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Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. What?

Help and Advice on Volvo's extremely popular car line, powered by Volvo's nearly indestructible, versatile inline 5-cylinder engine.
1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70-XC
1997 - 2004 C70

Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. What?

Postby hanseich » 07 May 2013, 18:47

Hi everyone,

hard to even put this topic in the subject line. I've got an 850 turbo, and when I really push it, it feels as if "a clutch was slipping". The power just does not get transmitted to the wheels in a linear fashion anymore (the way I remember it when I first go the car). If my car had a standard gearbox, I'd say the clutch is slipping. What is wrong?

Furthermore: it also smells like burnt "clutch" (or maybe rubber, or burning brakes) when really pushing it. I have not changed my transmission since I got the car, which was about 15,000 miles ago.

Cheers, Hans
New to Volvo, already liking it. Hoping to keep it in good shape, not like the previous Benz 190e

Repairs so far: tie rods, outer CV Boot, air control flap, control rod, ABS module, various seals, motor mount
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hanseich
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Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby mikealder » 07 May 2013, 19:08

What state is the transmission fluid in, if it is black/ dark brown and smells burnt a fluid change is probably the best approach, also double check the autobox fluid level if it is low with the engine running top it up by adding fresh fluid down the dipstick tube - Mike
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Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby hanseich » 07 May 2013, 19:37

color: light brown, (between red and brown)
level: I can never tell with that dip stick (I just checked, even pulling it out really carefully, I can't tell, but I noticed the rubber seal on the dip stick is broken, I need to change it)

At Valvoline (where I do my oil changes when I don't have the time to do it myself), they are always trying to sell me on a tranny flush, because "there are little particles in the fluid".

I want to avoid doing a flush, when it fixes nothing. What is the actual mechanism that connects/disconnects ("clutches") the engine to the gear box? Do those parts ever wear out?
New to Volvo, already liking it. Hoping to keep it in good shape, not like the previous Benz 190e

Repairs so far: tie rods, outer CV Boot, air control flap, control rod, ABS module, various seals, motor mount
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hanseich
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Model and Year: 850 turbo, 1996

Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby wheelsup » 07 May 2013, 21:45

Engine to gear box is the torque converter. It bolts to the flexplate and slides into a gear set on the transmission. No idea on lifespan. Typically when replacing the transmission a new torque converter is put in as well. It's too bad you are in Toronto I have a known good one that I could just give you.
1995 850 GLT Wagon w/ 175,000 miles
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Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby hanseich » 07 May 2013, 22:41

Does that mean, there are no parts that are physically linked together? Just hydraulic fluid transferring the action? I thought, there are some clutch plates that are (automatically) operated.

I suppose the only thing that I can do to influence any sort of action is fluid level, and fluid quality. The engine has only 220tkm (136t miles) on it. I've not heard of many developing issues with the gear box this early.
New to Volvo, already liking it. Hoping to keep it in good shape, not like the previous Benz 190e

Repairs so far: tie rods, outer CV Boot, air control flap, control rod, ABS module, various seals, motor mount
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hanseich
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Model and Year: 850 turbo, 1996

Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby wheelsup » 08 May 2013, 00:17

Mine started going around that time. When you would drive and the fluid would heat up, it would drop out of gear when coming to a stop. I lived with it for ~50k miles. I got a basically free transmission and swapped that in last year.

The torque converter is physically bolted to the flexplate that is bolted to the crank on the engine. As far as clutches go in the internals of the transmission there are "clutches" of such, not real familiar, they would wear but I can't imagine yours would be worn down at that mileage.
1995 850 GLT Wagon w/ 175,000 miles
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Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby xHeart » 08 May 2013, 00:29

mikealder wrote:What state is the transmission fluid in, if it is black/ dark brown and smells burnt a fluid change is probably the best approach, also double check the autobox fluid level if it is low with the engine running top it up by adding fresh fluid down the dipstick tube - Mike


+1. This is a pre-requisite, vital information.
It takes time to get it right, close to accurate, else everything said is a hyperbole.
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1997 - Volvo 850 NA (2.5L/5) Sedan with +133kmi/ +214kkm

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Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby jblackburn » 08 May 2013, 00:45

The clutches in an auto just help it change gear.

