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A True Automatic Transmission Diagnosis Story..

A little background on me. I owned an automotive and light duty truck repair and rebuilt transmission specialty shop from 1981 to 2006. I sold the shop right before the economic crash. I decided to get into helping people learn about how to choose the right transmission shop, since transmission shops are not fungible.

Here is a story for you on why a free or inexpensive diagnosis is in your best interest.

I get a phone call one day from a man who has a 1995 Ford F-250 truck that has an overdrive transmission which is called an E4OD-E. He wanted a price. I suggested he bring it in for a free diagnosis so we could determine exactly what was wrong. I explained that it was a computerized transmission and maybe it did not need to be rebuilt. No, no, he did not have time, he knew it needed a rebuilt transmission so he just wanted a price. He said he was going with the cheapest price. I told him I did not quote prices on the phone, I need to see the truck to do a free diagnostic before I could realistically say what was wrong and how much it would cost to fix.

He did not have time so apparently he called around until he found a ridiculously low price and took it to the unnamed shop. FYI, it had a ridiculous warranty of 90 days. We gave 3 years or 50,000 mile nationwide warranties to build confidence in our customers.

It was a little more than three weeks later I got a call from him. He asked me if he could get that free diagnosis. He went ahead and explained he took it to shop X and they rebuilt it for an extremely low price. It also took 3 weeks, which is not acceptable in 99 percent of the cases. The worse part was that he got a block from shop X and it started to act up the exact same way it did before he took it to them.

Needless to say he was somewhat frustrated. I gave him a cup of coffee and he came out to watch me do my diagnosis routine. It usually takes about 10 minutes to 20 minutes from the start. I checked his ATF (automatic transmission fluid) and looked for leaks and obvious things first. Then I hooked up my Snap-On Modus Scanner and suggested that we go for a ride together while I went through the driving portion of the diagnosis. While we were driving the scan tool was collecting information, so we just chatted while I put the truck through it’s paces. Seemed like a nice fellow really, just misinformed. At one point we stopped talking because I like to listen and ‘feel’ how the transmission functions.

We got back about 15 minutes later and it was time to see what type of data the scanner stored. There was one code in the scanner. A code indicates a problem, so in essence this was a good thing. I don’t remember the code number, but I remember it was a code for the TECA relay (transmission electrical control assembly).

I asked him if he ever saw anyone at Shop X hook up a scan tool. He said not to his knowledge. With his permission I took a new TECA relay off the shelf and bolted it on in about 15 minutes. We cleared the code from the computer and went for a ride. Guess what, it worked perfect, never missed a beat. Obviously the man had a mixture of emotions, he was happy we could fix this problem for less than 100 bucks. He was also angry about spending $1600.00 for a rebuild. Truthfully, it may have needed a rebuild, but chances are it did not, no way to tell now.

After we re-drove the truck for about 30 miles we came back and checked the codes, ahaa, no codes and perfect performance.

I think you know what the moral of the story is.

If one day you experience a transmission problem, now you know what to do. If you ever need a rebuilt transmission of any sort call the experts at GotTransmissions.com, 866-320-1182. Feel free to examine our GotTransmissions.com Blog and have access to all of our articles for free every day.

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