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Strange Transmission Problem - Maybe

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 15 Sep 2019, 10:06 am
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Default Strange Transmission Problem - Maybe

I am having a strange problem with my '05 GT Cruiser with the HO Turbo, 85,000 miles.

Start from cold & drive away - all fine. Transmission shifts beautifully, just enough revs in intermediate gears, then drops into OD when appropriate. Downshifts from OD easily at the touch of the throttle under about 45. In other words - all great as its been doing the year and a half I've had it.

Now, after driving a certain amount of time (usually the return trip in town) when the car is warm, the transmission starts acting weird.
  • Shifts are harder.
  • Upshifts happen earlier.
  • Almost impossible to downshift from OD without a fair amount of throttle - not the smooth, fluid action normally felt.
  • The High fan seems to stay on all the time.

The temp gauge always stays exactly at the halfway mark - never overheats.

Trans fluid is exactly full, looks and smells fine.

No dash lights or anything else that seems out of order.

I initially thought it was a computer problem so I disconnected the battery for half an hour. No change.

I have not checked for codes yet. If there are no dash lights, would there be a code to read?

What do you think?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 15 Sep 2019, 10:57 am
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: los angeles, california
Posts: 498
Default Re: Strange Transmission Problem - Maybe

Transmission Solenoid, maybe?
Disclaimer: I am not a certified mechanic, nor very handy with tools. In fact, I had trouble putting bread in the toaster this morning.
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Old 16 Sep 2019, 07:24 pm
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Default Re: Strange Transmission Problem - Maybe

Thanks Doug - I'll have to consider that!
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Old 16 Sep 2019, 11:58 pm
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Default Re: Strange Transmission Problem - Maybe

I would suggest taking the PT Cruiser to a transmission and have them check the transmission for codes. Post what you find out.
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Old 17 Sep 2019, 12:00 pm
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Default Re: Strange Transmission Problem - Maybe

The TCM will not show the codes without a special OBDII diagnostic tool that can read them.

Fluid looking and smelling ok is not a way to determine fluid health but it is at least the start to see that it is not dark or brownish color which is a indicator of some problems.

A varnish will start to build up on the internal solenoids, other orifices and valve body parts which can cause shifting irregularities. This is easy to resolve by doing a transmission fluid service flush and replacement of fluid.

The start of the TCM failing can cause these issues and generally they will fail at or close to 100K miles with out regular service of the trans-fluid

The charging system can effect the PCM and TCM operation, not keeping up on the battery situation by checking it at least every season changes for it health.
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Old 17 Sep 2019, 04:38 pm
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Default Re: Strange Transmission Problem - Maybe

Not to question your ability to check fluids, but when you say exactly full, Is that when checking warm or cold? If its full when cold, maybe yiu got too much fluid and its starting to foam, when warm. Also, you said you owned it for a year and a half, do you know when the last time the fluid and filter were replaced?
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Old 17 Sep 2019, 07:42 pm
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Default Re: Strange Transmission Problem - Maybe

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptcruisersteve View Post
I would suggest taking the PT Cruiser to a transmission and have them check the transmission for codes. Post what you find out.
I'll try to get that done tomorrow - thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 17 Sep 2019, 07:46 pm
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Default Re: Strange Transmission Problem - Maybe

Grasshopper77 - No offense taken. It pays to be precise!

I checked it hot, engine running. It showed exactly full - no overage.

I haven't added a drop since I bought it 2/2018. No leaks.

It had a major service at about 65,000 miles - timing belt, turbo and I believe the trans fluid was changed then. So, about 20k miles on current fluid. It doesn't look new, but definitely not brown or burnt.
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Old 17 Sep 2019, 07:59 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 12
Default Re: Strange Transmission Problem - Maybe

Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPT View Post
The TCM will not show the codes without a special OBDII diagnostic tool that can read them.

Fluid looking and smelling ok is not a way to determine fluid health but it is at least the start to see that it is not dark or brownish color which is a indicator of some problems.

A varnish will start to build up on the internal solenoids, other orifices and valve body parts which can cause shifting irregularities. This is easy to resolve by doing a transmission fluid service flush and replacement of fluid.

The start of the TCM failing can cause these issues and generally they will fail at or close to 100K miles with out regular service of the trans-fluid

The charging system can effect the PCM and TCM operation, not keeping up on the battery situation by checking it at least every season changes for it health.
The fluid definitely not new, a reddish color, but not bright red. I think it's got about 20k miles. I'll replace it.

Battery is holding at about 12.3 volts with engine off. Charging at 13.8 volts with engine on at idle.

Thanks for the great advice!
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Old 17 Sep 2019, 09:50 pm
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Default Re: Strange Transmission Problem - Maybe

Quote:
Originally Posted by fairlane View Post
The fluid definitely not new, a reddish color, but not bright red. I think it's got about 20k miles. I'll replace it.

Battery is holding at about 12.3 volts with engine off. Charging at 13.8 volts with engine on at idle.

Thanks for the great advice!
The static charge of the battery does not in any way indicate the health of a battery. I would have a proper load test done.
You need amps to support voltage you are reading only voltage.

The cold or hot level really no longer is as important as it was a few decades ago when checking Transmission fluid level. The very slight difference (less then a 1/3 qt from full mark) in the full and lower mark in a 41TE/A604 would not cause any shifting or TCM issues. That's why there is a min /max for fluid for slight variances when checking the fluid level. The important thing is really to check it while the engine is running and the transmission pump is circulating the fluid.
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