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Buick LeSabre Transmission

guestguest Posts: 770
I've got an '00 with a strange problem. At a steady speed anywhere between 40-50 MPH (about 1600/1800 RPM)the LeSabre will feel like it's got a miss, or it's trying to shift out of overdrive lockup. It will "buck" two or three times until I either speed up, of take my foot off the gas pedal. This happens about twice a day. The check engine light hasn't come on, so could this be a transmission issue? There's only 59,000 miles on it. I would appreciate any ideas and suggestions.


  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,505
    Simplest explanation is always the most likely. Spark plugs or wires. You've got a 6 year old car. If it is occuring at just the minimum speed to be locked up in 4th gear on the TCC, you're feeling an engine miss.

    I'd recommend AC Delco plugs, and or new wires standard equipment level-no fancy red ones from the box auto parts store with the hot rod equipment. I think I got Belden from NAPA. You can change plugs first and see if that fixes it. You might note the color and buildup on each plugs. Label them with tape when you take them out; if one's different than others might indicate other problems.

    I still recommend changing wires before 100K miles. If wires break down and create higher voltages, other parts of the spark system are stressed and may fail later.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • I agree with Imidazo. Same thing happened to mine at about 75K and 5 years. It was a wire. Threw a check engine light. I understand you need to use genuine Delco wires because some other aftermarket may not handle the voltage. I have owned many sets of OEM Delco wires on various GM cars for years, and this was the first one to go bad. Needless to say, I changed them on the other car too right after that since they were 8 years old and 90K.
  • I'll start with the plugs, and see what happens. Could the engine miss, and not set off the check engine light?
    Thanks, Guys!
  • Thanks to everyone who got back to me. Plugs and wires were the answer. The plugs looked worn, but the wires were even in worse shape. The Buick runs fine-and I was all set to go to a transmission shop!
    Thanks Again!
  • I just had my sending unit replaced, cuz of a gas leak, ran great with the the leak, now its puttering and stomp on it hesitates, then got some power, seems like gas isn't getting there like it use to, cost 500 to fix, know new prob, go fig, plz help,ty
  • dee41dee41 Posts: 3
    :confuse: :confuse: Has over 100,000 miles. Runs nice and smooth, But will slip when going from 1st into 2nd, will shift fine going from 2nd into 3rd, but will slip some more while in overdrive,or when i push the gas and reach between 50mph and 60mph,It kinda gives a feel as if the car is in neutral. when I let off the gas a little it will then go back into gear again.... Reverse works fine as well. Dose these mean my transmission is going???
  • keithh1keithh1 Posts: 12
    '97 Buick LeSabre. Bucks at low speed during warm weather but not during cold weather. Throws a code (P0742). Sounds to me like the TCC solenoid. How hard is this to replace? I've done it before on the TH200-4R, but that's a RWD trannie. Is it as simple on the FWD trans? Could the bucking be unrelated?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,505
    Have you changed the transmission fluid? I do mine every 36K miles approx now. I do it myself and change the filter every second change.

    New fluid may unstick the solenoid. It sounds like it's sticking occasionally since you don't mention it happening everytime you slow down...

    I'll check my 98 service manual and see if it's an easy change while changing the fluid and filter...

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • duddly101duddly101 Posts: 7
    I had the same problem last year. I have a 01 LeSabre, and replaced the transmission,95k, after being told the TCC would be as expensive to repair than to replace with a warrantied tranny. That didnt fix the bucking. In fact it was worst between 25-45 mph with the new tranny. Had it back in, and they reset some codes which were not reset earlier. Still didnt fix the problem. I stumbled upon a posting somewhere that the Mass Airflow sensor can be the culprit. It is an easy DIY, the sensor was 160 bucks at Autozone, with exchange. I replaced mine right in the parking lot. You might get by with cleaning it with electrical solvent, but didnt work for me. Hope this helps.
  • moonglademoonglade Posts: 1
    I have a 98 LeSabre 3.8 with close to 100,000 miles. When I turn left from a standing start, I get a chattering and bucking, like the drive axle is engaging/disengaging rapidly. I can avoid this by going really, really easy on the gas. Any idea what this is and how to fix it?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,505
    Could be lots of things. I'd have to feel what it's doing by driving to guess where to start looking.

    It could be a motor/transmission mount allowing movement causing the car to feel like it's quickly speeding up and slowing.
    It could be a drive axle constant velocity joint (you don't mention the right kind of noise sound though)
    It could be the differential in the transmission.
    It could be the transmission.

    Does it do it if you put it in 1 and start up? Or in 3 (uses a clutch pack instead of the regular overdrive setting start.

    Have someone move car in a parking lot with hood up while you walk beside it to watch for movement in the whole motor/transmission unit.

    With car jacked up and jackstands look under at the motor mounts and transmission mount.

    I think the fact it only does it turning left is a sign. I think that the low torque of a gentle start is a sign. My vote is motor mount...

