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Standard Transmissions Need Maintenance Too.

We are always talking about transmission maintenance, when you should have it done and the value of properly performed regular transmission maintenace. Many folks may be left with the idea that a standard or manual shift transmission may not need maintenance or it is not as important. Lets clear this mystery up today.

While it may be true that standard transmissions need less maintenance than an automatic transmission, in some ways that makes it more important to have the proper maintenance with the correct lubrication oil done on schedule. Standard transmissions don’t get the ‘love’, they are the forgotten ones, until they act up.

Another myth GotTransmissions.com would like to dispel of is that a standard transmission is cheaper and easier to repair than an automatic transmission. When it comes down to brass tacks, that is absolutely incorrect. In my 25 plus years of operating my own transmission shop and repairing transmissions and listening to ‘expert customers‘ talk about their wealth of knowledge on standard transmissions from the ‘old days’, they the only people who think manual tranny’s are easier and cheaper to fix.

The cost to replace a standard transmission can equal or exceed an automatic transmission any day, especially if you need a clutch kit installed too. Lets make it important to follow a few basic maintenance directions so yo won’t have a premature emergency…transmission failure.

I can and will add the finer details on the different styles of standard transmissions and the unfortunate effects using incorrect lubrication products for your specific application will have, but for now I just want you to know the importance of this maintenance procedure. Our next GotTransmissions.com Blog will be detailed in the types of lubricants various standard transmissions use and how often to have them changed depending on your useage.



Automatic Transmission Components: What are Hard Parts?

Brian of GotTransmissions.com and I were talking about exactly what “Hard Parts” are the other day. There may be many use-ages for the term “hard parts”, but we want to focus on transmissions. Both automatic transmissions and standard transmissions use hard parts, although the term is most commonly applied to automatic transmissions.

 rebuild kit

rebuild kit

Simply put, an automatic transmission is comprised of hundreds of components, such as seals gaskets, o-rings, clutch plates and electrical components. They also make use of items we would categorize as hard parts such as:
Front pump assembly
Sprag clutches
Clutch Drums
Planetary Gears
Shafts
Case, Transmission
Sun gears, Clutch hubs and much more.

Basically, hard parts are parts that in general should not wear out, but do sometimes, therefore requiring replacement upon a rebuild job. Sometimes the wear is very obvious and sometimes it is necessary to have a trained eye look in order to know how to examine the particular part for wear.

What we call gaskets, seals, washers, and bearings, etc. are “soft parts”. Essentially, soft parts must be trashed and replaced in every rebuilt transmission. Without even looking at them, trash the soft parts, they should get replaced on every reconditioned transmission job.

The most reliable transmissions come from companies that understand the premise of reusing hard parts that don’t meet specifications is more expensive in the long run, not to mention can cause the loss of a customer or more, if the work proves unsatisfactory. Use the GotTransmissions.com Blog for the information you need to make a quality decision when it comes to a purchasing the best rebuilt transmission.



T-700R4 and 4L60E automatic Transmission Upgrades..

I’m not alone when it comes to properly upgrading an early 700R4 or 4L60E Chevrolet automatic transmission. Most shops use some sort of upgrade kit during a rebuild to improve every aspect of the transmission. The most competent transmission shops use the most reliable and time tested brands. Brands that stay on top of cutting edge technology in the quest to keep you outfitted with the newest updates, they never become dormant in regards to improving the products. Research never ends.

My favorite kits were made by TransGo and the kits we used were Junior Reprogramming Kits during a rebuild. The junior reprogramming or shift kits are mainly to improve factory weaknesses and eliminate soft shifts, poor quality shifts, lubrication problems and generally bring your tranny back to a better state than when it was new.

Many times a smart consumer, particularly a commercially used truck would bring their vehicles to us before a transmission problem occurred and we would install the bulk of the kit and an auxiliary transmission cooler. Other than performing regular preventive maintenance, we rarely saw these transmissions for repairs or replacement. Synthetic automatic transmission fluid was our primary replacement fluid for durability purposes.

Something I recommend with much emphasis is, installing a Junior Shift Kit is convenient and smart if you are in the process of replacing your transmission with a used unit. When I mentioned this prospect to Brian of Gottransmissions.com the other day, we both agreed it was a great idea. I am urging him to make these kits available to the customers that are interested. However, I recommend a transmission specialist do it.

