new trans in '97 contour

mary_228April 30, 2005

My decision to fix this old beater instead of my Explorer is making me wonder???

The $1325 rebuilt trans did not fix the problem it went in with, and now my mechanic (who farmed this out to someone he uses) tells me that the trans shop will be putting in a brand new one, at no extra expense to me. And they will pay for me to rent a car while this one is in the shop.

Does this sound too good to be true? The mechanic told me that new trans go for $4000, which is why I was getting a rebuilt one in the first place. How would I know (or my mechanic, for that matter) if I really get a new one?

BTW, I haven't paid for it yet, altho my mechanic has paid the trans shop.

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gary__

**Does this sound too good to be true?**

To me it does...unless it was accidently damaged and he has some kind of insurance to cover it. If not, more than likely they'll put in another rebuilt transmission. I'd be satisfied as long as he got it working again and provided a warranty of some kind, like 90 days or more. The loaner car is an added bonus. I would question the 'new transmission' story. It doesn't make any sense. Nothing wrong with a rebuilt transmission. New, rebuilt, junk yard, whatever. I'd just want to know for sure what I was getting.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 1:13PM
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earthworm

For this day and age $1,325 is a good price for a "rebuilt" automatic transmission. But how do we know if teen-ages at minimum pay are just blindly replacing parts as instructed and only being given an hour to do this ???
It may be a crap-shoot..
Back in the late 6-s it was $225 for a rebuilt "factory" manual 4 speed at Saab.
Factor in the complexity of an automatic and four decades of inflation.....

I doubt if anyone uses new assemblies anymore,as they would be far too expensive.
Expertly rebuilt major components are the way to go

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 2:34PM
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brianl703

The trans problem MAY be an electrical issue--if the wiring harness has deteriorated on this car, it could cause what appear to be transmission problems.

You may want to have the mechanic inspect the wiring to the transmission for deterioration. If he finds any, get it to the nearest Ford dealer for one FREE wiring harness replacement under the 99M03 service campaign. If they refuse, go to another Ford dealer.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 7:06PM
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brianl703

After you get this transmisson issue fixed, keep it fixed by changing the transmisson fluid once in a while. The transmission has a drain plug, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to drain and refill it at every oil change or every other oil change. As I recall 4 quarts come out when you pull the plug, and if transmission fluid is $2.50/quart, then that's an additional $10..not very much to ensure a long transmission life.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 7:08PM
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jemdandy

Changing the transmission filter(s) is as important, if not more so, than a partial change of fluid.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 1:39AM
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mary_228

Thanks for the advice!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 10:45AM
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brianl703

The filter in the Contour's transmission isn't serviceable without a complete overhaul. I don't think it's much of a filter..probably just a mesh screen which is very unlikely to get clogged up, as on most Japanese transmissions.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 11:00AM
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earthworm

Posted by: JemDandy (My Page) on Mon, May 2, 05 at 1:39

Changing the transmission filter(s) is as important, if not more so, than a partial change of fluid.

Welcome back, Jem..

I might agree, trouble is the car-makers are caught up in "games".
One is to sell the car with as low as possible maintenance - which can be dangerous.
The second is to make the auto-trans really good, usually lasting forever(old Mercedes-Benz). Costly
The third game is to make the auto-trans good for 50,000 miles - good for the shop, bad for the owner, I think this has now been stretched to 100K miles...(American cars)(still risky)
The fourth way is the Honda Accord, NO service and possibly 200,000 miles or more.This takes a really good design and some money..

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 11:09AM
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brianl703

Most auto trans failures are caused by neglect.

Change the fluid, watch it last a long time. It's really that simple.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 11:35AM
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thecarguy

The fourth way is the Honda Accord, NO service and possibly 200,000 miles or more.This takes a really good design and some money.. >>>

Actually, Honda's automatics have a rocky track record... especially after the issue with the carrier bearings in the 98-02 models. On earlier models, it was a hit or miss. It either lasted, or it didn't...regardless of TLC. Automatic trasnmission seem to be a big problem for a-lot of manufacturers. Could just be that this is the most complicated piece of equipment on the car. In my experience, Toyota and General Motors seem to have less known failures. Ford and Chrysler were probably among the top with everybody else in the middle.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 3:47PM
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brianl703

In the case of the Contour, the CD4E automatic used in that car is known to heat the fluid up, especially in stop and go traffic. Fluid life is directly related to temperature..the hotter the fluid gets, the sooner it needs to be changed. Since they provided a drain plug, and since it uses the very common Mercon/Dexron fluid which isn't very expensive, doing a drain and refill every other oil change is the best way to make it last. (Can even drain the transmission fluid into the same pan as the oil, because it's all recycled together).

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 5:02PM
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mary_228

Well my "new" transmission didn't last long. As soon as my daughter took off for school, my husband noticed big wet spots on the driveway. Surprise - Transmission fluid!

It's just been towed to the trans shop (not that it wasn't driveable - it had no symptoms of slipping or anything). Prior to this my husband ran his hand under the front of the vehicle and found it coated with the stuff. He thought it was strange that the leak(s) is up at the front of the vehicle, and wondered how it could get to the underside of the bumper.

It's kind of strange having our mechanic in the middle and not being able to talk directly with the trans shop owner. The tow truck driver told me he has taken many vehicles to this place and never more than once! So maybe the third time will be a charm.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 2:36PM
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