Cadillac CTS/CTS-V Transmission Problems

tedescm1tedescm1 Member Posts: 309
edited May 2015 in Cadillac
Are there any major engine or transmission problems with the 2004 and 2005 CTS cars?



See Also: Owner's Reports on CTS Transmission Problems


  • pokergirlpokergirl Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Cadillac CTS with 7,000 miles on it.

    There were no problems with my car until I brought it in to the Cadillac dealer 3 weeks ago to get the oil changed.

    Since the oil has been changed, the car now makes a grinding noise when driving at low speeds.

    I dropped off the CTS this morning at the dealer I purchased the car from to see if they could find any problems with the car.

    The service manager left me a message late this afternoon saying the noise was the rear differential.

    How concerned should I be about this?

    I have no idea what a rear differential is or what it does. :cry:

    Thanks for any help.
  • midgey1midgey1 Member Posts: 4
    #206 of 206 Cadillac 2006 CTS Noise Problem by midgey1 Nov 16, 2005 (11:32 am)
    Bookmark | Reply | Edit | Delete | E-mail Msg
    The engine (according to the dealer) on my 2006 Cadillac CTS makes a continual whining noise when accelerating or at a steady speed above 35 MPH, that the dealer says is normal.

    Previously, the dealer told me it was my Differential and replaced it.

    I'm very unhappy with the car and drive with the radio on at all times to drown out the car noises.
  • midgey1midgey1 Member Posts: 4
    I have a major problem with my 2006 CTS.

    The engine (according to the dealer) on my 2006 Cadillac CTS makes a continual howling/whining noise when accelerating and at a steady speed above 35 MPH, that the dealer says is normal.

    They already replaced the Differential.

    I'm very unhappy with the car and drive with the radio on at all times to drown out the car noises.

