Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby Woodweasel [OP] » December 9th 2009, 5:06pm

Ok guys, I tried looking for this little issue Im having and couldnt find anything. 1999 Astro Cargo 130,000miles Bought it last February and the trans fluid was nice and clean, didnt smell burnt. The guy had a stack of service records from when new and it had regular scheduled maintenance that made me weep with joy. But back to todays issue.... Trans fluid is brown and smells burnt. Sunday, 5th, I came up to a light, the check engine light came on, the gear indicator light above the steering column went out, I felt it shift (at a stand still). The light for the gear indicator came back on. When the light turned it started out in 3rd. I pulled over and dropped it into 1st... nothing. Would only start off in 2nd. Would not get out of 3rd even in "Drive". I limp it home on the side streets. Next morning everything is back to normal. Monday, 6th, Leaving the store, it went through the same steps and I was back to 2nd and 3rd. Tuesday morning... shifts fine so I take it and have the trans dumped and filter change, nothing out of the ordinary, no filings/shavings, and it shifts like a dream. Any ideas?

My trans guy says it sounds like its on its way out. While its shifting fine for now, I going to find a decent trans and have it rebuilt . I have read before that a shift kit isnt a bad idea. Was wondering what the most popular kit was.

Trannys are scary to me so dont really know a dang thing about them or how they work.... valves and springs and fluid and tiny parts.... no thanks!! I'll leave that to someone else. So any words of wisdom from the esteemed Forum bosses would be most appreciated.

Thanks !!!!!!!!!
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby Woodweasel [OP] » December 9th 2009, 5:29pm

SORRY!!! Dont know why or how this got posted 3 times!!! I only clicked it once !!!!!! I promise !!!!!!!!
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby GaryZ » December 9th 2009, 6:11pm

Is the speedometer working?
A failed VSS will force the computer to run the transmission in limp-home mode;

Trans. Limp-Home Mode = Park, Reverse and 2nd

I suggest that you clean the connector of the VSS (just because).

Good luck!
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby moneymaker » December 9th 2009, 6:35pm

Did you get it scanned for the code that caused your ses light to come on?
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby timelessbeing » December 9th 2009, 11:44pm

Sounds electrical. Check your tranny fuse.

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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby Big_kid » December 10th 2009, 2:23am

Woodweasel wrote:.... Trans fluid is brown and smells burnt.


The damage is done. The only way to "unburn" clutches is a rebuild. Add a cooler while you're at it, especially if you tow, haul, or sit in traffic with your foot on the brake a lot.
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby moneymaker » December 10th 2009, 6:29am

If when you serviced the trans, and you saw no brown powder(clutches), or metal(hard parts), and its shifting fine now, I wouldn't be worried about rebuilding it. I would get it scanned and see why the ses light came on.
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby moneymaker » December 10th 2009, 6:30am

If when you serviced the trans, and you saw no brown powder(clutches), or metal(hard parts), and its shifting fine now, I wouldn't be worried about rebuilding it. I would get it scanned and see why the ses light came on.
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby Woodweasel [OP] » December 10th 2009, 5:03pm

Ok, well its back to not shifting again. :screaming: It usually happens when I start it after it has sat, not on the street mostly. The gear indicator light goes on and off when I start it, so I just sit there and let it idle till its done. Then I have 1st through OD/4th. It happen going down the street once, so I pulled over, shut it off and sat there for a couple minutes, started it back up, it went through its gear indicator flashing, came back on and I took off again like its brand new. I'm going to try and get it into the shop today and have the error code read. I have had several other guys tell me it sounds electrical or computer not like a valve body issue.

So now what. :confused: Do I spend time and money on this tranny, or do I just limp it along and go find a rebuilt one. If my bands are burnt........ I cant see trying to fix this one. I floundering here guys. I guess when find out what the code says that will determine alot probably.

I'll get back tonight with the code update.

Thanks again for all the advise and ideas. I love the internet!!!!!
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby Woodweasel [OP] » December 10th 2009, 5:15pm

Forgot one thing....... When the fluid was dumped it wasent clean. The guy said it wasent nasty, but it wasent all that bad either. He didnt find any metal. But the fluid was brown/red. So am I assuming that that may mean burnt clutch?
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby timelessbeing » December 10th 2009, 6:32pm

Relax. Just troubleshoot the problem step by step. A malfunctioning gear indicator could indicate a problem with your Neutral safety switch which is an easy fix from underneat the vehicle.
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby moneymaker » December 10th 2009, 8:44pm

Once again, if the clutches were going out, you would see it in the pan. This is why servicing the trans every 25-30k will let you know how your trans is holding up. Clutches aren't people with feelings. They will work or they won't. They don't wake up one morning saying we'll make him happy or sad today!
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby Woodweasel [OP] » December 11th 2009, 3:43am

OK ! Update time. Back from the trans shop, dude plugged into the comp and read I had a Torque Convt. error. He said he thought it is an electrical problem, probably a short somewhere to that sensor and that there probably isnt anything seriously wrong with the trans itself. He said the comp read there was a problem and went in "limp home mode", 3rd only. When I would stop and shut it down it would reset the comp and everything would be, kinda, back to normal. So he cleared the error and it shifts like a trooper again. He went to school for troubleshooting and is confident its a relatively quick easy fix, at least quicker, easier and cheaper than a new trans !

I just love this site !! I appreciate all the advise and ideas. You dont find people helping people much any more and I want all you guys that responded to know just how much information is appreciated ....."THANK YOU !!" :bow:

So I have an appointment with the doctor Saturday morning. I'll update with what the prognosis is.

:banana:
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby Woodweasel [OP] » December 24th 2009, 6:24am

Well finally got the results from the trans guy. Not a thing wrong with my trans. Bad electronic ignition switch. Talked to a service guy at the local Chevy dealer and he said Astro's have a couple quirks that he had run into several times when dealing with the trans shifting funny.... PNP switch or the electronic ignition switch seemed to pop up often. So I guess I was loosing power (short, bad connection,?) to the trans and the computer would feak out and throws it into "Limp Home Mode" to save the trans. That would explain the gear shift indicator light going on and off. Anyway... Its back on the road and shifting like it was new. :banana:
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Re: Lost 1st and 4th, starts off in 3rd !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby GaryZ » December 24th 2009, 3:54pm

It's great to hear that you got it fixed and the shop didn't try to tell you it needed a rebuild.
Three shops tried to tell me mine needed a rebuild when the problem was a dirty connector on the VSS.

BTW; Limp home mode is 2nd gear
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