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Olds Silhouette Engine and Transmission Problems



  • joshnjoshn Posts: 1
    Hi guys, I have a 2000 silhouette with 300,000k on it. i have the same problem with the whining noise and the hard shifts. Is it the solenoid? Mine also tends to lose power on the highway when that problem begins and it boggs when i try to hit the gas anyone else have this problem as well? if so do you think its related? I also have the leak on the drivers side by the parking brake any fixes for this one yet.
  • brumpfbrumpf Posts: 14
    I'm certainly not an expert at automotive repair. I just try not to get ripped off big time and if I hadn't gone to Edmunds with the transmission problem, I would be spending $2,500.00 on a transmission rebuild, when the problem was a $60.00 pressure control solenoid in the transmission.

    With 300,000 miles, I'm a little hesitant to say it is the pressure control solenoid. However if it is a intermittent problem only when it gets warm, I would replace the PCS unit. You through a curve at me by it bogging down when you try to accelerate. Let's see what others say...
  • Hey, in vague terms, you have to remove the cradle (sub-frame) lower the engine and trans to access the tranny side cover, remove the cover to reveal the solenoids.
  • reginoregino Posts: 1
    I have a 1995 olds silhouette that I've just changed its transmission to a 1995 Chevy Lumina. After a couple of days the van began to stop running for five minutes on the road, then it began to work fine for about 2 weeks, after that it began to stop running again on the street. I was wondering if anyone has had that same problem or what could've caused that problem.
  • I have an 2001 Silhouette with very similar issues right now. No a/c or heat either. When you add this on to the gasket issues, transmission line leaks, failed wiper motor and assembly that we've been through and the host of other recent symptoms that are telling me this thing is about to become a money pit, I'm thinking the next step is an Odyssey or Sienna.
  • I am thinking it's the intake gasket as others have suggested. But it is awfully disconcerting that the van seems to be falling a part at 80,000 miles. I have been looking at the Odyssey and the Sienna as well I just can't bring myself to spend $35k either.
  • I saw the words "no ac" and I wanted to let you know that the ac went out on my 2000 Silhouette and I went to the parts store and bought refrigerant. I followed the instructions and it took 5 minutes of my time to bring the ac back. It worked great all summer.
  • Mine is a 1999 Silhouette and I just now got the motor apart. I found out that it was the head gasket that had blown. My intake and heads are fine. I was so sure I was looking at new heads. I also found out at least from my source is that because of the stops on the head gaskets they put on, that the heads can't be torqued down far enough to insure no leaks or another blown head gasket. But others will say that's not true, why then so many of these problems. I got the set of gaskets that don't have the stops. I was told by my friend that he would take his van out after replacing gaskets and it would over heat. So then he would come back and torque some more he is now happy because his van is no longer over heating. I have a Dodge Grand Caravan and let me tell you that I have been through 3 tranys with it, the wipers come on whenever they want lol, and my radio only works on day that are moist. But the Odyssey is good my sister has had 2, but the parts for them are very high. And the Sienna is good after the year 2005 before that the motor is known to get dirt up in them. The Ford vans are bad about tranys as well. It just seems that you can't win for losing anymore. Also my brother has a dodge van just like mine and he had to replace a head on it. I was told to make sure to never run the van even the slightest on low coolant that the over flow should always be filled. I too hope that I don't have a money pit but I will say so far that 3 tranys at 1800 a piece I'm already saving, hope all goes well sorry this is so long but maybe something helped. God bless you and your family
  • bob550kbob550k Posts: 148
    As soon as the tranny in our 99 silo started shifting hard I had the defect repaired for about $400. As soon as the intake manifold gasket started to leak I had it replaced for about $600. I guess I could have let them go and turn into bigger issues, but I keep the car serviced so it stays reliable.

    97,000 miles runs, drives and looks like 30,000 miles. I'm amazed at how well the interior and paint has held up, no rips, tears or fading in the leather, dash, door panels or carpets. The roof rack is peeling a bit and I did replace the headlamps (cheap on ebay), but the van has been on the road for 10 years so again, I can't complain.

    I would have bought a new one, but that 2007 was SO fugly I can't believe they put that abortion on the road! It makes the Aztec look like a beauty queen!
  • My 1997 Olds Silhouette conked out on me (91K miles) -- it would go into the first gear when I started driving it, but lost power once it shifted up to the 2nd. Mechanic referred me to transmission shop. They charged me $2400. Was that a reasonable cost? Also, I'm reading about the pressure control solenoid... Could my problem have started there? Thanks for any insight.
  • I recently had my transmission rebuilt but it has not run correctly. Im taking it back because it skips and the rpm are really high.It might sound dumb but I don't remember what RPM the car runs at when the car is at 75,80, and 90 mph. Currently the car runs at 3000 RPM at 65-70 MPH, I can hear the engine somewhat forcing itself. If anyone could tell me I would appreciate it. Also I wanted to ask what should I do if they don't fix it right, maybe file a complaint with the BBB or take em to small claims.

