Transmission failure

My 96 K1500 Tahoe started having problems with the transmission tonight, or last night as it were. I was on my way home from about 15-20 miles away and on pretty much all interstate driving. I had the
shifter set to OD. First, it would only shift up through 3rd, not hit the final gear, so I was stuck at pretty low speeds, as far as interstate driving is concerned. I pulled of onto smaller, in-town roads about this time. After stopping at a light, it would no longer shift up to 3rd. Only 1st and 2nd. The closer I got to home, it just kept degrading, until 2nd stopped working, and then nearly 1st stopped working. Almost as if the clutch were half-way engaged, medium to high revs, not much speed. Pulled quite a bit when coming to stops also. I got it limped home now, but am afraid to drive it.
I was hoping when I bought it with about 84,000 miles that I would have either missed the transmission going out, or that I would miss it altogether. Unfortunately, it seems to have struck around 101,530 miles. Is this the common symptons of these transmissions going out? or is it something else entirely that is relatively easy and inexpensive to fix? I never heard any kind of odd noises the entire time it was degrading or beforehand. I just seemed to gradually stop shifting up.
Aside from the questions above, does it sound like this is going to be something where I need a new transmission? or that it can be repaired? If replaced, would an aftermarket tranny be a better bet than say one scrounged from a junk yard or refurb/rebuilt?
Any insight would be appreciated. THanks
Brandonb -Good thing I have a 2nd car to get me to work...
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Did you stop to check the fluid or look underneath to see if you blew a seal? Or did you just keep going until it smoked the guts and now you gotta pay $1200? .

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gotta
$ 1200 ??
HAHAHAHA
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More like $2000 eh?
Doc

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No, there was no fluid dripping or coating anything that I could see. There also are still no puddles in the driveway or any parking spaces it was in.
Brandonb

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Top post...............
Brandon,
Sounds like it's smoked <the tranny>, EXCEPT the fact that you said it pulled when coming to stops, which MAY indicate a brake system failure. If one of your calipers locked up, causing a load on the drivetrain, this would cause the engine to not shift into higher gears as it would think it's pulling something or going up a large hill etc. due to the rolling resistance.
Did it pull to the left or right?
First thing I'd do is jack up the front end and see if both wheels rotate freely, pull the wheels and see if the rotors are scorched. Do the same for the rears; see if the drums rotate freely and then see if you can get them off to see what's going on underneath. Hell, your parking brake might even be stuck.
Doc

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Joy. I just replaced the brakes (which doesn't reallymean much, I know), and it only did the pull thing when I had it manually set to first gear and started coming to a stop. I will still try to look at the other things you suggested.
Brandonb

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Replace the fuel filter(25.00) and the trans. may shift ok. the engine starves and the tranny thinks it is slow and will not upshift. john

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