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I feel like an idiot.


Guest Craig57

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Guest Craig57

Using this forum for information. I thought I did my homework. Heres the lowdown....found car...test drove...brake check...no crack in windshield, I bought it then settled in at my motel room ready to roll in the morning. About 1/2 a mile on the freeway and the transmission starts to slip. Check the fluid again looks red no burnt smell. Got the Reatta home by driving in D not the OD position. Arrive home, oh boy here comes the wife. After my test drive that night I called to tell her every thing was A-OK. And now this. When I went to pull the car into the garage later it would not move at all. Guess I was lucky just to make the 160 mile trip.After my wife helped me push the car away there was now a giant pool of trans fluid in the snow. The car is a 89 Red/Tan w/sunroof(non working)and I love it but what now. I told the wife I would ask the folks on this forum while she is at work. Whats the most "FRUGAL" way to adress this issue? Thanks,Craig

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Guest re-reatta

Have you looked underneath? Maybe a cooling line loose or leaking. At this point all you can do is hope for a simple solution. Did you put more fluid in to see if it will move? If you do, maybe you'll be able to see where it is leaking from. Maybe the dealer knows of recent work done on it. Good luck and keep us posted.

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Well, sounds like a leak (they do not work well when three quarts down) so you need to find where it is (I'd start with the lines to the radiator though the center of the puddle should be an indicator.

Good news is that if you didn't notice a puddle under the car it is probably recent and repairable (Note: despite the "as is", a major defect like something dumping on the ground that is not new (and a good mech can tell)and/or patched with bubble gum is likely grounds for a small claims action (am not a lawyer, notary sojack, and other weasle disclaimers). Also you might check if Wisc. has a "three day right of recission" (sp?) on major purchases - usually weekends do not count). Anyone know ?

Best course of action if it is something more than minor is to contact the place where you bought it, tell them what the problem is, and ask for a partial refund (unless the price was absurdly low) to fix it. Sometimes it helps for a lawyer to write a letter.

And on the gripping hand, good 4T60 transmissions are common (90 or 91 is best just make sure is not an "E") and not that difficult a swap if you have a very good friend with a hoist. Hardest part is the four feet of extensions needed to remove the one tranny bolt that faces backwards - if you go that route, I'd replace the freeze plugs while there.

Take a deep breath and repeat "It's no big deal" while taking sips of an appropriate beverage (this time of year, Jameson's, Bailey's, Blue Mountain, and Reddi-Whip is good). It really isn't.

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Were there fluid leaks before you bought the car? You did look didn't you? : )

First thing, don't panic. Find where the fluid is coming from. May be something easy to fix. if it is something simple like the pan gasket, or cooler line, fix it and move on.

It could also be an axle seal or front pump seal. Not a simple fix.

If it is a major item, contact the seller and try to work something out. Be nice. You are at his mercy so it would be in your favor not to pee him off right off the bat. Try to negotiate and maybe he will help you our with repair costs.

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I seriously doubt the transmission is bad, especially with only 120K.

I would check not only for a possible ruptured rubber line, but also a corroded (and leaking) metal line in your part of the country. also, make sure the pan bolts are all tight.

be sure to look at the back of the car and see if it is covered with transmission fluid. if it is, it would indicate that the leak was also occuring on your entire trip home. if not, it only leaks when it is stopped.

if any of the repairs are beyond your capabilities (or you hate working in sub-freezing temperatures), find a reputable INDEPENDENT transmission shop, and let them have a look at it.

just like the engines, the Reatta transmissions are extremely long-lived. my 1990 convertible is presently at 499,978 miles, and neither the engine or transmission have ever been opened. I'm sure yours has a very long way to go, too.

lemon laws are for new cars only, and there isn't a state in the Union that has any "three day rule" when it comes to cars; that's a very common misconception. most of the "three day" laws apply to real estate, and real estate loans only.

Mike

buickreattaparts.com

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Guest Craig57

I live in Milwaukee and bought the car in Indiana.Wisconsin has no right to rescind law. Don't know about Indiana. The transmission was slipping prior to the puddle issue. So now I'm on the hunt for a AT60.