    Go to
  • fshifshi Member Posts: 57
    I have the same issue with my 2006 CTS3.6 that I just leased. this noise comes anytime when I accelerate, basically all the time. When I put in park position, rev the engine would not duplicate this problem, how do you have this problem fixed? Thanks
  • tiffanyjaxfltiffanyjaxfl Member Posts: 1
    Was the problem fixed?
  • bill86bill86 Member Posts: 7
    The rear differential is the assembly that transfers power from the engine to the rear wheels after going thru the transmission. This is a major concern in my opinion. It may run a long time before failing but the noise indicates improper setting of the ring and pinion gears in my opinion. Sorry but hope this helps you to understand.
  • bill86bill86 Member Posts: 7
    I have a 2006 cts with manual transmission. The car has been troubefree and enjoyable for the first 5000 miles. At that point it developed a major surging and bucking when accelerating at 1/2 to 3/4 throttle in low gear and less pronounced in 2nd gear. There is no engine light and the dealer found no computer code so in their opinion it is not a problem, but it is to the driver. I'm now working with the factory to either fix or lemon law it. I'll keep you posted.
  • scott1121scott1121 Member Posts: 4
    2003 CTS, I'm original owner. Just hit 100k miles and blew a head gasket. Cadillac is refusing to assist but I'm still trying.
  • cadee05cadee05 Member Posts: 1
    I have a similar problem with my escalade. It is automatic, but it bucks when going to second gear.It is an intermittent problem that began at about 7,000 miles. The check engine light does come on and transmission slipping code comes up. I am in the midst of fighting GM over it because they aren't able to find the problem. let me know what happens with yours, and I can keep you posted about mine.
  • scott1121scott1121 Member Posts: 4
    I have a 2003 Cadillac CTS that just hit 100k miles. I'm told that the transmission cooler line that runs through the radiator ruptured. This mixed coolant and trans fluid. The result is they tell me I have to replace the radiator, flush the cooling system, and replace the transmission. They said to rebuild the trans would cost as much or more than installing a new one. Total estimate for this repair job is $5,500. Cadillac doesn't want to talk to me about assistance with this because I just hit 100k miles. Actually it happened at 101,000. Has anyone had a similar experience? Any luck with Cadillac? Any insight anyone can provide is appreciated. :sick:
  • bill86bill86 Member Posts: 7
    Scott- this is unfortunate, but at 100,000 you're not far from needing a new trans anyway. mine (1993) had a faulty sensor at about that age and it cost 1400 to replace it as the trans had to be removed (at least in part). Anyway, my suggestion is get the trans from GM as it will have a 36,000 mile warranty, while the trans shops here only give 12,000 due to their converters, which usually quit locking up at around that time. My STS had 202,000 mi and runs nearly as new other than when I first start it. It uses the same amount of oil, about a qt in 1700 mi., as when I got it at 32,000 mi as a lease return. My service ride control light comes on but I don't notice any change in ride and I know this would be expensive as the ride control shocks are $500 wholesale, so I leave it alone. Hope this helps.
  • scott1121scott1121 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for the info. What I found out was this... AT 100k miles (the rated life for trans & coolant) I took the CTS to a GM (not Cadillac) dealer that I had been using for oil changes, etc. for the service. It turns out that the bolt that connects the transmission line to the radiator is a "quick-connect" and is not intended to "un-screw". They didn't know and stripped the bolt. They did not do the service, they just put the connection back together and sealed it with epoxy and told me they couldn't do the service on the trans and told me to take it to a Cadillac dealer for the needed service. The connection was not tight and the fluids bagan mixing immediately. The whole thing failed in about a week and the connection blew out and dumped the milk-chocolate colored, milkshake thickness fluid all over the ground. I had to replace the radiator and trans and have the collant system thoroughly flushed. The total bill from the dealer was $5,500 plus all the towing and rental cars. I'm having discussions at this point with the dealer that originally "tried" to do the service about reimbursing me for the costs associated ($6,000). Word to all - take your cadillac to a cadillac dealer. Even the oil plug has a special wrench. :cry:
  • ncpaperboyncpaperboy Member Posts: 1
    My 2005 cts seems to be "stuck" in low gear at 45 mph. 1st return to dealer one year ago, replaced rear differential carrier assembly and latch. Problem went away for about nine mos. No change in driving habits or accidents, same thing happened again. Dealer replaced carrier assembly again, but still having transmission issues. Anyone else experiencing similar problems?
  • ctsjunkctsjunk Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2003 CTS that makes the same noise. I never even addressed that problem to anyone because the car has been a piece of crap and headache since day one. It has been in service more than anything and everytime I get one thing fixed the idiots cause another problem. I get the same reply from all of them when I explain the newly developed problem.."well nothing we did would have caused that"! The motor blew in it with only 13k miles on it that was 6 months after I purchased it. Cadillac put a new motor in but the car still continues to have various problems. I have had crappy service from every Cadillac service dept and I am about to drive the car through one of the dealership showrooms. I shoud have done the lemon law deal but did not pursue it and now it's too late. The car is only 3 years old and I feel like I have owned it for 10 years and my service records look like service records on a 10 year old vehicle. Hope nobody else has experienced as much crap as I have. :lemon:
  • teach76teach76 Member Posts: 9
    I took my '03 to dealer (not Cadillac) to see what would be causing my car to start "shimmying and shaking" around 55-60mph. It feels like the car needs to , as my husband says, have the cobs blown out of it. Well, after 1 1/2 hrs. of test driving and diagnostic this and that, the diagnosis is that it needs a new torque converter to/for the transmission.....a $2500 parts/labor job. Of course, the transmission is 2 months out of its warranty. I'm wondering if there's something else that could be the problem. Any advice? The car has 44,300 miles and has never been mechanically troublesome, until now. Thanks, Teach76
  • teach76teach76 Member Posts: 9
    It's Teach76 answering my own query. Our dealership is doing all the torque converter repairs on my '03 CTS at no charge whatsoever to me. Wow! I guess it does pay to be a loyal customer of the same dealership for 20+ years! I am pleased as punch! :blush: Teach76
  • dewindewin Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 cts with 43,000. I love the car, but I have noticed the transmission shifting down hard at very low speeds (like when driving through a neighborhood looking for an address). After traveling to NC, I noticed a problem with it shifting into and staying in the overdrive or highest gear which would cause a shuddering at about 45 mph and 1,500 -1,900 rpm. Or it would shift down and not drop back into overdrive at 50 mph and above. I brought it to the shop and they re-programed the chips involved (they told me these were standard adjustments that they were making to all cts when they got them in there) It shifts down better now, but the shuddering at 45 mph still occurs on slight inclines on winding roadways. It makes me nervous as the car is approaching 50k, And I do not want to buy the $2,500 extension to the warranty. I know the engine in this car is a great engine, that is why I bought it, but I never expected poor transmission designs from GM, that has been a surprise. Have you received any responsed from other cts owners with similiar problems? I would be interested to hear what you have learned.
  • quietproquietpro Member Posts: 702
    Try a web search for a product called "Dr Tranny". It is a product especially designed for transmission "shudder" which sounds like what you are experiencing. I tried it in my car and it INSTANTLY fixed the problem. Prior to this, I had the torque converter replaced under warranty and when the problem resurfaced (out of warranty), the dealership said it was a different problem. I took it to several shops and all said I would have to replace the torque converter.

