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Edward
Edward, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Volvo
Satisfied Customers: 2276
Experience:  I've had 10 years of experience on the car line at 2 Volvo dealerships, Quality level Volvo tech.
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Hi, Volvo 850 wagon tranny problem. Shifts normally, then

Resolved Question:

Hi,
Volvo 850 wagon tranny problem.
Shifts normally, then seems to shut off when hot. changed worn out fluid (160k)
Blinking arrow (pnp problem?) can run a few miles normally then slips horribly and will stop. otherwise fine and will be ok after 30 min or so. Is this tranny toast or fixable?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Volvo
Expert:  Edward replied 11 months ago.

Edward :

Hello and thanks for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX X will do all I can to help.

Edward :

Let me first ask, how does the fluid smell? does it smell burned?

Edward :

when you say "slips horribly and will stop" you mean the engine keeps running, but the transmission will not pull correct?

Customer:

Hi,

Edward :

Hello.

Customer:

if I run out of time on this computer I'll continue at home...

Edward :

alright no problem.

Customer:

color is almost a light tan or was till I changed it

Customer:

Engine runs fine no tranny pull

Edward :

alright, if you smell a can of transmission oil, then you smell your tranny oil dipstick, they should smell similar, if the tranny dipstick smells burned, then yes, the tranny will need to be replaced or rebuilt in order to fix the burned clutch pack.

Edward :

a plastic bottle of tranny fluid I should say. vs. what the dipstick smells like.

Customer:

Not a burned smell but wrong color

Edward :

interesting, how does the coolant look? if you see globs of coolant in your coolant overflow jug, I have seen the auto trans. cooler rupture in the radiator before, then you get tranny fluid in the antifreeze, and antifreeze in the tranny fluid.

Edward :

I should say globs of oil in your coolant overflow jug

Customer:

would a burned clutch pack work intermittently like I'm seeing?

Edward :

meaning transmission oil.

Customer:

No globs, radiator is less than year old

Edward :

They can, due to the seal being a little harder when cold. When hot the rubber seal on the clutch pack is more pliable, and it will leak and slip then.

Edward :

ok, so no cross contamination from the tranny cooler in the radiator then if the coolant looks good.

Edward :

Will it not pull in R or L when it acts up? what about if you put it in W mode. still won't pull?

Customer:

What is this pnp switch? don't think h2o is leaking in

Edward :

PNP is a Park Neutral Position switch, that allows the engine to start in Park and Neutral. (neutral safety switch) and allows the TCM to know what gear it's in, but it won't NOT make the transmisssion not pull at all.

Customer:

Haven't tried moving winter switch.seems to work fine when cool

Edward :

Have you tried pulling it in L gear to see if that made a difference? also does reverse work?

Edward :

It appears you've stepped out, let me know if R works and if L makes it pull and if switching to W makes it pull. and that will help me narrow it down. thank you.

Customer:

hi edward

Customer:

Yes r works, l works e and w switch seems to work. I was also able to get the arrow to stop flashing by moving gear selector from p to L about 30 times....

Customer:

Was thinking about it and wondered if I might have introduced water to system about 9 month's ago when the original radiator blew. might have internally cracked tank? didn't notice a big difference on the stick since then but less than optimum oil might have been in tranny.....

Edward :

Alright, that is a possibility, If you haven't serviced the transmission lately, I would drain it and refill it, pull the top cooler line, stick the cooler line over a 5 gallon bucket and have someone start the engine while you hold the cooler line over the bucket so it drains out all the tranny fluid in the tourque convertor.

Edward :

Then refill the tranny and add some ford brand friction modifier or dr. tranny's shudder fixx. See if that helps it. If it doesn't, then you will be looking at a rebuild or a replacement unit, in which I would consult aamco for overhaul and they will give 12/12 nationwide warranty on it, or the cheaper route is a junkyard unit and getting someone to swap it out. prob. get out for under a grand there, but getting a junkyard unit, I would get at least 90 day warranty on parts and labor. otherwise it's not worth the risk.

Customer:

so this pnp arrow has no effect?

Customer:

why does it work then kick out as opposed to just not working?

Edward :

the PNP switch would not make it not pull , it's an electronic switch so the processor knows what gear is selected, however, the manual valve in the valve body applies 1st gear when vehicle speed is less than 5 mph or so.

Edward :

In other words, than transmission should pull when it's in D whether the switch is good or not.

Edward :

You could unplug the switch all together and put it in D and it would pull.

Edward :

(after it was started of course)

Edward :

That's because you still have mechanical linkage that attaches the shifter to the manual valve in the valve body.

Customer:

just want to exhaust easy possibilities before I do the big changeout. Is this more than an 8 hr job for a professional?

Edward :

It does pay 10, but I have gotten to where I could do them in about 5 hurrying fyi.

Edward :

I'd service it up and drain it in a clear pan, if you see any shrapnel or big clutch debris, good sign something inside it has failed.

Customer:

I drained from the lower pan than replaced nut and hooked a hose to the upper transmission line to the radiator.

Edward :

You may get a few more miles out of it servicing it and putting some friction modifier in it, or shudder fixx. I have seen it work before. yes that is right. pull the plug, put in a few quarts. then pull the top hose and pump it out by letting the engine idle. Lot of people just drain and fill, but that leaves old fluid in the tourque convertor that I like to get out.

Customer:

pumped a few qts with the motor running and repeated till clear. color is fine now but tranny still has problem...

Edward :

So servicing it didn't help it at all?

Customer:

better but not fixed. again, seems to kick out when it has warmed up...

Edward :

Put some friction modifier in it, and that might help it, but, if not, then I believe it's internal, and I believe you are going to have to either swap it out, or have to have it rebuilt. If it's the original unit, it is 17 years old. whats the mileage?

Edward :

we usually see that Aisin Warner unit get about 175K to little over 250K before it's had enough. fyi. depending on how many highway miles it is.

Customer:

mileage is 160k added sea foam for a cleaner bought Lucas but havent added yet, Maybe I should put a Buddah on the dash...

Edward :

That could help. :) I've heard conflicting stories about lucas, get some ford brand friction modifier and put about 3 ounces in it. if it's got any thing left on the clutch discs, that will help.

Edward :

Leave the winter switch on, then I think it locks it in 3rd gear. that may help.

Customer:

Do you buy that product from the dealer?

Edward :

but it's slow as a dog

Edward :

yes, you can go to ford, tell them you want some friction modifier like they put in posi-trac rear ends.

Edward :

so the rear end clutches grab, same theory as helping those clutches in your automatic grab.

Edward :

If that doesn't help it, it's gotta come out.

Customer:

ok, thanks for the advice...

Edward :

absolutely, thank you. hope that helps.

Edward, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Volvo
Satisfied Customers: 2276
Experience: I've had 10 years of experience on the car line at 2 Volvo dealerships, Quality level Volvo tech.
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