My tranny cooler punctured (which led to my fluid leaking out completely within a mile and a half, which led to my tranny overheating, which led to a rebuilt tranny 3k miles later) and I replaced it with an aftermarket cooler meant for class c motorhomes (about $50 at local autoparts store). Took me a whole day to replace it since I did not have a manual (haynes, chiltons, or dealer manual). It did require some use of a dremel tool and a few cuts and bruises, but it's not as hard as replacing the alternator looks. (btw, has anyone replaced their own alternator on a 2.7l? I don't need to (yet), but I'm just curious).
Nick, as far as your problems go, I think the cheapest way to attempt to fix it right now is to check (and clean or replace if necessary.) the input and output speed sensors(About $25ea at dealer). They are magnetic and there is always metal sediment inside your transmission and the sediment clings to the sensors and after a while can cause the RPM readings to be faulty, which can cause shifting problems. Think of it this way, if the input sensor is reading lower than it should, it's telling the TCM a slower engine speed than what it should. Compared to the output speed (if that's even correct either), it will think that the cluctches or gears need not be engaged until you rev your engine up higher, which is when finally the sensor is sending a signal fast enough to tell the TCM to perform whichever specific function. Hope this makes sense. My car did something similar... wouldn't engage until my engine speed was fast enough and then it would slam into gear. Replacing the input speed sensor fixed it. If that doesn't work, it costs about $70 or $80 for a transmission diagnostics test at a dealer.
The sensors are located on the driver's side of the transmission. The input is closer to the engine, the output is about a foot away from it. You will know where they are because they are the only two things sticking out of that side of the tranny with two wires coming out of each. It will take some time to get at the sensors with a socket (1" deep socket). Very little, if any fluid will leak out when you take these out. They aren't on very tight... just tight enough to keep a seal. When putting them back in, remember the input has a hexagonal tip, the output has a smaller, round cylinder tip. There should not be any dents, holes, or chips on the tips of these. If there are, they should be replaced, and furthermore, if there are dents, holes, or chips, it means something must have hit them inside the transmission and that something is obviously broken inside your transmission. If that's the case, then your shifting problems can be caused by the broken pieces clogging up the screen for the valves which would keep the hydraulics from working well, if at all. Hopefully you don't see damaged sensors... that would be bad.
[ October 12, 2001: Message edited by: Bart ]