Transmission problems


#1

I think I know the answer, but I’m hoping for a miracle. My son is in another city and needs some advice. His 2003 Buick Century will not accelerate smoothly over 30 mph, and starts to shudder. He says the transmission fluid smells like a barbecue pit. Any idea how bad it may be?



Also, any recommendations for a transmission shop in Athens GA?


#2

Aye-yi-yi.

Transmission fluid that smells burnt is bad news. It could probably stand to be changed, but odds are it’s not going to help. It sounds like the transmission is in “limp” mode, where only first and second gear are engaged. If this is the case, serious damage has occurred and the car needs to go to a transmission shop for specific diagnosis.


#3

We know it wont help. The damage is already done. There is no technical reason for it to help. Dont reccommend a $100.00 to$150.00 waste of money.You your self say odds are its no going to help. Believe yourself


#4

What is it with you and this vendetta against transmission service? You’re posting all over the place on here advising people against it. Have you had a bad experience with someplace recently or something?

The OP already knows the transmission is shot as well as I do, so get a grip. All I did was mention that burnt-smelling fluid is a bad sign and could stand to be changed; I never anywhere said to do that first and see if it helps.


#5

What it is is that we as informed professionals should not spread myths.Auto repair deals in fact not wishful thinking.If the postings stuck to technical facts I would not be commenting.Dont like to see the public cheated,saw to much cheating on all sides in my automotive career. No personal attacks intended.


#6

so your the man who always complained,(in the shop?) i didnt make any hours today.

because of lack of knowledge,and training.

we have a name for you guys(FIRED)


#7

[i]

What is it with you and this vendetta against transmission service? You’re posting all over the place on here advising people against it.[/i]

I was wondering exactly the same thing. Perhaps someone with stock in AAMCO who wants everyone with every trans issue to get a rebuild? ATs are not just gear boxes, and dirty fluid can easily mess with all sorts of things, such as pressure-switched solenoids, that are required for proper functioning. So it is bewildering that one would assume that cleaning up dirty fluid can’t help some trans problems - especially b/c it obviously does help in many cases.

In this instance, however, it probably won’t do any good at all. If it were my car I might give it a shot, but only as DIY. Once the fluid is burned you have much bigger problems than just dirty fluid, including the question of why the thing overheated in the first place, the effects of that overheating on seals, friction materials, etc, and the fact that it has been driven around with fluid that probably doesn’t really lubricate anymore.


#8

Myth? I have personal experience to the contrary. A friend gave me his '94 Dodge Grand Caravan because the rebuilt transaxle, with maybe 25K on it, had gone into limp-home mode, apparently permanently. I told him to try changing the fluid, because I knew the shop who did the rebuild didn’t use the proper fluid. He didn’t need the van, so he just gave it to me. I siphoned about 4 quarts of fluid through the fill tube, and replaced it with ATF+3. The transmission shifted perfectly from that moment on for the 20K miles I kept it. An extreme example perhaps, but fluid changes CAN greatly improve transmission function and longevity, if done before too much damage is done.


#9

What it is is that we as informed professionals should not spread myths.Auto repair deals in fact not wishful thinking.If the postings stuck to technical facts I would not be commenting.Dont like to see the public cheated,saw to much cheating on all sides in my automotive career. No personal attacks intended.

Oldschool, I don’t think you’ve been around all that long, so let me clear something up for you. This is an online forum, not an actual shop. Yes, there are some professional mechanics, but there are also amateurs and people just interested in learning about cars too. No one is cheating anyone…if you’d been around longer, you’d know that we always advise people how to avoid being cheated.

When someone posts a question, the responders give their opinions on what they should do. The average person should be smart enough to know not to pour hundreds or thousands of dollars into auto repairs based on an internet forum where no one has seen the car. We’re making suggestions here, and then the OP is responsible for verifying, either with their own diagnostics or by taking it to a mechanic, what the problem is.

As for the transmission trouble, I don’t have an unlimited supply of money, but if I ran into transmission trouble with my car, the first thing I’d do is change the fluid. It won’t hurt, and $100 is a heck of a lot cheaper than a rebuilt transmission. For this poster, as budd2049 already noted, changing it is probably not worth it because severe damage may have already occurred.


#10

Changing fluid won’t do anything for a transmission. It just gives someone something to do like when they send someone off to boil water when a baby is born. I never met a transmission person who knew very much about transmissions. They tear them apart and slap them back together with no thought to clearances. A one year warranty is worthless on a rebuild.


#11

Havent been on this forum long but auto repair ahs been my lifes work Training at the dealership level (BMW and GM) and ASE certs (I have read the postings that this kind of training is suspect I can live with the doubt) I made a living the hours were long to get a good check. I did complain about low warranty times (certainly for GM but I definitly was not alone) have seen postings here about low warranty times (in regards to Subaru) Are the guys named “fired also”? Because some guys were happy with what they were earning (friends of the dispatcher) we didnt stick together and motivate management to help in regards to giving OL (this is know as other labor) this is time added to a job when a tech can justify it. As expected I agree with the previous post (Opera House) in regards to boiling water. At the GM dealer (in Tucson) neither the factory nor management required us to remove old fluid and put in new clean fluid and road test again before giving approval for OH or replacement. All KIA required was pressure readings before aproval was given clean or dirty fluid (even if they were paying for it) I dont feel alone on this forum as I have read several postings supporting my postion and these were made long before I started to comment.


#12

Chaz,

 Burned fluid is definately not good.  That says that the transmission got real hot.  Heat destroys automatics rather quickly.  If this was just a matter of burned fluid and the transmission was otherwise operating properly, I would recommend dropping the pan, changing the filter and flushing the contaminated fluid out.  (By a qualified shop of course)  It sounds like the issue your son is having is with the third clutch or third sprag.  While the third sprag commonly spins out and causes shuddering above 30mph, I believe the third clutch was probably slipping causing the burnout on the third frictions.  Now, when the transmission shifts into third gear the third clutch applies and immediately starts slipping and chattering giving him the shuddering feel.  This is just what I believe is going on without actually looking at it.  In my experience, I see quite a bit of third clutch burnout running across my bench on this transmission.  In my opinion, I would save the fluid change money and apply it towards the overhaul coming your way.  

HTH

transman


#13

Transman has spoken. He knows his s&*t so go with his advice. 'nuff said