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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long day- where do I start?

99 Durango- had it for 6 years with 180k miles. GREAT car until today.

Out of nowhere, the car started to act funny. It would stay in 1st gear and would feel like it wasn't catching when the accelerator was pushed. It did this on and off throughout the day.

We decided to take her in the mechanic, and I followed my dad as he drove it in. As I was driving behind, I heard a loud "Clunk!" and I smelled burning transmission fluid-not good. It finally wouldn't engage a gear (except reverse) at all 2 miles from the mechanic.

In your professional opinions, how bad is the damage and how much would a rebuild cost?

Thank you very much.
 

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Perhaps the trans fluid leaked out over the span of the day. It might have been burned (dark brown/black in colour) and then it leaked out, which would explain the smell, the lack of shifting out of 1st, and the clunk sound. I'd check, or get someone else to check the linkage to make sure it's not stuck, or broken. I noticed with several of my older vehicles, that gasket leaks were the source of a lot of problems. Canadian winters do have that effect on vehicles....

I lent my old spirit to my mother for not even 24 hours - and I check ALL fluids every few days, no matter how much the vehicle is driven. Anyway, I later found out that she managed to get a hole in the trans pan (ran over something at her brothers farm no doubt). The spirit isn't very air tight, even with the vents closed and with the fan off. On my way to work, just before I got on the highway the trans wouldn't shift and she claims she didn't hit anything. I checked the fluids; the trans dip stick had a bit of dirt on it...and there was no visible fluid just a thin film on the stick. There was a dent in the trans pan with a small hole. I found a newer unit still attached to the vehicle with low k's at a junkyard. I removed it with the help of a friend and the yard sold it to me for $150 - CAD$, for my troubles. Installation was $125. I've put almost 9K on it and haven't had a single problem. I'd look around the yards in your area. The D's are still fairly new to find one at a yard, but it won't hurt to look. If you can find one that's already been removed, all the better!

I haven't had any problems with the D's trans, as I am the only driver besides dad when he needs it to move something.

I'm sure someone more tranny savvy will come along within a few days that'll give you a good rebuild cost. I'm guessing it'd be in the $1200-1500 area if you let a shop do everything. Not to mention 2-5 days of having the vehicle in the shop!

Besides, with 180K on the clock, that's awesome.
 

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I'd say 180k miles, even if the tranny does finally fail, it's still a great truck. That's a good long lifespan for the original piece.

Hard to estimate what the cost will be or what's wrong based on the description so have a good competent mechanic check it out. If it does need to be rebuilt, it may be about 2-3k.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for in-depth responses, guys. The transmission is unfortunatly toast, so our mechanic is buying it off us for 2500 and fixing it himself.

Next car? We are looking into a new Magnum! :)
 
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