You can add me to the list of those about to have a new transmission. We bought this van in May of last year and everything was fine up until we went up into the mountains last October. On the way home we got a CEL and ultimately it was revealed to be a Torque Converter mechanical malfunction code that made it come on. This was at around 78k miles.
The previous owner had real good records for the life of the vehicle, but I never saw one for the transmission being serviced, so it probably had the original fluid. I just killed it going in the mountains. Of course, I don't learn about the service intervals until after we started having problems. However, I would have waited until 80K anyway...
I changed the fluid/filter, increased the tranny pressure, and it did shift better. But we kept having problems with reverse. Sometimes it wouldn't not engage and when it did, it would sometimes "slip". Not a good feeling , but we never got stuck anywhere.
We were planning on trading it in, but I think we've waited too long. Today my wife called and said she wasn't able to back out of the Sonic Drive-in spot. She ultimatly had to have some employees push our back out.
However, this week I've had my mechanic start pricing out replacing the transmission, because even though we were thinking of trading it in, I was still contemplating fixing it.
I'm pretty sure I'll go with a rebuilt unit from German Transaxle. My mechanic has talked with Go Westy and has confirmed that they get their rebuilt units from German Transaxle, so I might as well go to the source.
The transmission w/ shipping should be around $3700-$3800. Labor is going to be another $900. I'm planning on doing the timing chain at the same time, since I don't think it costs too much more to do it now. Hopefully I'll be out under $5500.
I'll be honest, it makes my wife and I sick that we have to do this less than a year into owning it. I sometimes wonder if its the reason the other owner sold it, but again, we never had any trouble until we went on that one trip.
Even after we repair it, I'll be worried about taking it in the mountains from now on, which will suck.