2003 Monte Carlo Transmission problems


Old 10-22-09, 02:55 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Indiana
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Question 2003 Monte Carlo Transmission problems

I have a 2003 Monte Carlo 3.4 V6 with 102000 miles. I just started having problems with the transmission well I think it's the transmission. When I'm driving and start to accelerate to go faster the car doesn't seem to want to shift to the higher gear and the rpm's jump high. It takes longer to get to the speed I want to get to. If I accelerate slow it seems to do better. I just don't want jump out in front of someone because I might get ran over. Could you tell me what is wrong?
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Old 10-22-09, 03:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Washington State
Posts: 312
A little confused do you mean it down shifts but wont go or is slow going back to the normal gear or its not downshifting at all and staying in normal gear? The down shift is handled by a combo of TPS sig to the ecu then the trans. same with up shft. IF down shifting and sluggish could be anything from tune to fuel issues. If either of the other two things could be as simple as bad/dirty , contacts/plugs to trns ecu ect or low trns level to more complex trans solinoid problems the later of these should have thrown a check engine light.
Old 10-27-09, 06:44 AM
Marlin1975's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Springfield VA ( USA )
Posts: 6
If the engine light is not on the first thing to check if you think it is a trans issue is the fluid level.
With the car on level ground and the car running check the fluid. Add correct fluid to bring it up to normal.
If the fluid level is ok then change the Trans filter and add new fluid. Don;t get it flushed, at least yet.
Old 10-27-09, 06:51 AM
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Will it downshift if you manually select the lower gear?
Old 10-27-09, 09:29 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Now this is just my theory, but in the 35 years that I have been physically involved with automobiles, I have noticed that many good auto owners will spend good money to have their engine oil changed, but will neglect to do even the most basic maintenance to their transmissions.

I was fortunate to meet a good transmission mechanic, back when we drag raced in the 1980's and he gave me some of the best advice I think I will ever receive.

The transmission in your car is the heart and soul of your vehicle.

Just because there is no combustion in the transmission - as compared to your engine, there is no carbon or soot in the oil to tell you when to change it. Because of that, most people do not even look at their transmissions until there is a problem.

Once you have a problem, it is usually too late.

There is no band adjustment like there was 50 or 60 years ago and about the only thing that a regular person can do is change the filter and the fluid on a regular basis.

Transmission flushes are very expensive and most times - if you do not have a problem is not necessary. When you do have a problem, it is usually too late.

Once a problem develops with a transmission, people runs right out and changes the filter and the fluid in desperation - with hopes that the problem that has developed will go away on it's own. It never does.

Once the damage is done, about the only thing you can do is replace the transmission or have it rebuilt. There is usually a chain of events that takes place inside of a transmission and once one thing goes bad - it takes other things with it.

The only exception might be if one of the solenoids goes bad and a mechanic catches it soon enough and the repair is made and works. You might get lucky.

But I had a '99, 2000 and 2001 Monte Carlo and I can tell you that I had transmission problems and the only solution was to have the transmission replaced.

I also owned a '95, 96, 97, 98 and 99 Lumina - which basically has the same power train - engine, transmission....

Again - the best transmission out of all of them was the 95 and the 98 - 99.

When you have a problem that is known before you even build the transmission, and you build the transmission anyways, you will always have problems.

The 95 was a stand alone transmission - nothing interchanged with it. - Yet it was a good transmission.

The 96 and 97 were interchangeable - yet they had problems.

The 98 and 99 were interchangeable and were not a bad transmission.

2000 - the Lumina was a fleet vehicle only and some of them ran many miles with few issues, while the ones they put in the Monte Carlos seemed to fail after as little as 30,000 miles.

The transmissions were changed again in 2001 - which tells use that something changed inside of the transmission. Sometimes it is something as basic as a change in the plug on the wiring harness - which will not plug into the newer model and other times it might involve something as major as the size of the case or the torque converter being made larger to support the extra stress put on the transmission by increases in power - into a transmission that was marginal at best - even with the lower power engine and smaller tires.

Your only option here is to get your transmission repaired NOW while the vehicle still moves on it's own. Once it goes out, it will be too late.

Some torque converters cost as much as $800 and if you burn your transmission up - you will need a new / rebuilt torque converter.

There is nothing that a normal person with a set of tools can do to repair their own transmission - if they are not trained to repair transmissions. I have taken lot's of them apart, I have yet to put one together - where everything worked the way it should - with nothing more than a Chiltons Manual, B&M transmission rebuild kit and a set of tools.

The rebuild kit is not the most expensive part of rebuilding a transmission. At one time - I could get a complete rebuild kit for a 700R4 transmission for as little as $125!

Yet a rebuild in a transmission shop was $500+ a new torque converter.

The money was in the labor and the guarantee and not in the materials and equipment. If the technician did something wrong and you / he put the transmission in and it did not work, he had to pay to rebuild it a second time to make it right and soon he would loose money and be out of business - if he did more than a couple wrong or missed something important.

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