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Discussion Starter #1
2005 Element Automatic 2WD
A few weeks ago my E wouldn't start. After replacing battery and relays I gave in and gave the starter a couple taps and it started up. The next day when driving it I lost power to the transmission when it was shifting into 3rd gear. Engine just revs but not engaged. After waiting a few minutes it would engage again. CE light on and "D" light flashing. I replaced the transmission solenoid that was bad. No more CE light or flashing "D". Now I have a rough shift between 1st and 2nd and when trying to get into 3rd gear I lose engagement with transmission and engine just revs. I have been doing a lot of reading about the 3rd gear pressure switch, but most posts mention that they have either a CE light or the flashing "D".

2 mechanics have told me I need a new transmission, but I don't think that is the case. My next move is to replace the 3rd gear pressure switch and do a trans fluid flush.

Do i have to give in and agree with the mechanics
 

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The third gear pressure switch is to monitor the shift, not to control the shift. That will not fix the problem.

Not enough info to determine whether it needs a trans or overhaul. Can't see it from here.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mileage on the car is 143,000

Thank you for letting me know that replacing the pressure switch will not solve the problem. Is it safe to say that a fluid drain and fill with a new oil filter will most likely not fix my issue as well?
 

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Letting out some of the transmission fluid to see what it looks like (sludge, color, smell) is ALWAYS a first step before changing parts. You can often tell a lot about mechanical condition by what comes out of the drain plug.
 

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Mileage on the car is 143,000

Thank you for letting me know that replacing the pressure switch will not solve the problem. Is it safe to say that a fluid drain and fill with a new oil filter will most likely not fix my issue as well?
A trans fluid drain and fill will not repair a failed transmission.

To summarize, you drive and it starts shifting hard, then you have no third gear. If the trans internal clutches are worn they start slipping. The control unit then increases the internal fluid pressure in an attempt to stop the slipping and you get a harsh shift. The worn clutch material will eventually block the trans filter to some extent, which exacerbates the problem. If you have no third gear at all the most likely thing is the clutch material is so worn it will not transmit power.

Crack the trans drain plug loose and drip some fluid on a piece of cardboard. If it is black and has burnt smell the trans needs an overhaul. If the fluid has fine, shiny metal in it there may be hard parts damage, otherwise it may just need clutches, seals and gaskets. Most mechanics do not repair transmissions, they just swap in a complete unit.

If there is a professional trans shop in your area, they can do an evaluation but it will require the trans be removed and disassembled. Then they can give you a estimate for the complete job. I do not recommend a franchise trans shop. Some of them now only install rebuilt units and do not do internal repairs, as counter-intuitive as that seems.
 

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And if the plates ARE wearing, that'll show in the fluid too. If the fluid looks & smells completely normal, there's a chance you might have a switch or a sensor or a solenoid.
 

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2008 Element EX AWD TRP
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If the D indicator was flashing, there'd be stored codes. Find out what they are before spending more time, parts and money on this problem. Any good autoparts store will read the codes for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I was unable to get to a mechanic to get my codes read. I can now only shift into reverse. Is this a sign that my transmission is shot?
 
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