I just finished replacing the transmission on the car that I bought. It had an almost non existnat first and second gear but the reast (once you got it up to 3rd) worked fine and even the TC loked as it should. This was fine cause I only paid $275 for hte entire car and it is in a really good shape with new breaks, tires and alternator. Came with all the bills since day one and only has 80K miles.
When sorting through the ton of dealer bills that the previous owner spend in the past year, came across one that related to the trans. Sure enough it was related to over heating and they have eithe rreplaced, rebuilt or fixed the original trans. When the engine and trans came out I'v enoticed thta the TC had a rebuild stamp on it. So the dealer went it at least that far into the trans. BUT I have mysuspicions that they probalby only replaced the TC and maybe the valve body and nthing else. After a couple years the trans over heated again and the first and second gears started to slip. The trans shop told them that the trans is shot and it will cost more to fix it that what the car is worth. So they listed it for $300 and I ended up buying it for $275.
The replacement trans (used) was $550 (It was a rare code unit, -CA). BUT the work that it took me to get the trans/engine out then it is a lot. I knew this so it was part of the plan when I bough the car.
So in retrospect, you might want to consider selling the car right now, while it's still runkking OK or else it will have to be sold for next to nothing.
Also, what it you keep the OD turned off. Will that also keep the TC from trying ot lock up and destroying the rest of the trans? Maybe your wife can drive it either with the OD off or just keeing it in 3rd gear. Can this keep this trans together a little longer?
'98 Mystique 2.5L, Auto, 100% stock