I didn't think it through that well, Yes, the friction would create tons of heat if the Tranny was the culprit, and if it got hot (I have driven it like this for several two hour drives) I think it would not shift properly; it shifts fine and no, the clutch is not slipping. Now, before I did the timing belt job, I checked compression in four cylinders, and they were all down to 120 psi. That is what convinced me to go ahead with that job. Now that the timing is correct, I probably should do it again just to verify improved compression. Both O2 sensors are very new; Bosch brand (which I invested in after crappy results from eBay cheapo's_). The cat is basically new too, and I did take it off a couple weeks ago to verify not the problem, as that was suggested by two different people. Oil consumption hasn't been that bad, and has even improved since I started using AT 205 Reseal, but I can't give you numbers on miles / quart. Engine uses no coolant whatsoever. Fuel economy is definitely down. On the highway, I used to get 28 mpg going fast with the A/C on (in Arizona no less); now probably down to 23 mpg if I were to estimate, and I can't use the A/C basically at all right now as I just don't have enough power. I had read that possible issues could be the coolant temp sensors, but, I would think no because the lost power shows up immediately after cold starts. I would like to say that the onset of this problem was pretty sudden too (and before the Timing Belt skipped 17 Teeth). I was on the expressway, and maybe needing more foot into it than normal without realizing it, but when I switched on the A/C I began to lose speed, even as I mashed the peddle to try to keep it up. Had to turn off the air to get home, and the problem has been this way ever since. I will go out and check my compression right now. . . . Updated Compression readings: 1=205psi, 2=175, 3=205, 4=185, 5=205, 6=210. Other things I did include New Coil, New Fuel Pump (my neighbor's gauge gave me a false low reading; pump was fine), Recently changed all vacuum solenoid valves and vacuum hoses, and since I did get a TPS code for some reason, I tested and re-calibrated that.
Oh yeah, I did a complete Timing Belt job; the whole kit; all new pulleys/idlers, tensioner, and water pump. Also, I have the JP50 MAF; that thing will never go bad. So, someone else suggested possible O2 sensor issue even if I get no code for them. I realize they can be bad and get no code; the ECM can't tell if it is getting bad signals. So, the next thing I will do is try to figure out how to test the O2 sensors.