There are many other upgrades offered by TransGo, if you need some advise on what kit to choose, ask me in the comment area. For a wealth of general and detailed transmission information read our GotTransmissions.com Blog.



Renew Your Transmission for That New Car “Feel”

The greatest money saver you will run across when your car has a major issue such as a transmission failure is to replace or repair the transmission in your car, instead of replacing the whole car.

For a car or truck that is in good overall condition you can accomplish two things, one is that your car will move again after you put a rebuilt or good used transmission in your vehicle. The other thing that happens is that now that your car runs like new again, you probably forgot how nice your vehicle ran before. Often we don’t notice the slow decline in performance and gas mileage loss during the period a transmission deteriorates and then fails because we are so used to our cars “feel”.

People often call GotTransmissions.com back to thank them and let the experts know how much they appreciate the good advise they were given in terms of what the best choice was in a replacement transmission. Surprising as it may sound, when an individual has a serious transmission problem and ultimately a failure, they suddenly realize how bad the car was running. The first thing that comes to mind upon driving the vehicle with a fresh transmission is how much different the car feels and that it would have been a waste of money to buy a new car as a knee-jerk reaction.

This is an excellent time to install or have installed by a reputable transmission shop an auxiliary external transmission cooler. It is cheap and effective at keeping your new transmission running cool.

This is the most important thing I will ever say about replacing a transmission, especially if you are a home mechanic. The transmission cooling portion of the radiator positively must be flushed or purged of the burnt contaminated automatic transmission fluid or I promise you that big time problems will occur when the cooler-muck goes right into your fresh transmission, thus causing serious problems that probably won’t be guaranteed.

Transmission repair and replacement shops use fancy equipment that force flushes a cleaning agent through the cooler lines and the cooling portion of the radiator and auxiliary cooler if so equipped. Fortunately for home mechanics there is a product on the market that is in an aerosol can that has a screw fitting that hooks to a cooler line that flushes the proper agent through the lines without the need for a fancy flushing tool. In fact many shops use this method instead of a buying an expensive flush tool. It is cheaper and very effective.

Many of the suppliers of used, rebuilt and new replacement transmissions include the aerosol cooler flush and directions for use, with the package. They don’t want any problems or excuses either. Some companies include an auxiliary cooler if the situation warrants.

When I owned my transmission shop from 1981 to 2006 (I sold it), we built excellent relationships and confidence in our customers. Customers were required to return in two weeks for a free warranty recheck of the work we performed on their tranny, almost always the first two things that came out of their mouths’ were “how wonderful their cars drive now that it was performing like it used too, and they were very pleased with their decision and happy to have kept the car and saved literally multi-thousands of dollars by not trading their car in”.

The point of this article is that is that sometimes when you understand a situation well enough to make an informed decision, not a knee-jerk decision it builds confidence in your ability to make good decisions. That almost always makes you feel good about yourself and better about your car. FYI, I still drive my 1988 GMC 1 ton pickup truck with a GMC T-700R4 transmission. I bought it new and have maintained it just like I recommend in the GotTransmissions.com Blog articles presented here for free. Enjoy.



Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluids Can Take The Heat.

Unless you are driving a model T Ford, most likely your automatic transmission and standard transmission uses synthetic transmission fluid. To the best of my knowledge all auto manufacturers use synthetic automatic transmission fluids in their automatic transmissions and most of the modern standard transmissions actually use synthetic automatic transmission fluid or a synthetic based gear lube too.

Mobil-1

Mobil-1

FYI, modern standard transmissions are very precisely built units and don’t use the heavy weight gear lubes anymore. Of course the older standard transmissions still use heavy weight gear lubes. Heavy non-synthetic gear lubes are available still, but it also comes in synthetic base which is a good upgrade.

Auto manufacturers’ figured out 15 or more years ago that transmissions and engines last longer when synthetic lubrication is used. It actually saves the dealers money by having to do less warranty work. Some of the car manufacturers have brand specific synthetic oils and when you have your transmission maintained, the ATF should come from the dealer. Honda, Kia and Mitsubishi must be filled with fluid that comes from the dealer. No outside sources are available for those automatic and standard transmissions at this point. If you cheat here by not using the exact fluid you will probably be calling GotTransmissions.com for a rebuilt transmission soon.

