By on March 12, 2013

TTAC commentator hidrotule2001 writes:

Hey Sajeev,

A few months back you helped me sort out a plan of action for my Ford Fiesta transmission problems, and I have another stick-shift quandary I thought you might have some insight on.

My second vehicle is a 2003 Ram 1500 (bare bones work-truck, standard cab, manual everything), which I’ve recently been doing a lot of maintenance on (new plugs, pads, rotors, u-joints, carrier bearing, and a few other things). One issue I haven’t been able to sort out is an odd grinding/squealing I get when the car is in gear at high rpms (3000+) with the clutch peddle fully depressed (on the floor), something akin to what you hear if you come off the clutch with the shifter only part-way into gear. (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2013

TTAC commentator sastexan writes:

Sajeev -

One of my best friends is shopping to replace his Mazdaspeed6 for something a little more utilitarian that can hold his bicycle and gear in the back (frequent triathlete). Here’s the issue – he wants to get another manual shift car, but his wife is pressing for an automatic because she has never learned to drive stick. (Read More…)

By on November 28, 2012

Duncan writes:

Hi Sajeev,
I have a question about a 4L60-E transmission in a 2001 Chevy Suburban K1500. The truck has 159k miles. The previous owner purchased the truck 7 years ago with 90k miles and hasn’t changed any fluids in that time other than oil – I don’t know anything about the truck’s early history. (Read More…)

By on November 7, 2012
YouTube Preview Image

Wondering when the automatic gearbox arms race will end? 8 speeds? 9 speeds? Even 10 speed gearboxes have been thrown out as grist for the automotive rumor mill, but one exec apparently has the answer.

(Read More…)

By on October 22, 2012

TTAC Commentator itsgotvtakyo writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I recently purchased a 1999 Honda Accord LX for my sister. It has 115,000 on the ULEV 4cyl and an automatic transmission. The car is very straight and clean on the inside and out for the year and miles. The seller was a middle aged gentleman who bought the car four years ago for his daughter. The vehicle has obviously been maintained but there’s one glaring issue I have my fingers crossed on… the transmission. (Read More…)

By on June 1, 2012

 

TTAC commentator hidrotule2001 writes,

Sajeev,

I’ve got an intermittent, befuddling problem with the manual transmission in my 2011 Ford Fiesta:  The shifter will periodically refuse to move into 4th gear.

This usually happens 10-15 minutes after the car is started, and mostly during warm weather (but I’ve never been able to consistently reproduce the behavior).  When i say it refuses to move into 4th gear, I mean with the clutch fully engaged (peddle to the floor) attempting to move the shifter into 4th position feels like trying to shift into 1st gear when going 60 miles an hour; like there is some sort of synchro problem.

Moving the shifter back to the neutral position and trying again doesn’t change the behavior (the shifter never gets far out of the neutral position to begin with).  Down-shifting to 3rd, and then trying to shift again does get rid of the problem (at least so far), which is why I haven’t been able to demonstrate it to the dealer.

The car is 100% stock, and only has 10.5k miles on it.  I’ve done some searching on various forums and the closest I’ve found is a couple of posts on Mustang forums with similar issues where the transmission fluid was low, but I’ve had that checked and everything is within spec.

Any ideas on what might be causing this?  The problem is an annoyance right now, but I wonder if it might indicate an underlying issue that could get worse as time goes on… (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2012

 

Brian writes:

Sajeev,

Heeding the call for silly, not-really-that-good letters…plus I wrote you a while back about my Freestyle.  Since then, my wife actually sat in a minivan, and that’s the direction we are heading.  We are looking at replacing it quickly so that she can take the three kiddos to Grandma’s house while I enter Lemons South this March.  (Read More…)

By on January 10, 2012

Steven writes:

Sajeev and Steve,

Ok guys need some advice, I am the owner of an 2001 Volvo XC wagon with 166,000 on it, I have owned it about 2 years and drive about 40k a year all over the North East for work. It is paid off but in the last 6 months I have put about 4 K in it, new tires, new brakes all around water pump, T belt, new moon roof (do not ask), the previous owner replaced the tranny at 110k and put a new cat convertor at 100k. (Read More…)

