Possible transmission issue? Help please!

Hello. I own a 2014 V60 with a D2 motor. I bought it a year ago and have since driven around 20000km with it. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that during acceleration I would feel as though the car would vibrate in intervals of 1 second on and 1 second off. It would be pretty noticable and could be felt in the drivers seat and pedals. The issue would dissapear if I released gas or pressed harder on it. During the ordeal I would notice that during the vibration the RPM’s would drow down by 50ish if not a bit more and go right back up when it stopped, and repeat. I tried to play closer attention to it during these weeks to try to pin point the exact cause and when it was most likely to happen, which is why I come here to try and get some help. Things I have noticed:

  1. During harder acceleration the car would shudder as the RPM increases in a second or so and would go away.
  2. During acceleration the RPM goes up unevenly - it would go up then down by some, up some more, down some again etc. Also the vibration is present to a degree but not as noticable.
  3. When I try to keep an even speed on a highway, the RPM’s would drop down by small ammounts and back up again. I would say by about 20 or so. Drops would be a bit bigger if I give the car more power for ex. during a small climb. During the same speed, there would be minimal to none vibrations, until more power is added on a climb or a steeper area.
  4. Gears don’t seem to change as smooth. It feels as though due to the RPM going up and down the car struggles to pin point at which point it should change up.
  5. At low speeds (20 or so) the car would stutter a bit until more power is added. It’s not a violent stutter, but noticable for me.

Do all these points make it seem as though it is a transmission issue? I have looked into things such as MAF, TPS and TC. It feels as though TC is the probable cause however I want to have your opinion on it and possible other things I should get checked out first. If it does turn out to be TC, what course of action is needed? I live in Norway, and stuff like that is extremely expensive to fix. I am not in a situation where I could financially be able to take on these costs. Would a tranny flush be a viable option? Dr. Tranny?

This is my first ever car, so I don’t personally know much about them either. Any help appreciated!
I do want to add - I recently changed oil, oil filter, air filter, pollen filter and fuel filter. I also did a scan with zero error codes shown.

Any Check Engine Light on or diagnostic trouble codes set?

Offhand, I tend to think this is an engine performance issue; not a transmission fault.

No lights on dashboard, and when I changed oil and filters I asked for a scan. The tool found no errors indicating motor, transmission issues, other than one or two codes with front and rear window wipers…

I agree with ok4450 that this sounds more like an engine issue than a trans issue, but I have to comment on the list of maintenance that was performed recently. You didn’t list a trans fluid change, and that is a major issue for a car whose prior maintenance you might not be aware of.

Whether Volvo’s maintenance schedule lists it or not, you need to have the trans fluid and filter changed every 30k miles (or every 3 years) if you want to avoid expensive trans problems. Since your car is now 8 years old, it should have had the fluid changed twice so far, with another fluid change very soon.

Even if a trans fluid change doesn’t have any effect on the current problem, you might be able to avoid future problems that will be very expensive to repair.

What I would do with car in hand is connect a vacuum gauge. That is cheap, easy, and can reveal a lot about the health of an engine.

Depending upon the gauge results the next step might be pulling the spark plugs and running a compression test. One thing I always make sure of is the mechanical aspect of the engine itself as I have seen many situations (both car owners and shops) where everything up to and including the kitchen sink was thrown at it in an attempt to fix a problem and it was all to no avail as there were compression issues.

If this is a serious mechanical fault then it is best to know from the get-go before throwing time, money, and countless parts at it.

I am not really sure if the car has had a trans fluid change due to volvo stating it’s a ‘‘lifetime’’ fill. However I know that the car has been to service every year for the typical check up. I have gone through the papers but nothing that indicates anything about transmission. Might do a double check. I have thought about doing flush however the history of not knowing if it has ever been changed gives me mixed feelings due to reading pros and cons…

All of the veterans of this forum consider that type of manufacturer claim to be bogus.

