Skip to main content
Monthly Archives

November 2022

Clogged Transmission Filter Warning Signs (and How to Fix It)

Clogged Transmission Filter Warning Signs (and How to Fix It) - Gearstar

Transmissions are composed of several components designed to ensure the gear system functions seamlessly. One such component is the filter or strainer. The primary job of the transmission filter is to trap debris and contaminants before they enter the gear system and circulate. Since transmissions function almost every day, depending on the user, the filter is one of the components that require replacement from time to time.

However, if the transmission filter is serviced sparingly or according to your vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, it will eventually be obstructed with debris and contaminants. If left unattended, this could bring about some symptoms that will ultimately affect your vehicle transmission’s operability. This article covers the warning signs; you should note that information you the transmission filter is clogged. You will also get suggestions on how to fix the problems. But first, let’s check out how a transmission filter works.

How a Transmission Filter Works

The filter is a key part of the transmission system, designed to prevent metal shavings from the gears, and other dirt and debris, from contaminating the transmission fluid. It sits between the transmission pan (that collects excess fluid) and the tube that regulates the transmission fluid pressure. Essentially it consists of a metal plate with mesh-type inserts that prevent contaminants from entering the transmission and causing wear and tear. The other components of the transmission include the rubber gasket that seals the transmission filter to the pan, the pickup tube that connects it to the oil pump; and a seal that sits between the pickup tube and transmission case.

The importance of the transmission filter cannot be overstated. This is because it traps every contaminant, preventing them from entering the pump and getting distributed efficiently all over the gear system. Unfortunately, this puts the transmission filter at risk of getting clogged with debris and dirt. When the filter becomes clogged, it no longer performs its primary function. As a result, the pump will eventually starve, resulting in low fluid pressure within the transmission. This is why experts highly recommend the replacement of transmission filters every 30,000 miles or after two years.

6 Symptoms of a Clogged Transmission Filter

The following are symptoms that indicate you have a clogged transmission filter:

1. Your Vehicle Suddenly Stops Moving

When you’re driving, and your vehicle suddenly stops, it may not mean anything at first. But if you re-start your car and it stalls again, it implies you have a clogged transmission filter that needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

2. Leaking

Do you notice the puddle you leave behind when you move your vehicle from a parking spot? The puddle is not the water from your AC; it is usually oily. If it is, your transmission filter may be clogged. As mentioned, transmissions are composed of several components, including gaskets and seals. These tend to wear out over time. In addition, the component the seal rides on can also become defective, or a linked bearing may become loose. This can cause the seal to wear out unceremoniously and start leaking.

When these occur, the transmission fluid leaks and may eventually cause severe damage to the gear system. The same principle applies to a clogged filter. If the transmission fluid no longer flows as it should due to a blocked filter, it will force itself through the vent tube and end up as a puddle beneath your vehicle. Therefore, when you notice the puddle or trail of transmission fluid behind your vehicle, drive to the nearest reputable auto shop and let a professional look your car over. Unfortunately, there’s a big chance that your filter is clogged and will have to be replaced.

3. Delay in Reversing

Another warning sign that your transmission filter is clogged is hesitation or delay when reversing your vehicle. Your car will hesitate for several seconds before moving in reverse. Save time; check and replace the clogged transmission filter as soon as possible.

4. Contaminated or Burnt Transmission Fluid

A clogged filter causes your transmission to overheat due to a considerable lack of lubrication. The result of this experience is that the fluid will have a burnt smell, and the color will become dark. You will be further convinced when you remove the transmission pan, as you will find signs of excessive friction material or debris in the bottom of the pan. Replace the clogged filter with a new one and change the transmission fluid for efficient operation.

5. Illuminated Warning Lights

Most modern vehicles are equipped with TCM (transmission control module) that efficiently track the operation of transmissions. If this module detects any problem with your transmission due to low fluid pressure – caused by a clogged filter – the device immediately switches the check engine light on your dashboard and stores a DTC (diagnostic trouble code) in its memory. Some automobiles even switch on separate transmission warning lights when such issues crop up. Just check your transmission filter. If it is clogged, change it immediately, and you will be good to go.

