Transmission Issues on a 97 SE - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 10-06-2009, 04:39 PM   #1
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Default Transmission Issues on a 97 SE

Here goes...

What I have is a '97 SE with 130k miles. The car seems runs fine when it'* cool. No issues till it warms up after about 1/2 an hour. Then there seems to be a "pulse", or "surge" in 3rd and 4th gear, anywhere from 45mph and on up. The rpm needle will surge but only about 100 rpms or so, and will do so usually at the 2k mark. I have noticed that this pulsing seems to only kick in when I'm going up a hill for the most part.

At first I thought it might be a fuel filter issue, but I changed the filter and still had the same problem.

So after reading through the interwebs, I've seen it mentioned that it could be the TCC, or solenoid that causes this. Not sure I understand it properly, but the TCC is the clutch that causes the tranny to lock out and go into Overdrive. The solenoid is the thing that tells the TCC when to do so.

I tried the ole 'tap on the brake while at a steady speed' trick, and yeah it does stop the surging, but it comes back shortly after.

My mechanic is suggesting disconnecting the switch that causes the solenoid to operate, thereby leaving me without overdrive, but getting rid of the pesky surging problem. It looks like that'* what I'm going to end up doing for now cause I need to put a new fuel pump in my wifes Lumina, but I don;t want that to be a long term fix.

Whaddaya think?
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:54 PM   #2
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Seems to be a common problem, mine does it as well. Only between 45 and 50 under load in over drive. I down shift and it'* gone. That seems to be the point where the torque converter goes in and out of lock up.
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:01 AM   #3
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Meatcircus, we're in this together.

I'm having this same problem with my '97 SE as well. It also happens at most any speed around 1500-2500 RPM in fourth gear. I was getting some P1870 check engine lights ("transmission component slipping"), but they stopped just before this started.
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Old 10-07-2009, 10:19 AM   #4
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There are a couple possibilities here. First is some surging can be tune up related. Doubtful from your description though.

Most likely this description helps/explains. This is from info given to someone when their trans did this after a rebuild and his TCC was allowing 0-500 differences.
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Originally Posted by Trannyman95
The TCC hunting is often caused by a handful of valve body problems. One of the main contributors found in the rebuild world has been a bad or shrunken oring on the end of the TCC regulated apply valve bore plug. Unless the valve body was completely taken apart this was likely overlooked as most shops dont take apart clean valve bodies and without knowledge of this problem, its causes and fixes, you are at the mercy of the rebuilder to address the problem areas. I install aftermarket Sonnax TCC valves in all of my valve bodies. Sonnax and Transgo both mention the oring being a problem area and it should be replaced so I would ask your trans rebuilder if they did in fact replace this oring as it is mentioned in the Transgo shift kit instructions. Sorry to hear you are still having problems with this and I hope they take care of it for you! I dont recall off hand if you ordered a new pressure control solenoid from me but that is also something else that should be replaced mandatory and can cause lockup problems.
I have a car that has done this in the past. What I would consider trying is a pan drop, fresh filter and when refilling subsitute in a bottle of Lucas trans stop slip. It may not be immediate or magic, it may help though.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:51 AM   #5
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Just yesterday I threw a code passing a tuck along a rural highway. I don't think I felt the tranny slip during it, but I can't be sure. I'm gonna go to Autozone and get the code checked out and I'll post an update.

Thanks for the input, billboost. I have the stuff to do a fluid and filter change, but have been holding off for now. I think I'll try the lucas fix and see if it makes a difference.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:21 AM   #6
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So that Code I threw was a P304, which was determined to be a 4th cylinder misfire by the friendly fellow at AutoZone.

I talked to a Pontiac Mechanic who said that this is a common problem with that motor, and if I replace the plug and wire, and have the codes cleared, that it might clear up the problem with my tranny 'reving'.

Does that make sense to any of you?
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:31 AM   #7
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Your descriptions don't appear consistent with a misfire, but whether it is related or not you will have to take care of the P304 DTC. Starting with plugs and wires is the best bet. If that doesn't clear it up, check your coil packs: https://www.gmforum.com/t278818/

You might even want to switch coil packs from one position to another to see if the problem follows the coil pack (in which case you would replace the coil pack).

Once plugs, wires and coils are ruled out, if the problem persists we will get into your injectors next. Keep us updated.

I had this happen twice on my car. The first time it was a cracked ceramic insulator on a spark plug. The second was a bad fuel injector. Both are easy fixes.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:46 AM   #8
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Here'* the P0304 code, see if any of this helps. https://www.gmforum.com/t284039/#post1390841
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Old 10-16-2009, 02:07 PM   #9
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Glad this thread was brought back up to the top. Just yesterday I read more on that TCC hunting thread I posted parts of.

The problem was solved with a new TPS. Apparently there was a bulletin (can't seem to find it) about the TPS, even though it appears good on scans etc..it might be flickering a little and causing the TCC to lock/unlock in a goofy manner.
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Old 10-16-2009, 02:10 PM   #10
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Really now? Is there some way to check the TPS to confirm?
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