Transmission suddenly started slipping only sometimes an only when hot. Could it be a sensor?

Tiny
DOUG_IRE
  • 1998 CHEVROLET MALIBU
  • 143,000 MILES

I bought a 98 malibu which ran great, new battery, new front strut assemblies and a 2.4 engine with automatic tranny. IN JAN 2012
I knew it needed a brake line and drove it home 16 miles on the e brake without a problem.
long story short I registered the car and decided that all the brake lines and fuel lines were to be replaced. The rear spring was broken so grabbed a pair from a near by bone yard.
Since the 10 day NYS temp sticker was expired (by 5 months) we used a flatbed to get the car to the inspection station this morning. Picked it up and went to a local store about 6 miles, low oil pressure light came on idling in the parking lot, when the gas pedal was pressed it went off. Then got it back home ( 1 mile)and when we went to swap out cars in the driveway lost forward gears ( reverse works fine but all forward gears feel like they slip but move the car). Could it be sensor issues from disconnecting and removing the battery? Have to drive it 75 miles for the computer to be ready and pass the emission part of the inspection.
I bought this car for my wife originally, but having second thoughts. Any input or thoughts would be appreciated. I have worked on alot of older cars when I owned my shop from 1995 - 2002 kinda stumped with this one.

Thanks
Doug

Went out this morning started it up reverse worked forward worked. When it got up to temp forward would hesitate then engage after a second and go. I'm still thinking sensor

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Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 AT 6:08 PM

26 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
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As far as the oil pressure light your going to have to remove the sensor and do a oil pressure reading to see if its a bad sender or oil pressure issue. Now the transmission there sbouldnt be any learning for the car to move in the forward gears. Do you have any codes in computer?If so what are the exact code nunbers not code descriptions.

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Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 AT 6:23 PM
Tiny
DOUG_IRE
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There never was a code or CEL. I need to drive it to get an inspection sticker, an have 9 days left

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Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 AT 6:33 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
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Sounds like a internal issue or pressure issue I would still check for codes if there arent any then most likely its a pressure issue or a internal issue. Hows the transmission fluid?Driving it could damage the transmission further have you checked to make sure the battery cables are clean and tight?Also had the battery and alternator tested?A bad battery or alternator can greatly effect the computer controls on that car.

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Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 AT 8:05 PM
Tiny
DOUG_IRE
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Will be checking the fluid but the wizards that designed it didn't put a dipstick on it

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Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 AT 8:15 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
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There is a 11mm bolt that is a level hole to tell when its full.I was refering to debris in the transmission pan etc and color of fluid. The first thing I would do is check for codes then dona pressure test on the transmission then check the trans pan for debris etc.

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Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 AT 9:44 PM
Tiny
DOUG_IRE
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The car has been sitting for a while, and seemed fine after replacing the brake lines.

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Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 AT 12:26 PM
Tiny
DOUG_IRE
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Iv'e seen the bolt to check the level mentioned quite often but no one tells exactly where it is

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Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 AT 12:28 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
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That plug is over where the passenger axle comes out of the transmission towards the front of the car.

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Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 AT 2:14 PM
Tiny
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I have no idea what fixing a brake line has to do with transmission that makes no sense.

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Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 AT 2:15 PM
Tiny
DOUG_IRE
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Sorry I had to "remove the battery" to replace the brake lines. Would that have any impact on the sensors for the transmission

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Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 AT 5:35 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
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No remove the battery isnt going to make the transmission to do what its doing.

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Friday, June 15th, 2012 AT 12:40 AM
Tiny
DOUG_IRE
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Seems I can drive the car for about 9 miles, then the oil light comes on, when I stop at a light it runs rough came back home put it in park. Started the car reverse worked but would not engage into drive. 3rd time with the exact same pattern. The ignition key was really hot so I have a new switch coming Monday.

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Thursday, June 21st, 2012 AT 6:26 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
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So how is the ignition switch heating the key up?Also have you checked the alternator when its acting up?

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Thursday, June 21st, 2012 AT 6:42 PM
Tiny
DOUG_IRE
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We took the car out to get some mileage on it. When we got away from the stop and go traffic and just drove, it seemed fine. Hit the parkway and put 87 miles on before hitting the inspection station, and pulled right in to the bay. Pulled it out with a sticker in reverse into a parking spot. The question was would it have forward gear. It did we drove another 1.5 miles to the house put it in park shut it off. Waited a few minutes started it again and it had forward and reverse gears?
Could all these problems be from sitting? I have read that the ignition switch is a common problem with these cars and effects multiple systems. For $15 for a DELCO switch couldn't hurt to put one in, besides that the key can be pulled out of the ignition in the run position. I have no idea how the switch heats the key, but it was like it had been held under a flame. Now that I have an inspection sticker I can do some testing and not have to worry about a $75 ticket.

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Friday, June 22nd, 2012 AT 12:39 PM
Tiny
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I really dont see how the car sitting could cause loss of movement when putting it in gear. As far being able to remove the key while in the run position has nothing to do with the ignition switch. That would be a worn key or worn ignition cylinder.

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Saturday, June 23rd, 2012 AT 3:48 AM
Tiny
DOUG_IRE
  • MEMBER

I wanted to thank you for your input. I took the car to Aamco, they pulled the pan and found a lot of metal. I'm having a used tranny (44K miles on it)put in. I would have done it myself if it wasn't for having to take the sub frame out. # 2 wizard move for the designers.

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Saturday, August 11th, 2012 AT 2:37 PM
Tiny
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Your welcome thats what were here for. To remove the subframe isnt hard you just need a engine support which you can get a nice otc one online for 127 free shipping.I have done it on jack stands in my garage before. Dropping the subframe makes it a lot easier.I would like to see you remove the transmission on a front wheel drive car without being able to drop the subframe.

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Saturday, August 11th, 2012 AT 7:11 PM
Tiny
DOUG_IRE
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Well the nightmare continues. I swapped the front and rear passenger side tires, The next day the passenger side axle removed itself from the car. Didn't come all the way out. When I took the axle out the circle clip on the transmission end of the stub axle was gone. I am making a magnet on a coat hanger to see if the clip is inside the transmission. The way is see it there are 2 explanations.

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Friday, December 14th, 2012 AT 5:42 PM
Tiny
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So did the sub frame drop down causing the axle to pop out?

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Sunday, December 16th, 2012 AT 4:39 PM
Tiny
DOUG_IRE
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The subframe did not drop. Everyone I have talked to about it says the same thing. Possible that the axle retaining clip was not on when the tranny was put in. New problem is all of a sudden there is no power to the interior lights, and no blown fuses?

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Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 AT 10:53 PM

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