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Auto transmission sluggish and shifts whenever it wants, NO CODES

Jarnutt

Proven Member
85
1
Sep 21, 2009
Peoria, Arizona
I searched and searched for the last week and haven't found a problem that sounds like mine that has had a solution yet. This is my first post, I'm not new to turbo or import tuning, but this IS my first DSM, and the automatic transmission and AWD might be a bit much for me to tackle alone. My problem is that the car drives fine at highway speeds, downshifts hard from a 45mph roll and hauls ass when you punch it WOT. HOWEVER, it drags ass on the bottom end, the previous owner chalked it up to turbo lag since its a stock turbo and a huge front mount with an automatic. The best I can describe it, it its like accelerating with the Ebrake pulled, and then suddenly it takes off like a rocket about 30 or 40mph. From a roll it sometimes decides to shift into second gear right after you start moving, if I choose to shift it manually (L to 2 to D), it will still drag ass to get moving, sometimes, other times it takes off fine and shifts fine, even under part throttle, normal driving, it sometimes shifts at the normal shift points, or it will out of nowhere decide to shift into second at about 10 mph and then 3rd at about 20mph. Overdrive works perfectly fine, and I don't feel or see the tranny slipping at all, the engine doesn't rev up, it just drags ass to get up there, and I'm fully boosted the whole time, its literally like having the E brake pulled. Also I've noticed that when it DOES decide to drive normally (ish) under part throttle acceleration from a light or stop, I feel it surging a bit, almost like its pulling timing or like someone was pulling on the E brake softly, I'm familiar with that feeling from my other turbo car when the boost solonoid went bad it kept pulling boost and the car would kind of lunge under part throttle. I have no codes in either the ecu or tcu, just a steady short pulse, its pissing me off. I'm clueless to DSM cars as far as their quirks go, but any help would be greatly appreciated. We pulled the pan to change the leaky gasket when the new motor went in, as the stock motor had thrown a rod, and there is no metal at all in the transmission, fluid is clean and red, and flushed it anyways. I had never driven this car until the new motor went in, so I dont know if the blown motor had the same issues or not.
 

jimmythesaint

Proven Member
108
3
Oct 26, 2007
Montgomery, Alabama
I know this question is a little old, but you havent replied if its fixed or not.

Automatic DSM's just flat out shift early if at part throttle. My 1g will shift into overdrive at 35mph if Im just crusing, or lightly accelerating.

If at full throttle it shouldnt shift untill 6800 or so. If its shifting well before that, then you have a problem with the TCU or valve body or maybe a speed sensor.

You say its not throwing any codes so that narrowes it down a bit. Valve bodies are pretty complicated, but you could try a shift kit. They only take a weekend to pull the transmission, clean and rebuild the valve body and re-install the transmission.

The Translab shift kit has very good instructions and makes it much easier to follow along with all the pictures. Plus it dramaticly inproves shifts and extends the life of your transmission.
 

Jarnutt

Proven Member
85
1
Sep 21, 2009
Peoria, Arizona
You know its funny I thought that nobody gave a rats ass enough to help someone new to DSM with a transmission problem, and today I get a reply from someone THE DAY I installed my IPT valve body and end clutches. I trouble shot the hell out of the trans and came to the conclusion that if it wasn't always doing it, it wasn't the clutches or bands because when those are gone they are gone, I thought it most likely wasn't the converter, possible the pump and a lack of pressure, but most likely an electrical issue or the valve body. So I drove it tonight, and it SEEMS to have cleared up and is driving well, so it was possibly just a bad solenoid or something in the valve body was plugged up. We will see how it goes
 

buryurfear14

Proven Member
130
0
Jun 17, 2009
hernando, Florida
Don't you feel better now that you figured it out on your own though? LOL, auto's give me a headache so I don't mess with them.
 

Jarnutt

Proven Member
85
1
Sep 21, 2009
Peoria, Arizona
I HATE working on automatic transmissions, more specifically electronic transmissions. However, I HATE shifting, I sold my SI after I bought this car because I decided I'm never shifting anything ever again if I can help it, at least on a daily driver. It was a total shot in the dark with the valve body, I was kind of sure but not really about what was going on with it. Here's what I had to work with.

