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Doug, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mitsubishi
Satisfied Customers: 8569
Experience:  Mitsubishi employed and Factory trained ASE certified technician
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2004 mits diamanté. 140k mi. Over a weeks time I was having

Customer Question

2004 mits diamanté. 140k mi. Over a weeks time I was having trouble starting my car. Thought it was the battery but I noticed there was an issue with the gear shift getting stuck and hard to move. This weekend we went camping. Car sat for about 40 hours. Started the car and could only go in reverse and neutral. Light was flashing between the N and D on the dash. Finally got it in Drive. Drove about 10 mi and got stuck in neutral. Waited about 10 minute and got it in gear again. Decided to tow it home. Transmission fluid was dis colored a little brown. Can you give me and idea of what you think? Thanks cheryl.
JA: When was the last time your transmission fluid was checked? Changed?
Customer: I not sure. I guess I thought it was being done when it went for servicing
JA: What is the model of your '04 Mitsubishi?
Customer: Diamante
JA: Are you hoping to fix this yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: Nothing. Just happened. I thought my husband would be able to change the fluid first and see if that worked?
JA: Anything else you think the mechanic should know?
Customer: Not that I can think of.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Mitsubishi Mechanic about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mitsubishi
Expert:  Doug replied 10 months ago.

Hi Cheryl,

Unfortunately it is sounding like you are going to be heading toward an internal issue in the transmission.
Just to be clear, you are experiencing physical difficulty/resistance in moving the shifter at times, in addition to sometimes not having any forward movement, even though the indicator is clearly showing Drive?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
No. Sometimes the indicator flashes between N & D. And the fluids is brownish.
Expert:  Doug replied 10 months ago.


The flashing of the N and D light is actually just the N light flashing (Causing the D light to go out). This is indicating a trouble code is stored in the TCM (transmission side of the computer). Knowing that a fault is stored there, they best thing to do first is going to be to get the transmission codes scanned (this requires a dealer or professional scan tool; auto parts store scan tools can not read the TCM codes) just in case there is something out of left field going on there.

More than likely it is just going to be a ratio fault (the difference in speed between the two shafts in the transmission do not agree with the calculated ratio)... this is more of an afterthought to the failure though (you rev the engine and it doesn't move, eventually a ratio fault will set).

With the knowledge of the gear shift getting stuck combined with the worn out fluid, it is most probable you are going to be dealing with an internal failure here. Specifically, when you operate the shifter it moves a manual valve inside the valve body.... 99% of the time if there is any difficulty with the gear shift getting stuck, it will be debris caught in the manual valve. It is possible to be cable related, but extremely rare by comparison (plus that rarely ever goes away, whereas the manual valve often frees up after sitting or running for a period of time).

If there is nothing noteworthy with the trouble codes in the TCM, then your best course of action would be to get the fluid flushed out first with fresh SPIII and compare behavior.... while unlikely to "fix" the issue based on my experience with these, the next step moving forward would be hydraulic pressure tests which require good fluid to get accurate results, so you will end up at that point anyway.

Again from my experience with these... you will move likely be looking at debris in the manual valve or regulator valve, probably as a result of a broken wave spring or loosened drive nut. Those are the most common failures on the 40/50 series transmissions. Getting the TCM scanned about that flashing N light should still be priority though just in case there is something unusual going on that would shift our opinion any.