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Re: Dark ATF, I'm scared, 089 Trany

<<Transmission behavoir is on the fringe of perfect, takes a second to engage 
into reverse, kickdown sometimes is a little late, and other than that 
operation is fine.>>

    That **might** be bad news. Either the tranny is going or the valves in 
it are sticking. Sticking valves are not bad, just need a little attention.

    Change the fluid immediately, replace the gasket and filter at the same 
time. Use synthetic ATF when you go back together. Also add one of the 
aftermarket "slicker uppers" such as Militec 1. I bought some stuff at the 
local parts store that seemed to help, but don't recall the name of the 
stuff. Then, IF the valves are the problem, things will get better. If not, 
find another tranny or get ready for a rebuild.
    It would also help if you changed the diff oil while you were under the 
car. It's a PITA to do 'cause you need to pull the left side mounting bracket 
out, then find some way to get that big ass hex head cap out. But, if past 
traffic on the list is recalled correctly, this will be good in the long run. 
The final drive for these cars seems to be the Number One contributing factor 
to transmission failure. The f.d. cooks out the diff oil, gets hot, stiffens 
up, and causes the engine to work harder, thus putting more wear on the 
trans. When the trans goes, the f.d. is usually shot as well.