Car Tips

Curious Web Sites

This page last updated on 02/22/2021.

Copyright 2001-2021 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 there.
    •  At low speeds, as in city driving, the transmission is somewhat noisy.
    •  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 slightest 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 fluid:
    •  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 in first through third gears.  The car shifts 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 to 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 as long as 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 over-filled transmission: