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  #16  
Old 09-14-2018, 10:33 PM
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Aerostars and Astrovans also suck. Caravans are just better minivans than the competition. I suppose the Ford and GM FWD minivan equivalents aren't so bad, though.
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  #17  
Old 09-15-2018, 12:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMan View Post
I worked on a Vanagon once, with a Ford Focus engine in it. Manual transmission, 4 speed. The man wanted to drive it on the highway, cuz it was a camper, but 4th gear just wasn't tall enough, at 60mph the motor was buzzing away at 4000rpm. After much deliberation and research, we came up with a plan. I replaced the 4th gear gears with 5th gear gears from a 5 speed. There's now a giant ass gap between 3rd and 4th, but in 4th it cruises on the highway with low rpm. Man was happy as a clam.
So you basically turned it into a 4-speed overdrive hm? The behavior of the modified 4-speed sounds like that of our '84 Lynx. The car may be long gone but I vividly recall many small details.

What did the transmission come out of?

Last edited by Jon A.; 09-15-2018 at 01:59 PM.
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  #18  
Old 09-16-2018, 12:30 AM
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So you basically turned it into a 4-speed overdrive hm? The behavior of the modified 4-speed sounds like that of our '84 Lynx. The car may be long gone but I vividly recall many small details.

What did the transmission come out of?
It was the original Vanagon transmission. If I recall, the numbers suggested that the 4 speed was just barely an overdrive as it was, but yeah, basically. Fortunately, there's a company in Cali that does nothing but make VW manual transmission parts. The guy I talked to there was super helpful and knew literally everything about the subject.
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  #19  
Old 09-16-2018, 11:29 AM
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I've always thought those Eagles were cool. kind of like a proto-crossover with real 4WD and torque, no effeminate lines, no traverse engines, no dash tablet infotainment.......
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  #20  
Old 09-16-2018, 04:35 PM
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The car wasn't in the parking lot when I drove past the shop on Friday afternoon so I am guessing we will know the exact prognosis within the next day or so.
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  #21  
Old 09-16-2018, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MadMan View Post
It was the original Vanagon transmission. If I recall, the numbers suggested that the 4 speed was just barely an overdrive as it was, but yeah, basically. Fortunately, there's a company in Cali that does nothing but make VW manual transmission parts. The guy I talked to there was super helpful and knew literally everything about the subject.
Yeah I figured, I just wonder how that transmission would bolt up to a Focus engine.

Man, you guys really struck gold with that shop. Sure beats swapping out the entire tranny, nothing was wasted, sweet.
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  #22  
Old 09-17-2018, 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Jon A. View Post
Yeah I figured, I just wonder how that transmission would bolt up to a Focus engine.

Man, you guys really struck gold with that shop. Sure beats swapping out the entire tranny, nothing was wasted, sweet.
Heh, as I mentioned, Vanagon engines suck, and everyone knows it. I suppose so many people owned camper vans with those depressing VW motors, that somewhere along the line, someone figured there was a market to sell these guys engine swap kits. The Focus engine doesn't bolt up to a VW trans, there's an adapter plate. It's like a 1 inch thick aluminum plate, with all the appropriate bolt holes for that particular engine/trans pair.
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  #23  
Old 09-17-2018, 02:09 PM
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And the envelope, please...


Code:
***************************************
*                                                                   *
*         STUPIDEST CAR CHOICE OF 2018         *
*                                                                   *
*                                                                   *
*                                                                   *
*                                                                   *
*                          MIPS                                  *
*                                                                   *
*   "Bought a 1982 AMC Eagle for $2000,          *
*  However needs $3500 Transmission rebuild" *
*                                                                   *
*                                                                   *
***************************************
The Prophecy was fulfilled.
Well, I guess that writes off any personal expenses for the next six months.

The transmission was dropped and an inspection was performed. The fluid was found to be burned indeed while particles were found in the filter and the pump had failed. A used transmission is not available (that I already knew) so the only viable solution is to have this transmission torn down and completely rebuilt, which at the least comes with an 80000km warranty. Now that figure is worst-case. If they find components in the transmission are still good that cost will go down but this is still a costly mistake.

Last edited by MIPS; 09-17-2018 at 04:06 PM.
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  #24  
Old 09-17-2018, 05:20 PM
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No need to get sucked in by a second con artist. There ought to be a few transmissions that can go into that thing. As far as I know it uses the same underpinnings as an ordinary Jeep. I'm sure our resident mechanic can chime in with more info.

Personally I'd take the opportunity to get rid of the slushbox and turn it into a manual.
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  #25  
Old 09-17-2018, 05:52 PM
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Didn't you say one of the wrecking yards near you had an Eagle?...What about the trans in the wrecking yard Eagle?
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  #26  
Old 09-17-2018, 07:27 PM
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We inquired about that. It and its transfer case were pulled last week.
We also inquired about other salvage units. They are out there in the $800 range (new seals and installation extra, so about $1500) however I'm basing off the luck I had when I did the same with my Tracker. Sure it was a partial rebuild with a quarter the mileage but I barely reached Valemont 350km to the north and the needle bearing whine came right back. There is a chrysler equiv that some research seems to indicate however the AMC bellhousing mounts are not compatible. The option to go Manual still remains however the cost of getting a decent used transmission because of their desireability puts me close to the $3500 mark again after all the work is done.

