Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Buick LeSabre Transmission



  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    My feeling is that additives are the wrong thing to put into a transmission unless you're putting a bandaid on until you want to get it fixed.

    I know little about problems because they usually are rare, unlike with some other cars. Are you sure the mileage is 85K? and not more? Was a carfax run to look for mileage change since you bought the car used?

    Otherwise the pressure control is the only thing I've heard mentioned as occasionally causing a problem. I don't know if the whole transmission needs to come out. It may just be the side plate removed to access. But that's not easy! In this case if you take it to a trans shop they'll probably try to sell you a replacement transmission or a complete teardown. I'd take it to a good Buick deal to get a diagnosis. Find one with a good referral.

    BTW, what color was the transmission fluid? Remember additives are like going to the hospital and telling them to just remove something in case it helps your problem! Changing the fluid and filter is good. And I believe one poster in another discussion suggested that Lucas is meant to be put in and then drained shortly after rather than being a long term use item. Maybe I'm mixing up a different Lucas product someone talked about... so don't take my word as gospel.

    Just get her checked--I'm betting on the pressure control module.

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

  • rudwilrudwil Posts: 7
    Usually the incident is so short lived and the engine is fairly quiet so I am really not sure that it shuts down completely. However, in a few instances. it did not restart and I coasted off the road, put the transmission in PARK and restarted easily. Will check the cables and report back.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    Another possibility is the MAF sensor. You can try tapping on it with the plastic handle of a screwdriver. Tap different ways, different positions, from different directions, and if you get a burp from the idling motor, that may be your problem. Ideal is if you have someone with a similar motor who has a MAF sensor on theirs that you can switch since you know it's working okay.

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

  • rudwilrudwil Posts: 7
    Checked the cables at both ends. They are clean and in good shape.
    Will tackle the MAF sensor next. Thanks for the ideas.
  • rudwilrudwil Posts: 7
    Tapped on the MAF sensor with no results. Disconnected the MAF cable, CHECK ENGINE light came on and engine ran rough. Reconnected and back to normal idle. There are two other sensors on the throttle body. One is about a 1 1/2 inch diameter cylinder, 1.0 inches long with a right angle, 4 lead connector. I disconnected this and the idle increased slightly. Took the car for a twenty mile ride with no burps but car stalled just as I was pulling into my driveway. (may be a coincidence) Will try to run it this way for a couple of days to see if there are any other clues.
    There is also another 3 lead sensor beneath this unit with an orange connector on it.

    Can you identify these sensors?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    The idle air control is the round one. It adjusts the bleed air to maintain a good idle; it adjusts for the air the bleeds around the throttle plate when it's closed since it blocks almost but not all the air.

    The other sensor is a throttle position sensor. It measures how the throttle is opened. You can put an analoge ohmmeter across two of its leads and move the throttle. The resistance should change gradually. If it jumps that means the potentiometer windings have a worn section. That sends info to the computer telling it how much you have the throttle opened requestion GO. If the windings give the wrong throttle opening, the computer tries to give fuel for a different amount of air than the throttle plates are letting through.

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

  • rudwilrudwil Posts: 7
    Since the engine seems to run without "burping" when the IAC is disconnected, I have the IAC on order and will replace it and will get back to you. I will check the TPS also, as you instructed.

    Thanks again.
  • rudwilrudwil Posts: 7
    Checked the TPS with my analog ohmmeter. varied the throttle setting several time slowly and had nice smooth change in resistance reading.
    Received and replaced the IAC. Ran great on a 40 mile run. Next day it burped again and today it burped frequently and stalled completely twice.
    I'm wondering if the fuel could be cutting off intermittently. I had the fuel pump replaced about a year ago but this problem didn't start till months later.
  • I own a 2000 buick Lesabre with 130,000 miles. Twice, once about 2 months ago and again today, I almost get to work and it starts to hesitate and buck and there is a shrill sound. I travel about 30 miles to work. I am able to park the car and work 8 hours then drive home with no problems.
    The first time I brought it to my mechanic he drove it around and said he didn't notice a problem. Any thoughts.
  • I have a 92 LeSabre. The trans jumps out of gear as you come to a stop. It only does it when I stop. I can get it to go back into gear by shifting into neutral and back to drive. Other than this the trans does not slip and shifts perfectly. It has no hesitation when going into gear.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    Needs to be checked but I don't know what goes wrong. The adjustment of the cable to the transmission from the shift lever may be out of adjustment. It snaps into place where it rotates the part on the top of the transmission. I believe a slide lock pulls up and snaps back down with the cable in place but I'm not sure where it's supposed to set.