All General Motors and Ford vehicles use a mixture called Dexron III-E or Mercon V, which is interchangeable. Chrysler products use a brand specific fluid, but it works great in Fords and General Motors cars and trucks too. It lasts longer before it breaks down.

Synthetic fluids have the chemical properties to withstand extreme temperatures and are more slippery than conventional oils. ATF has a package of 27 additives that make it compatible with the anatomy and workings inside of an automatic transmission. Synthetic ATF and engine oils flow better in cold temperatures, especially below 10 degrees Fahrenheit by not jelling up at low temperatures. They are prepared to take a lot more heat than conventional ATF, which is your main enemy.

Simply put, using the wrong transmission fluid is the biggest cause of automatic transmission failure, spending more on the proper synthetic lubricant saves a bunch of money in the end. There are a lot of people who have used the incorrect fluids or oils trying to save money who learned the lesson the expensive way. Using auxiliary external cooling is a wonderful compliment or upgrade for getting max life out of you tranny.

We need to discuss having a ‘flush’ performed in a future article in more depth, but I don’t recommend a flush out of your transmission since most of the time the filter is not changed. Actually it is not necessary to have a transmission flushed if you change your transmission fluid on time and mileage. If the filter is not changed, the job is not complete. Would you get an engine oil change and no filter? I hope you see my point.

Flushing an automatic transmission is popular with general automotive repair shops. You would not go to dentist if you needed heart surgery, so if you want to have any work at all performed on your transmission, of any sort, than go to a transmission specialty shop.

The GotTransmissions.com Blog is here so you don’t make the ‘lack of good information’ mistakes that cause so many broken and failed transmissions. Please feel free to scan our site for any transmission information you need. If you don’t see it, ask for it in the comment area.



Want to Choose The Right Rebuilt Transmission?

When you actually get down to the nitty gritty witty of remanufactured or transmissions, all of a sudden it becomes apparent that there are a lot of choices out there. As far as I’m concerned there is only one way to rebuild a transmission. The Blog at GotTransmissions.com is all about educating consumers about many things, including choosing a reputable rebuilt transmission.

My first advise is don’t shop by price. The 25 years I spent owning and operating a transmission shop that rebuilt, remanufactured, reconditioned and repaired automatic and standard transmissions is that not every shop rebuilds transmissions the same way. I have seen business conducted at every level. From quality conscious shops interested in selling you a replacement transmission that is your best interests, with a great warranty. The other end of the spectrum is to ‘go into’ the transmission and fix what is wrong only, call it a rebuild and pray like crazy it makes it out of warranty.

Truthfully, I don’t think many shops are really out to get you, in fact most transmission rebuilding shops are on the level. Unfortunately this is an unregulated business, so you get a product that is prepared the way the rebuilder was taught. Since the business is unregulated that rebuild job may differ greatly from what a different shop or rebuilder has already learned and practices.

The point is that you want to only do this one time. Get a quality job with a good warranty and learn to take care of your rebuilt transmission with preventive maintenance so it will last for a lot longer than the warranty. FYI, my shop gave 3 year nationwide warranties. Obviously the length of the warranty shows confidence or lack of confidence in the work provided.

Do yo know what the most common cause of automatic or standard transmission failure is? Read on.

Here is how we did it. First we educated our customer with every detail they needed to make an informed decision. How? It starts with asking relative questions and listening to your customers needs. For instance, a young single mother needs what? Reliability and the confidence that goes with it. A truck owner who pulls a load also need reliability, but in a different way. We asked lots of questions and our customers liked it, people like to talk about themselves.

Once we received permission in writing to remove the transmission it was time to go to work. After tranny removal, cleaning and inspecting all parts, we can make a checklist of what is necessary to bring your transmission back to where it should be. There are some parts that get discarded no matter what, items such as gaskets, seals, clutch plates, bushings, modulators, bands, sprag clutch elements, and more.

Cleaning the transmission thoroughly is the most important part of the process. You may be the best rebuilder in the world, if the parts and area you work in are dirty, you will have problems.

transmission-rebuild-kit

transmission-rebuild-kit

Another big issue is the quality of parts used. Read the rest of this entry »



Got Transmission Problems? Consider a Remanufactured, Reconditioned or

Rebuilt transmission. To simplify lets call all 3 choices (rebuilt, reconditioned and remanufactured transmissions rebuilt). Not to be mistaken for a used transmission.

