2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrectly
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Cadillac CTS First Generation Forum - 2003 - 2007 Discussion, 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrectly in Cadillac CTS Coupe, Sport Sedan and Sport Wagon Forums; Had a 2000 Deville DHS which I lost in a house fire. LOVED the car. Was forced to go out ...
  1. #1
    apribby is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrectly

    Had a 2000 Deville DHS which I lost in a house fire. LOVED the car.

    Was forced to go out and get something quick. Bought a 2004 CTS 3.6L Luxury Sport with 88,000 miles.

    The car looks great, but after driving it for a while, I can't believe it's a Cadillac. First off, the car/engine is VERY loud and has a very distinct whine when accelerating. When you rev the car and you're standing outside, it almost sounds like a really bad pulley bearing. I've removed all belts and the noise persists so its not an external pulley. Quiet under 1,000 rpms, but anything over that and it seems way too loud to be a Cadillac.

    Next is the shifting. Now I know these transmissions were made to downshift while braking to prevent wear on the pads, but this is a little ridiculous. While coming to a stop, the car slams into 2nd to the point where it lunges me forward, and then again into 1st. I've learned to just put the car in neutral when stopping. The car also kicks into gear if you are accelerating too slow. It will kind of grab you and pull you forward to get you into the next gear. Also, when coasting, at around 30mph - 40mph, I'll let my foot off the gas and the rpms will DROP down to 1500 then bounce back up to 2000, causing more abrupt kicks while I am driving. I've also noticed that the power will seem decreased at some points, like I have to give more gas to get the car going from a stop. One time while accelerating semi-heavy, the car tried to go into 4th, kicked, and then started misfiring (blinking engine light). By the time I hooked up my scanner, the code was gone. No other codes have ever been present.

    Things I've done so far: Tranny Fluid and filter replace (Dexron 6), filled while engine running to achieve correct fluid level. Fuel filter replaced, water pump replaced, Throttle Body cleaned 4 times with throttle cleaner and gasket replaced, connectors sprayed with electrical parts cleaner. TPS module removed and sprayed with cleaner, maf sensor sprayed and cleaned. Spark Plugs replaced. Throttle re-learn procedure performed. I've also used some techron fuel cleaner and tried using some premium gas instead of regular.

    My DHS was immensely quiet and drove like it was riding on air. If I was not looking at the rpm gauge, I could barely tell when it was shifting. It has me wondering if the things I am experiencing with my CTS are normal problems or if this is just how the car rides and shifts. In my opinion, it is unacceptable for a Cadillac. Does anyone have any suggestions as to the problems I am experiencing and if there are any other fixes/solutions to any of these problems?

    Thanks and appreciation to anyone who can offer assistance

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    CTS414 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrec

    I too have a 2004 3.6L and experience some of the same things as you do. All I can say to that is you bought a sporty model Cadillac, so it's going to feel sporty. Personally, I feel a major difference in my car's ride when I put the tire pressure up from 30ish to 40 psi, so you could try lowering that. As far as the shift points the car is what it is...

  4. #3
    Kingoftypos is online now Cadillac Owners Master
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    Sorry to hear about your losses, home, car and memories.

    The way that you are describing, does sound like there's an issue. However, the Deville and CTS are two worlds apart when it comes to cars as well as being Cadillac. The CTS was built with the Newburgh race track in Germany in mind. So it will ride a heck a lot different as compared to the Deville.

    With it slamming into 2nd then 1st when coming to a stop. Is a bit abnormal. However, you didn't state what mode the transmission is in. Whenever you start it up, it's always in normal mode. You can change it with the Sports button or the Snow button. The Sports button will give that slamming into gears type of feeling. While the Snow button forces the transmission to start off, from a stop, in a higher gear. Like 2nd or 3rd, mine is 2nd and I think yours would be 3rd.

    But to look into your problem, the things that you've done so far are the things that I can think of. Besides, checking ALL fuses in all three fuse boxes. One under the hood and two under the rear seat. Just buckle the seat belts, for easy reinstall of the seat. And left up on the frog part of the seat, push forward of the carpet.