6. Issues With Changing Gears

When your transmission is in excellent condition, changing gears is a breeze. However, when the gear system has a partially clogged filter or is compromised, you will notice the slipping or hesitation each time you try to shift. Since this feels unnatural, you should check your transmission filter and fluid. Manual transmission users will notice the gears grinding instead of smooth shifting. Although this could imply that your clutch is worn out, your gears or transmission synchronizers could also be blamed. Therefore, change your transmission fluid and the filter for good measure. Your transmission should be back to normal after making these changes.

The Bottom Line

Transmission filters are crucial components that ensure the gear system remains as clean as a whistle by trapping dirt, debris, or contaminants. The filters prevent these contaminants from entering the transmission and wreaking havoc. Noticing the symptoms of a clogged filter indicates that it is time you replace or fix it, according to the suggestions highlighted above.

6 Automotive Things to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving and Beyond

6 Automotive Things to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving and Beyond - Gearstar

It’s Thanksgiving month again, and time to be eternally grateful for everything life has thrown our way – the good, the bad, the ugly, and we survived them all. But most importantly, being thankful for the things experienced within the automotive universe and celebrate car culture. Therefore, here are the top six automotive things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving and beyond.

1. Automatic Transmissions

Once upon a time, manual transmissions were the “latest and greatest” with their perks. But this is no longer the case as automatic transmissions have taken over. For instance, only four percent of vehicles sold in 2013 came with manual transmissions. Moreover, up to 67 percent of new vehicle models don’t even have manual options.

Driving safely on roads already commands lots of attention or focus. Automatic transmissions eliminate acceleration, proper shifting, and deceleration from the mix. This significantly minimizes the direct involvement of the driver. Automatic transmissions take the additional stress out of the equation, which is why many road users love them.

How Automatic Transmissions Work

This is how vehicles with automatic transmissions operate. When you switch to the ‘Drive’ mode, the system activates. Pressing the accelerator towards the floorboard enables the engine’s crankshaft to rotate more rapidly. As the vehicle moves forward, the automatic transmission’s electronics and hydraulics sense its speed in connection to the engine speed.

As a result, the transmission changes gears automatically in response to the engine’s reaction. The rapid rotation of the engine’s crankshaft results in more pressure in the torque converter. The hydraulics within the classic automatic transmission senses these speed changes and activates other hydraulics to change gears within the planetary set. But today, electronics perfectly supplement the sensing process, and the transmission works together with the vehicle’s other systems.

Components of Automatic Transmissions

In simple words, automatic transmissions change gears without the direct involvement of the driver, aside from the designated options like:

  • Neutral
  • Drive
  • Reverse
  • Park

However, these commands will only be activated with the involvement of several key components that work hand-in-hand within a variety of conditions time and again. The most crucial elements of automatic transmissions are:

  • Planetary gears. Automatic transmissions generally make use of different types of gear sets. The set of planetary gears they use creates multiple gear ratios since the hydraulics of the automatic transmissions control them. The forward speed of your vehicle will be limited severely if your automobile comes with a single forward gear and a torque converter. This is the primary reason gear-changing is crucial.
  • Torque converters. Torque converters are perfect replacements for mechanical clutches in manual transmissions. They perform the same functions as clutches by enabling the engine connection and disconnection from the driveline as required to facilitate gear changing. The development of practical automatic transmissions would have been impossible without the torque converter. Cars with automatic transmissions are set in motion via fluid dynamics that transfer torque from the engine. This capability enables you to have your foot pressed firmly on the brake while your vehicle is still in ‘Drive’ mode when motionless at a stoplight. But fluid dynamics soaks up the torque when moving forward is not desired.
  • Clutches and brake bands. Clutches and brake bands prompt the changing of gears within the planetary gear set. Clutches in automatic transmissions help determine the specific gear ratio the planetary gearset creates. The brake bands tighten to hold a specific gear stationary or loosen up to enable that particular gear to spin. The combination of spinning and stationary gears within the gearset generates individual gear ratios.

2. Modern Safety Tech

Modern automotive crash safety technology and design have helped save countless lives. You may think you don’t need suitable old seat belts and airbags, but you should always be thankful they are there. This is crucial, especially since you share and use the road with other users with varying skill levels. Be thankful for innovative safety technologies, especially the lane-keeping assist and pre-collision braking systems that help prevent unskilled or distracted drivers from running into you.

