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Doug, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mitsubishi
Satisfied Customers: 8598
Experience:  Mitsubishi employed and Factory trained ASE certified technician
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Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GT: I read your talk on this link.

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I read your talk on this link.

I have a very similar problem, 2001 eclipse V6 spyder GT, with the auto/sporttronic transmission.

The wife was driving to the store, the car jerked, and then nothing out of the transmission.

I looked for pooling at the sensor you were talking about couldn't really find it, but saw no evidence of pooling anywhere on the transmission... it's rather clean
Hi Sam,

With a code 44 (incorrect fourth gear ratio) this is most probable a sensor issue of some sort.
Whenever you have a ratio malfunction this is telling you that the computer is expecting a certain difference or ratio between the input and output sensors at any given speed. This is how it determines if the gear selection is correct. In simplest terms, if the transmission is in third gear and lets say that has a 1:3 ratio signal between front and rear sensors, but the actual detected ratio is different like 2:3 or 1:4 etc, the fault is thrown for ratio malfunction in which ever gear was being requested.

When this occurs, there are two possible scenarios.... either the ratio really is incorrect, and the wrong gear is selected, or the interpretation is incorrect (bad speed sensor, wiring, etc).

Has your Service Engine Soon light come on, and if so can you get it scanned (most auto parts stores do this for free)?
Has the vehicle regained normal operation at this point or is it still stuck in fail safe?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The vehicle is stuck in fail safe, right now it's not going any where, I had to have it towed home last night. my wife was driving to the store and they the car jerked and the transmission Neutral light started flashing at her. she called me I came over, took a look and called and had it towed, because it would not move at all.... reverse, drive....


then this morning after reading your link, I did some of these check you are talking about. One thing to note is about 6 months ago I had a cracked radiator, and had it replaced in Sep 2012. At that time it was spewing antifreeze all over the engine and tranny.


Yes the check engine light is on. Can I reset this by removing the battery lead? would the car "reset" the faults and correct itself if it was just a fail safe?


If the vehicle does not move at all, this is different from fail safe and would indicate a more severe issue. This would fall under the first possible cause for ratio malfunction, and actual incorrect ratio being read correctly, whereas in this instance the input shaft sensor is likely reading normal but the output sensor is not reading anything (since the vehicle won't move).

If you unhook the negative battery terminal for about 1 minute it will clear any faults that are no longer present.... do that first just for fun. Again with no movement in either direction, it should not help any though since even fail safe has... well, failed. Fail safe would allow you Reverse and Third gear in the event of any electrical malfunction.

Additionally, Can you do some fluid inspections for me? I'd like to know the following:
Fluid color/sediment level
Fluid level with engine off
Fluid level with engine running
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

disconnected the battery, check engine light is gone, problem still exist.


Fluid color looks to be a clear red,

Fluid level cold, is well above the "hot" mark about to the hump in the dipstick.


after letting it warm up

Fluid level engine the same.


Also when I put it in reverse (well any gear), the engine revs up, not extremely high but definitely a noticeable change in RPMs, I know when everything was working fine, the engine's RPMs would go down when I put it into gear.


New thing to note, now the engine has a ticking/clicking sound, almost like the valves are clicking..... it is cold outside today, but I have never heard that before. and it's noticeable from inside the car with the hood down!


I'm not feeling good about this one!


Your feelings are not betraying you..... this is bad.

While we can't form an exact diagnosis without pressure tests, we do know know enough to know that it is an internal failure based on your observations so far.

First and foremost.... there is no fail safe. That is a biggest neon sign we have flashing at us. The fail safe is just what it sounds like... it retains minimal operation in the event of any failure short of internal catastrophic failures (planetary failures, hydraulic pressure failures, etc). With no fail safe operation, we know we have a tough road ahead.

The fluid level.... when the engine is running, the fluid level should drop since it is circulating and not still.

The engine revving higher is a side effect of the transmission not loading the engine up. When the shifter is placed into Reverse or Drive the computer knows to increase the engine speed to compensate for the load of the torque converter and input shaft once it is engaged. With no load from the transmission, the engine computer doesn't have any way of knowing this, it just increases the engine idle speed valve the set amount and figures everything is OK. No load.... the engine speed becomes too high with this added compensation.

With regard to the ticking... that is a bit of a wild card. Depending on the nature of the failure you could very easily have clicking from this problem (transmission oil pump failure), however there are plenty of ways this could occur and not click (valve body pressure relief valve stuck open). It is entirely possible and even likely that the ticking is just injector noise (common) or worn lash adjusters in the engine (very common).

From here your best bet is to get the vehicle to a transmission shop or dealer that can perform a fluid pressure test. If your pump pressure is low..... well, you might as well get a used transmission. A pump failure will have long term side effects both with debris in the system and likely hundreds of miles of slipping before it failed, resulting in premature friction wear.
If the pump pressure is OK but all other line pressures are bad, you may have a defect in the valve body or a stuck pressure relief valve, etc. Not too terrible of a condition, compared.
If all pressures check out Aces, then there is a mechanical break inside preventing input to output shaft connection (planetary, torque converter, shaft, flywheel, etc). This is highly unlikely though, especially knowing that we do not have a fluid level drop when the engine is running, indicating low pump activity.

Unfortunately just about all roads lead to transmission removal at least if not replacement.

I am sorry I do not have better news.... hopefully a pressure test shows a valve body related issue to minimize the effects on your wallet.
Doug and other Mitsubishi Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your help! that was the feeling I got last night!

You're welcome.... get the check of pressure to be sure, but ultimately if the mileage is high it might make sense to just jump to pricing low mileage used or remanufactured units and save the ~$100-200 for pressure testing to go toward that. There isn't much that you are going to find that wrong with yours that is "cheap", and if the mileage is high it makes less and less sense to do a partial repair knowing more failures are likely coming down the pike anyway.

If there is anything else I can do just let me know.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Well they couldn't find a new or used transmission for me, the problem was as I thought.. and read about in many places.. there is a ring of some sort, and it broke and tore up the transmission. it was a $2800 rebuild.

Ugh, I'm sorry to hear that. It sounds like you had the wave spring fail, a relatively common issue.
It can be driven like that without even noticing sometimes, but when the pieces start floating around you can end up with chunks of wave spring in the regulator valve etc, obviously causing issue. It can make its way into the planetary set as well which will grind up the gears terribly (at that point you will normally be well aware of the impending issue though).

All things considered, $2800 for a rebuild is actually a really good price assuming it comes with a warranty. The cost of components makes overhauling these transmissions very difficult to do affordably.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yeah that is exactly what it was... and apparently the pieces tore up quite a few things inside, he gave me a list over the phone, when we were talking about price, but I had done the research so I knew $2800 was a very fair deal... Yeah I'm pretty happy with the results. I took my time and found the right transmission shop for the job. It came with a 12 month 12,000 mile w/ a nation wide service network... he also said he replaced it with what he called a more Heavy duty wave spring, he also said the same thing, it was a common problem, and that he has yet to see this more heavy duty wave spring fail. All in all I'm pretty happy with the outcome.. I had them replace the motor mounts while they were in there... I knew they were starting to go bad (you could hear it). Thanks again for your help

Sounds like the usual deal. They weren't jerking your chain, those tiny little slivers of metal will generally tear that thing apart inside. I would not be anything but satisfied with a $2800 over haul and one year warranty, that's a great deal on this particular transmission.
The wave springs are much better now than the original ones installed and you are not likely to have any repeat performance. They started pushing the new ones around 2005 or so, there are none of the old ones left.

I'm glad all is settled, if I can do anything else for you just let me know.