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Buick Regal Transmission Problems

jam9jam9 Posts: 1
edited February 3 in Buick
I have a problem with my transmission, when I drive my car on the freeway it will not go on overdrive, even if I put it on overdrive manually. I had the transmission flushed and since then I have this problem. Where would I start to try to find the problem? I sure would like to know were to start looking. Could it be that something happen during the flush?


  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    I think the first thing I'd try is disconnecting and reconnecting the battery. Make sure there's no security code set for the radio before disconnecting (see owner's manual). I know this idea sounds strange, but the same thing happened when I drained/refilled/installed new filter in my sons Chrysler minivan. The battery trick worked.

    Additional thoughts: If you had what is called a Power Flush done, it's possible some crud that was once firmly attached to the inside of the transmission was loosened and is floating around clogging ports. No matter what, I'd definitely take it back to whoever did the work.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,603
    A good reason not to have powerflushing done.

    Are there some engine codes that cause the transmission not to go into the OD gear as a way of protecting the motor or keeping something from being damaged. I think I recall that from somewhere. I.E., if the motor is over heated the trans only goes into third based on the idea that a faster turning motor is able to circulate coolant and cool itself. Does the trans do same for trans temperature errors.

    Does the trans shop that did the flush has the proper code readers to find out what part they affected or what's happening

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

  • exo425exo425 Posts: 15
    I have a 1991 buick regal coupe with a 3.1 V6. the other day, it started having problems going up a hill. when i would accelerate, the car would start to studder and shake until i gave it some more gas and the transmission shifted. i was wondering if anyone knew the problem and if it is a major problem or something that will go away on its own.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,603
    You didn't say how many miles on the motor and what maintenance had been done. Have new GM plugs and wires been put on or equivalent wires to GM originals? They can show up with spark scatter with that symptom under solid load at low rpm in gear. Usually occurs on slight grades just above the lockup speed for 4th gear and torque converter lockup.

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

  • exo425exo425 Posts: 15
    Sorry bout that. my car is a '91 with 190,000 miles(original engine and transmission, which have been excellent). i change the spark plugs every year and the cables are about 2 years old. i take very good care of this car and i change the oil every 3000 miles or 3 months. this problem is happening most often when im trying to keep a speed going up a hill and the car is in its third or forth gear. if you can give me an idea that would be great. i really would like to have this car back in top condition as it has been very good for these 15 years.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,603
    Did you use AC plugs and OEM quality wires (GM or NAPa or Belden)?

    I'd check the plugs and cables. It could be just aging catching up with the motor. Did it smooth out when you gave more gas before it downshifted? That still could be plugs and wires. The coils might be a source also. EGR valve or fuel filter is another possbility. Doesn't sound like fuel pump-I assume it's not been replaced. Has fuel filter been replaced?

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

  • exo425exo425 Posts: 15
    No i dont think the fuel filter has been replaced. pretty much most of the car has been original equipment except the alternator, water pump, brakes(common problem), and shocks/struts. it did smooth out when i gave the car more gas but i did notice that the car does not have the same power as before. cables were purchased from NAPA specifically for GM cars. i would be surprised if it was the spark plugs because i change those every year and i drive this car less than 8,000 miles a year. other things you mention could also be it but im gonna take my car down to the mechanic to see what he thinks. my original thought was the transmission/ torque converter as they are origianl and have a lot of miles on them. anyway thanks for the your thoughts.
  • exo425exo425 Posts: 15
    Hey imidazol,
    i took the car to the mechanic today and he is pretty sure it is the ignition coil packs so you were pretty close on your predictions. he said hes not sure how many of them are going bad so i dont know whether i should just replace all of them or try and pick out the broken one or two. its about $80 a coil and labor is about $200. just wondering what you would do.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,603
    I'm not sure how the labor gets to $200 for replacing one coil pack out of three.

    Might be time to price a different repair shop. I would replace the coil pack myself, frankly.
    Check price at Advance auto and Pepboys.

    But if you need for him to do it, I'd to the one that he says is bad. And then plan a different strategy for theothers if they go bad in the future.

