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Pontiac Montana Transmission Problems

We need help and we need it fast. I hope someone can shine a light on this delema. We just bought a 99 transport in April of this year.I am primary driver as my husband works out of town. Anyway, in April when I drove on the highway, the transmission was straining to shift then it snapped into gear. My husband said, you just need to get used to it. Well when he drove it on his days off he noticed the problem too. We took it to a GM dealer who found a code and said the fluid was burnt. the dealer we bought it from went half on the bill and had a *good used * transmission installed. This was June 12/06 and we got a 90 day warranty. Right away we noticed the gear indicator lights would go off while driving. Sometimes they would come on other times not. Sometimes a bump would bring them back. I noticed the long shift again as well as shudders and a howling sound when you reverse.
I spoke to a mechanic and he said to have the computer checked out. It is now back in the shop and I am waiting for word on it. Can anyone relate to this or offer some sound advice? It would be very much appreciated.
Thank you


  • Stop hoping for things and take it to another garage in town, preferably one that deals with transmissions. Get an independent appraisal of what is wrong and how it can be fixed. Even if you have to pay for this, it will be worth it. Then go back to the dealer you bought from (if there is remaining warranty) and get it repaired properly. If they wont fix it and it is still within the warranty period, go to the Better Business Bureau. If you are past warranty, then just go to the most reliable repair dealer in town, get them to fix it right, otherwise you will be stuck with many more days in the repair shop and possibly another ruined transmission in the near future. Just my two cents.... Dave
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    The indicator lights going off sounds like an electrical connection issue somewhere- maybe a loose plug. No advice on the other problems, sorry. :(
  • Thanks for the reply jerrywimer.
    That is what we thought too. Now we are wondering if maybe it is some kind of warning that something is going on within the transmission. We used to have a Dodge Caravan . A couple of times all the indicator lights under p r n d 1 2 etc would come on all together. Then we started having transmission problems with it.I don't remember what it was but it was something expensive to fix.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    The only reason the electrical connection came to mind for me was that I had a transmission replaced on an 88 Chevy Beretta several years ago. When we got the car back it would intermittently act up in a similar manner. The dealers' mechanic pulled a harness loose at the transmission, sprayed something in it to displace moisture, then made sure it reseated properly when he put it back. No more problem!