    KOT

  5. #4
    odthetruth's Avatar
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    Re: 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrec

    Quote Originally Posted by apribby View Post
    Had a 2000 Deville DHS which I lost in a house fire. LOVED the car.

    Was forced to go out and get something quick. Bought a 2004 CTS 3.6L Luxury Sport with 88,000 miles.

    The car looks great, but after driving it for a while, I can't believe it's a Cadillac. First off, the car/engine is VERY loud and has a very distinct whine when accelerating. When you rev the car and you're standing outside, it almost sounds like a really bad pulley bearing. I've removed all belts and the noise persists so its not an external pulley. Quiet under 1,000 rpms, but anything over that and it seems way too loud to be a Cadillac.

    Next is the shifting. Now I know these transmissions were made to downshift while braking to prevent wear on the pads, but this is a little ridiculous. While coming to a stop, the car slams into 2nd to the point where it lunges me forward, and then again into 1st. I've learned to just put the car in neutral when stopping. The car also kicks into gear if you are accelerating too slow. It will kind of grab you and pull you forward to get you into the next gear. Also, when coasting, at around 30mph - 40mph, I'll let my foot off the gas and the rpms will DROP down to 1500 then bounce back up to 2000, causing more abrupt kicks while I am driving. I've also noticed that the power will seem decreased at some points, like I have to give more gas to get the car going from a stop. One time while accelerating semi-heavy, the car tried to go into 4th, kicked, and then started misfiring (blinking engine light). By the time I hooked up my scanner, the code was gone. No other codes have ever been present.

    Things I've done so far: Tranny Fluid and filter replace (Dexron 6), filled while engine running to achieve correct fluid level. Fuel filter replaced, water pump replaced, Throttle Body cleaned 4 times with throttle cleaner and gasket replaced, connectors sprayed with electrical parts cleaner. TPS module removed and sprayed with cleaner, maf sensor sprayed and cleaned. Spark Plugs replaced. Throttle re-learn procedure performed. I've also used some techron fuel cleaner and tried using some premium gas instead of regular.

    My DHS was immensely quiet and drove like it was riding on air. If I was not looking at the rpm gauge, I could barely tell when it was shifting. It has me wondering if the things I am experiencing with my CTS are normal problems or if this is just how the car rides and shifts. In my opinion, it is unacceptable for a Cadillac. Does anyone have any suggestions as to the problems I am experiencing and if there are any other fixes/solutions to any of these problems?

    Thanks and appreciation to anyone who can offer assistance
    I had an 03 that was dead quiet when it was on and made no real noise (until I put a volant and magnaflow). Also sat in an 06 with magnaflow exhaust that I felt was dead quiet too (having been sitting in my V for the last half a year)

    This sounds like you bought a car with quite a few issues. Although it will feel sporty, there will never be a time where it downshifts and puts you forward in your seat unless something might be wrong. Your trans might be on the way out. Didn't you test drive this when you bought it? I'm wondering because did these problems already exist when you test drove it and you bought into it anyway, or did they just start showing up?

    [2006 CTS-V - "The Vee Baby Seamus"] - 372rwhp / 361rwtq
    Pacesetters | Off Road Adapters | Cutouts | Stock Airbox | Stock Catback
    BMR AWK | CS Diff Block | Short Shifter | UMI MM | Revshift TM

  6. #5
    apribby is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrec

    Thanks for the replies. I figure that 90% of this is just me not being used to the different ride of a sports car. If I beat on the thing and drive pretty aggressively, it is actually fun and the problems don't present themselves as much. This is great for the weekends but in the mornings in rush hour stop and go traffic, it gets to me. It performs great on the highway at 55mph+. The shift patterns in round-town driving though seem a bit odd. I do still think there is something wrong though because some days it is a lot worse than others, possibly a small vacuum leak or slight misfire that is not enough to throw a code, but enough to notice a power decrease. I'll be looking at the motor mounts next as I heard this may attribute to abrupt kicks during downshifting

    ----------

    I felt the downshifting slightly during the test drive, but figured it was normal because I also test drove an 05 sts 3.6L and felt the downshifting there too. As I drove it though, the hard upshifts and downshifts became more pronounced. The fluid change helped it a little bit, but it's still there. The noise was there but I brushed it off as an alternator or idler pulley bearing. From what I hear the 3.6L engines are on the loud side.

