Tracker/Sidekick Automatic

How good or dependable is the Automatic transPosted
by: “airscrews” airscrews
Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:08 am (PST)

I have a 96 X 90 and a 97 Sidekick , can anyone tell me how dependable the auto trans are for off road use , some rock crawling , slow low range crawling deep sand ect , any input will be greatly appreciated .

Re: How good or dependable is the Automatic trans
Posted by: “Joe Simmons” birdfarm2000
Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:12 pm (PST)

The three speed trans with lockup converter is a 3L30 or TH180C, used in several vehicles, including AM General small postal vans, Chevettes, Fiats, etc. They work fantastic for rock climbing, as there’s a LOT less driver input necessary…….manual and clutch can get you INTO some VERY sticky situations. A fairly simple auto trans, and moderately durable. There’s not much available for heavy duty operation, Makco sells a TransGo kit to replace the pins and springs on the 1st gear valving, and IIRC, they also sell some better frictions, bands, and Kolene steels. A good plate-style trans cooler will help with longivity, and good fluid changed regularly will also help.

Weak points on the 3 speed include various internal leaks causing SLOW shifting when cold, and loss of control pressure resulting in slippage, burnt fluid, and a dead trans. The TCC solenoid generally has a burnt-out coil resulting in no torque converter lockup (less than $50 to repair)

If you’ve got the Aisin 4 speed, it’s a different story…..electronic shift solenoids, ECM controls shifting, and a LOT more to go wrong. Several persons have made hybrid trans from these combined with an Aisin from a Toyota, Volvo, or some of the others which results in a dependable unit with a good overdrive and NO electronic shifting. Search on Pirate 4×4 or, if interested.

Joe S
I’d rather 4 wheel in an automatic!