Half shaft or (gulp) tranny?

buick
lesabre

#1

I was driving my 2000 LeSabre (The Saw, I call her :] ) and took a right turn off the ridge onto a road that drops down sharply. I’ve done this particular turn many times. I don’t think the right wheel actually lost contact with the road but I think the spring was pretty much unloaded, like it is when the car is on a jack stand and the wheel is hanging down. I hit the gas and heard a POP-POP-POP and felt something grabbing. I stopped the car pretty far out in the road, and thought I’d better get it off to the side a little more. I happened to have a floor jack in the trunk, and picked up the front wheels one at a time, figuring that if a half shaft was messed up, I could then pull off the road…no go; It acted like it was in park, even though it was in drive. I’m pretty sure I could have gave it some gas and pulled it over with the popping sound, since it had moved with the popping sound after I first made the turn…but I didn’t want to risk more damage. Well, I had it towed to the house and put both sides on jack stands with the wheels off the ground. When spinning a wheel, I got the normal reaction of the other wheel turning in the opposite direction, and no binding. I looked at the dust boots to see if it looked like one of the inner CV joints had pulled apart, but saw nothing. I then started the car and put it into “drive.” Same thing…something is binding and wheels don’t turn. Is it possible that one of the bearings in the inner or outer cv joints became dislodged? If so, I wouldn’t think I could turn the wheels with my hands. Please tell me I’m wrong in thinking something is up with the tranny. Oh, woe is me! :frowning:


#2

“When spinning a wheel, I got the normal reaction of the other wheel turning in the opposite direction, and no binding”

That means the CV joints and axles are OK.
What’s hanging up is in the transmission or the ring gear(final drive?) of the differential.


#3

Thinking more about it, I wonder if snapping the half shaft to its full length may have partially dislodged a retaining ring, and the connection between the trans and the half shaft is slipping under load. But yeah, circuitsmith, if that was the case, why couldn’t I drive the car forward when it was on the floor jack? Hmmm…


#4

What happens when you lift one wheel off the ground (or both wheels off the ground and hold the other); put the transmission in Neutral; and try to turn the wheel?

If there still is binding, I suspect that you have a transmission problem. You don’t mention which transmission you have or the engine you have in this Buick. IIRC most of the GM transmissions do not have a pinion and ring gear but use a planetary reduction as a final drive. The parking gear is connected to the sun so if the wheels will not turn the sun, something has happened to the final drive.

If you find out the failure, please report back. We are interested.

Hope this helps


#5

3.8 Buick has 4t65e trans. Just changed one on our grand prix. $100 for trans.


#6

Maybe it’s just a broken parking pawl (widget that locks the wheels when you put it in park), or the linkage to it.


#7

I got to thinking about things that might interfere in the final drive area of the transmission. There is the sensor wheel for the Vehicle Speed Sensor which would come fairly close to the sensor. I am wondering if the sensor is catching on the wheel. You might try removing the VSS and see if the problem is still there.

At least a hope for a simple solution.


#8

I took it to a transmission shop a couple of days ago, and I got the bad news this morning. He dropped the pan yesterday and told me it was full of shrapnel. He thinks that maybe when I took the turn, the right wheel lost contact with the pavement, and when it contacted again stressed the internals. He asked me if I was accelerating, which I was not. If that’s the case, I have only myself to blame, but this kind of damage isn’t something that even crossed my mind as a possibility.
I told him to go ahead and rebuild it since I need this car back on the road right away for a number of reasons. Stoveguyy might be able to relate to this one…I need to haul more firewood. :slight_smile:
I have to work on my cars outside so even if I had the time, it’s pretty tough out there this time of year, and with the equipment I have. Sure, I could have had a used trans installed but that might be a crap shoot. This car’s got just over 100k so hopefully I can still get a lot of use out of it.
This really puts a dent in my Christmas plans. Heck, now I’ll barely be able to afford the gifts I was going to buy for me, much less anyone else’s. :smiley: On the plus side, this isn’t the most expensive mistake I’ve made, by a long shot. :smiley:


#9

@MoeParr

You made the right choice in having the transmission rebuilt, versus installing a used one

By the way, with your screen name, why aren’t you driving a Dodge or Plymouth?


#10

If this is going to be an inshop rebuild, ask the transmssion technician to give you a summary of the parts that broke and how they broke. See if he/she can narrow it down to something like “the final drive sun gear stripped” or “a planet gear broke or came apart”

You might be able to get this information from the parts list on the final invoice. Let us know the gory details just for our information.

