95 Park ave Ultra Torque Conv Clutch (Herky Jerky status report)

I've about reached the end of the line in pursuing engine misses as the cause of the shudder problem (see prev posts on Herky Jerky). Things done in this
regard include:
Plugs & wires replaced Compression check Fuel pressure regulator replaced Fuel filter replaced Coil packs replaced (originals later reinstalled) Mass air flow sensor Coolant temperature sensor Throttle position sensor EGR valve voltages checked EGR valve moves freely over range No scan codes, pending or otherwise
Yet, at freeway speeds and sometimes even on surface streets at 30-40 mph the car on occasion gives me the shudder, which I've dubbed the Herky Jerky. Since tapping the brake while it's doing it makes it stop I know the TCC is involved, and I've now come back (again) to thinking the TCC is the cause rather than just responding to engine misses.
Yesterday I logged onto AllData and looked up the TCC. First, I found an information bulletin saying there had been a change in the solenoid control. If I understand it correctly, a separate solenoid called the PWM solenoid was introduced, and furthermore if the wrong solenoid was used the shudder would result. I then looked up the repair info on replacing these solenoids. What I learned was they are located behind a side cover plate that is bolted to the left side of the transaxle assembly. AllData says it's a 3.1 hour job to replace the solenoids.
The question is now whether to have this work done ore not. We are in the process of buying a new car since my wife has totally lost confidence in the PA. I would like to sell it rather than take a beating in a trade-in, but cannot bring myself to pass off a car with a problem like this to an unsuspecting individual. That means I should have it fixed, since the $300-400 (guessing) would still net more from a sale than on a trade .
But here's another problem. Several months ago the car started to spot the garage floor with tranny fluid. I took it to a shop and they tightened the side plate (presumably the one I now know to hide the TCC solenoids). This stopped the leak. However, from the AllData diagrams I now know that there shouldn't be any fluid behind that cover to leak! I now assume it's the front seal that is leaking, and the cavity behind the side cover is probably now full of tranny fluid. If so, that's probably why the TCC solenoids are failing. I haven't gone back to the tranny shop yet to quiz them on this theory, but my guess is when I do they will tell me I'm right and the tranny will have to come out to fix the seal, and suddenly it's a $1200 job instead of $300-400. That would probably tip me in favor of letting a dealer steal it from me on a trade-in.
So, are there any tranny aficionados listening in that can confirm or deny any of this?
TIA
Ed
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All this could have been avoided by having it scanned by a trans tech with a bi directional trans scanner that can command tcc and check for slippage errors to confirm if in fact the the or another internal control is at fault.

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Thanks, Shep. Actually, I took the car to a tranny first, many months ago, because it seemed like a tranny problem. The fellow drove the car and couldn't get it to exhibit the problem. That's when I started posting here and picked up on the engine miss as the causative issue. Scanners have been put on the car many times since, including at the dealer, an independent shop, and myself. Only once has a code ever been seen, and that was after the independent put the wrong mass air flow sensor on it.
I do plan to take it back to the tranny shop, but let me ask you something. Will the scanner you describe give any indication of what's wrong WHILE THE PROBLEM IS NOT BEING EXHIBITED? For understandably reasons these fellows don't want to spend an hour or more driving around hoping it will do it.
Ed

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If the tcc is slipping or seta a history code for a tcc slippage error it may or may not be in history the right scanner in the hands of a pro is the key here plus the history any and symptoms, rmember he can command lock up at any time and see what happens. Also any misfire under load generated by a lean mixture, bad injector or ign problem will mock a tcc slippage conditio. This can be a tough diagnosis without it doing it regularly, usually hot, up a grade just before downshift is the best condition to generate the problem.

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Shep,
Thanks again.
Any comment on the oil leak I mentioned? I.e., is the cavity behind the side cover likely to be full of tranny fluid by now and fouling the TCC solenoids? If so, wouldn't that become a primary suspect in the shudder problem?
Also, can the front seal be replaced by just removing the side cover, or is removal of the transaxle required?
Ed

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The fluid in the side cover is not an issue relative to the solenoids. Convertor seal requires trans removal.

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Shep,
One final question. Well, maybe the final one!
If this is indeed a TCC problem, as opposed to an engine miss problem, is it likely to be a problem with the solenoids (I believe there are 3 involved, judging from the AllData diagram), or is it more likely to be the clutch itself?
TIA
Ed

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Ed these solenoids are on off units, unless the pressure is being lost around the tcc engagement valve I don't believe the solenoid itself is going to cause this. A scan with a trans function scanner can eliminate guess work here as the tcc can be commanded and slippage can be observed. I know I repeated myself but this is the proper procedure here.

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There should be oil getting into the side cover where the solenoid is. The front seal or also called the converter seal will need the trans out to be replaced. At that point in time I would suggest going through the hole trans. If you have one seal thats bad there are others that arn't far behind.
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