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • odysseus5odysseus5 Posts: 1
    My buick lesabre 1997, is hesitating and when i give it gas (especially on the highway) sometimes it does not react at all. I have to coast to allow it to run properly. My check engine light is on and the code is 1870. As i said after taking it easy, it usually runs fine afterwards.
  • Vehicle has 54,000 miles, has had the transmission rebuilt this summer. Vehicle will not down shift into low from dead stop. Starts in 2nd or 3rd gear. Have had 2 solenoids replaced, transmission reprogrammed, battery regrounded. Problems still persists. This is a random problem occuring on a weekly basis. It will on a rare occasion lurch into gear. I can manually shift this into low gear when this occurs and then it will go normally. Looking for any advice. Local mechanics have no idea where to go with this.
  • I have a 93 Lesabre with 169,000 miles on it. The trans starting jumping out of gear as you come to a stop about 4 weeks ago. It only does it in low gear as you stop. Not ever time, but pretty regular. (6 to 8 times a week) I ran a can of sea foam through it for about a week and then serviced it. The filter was pretty dirty. It did ok for a few days and then began to jump out of low gear as you stop again. It acts like it's loosing prime, especially if you make a quick stop. Sometimes it makes a difference when you stop gently and sometimes it doesn't make any difference at all. It still does it. Could this be caused by the control solenoid or do I have another problem? Other than this the trans does not slip and shifts perfectly. It has no hesitation when going into gear. :confuse:

    Thanks, Mike
  • When coming to a stop and then starting again the car bucks until it goes into overdrive. Then is fine until another stop is made at which point it may buck one or even two times. The car has about 84K miles. Please help
  • parkuparku Posts: 3
    Hello,I have 1995 lesabre car starts but does not move from parking to drive .
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,505
    Does it have fluid up to the low mark of the dipstick when cold (to the full mark when hot after being driven)? I realize this is probably an obvious check.

    Does it go into reverse after a few minutes of idling? Sounds like it needs a major diagnosis by someone on the scene.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,505
    I haven't heard that description for transmission problem. Is it an engine problem?

    Miles on car? Plugs wires changed in the last 60-70K miles with AC plugs and OEM level wires? Possibly a coil problem reacting to heat. Check each coil tower for cracks or tracing of spark jumping. Check bottom of coil for poor contact to base to which they bolt.

    Check connector at the end of the base for poor contacts.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • lbmcajunlbmcajun Posts: 4
    I have a 2005 LeSabre, 167,000 miles. I have a whining/mild roaring sound coming (sounds like) from the driver's side wheel well. Three mechanics have checked the bearing, they all say it is fine, but they also say they do not believe it is the transmission. None of them have any further suggestion except to continue driving the car until it gets worse. Any diagnostic ideas?

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,505
    Can you describe more about the sound? How loud? Change with speed? Can you feel it in the steering wheel? In the floor? Does the sound change if you move the wheel for a left curve or a right curve. That can make a wheel bearing sound out more. But I have read some people with difficulty diagnosing a wheel bearing.

    Check the wheel bearing for play, up/down, left/right with the wheel jacked up.

    How are the tires? Worn unevenly? More than 5 years old? Tire tread hardens with age and can cause a sound from the knubs that is reminiscent of snow tires at a low volume in the old days.

    Has anyone put the car on supports in front and driven the wheels with the motor through the transmission?

    Number 1 would be wheel bearings if the tires are okay.
    Number 2 would be the differential inside the transmission.

    Frankly you might save yourself some trouble by going to a good Buick garage for a diagnosis, whether or not you intend to let them fix anything.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • lbmcajunlbmcajun Posts: 4
    The sound is difficult to describe. It is a mild whining/roar. Not a loud roar like you normally hear with a wheel bearing. Does not change sound when turning. However, it DOES change with speed. In fact, below 35 mph is only barely noticeable, and below 25, cannot even hear it. Tires are almost new. A mechanic did put it on supports. They said the sound was less pronounced with the wheels off the ground. ?????

    What is the cost of the differential inside the transmission ? $2,000 or more ? If yes, I'll just trade it.

    Thanks much!!

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,505
    Was the sound there before the tires were put on?

    What tires do you have? I'm curious about the tread causing a vibration.

    But actually I believe it's a wheel bearing.

    Jack it up. Rock the wheel around and compare one side to the other looking for looseness. Be sure you're not getting ball joint movement, though.

    Have someone rotate the tire and put your hand on the solid frame of the car to feel for vibration from the bearing.

    The description sounds like a wheel bearing I had. You're at 157K miles. A bearing is possible.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • lbmcajunlbmcajun Posts: 4
    After taking it to the fourth mechanic (including the Buick Dealership, who could not figure it out), the problem IS the wheel bearing. The last place I took it was a transmission place. He ruled out the transmission right away, and in 30 minutes, said he would bet his next pay check it was the bearing. THANKS FOLKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP!!!!!