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That is premature. The transmission, according to you, does not have a burnt smell so it is not likely the transmission needs to be replaced. Do the basics and see where the fluid is coming from before jumping to conclusions. It may be the fluid was low causing the slipping.

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Guest daveagain909

check and find leak first , a transmission will slip as it starts running out of fluid and eventually not move, Again check for the leak then progress on to replace transmission. I would still call the dealer and tell him that the transmission is bad and see what he or she says, If he is reputable he will help.

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You don't know how much tranny fluid leaked out and how much is laying on the ground. It test drove great and everything seemed fine at first. You stated that the fluid was red and didn't smell burnt. So I would agree with the others that I would start with the idea of a burst hose/corroded line. I would start by getting it up on jack stands, and filling it back up a quart at a time, checking after the first quart goes in for leaks. If none add three/four quarts, fire it up,put it in nuetral and see where it is coming from then.

Or call a towing company and have it towed to a local tranny guy with a good rep and have him check it out.

There is a Reatta fanatic [Randy] known on the forum as Manikmakanic who lives just off higway 50 and 94. Give him a call at 262-620-1829. He would be able to best advise you or maybe for a small fee will come and take a look at it. He is very mechanical and has about 6-7 Reattas, some drivers, some parts cars, and might advise you.

As the others have stated the trannys on this car are quite common and are not too expensive. As a matter of fact there is a salvage yard on the www.car-part.com website at a place called Brunos in Franksville,Wi. that has a GM factory rebuilt sticker on it for $300.00.

Just remember before you beat yourself up too bad that these cars are all 20 years old and have some gotchas to them. Your gotcha might be a little more expensive but we all have had them.

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I'll agree with the "It's a Leak" crowd. Get it up in the air. If it was leaking while driving you will have a fine coating of oil under the car. Look for the furthest forward dry spot. It's leaking right behind that. The trans lines are the likely culprit. They are still available and very easy to install. You may want to drop the pan while it's up in the air just to get a good look. If it ran dry for a while the magnet will be really fuzzy. Good luck.

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Guest crazytrain2

Craig - If it makes you feel any better (or more ambitious) I've replaced the same tranny in my garage using no more than a a couple of floor jacks and a 4x4 with an eye bolt (to support and allow height adjustment of engine).

I must add the disclaimer though that they were from Park Ave's 89-90

Padgett - I hear ya on the 4' of extensions for that backard facing bolt LOL

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Guest Bobby Valines

If you take it to a GOOD trans. shop with a free estament. They will let you know real quick. Get whatever they say in writing and try to get the people you bought it from to pay it, or take the car back. Then again the bill might be cheap enough just to pay it and forget about it.

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I saw the pictures and even called the guy. Based on what I saw I thought it was a nice car. I am sure that once you get past this, you will just have the typical Reatta problems the rest of us have/had.

Lets hope the tranny issue goes well for you.

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Guest gotitright

On the inside of the pan is an actual magnet, it attracts any metal shavings to keep them from recirculating with the fluid. Hopefully, the magnet will be relatively clean.

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Two things:

If the fluid was bright red, it may have been changed for the sale. Also, if it was just changed, the drain plug may be the source of your leak if not put back in properly.

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Guest alex_houston

I have worked on many transmitions but only a few in Reattas. The Reatta ones I have worked on did not have a drain plug. Are you talking about the torque converter or something? I fear I may be missing something here?

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Craig,

Two things, 1st on my 1991 with the 4T60E, there is no drain plug. Fluid/filter is changed by dropping the pan. Can't speak to the 88-90 models, the non-electronic tranny may have a plug, but I would be surprised if it did - most don't.

2nd, if you drop the pan, and the magnet has a lot of metal fuzz or shavings on it, that is off the working parts of the transmission. While it is normal to have some metal residue there on a high-mileage transmission, a lot of accumulated shavings is probably not good. Of course, if they just changed the fluid (and dropped the pan) they may have cleaned the magnet off, so this may not be a good indication of the unit's condition.

I would look at the gasket to see if it looks new if and when you drop the pan. I hope for your sake that the seller didn't resort to any underhanded tactics to get the car sold, and maybe this is all just coincidence.