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    X Rolls-Royce is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrec

    It doesn't sound right to me.

    The engine noise surprises me and so does the shifting. Did you follow the exact proceedure for refilling the transmission ? It could be the Transmission Control Module has seen better days.

    The only thing I can associate with the engine noise is the timing system.

    Good luck, almost everyone loves the CTS.

  8. #7
    JakeBeefSteak is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrec

    I have the same thing as you '04 lux sport 98,XXX. I also have the same exact symptoms as you. What you feel is drivetrain slop. My drive shaft coupler bushing are going out. It is a two piece drive shaft with a center bearing. My rear differential bushing is absolutely shot, causing a slight thud if I don't "eggshell" the throttle. As far as the shift points ect... it is what it is. I plan on tackling this within a 2 - 3 weeks, so I can't tell you it's a 100% going to fix your car but, worth looking into. I can shake my diff a good 1/4" & my drive shaft 1/16".

  9. #8
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    Re: 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrec

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingoftypos View Post
    Sorry to hear about your losses, home, car and memories.

    The way that you are describing, does sound like there's an issue. However, the Deville and CTS are two worlds apart when it comes to cars as well as being Cadillac. The CTS was built with the Newburgh race track in Germany in mind. So it will ride a heck a lot different as compared to the Deville.

    With it slamming into 2nd then 1st when coming to a stop. Is a bit abnormal. However, you didn't state what mode the transmission is in. Whenever you start it up, it's always in normal mode. You can change it with the Sports button or the Snow button. The Sports button will give that slamming into gears type of feeling. While the Snow button forces the transmission to start off, from a stop, in a higher gear. Like 2nd or 3rd, mine is 2nd and I think yours would be 3rd.

    But to look into your problem, the things that you've done so far are the things that I can think of. Besides, checking ALL fuses in all three fuse boxes. One under the hood and two under the rear seat. Just buckle the seat belts, for easy reinstall of the seat. And left up on the frog part of the seat, push forward of the carpet.

    KOT
    I experienced the same thing with my tranny a couple times when my ECM started acting up. I would get the U0100 and P0700 codes when I had to use the jumper wire to start the car. I didn't clear the codes a couple times and the thing down shifted really hard when slowing down. I started clearing the codes everytime I had to start the car with the jumper wire and haven't had any issues. Get a code scanner and see if you have the P0700 code stored.

  10. #9
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    Re: 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrec

    My DHS was immensely quiet and drove like it was riding on air.
    Thanks for the replies. I figure that 90% of this is just me not being used to the different ride of a sports car.
    You know i can from a couple of larger cars before buying my CTS. At first I noticed all the different types of noises from this car but after a month of driving I honestly could never go back to the "big living room" on wheels. The CTS allows you to feel every bit of the road your driving on and handles wonderfully. I don't miss all the body roll, brake fade and the sense of floating anymore. To say that the CTS is not a Cadillac is absurd,,its a great car.
    CTS414 and CTS414 like this.

  11. #10
    apribby is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrec

    That's fair...I guess I should drive it for a couple months before making assumptions. I gotta realize that the CTS is not a big ol' deville even though they are both cadillacs. I must admit that I do like the smaller size: taking turns at more than 5mph, not having to put so much pressure on the brake pedal to stop the car, slightly better city mileage, etc. And its definitely a better looking car and a hell of a lot easier to work on.

    I will definitely check out the driveshaft because I do remember feeling some slop in it when I was under the car doing the tranny fluid.

    I'm pretty sure the fluid change was good and filled to spec. Plus it was happening before I did that, and if anything the symptoms were a little better after the fluid and filter change.

    It's weird though because I just took the car out tonight and it ran smooth. No kicking, no hard shifting. Smooth and powerful and fun to drive. Definitely an on-and-off issue. Hopefully I'll get a CEL soon so I can pinpoint something to fix.

