Trainfan1 -- Rob - got a minute for another question?

Rob
First, thanks for the answer on the brake light switch for the 96 Sable.. you were on the money.
1996 Sable - 91K miles. 24 valve 3.0 engine.
So.. I have driven the car some 300 miles the last two weeks. To
work...around town, 10 to 30 miles typical.. and there has been two incidents where after driving the car for 30 minutes, (drive to work) and pulling into the parking lot.... and shifting into park, then deciding..need to move a little more ..shift into reverse or drive, the transmission will not engage. Just as if the transmission fluid was low...RPMs go up, but no forward or reverse motion, but..if just left in gear, wait about 20 seconds..and the transmission will engage. The level of the fliud according to the dipstick was correct, and per the manual to check with the engine at operating temperature. The color was the normal (at least in my opinion-normal) red color...the fluid also did not smell burnt.. just regular transmission fluid smell.
No indication of slippage at highway speed, none when the engine is cold, and only twice has it "slipped" after driving, coming to a stop, and being put in park and then moving to drive or reverse, and over a period of time that has included numerous shifts, starts, stops, and a few hard acceleration starts. When I played "John Force at the dragstrip" acceleration tests twice, the car performed with no problems...clean positive shifts, no unusual noises, and no slippage.
My experience with transmissions make me really cringe when a transimission slips occasionally...I have always had the experience of the "slippage" growing worse until there is no more forward or reverse motion at all.
My first plan of attack is to have the transmission fluid changed and the filter changed....
Obviously the question I have .. what could be going wrong? I realize the info I have given is not all that precise and the only real way to diagnose is to be able to repeat the problem, but I hope to see where I need to take a hard look at. One thing I want to do is to have the fluid analyzed such the way it can be done for engine oil. I have been told by one person, if the transmission goes, to not sink the money into the car as it will cost more than the car is worth. But overall the car is in such nice shape overall, it would be a shame to not at least make sure I can do things to prevent any more damage. Thanks in advance if you can offer any advice.
Freddie
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fas495 wrote:

That would be the AX4N transmission... it is a heavy duty unit used on some 12 valve and all 24 valve and V-8 engines.
It may actually be overfull. Check the level carefully on level ground with a warm engine.
Although you don't have many miles, the age may be contributing to a problem with indexing the transmission vs the shift indicator. You don't mention if it is a column shift or floor/console shift.
It doesn't sound like a slipping problem, just a position problem. A guaranteed used replacement transmission can be had for $500.00 + installation in most areas ( www.car-part.com ) if really needed, a rebuild will run $1100.00 to $1300.00. You can get a whole car for not much more than that now.
Transmission fluid service may be prudent at this point too.
Rob
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