Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
 
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 06-30-2023, 12:42 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: Ohio
Posts: 9
Default Signs of transmission going out?

Hi we are in the market for a Rialta. Knowing that the transmission is the weak I would like to know how these end up failing? Does it go all a once and leave you stranded or are there plenty of warning signs before it goes? I am looking at a 1997 with 100k miles and the owner says it runs fine but it does not have a transmission cooler so it seems like if it was run that long without the cooler it is about due for a rebuild?
wcpastures is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2023, 12:37 AM   #2
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: BC
Posts: 192
Default

The automatic transmissions don’t usually just stop and leave you stranded but tend to give a number of early warnings like shifting late, jerky. Automatic transmissions have a lot of mini channels and plastic parts that harden over time with heat and just break when brittle. The Rialta and any of the VW Eurovans have as explained to me by a transmission guy a transmission that came from a car and gets worked hard in the vans and motorhomes. Heat is your enemy so the best thing you can do for your transmission is have a good transmission cooler installed and change the transmission fluid with a good synthetic type oil. That being said if the oil has never been changed and the vehicle is at 100K miles changing the oil may bring on transmission troubles. Ideally the transmission fluid was changed at around 50-60 K (miles) in which case the transmission is due for another change now.

Find yourself a good European transmission shop and they should be able to advise you. Rebuilding the transmission is also an option and although relatively expensive it is cheaper than a brand new transmission and should give you many trouble free miles. I happen to like the VW campers and I would just add a transmission cooler and change the filter and fluid knowing that the worst case senerio is a rebuilt transmission and it could cost me $x. We added a transmission cooler and changed the filter and fluid on our 92 Westfailia as a precaution at 90K km in 2017 and it worked flawlessly for us for a long trip through South America and the current owners have had no issues with the van 4 years later and many more miles later.

My best recollection was a full rebuild was about $4,500 canadian and a new transmission from VW was about double in 2017. The transmission cooler and service was around $1,000 cdn. which was my frugal decision at the time.
__________________
Ken
_____________________________________________
2021 Ford Transit AWD ‘Iron Horse’
Formerly - 2007 Pleasure Way Plateau (06 Sprinter T1N), 1992 VW Eurovan Westfalia Hightop
Long ago - 1969 VW Westfalia & 1973 GMC Motorhome
ks@yvr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2023, 02:33 PM   #3
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Washington
Posts: 254
Default

If transmission problems is a worry, you might consider an American-made vehicle. For example, you can rebuild a Ford automatic transmission yourself at home for about $500 in parts.
N147JK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2023, 03:30 AM   #4
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Arizona
Posts: 36
Default

Doing a transmission rebuild the _correct_ way is more than $500 for the average DIY'er for the first go, once you factor in the speciality tools needed.

Of course, there's plenty of people who consider just slapping in new seals and frictions a "rebuild"....��
Detroit80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2023, 01:13 PM   #5
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Washington
Posts: 254
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Detroit80 View Post
Doing a transmission rebuild the _correct_ way is more than $500 for the average DIY'er for the first go, once you factor in the speciality tools needed.
Check this out. Easy and no special tools needed. Fantastic videos available (free).

https://transmissionbench.com/
N147JK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2023, 02:32 PM   #6
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Arizona
Posts: 36
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by N147JK View Post
Check this out. Easy and no special tools needed.
Ok, so you've never actually done this before.. You just believed the website that wants to sell you their products...

You're already looking at $600+ in the kit, plus another couple hundred in a bottom tier aftermarket converter.

How do you get the lip seals in? Or the pressure plate springs compressed? Cobble together some C-clamps and hope you don't warp the pressure plates or crack the drums in the process? Planning on driving in the various bushings with the ol' smack it with a socket and hope it centers itself up method?

Yes, a Ford/Dodge/GM trans rebuild/replace is cheaper than a VW, but to say anyone can rebuild one with $500 in parts is just wrong.
Detroit80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2023, 05:18 PM   #7
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Washington
Posts: 254
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Detroit80 View Post
Ok, so you've never actually done this before.

How do you get the lip seals in? Or the pressure plate springs compressed? Cobble together some C-clamps and hope you don't warp the pressure plates or crack the drums in the process? Planning on driving in the various bushings with the ol' smack it with a socket and hope it centers itself up method?
OK, so you didn't do any reading or watch the videos. I guess that's typical.

For me, I'd rather save thousands of dollars, enjoy learning something new, and have the satisfaction of knowing it was done right.
N147JK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2023, 07:44 PM   #8
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Arizona
Posts: 36
Default

I wasn't asking how to do it because I don't know. I was asking how one plans to do this on the cheap, because I've been through transmissions that have been the victim of well intentioned back yard "rebuilds", and have seen the various ways people try to avoid buying the expensive tools because they will only use them once in their life.

I just went through a 4L80E that a friend built because "the videos made it look so easy". That trans didn't make it 30 miles before catastrophic failure. It wasn't a cheap fix, even at my cost for parts.

You want to shortcut your builds because some company is biased in other to sell you stuff based on some BS notion that GM went out of their way to make their transmissions easy to repair for the average Joe in his garage with basic tools? Knock yourself out. I'm sure there are plenty of transmission shops around that will gladly take your money to fix it correctly afterwards.