    I found out about the product from my nephew who works at a transmission shop. The shop's policy is to add the product to every transmission they rebuild. The product is inexpensive, $5 -$10 once you factor in shipping, and won't affect warranties. And no, I don't have stock in the company; I'm just a very satisfied customer. :)
  • golfnut5golfnut5 Member Posts: 202
    Hi all. I had a 2003 CTS (automatic) and had the bucking, jerking from the trans at 53,000 miles. I had many other problems with my CTS prior to the Tranny problem such as rear-end whine, anti-lock brake problem, CD player jamming and speaker problems. CD player had to be replaced twice. I traded my CTS upon the tranny problem for an Acura TL (not one problem in 75,000 miles). What upset me was my CTS was the most fun car to drive that I have ever owned and I hated to part with it, but all the problems beat me down. I am very interested in the 08 CTS and with the 100,000 warranty on the drive train could bring me back to the CTS. I hope GM has made improvements in their quality.
  • larochelaroche Member Posts: 1
    hello everyone
    i am french and i have a cad cts 03'(excuse my bad english)
    i have problems with it and i need your opinion..
    when i am about 1500rpm and i let the car go 1000rpm ..the car is shaking(?) and i have the feeling is going to stop until the transmission move to the fourth it a problem of torque converter?
    i have an other problem with my front brakes.i changed the rotors brakes and brakes pads but it always is really unpleasant to brake and i must put the radio up not to hear it!! can someone help me..??thanks for replying to a desesperate french guy...
  • loislane23loislane23 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 CTS with 65,000 miles. I was initially very pleased with the car...until I had a problem. The car always hesitated when shifting from reverse to drive. Two weeks ago, the car would not move in reverse. I had to be pushed out of a parking space by three people. I took it to the dealer Curry Cadillac in NY. They told me that they could not recreate my complaint. So they drove it around the parking lot and let the car sit for 3 days. They did nothing. All of a sudden the car must have fixed itself. I know the transmission is on the verge of a breakdown. But, the Cadillac dealer didn't want to acknowledge a problem nor did the corporate office. When I called they refused to put a supervisor on the phone. It appears Cadillac doesn't stand by its cars, warranty or service. Has anyone else experienced this...because I'm going to tell everyone in my church, job and sorority to bypass Cadillac.
  • star27star27 Member Posts: 1
    I have an 05 CTS with the same problem along with a rough idle when I'm at a stop. Duplessis Cadillac here in Baton Rouge,LA gave me the runaround and after four trips, I gave up. It's hard being a female trying to get some honest service. Its been over a year and I still havent had anyone who can tell me exactly whats the cause and most who dont want to tackle a cadillac because of the risks involved. The service was so horrible at the dealer here I just decided I would try one more time at the next Cadillac dealer (that's60+ miles away in Metaire) and if they cant fix the issue or at least determine what the issue is, I'm trading this car in for an Acura. I love my car, but not the problems and not being able to go to you local dealer and get HONEST service.
  • sevenfeet0sevenfeet0 Member Posts: 486
    It's stories like this that makes me think that GM still has some problems with their dealer network which they need to shake out, which is why they want to purge a lot of the low performers. My dealer in Nashville (Andrews Cadillac) treats me like gold. A problem like yours would not would have never been allowed to let stand.