    I hope you have similar luck fixing your problem.
  • yes, we had thought it may be something like that too.
    It is back in the city at the shop that did the original work. They have a transmission specialist so I hope he can figure it out.
    I hope it is that simple too, thanks
  • Thanks,
    Actually they ran a host of tests and said the transmission is OK. The dealer is getting it into another shop Mon. to have the electronics tested. he said the mech told him he thinks it is misfiring and that is why it seems like the transmission is not shifting. I asked what misfiring meant and he said something within the computer that tells the trans to shift etc.If that is the problem, who knows what it will cost.
    The dealer is being great, the van has no warrenty but they are covering at least half of the repair cost.
  • I have just bought a used 2001 Montana. The seller tells me that he hasn't had the timing belt changed. The vehicle has 96,000 miles on it. Should I rush out and get it done now or do I have any leeway ?
  • Hi bought a 99 Transport 2yrs ago, this summer was out of town visiting friends and trany starting jerking and hard shifting. I checked fluid it was a bit low ( no signs of leaks at all?) has me wondering.Topped it up, has been fine with the exception of a little hard shifting a few times. Had trany fluid flushed a month ago now its got worse. Anyone pulled one apart before any tips, anyone had one replaced? how much? any help would be nice :)
  • Hi bought a 99 Transport 2yrs ago, this summer was out of town visiting friends and trany starting jerking and hard shifting. I checked fluid it was a bit low ( no signs of leaks at all?) has me wondering.Topped it up, has been fine with the exception of a little hard shifting a few times. Had trany fluid flushed a month ago now its got worse. Anyone pulled one apart before any tips, anyone had one replaced? how much? any help would be nice
  • before you go to the expense of rebuilding the tranny. check out the map sensor. i had simular hard shifting and jerking when i first start the car. you can check out the sensor without changing it. unplug the sensor and ride arounf for a while if the trouble stops then its the sensor and not the tranny. if you don't know what and where the map is ask your mechanic to show you. let me know if thats the problem
  • fclayfclay Posts: 4
    I have a similar problem with my 1999 Montana transmission that another writer had. I have a problem with the transmission slightly late shifting and at the same time hard shifting. It did not happen very often when I bought the van with 70,000 miles on it a year ago. It would show up when the 4th gear would hard shift and when I stopped at a light, it then it would do it every gear. If I stopped and turned it off for 20-30 seconds and restarted it, then it would be fine. It now is happening more often and I am taking it to have a computor road test done. Would like to know if anyone else had this kind of problem and what was the outcome?
  • deestesdeestes Posts: 3
    I am having the same apparent problem with my 99 Montana (as fclay). Did you find the cause of your problem and what was the ultimate solution?
  • fclayfclay Posts: 4
    Not as of yet. Closest I came is the Transmission Pressure Control Solenoid (PCS). Maybe the problem, i don't know yet.
    Let me know if your mechanic thinks thats it too.
  • ejg80sejg80s Posts: 4
    Also having similar problems with my 1997 Trans Sport Montana with 115,000 miles on it. Happens on highway when a hard shift is needed at a high speed to go up a hill. I pulled over and did not shut the van off and then tried to drive again and it was stuck in 4th gear. I pulled into a rest area, turned off the van for a while to eat (about 20 mins), then started it up and pulled back onto the highway. The problem cleared up and the check engine light did come on after about 10 mins. Drove it home on the highway making sure I did not hard shift the van at any high rates of speed.
  • deestesdeestes Posts: 3
    I plan on taking it to the local Pontiac dealer for evaluation. I will let you know the results.
  • Hi, everyone! I haven't seen my problem posted, but if anyone reading the forum has similar symptoms, let me know! My '01 Montana has a "whining" noise that sounds like it's downshifting, but it is not. The engine RPM stays constant. It seems to happen around 40 mph when I let off the accelerator, and goes away if I accelerate. This has been going on for quite a while, almost two years I would say. I have taken it to my local mechanic who diagnosed it as a planetary gear problem (he happens to be a transmission specialist, by the way,and I regard him as very reputable), and said it could fail tomorrow or last for years to come. I just got back from a 1,000+ mile road trip which he advised not to take, but I felt confident as this vehicle has been doing this for quite some time.
  • deestesdeestes Posts: 3
    Fclay it appears your mechanic is correct. I took my Montana to the local dealer and they ran a scan. Code indicated pressure control solenoid. Service mgr. indicated past experience was that solenoid sheds fragments that contaminate valve body. Engine/transmission must be suspended to remove cover and valve body for removal and cleaning. $100.00+ in parts but a ton in labor. Long story short...$900.00 later transmission is fixed and working properly.
  • My 2001 Montana whines when driving over 60mph. The sound goes away when off of the accelerator, Also makes a very loud grinding/vibrating sound when in stop and go traffic and feels like it is trying to lunge forward and the brake pedal is pushing back. When I let go of the brake and then re-apply it, this pedal pushback and grinding/vibrating stop. Took it to the dealer today, they have stated the pressure control solenoid could be at fault but it isn't going into 4th gear (overdrive) this sounds similar to the problem that deestes and michamaiu reported here. Did either of you experience this this way or anything close? Should I just replace the pressure control or do I need to replace the planetary gear. Please advise.....
  • soulman613soulman613 Posts: 5
    Hello fclay

    I have 03 montana and it has the same issue as yours.
    Shifts 2 & 3 are kicking late, plus mine has the radiator
    coolant is getting oil leak. I would appreciate if any one
    can help in these problems. rebuilding the Trany is expensive. Any thing I could do before I run into deep bocket delima?

    This is my first time here & it's very informative.
    Thanks to you all who's trying to help.
  • fclayfclay Posts: 4
    Hey soulman,
    Go to #20 by deestes, he and I had the same problem and got the same solution. Ours was the Pressure Control Solenoid. AS for the radiator, it sounds like you may have a seal leak at the manifold. I took mine to the mechanic and asked for a check of my Pressure Control Solenoid, you may find your solution to the other problem in the process.

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