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ATX Feels Like Slipping After Fluid Change


Veteran CEG'er
Nov 24, 2004
in the garage
So after my steering rack went bad, I dropped the subframe, replaced the rack, got new control arms, new drivers side axle, new seal, drained rest of the trans fluid and refilled with new fluid.

I put everything back together, feeling pretty good about myself because there's no leaks. Steering feels great, everythings lined up. But I put it into gear and the trans starts slipping a bit in reverse and first.

Now I'm not sure what the f to do. Is this thing toast or what? Is there anything I can do? Should I drive it around more to see if it goes away?
Low fluid can cause this as well as wrong fluid. Also sometimes a valve gets stuck in the valve body and it acts as it is slipping. It sounds as the amount of fluid is incorrect, and when you changed it, I'm wondering if you did not run it through the gears before checking it. Since you dropped the subframe, you might have unhooked a trans line and it leaked out more than it normally does and you didn't put enough in. Typical change of fluid on the CD4E is 3 quarts with a drain and fill, BUT if you had it draining with any of the lines off or CV axles out, it can take a lot more. When I did my trans pan gasket, it used 5 quarts instead of 3, but it also took a run down the street to get the fluid to settle into all of the passages after doing that. When you undo any of the cooling lines, air gets into it and it takes running through the gears reverse and forward to have the air bleed itself through the system.
I always used 4 quarts at a drain.

The trans is a funky one, you want to make VERY sure it is HOT when you check fluid level as there is a thermostatic valve in there that opens up to let the fluid level change when trans is good and warm. There are two fluid compartments in it, the bottom and the side.

If the original fluid coming out was like black then new fluid might well not work, you got a worn out trans there. If the trans has broken the forward clutch snap ring groove like so many do at the end of life then suddenly you lose reverse and most other gears with no warning whatsoever. How most of them go, the trans had a MAJOR fault in the design.
ok, I'm good now. Knock on wood. No more slipping, shifting much better now. Just needed more fluid. It wasn't that easy to check the level. Like you guys mentioned, it has to be hot or else won't read correctly. Thanks!