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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok here is the story. My grand daughter left her car with us a few months ago and flew to Cal to spend time with her mom and sisters.

She will be coming home soon (been gone since early Dec). I figured I would go fire up her car get her a tank of gas (was sitting on E)so she wouldnt have to worry about it when she comes home.

So i go to start it, click click. dead battery. No biggie grabbed the cables and the Dakota. wham bam fires right up.

Let it run for a few minutes, back it out of the drive way, no problems. put it in drive and take off. Now the problems start. Damn thing wont shift out of 1st gear and the speedo isnt working. Hmmm must be low on tranny fluid. So I turn around pull back into my drive pop the hood.

Now I get to find out how stupid GM is. I start looking around for the tranny dipstick. Hmmm. I know im getting old and my eyes aint that great anymore. where the hell is the tranny dipstick.

Feeling like a idiot after 10 minutes crawling around looking for it. I reach in the glove box pull the owners manual. look up the section on the auto tranny. " there is no need to check or fill the transmission , if you are having issues take it to a dealer" :huh: what the hell is that about. this is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Why would they make a car with oout a tranny fill or even a dipstick to check it?

So any one have a clue on what the issue with this tranny is? Could it be caused by a week battery? As far as I know there where no issues 2.5 months ago when she parked it.

Thanks
 

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You are right about the stupid part - you have to check those on a hoist by pulling the plug out of the side of the transmission. A real PIA and I think just an engineered money grabber designed to get more people back at the dealer for service.....
 

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With these stupid computers in control of everything, I suspect the low voltage has thrown it into a tailspin. I would charge the battery up really good and see what happens. Assuming it's good to start with.
 

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I wold recharge the batt like said then reset the computer. hope that fixes it but yeah my wifes 00 malibu is the same way sealed tranny. the dealership called it the use then chuck tranny.
 

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First off, the trans itself is junk. Assuming it is a 2.2 powered Grand Damnit, it is a 4T40E. NOBODY in the aftermarket fixes them. They get used units most of the time, as the internal repairs don't really ever make it out of warranty.

The missing dipstick is nothing new. If they can cut $5 out of a car and they make 50k+ a year of them..... Same thing with the LX bodied Mopars not having a stick. Beancounters rule the car companies.

Now back to the problem, correct the battery problem. If it still doesn't shift, inspect the VSS wiring at the trans. I suspect a wayward mouse has chewed the wiring leaving you with no speedo. If the wiring is intact, I would suspect the VSS is broken and needs to be replaced.

Brian

PS-Don't worry about the fluid level unless it has an obvious external leak.
 

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First off, the trans itself is junk. Assuming it is a 2.2 powered Grand Damnit, it is a 4T40E. NOBODY in the aftermarket fixes them. They get used units most of the time, as the internal repairs don't really ever make it out of warranty.

The missing dipstick is nothing new. If they can cut $5 out of a car and they make 50k+ a year of them..... Same thing with the LX bodied Mopars not having a stick. Beancounters rule the car companies.

Now back to the problem, correct the battery problem. If it still doesn't shift, inspect the VSS wiring at the trans. I suspect a wayward mouse has chewed the wiring leaving you with no speedo. If the wiring is intact, I would suspect the VSS is broken and needs to be replaced.

Brian

PS-Don't worry about the fluid level unless it has an obvious external leak.
yep was gonna say vss too had one go out on my blazer and the tranny went into limp mode threw the abs light and speedo quit working
 

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Lovely non-serviceable FWD GM product. My ex has that in her 2.2 Cavalier and as long as I've known her it never had service because the manual said it never needed it. 300K and still shifting fine as far as I know.

I agree tho, sounds like VSS. Might not hurt to just pull the battery, take it to autozone for a charge, and then toss it back in then see what she does.
 

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Several automakers are doing that now, including BMW...It's mainly an opportunity to have the owner return to the dealer for maintenance...:huh:
 

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GMs tend to freak out if the battery is low or dead. Not all but the late rmodels or the ones with a lot of electronics tend to do that. Doesnt mean its a POS it just means the battery is dead. You need to let it run for a while and actually charge the battery. You leave a car ( so it seems) for 2.5 months and then you expect it to just up and run? yeah ok
The computer needs to relearn everything.
 

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GMs tend to freak out if the battery is low or dead. Not all but the late rmodels or the ones with a lot of electronics tend to do that. Doesnt mean its a POS it just means the battery is dead. You need to let it run for a while and actually charge the battery. You leave a car ( so it seems) for 2.5 months and then you expect it to just up and run? yeah ok
The computer needs to relearn everything.
My Neon sat for four months because my brother wouldn't drive it while in college(he is 4 to 4.5 hours away from me and still in college) but did start it up once a month and idled it for several minutes.
 

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but did start it up once a month and idled it for several minutes.
yeah I do the same thign with my GMC that sits in the garage. but you did start it. My GMC did the same thing when it sat for 2 months without any use. its not a big deal. batreries go dead if they dont get charged. Thats fairly normal. My neighbors caddy does it also. his eats batteries though. i say its due to the overhelming amont of electronics on that car
 

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I bet you blew a fuse when you jumped it. I was the service manager at a chevy dealer for a while. We got that kind of stuff all the time... Especially HHR's, they have electric power steering and it would blow the fuse every time they got jumped.
 

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had a 4t40 rebuilt on a sunfire once through aamco. wont EVER do that again.

one thing about them is that if it hasnt been moved in a while you need to run the trans shifter through all gears a few times before trying to move it. it happened to me in the sunfire when i spent a year in japan and it also does it on my moms 2500HD fullsize that spends 8 months out of the year in the garage sitting. every time we need to use it, we have to warm the engine up. then take it through all the gears before it will even move at all.
 

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Maybe let it idle for a while in neutral, not park. if it's similar to other auto trans. neutral will cycle the fluid through more parts of it.

It's not just a GM thing. Jeep patriots have a dip stick tube on the CVT, but is capped "dealer service only".
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Finally had time to dig into this.

I still say any vehicle that you can not easily inspect and add fluids too is a crappy design. period.

As too the problem in this particular case. I replaced the speed sensor output ( this vehicle has a input and output) no change. still no speedometer and wont shift out of first gear. So i started checking wires with a ohm meter, found both wires from the output sensor cut mid harness.

How this happened is a mystery to me as both wires were pulled from the plastic armor sheath and clean cut. Car ran fine when parked and has been parked in my drive for 3 months. the area cut is only assemble by removing the air hat on the throttle body, hood is locked an i have the only set of keys. So this is really odd. I spliced the 2 wires back together and it runs perfectly now.
 
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