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My '95 Sable GS 3.0 with AX4N tranny and 139k exhibits a problem described in other posts - it sometimes "neutrals out" at stop signs when warm - won't move, and then slams into gear when revved.

Sounds like the cracked or stuck forward clutch piston problem. An on-line mechanic said this piston is only used in 4th gear, and if it gets too bad, I might have to select the 4th-gear lock-out position on the gearshift and drive that way until the transmission is fixed/rebuilt.

My question is, where is this piston? Is it in the valve body? Is it accessible from the pan without removing and tearing down the transmission? I hate to pay big bucks for a rebuild job, when a small dollar piston is the only problem - the car drives like new except for this problem.

Any info. would be much appreciated.

John D., Indianapolis
 

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Your online mechanic doesn't know what he's talking about. The forward clutch piston notoriously cracks in older trannies because it was originally made of aluminum. The replacement part is steel. However, you need a bit of skill, knowledge and special tools to replace it, since you have to remove and disassemble the tranny. Said piston is inside the guts of the tranny, and cannot be accessed without pulling the tranny out and taking it apart.
 
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