Transmission Problems on an Older Vehicle

Reader Question:

I was looking around your website and I’m glad I found it. I live in Dallas (Beltline & I 35) area, and I have a question for you. I have a 57 Bel Air with a 700R4 in it. The trans was rebuilt in December of 2004-not very long ago, and I am having some problems again. It will slip down a gear if I don’t keep the speed above 40 mph. It will also slip down a gear if I don’t keep it around 70 mph once it gets really hot.

The trans shop I went to in Plano was terribly seedy, but a buddy of mine swore by it. So, $1,300 later–should have bought an Art Carr Overdrive– I am back where I started. Can you recommend an up-right shop to me? If you have any preliminary troubleshooting ideas, I’ll give it a try before I go to the shop. I do all of my own maintenance except trans work. I fell like a sucker when it comes to this subject.

Thank you in advance Sir


Hey there Todd,

How are you man, sorry for my delay, I have been out of the office. Hummm, I don’t know of a transmission shop in Dallas….sorry. I do have a shop here in Houston if you want to make the drive. I have used them for many old car overhauls, and they do good work.

I would assume you have a weak pump inside the transmission, but I am not a transmission guy. Will the shop that did the overhaul warranty any of the repair? They SHOULD work with you.

If not, I would call around to a few shops in your area and tell them what is happening, see if you can get 2 or 3 shops to diagnose it over the phone……or at least attempt to diagnose it.

If you get 2-3 shops giving you the same possible diagnosis, then I would do a drive by of each shop, and stop in a talk to them in person to see which ones you like the most.

I don’t think I would tell them about the recent overhaul just yet, make the calls, narrow down your search, and then visit them in person without the car and talk to them about your recent overhaul and the current problems.

It would be interesting to see how quickly they say “it needs an overhaul”.

Keep me posted, thanks for your kind words….

Austin C. Davis

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