Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.
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  • 1 Post By DavidBoren
Cadillac CTS First Generation Forum - 2003 - 2007 Discussion, Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac. in Cadillac CTS Coupe, Sport Sedan and Sport Wagon Forums; A couple of months ago I was exiting the highway on the way to work, then suddenly smoke everywhere. The ...
  1. #1
    Kael's Avatar
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    Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    A couple of months ago I was exiting the highway on the way to work, then suddenly smoke everywhere.
    The lines from the transmission to the radiator had failed.
    You know, that known problem that more and more of our cars are facing?
    The transmission would not shift due to no fluid and I had it towed to Heritage Cadillac of Lombard IL. They replaced the entire radiator to the tune of 1500. They refilled the transmission, crossed their fingers and said that the transmission was shifting.

    Fast forward to this weekend.

    Hesitation on shifts, excessive gear hunting when shifting, surging at speed and then failure to go into any gear.
    I am pretty sure the transmission is dead. I just got back from taking it to a shop to have it looked at and am waiting on the news. I am pretty sure the fluid loss and the repair has lead to a failure of the transmission.
    Why didn't they give us a dipstick to check the fluid?!? (might have helped if it turns out to be a leaking connection)
    I would love to see if Cadillac even cares or might be willing to help out a bit.

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    Blayne's Avatar
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    It may just be low on fluid. Maybe when they did the rad they didn't fill it enough. That could be a problem. To check your oil, get under the car and pull the fill plug out. You should be able to touch the fluid on your finger, or stick a screwdriver in on a very slight angle and see if there is oil.

    Good luck, hope it turns out that it was just low.

  4. #3
    Kael's Avatar
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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    I really hope that it is just the transmission fluid being low.

  5. #4
    DavidBoren's Avatar
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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    Would it be possible to ADD a transmission dipstick? Route a 3/8" or 1/2" rigid stainless steel brake line from the engine compartment, to said fill plug hole? Dipsticks are available in lots of lengths, and are pretty flexible, so it doesnt have to be a straight shot.

    Either way, Kael, that really sucks that they did not go through the proper steps to ensure you left with no damage to the transmission. If your transmission is junked, I would raise hell at that dealership. Hopefully its just a little low on fluid and not trashed.

  6. #5
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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    Yeah, I think its kind of arrogant on Cadillac's part to think that the tranny would never need fluid. I believe that it's their belief and wish that everyone can afford to pay them to do all the preventive maintenance and routine services that these things require. I'm 67 and I've NEVER, NEVER owned a car that I needed to check the oil between changes. The 3.6 in the SRX needs a quart every 800 miles like clock work and it has 85k on the odometer. In town or highway...doesn't matter. Good thing I ran into this site after I bought it and discovered it's appetite for oil or I would have 3 or 4,000 miles on it before I would have even checked the dipstick. And besides that, it drips oil from somewhere under the oil filter canister plumbing. Anybody experience that? Does the car have a low oil light? I hopefully assume that it at least has a low oil pressure light.

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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    60camaro, when you engine oil gets low you will hear a low clacking from the engine on acceleration, eventually this will throw the check engine light. I am pretty sure that it is a low oil condition that is causing the timing chains to stretch and cause engine failure.

    UPDATE 1: well guys, it has plenty of fluid in it. so GREAT. its not just a low fluid condition.
    The transmission shop is still doing diagnostics.

  8. #7
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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    Well, verdict is in everybody. Transmission is dead. More awesome news, our transmission is only used in the CTS and a BMW, that makes it not common and expensive.
    The replacement is going to be over 3200 (installed) .
    The dealership is pretty much "you drove it off, it lasted a month so its not our problem and good luck proving otherwise" and would do the same work for $5000+

    cadillac customer care? anyone?

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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    For $3,000 you should invest in a better than OEM transmission. They are going to install the same weak-ass 5L40E that was in it before.

    Check out Level-10. They do 5L40E builds. They offer new in box built 5L40's. Here you go:
    http://www.levelten.com/Level_10_PTS...m1800-7000.htm
    Hope that helps.
    concorso likes this.

