'98 SSEi transmission shudder in overdrive?? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat

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Old 11-11-2003, 08:19 PM   #1
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Default '98 SSEi transmission shudder in overdrive??

My 1998 SSEi has developed a shudder that feels like something to do wtih the tranny. I've heard that Pontaic has some problems with the lockup converter. I've been driving the car in 3rd gear instead of overdrive and the shudder seems to go away.

What kind of repair am I facing with this type of problem?
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Old 11-11-2003, 10:21 PM   #2
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Dan, check out this thread.


There'* varying opinions on this but the first thing most agree on is making sure the car is tuned properly. How many miles on your car? Have the wires ever been replaced? Have you ever changed/flushed the transmission oil/filter? I don't t think you have a major problem or will have to lay out any serious bucks. I'm sure the other cyber mechanics will jump in here to give you some further advice.

Oh yeah, and Welcome to Thee Club!!!
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Old 11-12-2003, 12:17 AM   #3
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The 98 transmissions had a common problem similar to this - I tried to find that link but I couldn't. There is something that can be reprogrammed to sometimes repair this problem.
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Old 11-12-2003, 12:40 AM   #4
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Old 11-12-2003, 12:51 AM   #5
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Read This: In regards to 98 SSEi w/4T65-E
DTC P0741 TCC System Stuck Off
DTC P0742 TCC System Stuck On

Torque Converter Clutch (TCC) Shudder
The key to diagnosing Torque Converter Clutch (TCC) shudder is to note when it happens and under what conditions.

TCC shudder which is caused by the transmission should only occur during the apply or the release of the converter clutch. Shudder should seldom occur after the TCC plate is fully applied.

If the shudder occurs while the TCC is applying, the problem can be within the transmission or the torque converter. Something is causing one of the following conditions to occur:

Something is not allowing the clutch to become fully engaged.
Something is not allowing the clutch to release.
The clutch is releasing and applying at the same time.
One of the following conditions may be causing the problem to occur:

Leaking turbine shaft seals
A restricted release orifice
A distorted clutch or housing surface due to long converter bolts
Defective friction material on the TCC plate
If shudder occurs after the TCC has applied, most of the time there is nothing wrong with the transmission.

As mentioned above, the TCC is not likely to slip after the TCC has been applied. Engine conditions may go unnoticed under light throttle and load, but they become noticeable after the TCC apply when going up a hill or accelerating. This is due to the mechanical coupling between the engine and the transmission.

Once TCC is applied, there is no torque converter (fluid coupling) assistance. Engine or driveline vibrations could be unnoticeable before TCC engagement.

Inspect the following components in order to avoid misdiagnosis of TCC shudder. An inspection will also avoid the unnecessary disassembly of a transmission or the unnecessary replacement of a converter.

Spark plugs -- Inspect for cracks, high resistance or a broken insulator.
Plug wires -- Look in each end. If there is red dust (ozone) or a black substance (carbon) present, then the wires are bad. Also look for a white discoloration of the wire. This indicates arcing during hard acceleration.
Distributor cap and rotor -- Look for broken or uncrimped parts.
Coils -- Look for black on the bottom of the coil, which indicates arcing while the engine is misfiring.
Fuel injectors -- The filter may be plugged.
Vacuum leak -- The engine will not get a correct amount of fuel. The mixture may run rich or lean depending on where the leak occurs.
EGR valve -- The valve may let in too much or too little unburnable exhaust gas and could cause the engine to run rich or lean.
MAP/MAF sensor -- Like a vacuum leak, the engine will not get the correct amount of fuel for proper engine operation.
Carbon on the intake valves -- Carbon restricts the proper flow of air/fuel mixture into the cylinders.
Flat cam -- Valves do not open enough to let the proper fuel/air mixture into the cylinders.
Oxygen sensors -- This sensor may command the engine too rich or too lean for too long.
Fuel pressure -- This may be too low.
Engine mounts -- Vibration of the mounts can be multiplied by TCC engagement.
Axle joints -- Check for vibration.
TP Sensor -- The TCC apply and release depends on the TP Sensor in many engines. If the TP Sensor is out of specification, TCC may remain applied during initial engine loading.
Cylinder balance -- Bad piston rings or poorly sealing valves can cause low power in a cylinder.
Fuel contamination -- This causes poor engine performance.

Torque Converter Clutch (TCC) Evaluation and Diagnosis
In order to properly diagnose the Torque Converter Clutch (TCC) system, perform the all electrical testing first and then perform the hydraulic testing.

The Torque Converter Clutch (TCC) is applied by fluid pressure, which is controlled by a solenoid valve. This solenoid valve is located on the side of the valve body.

The solenoid valve is energized by completing an electrical circuit through a combination of switches and sensors.