Change your fluid. Do it.

DO NOT let it near a flush "machine". They will only destroy your transmission. Instead, you want to dump the fluid in the transmission pan and replace it, one change at a time.

http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/volvo- ... orial.html

Like that, but your transmission will use standard Dexron III rather than Type IV Toyota fluid.
'98 S70 T5 218K miles
2012 Chevy Cruze LT 6MT


A learning experience is one of those things that says, "You know that thing you just did? Don't do that."

mercuic: Long live the tractor motor!
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Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby hanseich » 08 May 2013, 00:57

okay, will do. Mobil ATF 3309 also doing the trick?
New to Volvo, already liking it. Hoping to keep it in good shape, not like the previous Benz 190e

Repairs so far: tie rods, outer CV Boot, air control flap, control rod, ABS module, various seals, motor mount
User avatar
hanseich
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Location: Toronto
Model and Year: 850 turbo, 1996

Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby jblackburn » 08 May 2013, 01:03

You can use Mobil 3309, but you'd have to change ALL the fluid which isn't recommended on a transmission with unknown history.

Better to stick with the cheaper Dexron and do 3-4 drain and fills over the course of a few weeks or so. One change, drive for a week or two, repeat. If that transmission still has life in it, it should nurse it back to health.
'98 S70 T5 218K miles
2012 Chevy Cruze LT 6MT


A learning experience is one of those things that says, "You know that thing you just did? Don't do that."

mercuic: Long live the tractor motor!
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jblackburn
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Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby hanseich » 08 May 2013, 01:12

well, I'm more than happy to use the cheaper fluid if that's recommended. What advantages do you get from completely replacing with synthetic (ie: 3309)?
New to Volvo, already liking it. Hoping to keep it in good shape, not like the previous Benz 190e

Repairs so far: tie rods, outer CV Boot, air control flap, control rod, ABS module, various seals, motor mount
User avatar
hanseich
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Posts: 42
Joined: 10 Sep 2012, 02:22
Location: Toronto
Model and Year: 850 turbo, 1996

Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby jblackburn » 08 May 2013, 01:15

3309 is not a synthetic fluid, but it can help to smooth out harsh shifts or shift flares (where it revs up in between gears). Same goes for Mobil-1 ATF, which is a full synthetic fluid (but really, really expensive).
'98 S70 T5 218K miles
2012 Chevy Cruze LT 6MT


A learning experience is one of those things that says, "You know that thing you just did? Don't do that."

mercuic: Long live the tractor motor!
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jblackburn
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Joined: 08 Jun 2008, 21:54
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Model and Year: 1998 S70 T5

Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby hanseich » 08 May 2013, 01:21

Dexron III is just your average "Walmart ATF" as far a I understand. I would never pick that, don't ask me why :-) I'll do a few changes, it would be nice if it fixed it.

(I have a few other repairs outstanding: valve stem seals, PCV, timing belt, CV boot. It will be a messy time.)
New to Volvo, already liking it. Hoping to keep it in good shape, not like the previous Benz 190e

Repairs so far: tie rods, outer CV Boot, air control flap, control rod, ABS module, various seals, motor mount
User avatar
hanseich
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Posts: 42
Joined: 10 Sep 2012, 02:22
Location: Toronto
Model and Year: 850 turbo, 1996

Re: Feels like clutch slipping, but I have an automatic. Wha

Postby jblackburn » 08 May 2013, 01:23

I would recommend the Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc fluid.

But here's a whole lot of people that know their oils:
http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ub ... 736&page=1
'98 S70 T5 218K miles
2012 Chevy Cruze LT 6MT


A learning experience is one of those things that says, "You know that thing you just did? Don't do that."

mercuic: Long live the tractor motor!
User avatar
jblackburn
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Posts: 13526
Joined: 08 Jun 2008, 21:54
Location: Alexandria, VA
Model and Year: 1998 S70 T5

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