-It was sluggish in first and would surge back like someone lightly pulling the Ebrake, and the RPMs dropped with it, so the clutches and bands weren't slipping

-It wasn't stalling above 2k, sometimes only to 1900 rpm, sometimes 2800

-It would downshift from a roll of about 45 mph and accelerate hard at WOT

-When it WAS driving fine, it would downshift so hard when decelerating that the tires would chirp, and on an AWD car that's annoying

-When I pulled the pan, the fluid was red and didn't smell burned, no metal chunks, just a few sparkles, magnets were a little fuzzy, nothing to worry about.

I took all of this into consideration, and figured if it was all only happening SOMETIMES, then there's a good chance something inside either electronic is wrong, or something in the valve body was plugged. I replaced the end clutched just because I got a set of IPT ones on Ebay for $15 :D. Like I said, it seems to be ok at this point, if everything works out, I'm going to go with a bigger trans cooler and call it good.
 

buryurfear14

Proven Member
130
0
Jun 17, 2009
hernando, Florida
LOL, makes no sense to me either.

Normally the preference is a 5-spd, why do you dislike it so much? if you rebuilt that trans your obviously mechanically inclined so i would assume you'd be 5-spd or die. J/w, I know it can be a pain in heavy traffic.
 

Jarnutt

Proven Member
85
1
Sep 21, 2009
Peoria, Arizona
I just don't like shifting, I'm a lazy lazy person. I've owned some pretty fast track cars that were all 5 speed or 4 speed manual, I even had a 3 speed 66 mustang GT, but what it all comes down to, its more footwork and up and down shifting than I care to do on a daily driver. There's a stigma about automatics, people say they are slower, heavier, harder to work on, more expensive to maintain, not as reliable, worse gas mileage, and so on. Not all of that is true, I think in part, a lot of it has to do with people like to think they are accomplishing something by knowing how to drive stick, when in all reality, if you're driving to the grocery store and work, or school, better gearing, closer ratios, more control over RPMs, that shit doesn't matter on a public road, unless you're one of those retards that treats a 45mph public road like the autobahn. If its a car that's going to see track time, and I mean a TRACK not a strip, then yes, all my track cars were 5 speed, and I loved them, but if its your DD, there's no need for short shift, polyeurethane linkage bushings, straight cut gears, welded diffs, its all just for bragging rights. Of all the cars I've owned, a shitload of them, the two fastest ones were automatics, with stock internals. I owned a 92 GMC typhoon with a stock 700R4 that ran 13.10's and my 87 grand national with a stock 200R4 that runs 12.80's. Both, I might point out are V6's with automatic transmissions, neither was ever offered in a manual, for one main reason, when that light turns green you hold your foot down for 1/4 mile and let the turbo scream, no blow off valves, no missed shifts, and you can boost it on the line until your heart is content, as long as the brakes can hold it back. I've spent less money on automatics than friends of mine who keep building 5 or 6 speed evo and scooby transmissions, and keep blowing out hardened straight cut gears that are supposed to withstand 500HP, and still, I'm running 400hp through a stock 22 year old GM automatic with 130k miles on it, no missed shifts, no grinds, no slips. Ironically the only trouble the Typhoon gave me was the viscous AWD transfer case throwing codes for no reason. Ill stick with automatics on cars that aren't going to the track, and when I'm stuck in rush hour traffic, ill have my left leg hanging out the window and a drink in my right handwhile I coast along, while all the manual drivers are tap dancing through 1st and second, heating up their clutch and getting pissed off. This is all preferential, some people LIKE having to shift, just not me, like I said, I'm a lazy lazy man. And my gas mileage? The same as the 98 gst spyder 5 speed owned by a friend of mine at work, overdrive kicks ass.
 

buryurfear14

Proven Member
130
0
Jun 17, 2009
hernando, Florida
Haha your awesome dude, seriously. I'm lazy too but I love shifting. Anyway, hope your problem is solved! If I'm ever in az we gotta grab a brew. Lol
 