    I hope someone can help me.
  • The transmission should not run at 3000 rpm at 65-70. It should be much lower at that speed. My wife has the van today, otherwise I would take it out on the highway and give you the readings. It sounds like a botched repair job to me.
  • If you get a chance to check yourself for me, I would appreciate it...Hey theirs a 12 pack of beer in it for ya, lol. But seriously id appreciate it. I need to this car ready for a 1400 mile drive to Oklahoma at Christmas.
  • Okay, I'll do it for you just give me a couple days. My wife uses the silhouette, so I'll have to do it one night after work.
  • Thank You very much, let me know where to send the 6-pack.
  • brumpfbrumpf Posts: 14
    I pried the Silhouette away from my wife and here are the results:

    50mph 1500rpm

    60mph 1850rpm

    Residing in New York City, I just didn't have the opportunity to get her up to 70mph. If my memory is correct, at 70-80mph, she was always around 2,200rpm.

    PS. At these test speeds, there is no question about her being in overdrive.
  • Bro, I thank you with my friend. The 6 pack might take a few days but you have helped me a lot bro.
  • email me at to send u some beer.
  • tawnymtawnym Posts: 9
    I recently put a new head gasket in my van. No head damage and it runs like a dream now. I was commenting to my dad how low the rpm's are on my van he said that's great. My 99 runs in town at 1200-1500, higher speeds it rmp's at 2000-2200. So I would say yes your van is most definitely running at too high of rpm's. Good luck and don't let them mess with you, if they say it's good and runs like that or refuse to fix it get a hold of the attorney general, they will fix it then.
  • So i took the Car back to the shop and the guy said it was fine, which i knew it wasn't. So now im gonna take it to an AAMCO and have them diagnose it and when they do find the problem I will file a Small Claims against the owner. My problem is that i don't have money to fix it again and get my money back from the shop. Im not sure how long law suites take since I need to drive to Oklahoma in December for Christmas. Hopefully I can get my car fixed.
  • I like to know if I can change the tran fluid, and not the filter, by just removing the hose, that goes to the add on tran cooler, to drain fluid and just add new fluid. The van has 125000 miles on it and never had a tran problem.
  • My mother owns a 1995 silhouette 3.8L It was recently ran with almost no oil at all. Needless to say, It picked up a rod bearing knock. after replacing all 6 sets, only one . . . the #2 cylinder spun a bearing. I loved being able to do the work while the engines still in the van............Anyhow ...I put it back together and started it up with oil & seafoam in it ......... It fired right up so I let it warm up about 10 min at idle. i barely touched the throttle and it fell on its face. If I fan the throttle I can bring it up to 3000 rpm , stumbling the whole way ............... Some insight would be greatly apreciated . Thank You
    Sinserly . . . . garagedwellar
  • ball13ball13 Posts: 1
    :mad: I have recently purchesed 2000 silhouette it is great except the transmission is getting on my nerve. fluid looks good but when it gets hot the hard shifting is unbearable. I see others have this problem but no real solutions , I love the van it is great but can someone please help?
  • whatodowhatodo Posts: 1
    I have a 1995 silhouette that we had just purchased. it's acceration is really slow in drive but not in reverse. I have been told 4 different things from 4 different shops. cadilac converter. transmission. 02 sensor, and the maf. sensor.
    You would think that at least two would have agreed on the same thing. Has anyone had this problem that could help me out. :confuse:

  • azuazu Posts: 84
    I've had van for about 2 months and drove close to 2K so far. Van has 126K. Shifting was flawless until 2 weeks ago. Got diagnosis and it is the torque converter hanging up causing a chuggle and at times a stall. Engine problems have been ruled out.Now it has turned into that hard shifting everyone talks about. With that last symptom is sounds like the Pressure Control Solenoid but I don't have any transmission noises. Any thoughts?
  • brumpfbrumpf Posts: 14
    I have a 2000 Silhouette Premier van purchased new with 103,000 and had the Pressure Control Solenoid replaced and eveything has been fine. It (pressure control solenoid) has been know to fail multiple times and unfortunatley you have to drop the engine to get at it. You have to have a good ear to detect the noise. I never had the chuggle. So that brings in a new twist. The hard shifting is the transmisions way of preventing any major damage. I hate to say it but I'd bring it into a GM shop because you can't trust these transmission repair places at all. I don't believe there is anything major wrong with your transmission, but it will cost your $6-700.00.
  • azuazu Posts: 84
    I I agree with taking to dealer. In fact this van has been serviced solely by an olds dealer since new. I don't trust those tranny shops. They want to sell you a rebuilt when sometimes you don't need it. I believe it is the PCS. I'll just save up and have it done in a few months.
  • azuazu Posts: 84
    Well it is undrivable at this time. You can go real slow but it won't go into 2nd without stalling out. At this point I do not think it is the PCS, but rather a break down of the torque converter and/or some clutches. It will sit until I have the funds to get it fix. Lucky me was informed last week that no salary increases and bonuses. That is a 17% pay cut. WOW!!
  • azuazu Posts: 84
    I finally took the van to local Chevy dealer. I went in thinking tranny rebuild or at least the PCS. I figure they have seen a lot of these vans and would be better equiped to find any problems.Mechanic found problem in a matter of minutes. It was the crank sensor wiring harness melting on the rear exhaust manifold. That explains why it acted up when hot, when turning a corner and hitting bumps in the road. $360 later and I'm back on the road.
  • nphilnphil Posts: 2
    I want to replace the rear shocks on my 02 silhouette awd with self leveling. Is this a big job? How do I proceed?
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