    Just for some perspective, somebody locally in Nashville has a 1928 Cadillac Sport Phaeton. They recently brought it into Andrews as it needed service since the thing kept dying on the road (and overheating). Nobody outside of specialty shops deal in carburated L-head engines anymore. Parts? Ha! It took awhile (weeks) but the car is back in running shape. They even hired a detailer to clean it up (squirrels were using it to store nuts...literally). That's service.
  • mity2mity2 Member Posts: 1
    My 06 CT-S with 51000miles just starts to develop this exact same issue. were you able to get it fixed?
    its almost like when it shift in to 2nd or 3rd, shakes/bucks the whole car. Its intimitten probrem, hense dealer have been unable to pinpoint the issue.
    I love the car, but this is getting on my nurve, enough to make me consider trading it in for something else..
  • gm_bigotgm_bigot Member Posts: 20
    The dreaded "chuggle at 40-45 MPH at light load" has finally manifested itself in my 2007 CTS with 23500 miles on it. Hopefully the software patch described in one of the TSMs will fix the problem. If not, looks like a new torque converter for me. Going into the shop on Thursday (8/27). Disappointing. Anyone know why GM decided to put a French transmission in these vehicles from 2002 thru 2007?
  • gm_bigotgm_bigot Member Posts: 20
    Just got the bad news. They are replacing the torque converter. The mechanic at the dealership applied the software patch from the TSM, but the car was still not running correctly. He's done converters for the earlier models, but thought they had the issue straightened out by the 2007 model year. Apparently not.
  • alexsanalexsan Member Posts: 1
    Was your converter replaced under warranty ?

    If not, how much did you have to pay ?
  • gm_bigotgm_bigot Member Posts: 20
    It was replaced under warranty (24K miles). They have to drop the transmission to replace the torque converter. I believe it's a $3K job. If you are experiencing problems, the first step would be to take it in and have them flash the transmission control module with the new software. If that doesn't fix it, you are looking at a new torque converter. If it is out of warranty, I would negotiate the price. This problem is not that uncommon.
  • leo_03leo_03 Member Posts: 2
    Hello there, well I' m having a problem with my Cadillac cts 03. It started when my brother in law change my front deferential. My car started to loose power it wouldn't accelerate and it would go only 5 miles per hour, Then I would shut it off and it will start but it would give a push on first gear and second gear and it would start to shake• it will give me a noise on my shifter when I press the gas to go up hill. I change the throttle body and the sensor pedal cause it will give me the codes about the throttle body so when I changed it when away but the problem is still there. So I wait for a few minutes and then it will start it up again but it will shake and give me a big push on first gear and second gear• can some one please let me know if they had a problem similar to this?

    Thank you
    :(:cry: :mad: :mad: :mad:
  • leo_03leo_03 Member Posts: 2
    can some one email me direct at [email protected] thank you
  • jrgotti90jrgotti90 Member Posts: 5
    ok so im 19 and i got this 2003 cts cash 9000...i had it for about 4 mounths i love it im in love with this car ...but 1 day i took it out to the store and came back home wen it came time to park it i shift into R and it will not move... i was in shock that it will not move from R it will not ,ove at all as if it was in i mest around with the gears i put in in D1 good...D2 good...D3 good...D good...N not so good...wen i shift to N is drives a little but then wen i pik up it go to normal N...then like i said i have no R at all as if R was just for P ... havnt had the money to take it in cuz before all this i had to get tires and new batery is this the transmition going bad or the computer? :sick:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    It sounds like an internal malfunction. The no reverse could be a damaged reverse clutch assembly or maybe a valve body malfunction (which would be the lesser problem for you). "Creeping" in neutral could by some check ball being stuck or again, damage to clutch packs.

