2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold
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  • 2 Post By X Rolls-Royce
  • 2 Post By CadiFTW
Cadillac CTS First Generation Forum - 2003 - 2007 Discussion, 2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold in Cadillac CTS Coupe, Sport Sedan and Sport Wagon Forums; I have a 3.2 with an auto. It shifts great except for two problems. When the car is cold and ...
  1. #1
    CadiFTW is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold

    I have a 3.2 with an auto. It shifts great except for two problems. When the car is cold and I come to a stop, the downshift into 1st gear is really noticeable. Also, when I shift from park to drive, the shift is pretty harsh and there is a clunk as well. I thought maybe it was one of the flex plate/bushings on the driveshaft, but they dont look in too bad of shape. Any ideas or similar problems? Thanks in advance.

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  3. #2
    X Rolls-Royce is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold

    Are these new noises, or have they been around for a while ? Does the radio cover it up and have you recently stopped listening to the radio ?

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    CadiFTW is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold

    The rough transition from park to drive has always been there and I have kind of gotten over it with some help from the radio lol but what bothers me the most is the hard downshift.

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    concorso is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: 2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold

    Its only when the trans is cold?

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    X Rolls-Royce is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold

    The transmission takes some getting used to. Here is an excerpt from my upcoming book.

    "Customers not selecting the manual will receive a GM first: a five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, the 5L40-E Hydra-Matic, also used in the BMW 5 Series and X5 SUV.

    A compact state-of-the-art transmission, the light 5L40-E features a full complement of advanced electronic control capabilities. These include shift mode buttons that allow the driver to select between "Sport," "Winter" and "Economy" modes, shift patterns that adapt to driving conditions and driver style, traction control capability, engine torque management during shifts, and powertrain protection capabilities.

    ENGINE BRAKING IN ALL FIVE GEARS

    Another electronic feature that is a first for GM: engine braking in all five gears, gives the automatic the same sporty feel as downshifting a manual. The system uses vehicle sensors and seamlessly shifts the automatic transmission to a lower gear to maintain desired speed and minimize brake overheating when driving downhill. This is especially useful in protecting the brakes when towing a trailer, which is commonplace in Europe.

    The 5L40-E uses an electronically controlled capacity clutch in the torque converter, instead of a mechanical lock-up clutch. This clutch uses sophisticated electronics to maintain very small amounts of slip between the pressure plate and the torque converter housing cover, and to maintain a slight hydraulic cushion between the two halves of the torque converter. The ability to precisely control continuously variable amounts of slip leads to reduced torque pulses and allows the clutch to be applied at lower vehicle speeds and with smoother engagement. This results in improved drivability and better fuel economy.

    The electronics that control the "Sport Shift" adaptive mode are highly advanced. Sport shift algorithms analyze throttle inputs, cornering factors (wheel speed differences from left to right) and vehicle speed. Based on these parameters, the 5L40-E is able to identify high-performance inputs from the driver and hold a gear after the driver's foot is lifted off the accelerator pedal."

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    CadiFTW is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold

    Yes, its only real abrupt when its cold. Thanks X Rolls-Royce for the description, thats good shit to know! Maybe its just wearing and its something I will have to live with.

  8. #7
    X Rolls-Royce is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold

    Quote Originally Posted by CadiFTW View Post
    Yes, its only real abrupt when its cold. Thanks X Rolls-Royce for the description, thats good shit to know! Maybe its just wearing and its something I will have to live with.
    Its probably the computer processing the input that you've given it over time. If a different driver drove your car for a while it might go away. It learns how you drive and then shifts accordingly, trying to do its best with the information that you've given it. Its a pretty smart transmission.
    carrnuttdave and carrnuttdave like this.

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    CadiFTW is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold

    Being that the guy that I bought the car from was much older than I am, I imagine I drive a little different than him lol so you may have a good point.

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    angelodiablo is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold

    Hi. Did you ever founf a solution to the downshift problem. I have the same problem and its getting on my nerves. Thank you.

  11. #10
    CAMERON CUNNINGHAM is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold

    I also have the same problem when my car is cold, i back out of driveway go to stop at a stop sign when i apply brakes i hear a thump in the rear of car had brakes replaced had drive shaft bearings and bushings replaced spent $500.00 and still have problem. Also had t.c.m replaced $425.00 but i still have the noise even had tuneup $1200.00 I've enjoyed the car but this thing is costing me. I prefer my dodge charger any day over a CADILLAC I've been hearing that 2003 c.t.s has had many issues welcome to are world you CADILLAC owners BUT I KNOW I WON'T BUY ANOTHER CADILLAC...

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    CTS-QC is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold

    Quote Originally Posted by X Rolls-Royce View Post
    Its probably the computer processing the input that you've given it over time. If a different driver drove your car for a while it might go away. It learns how you drive and then shifts accordingly, trying to do its best with the information that you've given it. Its a pretty smart transmission.
    That's interesting. I have no doubt about it being programmable, but where did you find out about the self-learning feature?

  13. #12
    The Rev is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 3.2 CTS-Harsh downshift when cold

    Would like to know more about this as well as my car had the flex discs replaced and I changed the transmission fluid (80k miles, car is new to me as of 3 months ago, 2007 3.6) and experience a minor "harsh downshift" as well as a "searching" for a gear during stop n go traffic

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