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Buick Rendezvous Transmission and AWD Problems

crnation16crnation16 Posts: 1
edited May 2015 in Buick
Yesterday my '03 RDV started skipping. At first I though it may have been my spark plugs until I looked at my gauges and realized that my tact was at 4000 rpm, and the car sounded like it was in neutral. The car began to slip in and out of gear. When I down shifted the car lurched as normal. The speedometer is not registering a speed at all. All of the other gauges are working properly. I have no idea what could be wrong and don't have the money to just send it to the shop. I don't mind doig things on my own as long as I am told what to do. The fluid levels are fine. As is the color. Does anyone have any suggestions, or experienced the same problem?

See Also: Common Buick Transmission Problems


  • sukses01sukses01 Posts: 3
    I took my 2004 Rendezvous in for an oil change and a fuel filter change and the mechanic (a friend) found a transmission fluid leak. He said it was a big job because they would have to remove the engine. Anyone having this problem? Help!!
  • sukses01sukses01 Posts: 3
    Just wanted to write and say that I took my car to a Buick deal near my home and they are actually fixing the problem free of charge under the Goodwill program. That is quite shocking. I never expected them to fix it for free. It was my lucky day. I saved around $2000!
  • 05 AWD Ultra has constant AWD Disable light illuminated. Changed bearings and hubs last week. No codes displayed. Fluid new, Help anyone???
  • First check your fluid !!!! Owners manual should show you how. Also must use correct fluid. Manual explains what markings on bottle. Also check to see if flid on stick is black,as in overcooked cooking oil apearace. Adding fluid won'cost much. If you have a full service gas station try there, but be armed with info on type of fluid. Don' accept them telling you gm fluid is gm fluid. dennis
  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,655
    Many times it is bad connection the wheel sensors that is the problem (corrosion,short)
  • '06RDV with AWD.i,ve got 70k on this car and it runs great with no issues until this morning. i have experienced a hard shift from 1st to 2nd gear the whole way to work,which was mostly stop and go traffic for 25 miles. fluid is okay...looking for suggestions.
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    If your RDV has the 4T65E transmission, see:

    "Intermittant Harsh Shifting / Pump whining, Possible Code P1811:
    This is perhaps one of the most common problems with this transmission. It has been a problem since the release in 1997 and can happen for no reason at all even with clean fluid and very low mileage. The EPC solenoid is probably bad and again is very common to happen. The EPC solenoid controls line pressure and has a spool valve which oscillates back and forth to regulate transmission line pressure based on commanded pcm signals dependant on lots of various inputs of the vehicle. The spool valve in the solenoid will bind up and cause loss of pressure control from the pcm. The pcm constantly monitors shift timing in milliseconds and if this is not within programmed parameters after a few shift cycles the pcm triggers trouble code P1811 which is Max Adapt / Long Shift. This code will not set the SES light but will dissable all adaptive shifts and will max out line pressure in the transmission which causes the harsh shifts and can also cause the transmission pump to whine because it is supplying fluid at a high rate and pressure and puts more stress on it thus creating the whine. Generally shutting off the car will make this condition go away until you drive a few more miles or the vehicle warms up and the harsh shifting will return. Replacing the EPC solenoid will most likely correct this condition and again is probably the most common problem found in any year of this trans. I will also add that a worn out transmission can cause this. If the fluid looks bad, dark, and smells burnt or lots of fine dark sludgde or a dark film of material is in the bottom of the pan then there is probably internal damage. Once clutches become burnt and have excessive wear shift timing will be greatly extended and the pcm will fall outside of its set parameters and code P1811 will turn on, again commanding higher line pressure and harsh shifts but an overhaul in this instance is the only proper fix."


    Hope this helps...

  • Thanks for the reply...a very informative website, and i do believe this is what occured the other day.I say this because the problem with shifting did not happen on my return home that afternoon or since. I'll do a fluid and filter change on the trans as preventative maintenance and hope that this was a one time glitch.
  • We got it back in April..Started out loving the car, now I am hating it and have a lot to pay on it yet...The shifting is rediculous...It is jerking and shifting hard and recently eatting gas like crazy...
  • My Rendezvous starting shifting hard at 80K, I researched it and found there were 2
    relays, each for shift relay, one located under the tranny, one inside the tranny.
    I pretty much learned one of these was acting up when I was able to manually shift
    from 1st to second with no problem, in either case shifting was normal after 1st gear
    I havn't been able to reach the part under the tranny, it is located just above a cross arm in behind the wheel, I am going to have the part replaced soon when I buy new tires, it hasn't changed in performance since it began, but this may help you.
  • 1girl1girl Posts: 1
    edited April 2010
    my 2003 VW turbo beetle is leaking transmission fluid and my garageman says it is caused by computer not reading the pressure correctly. I am not sure what that means. The transmission has been check as well as other pumps, seals, etc. Check various thing lights are now on and since battery was disconnected the radio is in "safe" mode; which I understand needs to be reset by dealer for $90. He wants me to bring it in so he can reset computer, does this sound likely?
  • jsootoojsootoo Posts: 2
    The AWD disabled light came on leaving the house in the AM. I took the car in and they found the PCM was bad and it was replaced (under warranty thank goodness). they also found (copying off the work order not my words) no pwm signal to DIFF clutch pump actuator. upon inspection replaced diff clutch pump for internal open in actuator. to find awd disabled light still on check to find improper pwm signal from ecm at 0% and intermittently reads 5%. not fluctuating between 16% to 45% as intended. remove and replace ECM and re program ECM as wall as re program VTD at this time. 600.00 up to this point. i also had a 50,000 mile service done while it was there.