    You might have the car's computer scanned for trouble codes and see if any clues are there.
  • jrgotti90jrgotti90 Member Posts: 5
    so around how much is that to fix...i know to get a knew tranny and all is about 3000 with a 3 year 100,000... its a 03 v6 auto...70,000 miles...i think its a know im sad this is my 1st car got it with my money 9,000 cash i wax it and all every week and its just sad looking at it parkd
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well maybe a good shop can fix it without a rebuild. Maybe it's just a valve body issue and it could be removed and cleaned. I'm just making an educated guess you know. i could be wrong.
  • jrgotti90jrgotti90 Member Posts: 5
    yeah i took it to sum shops around here and they all say they wont work on it cuz they dnt have the tools to work on or look at the french the only place i know is GM dealer around town but i know they gunna pick my pockets clean
  • dkm72dkm72 Member Posts: 3
    It is just a 5L40E, I can not believe that you can not find a trans shop to work on it. That trans does not take any speciality tools that a normal trans shop should not have.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I agree --- LAME excuse for a transmission shop.
  • jrgotti90jrgotti90 Member Posts: 5
    wll i took it in the other day...told me they checkd it all out and looks like i need it re built or a all new tranny...but my new question is cuz i dnt got the money right now for a re built or a new 1 imma buy a used 1 for my cts is a 2003 and seems like almost all 2003 years are 3.2L ...but mine is a 3.6L from wat year to wat year can i buy the tranny for my car....03 to 07?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    If you buy a used transmission from a reputable wrecking yard, they have an Exchange Database that they purchase to tell them what years will interchange. Be sure to get a warranty of some kind. YOu know you're dealing with a good salvage yard when the unit they show you is very clean, and all bagged up on the shelf.

    If they pull some dirty hunk of metal out of some wreck, don't even bother.
  • K9WillK9Will Member Posts: 26
    i have 2 2004 cts 3.6 w/auto trans. that when they sit for a week you put them in reverse and then back in drive they sometime slip or don't go in foward motion right away but after they start moving they seem to work properly, shift fine & don't give a minutes trouble, both cars have just over 90000 miles has anyone found what the problem is THANKS
  • K9WillK9Will Member Posts: 26
    My cts while driving down the road the stability system engaged comes on and i can feel the brake on a wheel tapping while going down the road,what i would like to do is to turn the system off permanently, or is just one of the wheel sensors acting up causing the system to come on
  • kimmy_jeankimmy_jean Member Posts: 1
    I'm getting ready to do battle with the dealership on my 2006 CTS w/6 speed trans. I purchased beginning of Oct 2009 with 49K; first week in Nov with 51K the engine light came on and started chugging. Got to the parking garage ok and called the dealership on the way home; went there and when they looked at it I was told there was no oil in the engine. OK-first problem was that they told me this was a GM Certified vehicle and once in the service dept uh no it's not. Second problem is that it's now out of factory warranty which wasn't purchased because I was told it was under the Certified warranty. Supposedly they looked at the underside of the vehicle to check for leaks from the oil pan, lines etc, found nothing and then charged me $65 for an oil change. Nice. Here it is end of January with 54K and when I was out yesterday it starting making a whining noise when shifting in lower gears and I recalled that I heard that the day before the light came on in Nov. As soon as I got home I checked and NO OIL registering on the dip stick. I've checked for service bulletins, recalls on CTS w/manual trans but haven't found anything that seems relevant. Vent: what is wrong with dealerships at this time in the auto industry-it would seem to me that they would want to lead the pack with customer confidence. This is a dealership that is in a group who I thought I could trust but it seems like the staff is loaded with con artists - when I brought up GM Certified you would have thought these guys (salesman, finance and manager) were scanning the skies for an air raid and would/could not look me in the eye. The manager asked who told me that and I said all of you, he replied that he didn't believe that as this was a Chevy dealership and they didn't certify Cadillacs so I would never have been told that. Nice - shame on them. Thanks for letting me vent.
    Question: Is this something that anyone has heard of? I have never cared for the how the clutch engages in gears 1, 2 or 3 - not smooth and jerky. Is there a relationship between the clutch and oil? (just throwing that out there)
    Sorry for being longwinded - this is a potential crisis for me and I could use all the info ammo I can get going into battle. Thanks in advance for help -
  • bblodgettbblodgett Member Posts: 1

