1990 Acura Legend transmission won't start in low gear when cold

A friend is offering a 1990 Acura Legend L with 95K miles for a very low price, but the transmission doesn't start in Low gear when it is cold.
They have been shifting it manually until the car warms up and then it
shifts normally until it cools down again.
Two garages have given an opinion on it: One suggested rebuilding the transmission. The other thought it might be an electronic control problem. One of the garages advised against changing the fluid. That seems strange to me; it's the first thing I would do..
They have been driving it in the summer only for the last 3 years this way and it hasn't changed. Other than the shift behavior when it is cold, the engine and transmission perform as expected.
This car is a summer car used in the midwest, although it spent most of its life in the SW and has probably never seen really cold weather, but plenty of high temps.
It probably hasn't had the fluid changed for at least the last 30K miles and maybe not even then.
Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions you have, Doug
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Is the D4 light blinking?
This problem is sometimes a shift control solenoid, which, when bad, is supposed to turn on the D4 light.

It's possible for fresh fluid to cause gunk to break loose and clog up the valve body, that's why they say not to do it.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I talked with my friend the other day and he didn't say anything about any trouble lights. If there had been any at any time, I'm sure he would have remembered it and mentioned it.
He did say that the condition goes away after about a mile of driving during summer temps in the mid-west. There hasn't been any deterioration; car operates the same after 3 summers of manual shifting when it is cold.
Thanks for the info
Doug

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
ask him again, specifically if the gear indicator light (for Park ,Reverse, Neutral, Drive#) of D4 is blinking.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I talked to my friend and asked him specifically about any blinking lights or other fail indications. He said that he had never seen one. I'm sure that is the case. Engineering types clue in on things like this.
If Honda uses a separete closure contact to keep the light from turning on, it still seems possible that the solenoid isn't transferring enough to do the job, even thouth there isn't any indication failure.
Given the fact that things haven't changed after 3 summers of driving on both long and short trips, it looks like the problem isn't fatal. I wonder what a real Midwest winter will do for the condition?
Thanks for the input, Doug On Sat, 13 May 2006 11:24:19 -0700, "James S"

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
okay.
well, just to let you know, replacing the trans with torqueconvertor usually goes for about $1800-2500. I had an 88 coupe when low gear was no longer engaging correctly, clutchpack was suspected. Dealer and independent shop won't do anything less than full swap so no little things would pop up later. fyi.
wrote:

is
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
James, It's good to hear about some real experience on a similar problem. Given the price my friend is asking and the replacement cost you mentioned, it may still be a decent gamble.
When you had your transmission replaced, were you able to continue to get it into low gear manually? or wouldn't it go at all?
As of now, it seems solidly just a warmup problem, but who knows what will happen when the temps drops to below zero deg F. Doug
On Sun, 14 May 2006 18:29:07 -0700, "James S"

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
heya Doug, after the trans was replaced, all worked fine. About a year later it shifted weird, took it back to my tech(independent), they checked it, and they replaced the whole trans under warranty to make it easy for themselves.
When the trans was bad the first time, the days temperature was 70...so it wasnt climate related. I had to shift it into D3 since the lower gear(1st) wasnt engaging, then upshifted to D4 at posted speedlimit.
hth

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
James, Again, thanks for the info. One of my kids is considering buying the car, so I just pass on the info. I'm not sure what I would do :-)
Doug
On Wed, 17 May 2006 11:21:23 -0700, "James S"

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.