    BTW, I learned something about transmission in my search. If any of you have a hard thud at times when shifting gears, and it is only now an then - according to the transmission guy AND the dealership - it is the computer - but neither knows how to fix it, or what makes the computer do that. And also, it will not show any code when checked. If you park the car, turn off the engine long enough for the computer to reset, and re-start the engine, the probloem goes away - until the next occurance, of course.
  • barbara13barbara13 Posts: 2
    Thank you so much for the information regarding the "bucking" that appears to be a transmission problem but goes away and then cannot be found by code. It sounds like the computer may be the problem as once the car sets and is restarting the problem appears to go away. Thank you for your response.
  • whitewallwhitewall Posts: 1
    thanks for the info on the "hard thud". I have a 2004 LeSabre and have noticed this kind of noise from time to time but like you said there really doesn't seem to be any pattern as to why or when. I was concerned that this was an early sign of a the transmission going bad but the car runs great in every other respect.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,505
    >If any of you have a hard thud

    It sounds like the transmission computer has gone into safe mode and makes a firm, quick shift to protect itself. If I understand the programming from what has been explained, the computer is always measuring the length of time for the shift to occur; that it adjusts the next shift to get the proper firmness. If it measures too long a shift period, that particular solenoid is taking too long to effect the shift and the clutch pack is slipping. So the computer speeds up the shift time to prevent slipping excessively which is hard on the clutch packs.

    When the computer restarts it probably is retesting to see if the problem is really there. It finds no problem so it's back to normal shift times. My guess is the problem could be something other than computer. It could be connections or something else erratic in the transmission.

    My guess and comment would be to drive the car briskly to make the transmission do more adaptation to the shift quality and time. The occasional problem might go away.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • pacecar68pacecar68 Posts: 3
    I have a 1996 Buick LeSabre w/ 126K on the odometer....I recently had the transmission serviced (pan drop method). After service, transmission would "slip" in the AM; it would not move until I drop down through all the gears. Return to the shop and they added transmission fluid. They said it was at the correct level. Problem remained. I added a full quart before a 300 mile trip and all fine the next morning; no AM slip from then forward. Car then needed a new radiator. I noticed a continued drip after the new radiator. Shop determined the leak to be transmission fluid from a cooling line. The shop checked the transmission fluid level (fine) and I did as well (fine), but the AM slip is back. What the heck is wrong with the transmission? :confuse: Is there some "air bubble" in it and should I just add more fluid a pint at a time until the AM slip disappears again?

    Thanks for reading!
  • rudwilrudwil Posts: 7
    I have a 1995 Buick Le Sabre with 100K miles on it. 85K I put on myself. Last summer while driving to North Carolina from New Jersey and cruising at 65MPH, the engine burped. (cut off, all indicator lights came on, speedometer needle jumped about 15MPH higher and then everything went back to normal and we were running again) Whole incident lasted about 5 seconds. This reoccured two more time over the next three hundred miles. When reaching our destination I shut down the vehicle and unloaded the car. Shortly afterwards I started the car again to park in another spot and the car would not go in reverse. I shut down the engine, restarted and all worked fine. Next day I had the transmission serviced and everything checked OK. Over the next week the burp happened two or three more times but always started so I have driven it like this for the past year. (Mostly local ) Local mechanic could not access the computer and advised going to a dealer. Dealer saw no codes but replaced the crankshaft motion sensor. kept the car fo a week and wanted to shotgun some other ideas but with no guarantees, $500 later I took the car back with no cure. Have replaced the spark plugs also.
    Really not sure where to go next. Thought trouble might be temperature related but there is no pattern to when it happens.

    Any clues would be a great help. Rudy
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,505
    > the engine burped. (cut off, all indicator lights came on, speedometer needle jumped about 15MPH higher and then everything went back to normal and we were running again)

    Can you explain a little more. Are you saying the motor shut down, stopped, and you were coasting, and then the motor restarted all on its own? The motor won't restart by the transmission turning it while the car is moving.

    Is it possible the motor just slowed but kept turning at idle speed then picked back up.

    My two things to suggest would be to carefully check all battery cables for corrosion at both ends. Especially check between the two positives if yours has the one on top of the other. Pull back the plastic layers on cables to see if the copper is corroded down into the cable. Check for battery post problems.

    Next would be based on the statement from another board Pontiacs that the computers in 94 and 95 have a higher probability of flaking out. The computer itself is not expensive. I believe someone got one at AdvanceAuto for $100+. You reuse the PROM chip from your old computer.

    You need a competant mechanic. If he can't connect to the OBD 1.5 cables for H bodies in 94 and d95 for his code scanner, find someone else. If you're into throwing money at it, I'd replace the computer myself. Junkyard, Advance, elsewhere. Do some shopping. Some new parts are bad also so don't buy junk!

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • Bought 03 Lesabre 2 years ago used. Transmission started sliping about 1 month ago. Had transmission serviced filter and fluid with lucas trans additive. Car has 85k miles. Now in the morning, cold car will not go into gear without lite rev and switching between drive and reverse. After about 1 min car goes into gear. It shifts a little ruff but seems to be ok until it's parked overnight. Then we repeat above. Any suggestions, help or solutions out there?
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