I now have my second gear start

I posted a topic in 2011 about getting second gear start for my 2002 Bonneville. Some things have happened in the interim.

  • Someone with a scurdled boscam closed the topic.

  • My fiancee is now my wife.

  • The city is building a new bridge, and the “roller coaster” hills are gone.

  • I found a way to get a second gear start switch (actually a winter driving switch) that actually works. I finished installing and testing it today.

A few facts about what I did:

  • I gave up on the modification of the tables and the shift-select pin on the PCM, because I found someone who tried it. It required a lot of tuning beyond just changing the shift points.

  • I took a look at disconnecting the shift A solenoid again. I found out from someone who knew the insides of the PCM that the reason the PCM throws a trouble code is because the coil is not there (electrically), not that the transmission did not obey it. The PCM on cars newer than 1996 has no idea what the transmission is actually doing, other than certain pressures, temperatures and speeds.

  • So I used a double throw switch to substitute a dummy load for the shift coil. Problem solved. It works great.

  • I did not put in the relay to enable 4th gear. 4th gear dies not engage until the car reaches 45 mph, and under icy conditions, going 45 mph is not likely.

  • I added two indicator light LEDs:

    • One lights up when winter driving is selected.
    • The other changes color with the gear the transmission is using: dark: 1st; red: 2nd; yellow: 3rd; green: 4th.

This should work on any GM car made since 1996.

Well, I had a '67 Mustang, a’99 S-10, a 2001 S-10 that all had 2nd gear start.

Well, at least you finally listened to us, and decided to actually try it, instead of waiting for one of us to do it ourselves. Don’t really understand why you refused to try it for so long.

But congrats.


I was waiting until I could find a method that everyone agreed on. I was on 3 different forums. What one person told me to do, another told me could damage the car or put it into limp mode. I couldn’t be without the car, so I didn’t want to gamble on it.

Second, I was getting a lot of false information. People couldn’t even agree on what would work, what wouldn’t work, which wire was which, what color each wire is, or where to find the wires. I wanted to get all of the hokum sorted out before I did anything.

In addition, I was sidetracked by methods involving retuning the transmission controls. But nobody could assure me that it worked. I finally found someone who had tried the tuning and it did NOT work. The torque management overrode the second gear start.

I finally found some people (E-Transcontrol) who actually make and sell paddle shifter devices that control this transmission. They were able to make verifiable statements of how things really work. I also learned how to test things in a reversible way.

The other problem is that, while I am able to do ordinary wiring, I am getting along in years (and arthritis), and I needed to find someone else to do the contortions needed to run the 4-wire cable from the dash through the firewall to the transmission. I had a guy who kept promising to run the cable, but he never had time. I finally got the guy who fixed my heater to run the cable through the firewall for me while he had things apart (April 1).

I ran the tests on April 2. On April 3, I finished the wiring and drove the car to test it. I fastened the wiring in place and put on all the conduits and covers on April 5.

I am making a web page on the project. It is still being tested.

Congrats on getting it to work. Persistence pays off … well, most of the time …

The web page is up. it is at: