I am thoroughly bummed out. Under the car tonight I couldn't detect wobble in the shaft. I could rotate it a bit, but not move it otherwise. I was under there recall to check the vac modulator and replace if necessary. I pulled the cap off the old one and there was ATF present making me hopeful this was my problem. To get a wrench on the old one I had to remove some sort of bracket that was bolted right behind the tranny pan. A piece of flat iron about 8-9" long with three holes in it that appears to do nothing as the holes looked like something used to fit there but not now. And I had to drop the tranny mount bracket to get access too. Rear mount looks ok as far as I can tell and I sure had to do some heavy pushing to compress it enough to get the bracket back in place when done. I pulled the old modulator and let the fluid drain. I was advised to watch for the pin inside and was told it would be loose since the new modulator came without the pin. Not so. It was stuck tight into the old modulator and I had to pull it with vise grips. Mounted the new unit reusing the pin. Under the assumption that the modulater was set to factory spec. and no idea how to adjust it otherwise, I refilled the tranny and went for a test drive.
Didn't work. Absolutely no change from before. Help? Ok, your advice on the vacuum gauge is noted although if I find a problem I don't know what to do about it. And I read the post you referred me to as well. Here are all the added clues I can think of to mention: Door vacuum works nowhere including gas cap and trunk. As I seem to recall there are two lines connected to a coupling at the manifold. Is it possible a leak on the door side is affecting the tranny side? If I accelerate slowly, the 2-3 shift is very smooth, and the 3-4 shift happens at around 30mph. Both these shifts are so smooth you have to be paying close attention to notice them. If after the 3-4 shift feels like it has locked and I try to accelerate normally, it will start to slip again badly until 40+ and then the car accelerates normally. I can't tell if the slipping is because 4th hasn't locked fully until 40 is reached or because it is trying unsuccessfully to drop back into third. ATF is right at the full mark after test drive.
This car is my only transportation, and I can't afford a tranny rebuild, let alone having no other way to work, so any hints and advice is much appreciated.