94 Ranger Auto Transmission Problem
Issue started about a week ago. Was merging onto the highway and truck wouldn't shift out of 1st (auto transmission). I left off the gas and it jumped into gear. Next red light did the same thing. Me, my dad, my car friend all test drove and it just skips over 2nd gear. Fluids fine. After a week of driving it this way, it's doing the same thing (yes it didn't magically fix itself, darn!). I have to get it up to 30 mph or 35 mph and let off enough for it to shift, then ease back on. Uphills from a stop suck! It will go the whole way up to 4000 rpm if you let it, which I obviously try not to, but sometimes if you are a little too fast on the gas it'll jump back into 1st.
This same thing happened about 6 years ago to this same truck when I was a freshman in college. My dad, who is quite handy with vehicles and repair, took it to a guy who rebuilt the transmission for $750. This guy said that the 2nd gear belt was broken I believe. My dad called around and got a quote on the work and it was around $1250 to rebuild it. Well, that's more than half the value of the truck so not an option.
But the guy also said it could be the 2nd gear solenoid (?). Sorry I suck at spelling. But it would cost $60 for him to drop the pan and determine if that was an issue.
We located used trannys in the area for around $400-500 and can do the work ourselves if we rent a tranny jack.
Any ideas on what the best option is? Would the $60 to rule out what could be a cheaper $200 or less fix to replace a solenoid be worth it? Or is this an unlikely possibility?
My plan is to fix the truck and keep it, but get a cheaper fuel efficient car for daily driving to make things easier as the truck is getting older and racking up the miles. But I still need it for certain things. So we want to keep the costs of repair low, but not do a completely half-a$$ job.