3. Studded Snow Tires

That time of the year is upon this part of the world where temperature plummets and the lakes freeze out. Ice-racing drivers are chomping at the bits as snow season draws closer, and they need to switch their tires to studded snow options. Snow-studded tires enable you to pitch your vehicle around frozen race courses at double-digit or triple-digit speeds. However, remember that these tires are primarily designed for use on the road. Remember to check out the legality since only a few places allow studded snow tires.

4. V8 Engines

The V-type, 8-cylinder configuration engines are well-known for their power-generating potential, sound quality, and smoothness. In addition, the V8 offers loads of cylinder displacement within a reasonably small package, i.e., it gives you massive power in a tiny automobile. The V8 engine layout is almost 100 percent guaranteed to please its user, even though it appears time is running out for this particular configuration.

5. Automatic Headlights

Automatic headlights are a welcome development. They automatically kick on low beams when the sun gets low in the sky or when driving in a tunnel. They help save you the stress of switching on headlights in situations where you may not ordinarily think even to put them on.

6. Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay is another essential automotive feature you should be thankful for as Thanksgiving Day approaches. All you need to do is plug in your iPhone via a USB cable, and a familiar, user-friendly interface optimized for extensive use while driving pops up. In addition, the Apple CarPlay is easy to pick out between different menus or overly distracting. Apple CarPlay’s multimedia UI is easily understood, even by people who are not tech-savvy. Moreover, the experience is the same, irrespective of whether it is installed in a Honda Civic sedan or F-150 pickup truck.

Final Takeaway

These are just a handful of the automotive things you should be grateful for this Thanksgiving and beyond. As automotive technology advances, there will be much more to be thankful for.

6 Long-Term Benefits of a Rebuilt Transmission

6 Long-Term Benefits of a Transmission Rebuild - Gearstar

Is your vehicle transmission giving you a headache, and you’re already contemplating replacing it with a brand-new one? Replacing a faulty vehicle transmission can be an enormous task. Getting a brand-new vehicle transmission will cost you much of your hard-earned money. However, there is a less costly way to get your defective vehicle transmission fixed, and that is to rebuild it. Rebuilding your transmission will require total disassembling and checking each component for wear. If you’re unsure about this option, read on to learn more about transmission rebuild and why it is the best option for anyone on a tight budget. You will also discover the top six long-term benefits of a rebuilt transmission.

What Is a Rebuilt Transmission?

A rebuilt transmission refers to a major mechanical overhaul performed on a vehicle’s transmission. A transmission is akin to an automobile engine and is composed of several interrelated mechanical components that tend to wear and tear over time, especially with extended use. By rebuilding a vehicle’s transmission, all the worn parts are replaced. However, this prevents the entire replacement of the automobile transmission, which is usually costlier than rebuilding it.

Why Should You Rebuild Your Vehicle’s Transmission?

Rebuilding a transmission is the best – or most popular – option for anyone who wants to avoid forking out a lot of money to replace a worn-out or severely damaged transmission with a brand-new one. In reality, brand-new transmissions are more modern, especially those available with the latest model of vehicles these days. However, they have proven to be as expensive as brand-new car engines.

Therefore, people with tight budgets or those who want to avoid paying the exorbitant amount required to secure a brand-new vehicle transmission will prefer a transmission rebuild. Rebuilding a transmission generally entails removal and careful inspection of the vehicle transmission. This also includes replacing or refurbishing any severely damaged or worn transmission components.

6 Long-Term Benefits of a Rebuilt Transmission

When transmission problems rear their ugly heads, the first thought that passes through the vehicle owner’s mind is getting a brand-new vehicle. This can be a distressing thought, especially if you’re on a very tight budget and can’t afford a new vehicle transmission. But this shouldn’t be the case. Instead, you can have your vehicle transmission rebuilt by a professional mechanic. There are tremendous long-term benefits that come with a rebuilt transmission that only a few people know. Here are some of the top six benefits of a rebuilt transmission:

1. Better Performance

A rebuilt transmission worked over by a professional mechanic provides top-notch performance over another with severe internal damage and has only undergone a quick fix. You get to spend far less money for the quick fix and get it running within a short period. But the transmission will never rerun the right way. However, rebuilding your vehicle transmission is an excellent avenue to getting it back to top-notch condition. This means a smooth and dependable performance.