    As far as the noise, I mean its not over-the-top. I am very anal about noises while I'm driving. If something is rattling in the trunk while I'm driving, i HAVE to pull over and fix it. The smallest noise will annoy me in a car. I guess it's just different. I can almost compare it to the supercharger whine in my friends old Buick Regal GS.

    Two other things I've noticed: Sometimes when getting into the car in the morning, I'll realize that the clock and avg mpg, trip settings, etc will be reset, as if the car lost connection to the battery overnight. Also, sport mode will not always stay on when getting in the car. I'll leave it on and come back and start the car and the light will be off again. Not sure if these things are related but just thought I'd put it out there. Hope my ECU or TCM is not failing

  12. #11
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    Re: 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrec

    Its not the Cadillac people expect, however. Big, floaty, slow... Its not so much those as it is much more harder on suspension, taught, and performance oriented.

    [2006 CTS-V - "The Vee Baby Seamus"] - 372rwhp / 361rwtq
    Pacesetters | Off Road Adapters | Cutouts | Stock Airbox | Stock Catback
    BMR AWK | CS Diff Block | Short Shifter | UMI MM | Revshift TM

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    Re: 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrec

    Quote Originally Posted by apribby View Post
    I'm pretty sure the fluid change was good and filled to spec. Plus it was happening before I did that, and if anything the symptoms were a little better after the fluid and filter change.

    Sometimes when getting into the car in the morning, I'll realize that the clock and avg mpg, trip settings, etc will be reset, as if the car lost connection to the battery overnight.
    Here's why you are resetting :

    January 31, 2005
    #05-08-44-002

    2004-2005 Cadillac CTS and SRX with level 1 U2R or level 1.5 U2S radio

    • The Driver Information Center trip odometer, timer, or fuel used displays may intermittently reset to zero
    • The six disc CD changer may randomly shuffle or reinitialize
    • The radio may display lines with no alphanumeric characters
    • The audio volume of external sources (XM Radio and Rear Seat Entertainment) may be lower than internal sources (AM/FM/CD)

    THIS CONDITION MAY BE CAUSED BY SOFTWARE ANOMALIES. Replace the unit.

    U.S. Dealers : Obtain the exchange unit from Specmo Enterprises, Madison Heights, Michigan (800) 545-7911 or (248) 307-2570.

    Canadian Dealers : Obtain the exchange unit from an authorized ACDelco Radio Centre.

    Follow the radio replacement procedure described in SI document #702067
    Perform the radio setup procedure described in SI document #1420146 (CTS) or #1470416 (SRX)

  14. #13
    Kingoftypos is online now Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrec

    For the radio resetting.

    But for the Sport mode being turned off the next time you start it. Well that's because it's supposed to. Every time you start the car, it starts in "normal mode". Even if you left Sport, or Snow mode on, it will restart in normal mode. Traction Control will be the same way. If you had Traction Control disabled, the next restart it will be enabled. Same goes with Stability Control, if equipped.

    Traction Control button is in the glove box, the only button in there. Yellow I believe is the color. Just press and let go to disable the Traction Control. Again to re-enable it, or restart. Stability Control can be disabled through the same button, but you have to press and hold until it's displayed on the radio. This will also disable the Traction Control. Pressing the button again will re-enable both, or restart the car.

    KOT

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    X Rolls-Royce is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 2004 CTS 3.6L Hard downshifting, whining noises, loss of power, shifting incorrec

    The high beams restart on high if you leave them on when you shut down. And the different radio bands have individualized DSP settings, so you might be on TALK and have no bass, or another station might be on SPACIOUS when you really want DRIVER SEAT, if you have the Bose.

  16. #15
    dumaurier's Avatar
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    [QUOTE="apribby"]That's fair...I guess I should drive it for a couple months before making assumptions. I gotta realize that the CTS is not a big ol' deville even though they are both cadillacs. I must admit that I do like the smaller size:


    That's it!....Give it a little time..the car will defintely grow on you.

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