Jarnutt

Proven Member
85
1
Sep 21, 2009
Peoria, Arizona
I by no means want to give the impression that I hate 5 speeds, I just don't like shifting everytime I go driving. Both transmissions have strong points, they are both highly likely to break when you beat on them, but people pay more for cars with autos for a reason, comfort, and laziness, like me :D Or they just can't drive manual, or they are women. My whole issue with the whole AUTO VS. STICK argument came from a few years ago when I used to go to club day at speedworld here in az, it was a day when only clubs had access to the 1/4 strip all day Sunday. It still goes on, but not only was I one of the slowest cars in my club, at a high 12 at that, but I can't stand some of the shit that pours out of the mouths of people when you put them on a drag strip with other like minded (simple minded) people. We had to wait for some honda club of some sort to make all their runs one day, and it was one 16 second run after another, it seemed to take all day for them to hit that 16.8 at 88mph, after about 20 cars you would see ONE fast one, maybe a 13 or 14 second all motor, or a 13 or 12 turbo. Then 20 more minutes of 16 second cars. And they sit in the staging lanes and talk about what work they've done to their car, short shift, plug wires, MSD 6AL ignition, header, intake, and about $1500 in upgrades for a 160 HP car. But they ALL DRIVE STICK. As if a D16Y pumping out 150 horsepower would be HINDERED in ANY WAY by an automatic. Mind you, I know they are just having fun, and that's good for them, I enjoy my cars as much as they enjoy theirs, but the honda community seems to have this thing, as well as other tuner communities, that automatic means slow. Or my favorite, the hayabusa (spelling?) Club. A bunch of middle aged guys, driving completely stock Busas, talking about the air shifter upgrade, like its an effing top fuel bike. An air shifter? On your factory original street bike? Well no shit it runs 10s asshole, its the fastest bike available to the public, I'm glad your air shifter worked out for you and your luck with the ladies. The DSM community is the only one I've been a part of, besides the buick and SY/TY, that knows the value of a well built auto.

This all started because I overheard someone in the staging lanes say the buicks would be so much faster if they were a stick. HA! I also should point out in case someone knows hondas well enough to correct me, I know that MOST Vtec honda motor aren't offered in an automatic, but my point remains the same, they weren't built to be drag cars either.
 
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knochgoon24

DSM Wiseman
6,138
78
Jan 29, 2008
Troy, Michigan
My auto trans also is starting to hate me. When I beat on it, I can tell the fluid gets hot. The stock cooler isn't cutting it anymore.

My car will downshift hard, but not enough to chirp the tires. It can be violent if you're not expecting it.

If you don't like the car going into overdrive at 35mph, just turn it off on the shifter. The only time I have it on is when I'm on the highway. It's easier on the end clutches if you not constantly accelerating hard in O/D.
 

SliverKnight

Probationary Member
26
0
Jul 8, 2009
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I've never thought auto transmissions cars were fast until I started researching about GrandPrix GTP's. I actually bought one and just recently sold it to my brother because I wanted a more fun car, plus owning a DSM was always a childhood dream. My GTP hauled a** off the line and I didn't need to worry about shifting, just launch it right and go. Everyone on the forums wish there was a manual transmission but the problem was there wasn't a manual transmission for the V6's that would handle all the torque the 3800series motor put out. Automatics are fast and you can drive through traffic eating a burger which I miss.

Hope you fix your problem.
 

buryurfear14

Proven Member
130
0
Jun 17, 2009
hernando, Florida
I like my truck and family car being auto for sure, but I just don't know if I could have as much fun with an auto for a sports car. If I were to have a drag specific car, or luxury sports car it would be an auto for sure.
 

tunethis

Proven Member
882
7
Jan 29, 2008
GVL, Florida
I like my truck and family car being auto for sure, but I just don't know if I could have as much fun with an auto for a sports car. If I were to have a drag specific car, or luxury sports car it would be an auto for sure.

I hear ya. I prefer the transmission in a performance car to be a manual. I have a full size automatic and I like cruising around in it. I also have an automatic Talon and I drive it a couple days out of the week. I wished it was a 5spd many times. However, it is kinda fun to drive while boosting. It surprisingly hauls ass from a stand still without brake boosting and it's still stock with boost set a 14psi. For me, it's best to have atleast one manual car and one automatic car. I get bored with the same thing after a while.
 

Jarnutt

Proven Member
85
1
Sep 21, 2009
Peoria, Arizona
My GTP hauled a** off the line and I didn't need to worry about shifting, just launch it right and go. Everyone on the forums wish there was a manual transmission but the problem was there wasn't a manual transmission for the V6's that would handle all the torque the 3800series motor put out. Automatics are fast and you can drive through traffic eating a burger which I miss.

Its funny you mention that, because the 3800 GTP block is the same as the buick 3.8 turbo :D you turn the GTP engine sideways and swap the supercharger for a turbo, and you have my engine hahaha. With stock internals that motor is capable of 500HP, not bad for a V6 that hasn't changed much in design since 1982. Also my point on the trans, if it was a manual, you would be breaking shit left and right, there's guys in my club that have cracked harmonic balancers just fronm the shock of the torque generated from the converter locking on the 2-3 shift, stock its already almost 400 ft. Lbs. At the flexplate.