    three days later there was a whining noise from the rear end when making slow right turns. back i went and the new estimate was 3500.00 for a rear diff carrier assembly. the day i took it back they said it was probably from having the rear diff fluid changed and asked if i had ever changed it. i let them know they had changed it last year at this time and their mechanic confirmed it was crystal clear.

    is there any other options other than the major expense of the rear diff carrier assembly. I'm not trying to say they did something, but this is the second time they have made it sound as if the fluid should be old or dirty to cause this problem.
  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,655
    I can't speculate on their diagnosis, but just from the ' whining noise' part of it I might wonder about posiible wheel bearing issue.
  • jsootoojsootoo Posts: 2
    what they are saying is the differential clutches are wearing out causing break down of the ceramic coating. they found debris and contamination. I'm wondering if the diff fluid runs through the clutches?
  • Late this summer,the AWD disable light would display intermittently for maybe a day or two.Following the advice of previous posts,i checked all wheel sensor connections for corrosion or open circuits. All sensors were receiving a voltage signal also.The main connector under the car in the drivers seat area also checked okay.
    Finally,the light came on constant. I brought it to a local GM dealership for diagnosis.The cause was a bad "rear differential clutch pump actuator check valve",which is the piece on the front of the differential with a wire harness attached.The part was $422.00, labor was $262.00 which included the diagnosis charge of $120.00 i was initially quoted.
  • I have a 2005 Buick Rendezvous 6 cyl. auto. 119k that's transmission makes a clunking noise shifting into 1rst gear(only) sporadically in stop and go traffic. If I hit the gas, this doesn't not happen. Almost feels like I am driving on ice. I had the transmission fluid flushed recently, and that was normal. This doesn't happen all the time. Any clues?
  • mrrlrmrrlr Posts: 1
    when put in drive my car wont move, but when put in 2nd it moves. could someone tell me, what they think it might be. or is there anyone with the same problem, and what was the fixes.
  • Hello Everyone: (02 RDV 155,000 km to date CXL)

    Its been awhile since I posted. 4.5 years ago my old RDV went through some very bad times, intake manifold, head gaskets and transmission failure (at 90,000 km which GM WOULD not help with) AC condensor for the 3rd time and radiator . Before this I had around 25 minor items repaired (wheel bearings, electrical shorts, trim falling off or cracking, chrome on wheels peeling off, just general poor quality issues)

    Well over the last 4 years its just been general maintenance (O2 sensors, plugs and belts...etc). This year I had a brake line failure which was very serious. Its the front brake lines and it rusted out at the bend behind the firewall. My wife stopped the car due to a front wheel bearing failure (the whole bearing housing assembly failed and the wheel came loose). At the same time she noticed a huge puddle under the car (turned out to be brake fluid).

    So please everyone have your mechanic inspect the front brake line just in behind the Master cylinder for rust and leaking. No one wants to have this fail on the HWY (dead meat). Very expensive to repair though 600 bucks with parts.

    Also another expensive job just done was radiator failure (AC DELCO RAD) transmission fluid mixed with coolant (1500 bucks to fix.., but better than a cracked block as suspected by mechanic). So if you have a DELCO Rad keep an eye on your coolant for gunk mixing.

    Current general maintenance, and there is a GM bulletin for this, is transmission coolant lines will leak. and mine are leaking. I regard this as general maintenance after 9 years on the road. However, alas I am looking at getting rid of my RDV to get something more reliable and not so expensive to keep on the road. This was my first GM vehicle and it looks like my last one. This one just left a bad taste in my mouth with poor quality and poor customer service. GM for this vehicle anyway will not stand by the customer. Lately they seem to be turning the corner, but its too late for me.

    I will keep looking here for information and posting stuff until I rid myself of the RDV just to keep people posted on customer experience after 9 years on the road.

  • I had to replace the rear differential clutch pump check valve on my 06 rendzvous at 28,000 miles after the AWD disable light came on. The part cost $406.63 and the special fluid for the differential cost $37.90 per qt. Total cost was $847.90
  • 40414041 Posts: 1
    My "AWD disabled" light is on and I suspect the check valve is bad on my 06 Uplander. I just changed the rear fluid so am not looking forward to replacing it again! Does anyone know if I can check if the valve is the problem by just plugging in a good valve(without installing in differential) and seeing if the fault goes away?
  • Hello,
    do you still have your 05 Rendezvous? Were you able to diagnose the transmission problem?? I have the same problem on my 06 Rendezvous and wonder what the result was.