But to tell other people that this is as simple as replacing a water pump is just plain bad advice and likely to cost someone a lot of money when that trans lets go in the middle of nowhere.
Detroit80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2023, 03:56 PM   #9
Platinum Member
 
mloganusda's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Smyrna, TN
Posts: 578
Default

My sister just had her 2003 Rialta transmission rebuilt last year for $5K at a transmission shop in Jackson, MS. She had to have the RV towed about 100 miles to be repaired. I believe one of only a few shops that will rebuild a Eurovan transmission in the USA. The shop has been in business for over 30 years and does good work.
mloganusda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2023, 12:01 AM   #10
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: Ohio
Posts: 9
Default Transmission cooler

Thanks for the responses. I did purchase a 1995. My concern now is prevention. I am going to change the fluid ASAP. After that I know many recommend adding an external cooler. So looks like mine has a transmission cooler already installed that is cooled by the engine coolant. Is this not sufficient? If the engine coolant is getting that hot is THAT not more of a concern? So why is no one concerned about bringing the engine coolant temp down?
wcpastures is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2023, 12:34 AM   #11
Platinum Member
 
mloganusda's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Smyrna, TN
Posts: 578
Default

The Rialta group replaced the factory transmission cooler with an external cooler with a thermal bypass. The bypass recirculated the trans fluid until it reached about 165*F and then opened up to use the added cooler to keep temps at that temp. In the winter we used foam tubing in front of the cooler to block off cold air. I tried to look up the Makco trans cooler that was used but seems no longer offered. Just look for external coolers with barbs on the same side toward driver's position. The factory cooler was removed and bypassed and routed to the new cooler. Attached is PDF trans cooler installation file and photo of thermal bypass used.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tranmission Bypass.jpg (42.2 KB, 1 views)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Transmission Cooler Installation.pdf (1.21 MB, 4 views)
mloganusda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2023, 12:37 AM   #12
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Arizona
Posts: 36
Default

Engines NEED heat to run correctly, especially if it's a fuel injected engine. Contrary to popular belief, especially among the performance car crowd, having a modern engine running under 180* is NOT a good thing. Most are designed to run at 190+, with many modern engines designed to run around 220*.

Engines are designed to run at a set temperature, and reducing it will increase engine wear, increase sludge buildup, reduce fuel mileage and reduce power.

You'll basically be trading transmission wear for engine wear.

It's also possible to run a transmission too cool, which causes the fluid to thicken up, and won't flow as well. For most of them, around 160* is about as cold as you want them running long term.
Detroit80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2023, 01:12 AM   #13
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 12,089
Default

I agree with Detroit80 on his statements.


The trans fluid is usually run through the radiator after the add on cooler to temper the fluid in cold weather to prevent too cold trans fluid failures.


As to the install link, it has what I would call some very good points and some things that I think are a bit misunderstood.


First and foremost, using barbed fittings and hose clamps is asking for trouble, especially in high continuous load situations like an RV. Hose blowoffs are very, very common an can be a very expensive thing when the transmission burns up. If you do use hose clamps get the smooth inside version of constant pressure style and use two narrow band ones instead of one wide one. Retighten many times after running until they quit loosening.



Using a transmission sized thermostatic bypass is a good idea, I use them on both of my add on cooler vehicles, our Roadtrek 190 Chevy and my 96 Buick Roadmaster wagon. The Roadtrek is plumbed into two transmission coolers and not at all to the radiator tank. The Buick is done conventionally through the cooler first and then the radiator, and the thermostat bypasses them both. Both systems work very well for us.


Be aware that very many of the aftermarket coolers have what they usually call something like "automatic internal bypass" to take the place of the add on thermostat. It it usually is like many of the factory coolers that do the same thing to save the system from overpressuring in the the cold. All they do is add one oversized passage through the cooler so even thick fluid will get through enough to save the system. Of course the big passage flows even more when the fluid is hot and costs you 20-30% of the capacity the cooler would have it if didn't have the big passage. Look for a cooler that does not have any big bypass passage if you use a thermostat.


Don't use an engine oil coolant thermostat if you can help it because they are way to large a capacity and all thermostats let about 10% through without bypassing it so you don't get as warm in the winter or other cold weather. That thermostat looks like the Preferred Racing one like I have on my Buick, except I used -6 size AN fittings and stainless braid hose to prevent blowoffs. It is much smaller than their oil cooler one and works much better on transmissions. They are very good stats, but pretty expensive. I have found a 165*F pellet gives the best control as the temp will generally run slightly about the pellet temp 5-10* most of the time except in cold weather.
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2023, 09:39 PM   #14
New Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Washington
Posts: 4
Default

The main concern with Rialta transmissions is availability of parts. VW quit importing VW Eurovans (which the Rialta is built on) in 2003. As far as I know, there are only 2 transmission shops that still have parts - one in NJ and one in Bend, OR. And those parts are getting scarcer by the year. Again, check out https://groups.io/g/Rialta-Tech for specific answers regarding Rialtas. This forum appears to have people answering who don't actually own a Rialta or know much about the specifics (e.g. how difficult it can be to find parts).
stereorowe is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 11:33 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.