TNX


#11

Yeah, in-shop work. I forgot to tell him to save the parts, but I think he may do that anyway. I may give him a call, just to make sure. I want to see them, just to satisfy my own morbid curiosity. :slight_smile:


#12

db4690, when I picked that username I was driving a couple of K-cars, then a Dynasty. :slight_smile:


#13

@MoeParr

An uncle of mine used to drive a Dynasty. I thought it was a decent car, for its time.


#14

I’ve seen your posts before and even just considering this one its obvious you’re quite knowledgeable about cars. So I have to ask- you’re hauling firewood with this car? That’s a tough load for many vehicles more capable than this one. Only you know the circumstances and whether or not that kind of duty contributed to the early demise of the trans…

I recently had a couple cars fail the state inspection. Being in the process of moving to a new state, I have no way to work on them myself. Its tough to pay someone to do the work but no choice so I feel your pain. At least yours was a much more legitimate reason! Good luck!


#15

folks say the dodge fwd trans are shaky but i have read even more about how delicate the gm 4t65 trans are. clutchs, burnt drums, and the very common valve body issues with 4 different solenoids that love to fail. must be a reason there are so many $465 remaned valvebodies for sale online. does your trans shop “check” valve body parts for wear and if they are “ok”, they reuse them? so you got a new clutch pack and seals but a used valve body. i guess you dont get a lot for your $2200 rebuild.


#16

TwinTurbo
I’ve seen your posts before and even just considering this one its obvious you’re quite knowledgeable about cars.
No need for sarcasm! :smiley:

you’re hauling firewood with this car? That’s a tough load for many vehicles more capable than this one. Only you know the circumstances and whether or not that kind of duty contributed to the early demise of the trans…
Before this, I hauled my 5x8 trailer with a '95 Ciera. Flogged that poor thing mercilessly with mounded up loads of big, wet Red Oak rounds. Drove it from 68k-211k, and toward the end of its life the trans would have to warm up for a minute in cold weather before it would engage. With this car, I’m keeping the loads small and I don’t drive very far loaded, maybe 8 mi. max. I’ve only had the car about a year, maybe ten loads of wood, so I’m inclined to believe the trans guy’s theory that the damage was caused by the right wheel losing contact with the pavement momentarily…because I’m not all that knowledgeable about transmissions. :smiley:

Stoveguyy
i have read even more about how delicate the gm 4t65 trans are. clutchs, burnt drums, and the very common valve body issues with 4 different solenoids that love to fail. must be a reason there are so many $465 remaned valvebodies for sale online. does your trans shop “check” valve body parts for wear and if they are “ok”, they reuse them?
Not sure about the valve bodies, I’ll ask him. He quoted me $1800…


#17

People I’ve talked to about this say they have not had very good luck with rebuilt transmissions, only getting about a year out of them. I guess I need to ask this guy what the warranty is on this one. Not sure how the fact that I would haul some wood with it would affect the warranty. I also run paper routes with my cars. :0 I only use the ‘Saw’ once a week on a route, though. I had a Jasper rebuilt put in one of the K-cars but I can’t remember now how many more years I had that vehicle…


#18

Both of those activities are very tough on transmissions. I knew a guy once that only got 8 miles out of a new engine. 'Course it accumulated that mileage 1/4 mile at a time ;-D

If you have a lot of stops along the way that would multiply the stress compared to once you get it moving.

Up until recently, I routinely hauled wood and wood dust (compacted into dense bricks) and I can tell you it’s much heavier than it appears.

I’d recommend changing your trans fluid much more frequently than normal. GM trans + severe use = <30k interval.

I’m betting the wheel drop was just the last straw. BTW if you bought it used, no telling what the schmuck before you did with it. Probably hauled wood or something crazy like that :wink: j/k


#19

The car belonged to the woman’s grandma. With only about 6k per year, probably didn’t do too much driving other than to church on Sunday. :wink:
I’ve hauled enough wood that I can tell how much of a load I’ve got. Like I said, I’m trying to be very easy on this car.
Now, I have made that particular turn many, many times and it’s possible that if it was stressing the trans, that stress was multiplied by the number of times I made that particular maneuver…


#20

Well, it took me a while but I finally remembered to get a pic of the carnage, and the receipt. Nothing on there about ‘valve bodies’ but maybe some of that stuff was in the overhaul kit…
Seems to be working well, but if I switch from ‘R’ to ‘D’, I need to let it fully engage before I hit the gas or it will shudder instead of firmly engaging.