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Old 07-23-2019, 01:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default ALL HANDS ON-DECK... Drivetrain Issue

(98 GLX wagon 1.6L auto)

Here's the series of actions & reactions that bring me to the present:

Got my little light-blue "wannabe" station wagon for cheap & over 20 years old. 1st area of maintenance, front suspension....squeaked, creaked, knocked and clanked.

Parts replaced w/outcome:
- Outter tie-rods (no issues)
- Lower control arms includes: new bushings and
balljoint (Moog part, had the rear bushings, on both
control arms, half-inch off/too wide. Hydrolic
pressed the half-inch needed.
- Struts, strut mounts, strut bearings, shock bellows
w/bumpers (no issues)
- CV axles....(and here's where the tides changed).
Removal and install went surprisingly smooth thanks to research and videos found. Drive like a champ the first evening, no more familiar front suspension noises, all positive, coast looks clear.
Ready to run errands and drive around next morning....I see a wet looking, small, not major looking, trail coming from the street and ending up under my car. What could it be?

Look under the front end and see a small, @ 3" diameter ATF puddle. Start up the car to inspect area further while everything warms up. Few seconds after running, look under front end, see a more than healthy pour of ATF originating from right/passenger side.

Further inspection reveals, what appears to me, an obvious 1/2" space difference between right inner CV. Left inner CV had maybe an 1/8". Leak seems to be directly related to the 1/2" offset. Removed & reinstalled right side CV axle, thinking it didn't seat completely. Results same.

Research components possibly causing issue and it appears a differential output shaft seal highly likely. But why no leak the night before? I drove ALOT...zero issues.

I settle on, right - diff, seal - output. Ordered from dealer, wait time is approx 1-2 weeks. Drove to work, assuming ATF leak small enough to manage, top off when needed. I was wrong... Heard humming noises, throttle response delayed very noticeably, shifting between gears super sluggish. Only a couple blocks from home. Made it back, checked ATF.... Bone dry!

Attempted to "McGyver" additional "seal-like" parts in-line of tranny and CV. Top off tranny, start up car, check for leak. No leaks! Yeah! Screw YOU McGyver! Jump in the test drive... Shift to reverse, release e-brake.... nothing. Step on gas a little, nothing. Try drive, same thing. Can feel the surge when tranny changes gears, just no propulsion. Want to get out to inspect outside....go to Park....hear slight sound of just touching gear ends rubbing. Move away from Park, noise is gone. Try to Park, sounds of gears touching...all other options, feels like a smooth, regular shift but with no motion. Have to go to neutral, turn engine off, then go into Park to avoid severe ginds.

Thiughts? Solutions? I'm game!
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Old 08-09-2019, 10:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sorry to take so long with replying, had a hard time getting in touch with my mechanic. He said that without the fluid the clutches inside would overheat and damage themselves. He said it was time to change the transmission unfortunately. When I tried to pin him down he said 30 min. of driving would be enough to damage the trans. without fluid.

Please don't shoot the messenger.Sorry for the bad news.
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Old Today, 03:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Well the good news is/was that my tranny is GTG. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that no unforeseen damage occurred, but for the time, my rig is back!

The culprit that explains everything was a bad remanufactured drive shaft. On the tranny end, the splines were off-set, so the shaft would only go into the tranny the 1/4" depth of the initial teeth before the compression ring gap. After the pressure ring gap, that off-set was such that it would go no further.

I would have taken a picture, and should have to share, but with my hands covered in dirt, grease, and everything else, the best I can do is the attached pic of exactly what I encountered.

Crazy! How could the splines be manufactured like that? Any way, thanks again Brit 🤘


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Originally Posted by Brit101 View Post
Sorry to take so long with replying, had a hard time getting in touch with my mechanic. He said that without the fluid the clutches inside would overheat and damage themselves. He said it was time to change the transmission unfortunately. When I tried to pin him down he said 30 min. of driving would be enough to damage the trans. without fluid.

Please don't shoot the messenger.Sorry for the bad news.
Attached Thumbnails
ALL HANDS ON-DECK... Drivetrain Issue-screenshot_20190817-221655_1566116484691.jpg  
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Old Today, 02:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Woot woot, pleased that things worked out well for you Jake. Happy happy news. Thank you for sharing.
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Old Today, 02:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm super stoked as well... Just thinking of my transmission being ruined from mostly my bad decisions made me sick to my stomach.

Thanks for the encouragement and you be well!

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Woot woot, pleased that things worked out well for you Jake. Happy happy news. Thank you for sharing.
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