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Chevy TrailBlazer Transmission Problems



  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Was coolant leaking out on the ground?
  • cdiddycdiddy Posts: 1
    We have a 2002 Trailblazer LT. At 43,000 miles, my wife was driving some clients around (she's a realtor) when the transmissions started making a very loud whining/spinning sound and the car would not go anymore. Reverse had completely gone out. We had to have the car towed 22 miles. I then went to talk to the service manager at a local dealer and told him about the symptoms... he immediately said "Yep... that's the Sun Gear going out... happens all of the time in those things!" The lady right in front of me had the same issue at 20,000 miles, and then again at 38,000 miles!! Well, the dealership said it would be about $3,200 to replace the transmission. I asked if they could just fix the "Sun Gear" but they said that if they did that, without replacing the rest of the tranny, they could not warranty the work. You see, they'll do only the Sun Gear if you are still under warranty, hoping that your car will limp along until the warranty expires. But, since I had gone last the 36,000 miles, they wouldn't just fix that part. They said that the tranny alone was about $2,100 and that the labor was an 8.75 hours "book charge" (that's what they always charge, regardless of how long it takes). So, I know a friend in automotive repair and he said he could order the tranny using his business account. That was a good thing, because he got it for me for just over $1,400 (see how much they mark it up?). He did the work for $370, because it took him UNDER 6 hours (and he doesn't have all of the fancy schmancy equipment that they have, like a CAR lift for one!). So, my total here was about $1,800, saved about $1,400. So then I went back down to the dealership to sort of "complain"... after reading this forum it seems very apparent that this is a known issue with the 4L60-E Chevy transmission in 2002, but they do nothing about it. He suggested that I call "customer care" to see if I can get some "goodwill reimbursement". I tried that, and guess why they wouldn't reimburse me any money? You guessed it... this is because I didn't go to the overpriced dealership to have the work done. Even if I had, they said the best that might have happened would have been 25% return. At least my new tranny has a 3 year warranty. I don't think I'll keep the car that long due to these ridiculous events. This was/is a KNOWN and CHRONIC issue, and yet it's up to us, the consumer, to eat the cost. I'm going back to Toyota. This was my first, and last GM purchase.
  • holmes2holmes2 Posts: 1
    I had slipping problems on my 2003 Envoy XL. It started at about 12000 miles, but took a couple of return trips and dragging the transmission guy out at about 18,000 for a drive before it got addressed.

    Under load, uphill 2nd to 3rd gear slips badly, sometimes all the way to 6000 RPM. There was never any warning lights or diagnostic messages on the test box that was plugged in during the demo.

    The fix involved some valve/s rebuilt, which did make it totally fine......for a while!

    At about 34,000 miles, the exact thing started all over again, after two trips back to the dealer who was "unable to reproduce the fault" I started to feel totally uneasy with the warranty getting close to the end. As I had loads of other issues during it's short two year life, I dumped it into the used market. (But not without getting a $3,500 loyalty certificate from the local GM rep.

    So note, if you have problems, complain big time, offer a letter from your attorney.
  • bpurvisbpurvis Posts: 1
    Just had the transmission replaced on my 03 Trail Blazer Ext. No warnings just went out on trip out of town. Of course my mileage is just over the warranty limit (40,770). I drove it in 2nd gear (1st and 2nd only gears that worked) to the nearest Chevy dealership. The service manager was not at all surprised and said up front that he could probably get GM to cover parts. I had to cover the labor of about $750. Can't believe there hasn't been a recall on these transmissions yet.
  • thecrusersthecrusers Posts: 4
    Check your upper coolant line. Our transmission was doing the same thing . We took it to the dealer and the told us transmission is shot. They put the coolant line next to the cataylic converter and all the fluid leaked out with no warning causing to transmission to lock up.
  • thecrusersthecrusers Posts: 4
    Let me know how he was able to get gm to cover the parts. Gm refused to pay for mine.
  • skmaherskmaher Posts: 3
    Not at first. I heard a noise under the hood. So, when I pulled into my carport, I raised the hood and started checking things. I found that the fan was very loose and oil was leaking from behind the fan. After it sat in my carport a little while, I looked under it, and oil and water/coolant both had leaked out. My husband took it that following Monday to a mechanic (not the dealer cause he is FED UP with GM) and they told us it was the water pump.
  • imadad2imadad2 Posts: 79
    I own a 2004 LS EXT. No problems at all. I only have 10K on my SUV, so it makes me wonder what will happen in three or four years. I also read that the tranny issues were resolved after the 2003 model year. We will see. Make sure you drive the Trailblazer you are wanting to buy in high speeds. Wind noise may not suite your tastes. A lot of people complain about it here.
  • mcc4020mcc4020 Posts: 1
    "The water pump went out at 79k miles. I had no signs until it happened. I heard a funny noise, then it was like I put the truck in neutral and was reving the engine." In all the years that I worked at a parts store and worked on poeple's cars, I have never even heard of a bad water pump causing the car to do this. When water pumps go bad, they leak coolant all over the ground, or the bearings will go bad and they will leak coolant, squeal bad, then sieze up.