2. Quicker Than Buying a Used Transmission

If you own an older vehicle model, getting a brand-new transmission is next to impossible. Finding a used transmission for your older vehicle model can also be a hassle. This is because you will have to visit junkyards or look for one at online auctions. Even if luck smiles on you and you find one, it will take several weeks to be delivered.

It will also take a few more days to review the used transmission to ensure it is in excellent working condition. But rebuilding your transmission will take less time. The entire process of rebuilding your transmission usually takes anything from two to four days, maximum. Transmission rebuilds guarantee that the work done is 100 percent up to par. Your older car model will be up and running in a few days.

3. Moderate Cost Savings

Transmission rebuilds generally cost much more upfront than other transmission repairs or fixes. But this option will save you a lot of money down the road as you will no longer have to deal with ongoing problems and repeat issues that will cost you more over time with constant repairs when required. There is a better way to go if you plan to keep your older model vehicle for several years. But even if you change your mind and prepare to sell the car later, the rebuilt transmission’s warranty adds massive value to the buyer’s mind.

4. Extended Vehicle Lifespan

A faulty or damaged vehicle transmission puts much strain on other drivetrain and powertrain components. A weak transmission affects everything, such as:

  • Transfer case
  • Cooling system
  • Wheels and suspension
  • Exhaust
  • Axles
  • Differentials
  • Engine

This is why rebuilding your transmission is the best option, as it runs like new again. This helps protect other vital vehicle components and generally extends the lifespan of your SUV, car, or truck.

5. Profound Peace of Mind

The main purpose for rebuilding your vehicle transmission is to ensure it runs like a brand-new unit again. The transmission is rebuilt from scratch and often backed by several years of warranty. Every damaged or worn component is replaced while the still-good working parts undergo a thorough cleaning and then reinstalled appropriately. This includes every nut and bold. There’s nothing like the profound peace of mind you will enjoy, knowing you will no longer battle constant transmission repairs.

6. Retaining the Original Transmission

Another benefit of rebuilding your transmission is keeping your original transmission, i.e., the one primarily designed for and installed in your car or SUV. This transmission is already tuned to work seamlessly with your car engine and the overall drivetrain system. Getting a brand-new OEM transmission is far more expensive than a transmission rebuild.

The Bottom Line

These are just some of the remarkable long-term benefits of a rebuilt transmission instead of getting a brand-new one. Therefore, the next time you experience vehicle transmission problems, your first thought should be something other than purchasing a new car or transmission. Instead, it should be getting your vehicle to a professional mechanic for a complete transmission rebuild.

4R70W Performance Fundamentals Guide

4R70W Performance Fundamentals Guide - Gearstar

The 4R70W is a revised version of the famous Ford’s long-running 4-speed AOD (automatic overdrive) transmission that appeared in the ’80s. Experts believe a robust performance transmission adds more power to vehicles like the 4th generation Ford Mustang. In addition, it was a much-needed answer to the fuel efficiency issues that plagued the United States during the 1973 oil embargo crisis. General Motors and Chrysler saw the remarkable success of Ford’s 4R70W performance and followed almost immediately with the unique and respective versions. The nomenclature of the 4R70W breaks down this way:

  • 4: Four forward speeds
  • R: Rear-wheel drive
  • 70: Torque rating x 10 (holds up to 700 lb-ft)
  • W: Wide-ratio

You need to know the fundamentals of the 4R70W performance transmission.

Overview of the 4R70W Performance Transmission

As mentioned earlier, the 4R70W transmission is a significantly enhanced AOD with a wide gear ratio and rear-wheel overdrive. In addition, the 4R70W transmission’s first and second-gear ratios are higher. This has given rise to several benefits in vehicles mounted with this high-performance transmission. Drivers of the 4R70W performance transmission will enjoy better mechanical advantage, lower fuel consumption, and even better take-off acceleration. The strength of the gearset is also enhanced. The 4R70W features a ‘wide ratio’ gear set. In 1998, the intermediate one-way clutch was replaced with a mechanical diode.