Just start with the easiest explanations first, before assuming that this problem means you need a whole new transmission.

Keep us posted, please.

KDirk

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AFAIK no 440T4/4T40/4T40E ever had a drain plug though some owners may have added one. Dropping the pan only changes about 1/3 of the fluid but some shops can pump out more. Also always replace the filter when you drop the pan, flatten the mounting surface to remove any dimples caused by overtightening, use a new gasket, and do not overtighten (10 lb-ft is about right).

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Guest Craig57

Tranny shop said it was an axle seal. Recommended rebuild then before he got to the price informed me that not only was my Reatta rare but the transmission was too. I asked how was it different,from say a Riviera? Oh,its internal he said. I said "Well not according to my BCA/Reatta club internet friends". Then it was on to plan B thanks to Daves89. I bought the boneyard tranny from Bruno's($300.00) that he tipped me off about. Including new seals installed its another $500.00 labor on the installation. I still feel like an idiot that I did not catch this on my test drive. I may try to talk to the car lot owner and see what he has to say. Oh by the way I had to put a catalytic converter on it too.(that loose exhaust hanger turned out to be another $150.00 for the converter) I think he will plead ignorance and tell me to go pound sand. I plan on saying"Hey Bob you told me this thing was going to make it back to Milwaukee". I must of said that half a dozen times when I was picking the car up. Over the phone from Bob the answer was no problem. Employees at the lot,no problem. I had a problem. I'm sure the car lot could care less. Maybe not. We'll see when I call him tomorrow.Don't get me wrong I'm sure I'm going to love driving the Reatta when the trans isn't slipping to high heaven and sounds like a sick bulldozer. Thanks to my local go to guy manikmekanik for soothing words over the phone and all the other folks who have helped me out.Thank you all so much. My Bucket List includes visiting you all in my finished Reatta to take you all out to lunch. Thanks,Craig

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Guest daveagain909

I'd stay away from that transmission shop. he should just replace the seal. They always say the transmission needs rebuilding, beware, beware......

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Guest daveagain909

also I never heard anything in the drive train was rare.. anyone in the know? Please comment? I need to know this for future reference.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">he informed me that not only was my Reatta rare but the transmission was too. I asked how was it different,from say a Riviera? Oh,its internal he said. I said "Well not according to my BCA/Reatta club internet friends".</div></div>If you didn't believe him about that, why would you believe him when he told you the transmission needed to be rebuilt? Don't trust anyone you can't believe to work on your car. Are you able to do the work yourself? If not find a different transmission shop before you do anything else.

Axle seals are external parts that are not to hard to replace if you have the tools. I would try the axle seals first before spending the big bucks to replace the transmission.

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Guest daveagain909

I agree with ronnie, run from that shop and find a reputable one . I had my daughters nissan rebuilt at a AAA shop in cary nc , They seemed good and I got a 3 year warrenty, just less than $1000 for the whole job, They have to report to AAA if they screw with you and will loose there affiliation. stay away from AAmco I have never heard a good story about them. .

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I'm glad you got off cheap. I have replaced a few axle seals over the years. Never have I seen one leak so bad it caused that much to leak out. It usually more of a seepage type leak. As far as the shop telling you a rebuild is in order, they aren't in the biz to do a half arse job. They want to do it right. Easiest way is to tear it down and rebuild it. They can't take the chance someone dumped two pints of stop leak in just to have it fail a month later. They will get blamed for the failure. Yeah, you spent a little more than I would have, but you are happy. Good luck.

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Guest jamhudson

I would have filled it up with fluid first and if it worked ok till fluid was low I would have put in the seal. Not a big job at all. Never let a trans slip, if you do you are burning the friction material off the clutches. Let up on it!!! Steping down to keep going is crazy and $$$$$ burned up.

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If a seal and that bad there would have been a puddle everywhere it parked - dealer must have known.

Nothing unusual about the Reatta 4T60/440T4 trans, same as many many Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Pontiacs with 4 and 6 cyl from 1987 to 1991. Did have a 2.97 final but is nothing special, any will interchange

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