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Copyright © 2001-2017 by Russ Meyer
Things I've discovered about maintaining my vehicles:
1999 Chevy S-10 Pick-up, 2.2L
- The transmission is a model 4L60-E. The "E" stands for
electronic shift. Each gear within the transmission is shifted by a
small solenoid connected to a wire harness and routed to the car computer.
The solenoids and cables are all inside the transmission and are immersed in
automatic transmission fluid. That just seems weird to me.
- Checking the automatic transmission fluid level is much more
accurate when the engine and transmission are hot.
- The procedure for checking the automatic transmission fluid level:
- Drive the car until the engine and transmission are warmed up.
- Park the car on level ground.
- Engage the emergency brake.
- Move the gear selector through all the gears, pausing 3
seconds at each gear. When done, place the gear selector in PARK.
- Open the hood.
- Pull the transmission fluid dip stick and wipe it off.
- Fully insert the dipstick, wait 3 seconds then pull it out.
- Read the transmission fluid level. The level should be
in the range marked HOT on the dipstick.
- Symptoms of low automatic transmission fluid level:
- When cold the transmission doesn't pull very hard when
initially shifted from PARK to DRIVE. Pressing the throttle
produces a sluggish acceleration. This symptom is much less
noticeable when the engine and transmission warm up; but it's still
- At low speeds, as in city driving, the transmission is
- When the engine and transmission are hot and the car is being
driven on the highway, the transmission will frequently down-shift from
fourth to third gear. When this happens, it occurs at the slighted
reduction in throttle or load on the transmission. This makes it
an unexpected down-shift. The car will stay in third for maybe
5-20 seconds then shift back into fourth gear.
- These symptoms occur when the automatic transmission fluid is
one to 2 quarts low.
- Symptoms of a transmission over-filled with automatic transmission
- The shift from first to second gear will be a little rough and
abrupt. It jerks the car a little bit. Not the usual smooth,
almost unnoticeable shift.
- When the engine and transmission are hot, the car will
frequently not shift into fourth gear. It will fine through first
through third gears. The car shift into and out of fourth gear
fine most of the time when the transmission is cold. When starting
a highway trip with a cold transmission, as the transmission heats up
this fourth gear problem will eventually manifest itself. For
example, the car will down-shift from fourth to third when pulling a
hill or when passing another car. It then stays in third and will
not up-shift back to fourth.
- The transmission only need be over-filled
½ to ¾ of a quart to
cause the problem.
- The transmission does not seem to be
damaged when over-filled a little bit; like half a quart. At least
this seems true, if it's only allowed to be over-filled for a week or
two. Beyond that, I don't know.
- How to remove excess transmission fluid from an