Tinker with it. If you can find one of the following and repair it
yourself, you'll save a lot of money and narrow the problem that someone
else needs to find if your efforts do not yield a working overdrive.
Most likely it is a bad relay, broken wire, corroded electrical terminal,
bad solenoid or out of adjustment kick down cable. But first, check fuse
number 11. Actually roll the fuse in the clips to clean any corrosion off
the ends of the fuse and clips. If the fuse is blown, this points toward a
broken wire to the transmission OR since the fuse is also for the rear
window defogger grid, a problem with that circuit. The bad circuit for the
rear window is more common in wagons than sedans. The wire breaks inside
the wagons tailgate hinge.
Does the dash light arrow go on and off when you push the button on the side
of the shifter? The orange arrow pointing up is one of the warning lights
along the bottom of the instrument cluster toward the right side.
If there is no orange light on all the time or turns on and off when you
push the button, look at the fuse, or the light has been removed or burned
out. I have seen the light taken out by less than reputable used dealers
and private owners who have been told that the only cure for no overdrive is
a rebuilt or replaced transmission. Needing to replacing the transmission
for no overdrive is as likely as getting hit by lightening. Very unlikely.
If the arrow is on all the time, the relay has a problem internally. Most
likely a poor solder joint that can be a home repair if you are good with a
soldering iron. Post back for more details if that is the case.
A broken wire is a little bit harder to locate. Most common areas for
breaks are where the white wire passes through the front of the cup in the
transmission tunnel that holds the shift lever. This wire commes out of the
cup above the transmission, drops to a clip on the right rear of the
transmission, then lays on top of the transmission as it is routed to
another clip on the front left of the transmission before it enters the top
of the control solenoid on the left side of the transmission. Somewhere in
this route is a connector. This connector gets corrded to the point where
no electrical contact is present. While you are down there looking at the
wire, separate and clean this connector.
At the top of the solenoid on the left side of the transmisison is another
place the wire breaks. If the wire is broken inside the solenoid, it
probably is better to get the solenoid replaced. If you want to remove the
solenoid to make a repair easier, it is VERY important to have the area
around the solenoid VERY VERY clean prior to removing the solenoid. The
solenoid sits on a shelf on the side of the transmission and collects not
only dirt and grime but small rocks. Allow one of the small bits of rock or
grit into the transmission and you will need a costly transmission repair.
The space between the solenoid and the trasmission case needs to be cleaned
out as well. Brake cleaner after an initial cleaning and wiping with rags
helps. Be carefull with the brake cleaner. Wear eye protection and work
when the transmission is cold to the touch.
The solenoid also fails electrically. Best way to test is find the
connector in the wire mentioned previously, separate it, then with another
piece of wire connected to the positive battery terminal, connect the "new"
battery wire with the solenoid wire. The solenoid should click each time
the wire is connected or disconnected. No click, bad solenoid or bad wire
to the solenoid. The solenoid is not cheap, unless it is the wire and you
can repair it, but a lot less than another transmission.
An out of adjustment kickjdown cable is another common problem. An
indicator that points toward this is late shifts from one gear to another.
Normal shift points are 10 to 15 mph, 20 to 25 mph, near 30mph. Overdrive
if present is about 40mph. All these are for light acceleration.
Look at the cable where it comes out of the sheath near the throttle. The
cable is the one that comes up from the transmission and aligns with the
bottom of the throttle drums. At rest the button should be about .25 to 1
mm from the sheath. When the accelerator pedal is fully depressed, the
distance to the button should be about 51 mm. DO not turn the throttle drum
by hand for this check. Use the pedal. The cable should also slide freely
in and out. This you can check using your hand on the cable itself. Pull
out about 25 to 40 mm and release. The cable should move freely and return
freely without binding. Adjsuting the cable is fairly easy where
replacement requires work inside the transmission.