Prizm 3-speed vs 4-speed auto trans

How can I tell if the auto trans is 3 or 4 speed in a 90's Geo Prizm or Chevy Prizm ???

I test drove a 94 Geo Prizm yesterday. The owner didn't know if it was 3 or 4 speed. The rpms were 2500 at about 60 mph.

Thanks

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Count how many times it shifts. Watch the tach and see how many times the needle drops under full acceleration.

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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

And, remember that the last 'rpm drop' may be a TCC lockup rather than a gear change.

OTOH, what difference does it make -- does the car meet your needs? -- pj

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The seller claimed he got 32 mpg on his commute, mostly highway. I am looking for 35 mpg or better. Looking for perfection? Possibly.

The seller was in the car during the test drive, puutting the a/c on, talking, etc and making careful observation of the car difficult. At first I thought I heard and felt it drop into fourth ( OD), but then later it didn't do it again. Also, the tach was up to 3,000 at highway speed at one point ( 65, 70 mph???) DUe to a/c being on ?

All these variables..... That's why I was looking for an way way to know about the trans. ( Like a certain number in the VIN, some indicator on the gearshift, etc)

The 4 speed auto trans is supposed to get significantly better mpg than the 3 speed. 4 speed = 36 hiway, 3 speed = only 30 mpg hiway, according to a government website.

btw, I've been frustrated trying to find a used car in decent shape that gets over 35 mpg hiway. They all seem to have the 3 speed auto trans !!! Although the 4 speed is supposed to be more common.

I drive 80 miles a day to work, which comes out to 4 grand a year in gas at $4 a gal. Either I need to get work closer to home, get a high mpg car ( my current car is great except it only gets 21 hiway) or I need to start loving the Exxon/ Mobil cartel.

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The seller was in the car during the test drive, puutting the a/c on, talking, etc and making careful observation of the car difficult. At first I thought I heard and felt it drop into fourth ( OD), but then later it didn't do it again. Also, the tach was up to 3,000 at highway speed at one point ( 65, 70 mph???) DUe to a/c being on ?

*************************** AC should not affect RPM. Given the final drive ratio of some of the smaller engines, 3k at 70 sounds about right. My V-6 big cars can lumber along at 2k or so but the little jobs have to wind up to put out power.

btw, I've been frustrated trying to find a used car in decent shape that gets over 35 mpg hiway. They all seem to have the 3 speed auto trans !!! Although the 4 speed is supposed to be more common. *******************************

I've been frustrated trying to buy a decent used car at reasonable cost no matter what fuel mileage. I've taken to buying new, getting exactly what I want and keeping the car for a long time, like 14 to 16 years.

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.

IMHO you should be considering a manual transmission then, unless there's some reason why you prefer driving an automatic.

I don't know if this is true of Japanese cars so much but German cars at least of a decade or two ago had significantly better manual transmissions than automatics because that is what the home market buyers preferred.

nate

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IMHO you should be considering a manual transmission then, unless there's some reason why you prefer driving an automatic.

I don't know if this is true of Japanese cars so much but German cars at least of a decade or two ago had significantly better manual transmissions than automatics because that is what the home market buyers preferred.

nate

************************************** Used to be that the automatics required as much power at the little engines could put out. Today the automatics are much better and you to have a chance at decent mpg and still get up to 65 mph before lunch time.

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You couldn't count the shfts while you drove it?

--

-Mike-
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Only the LSI had o/d.

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Thankyou !!!

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