*11-6-09* Ok so 50 miles into the new valve body and end clutches and the damn transmission is driving like ass again. I was getting onto the freeway on a wide left turn and right off the line it started dragging again, like someone suddenly yanked the Ebrake on me while I was accelerating. I have one more idea to try before I'm out of ideas. If my battery was disconnected for 2 weeks, and it drove fine and stalled fine for the first 50 miles or so, maybe if I disconnect it again for a day or so, if it resets the ecu or tcu and drives fine for a bit AGAIN, maybe I'm chasing a bad TCU or a sensor problem of some sort. It would really help if I knew someone with another awd auto dsm I could compare things to, maybe ill go to the dsm club meeting Thursday and pick some brains, instead I'm in the dark here. On a side note, the effin thing seemed to be driving fine the whole way into work this morning, this is aggrevating as all hell, my trans temp has never gotten over 160 or 170 according to my gauge, the fluid was still red and not too badly worn when I did the valve body swap, I'm almost out of ideas? TPS? Tcu or ecu? Linkage for manual valve out of adjustment? I'm clueless.
 
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Jarnutt

Proven Member
85
1
Sep 21, 2009
Peoria, Arizona
* I disconnected the battery Friday while I was at work, for about 4 hours, and go figure it drove fine all the way home, Im starting to think that I am chasing a bad sensor or ECU/TCU problem. damn damn damn. SO, any thoughts?
 

rEclipserGST

Supporting Member
1,703
55
Nov 17, 2007
Columbus, Ohio
Could be any of these:

ECU (pull it and take a look at it, post pics)
TCU (those are fairly cheap, buy a good used one)
TPS (cheap as well, chances are it isn't bad though, I replaced mine 3 times thinking it was that when it was only the ECU)
or even timing (if your still sluggish)
 

the_mork

Proven Member
2,620
23
Mar 10, 2008
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
My auto trans also is starting to hate me. When I beat on it, I can tell the fluid gets hot. The stock cooler isn't cutting it anymore.

My car will downshift hard, but not enough to chirp the tires. It can be violent if you're not expecting it.

If you don't like the car going into overdrive at 35mph, just turn it off on the shifter. The only time I have it on is when I'm on the highway. It's easier on the end clutches if you not constantly accelerating hard in O/D.

Change your end clutches, this was the first sign that mine were going bad. Cleared the problem up and made the entire transmission feel happy again for about 10k miles before I blew up the diff.
 

knochgoon24

DSM Wiseman
6,138
78
Jan 29, 2008
Troy, Michigan
I was thinking about this more. Maybe you have a bad speed sensor. I'm no expert on the transmission stuff, but IIRC, there are sensors for input and output shaft speeds. If one of those are bad, it may be causing your shifting issues.

Change your end clutches, this was the first sign that mine were going bad. Cleared the problem up and made the entire transmission feel happy again for about 10k miles before I blew up the diff.

Yeah. That's in my plans eventually here. I'm hoping to replace the end clutches, install a shift kit, change the tranny filter, upgrade the tranny cooler, flush the tranny, and fill it up with some quality ATF sometime. I don't have an exact time frame yet, but it's going to have to happen before I start racing it again next spring.
 

Jarnutt

Proven Member
85
1
Sep 21, 2009
Peoria, Arizona
I was thinking about this more. Maybe you have a bad speed sensor. I'm no expert on the transmission stuff, but IIRC, there are sensors for input and output shaft speeds. If one of those are bad, it may be causing your shifting issues.
See I thought about that, but that SHOULD trip a code or check engine light I would think. I'm getting another TPS just for shits and giggles, you should always have 2 on hand :D
 

the_mork

Proven Member
2,620
23
Mar 10, 2008
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Yeah. That's in my plans eventually here. I'm hoping to replace the end clutches, install a shift kit, change the tranny filter, upgrade the tranny cooler, flush the tranny, and fill it up with some quality ATF sometime. I don't have an exact time frame yet, but it's going to have to happen before I start racing it again next spring.

You wouldn't need to do the end clutches at the same time. You don't even need to drain the fluid out to do them and they wouldn't be any easier just because you're already doing other tranny stuff.
 