    As far as the other transmission problems, if you get things repaired when problems are first noticed, you generally don't need the whole transmission to be replaced. On the newer electronically controlled transmissions, the shifting is controlled via solenoids, which have generated numerous TSBs and changes over time. Also, what makes most of the transmissions go is lack of fluid pressure holding the clutches engaged. The solenoids and other parts of the valve body are responsible for this.

    My own problems revolve around an S-10 that has a bad launch shudder and a shudder at times in other gears. I have found out from a TSB that a bad ground could be the problem, and from buying a transmission book, found out that there are literally 100 changes that GM has made to the same transmission in 6 or 7 years. I have also found out that most of these problems are cause by lack of fluid pressure.

    If you get a transmission fixed or replaced, make sure that they are updating it with the latest fixes and that they have checked all applicable TSBs from GM. Also, as was my experience just yesterday, there are only a handful of service people who will take the time to help you and speak to you. The rest think you are dumb and don't want to waste their time. (I have several letters going to dealership GMs)
  • I own a 2002 Envoy 4x2, automatic trans w/ 44K miles.
    Need some expert advice. I was driving this weekend and had some issues.
    On one occasion, I stepped on the gas to accelerate but only the RPM went high-there was no acceleration. I then tried again, and it began to accelerate. But from that moment on, I notice the vehicle is having problems shifting from 1st to 2nd and the biggest problem…I have no reverse.
    I checked some forums and noticed that other people have some similar problems, but I didn’t see any solutions. I tried adding 1 quart of transmission fluid since it was a bit low, but that didn’t work.
    I noticed some people had parts replaced...can you tell me the parts, costs and if there were warranties?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
  • achevyachevy Posts: 1
    I purchased a 2003 Trailblazer and have just reached 80,000, and now my transmission has gone out. Yes, I am interested in filing a class action lawsuit.
  • I had a previous post and just got word from the dealer that he can
    A) replace the tranny with a certified tranny warranty w/ 3yrs, 100,000mi ($3200)
    B) tear into the tranny find out the problem and try to fix it (approx. minimum of $2100, if more than $3200 he'll put in the certified tranny and charge for tearing the first tranny, approx $4300)
    Is there anyone out there with an option C that can make this problem a little less expensive? Please help...
  • To any one with a similar problen I would like to her from you. I own a 2002 Yukon, It has 44k miles on it and no extended warrenty. I do all of the maintence on it myself and I am very meticulous with it. I t has never towed anything other than my 35 lb mountain bike or been off road other than a non paved parking lot. I experienced a complete transmission failure while driving approximatly 70 mph on the highway. It sounded as if the tranny exploded. The tranny basically blew up 4th gear and took out the rest of them with it. I had it towed to the dealer, they told me that it would cost $2,500 to rebuild it and $3,100 for a remanufactured one with a 3 yr 50k mile warrenty. I find it funny that the remanufactured tranny carries a better warrenty than the original. After arguing about the tranny blowing at 44k miles with customer service they offered to pay for half of the rebuild $1,250 only after tearing down the tranny to see if I did anything to cause the failure. They found that I wasn't at fault. I still didn't think it was fair so I bitched some more and they said that I would only have to pay for a $500 deductable to fix it. I find it funny that in April that they recalled some 2004 full size suv's and pickups due to a faulty pump that may prevent lubrication from reaching overdrive meaning 4th gear gearset bearings. It is just making me angry that I even had to pay $500 for the same problem.
  • kwinterskwinters Posts: 3
    I too had transmission problems on my TB. I had just turned onto a residential street, started to accelerate and the loud screaming sound started. I pulled over immediately. My husband then drove it gently to the dealership (thinking it had to be a recall issue!). Mine has 51k, never towed anything, 95% highway driving so it shouldn't have gone out.
    It was the Sun Shell Spline. The dealership assumed that was the problem when we took it in, but wanted to charge us $455 just to pull the transmission to be sure. We took it to a local car repair shop and saved some money. However, when I got it back, it would "kick" into 2nd and 3rd gear, so the solenoids had to be replaced. After $1300 it's now running smoothly. Just got it back today, so not real comfortable with it, ESPECIALLY after reading these posts.
    They definately need to reimburse us for these problems!
    Good luck!!
  • henson3henson3 Posts: 1
    Just like a lot of you have experienced, my Envoy which has 61,000 miles, just blew the transmission. Had been experiencing a clunking noise when coming to a stop and also when accelerating. Thought it might be universal joints but quickly found out it was the tranny when my wife couldn't get it into reverse and it would only go forward. Took it to a nationally known transmission shop which told me the sun gear was gone and that the rebuild would run me around $2,300. I don't know that much about trannys but after reading everyone elses problems it appears that they are being honest in their evaluation. I love the envoy but am considering going back to an Outback. They are smaller but one thing is sure the Japanese usually don't build junk. Thanks GM you've made me a believer.
  • ndmike88ndmike88 Posts: 155
    Backing out of my parking spot the other day, I noticed that when I put the TB in reverse the back end was shaking slightly. Almost felt like 2 flat tires. Put it in drive and the shaking stopped. :confuse:
    Did the same thing this morning leaving work....Is my transmission starting to go?
    It's an '03 LS with 19,100 miles. Never abused, or had anything towed. :lemon: ??
  • In conclusion to some previous posts I had.