  • Hi,
    Yes, we still have the Rendezvous. I took it into our mechanic, and they couldn't get it to duplicate the problem. It only happens at certain times, usually when you try to accelerate at a stop sign/light. It will go for a month, not doing it. (sporadic) I'm under the impression that it might be a solenoid? (sp) It happened again this Saturday, when accelerating out into traffic.
    Have you also had problems when you hit a bump the speedometer goes out? Either stays at zero or 90! What fun on a long trip. Our mechanic says that this is an issue with this car. Either control panel or computer. We had to use our GPS to know our speed. If we shut it off for a few minutes, everything works! It has been a great car until this!
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,252

    I apologize for the problems you are experiencing. Were you planning on having the vehicle diagnosed by a GM dealership? Please keep me posted when the issue has been taken care of.

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service
  • I first started having problems with my Buick last summer and at that time it was a high-pitched whining sound at around 25-35 mph followed by a hard shift. It was not a constant problem, more like an intermittent issue. I took the car into the local GM dealership and they looked it all over, took it for a test drive, let it idle for 30 mins (with 3 bux a gallon gas!) and they told me that they couldn't find the issue but that I needed a brake job, new rotors, etc. I asked them at the time if it could be a transmission issue but they assured me that it was not. I paid to get the brakes done (it was over 300 dollars) and they told me it would take care of the issue. Well, it did not. I no sooner had the car back for 5 mins and it was already making the same noise and hard shifts. So, I took the car back to the dealership and told them that the problem had not been fixed. They checked it out (again) and told me that they couldn't locate the problem or make it happen for them. Well, at this point, I decided that the mechanics know more about cars than I do and that I would just not pay any attention to the noise. It continued to get louder and after a few more months of it I had my husband take it back in to the dealership. At this time, the whining noise was much louder and it continued to have hard shifts. They again looked it over and told me that they could not find the issue or hear the noise. So, at this point I just decided to live with it. I was tired of taking in my car and having them tell me there was nothing wrong with it, I had given up on getting it fixed. I thought the mechanics knew more than me. Shortly after that, the noise seemed to go away, and there was an occasional period were it shifted hard but no whining noise.

    Today was my daughters birthday. We were headed in to the restaurant for her birthday lunch and my car was acting bizarre. When coming to a stop, it shuddered and shifted hard; when going to take off, it did the same thing. Once I got up to speed, it seemed to stop, but coming to a stop or taking off it was shuddering. We made it to the place and had lunch and then went to go back home. If it was acting up before, it was much worse after. We chose to pull into Autozone and my hubby ran in to get some fuel additives because he thought the problem was caused by a fuel filter being clogged. After, when we went to leave, the car would not shift into R, and we did get it to shift into D but it was popping and acting crazy. Then it made a loud BANG and would not shift into any gear. The tranny fluid was black, something I had never seen before in my life. We ended up having to get the car towed less than half a mile to the dealership, and the employee there said it sounded like the transmission had gone. Really? I don't have a couple of grand just laying around to fix this!!

    My biggest problem is now I am looking around online and seeing there are some similar issues with solenoids or something similar which could have caused this issue; AND i could have had it fixed for FAR less money. The car is not covered by the powertrain and it has 79k miles on it. I am flabbergasted by the fact that I could be having transmission problems at this low of mileage. (We always do the recommended maintenance on our cars) I really just feel like this is an issue that could have been fixed a long time ago and for much less money. I really don't see how, if the original whine was the beginning of the problem and it was missed somehow; that now I have to pay for that error. Shouldn't i just be able to pay what the smaller repair bill would have been for? I am really annoyed and angry right now.

    Has anyone else had a similar problem or have a suggestion? I have half a mind to never own a GM again in my life and up until these problems started I was so in love with my car that I was NEVER going to buy anything but a Buick every again. Not so much right now. :mad: :cry:
  • rupe74rupe74 Posts: 2
    I am having the exact same symptoms with my 05 Rendezvous. Did you ever get it resolved?
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,252

    Were you planning on having the vehicle diagnosed? Please keep me posted when the issue has been taken care of.

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service
  • When I took it in to the mechanic, they could not duplicate it. It will go for months without doing this, then start up again for a day or two. It seems to happen when accellerating from a dead stop. It feels like it is clunking, then engages.
  • Same problem with my 05! including the speedometer issue. No one has an answer to the transmission problem but I'd love one - it really feels like the tranny is going to drop. mine now has a 156k on it and I'm getting ready to hand it off to my daughter
  • I did hand the car off to our daughter! It hasn't done this for awhile now. Strange thing, the speedometer issue seems to happen when my husband is driving. He uses the cruise control. I'm wondering if that is what is going on. When we turn off the engine and let the car sit for a bit, the speedometer then works. I am driving the other kiddie car, the Saturn Ion. (No control panel issues there!) Let me know if you get this worked out. ☺
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,252

    I apologize for the problems you are experiencing with your vehicle. Have you been in contact with your local GM dealership? Please keep me posted when the issue has been taken care of.

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service
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