AMC Pacer



The standard 3-speed manual transmission wants to be used with patience. Harsh shifting causes the synchromesh rings to wear out prematurely. But would you buy a Pacer with that trans to burn rubber? The optional overdrive was made by Laycock-deNormanville and is known for its durability when used as intended. The 4-speed manual trans doesn't have any special shortcomings.



The Pacer's automatic trans, named "torque command", is the indestructible, albeit not very economical, Chrysler 904. Most AMCs with "small" engines are equipped with this trans, as well as many Chryslers (duh!) and Jeeps until recently. Replacements are cheap, rebuild kits are available, and a knowledgeable shop should not have any problems working on it.

Check for smooth shifts, working kick-down and no slipping when under load. A clunk noise when shifting into reverse can be caused by worn transmission or rear axle mounts.

Slipping under heavy acceleration can have various causes. First check transmission fluid level as instructed (i.e. with warm trans and idling engine). More often than not, the fluid level is just too low. Be careful not to overfill and to keep everything clean, even little fluffs of the cloth you used to clean the stick can cause malfunction of the tranny. Oil smelling burnt is a sign that the transmission is in need of a rebuild.

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Last modified: 2019-12-25 16:17