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My Motorhome Transmission Will Only Work In Reverse

by Terri
(Meridian, MS)

We just purchased a 1998 Southwind, like last week, everything was fine and now it will only go in reverse and not forward. The RV has 34,000 miles, can you please help. Thanks so very much.

ANSWER: Greetings Terri thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question

I will tell you up front that unless you are trained in transmission repair there is not a lot a do-it-yourselfer can do to diagnose and repair an automatic transmission. About the only thing you can do is check the transmission to make sure that it has the proper amount of transmission fluid. Follow the steps below to check the fluid.

1. The RV needs to be parked on a flat and level surface. In order to properly check the transmission fluid the engine needs to be running and the automatic transmission needs to be in neutral. It is important that the emergency brake is on. If you are unsure how well your emergency brakes hold, I would also suggest that you chock the tires front and back.

2. Allow the engine sufficient time to warm up. Now go to the exterior engine access door on your motorhome and open it. Normally you will be able to access the transmission dipstick from the outside engine access compartment when it is open.

I cannot tell you exactly where the dipstick is located on your RV. The transmission fluid dipstick is usually a lot longer then the engine oil dipstick.

3. Some transmission dipsticks have both a full mark for when the engine is warm or cold. You want to look at the warm mark on the dipstick. When you first pull out the dipstick you will need to wipe it off and then reinsert it to get a proper reading.

4. If you are low on transmission fluid, your need to add transmission fluid. Refer to your RV's Owner's Manual to find out what type of transmission fluid is required for your RV. You will also need a small funnel.

To add transmission fluid you will pour it down the same tube that the transmission dipstick is in (that is why you need the funnel). You do not want to overfill the transmission so pour a little transmission fluid in at a time and keep rechecking the level until it is up to the full mark.

If after you fill the transmission with fluid or if it is already full and the transmission is still acting up; you're going to have to have the transmission checked out by a mechanic that is qualified to work on transmissions.

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Happy RVing

RVing Al

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