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Davo, Master technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 3253
Experience:  ASE Master Technician/Advanced Automotive Diagnostic Technician
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Sorry to inform you but the hard shifting and whining is most likely due to a worn clutch pack slipping and over revving its shift point causing the next clutch to hit harder and eventually destroying that clutch pack also. The sooner you get the trans to a qualified trans shop the less it will cost you in hard parts to repair.

If this helps you please hit the green accept button and rate me, thank you
GearHead1, Auto Mechanic
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 69
Experience: Michigan state cert mech, heavy equipment, diesel
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Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Thanks    Not sure if I did the wrong thing -- responded to your email by just hitting "reply" in Outlook Express.
Anyway, I accept you answer, and thank you.   Could I just ask, do you think it's possible that a transmission shop should be able to replace a part or two, for a few hundred dollars or so?     Two shops said they read a code that was kind of non-specific, but indicated that transmission goes into that hard-shifting mode when it senses a low pressure or something, but that all they would be able to do is to replace or rebuild the transmission for $1800 or $2000.   So I appreciate your help and if you could give me your thoughts on this message, that would be great.
wayne perham
Yes it is possible to replace components in chassis in some vehicles but to disassemble the transmission enough to replace some clutch packs and over haul to this point will require complete removal. My diagnosis is without actually performing real diagnostics just going on hear say. a large reputable trans shop will be better than a cheap one at this point.... the bitterness of poor quality and bad service remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. the electronic trans missions are much more friendly when it come to in chassis repairs.

Have a Good day
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to GearHead1's Post: Thanks so much.   Just one thing I don't understand -- you say the "electonic" transmissions are much better for repair in chassis -- I thought this one is electronic - I beleive there's no physical linkage between the shifter and the transmission -- is that what you mean, or am I mis-understanding?

The condition you describe can be traced back to a pressure control solenoid in many cases.It's a $40 part at list price and can be done with the trans in the car.I have fixed well over 100 4t65e trans with replacing that solenoid.You must lower the cradle on the drivers side and remove the side cover.The pinch bolt on the rack and pinion needs disconnected to it.I can do them in about 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on my mood and the body style of the car.I would try one before I bought a trans.If I have helped please click on my accept button.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Thanks.    Sorry, forgot to mention something before -- may help decide if the solenoid would be the thing to try first: when the regular shop I go to changed the trans fluid, it smelled pretty bad, and I think the fluid had been changed only just 16000 miles before.   Would that indicate bad wearing of some parts other than the solenoid?
I'm sure you have some wear inside the trans but the solenoid I'm talking about is the one that controls the line pressure in the transmission.They can get sediment built up in them and a trans service will not remove it.It's up to you but I would give it a shot 40 bucks plus the fluid you lose and your time.Worth a shot if you ask me.If you decide to do it let me know I may offer some more instruction to you as needed on the replacement.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Davo/diablo666's Post: Well, I'm with you on replacing the solenoid, except that I can't do it myself -- not set up for it, and I have a bad back problem that would keep me from even trying.   So I guess that maybe I should talk to a shop about doing just that -- sounds as if it would cost around 200 or 300, if I'm understanding you correctly -??
Is there any way, through codes or something, to know ahead of time whether the solenoid should cure the problem or not?
Sometimes a P1870 will be set it stands for transmission component slipping.If they have a good scan tool and can read shift adapts they will see them in the high teens or even twenties.Another symptom of the solenoid being bad is after being warmed up pulling out on a hill under hard to moderate accelleration the car will slip and bang hard at times.I would have them check the torque signal regulator valve while they are in there.It's the valve behind the pressure control solenoid it should move smooth and very easy with the touch of a finger.A clean finger so as not to get grit into the valve body.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Thanks.   I appreciate all the help and will punch in another $10 and hope that's reasonable.   FOr future reference, is the $10 and $10 about normal for answering these sorts of questions -- I've never done this before.

In case I give up on this car, do you have an opinion on the Chevy Malibu, since redesigned in 2004, particularly for reliability and quality?

Thanks very much.

The Malibu is a decent car an Impala would be a step up but no more reliable.The amount you are spending here is in line and I feel I have given you very specific attention in this matter answering your requests for more ifo before others.If I were to consider a new car in the GM line and Buicks appeal to you I suggest you take a look at the new Lacrosse.They are more money than a Malibu but It would be my first pick.I have never seen a new car with so few problems.If all new cars were made that good fewer mechanics would be needed.
Davo, Master technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 3253
Experience: ASE Master Technician/Advanced Automotive Diagnostic Technician
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Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Interesting, but Buicks have never been my thing -- maybe I should look.   Do you think the LaCrosse is significantly better than a Malibu, or Impala?     The Malibus do have a funny looking front end, though.
I think the Lacrosse is up there in quality with a Cadillac.It would be my first choice in a new car.The Lucerne has just come out so I won't pass judgement on it just yet.I work at a GM dealer and am giving my opinion as if I were buying a new GM vehicle.The Lacrosse was voted number one in quality.You can research it yourself don't just take my opinion.If you have specific questions about the Lacrosse feel free to send me a pm instead of continuing on in here.