This is a wide open subject that can be quite confusing. My experience in the field of rebuilding transmissions proved to me all rebuilds are not the same, thus we can call any type of transmission rebuild work non-fungible. Although the end result is supposed to be the same, in many cases what you see is not what you paid for.

How would one know what is a quality rebuilt automatic transmission from a poor job. There is no way to tell by looking at the outside. There are many factors that enter into the equation, such as:
1. Quality of the parts
2. Knowledge of the rebuilder
3. Training of the rebuilder.
4. Proper transmission repair tools.
5. Was the cooling system flushed thoroughly?
6. Did the rebuilt transmission installer do a competent job of installation?
7. Was the correct Automatic Transmission Fluid used?
8. Did the entire driveline get checked for bad mounts, u-joints and other related parts?
9. Did they use a checklist?

Do your own evaluation of the shop in general. Evaluate everything from the attitude of the shop to it’s cleanliness. Call the BBB if you want consumer information on shops. Any competent business will write up an invoice for you, have you sign it ,and make sure you ask for a written estimate before the work is started, every time.

No matter how hard you look at the outside of a rebuilt transmission you can’t see the inside, even if it is clean and painted on the outside, it may not be as clean on the inside. Well established companies like GotTransmissions.com have outperformed the competition by offering the most comprehensive and meticulous standards to which a rebuilt transmission has to meet. In fact every rebuilt transmission they sell is fully dynamometer tested and certified.

One of the best things about purchasing a rebuilt automatic transmission is that a competent shop can personally tailor or upgrade your transmission for a specific type of useage. Meaning that if you do heavy commercial work, there are many legitimate upgrades that can be performed to increase the strength and life of your rebuilt transmission. Obviously an auxiliary automatic transmission cooler is a popular and effective update.

There is so much more to say about rebuilt, remanufactured and reconditioned transmissions that is important to know before you buy. My next post on March 18th will have more important details to to know about or even getting a look at the work area and having the manager show you some components and explain them to you in terms you understand. GotTransmissions.com Blog is a great way to learn more about almost anything transmission related, from the most critical procedures such as preventive maintenance to informative articles on how to choose what is in your best interest.
866-320-1182



Method to Install The Correct Brand of Automatic Transmission Cooler..

Before we talk about the way to solve Ford E4OD transmission automatic transmission and transmission fluid failure lets talk about coolers and cooler installations in general. First off some vehicles come with add on auxiliary automatic transmission coolers from the factory. Yes, they are noticeably better in terms of improving your automatic transmission life than not having an auxiliary cooler, no they are not better than most of the quality brands of after-market auxiliary transmission coolers.

After saying that I am recommending that nearly every automobile or truck can use a quality cooler. The folks at GotTransmissions.com know that and suggest a cooler if your situation warrants it.

Almost every automatic transmission case is made out of aluminum. Aluminum dissipates heat very fast. Therefore if you cool the transmission down with an external transmission cooler by 20 degrees, than since the aluminum dissipates, or gets rid of heat faster, the engine actually runs about 5 Degrees cooler too.

Two of the best brands of after market automatic transmission coolers are, Tru-Cool and Hayden. I prefer Tru-Cool

Tru-Cool Cooler

Tru-Cool Cooler

because they have regulating valves for proper flow built into them. I also recommend letting a qualified transmission repair shop install them.

For DIYer’s: Basically you want to determine the pressure cooler line from the transmission and the return cooler line to the transmission, which should be in the instructions. If not Ask me in the comment box of our GotTransmissions.com Blog where they are and I’ll figure it out. The pressure line coming out of the transmission is the hot fluid, so you want the line going into the automobiles standard radiator first, after the ATF travels through the radiator it exits into the add-on cooler, once it has been cooled down by traveling through your new cooler, it will exit the cooler and deliver the cooled fluid right back to the transmission. It can take as much as 20 degrees off transmission temperature.

To solve the F-350 Ford E4OD restriction problem, eliminate the radiator cooler altogether. Take it out of the circuit. Buy two of the appropriate sized Tru-Cool coolers and run the fluid directly through the two coolers in parallel only. Thus eliminating the restriction the radiator causes described in the tranny cooler post. It is not a bad idea to install a cooler on any brand of work truck in reality. Whenever we worked on a Ford F-350HD, it was part of the deal to make this upgrade or we would not do the job.