By on January 2, 2012

Rodrigo writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I’m being offered a 2005 BMW 545i with 78,000 miles on the clock. Well-equipped with the sport package and manual transmission, it’s being offered at $18,000 (negotiable) by a co-worker’s family member who “wants to get rid of it quick so he can replace it with a new truck.” I’m told it’s been babied, but I’ll definitely be asking for service records and a chance to have it inspected by a German car indy mechanic that’s 3 blocks from my apartment. (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2011

Chris writes:

Dear Sajeev,

Love the website and love your reading your column. My question is I am looking to get a minivan within the next 6 months to a year. I am only looking to spend around 8 grand on one. I am leaning heavily towards Chrysler’s vans, and found some really great deals on older ones with low miles. But then I read your article about how it’s not always good to go with older, low mile automobiles. So would I be better to get say, a 2002 model Town and Country, with a little over 100 hundred thousand miles? Or should I not even bother with Chrysler at all? I was leaning towards a Windstar as well, but then there’s that whole rear axle breaking thing, and I quite enjoy living. In your personal opinion what is the best minivan for my budget.

(Read More…)

By on December 2, 2011

 

TTAC Commentator Cameron Evans writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I am the proud owner of a 1992 F-150, 4×2, regular cab, long box, with power nothing and the Big Six. I love everything about the truck, except for the one concession to my wife, the E4OD gearbox.

Now that the tranny is shot (slip city, followed by violent shifts), I need your advice. The Ford has a lot of new, high quality parts (Michelin’s, o2 sensor, egr valve, coil, water pump, alternator, exhaust, etc), but it’s also rusty as hell from 19 Minnesota winters and the body is beat up from being a municipal truck.

Simple question, drop the cash on a rebuilt tranny or cut my losses?

Thanks in advance!

(Read More…)

By on November 19, 2011

David writes:

I am driving a 2010 Mazda3 2.5 with a 6 speed manual. 9000 miles in, the trans is still sticky, especially going into 1st while rolling. What could help reduce this?

Second, the automatic wipers are amusing to watch. How exactly do they work?

In Panther love, I sighted a sleek black Signature L, a rare one. 6 inches more rear leg room and 1 1/2 inch wider track. Should be a nice ride. The longer wheelbase helps reduce the inverted bathtub look.

(Read More…)

By on October 28, 2011

 

George writes:

Sajeev, I enjoy TTAC and your writing. Okay, I succumbed to the blandishments of you Panther lovers (and to fond memories of my father driving his Fords and Lincolns), and bought a 1996 Lincoln Town Car Cartier.  The car has about 143,000 miles on it, all in North Carolina.  The previous (2nd) owner was reportedly a little old lady, and because of the condition of the driver’s seat she could not have weighed much more than 90 or 95 pounds. It is well taken care of and straight.

(Read More…)

By on October 24, 2011


Jonathon writes:

I’ve been remiss about getting results back to readers.  I took the car to the Honda dealer who pushed hard for the power flush . . . only to have the technician do the 3X manual flush.  Turns out that only some 2003 V6 Accords have the available connections to handle power flushing.

Results?  The transmission has been Smoooooooooth ever since — how could it NOT be when the old fluid looked and smelled like old, overcooked coffee? Because the final draining still smelled a little off, I’ll probably do yet another tranny drain with the next oil change.

 Thanks for the advice.

(Read More…)

By on October 19, 2011

 

 

Brian writes:

Not sure if this would be appropriate “piston slap” fodder or not, but here goes:
Our blossoming family recently expanded to five. My wife and I, and a three year old, a 20 month old and now a 2 month old fill up the house. We occasionally travel with our 75 lb dog. Knowing the Volvo Turbobrick would not handle the cargo/dog/people, and the PT Cruiser remains the most reliable vehicle ever built (even if the timing belt changes are a big pain) we decided to sell the Volvo for something more appropriate, if a lot slower and FWD.

Enter the Freestyle. We routinely get 28 mpg on trips, parts are cheap, we have lots of cubbies for kid’s junk and the car seats fit easily. I purchased a high mileage (150k) example that was a one owner (ish) with all receipts. It was a fleet car for some guy who then bought it when his company was done with it. It had the CVT replaced at 118k miles with a remanufactured transmission from Ford, installed at a dealer.

(Read More…)

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