

Nadya

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With the engine on, do you have a CEL (Check engine light on)? There may be stored codes in there to let you know if there could be an electrical problem.

If it doesn't move forward, can it go reverse? Could possibly be a bad TRS (Transmission range sensor) or a loose electrical connection somewhere.

Never heard of stuck brake calipers that would grab on and absolutely stopping it from moving any forward, that would probably require all 4 brakes to be stuck tight I think. You would also probably feel abnormal brake pedal feel if it's all four, I would guess.

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Does the engine or transmission make even the slightest abnormal noise when you change gears using the shift lever or going in reverse? By abnormal I mean anything out of the ordinary that you are not accustomed to hearing. Use your eyes like a hawk and ears like a cat. Anything abnormal other than what you've told us so far?

I have a new video currently uploading that includes transaxle range switch testing. It's very easy to diagnose a faulty TRS if you have a multimeter. My video is on my 4th gen though and your 5th gen wiring is going to be different. So pickup a 5th gen manual from PMX626.info. It will have the testing procedures for your specific TRS but you can use my video to see how easy it is to test. The rest of my video though is very much a custom wiring job so you can ignore the rest of it (when it's finished uploading).

Check for transmission fluid leaks, check your transmission fluid, test the TRS, if applicable call a specialist, all in that order.

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My 'Two Cents' worth of advice:

If your TRS/Neutral Safety Switch is faulty or bad then you should have a CEL(CheckEngineLight) on and a code indicating a bad TRS. (I can't recall exact code for the TRS.)

If your transmission is 'dying/dead' then a qualified transmission shop will know more or less the problem(s) and cost to fix it. I believe they have a more sophisticated computer program that can help them determine the cause(s). However, only until they completely remove tranny can they know for sure?? (Because of the high cost of labor alone, they would probably just suggest

a total rebuild rather than just some parts being replaced....especially when you insist on a warranty.)

My mechanic would tell me ..'Never fall in love with your car.' (This makes it harder to make a clear decision on 'fixing or get rid' of your car.)

So if rebuild then:

1) I would only rebuild trans if this car had little to no other problems and the car body and accessories were all in good shape.

2) I would plan to keep it for at least another year before I sell it. (You will never get back the total cost of trans repair on this

13-14 year old car.

3) I would add an external trans cooler to system.

4) Make sure you get a warranty from a reputable trans shop.

5) If you have your friend replace tranny, then make sure you get the right proper tranny replacement. ( Check original tranny

code numbers found on tranny body and side pan cover. Cars' ECU/PCM needs to match up with replacement. Also all

existing wire connections and sensors should match up as well or you may have problems with the car running/operating

properly.)

6) Resist converting from auto to manual transmission.....unless you have a good mechanic....and you plan to keep your

13+ year old car.

However:

If you can afford monthly payments of around $150.00 then you should be able to find another decent newer used car.....maybe Mazda3??

Well that's my 'two cents worth'....Good luck!

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Thank you everyone for your replies. I will try to answer all the questions.

Tiberianx: The check engine light when on at the last minute I felt like. I remember the car stopped going forward THEN the check engine light turned on. I don't know if there makes any difference. But if it does, then does that mean it's an electrical problem and not the tranny? Also it does go in reverse, but not all the time. Maybe every five tries it will actually go back for a little bit. Also when I called Les Schwab and told them about it, they said it might be something about the calipers. He then told me if it was, it wouldn't hurt it to drive it over there. I never got those checked, but the police man that helped me push my car forward when it was in neutral said the brakes should be fine if it's moving forward?

Djdevon3: The car did shake a lot, but I'm used to SUV's and people told me it was because it was low to the ground. Also, I don't think I heard anything out of the ordinary. My friend has a very old manual truck. That's how it felt when I shifted sometimes. Also it was horrible going uphills. The gears took a long time to shift up sometimes. Now that I think of it, that should be a problem right? What is a transaxle range switch? What is it's function and how could it be broken?

