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Occasional Hard Shifting Problem On 95


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I have a 95 ES300 with 105k miles on it. Sometimes when I moderately or strongly accelerate, the car will shift hard (bump).

I have done a search on the transmission threads and other thread where people had (bumps) when shifting and I found 3 possible problems. I am hoping you can help me to figure out which of the 3 it is.

1) The problem could be a loose Engine Mount or Tranny Mount. How could I verify if this is the issue? If it is the issue, how much would it cost to correct?

2) The tranny may just need a fluid flush. The service records show a fluid service was done a year ago, but I don't know if the fluids where just drained, or flushed.

3) The tranny is going out and I need to either replace it with a used one or get it rebuilt. How can I tell if this is required? Which route do you recommend?

Any input would be appreciated.


Darrell McCombs

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It could be the mounts, but it's hard to tell from your description whether or not it is something more serious.

1) You have to know what you are looking for to spot a broken mount. If you don't know what an engine or transmission mount looks like then you are wasting your time looking under the hood. I just paid $135 (P&L) to get a front engine mount fixed. Tranny mount may be more expensive as there may be more labor required.

2) Check your ATF fluid dipstick to see if the fluid level is low, or to determine the condition of the fluid. If its low, that could be a problem.

3) Go to a reliable mechanic (applicable for items 1 & 2 as well). Chances are if you go to a tranny shop like AAMCO ot Cottman then they are going to want to replace it without doing a thorough diagnosis since that is what they get paid for.

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Also smell of your fluid; if it has a burnt odor, then you may be looking at a transmission problem. If you're somewhat of a do-it-yourselfer, you can drop the transmission pan and check the magnets in it for excessive metal flake buildup. These two things are usually indicators of a worn out transmission.

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Here's an easy way to test your motor mounts. Find a hill that you can park on without causing any sorta traffic problem (my slanted driveway works great for me), open your hood, get in the car, put it in drive and watch the engine from inside the car underneath the hood to see if it has alot of movement upon shifting. Some movement is to be expected, but I trust that you could tell if it seems excessive or not. Also watch the engine in the same manner when you shift the car into reverse, and when you pull forward on the hill some. If you have a motor mount problem, it should be obvious in how much the engine is allowed to flex. Usually a broken front motor mount will give you hard clunking upon acceleration from a dead stop as well as anytime you accelerate hard.

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The main motor mount that causes problems is located on the passenger side of the engine it connects the body of the car to the engine through a dog (bone)mount. On one side of it closer to the engine side which is bigger than the other buldge connecting the chassis. There is a rubber insert in it if it has been broken apart then it needs changing as the other end of it is solid rubber rather than connected by rubber on the top and the bottom part to the mount.

If it is only shifting badly in 1-2 gears i would get a flush and go from there. As 1st or 2nd usually has more torque and alot more banging .

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Thanks for the in-depth and helpful replies. I will pursue all the suggestions in order from cheapest to most expensive until I find the problem. Then I will report back when I have the answer as it may help others in the future.



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