Is the transmission dying again?
March 13, 2008 2:42 PM Subscribe
CarFilter: Why does my transmission hate me so?
posted by winston to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total)
1999 Suzuki Esteem GL, manual 5-speed transmission, 1.6 L engine.
Purchased in January 2004, a lease return with 70,000 km. We both had a little trouble shifting into 3rd at first but eventually got the hang of it -- don't know if that's related.
July 2006, the transmission died a spectacular death. The transmission shop said they'd never seen a manual transmission in such bad condition. Every gear except second had multiple teeth completely missing. They did not see any of the tell-tale signs that would indicate that the transmission or clutch was abused. They believed that this transmission, at this age, without abuse, should not be showing any damage. They could not explain the damage other than maybe it was somehow defective when it was originally put together.
For a variety of reasons, I trust that this transmission shop is completely honest. Not to say they couldn't have made a mistake, but I don't believe they deliberately scammed me. I did personally inspect all the broken pieces they replaced -- everything was obviously badly broken.
So we replaced the following with new parts:
-Every gear except second, plus some other hard parts (don't remember the names, there were two arm-like things that were bent)
-All soft parts inside the transmission
-The clutch (it wasn't absolutely necessary yet, but the end of it's life was approaching and it was cheaper to do it while everything was disassembled anyway).
All together, including tax, it came to about $4000 (CAD). If we'd got a rebuilt transmission instead of new parts, it would have been $3500. The new parts had a parts and labour warranty for one year, unlimited mileage.
In the past few weeks, I've done alot of driving in slippery conditions. If the wheels start to spin, I try to start in second gear (I do not do this unless both drive wheels are on a surface too slippery for the car to move even a little bit in first gear). It has often been impossible to shift into second when at a standstill -- it just clashes and doesn't engage. Other times it works fine. Yesterday the car popped out of first gear while driving -- this was something that had happened a few times before the transmission went out the last time.
The car is currently approaching 140,000 km
Is the transmission or clutch dying again? If so, what could explain the short life-span of the parts in our transmission? Both drivers of this vehicle have long experience using a manual transmission on multiple vehicles (each of those driven for a longer period of time than we've driven this one) and have not previously had/caused transmission problems. This does not to seem to be a problem for 1999 Esteems in general, AFAICT.