98LazerRed: Is it a bad thing that they want to rebuild the whole tranny instead of fixing a few parts? That's what you're saying right? The only other problem with this car is that the stereo will turn off sometimes when I turn the knob for the volume. Then I can't get anything to work for a while until I keep pressing more buttons. I was planning on getting a new stereo system though, or have it checked by a professional soon. That was going to be my next thing to do. Everything else is fine. It is very clean and the outside appearance is good too. I guess if I sold my car I MIGHT be able to afford monthly payments.. I try to work as much as I can now. How much do you think is a trade in value for a car without a transmission? I looked it up and it said a fair condition one would be around 1500. And the car itself at best would be 2500. That doesn't make sense to me. Would they then give me a better deal on another car they had?

Thank you all for helping me!! Let me know if you have any other questions. I will answer them to the best of my ability. :)

Nadya

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If you can roll the car forward/backwards while in neutral it's not going to be a stuck caliper. Shaking could be a sign of a failing torque converter however if it was only the torque converter to fail then you wouldn't be able to reverse either. I would pull the codes and see what the OBD-II diagnostic system has to say and go from there.

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Nadya, a 'full rebuild' of your transmission (..using a 'rebuild kit') is not a bad thing.....and is what a transmission shop would recommend doing if you want them to give you a guarantee/warranty of the job done.

They don't want to have to 're-do' a job (..especially, for free) if they only changed the one suspected/failed part. It is only best for the shop to do a 'full rebuild' even though only one part of the tranny has failed. A rebuild kit will contain all important parts of the tranny.

The big difference would be cost. It might seem less expensive to just change the one failed part but in reality, this CD4E tranny has a bad design flaw so why not spend the extra $$ on the full rebuild.

The biggest cost is not going to be the actual parts replaced (kit) but the LABOR involved to do the repair. Labor involves more than just replacing the actual parts. Labor is the knowledge and know-how and specialized tools, etc. etc. that is required to get the job done...properly.

(BTW- The shop buys the parts at 'wholesale' prices.. but we pay more for the same parts.)

As for the fair price of a used 13 yr old 626 car that doesn't run....tranny problem..??? maybe..$50 -$100?? at the local junkyard??.

If you decide to do the full rebuild then drive the car for at least another year then re-sale car to another person telling them all about the money you spent on the car in the past year. You may get more money from that individual than from just trading it in for another new/used car....and monthly payments.

Driving your repaired car for at least another year would mean that you are getting some of your money back...by way of no monthly payments for the next 12 months.

If you trade your repaired car in right away for another car then you are just losing more money.

Hope this all helps you to decide. Good luck!

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Thank you guys!! Everyone's replies helped. I will let you know of the outcome!!

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Electrical problem often means electrical parts inside the tranny or connected to the tranny externally is broken or causing it to malfunction. Mechanical problem often means parts such as burn out clutches, gears, shafts, torque converter, and etc of the transmission, if it's mechanical, then you'll have to drop the tranny. Often times you can tell if it's burnt out parts inside is checking the transmission fluid level, color, and smell of it that may indicate burning with the engine warm and running.

To answer your question about what is a transaxle range sensor. In order for your car to change gears like P,R,N,D,1,2; the transmission must receive an electrical signal from a device called transaxle range sensor, this sensor is connected with the same cable as your center console shift lever to the transmission. As you manually shift gears, the range sensor knob physically rotates either clockwise/counterclockwise sending specific voltage values to the transmission to know when to change gears.

--- In english, that means if it's broken, you may have difficult time shifting some of the gears.

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Just to clarify:

The 5th generation 626's (1998-2002 models) TRS/Neutral Safety Switch does not have the shift cable attached to it. The shift cable is attached to the front side of the transmission.

A faulty/bad TRS should trigger a CEL (Check Engine Light) on your gauge cluster.

Do you have a CEL? If you do have one then you should pull the 'codes'. This may give you some idea of a possible 'fix'??

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FYI, a CEL will only get triggered for certain electrical problems. The ECU really has no way of knowing if a switch is broken on a circuit that can be either open or closed. If it's stuck open, that's no different than it just being open.

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