    Short summary:

    My tranny gave up at 44k.

    Took it to the dealer, they gave me two options.

    1- $3,100 new tranny 3yr/100k warranty or

    2- tear into the tranny min $1,100 plus cost of parts to fix it.

    I picked option two since I couldnt afford to replace it

    After arguing about the tranny blowing at 44k miles with customer service they offered to pay for half of the rebuild $1,250 only after tearing down the tranny to see if I did anything to cause the failure and taking the chance of paying more than what I had to. I tried to get it lower than that, but they refused and said that I was lucky even to get the goodwill.

    Are there any attorneys that would like to take this case? I'm sure you can gather a lot of other people on this forum to support the case.
    I don't plan on keeping the car, but I would still like to collect the amount I'm paying to get this fixed.

    Sorry GM- I am now a hater and will tell as many people as I can to stop purchasing your products. I'm waiting to get my envoy back from the dealer and plan on driving it with decals that say

    "I'd rather be driving a Hyundai, or Kia, or anything that's not GM!"

    Good luck to everyone else there with the same problem.
  • pjsmithpjsmith Posts: 2
    Well, it looks like I just joined a not-too-exclusive club. I too had a tran failure on the interstate, and it looks like the transmission and sun gear have puked.

    For everyone on this board who has had a transmission problem, please, please, please, please make sure to report it to the NHTSA website. If there are enough complaints of a serious nature, they will consider issuing a recall.

    This is the link:

    I cannot stress enough that you should report ANY problems you have. Please also cross post this message to any other board you can find that deals with this issue and encourage all to file a complaint. There are probably thousands or tens of thousands of us at this point....
  • Hey pjsmith-
    thanks for the link. i have my complaint sent.
    good luck with your situation.
  • jgrishamjgrisham Posts: 1
    i have the exact same problem, trailblazer on lease 40,144 miles any
    solutions or results from your side.
  • raustinraustin Posts: 1
    my 2002 transmission went out at 62000, at the dealer for exactly 30 days while they fixed it 4 times, yes 4 times finally put a new rebuilt in. are they really wondering why gm is in trouble?
  • This is what I did.

    Took it to a authorized GM dealership and dropped it off at service and have them run a diagnostic.

    Called GM Customer Service 1-866-942-4368 and told them about the problem.
    -GM CS said, I would have to authorize that the dealer tear into the tranny, if it wasn't just wear and tear, they might help pay (actual amount variable). If it was just wear and tear then you pay-all of it.

    -Here's the catch. If if is just wear and tear and you pay, tearing into the tranny and fixing the parts can cost more than just replacing it from the start. But you have to take the risk if you want the chance of them paying. I figured it couldn't just be wear and tear at 44k miles, so I took the risk.

    -Dealer calls me back and gives me two options.
    1- They would fix it for about $1250 with 12mo/12kmiles warranty (that's after GM has covered 50% of the cost, so if they didn't help, it would've cost $2500)
    or 2- Replace the engine for $3350, in which they would apply the $1250 discount if I were to just fix it to the cost of replacing- so the total cost to replace would be $2100. Benefit of this is 10yr/100k warranty.

    Note that if I were to just fix it from the start, it would've cost me about $3100.