I think by now you get the idea, heat is a transmission and automatic transmission fluid killer. Think long term, if you tow a load regularly, a transmission cooler will pay for itself fast. If you did not know this and have a transmission failure than GotTransmissions.com is the premier company for replacement transmissions of any type. If fact our Blog contains many more money saving transmission tips. Join for free.



Auxiliary Transmsission Coolers Save a Lot of Transmissions..

An auxiliary transmission cooler is an add on automatic transmission cooler which adds extra cooling capacity to your car or truck transmission. Perhaps the best upgrade one can do for their automatic transmission. It is a great idea if you have the original transmission in your car and want it to last longer, and in my opinion a must install item anytime you have to replace your transmission.

Good transmission preventive maintenance is the only thing better than an add on auxiliary cooler in terms of transmission life. Most importantly if you have a commercial work truck or live in Florida, like I do, it is almost a no brainer. As mentioned in “The Truth about Front Pump Leaks”, heat was the culprit. Not having seen his vehicle or knowing much about it’s condition, it is a good bet that the appropriate transmission cooler for that vehicle would have prevented that problem.

BTW, Ford trucks in particular have built in transmission cooling system problems. Usually we see the problem in the F-350 truck with the E4OD series automatic transmissions in the heavy duty trucks that are doing heavy commercial work. Often it starts with a leaky front seal and usually a major failure due the heat and loss of automatic transmission fluid.

Note: Automatic transmissions cool through a separate cooling tank built in to the vehicles radiator. It is not visible unless you have a trained eye. The cooling process starts with transmission fluid traveling through steel lines about 3/8 th of an inch inner diameter that go straight to the transmission cooler tank in the radiator. There are two lines, one that delivers fluid to the cooler tank in the radiator and one that returns fluid to the tranny.

The built in problem is as such. Under a load or heavy driving conditions like pulling a horse trailer or boat, the amount of pressure the automatic transmission pump generates increases. This increase causes the automatic transmission fluid to back-up or slow down where the 3/8″ cooler line tubing meets the smaller 5/16 “ cooler line tubing in the factory radiators (built-in) transmission cooler.

There is a solution for this. I will present it in the next GotTransmissions.com Blog on March 14th. See what else may interest you about transmissions and enjoy our blog.



Hand Help Code Readers Save Money on Repairs, Which Makes Them..

Affordable. If you are handy with your car or truck repairs at home than most likely you have a home-owners hand held code reader. Back-Yard mechanics are often very savvy and capable of making many of their own automotive repairs. Although your transmission is an automotive mystery to most automotive people, including technicians, with the help of a scan tool, even you may be able to do a simple, modest repair on your transmission at home.

By reading the”TF 604 Automatic Transmission Code: p740 on a Caravan” post answering a common question many people ask is an example of money being wasted and the transmission becoming even more damaged than it was as he went from the ‘lets change parts until it is fixed’ method of diagnosis many shops use.

Affordable code reader/scan tool

Affordable code reader/scan tool

This particular code reader is affordable (about $150) and a top-line tool. It will scan, but our interests are simply seeing the code/s present and reading the accomanying book to see what the code means. There are less expensive ones I have seen at Napa, AutoZone and most auto parts houses. The demand for these simple tools are increasing fast because the smart home mechanic knows that if the engine lite is on, there is a code to be read. I would go to a parts place and look at them and ask questions first. I’m not recommending a brand.

The man asking the P0740 code question, assuming he was capable of doing a home repair, may have been able to fix his problem for less than 100 bucks if the vehicle speed sensor was the problem with his speedometer and shifting problem. 99% 0f the time a code # P0740 is a bad VSS.

Poor diagnostics or lack of diagnostics is one reason so many automatic transmissions fail. If yours falls that way than GotTransmissions.com is the premier source of all replacement transmissions. Their tremendous inventory includes used transmissions, new transmissions, transmissions and upgraded transmissions for special uses. They offer great warranties that are nationwide, thus building your confidence level for traveling as well as everyday activities.

Believe it or not, every transmission sold by GotTransmissions.com are certified pre-tested, and that includes a code reading and scan job. Even on new and transmissions.

It is not a crime if you don’t have a mechanical touch, many folks don’t. With that in mind it becomes imperative that you deal with a competent repair shop that is equipped with the correct scan tools and mechanics that can use them. Use our GotTransmissions.com Blog for more useful information. Feel free to ask me a question, I will gladly answer all. Good luck and Enjoy.