    It could be transmission/motor mounts allowing movement causing the shifting change. Could be internal.

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

  • mikes36mikes36 Posts: 1
    I have a 94 Lasabre with 110,000 on it. For the last 2 years I have had trouble at start up getting the transmission to engage. At first it needed to warm up a couple minutes and then would run fine. Lately it doesn't seem to matter how long it warms up, it just won't engage on it's own until I race the engine with it in gear. Even then it seems to gradually take hold until after a few seconds it will go. After that it is fine unless I stop for more than an hour or so, which then requires me to start the process all over. Can't believe the tranny is "shot" or it just wouldn't go at all, any ideas?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    Was thhe transmission serviced with regular pan drops and filter changes? It's possibly a stopped up filter, but at this age 14 years it may be more. Sludging from old transmission fluid gumming up stuff would be high on my list.

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

  • lilhoglilhog Posts: 1
    I have a 95 Buick LeSabre that recently developed a trans problem. Sometimes you could put it in first gear and it won't go anywhere. When it does go, it goes very slow. I asked a mechanic and he said it was the orbital. To rebuild it is about $1700. ( I asked another mechanic and he said that was about right)
    Well I found a guy selling a trans out of a 1995 LeSabre (front wheel drive like mine, with the same engine. The 3800.) He is selling the trans for $350.
    My question is a parts dealer told me that Buick made two transmissions with different gear ratios.
    Does anybody know how to tell if the trans for sale will work in my car?
    Or how to tell the gear ratio of the transmissions?
    Thank you for taking an interest in my post.
  • aharperaharper Posts: 10
    I have a 1993 Buick LeSabre with 190000 miles. When the car is first started and until it warms up the transmission pulls and shifts fine, will even spin the tires on gravel. But after it warms up (about 3 miles) it is just like the trans shifts to neutral. There is no slip or warning of any kind. When it does this you can't go in any gear or reverse. After the car sets about 15 minutes you can go another 3 miles with no slip or any thing then the cycle starts over. I don't think this would be a clutch problem because there is no slipping. Could it be some type of electrical problem? where do I start?
  • A tranny shop mechanic on another board said he adds a bottle of Lube Guard after rebuilding these transmissions and has not had a transmission returned with problems right after rebuild since. Advance Auto here in Memphis sold me their last bottle yesterday. My tranny has 233,000 miles on the odometer so this is not a perfect fix, but I now only have to warm the tranny up 3 or 4 minutes versus 20 minutes before the car will finally go in any direction. A lot better. Not perfect, but a lot better. This same transmission is also in several Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Cadillacs and maybe Chevrolets so this is a common problem.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    Is the morning sickness at startup requiring warmup time a factor of a pressure control module that ages? I'd do some asking at some transmission shops. If they suggest it's the module, I believe that one on the '60 is changeable from the bottom pan. It'd be worth a try. However at 233000 miles, it doesn't owe you anything. Compare that to the 40K mile trannies Honda Odyssey owners have been finding for years.

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

  • vanderbarvanderbar Posts: 4
    LeSabre 1993, front drive, 145K miles.

    This just started last night. I was going through a drive through and I was hearing a creaking noise coming from the left front wheel while just idling through the parking lot. It does not make the noise when I use the brakes.
    What could be wrong? Bearing, or disc?
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    If it's a high-pitched chirp and goes away when you press the brake pedal, this is a brake wear indicator. Time for new pads.
  • Sorry Mike. Believe it. I had a 1994 LeSabre that the tranny went out at 89,000 miles. Did just what yours is doing only your's lasted longer than mine. It cost me $1,800.00 to rebuild at a private garage and that was seven years ago. I've also had a tranny go out on a 1995 Park Avenue with 96,000 miles and a 1992 Riveria under 100,000 miles. These Buicks have a weak transmission. It's the only cars that I've had tranny problems with. The rest of the car will last for ever.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    Most people say just the opposite. The 4-speed is long lived. I had a 93 with no problems, 150K. I have a 98 with 168,000. I have an 03 with 92,000.