Jarnutt

Proven Member
85
1
Sep 21, 2009
Peoria, Arizona
I agree, end clutches are easy as hell to do, even with basic tools, you can even use a socket to drive out the old clutch seal and drive in the new one. I have access to a press, but didn't need it, make sure to soak your new friction discs before you put them in and make sure to lube the shit out of the O ring for the clutch piston, if it tears when you put it in you don't have overdrive anymore. I didn't even actually need new end clutches, I happened to find some IPT ones on ebay for $15, I lucked out.
 

97gsxturbo97

Proven Member
87
0
Jun 19, 2008
Woburn, Massachusetts
Any updates? My 97 auto talon awd feels sluggish too. It only has 55,000 miles and it feels like a dog when cruising. The car accelerates fine off the line and has balls when it downshifts when cruising, but any light acceleration off a corner and it stays in 3rd gear. If I dont come to a complete stop and start to go again it stays in 3rd gear. I assume this is happening becuase if I shift into second it will downshift. It seems to start in first if I come to a complete stop though as I count the shifts. Everyone says it seems normal but Im gonna change the filter anyways soon so I will see what happens. Also sometimes when I brake hard the car will downshift abruptly which doesnt seem normal? If I brake lightly to a stop it wont do this. What would cause this? Mabye the speed sensor is lagging behind.

One more thing I noticed is say your getting on the highway and your at 2500 rpms and I give it slight throttle the rpms will drop and it feels like the car is dying. I have to press down on the gas harder to overcome this. If I hold it while its doing this you can see the rpms jumping and it feels like you hit a wall. (not fuel cut).
 

Jarnutt

Proven Member
85
1
Sep 21, 2009
Peoria, Arizona
Anytime your RPMs are moving and you're not, its slippage. In general, when you have problems with RPMs revving up but the car not accelerating to match, its your trans slipping, so if its happening at cruise speed in 4th gear, sounds like end clutches, which are cheap and easy to fix. Now I'm not sure of the specifics on the TCC operation, or the locking converter, but it will lock at freeway cruising and drop your RPMs about 300 or 350 and provide a solid coupling on your driveline, HOWEVER, when you accelerate, its supposed to unlock to allow acceleration, this is the same for a lot of cars. If yours is for some reason staying locked, could be a lot of things, TCC solenoid, electrical problem, TPS, or any other number of assorted sensors these damn cars have just to make them move.

Now with your 3rd gear turning, that's normal, it will be a dog around corners unless you're on it, even after the IPT valve body (which I HIGHLY reccomend), mine doesn't downshift until I'm almost to a crawl, usually less than 10 MPH, that's just the way it rolls, and during hard braking, an abrupt downshift is also normal, its the car reacting to use the engine to slow the car down much like downshifting a 5 speed to slow down at an intersection, mine was so bad before the new valvebody, that it chirped all 4 tires and bucked the car coming to a stop, I however have electrical issues I'm still chasing, drove fine all the way home last night after the spring swap, even stalled it to 2900 and launched it like a bat out of hell a few times, now tonight, its probably going to go back to driving like someone is stomping on my brake pedal while I'm accelerating.
 

rush2252

Proven Member
1,682
8
Apr 14, 2009
Blanchard, Oklahoma
There was a TSB out on the 2g AWD autos. Mine was affected by it but its a 95. It was doing the exact same thing you mentioned. Except mine was due to the car starting off in 2nd. It wouldnt downshift to Low when coming to a stop and upon restarting it was in 2nd.

Check the TSBs im sure you will find it. It may or may not fix your problem but it sounds just like what was going on with mine. It could also be the TC but good luck finding one for under $500 LOL

Re-read your long ass post. Throw a used TCU in that bish. That could be the issue. Do me a favor and break up your posts into paragraphs makes it much easier on the eyes to read :)
 

Jarnutt

Proven Member
85
1
Sep 21, 2009
Peoria, Arizona
Re-read your long ass post. Throw a used TCU in that bish. That could be the issue. Do me a favor and break up your posts into paragraphs makes it much easier on the eyes to read :)

Hahahaha, yeah I'm guilty of that, SORRY :D

Always check TSBs, it saves headaches when someone else already figured it out. Two things shift your car, the TCU/ECU and the valvebody, computer sends a signal to the valvebody which puts pressure on the corresponding line, if it sticks in gear, its either the valve body getting a stuck solenoid, or the TCU is being retarded, which could be caused by bad input, like TPS or bad speed signal, or its fried. I think mine is a bad TCU problem at this point
 
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