    How did it turn out with your Caddy? I also have a 2006 CTS and about 60MPH the car started to surge, tacking a 2, dropping to 1, up to 2, then it started bog down and overheated, no engine light came on. I limped off the freeway, had it towed to the dealer. My transmission cooler cracked, sent the tranny fluid into my radiator, back washed into my tranny. I had to replace my radiator, tranny cooler and transmission. GMC posted a bulletin that you can no longer replace/rebuild this tranny, you must purchase new. The total damage was $6700! Did you have any luck the GMC? The car has been nothing but trouble for me..... in and out of dealer for misc. repairs. The last time was my air bags failed and needed replacement. Although it was a safety hazard and a malfunction of the bags, the dealer still charged me $520 to replace them!
  • jrgotti90jrgotti90 Member Posts: 5
    all i did was buy a transmission on ebay for $400 +200 shipping with 30000 miles on it used...hard to find just gotta look...i called the cadillac/ chevy place around here they said the will switch them out for about 900 but idk if that was with the fluids or i shopped around it was har cuz not much places here want to work on a cts but i found 1 and they changed tran. and fluids for about $550 if i was u try to do the same as i did find a used 1 on ebay they come with 1 year money bakes or 6 munths matters who u bye from then find a place around town ...thats wat i did and im happy =]
  • K9WillK9Will Member Posts: 26
    i have 2 04 cts with 3.6 auto trans with over 90000 miles if they sit for awhile on cold morning the trans want to slip in 1st gear but after it warms up for a miniute it works fine, does cts french trans. need some kind of additive, i know for a fact that the trans is full it is abitch to ck but i know other people have had simuler problems but what is the fix or what is trans doing that could cause it to slip but then work flawless after you get it going.
  • K9WillK9Will Member Posts: 26
    i have 04 cts w/3.6 auto trans it slips when you first put it in foward gear has anyone had this problem thanks.
  • cadi3cadi3 Member Posts: 1
    As most of you might or might not know... If you hold down F1 and F6 on your radio at the same time for about 5 seconds the mechanical codes will appear on your screen. Go to and it will tell you the code information and what it means. Hope this helps a lot of you. Everyone I tell had no idea. It can save you $$$ by figuring out if a check engine light is serious or not before you go to the shop.
  • pearcerrpearcerr Member Posts: 1
    Sounds like we're using the same dealer. But more likely just typical GM service (or lack thereof). I have a 2007 CTS. Started running rough so I took to dealer. No oil! They did an oil change. High-grade synthetic (without asking). Couple thousand miles later same problem. 2 1/2 quarts low. Dealer tops it off and charges me. Then they say I need to come in every 1,000 miles until they can verify there is a problem. I'm at 47000 miles. So I question the warranty. They say "no problem" since we started the process below 50000. Now, I put 1,000 miles on this car every 2 weeks. So I pretty quickly get in the dealer several times for them to top off the oil (and charge me). So I ask if enough is enough and I'm told they need to track it for SEVEN MONTHS! That's 21,000 miles and 2 cases of oil to prove there's a problem. Unbelievable. Now the transmission is acting up. Downshifting too soon and practically throwing me into the steering wheel. All I want to do at this point is trade this sucker in on a Honda. And after hearing about the warranty issues kimmy_jean had, I figure they'll tell me the car is out of warranty even after they finish tracking the oil consumption.
  • woospointwoospoint Member Posts: 1
    All of these issues seem to be with the CTS and not the CTS-V model. Any CTS-V problems out there?
  • zappy1zappy1 Member Posts: 1
    I think there is something going on with this CTS model too, I have a 2004, and my neighbor does(had) mine has only 38,000 miles hers 41,000 . Both vehicles without any warning started to smoke wouldnt excelerate and blew oil lines then trans fluid. Dealer said the trans is smoked. They said the bottom pan/resovoir under the car got hit or cracked causing the damage?? Still waiting for the results.
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