Functional Check Procedure
Install a tachometer or a scan tool.
Operate the vehicle until you have reached proper operating temperature.
Drive the vehicle at 80-88 km/h (50-55 mph) with a light throttle (road load).
Maintaining throttle speed, lightly touch the brake pedal. Check for the release of the TCC and a slight increase in engine speed.
Release the brake and slowly accelerate. Check for a reapply of the converter clutch and a slight decrease in engine speed.
Torque Converter Stator
The torque converter stator roller clutch can have two different malfunctions.

The stator assembly freewheels in both directions.
The stator assembly remains locked up at all times.
Poor Acceleration at Low Speed
If the stator is freewheeling at all times, the car tends to have poor acceleration from a standstill. At speeds above 50-55 km/h (30-35 mph), the car may act normally. For poor acceleration, you should first determine that the exhaust system is not blocked, and the transmission is in First gear when starting out.

If the engine freely accelerates to high RPM in Neutral, you can assume that the engine and the exhaust system are normal. Check for poor performance in Drive and Reverse to help determine if the stator is freewheeling at all times.

Poor Acceleration at High Speed
If the stator is locked up at all times, performance is normal when accelerating from a standstill. Engine RPM and car speed are limited or restricted at high speeds.Visual examination of the converter may reveal a blue color from overheating.

If the converter has been removed, you can check the stator roller clutch by inserting two fingers into the splined inner race of the roller clutch and trying to turn the race in both directions. You should be able to freely turn the inner race clockwise, but you should have difficulty in moving the inner race counterclockwise or you may be unable to move the race at all.


Do not confuse this noise with pump whine noise, which is usually noticeable in PARK, NEUTRAL and all other gear ranges. Pump whine will vary with line pressure.

You may notice a torque converter whine when the vehicle is stopped and the transmission is in DRIVE or REVERSE. This noise will increase as you increase the engine RPM. The noise will stop when the vehicle is moving or when you apply the torque converter clutch, because both halves of the converter are turning at the same speed.

Perform a stall test to make sure the noise is actually coming from the converter:

Place your foot on the brake.
Put the gear selector in DRIVE.

You may damage the transmission if you depress the accelerator for more than 6 seconds.

Depress the accelerator to approximately 1,200 RPM for no more than six seconds.
A torque converter noise will increase under this load.

Replace the Torque Converter
Replace the torque converter under any of the following conditions:

External leaks appear in the hub weld area
The converter hub is scored or damaged
The converter pilot is broken, damaged, or fits poorly into the crankshaft
You discover steel particles after flushing the cooler and the cooler lines
The pump is damaged, or you discover steel particles in the converter
The vehicle has TCC shudder and/or no TCC apply. Replace the torque converter only after all hydraulic and electrical diagnoses have been made. The converter clutch material may be glazed.
The converter has an imbalance which cannot be corrected. Refer to the Flexplate/Torque Converter Vibration Test Procedure later in this section.
The converter is contaminated with engine coolant which contains antifreeze
An internal failure occurs in the stator roller clutch
You notice excessive end play
Overheating produces heavy debris in the clutch
You discover steel particles or clutch lining material in the fluid filter or on the magnet, when no internal parts in the unit are worn or damaged. This condition indicates that lining material came from the converter.
Do Not Replace the Torque Converter
Do not replace the torque converter if you discover any of the following symptoms:

The oil has an odor or the oil is discolored, even though metal or clutch facing particles are not present.
The threads in one or more of the converter bolt holds are damaged. Correct the condition with a thread insert. Refer to the Engine Mechanical section.
Transmission failure did not display evidence of damaged or worn internal parts, steel particles or clutch plate lining material in the unit and inside the fluid filter. The vehicle has been exposed to high mileage only. An exception may exist where the lining of the torque converter clutch dampener plate has seen excess wear by vehicles operated in heavy and/or constant traffic, such as taxi, delivery, or police use.
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Old 11-13-2003, 11:19 AM   #6
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I had a very similiar problem with my 96 SE. When i would accererate, usually between 50 and 60, i would get a "shutter". I took it to my mechanic 2 days agos, and he told me the engine had a "skip". He put in all new Spark Plugs and wires, and the problem is gone now. i dont notice any shutter. If you havent replaced your spark plugs, i would go with that. It could be your trans, but more than likely its the plugs and wires, or your ignition system.
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Old 11-13-2003, 08:01 PM   #7
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Default '98 SSei Transmission Shudder

Thanks for all of the great advice on my Bonneville problem. You've eductaed me enough to checkout some things myself before I have it checked out.

Appreciate the help.
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Old 11-16-2003, 12:16 PM   #8
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had this problem with my ssei, they tranny was under warrenty still from aamco transmissions, they said it needed a valve body upgrade kit, and eversince they did that is has been working fine. don't know on the cost as it was covered under warranty, but sounds to be simmilar in nature. good luck
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