    I couldn't afford to replace it since $800 is a lot of money for something so unexpected. I told them to just fix it for $1250.

    When I called the dealer to ask if it was done-he told me that the total cost comes out to $575. GM covered the rest. When I got the receipt, the payment I made was to some warranty. I didn't ask any questions and just felt relieved that I didn't pay what I was expecting. Even though I paid over $500 to get to where I was already at.

    I then filed a complaint to the NHTSA website at

    I am currently in the process of buying a new car.

    What goes around comes around. And I hope GM sales continue to decline because of the porrly built products or the lack of acknowledgement they are taking on the issue. The only people I feel bad for are the people that are gonna lose jobs because of poor GM decisions or non-decisions.

    I wish you the best of luck on whatever choice you make. Keep us posted!
  • nfldnfld Posts: 2
    Just hung up the phone with the tranny shop. My planetary gears went out on my 02 TB. They have to rebuild the tranny. My TB has 94000 miles on it. All highway.
  • I have a 2002 TB with 36100 mi, just over the GM warranty, and July 2nd my transmission has gone out. If this this transmission issue with the SunShell Spline is in the TSB's, I believe that GM should be held accountable for such an expensive repair. This is a poor reflection on GM and their quality.
    I would be interested in joining efforts to recoup monies spent on this expensive repair.
  • Hey I just wanted to let you know that I had the same problem with my tranny exactly. They gave me the same options and also offered to pay the $1250. for the rebuilt one. I bitched and moaned to GM customer service and I finally got them to only charge me $500. I'm still working on getting it for free but so far no good. I would call GM customer service and [non-permissible content removed] and see what happens. Also my truck had the exact same mileage when the tranny went. 44k. sincerely Mike P
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    I currently own a 02 Ford Explorer XLT 4wd V8 and have been feeling a tad sad about how Ford would handle issues with tranny and axle problems (obviously they're not doing much about them) and while driving on the freeway today, I came across a GMC Envoy and was wondering if I should have bought the Envoy in the first place. So I decided to come home to check the Envoy message board... what a surprise... Envoys have the same problems and owners aren't being taken care of by GM. Here is the thing... if the manufacture knew of a problem with say the trannys on a vehicle due to a design defect, shouldn't they extend the warranty automatically? like one poster on here said the remanufactured tranny carries a better warranty than the original tranny. So here is the conclusion that I have come to... in order for automakers to increase their profit, they will design parts that will most likely to fail right about 40k miles and it will cost an arm and a leg to fix or replace. This is not just a domestic car problems. I checked Nissan, Volkswagon, and Audi message board on here, and it seemed to me that now it's a common practice among automakers to ignore defective parts. SAD! :sick: :cry:
  • nitsuanitsua Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Trailblazer LT @ 50,490 miles found out the seal was leaking so now to get to it is quite a job according to our service tech -- it's going to cost $1400 & GM will only cover $700. I am going to fight them on this as it sounds like there are a lot & I mean A LOT of transmission problems with these vehicles. Also did you notice your paint chipping @ the bottom if you didn't put running boards on? WE DID & got them to paint it & put running boards on at no cost to us. Keep fighting GM on this "crap" they keep putting out. In my opinion a $33,000 vehicle should have a transmission problem at all till into maybe the 100,000 mile range.
  • rcc442rcc442 Posts: 56
    nitsua wrote: "Keep fighting GM on this "crap" they keep putting out. In my opinion a $33,000 vehicle should have a transmission problem at all till into maybe the 100,000 mile range."

    Yes, you are correct.... and GM RWD cars/trucks usually don't have transmission problems until well after 100,000.... My daily driver is a 2001 Chevy Blazer 2WD, with 4 speed automatic. I now have 98,500 on it and (knock on wood) have not had any engine or transmission problems!
  • Hello,
    I just found this web site, it is great. I have a 00 Suburban with 55k and just got word that the transmission is bad. It was making a whining in 1st gear for months. Well it is costing $2500 to fix. I am very sad that this truck has not lasted for any amount of time without problems. I will never buy another Chevrolet. We have a Toyota 4 runner with over 200k with minor problems, also a Volvo which is great. I feel better that it's not just my bad luck, after reading everyone's problems, but feel bad for everyone having to pay so much money for problems that should not happen so early in a vehicle's life.
  • gmboygmboy Posts: 1
    I am a gm master tranny tech of 12 years,seen alot of reaction sun shells know the part is only about 50.00 dollars!! they came out with a better designed part ,so they say! high performance gm tranny parts is the good fix,MEGA SUN SHELL from performance transmissions.
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