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

  • I bought a used 2000 Lesabre with 111,000 miles on it. When I have car in overdrive I get a whining noise. I don't think it shifts properly into overdrive so I drive it in 3rd gear. only whines when I am in overdrive about 50 miles per hour and higher. Is this a serious problem or do you know of easy fix. also I have a oil leak coming from top of engine. do you know of problem with gaskets on this model. engine is a 3800 V6 I don't know transmission style. Thanks for your help, Softballpapa
  • I would take my car to a transmission repair garage and have them check the whine. It may be a cheap fix if caught soon enough. Cars are like our bodies, the sooner you treat a problem the better.
    At 10 years, the leak is probably your valve covers.
  • Just purchased a 97 Lesabre with 113K. It has traction control. When I begin cruising at freeway speeds, there seems to be a hesitation in shifting, most noticable with going uphill. also, when in cruise control, more adverse reaction, engine will idle up several thousand RPMS without shifting. I was going to experiment with taking it off traction control and hadnt had time to check it. Wondering if it is computer/cruise control issues or tranmission or a combination.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    I don't believe the 97 leSabre has traction control. It has antilock brakes.

    In the rest of your post, I believe you're describing when the load on the car gets greater such as a hill, the transmission doesn't downshift from 4th into 3rd. That is normal. At 65 mph it will cruise at 1800 rpm or some number close to that on the tachometer. When the load increases gradually, the torque converter will unlock and the engine speeds up several hundred rpm depending on how much extra throttle has been applied. The extra engine speed usually gives enough extra power to maintain speed even in 4th gear. But applying the throttle gently might not get the results you want. What you can do is just move the shift lever to 3 and the transmission will downshift to 3rd and rev the engine a little more and have substantially more power. You do NOT need to undo the cruise control to do this. After the load is over just shift back into 4th or OD.

    I believe the computer learns driving patterns. If you continually do rapid starts and higher throttle acceleration, the engine and transmission shifting are adjusted to expect to do what the driver indicates. So the car may learn your driving if you do want a more showy or brisk driving style. That may, may affect how the car does the slow acceleration when climbing a noticeable hill in 4th gear. Remember the car has been generally calibrated to get 29 mpg overall. Many people can get 32-33 driving interstate speeds on trips. Staying in 4th gear helps the economy.

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

  • bob252bob252 Posts: 48
    Well I hope you do not continue this procedure, I would suggest changing the fluid and especially the filter inside of the transmission. When the fluid thins out it can get by the filter that is why I am guessing that is what you have for this problem. Quite simply pull the transmission dipstick and smell the fluid, check the color to see if it is still a pinkish or reddish color, that is the dead giveaway. If you continue what you are doing and the fluid is bad you will most certainly finish off what is left of the trans. if you are mechanicaly inclined it is not really a bad job to do, the only trick you need to know here is to remove the splash guard from the starter to get the pan off easily, it is a dirty but simple job.
  • rcrtjrcrtj Posts: 1
    Codes say solenoid but; 1-if manual downshift to 1st when stopped appears to start in 1st but may hestitate before so; 2-if manual downshift to 1st when stopped and then select D it starts is in 3rd gear i.e. not downshifted;3-if manual downshift to 1st when moving and put in D from stop all ok, that is it starts in 1st and upshifts normal. Appears solenoids are functioning but not always getting signal to downshift while running or at a stop. Last, this has been intermittant and has become morethe case than not recently? Estimate to replace solenoids $900 and may not be the real cause?? ideas? sensors?
  • The bucking might be the tranny can't make up its mind to get out of OD or locked torque convertor(?). Someone on this forum recommnended the use of an additive to reduce the shuddering/bucking.
    Mine was giving me a rough shift from 1st to 2nd at times. Not all the time.
    My mechanic changed the fluid and gave the tranny a good flush $110.00 and shifts smoothly now. He said the fluid was past its time for changeout. 77K on vehicle. :D

  • WOW 29MPG???? I wish!! I had my LeSabre on cruise (around 70mph) on a 300mi trip and and the Fuel Economy computer read 24.2 avg.
    I have a '97 Regal that gets 27-30 mpg same 3.8L engine as my 2003 LeSabre.
    Just had Plugs and wires changed, nothing special OEM stuff. 78K mi.

  • I have a 99 lesabre with 150 k miles. Has never had any problems and i have had it and taken very well care of it since 40k miles. But one day out the blue my trans strted shifting hard and when i took off it shimmed real bad then finally went in gear, then when i slowed down and went out of gear and the fluid was black so was told the trans went out. So got a used one put in and the car ran fine for a day then started shimmying when i tokk off only when it got warm and would have a delayed [non-permissible content removed] and slame into gear. But checked everything fluid level was fine and fluid was still good. So took it back and they put another used one in and after a day it started doing the same thing. So was wondering if i just keep getting bad trans or if it could be something else?
Sign In or Register to comment.