4R70W Specs and Ratios

The 4R70W transmission’s case material is aluminum and features a Motorcraft FT 105 transmission filter. It has a maximum torque input of approximately 516 lb-ft. The 4R70W transmission’s gear ratios are as follows:

  • First gear: 2.84:1
  • Second gear: 1.55:1
  • Third gear: 1.00:1
  • Fourth gear (overdrive): 0.70:1
  • Reverse: 2.32:1

The automatic overdrive electronic control transmission (AODE) was launched in 1991. This particular transmission is different from the AOD in several ways. This includes:

  • Computer controls
  • Torque controller
  • Front pump assembly
  • Single input shaft
  • New valve body

The following are the respective gear ratios of the AODE:

  • First gear: 2.40:1
  • Second gear: 1.47:1
  • Third gear: 1:2
  • Fourth gear: 0.67:1

As you can see, their gear ratios are significantly different when compared side by side. Furthermore, note that valve bodies and cases of the 4R70W, AOD, and AODE are also different. This is why it is practically impossible to switch the valve bodies of these units, stipulating specificity. However, it is possible to take the gear train of the AOD and shove it into an AODE and experienced zero issues.

4R70W Facts

The ’70s birthed a slew of fuel-efficient vehicles, but the manufacturers had to sacrifice some performance and speed features exhibited by the older models. At the time, driving fuel-efficient cars was economically and environmentally friendly, making it possible to cover many more miles but with less fuel. Therefore, when oil prices rose by 400 percent, it became crucial to manufacturing fuel-efficient automobiles. Ford rose to the occasion in 1980 by creating the 4-speed AOD. This transmission had several features found in old designs, despite its newness. Nevertheless, it was the perfect replacement for many older transmissions created by Ford, including the FMX, C4, and C5. The AOD was similar to the 3-speed FMX automatics. These transmissions had a few components in common, including the Ravigneaux gear train, etc.

4R70W Pros and Cons

While the 4R70W may be a performance transmission, but it is not without issues. For instance, here are some pros and cons of the 4R70W transmission.


The 4R70W transmission comes with a significantly boosted overdrive band, including the following:

  • Improved pinpoint precision control;
  • Solid input shaft;
  • Enhanced front pump.

Another significant benefit of the 4R70W transmission is its remarkable compatibility with most Ford automobiles with minimal work or modification. Moreover, this transmission easily fits several older vehicles, furnishing them with magnificent performance and efficiency.


When you overload the 4R70W transmission, you’re courting problems, as torque and power have a pronounced limit. Exceeding these limits can cause many various transmission problems. Other issues plaguing the 4R70W transmission include:

  • Delay in lock-up;
  • Intermediate clutch failures;
  • Rough 2-3 shifts;
  • Significant loss of forward gears and 4th gear;
  • Considerable shudder in reverse or delay in reverse;
  • Pump noise and leakage of the front seal;
  • Significant loss of 2nd and 3rd gears.

Every automatic transmission worth its salt requires consistent maintenance. The 4R70 transmission is included. Maintaining this robust transmission regularly guarantees its longevity. This is why it is highly recommended that a certified expert looks into this robust automatic transmission during installation. If all these issues are eliminated, it will go a long way in boosting the overall reliability of your 4R70W performance transmission while providing the much-needed power boost.

Identifying the 4R70W Transmission

Many need to learn how to quickly identify the 4R70W or know whether or not they have one. However, you can identify the 4R70W transmission by looking at the following:

  • Electric plug and cable. Both 4R70W and AOD transmissions come with a plug on their rear housing on the driver’s side. The electronic control cable plugs right into this particular spot in the unit. This differentiates the 4R70W and AODE transmissions from the older AOD units.
  • Lightweight components. Compared to their predecessors, 4R70W and AODE transmissions come with an aluminum front pump against the cast iron that the AOD has. The AODE and 4R70W transmissions are also lighter due to their stamped steel clutch packs – which are lighter than the cast steel of the AOD.

These are just a few identifiable aspects that differentiate the 4R70W transmission from its older counterparts.

4R70W Performance Key Takeaways

The 4R70W performance transmission is one of the most outstanding stock transmissions on the market, guaranteed to perform even better in vehicles like the 4th generation Ford Mustang. The 4R70W is best for performance driving or drag racing enthusiasts, and good speed is 100 percent guaranteed.