1989 Dodge Daytona • 4 cylinder 2WD Automatic • 145 miles

The car starts and runs good doesnt shake or anything you put it into first and it just creeps along the engine revs but you just creep until you hit 2nd gear then everything runs like normal what can I do?

Sounds like the transmission is slipping. Forcing it to move like that could turn a minor problem into a very expensive rebuild. The initial problem could be as simple as low fluid level or a partially plugged filter. If a clutch pack is slipping, the plates will be destroyed if you continue driving it like that.

Apr 9, 2011.
We checked the fluids and everything was ok with that how can we check about the flugged filter or a clutch pack? We just bought this car yesterday for like 500 our other car is in the shop and this one ran fine getting it home then now its doing this and we know nothing about this kind of car do you know what we can try?

Once you understand these little cars, they are really nice, especially compared to all the newer stuff with the insanely unnecessary, unreliable computers. My daily driver is an '88 Grand Caravan with the same transmission as in your car. I regularly pull a tandem axle enclosed trailer that's bigger than the van and that transmission has had only one filter and fluid change in its life of 225,000 miles! It's a really tough unit.

The easiest way to check for a plugged filter is to just remove the pan and replace it. If there is a lot of debris in the bottom of the pan, the clutch plates might already be coming apart. You might be able to save it yet if the filter is replaced.

Also check if the fluid is nice and red or if it looks transparent and feels like varnish. That's a sign it should have been replaced a long time ago. If it is dark and smells acrid or burned, the clutch packs have been slipping and they overheated the fluid.

A mechanic can use a pressure gauge to see what is happening. There are many ports to test supply pressure and the pressure going to each clutch pack. He can give you a diagnosis based on those readings and other tests. If the news is bad, don't scrap the car. If the body is in good shape, there are people all over the country looking for these cars. Up here in Wisconsin, the road salt capital of the world, I have a few former students who regularly head south looking for these cars.

Apr 9, 2011.
Thanks we will try these things and see if it will hopefully fix the car. One other thing I dont know if you will know how to do this one the kid that we bought this from sprayed the lights with black out stuff and rattle canned the car like I said it was a young kid and the lights on the rear end dont show at all is there anyway we can get this off?

Brings back memories of my youth. I'm glad I'm growed up now! Did he not consider that brake lights are required for a very legitimate safety reason? And tail lights prevent other people from running into him at night?

If he sanded the lenses to make the paint adhere better, they are ruined already so you might as well try sanding them some more to get the paint off. If he didn't sand them, the plastic is very shiny and slippery so the paint might come off rather easily. You could try dabbing on some brake parts cleaner. That works real well to clean brake fluid off painted surfaces. I don't think it will melt the plastic lens but just do a small spot first to see. Bug and tar remover might work too. That stuff won't melt plastic but it's possible it could fog the lens if it's left on too long. You might also try car wax. Many waxes melt the surface of the paint so it can be spread around to fill in scratches. In the '70s there was a product called "Star Bright" that did that. Your rag would end up the color of the car.

As a last resort you can always find replacements in the salvage yard. If you are anywhere between Indianapolis to southern Georgia, Alabama, etc, there is a real nice chain of yards called "Pull-A-Part" where you pay your buck, throw your tool box in one of their wheel barrows, and you can spend all day searching for prizes. The yards are all very clean and well organized, the people are very friendly, and parts are very reasonable. I've been to about a dozen of them and always came home with a van load of treasures. The largest lenses will run you less than 24 bucks.

Apr 9, 2011.
The guy that did it he just rattle canned the whole car and didnt think to tape anything off he had no clue what he was doing so I really doubt that he even thought about the break lights and everything so it should come right off thanks for your imput were going to try to just change the filter and oil tonight before we order the clutch kit but my husband said that everything you were talking about makes alot of sense so thank you so much

Let me know what happens with the new filter and fluid. I wouldn't try to rebuild the transmission yourself unless someone there has experience and the tools. I did one myself many years ago and had a video tape to follow. This is one transmission that gives such extremely little trouble that I would be confident buying a used one from the salvage yard. Pull-A-Parts's price is less than 45 bucks without a warranty, or 57 bucks with a warranty, but you have to remove it yourself. (Cars are all well-supported off the ground already). You'll pay much more for a rebuild kit with all of the clutch plates, seals, and other small parts. The only thing is if you do get a used one, you'll have to transfer over your old pan because they punch holes in them to drain the fluid before setting them in the yard.

Apr 9, 2011.
Never would have ever thought about buying a tranny off of a junk yard car how sure are you would you do this on your own car?

The one I would stay away from is the four speed computer-controlled automatic. Chrysler was the first company to invent and use it in 1989 but only on the 3.3L V-6. They had a lot of trouble the first years. That's why it's better to rebuild what you have than get one from a salvage yard. Installing it is too much work to find out it's no good. I have a 1989 Grand Voyager that had that transmission rebuilt a year before I bought the van. Also have a '95 Grand Caravan that had a rebuilt one installed at the dealership I worked for. My mother bought it a week later and had to have another transmission put in a few years after that. I don't trust that transmission any further than I'm willing to walk back home. I have a '93 Dynasty with that transmission too, but that car only has 4,000 miles so it should last a while.

I would rebuild that transmission myself only because of the high cost of a used one and the high cost of having someone else rebuild it. I use my '88 Grand Caravan to pull a huge trailer but that has the older three speed transmission like your car has. The four speed would explode with its tongue hanging out before I got to the end of my driveway if I tried to pull a trailer that big.

By the way, one easy way to tell if you have the four-speed is there will be a circle around the letter "D" on the shift indicator on the dash or on the floor. Now that I think of it, there were some Daytonas that came with a V-6 but that was the 3.0L Mitsubishi engine. I don't think they had the four-speed with that engine yet in '89.

If you go searching for a transmission in the salvage yard, look at the front and sides of the pan where it is glued to the case. If it is wet in those areas, someone may have recently worked on it in hopes of solving a problem. Pull-A-Part doesn't buy smashed cars so anything you find there is likely to have engine or transmission trouble. That's typically when people junk them, but you never know for sure. Sometimes they just can't figure out why they don't run right, or there can be elusive electrical problems and people just give up trying to solve them. I'd say you stand only a five percent chance of getting a good four-speed transmission, but there's a 95 percent chance of getting a good three-speed for your car. The chances of getting a good one of either transmission is higher at the more expensive yards where they dismantle everything because sometimes they know the history and won't sell a part that is known to be bad, and if the car was in a crash, chances are the engine and transmission were working fine the day before.

Apr 9, 2011.
We took the filter and drained the fuid and e have 2 problems one theres a maze looking part that the top comes off and there was a bb looking ball in there and then there was 5 of them sitting on top of it. And 2 there was a huge pile of junk on the bottom part of the pan like a big black silver oil glob smelled like paint thinner should we clean that off or is that something we should leave

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