2000 Mazda MPV odd trans issue

May 4, 2008
I wanted to share this in hopes someone may have an insight on what's going on, my initial thoughts are the filter is clogged and/or the clutches are toast. The van has 175K miles and the 2.5L V6, owner was driving and said the van starting losing power and the RPM's climbed slightly but was able to maintain speed. They were about 5 miles from the house and during that time the van would drive but had erratic RPM jumps and had to be revved to about 4K to get up the driveway, it was then parked and has sat for about 10 months.

My first thought was the trans was smoked, likely still is but not sure. I had to jump start the engine and it ran for about 2-3 min before I selected a gear. I first checked the trans fluid and it was full and didn't smell bad. I tried reverse and it kinda engaged and moved slowly, I then tried Drive and the same, slow engagement and it would move slightly, then seemed to start to catch with the RPM's raised to about 2500 but no positive engagement. after 2 more tries it wasn't moving.

I shut it off and tried to restart, click, click. I removed the battery and took it with me, placed it on a charger/de-sulfater and after 2 days it took a good charge.

I re-installed the battery and the engine fire up, engaged Reverse and it dropped right into gear, had good torque, engaged Drive and it dropped firmly into gear, power braked it slightly and it wanted to take off. I went back and forth from R to D and the trans acted like nothing was wrong, reached the stall speed and had very good torque. I didn't have a chance to drive it as I needed someone to follow me just in case.

I checked the trans fluid and it was full, has no burning odor and looked good, not fresh fluid red but a good shade of pink. After hearing what happened I would not have thought the fluid would look like this.

MPV trans fkuid 1.jpg

So could this be an electrical issue? There was no charging light and I didn't have my DMM to verify alternator output. Maybe the trans is toast and this was an anomaly. I don't have a knowledge of these transmissions so any input appreciated.
The problem was electrical in the ignition circuit and PCU management from the charging system failure. No reason to suspect a transmission failure.

You need to check if the alternator is good; may not be the battery.