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

  • exo425exo425 Posts: 15
    the only reason why labor was expensive was because if i chose to fix one of the coils, the mechanic would have to try and guess which one is broken. however, i think im just going to change all three at once so labor should be around 100-150. overall though this mechanic has been very good with my other car and i respect his quality of work even though prices might be a little higher.
  • berniezberniez Posts: 5
    Recently bought a 96 Buick Regal with 30,000 original miles which was driven by a 83 year old gentleman. The car was garaged and looks like its only 1 year old!!! It was dealer maintained with oil changes every 3000 miles etc.. all receipts with milage and servicing. I did notice a slight intermitten noise when I drove the car home. The next day I started the Regal and the transmission fluid was down 4 quarts and the little noise sounded like a bucket of bolts rattling around. I filled the fluid per procedures and the noise subsided, then drove it 30 miles and dropped the tranny pan and changed filter with new synthetic trans fluid (Dextron III equiv). One small aluminum particle in pan. The car does not have any leaks!!!!
    Thought I solved the problem when the tranny shifted and ran quietly for 50 miles. However the noise comes and goes and now shudders slightly when I start out from a stop, then shifts okay.
    Right now the car is quiet and shifts smoothly. However I know that the noise and jerking will come back. Anyone got any ideas?? suggestions.
    Did take it to a transmission shop and the mechanic said it will need a total rebuild at a cost of around $2000!!! HELP!!!! A GOOD DEAL GONE BAD?????
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    The real question is: why was the transmission fluid down 4 quarts on a car with only 30,000 miles? Therein lies the problem.
  • berniezberniez Posts: 5
    This Buick is a 1996. My guess is that the transmission fluid level was never checked during servicing, and gradually over 10 years the fluid evaporated??? The previous, 83 year old owner had the car serviced about once per year.
    Since I have changed the fluid and filter,250 miles ago, the fluid level remains full with no leaks..
    Someone recommended that I try some LUCAS TRANSMISSION ADDITIVE.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,603
    You've done the right things. Just drive it reasonably and watch and see. It may be the trans just was leaking oil? Unless there was still a vacuum modulator on that era transmission which might be allowing trans fluid to be sucked into the motor.

    As for the overhaul--I was told my 98 LeSAbre transmission was junk, all GMs are, and would cost 1800 or up to repair. He wouldn't know until he took it apart. Needless to say I got second opinion and 60K miles later we're doing fine without his repair. He must have needed a boat or summer home payment the day I went in for professional opinion! :P

    I would just keep asking if it continues to use trans fluid. Maybe it just didn't get exercised enough.

    I think all trans shops say a trans will need a rebuild even if it's not got a real problem.

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

  • 79customd79customd Posts: 87
    My truck was given to me by my grandad when he passed at 83. Its a 1979 and had set and been allowed to run down. The transmission fluid down 4 quarts does not suprise me. My grandad still drove it and it was in good condition when he was 82 but when his health failed him, in the course of a year, the waterpump went bum, the clutch needed replacing, the hoses were worn off the spark plugs needed replacing. Cars run down when they are garaged for long periods of time. It did with my Chevy so I'm not suprised it happened with your Buick.

    Stick with the General...He want let ya down :shades:
  • berniezberniez Posts: 5
    I'm hoping I don't need a transmission rebuild. Your reference to a vacuum modulator being on this transmission may be correct. I picked up a GM transmission repair book by Haynes and it shows a 4T60 transmission that has a vacuum modulator. However, the 1996 transmission is designated as a 4T60E.. It may, or may not have the modulator, but I will check that out if the tranny fluid level drops.

    Before agreeing to a new/used/rebuilt transmission, I plan to add a transmission additive (LUCAS) and drive it for 100 miles plus if possible, and then drop the pan and change filter and fluid again. This time I will crack open the tranny filter and examine for any metal particles.
    The transmission repair shop asked me if I saved the filter after my first draining/refill and filter change. Unfortunately it went out in the trash. Repair people normally crack open the filter of problem transmissions and any debris/metal can help in diagnosing a problem.

    Anyway, rebuilt transmissions range in price from $1250 to $1850 and that doesn't include core charge. Installation is extra.
  • berniezberniez Posts: 5
    The 83 year old that drove this 96 Regal bought a new LaCrosse and the 96 sat unused for 6 months at his son-in-law's house until I bought it last week.

    The hoses, plug wires and everything under the hood looks like brand new. However, the water pump did have a leak and was replaced at 27,000 miles by the dealer along with the serpentine belt, battery plus oil change to the total cost of $722...

    The last servicing on this car was a dealer oil change and 19 point inspection at 28,962 miles on 4/26/05. Cost $27.

    No mention of low transmission fluid.

    I did call the 83 year old that sold me the car and he was surprised that the tranny was down 4 quarts and that I was having a transmission problem.

    I told him to make sure the dealer checks the tranny fluid in his new LaCrosse because my guess is that the dealer service department never checked it on this 96 in 10 years!!!! Can't lose 4 quarts in 1,030 miles when there are no visible oil leaks under the engine. At least I don't think so..

    Previous owner had all records, receipts and was meticulous with the care of this automobile. Unfortunately the transmission may have to be rebuilt.
  • berniezberniez Posts: 5
    Thanks for the advice. My 96 regal has a vacuum modulator and it was bad.

    According to the repair manual you check the vacuum modulator by removing it, then, you look to see if any fluid comes out of the vacuum connection, if yes, it's defective. Then you do a vaccum test to see if the VM will stay extended when vaccum is applied with a pump. My VM leaked transmission fluid and nothing happened when I applied some vacuum.. It was totally shot.

    I guess that's were the 4 quarts of transmission fluid went. Anyway, this Buick Regal is shifting smoothly, no stumbling/shudder and the noise is gone!!!!!! I'm really very happy that I don't need a transmission rebuild for $2000, which was what the transmission repair shop said was needed..

    I guess my experience mirrors yours, now, if I can get 60,000 miles out of the car I'll really be doing great...

