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Thursday, March 26, 2009

2001 Buick Century

One of my customers’ wives ended up stuck yesterday with their 2001 Buick Century. She had been on the freeway before exiting into the left lane at an intersection stoplight. It would no longer move forward in drive gear. Her husband went to the scene of four wheel tragedy and found the car would move in reverse, first gear, and second gear – but not drive gear or third. He had it towed into my shop where I scanned it for engine and transmission codes after making sure the engine was running well.

It had set a code P1811 which is a transmission code related to the pressure control solenoid. After further research I found out it’s a relatively common code but it means two different courses of action depending on mileage. If the vehicle has over 90,000 miles as this particular Buick, it means major overhaul is the only safe solution. If the code shows up at low mileage the pressure control solenoid can be changed relatively safely. There have been numerous valve body updates so I would recommend major overhaul with all the updates. Many times on the high mileage vehicles the overdrive clutch hub shaft strips.

I’m blogging this today because I’ve run across more than a few of these early 2000’s GM four speed electronic transmission failures in the last year. This customer has had regular transmission filter and oil flush treatments so I don’t believe this failure has to do with maintenance. If it happens to someone coming across this blog you may be able to move the vehicle to the roadside in first or second gear if the vehicle will not move in drive. The P1811 code appeared in each of the past failures so it is one key element. I wish I could have projected some humor in this but it wasn’t possible.

11 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Ah, car trouble. What fun

BernardL said...

Yep, Charles this transmission will be one to watch. If the number of transmission failures of this type keeps going up, it will be something to think about when buying them used. I've read where GM made updates after 2003, but time will tell.

Barbara Martin said...

By posting this, Bernard, you may help someone who passes by. It's these little bits of info that tend to stick in my mind until necessary.

BernardL said...

That would be my hope, Barbara. Thank you.

Vesper said...

Good info, Bernard.
I prefer the manual transmission... :-)

I tagged you for a meme at my blog. :-)

BernardL said...

Although I taught both my kids to drive a manual trans, I advised them never to purchase a vehicle with manual. The average cost of a front wheel drive vehicle clutch job is $900, and goes up from there depending on whether a flywheel needs replaced. An automatic trans may fail early but most last over 150,000 miles trouble free. The clutch, depending on the driver, can have a replacement variation from 30,000 miles to 80,000, and most are in between. Another drawback is the resale value plummets on a manual drive vehicle.

I'm honored you would think of me for a meme, Vesper, but I don't do them. Thank you for thinking of me. :)

Matthew Nowlin said...

That 4T65E is a garbage transmission, no ifs, ands, or butts. The biggest transmission shop in Memphis (the crooks!!!) get them in all day long and rip families off by repainting high mileage used transmissions and installing them with a 90 day warranty. It's criminal!

BernardL said...

You're right, Matthew... that is criminal. I'm surprised the cops haven't run a sting on them.

Matthew Nowlin said...

There are a lot of things surprising about the Memphis police force.

BernardL said...

In California, the Bureau of Automotive Repair does this type of sting operation, Matthew. Every shop must post a sign with their phone number too. They even publish a news letter to all licensed shops detailing their successful stings and the punishment - usually a heavy fine and forfeiture of license. The BAR is a bureaucratic government nightmare but they do that particular sting very well.

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