I did the stupid anyways and gave the go-ahead to proceed on the rebuild. In the long run it will cost me money but if the Tracker sells I end up making even for the forseeable future and have to push paint and upholstry repairs until next summer as opposed to this winter and next spring. I already do 20000km in a car every year so the assurance that the transmission, which is the second most scary thing in this car besides the transfer case, will be covered under a warranty should it fail again under my initial ownership.
What gets me is that the previous owner was not a somebody in the boonies who dragged the car out of the woods, drove it for a few clicks and then decided to turf it before it went on him. Like, the guy had two other cars in excellent condition, a house, two kids and a wife. The purchase came with a mountain of replacement parts, service docs and we went on a lengthy test drive while allowing me to crawl in around and under the car. He didn't try to save his losses by holding to new parts nor prevent me from catching what might be an attempt to hide any problems. I'm starting to think that the car actually was fine for the decade he owned the car as a leisure wagon to the local hotsprings and simply the drive through the mountains was the point that pushed it from "I'm old and my seals are going but I can still do a long weekend drive to Radium" to "If you are going to push me like this I'm going to teach you a lesson about old seals"

Anyways after this I'm swearing off automatic transmissions again unless I'm forced. Stupid things.

Last edited by MIPS; 09-17-2018 at 07:51 PM.
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  #27  
Old 09-17-2018, 11:34 PM
fixmeplease fixmeplease is offline
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Seller could have easily thought it was fine.

Any vehicle Ive ever bought with an AT the last 40 years is always a gamble but a stupid test I learned long ago is to do the following. Put it in drive with a foot on the brake pedal and step on the gas a little. The engine should bog down. If it doesnt the tranny is crap. Do the same in reverse. If it does bog down it could still be crap but its less likely. Obviously it needs to shift well too.

Thats an old mechanic and car buyers test from the 70's. Your results may vary.
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  #28  
Old 09-18-2018, 12:21 AM
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You got screwed by that mechanic, dude. Never authorize a tear down of a transmission or something terribly major like that. Once they've taken it apart, they've got you by the balls and can charge you anything they like (like $3500 for a simple old fashioned transmission), because it's in their shop and it's in pieces. You gotta pay them to tear it down whether or not you OK'd the repair, and if you decide to take it somewhere else, it'll be in pieces and the next mechanic will charge you more because of it, plus the towing. A trans on that is maybe a $2000 job, perhaps up to $2500, but too late now.

Also, why would you swear off automatic transmissions? Do you have ANY idea how much money it costs to rebuild a manual transmission? LOL you funny guy! Last manual transmission I rebuilt was maybe $4-5k, and MY prices are actually reasonable.

You really should have consulted somebody before letting your mechanic tear it down. However, all things considered, you're not doing too terribly. So you paid a little too much for the car, had some bad luck, and paid a little too much for a repair. Really, you're not too far behind. My advice, keep that car in good shape, because you're in it for the long haul now. And next problem you have with it, shop around.

Last edited by MadMan; 09-18-2018 at 12:39 AM.
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  #29  
Old 09-18-2018, 10:10 AM
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If you've been burnt on a lot of bad automatic trans look for something that uses a Ford C6 auto. They are grenade proof and generally really solid. When I got my Lincoln at 57K on the clock the trans fluid was a pinch dark and there was an occasional speck of metal on some level checks...It leaks enough that instead of changing the fluid once a year I end up putting about that much in it some years. Now at 70K of hauling that suburban weight sedan with lots of hard accelerating and hills, it still does everything it should despite people telling me near the start that I should have it rebuilt...I probably will someday, but I can't help but like how long it is lasting.
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  #30  
Old 09-18-2018, 10:13 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMan View Post
You got screwed by that mechanic, dude. Never authorize a tear down of a transmission or something terribly major like that. Once they've taken it apart, they've got you by the balls and can charge you anything they like (like $3500 for a simple old fashioned transmission), because it's in their shop and it's in pieces. You gotta pay them to tear it down whether or not you OK'd the repair, and if you decide to take it somewhere else, it'll be in pieces and the next mechanic will charge you more because of it, plus the towing. A trans on that is maybe a $2000 job, perhaps up to $2500, but too late now.

Also, why would you swear off automatic transmissions? Do you have ANY idea how much money it costs to rebuild a manual transmission? LOL you funny guy! Last manual transmission I rebuilt was maybe $4-5k, and MY prices are actually reasonable.

You really should have consulted somebody before letting your mechanic tear it down. However, all things considered, you're not doing too terribly. So you paid a little too much for the car, had some bad luck, and paid a little too much for a repair. Really, you're not too far behind. My advice, keep that car in good shape, because you're in it for the long haul now. And next problem you have with it, shop around.
Aren't prices a lot higher in Canada? Maybe it isn't as high as we think.
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