    This car is turning out to be a good deal after all!!!
  • jpstax1jpstax1 Posts: 197
    The inside of all 4 chrome wheels on my wife's 2000 GSE are peeling off. As the wheels turn, the flakes are scraping the struts, making a terrible noise. I took it to the dealer, but he said it eventually happens to all wheels because of the plating process. It's not covered under our extended warranty. Needless to say, my wife's upset. Has this happened to anyone else? The dealer wants to charge us for labor to cut off the peeled chrome. We'd like to write a letter to someone at GM about this, but don't know where to write. We live in a northern suburb of Chicago.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,603

    Trans changed how they control the shifts and pressures so some don't have the vacuum modulator.

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

  • bporter1bporter1 Posts: 229
    It may be your transmission. I own a 99 Regal GSE, and have had the whine since I bought the car. I thought it was the supercharger. At 55k it started to get worse, took it in to my dealer, thinking it was the supercharger. Nope, I was told the transmission was going bad. Replaced the transmission and the whine went away, but the noise has reared its ugly head again occasionaly. If the trany goes again the car will go too. I am not paying a $1000.00 bucks for a transmission. GM covered the first one under the extended warranty I purchased. Anyway get it checked out.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    You know, the tranny on my '99 LSE had the same whine just after the factory warranty expired. Fortunately I also had an extended warranty, with no deductible, so it didn't cost me anything. Dealer said it would have cost $1600 otherwise. Perhaps there was a bad batch of trannys during that model year.
  • tonyf2tonyf2 Posts: 24
    I was on vacation last week when my 2001 Buick regal transmission went on me while I was driving on the hi-way, on my way home from vacation. It felt like I hit a large hole in the road. I was lucky to get off the road to a rest area.

    I had no reverse, drive, or 2nd gear. the only gear working was 3rd. I also noticed trans. fluid on the ground. I had the car towed to a buick dealer and had to rent a car to get home. As of now I'm waiting for the dealer to fit me into his schedule.

    I searched the internet and found a Tsp bullitien (tps-00-07-03-022c) with the exact symptions except for the fluid leaking out.

    My regal has 59k miles. Has anyone had this problem?
    Can sure use some help as a senior citizen.
  • #3267 of 3269 Transmission problem by tonyf2 Aug 08, 2006 (8:49 am)

    I had no reverse, drive, or 2nd gear. the only gear working was 3rd. I also noticed trans. fluid on the ground.

    Tony, thankfully nobody was hurt! The very same thing just happened this morning to me as I was driving my daughter to tennis. I have a 2000 automatic Buick Regal with only 30,000 miles on it. The whole bottom of the car sounded like it was churning and going to fall out! Then it would not go anymore and when I put it in park it wanted to roll back so I had to put the emergency brake on. None of the gears worked. There was no fluid leaking at all. Nor has there been. It was riding a little rough lately before this happened, for about the first 10 minutes of driving. It is now in a transmission shop. We have yet to hear what is wrong. I have to say, GM waits a long time for a recall on their faulty parts. We have owned exclusively GM cars and it seems we can spot a trend before the recall takes place.
    Please post when you find out what is wrong and I will do the same. :)
  • Tony, I also find it interesting you also seem to have had the same window problem we have. My 2000 Buick Regal had to have both windows front and back on the drivers side repaired. The drivers side window repair alone cost over 400.00.
  • tonyf2tonyf2 Posts: 24
    When I pull over in the rest area there was a odor like something was burning.

    I was told the transmission was beyond repair and had to be replaced. I had no recourse because the dealer was over 200 miles away. I picked the car up 2 days ago at a cost of $3500. (this included tax, labor, fluid, etc.)

    I'm was thinking to call and report this to the Hi-way safety commission as being dangerous.
  • That is a high price you had to pay! I am sincerely hoping ours does not cost that much. The trans shop called and said the car is not going into any gear and they believe it is some sort of band possibly that broke, inside the transmission. They are looking at it tomorrow. I will post when I know the details and cost. I just think it odd that the windows and the transmission seem to go on these cars. Take Care.
  • tonyf2tonyf2 Posts: 24
    I have two Buick regals, I repaired the windows myself. you can buy the regulator with the motor on line for $69.

    I being a retired mechanical engineer, took the old assembles apart and found the cable that brings the window up and down is to thick and binds on the plastic pully thats attached to the motor gear; on hot days it sticks. After a length of time the cable will pull out of its socket and the window will falls down.

    I consider this defective parts and I think GM knows this.
  • Well here is the news on my 2000 Buick Regal with 28,000 miles. They had to rebuild it. The mechanic said he could not believe how bad it was (no gears at all). Before he realized what awful shape it was in, he gave us an estimate that on the high end was 1700. When he realized all the work he had to do, he said it really should be 2000. but since he quoted 1700. that is what he charged. There is only a 6 month warranty on the work, I figured most places gave 12? Tony, I am sure you were raked over the coals as you were an out of towner. That is horrible. Did you get a warranty with your work? I wonder how long rebuilt transmissions last. Good Luck with your cars. :)
  • my transmission is sliping and i don't kown what to do and i don't what to replace it :cry: :sick: :confuse: :(
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