Tranny takes minutes to drop into gear (94 Lumina APV, 3800 motor)

My 94 Lumina APV, 3800 motor & 4-speed automatic, can take minutes before it will go into gear (any gear) upon cold start-up. "Flushed"
at about 100,000 miles when the trans-to-radiator coolant line broke and it all ran out. Flushed again intentionally at about 200,000 miles when this problem started. It helped some, but then slowly it got worse again, till it was taking 5, 8 or 10 minutes to drop into gear. It now has 220,000 miles (and this motor still runs great!). I just flushed it again myself (first putting a trans flush product from Advance) by disconnecting the same coolant line that had broken before, running it until it stopped, then adding a fresh quart and letting that run out. That helped a little. Then I put in a quart of trans treatment (from Advance, possibly Lucas brand). Now it's doing much better, but still can take a minute to go into gear upon cold start.
Anyone have any ideas on what the problem is and how to fix it? I'd like to buy a new car but this one seams to still have plenty of life left in it for local driving, and money is currently tight.
Thanks, John
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Clogged filter?
John wrote:

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Either that or the gasket where the filter slips onto the pick up tube is shot and allowing air to pass. Either way, dropping the pan and replacing the filter seems the next best inexpensive course of action.

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Worn out? When the line pressures drop, as is common when a transmission ages, the pump wears, etc., slow engagement is common.
With this much age on the transmission, I suspect it is getting tired.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

Could well be, but maybe he ought to pull the pan and change the filter. All he's ever done is flush it with the line according to his post.
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wrote in message

I'm going to cast a bet for clutches.
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wrote in message

the
I think that clutches would be more likely to slip if they are worn, but if all else is equal, they should apply reasonably rapidly..
Al is right that he should change filter and service the fluid. A restricted filter can cause problems.
But, at the end of the day, this is an old tranny and I would be very surprised if it can be resurrected by simple measures. Hope it can.. An overhaul will cost a few shekels.
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if
Not being much of an automatic tranny guy, I don't plunge too deeply into these discusssions. That said, the reason for my comment is quite anecdotal and totally reflective of a recent experience. The tranny in my truck gave way in the exact manner the OP described and in my case it was the clutches. Had the whole tranny re-man'd while it was out and you don't even want to know what I paid. Hint - it was sickeningly cheap. Some times ya just hit it right.

Agreed. But - that doesn't fit my recent anecdotal experience.

cost
That's the crux of it. It's a tranny that has served its life well. It would be nothing short of amazing if it didn't need some major attention now.
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You might be right, Mike... I had training in them some years ago but am too cold on the subject.
You know, clutches are activated by line pressure too. Hydraulic pressure may not be everything in a tranny, but if you don't have sufficient, then you have problems.
It is wonderful that they last as well as they do. The old rule is that the more parts you have, they higher is the risk of failure.
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Hey, Guys,
Thanks for all the help. You're right about it having lasted well. It's actually begun doing a lot better since I added the quart of Lucas Transmission Treatment (slip stop, I think). It's only hesitating going into gear ocassionally now, and those delays are about half a minute or less. I did have it flushed once professionally about 18 months ago, and (supposedly) had a new filter intalled. You never know about something being done that's hard to confirm. Sorry I forgot to mention it. I'll check out the other suggestions if it starts to get worse again.
Thanks again, John
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