If you don’t know for sure that the fluid was changed at least twice so far, then you need to get it done–for the benefit of your wallet. Assuming that you have specialized trans shops in your country, I would suggest that you take the car to one of them for a fluid and filter change.

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Thank you for the tips. I’ll try to take it up with a mechanic I know and see if he can get this done. May I ask as to why you would think that this sounds more like an engine issue rather than transmission? Upon further googling, problems with torque converter seem pretty similar symptoms wise, however I am no expert and am yet merely speculating. Also if it is indeed the engine, what is the possible culprit and shouldn’t a code be thrown when I last diagnosed it week ago?

Since you are not a mechanic just pay this person to see what your problem is . Just ask for a estimate before he does any work .

I just went through each individual service paper and only thing I saw about transmission is one check for leakage that was done in 2019. Have no other reciepts for a flush/change. What I am wondering about when it comes to a tranny flush - is it still a good option after such a long time? Or would a multiple drain/fill be a more viable option?

He is my mothers ex-boyfriend so he won’t try to scam me by any means. However he doesn’t think the issue seems to stem from the engine and advises me to do a flush of trans fluid. He claims the engine sounds fine and works fine, so I am just a bit unsure if he will be willing to do the test with vacuum gauge and compressor…

If we were talking about a human being with a cardiac condition who had never been treated, would you think that he/she should avoid treatment just because the treatment had been delayed?

I’m going to guess that you have heard Old Wives’ Tales about trans fluid changes “killing” old transmissions that had never before had their fluid changed, and I can tell you that those tropes are wrong. In too many cases, people ignore trans maintenance, and only decide to do it when their transmission is already showing signs of failure. They have the fluid change done, and the trans fails shortly thereafter, but in reality their Hail Mary pass was too little/too late, and it couldn’t save a transmission that was already due to die.

In other words, starting to take heart medications only when one has crushing chest pains is probably not going to help the patient very much, and waiting until serious trans issues arise before servicing the transmission will also likely be… too late.

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With a transmission problem, usually the RPMs go up without the car actually speeding up because things are slipping inside the transmission. You mentioned several times that the RPMs go down instead. I wonder if there’s some kind of fuel delivery issue here.


Yes, that is counterintuitive for a trans problem, and like ok4450 I think it is more likely to be engine related.
However, continuing to ignore the need for periodic maintenance of his transmission could wind up giving him a trans problem in addition to an engine problem.


Yeah, the vibrations happen as the RPM falls down and dissapears as it goes back up again and repeat until power is added. Same up hills or whatever steep area it is where it requires that extra power to keep the desired speed and vibrations are more prominent with a bit bigger drops. Is it worth to note that I had my EGR changed on february? DPF maybe?

I’ll take the note and try to find a place where I can get a flush done. I am intending to keep the car for at least 3 years, and safety is my main concern as I have a kid, so I’m trying my best to keep the car in best possible condition. Some things are new and I am just merely following the scheduled service, but it’s good to know other things I should possibly be doing besides that! Thank you!

Sounds like torque converter shudder.

My guesses are a problem w/either diesel injection pump, or transmission torque converter lock-up function. Makes common sense to first make sure engine air filter is clean, and that engine cooling system is functioning properly. If you accelerate at a normal amount from a complete stop, things proceeding fine, and then feel a sudden burst of vibration similar to running over a rumble strip around 25-35 mph, good chance it’s the torque converter lock function.

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If it is indeed the latter, what is the course of action required?

Torque converter shudder (TCS) is typically caused by either an fault with the TC itself, or the transmission fluid (which is inside both the TC and transmission) is either low, or past due for a change-out. If I had possible TCS symptoms I’d first make sure the transmission fluid level is correct. If it is then I’d replace the transmission fluid with fresh stuff. If that helped, but didn’t fix it entirely, I’d do it again after a couple months of driving. If it didn’t help at all, then I’d take the car to a transmission specialist, the best-recommended independent tranny shop in town. It’s possible the shop will determine TC is ok, but an electrically actuated solenoid needs to be replaced.

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