  10. #9
    concorso is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kael View Post
    More awesome news, our transmission is only used in the CTS and a BMW
    The dealership is pretty much "you drove it off, it lasted a month so its not our problem and good luck proving otherwise" and would do the same work for $5000+

    cadillac customer care? anyone?
    Our trans was used in more then just the CTS and A BMW. Both the E39 and E46 used the 5L40E, under the name A5S360R. The STS and 1st gen SRX used the 5L40e. The Pontiac G8, Solstice and the Saturn Sky also used our trans. Sounds like you need to run as fast as possible from that dealership. Id consider putting that dealerships name on this site as well, for doing shady work.

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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kael View Post
    ... and I had it towed to Heritage Cadillac of Lombard IL...
    Dont know if that is the same shop telling him the mis-information about his transmission.

  12. #11
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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kael View Post
    cadillac customer care? anyone?
    Have you tried contacting Cadillac in an official capacity, or are you just posting on the intarweb hoping they'll find you? I'd be talking to the Service Manager at the dealership, then the owner/manager of the dealership, then the regional GM folks.

    With that said, you have a 9 year old vehicle with mileage (I'm guessing) well beyond the warranty, so don't hold your breath. I would guess the best you can hope for is some help on the labor costs.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidBoren View Post
    For $3,000 you should invest in a better than OEM transmission. They are going to install the same weak-ass 5L40E that was in it before.

    Check out Level-10. They do 5L40E builds. They offer new in box built 5L40's. Here you go:
    http://www.levelten.com/Level_10_PTS...m1800-7000.htm
    Hope that helps.
    $3200 installed is a helluva lot better deal than $2500 (+ shipping both ways, since you have to send them your old trans) + labor.

    Installing a built transmission doesn't address the root cause of Kael's (and others') failure - lack of fluid due to the transmission cooler failing. Even a built, bulletproof Level10 transmission will die if it doesn't have any fluid in it. The correct response is to bypass the not-so-reliable cooler in the radiator and install a much simpler, more reliable external transmission cooler. Just based on what I've seen on this forum, anyone that has one of these cars with an automatic transmission that has not done that is asking for trouble eventually.

    $100 to address the root cause, or thousands of dollars to install an upgraded transmission and hope that the new radiator that was installed doesn't fail like the first one did, thereby destroying that upgraded transmission. Seems like a pretty simple decision to me.
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  13. #12
    Kael's Avatar
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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    I was mostly just rattling chains and I know cadillac customer care reads these forums.
    Concorso, the 5l40e was used in those other cars as well but it was mostly used in the cts and bmw as it comes in the base configuration and not an option. The 5l40e also has about a dozen variants that cause issues when not swapped into the right vehicle.
    The cost of the install at 3 grand also includes a 3 year 100,000 mile warranty backed by the shop and the remanufacturer of the transmission.

    I agree with adding a real transmission cooler with some decent fittings that won't fail and burn your tranny.
    read up on issue with heat here: http://etereman.com/blog/general-mot...-transmission/
    also when the lines break lots of gunk gets sent into the tranny as well (metal bits and what not) which will eventually kill the transmission.

    DavidBoren, I have been aware of levelten for over a decade. I used to have a 97 grand prix gtp that was more than slightly modified (mid 12's in the quarter mile in street trim) and levelten was one of the first shops offering beefed up transmission (before we identified the issue as the differential spinning up and grenading). That amount of money is just not an option, its over 3 grand for the tranny to built up to tougher than factory spec, then the shipping, then the install and if anything goes wrong i have to ship it back to NJ from Chicago.

    Guys, if your lines go, start saving for a new transmission.

  14. #13
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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kael View Post
    Well, verdict is in everybody. Transmission is dead. More awesome news, our transmission is only used in the CTS and a BMW, that makes it not common and expensive.
    The replacement is going to be over 3200 (installed) .
    The dealership is pretty much "you drove it off, it lasted a month so its not our problem and good luck proving otherwise" and would do the same work for $5000+

    cadillac customer care? anyone?
    Hello Kael,

    I apologize for the transmission issue you are dealing with. I understand how this can be frustrating. Please private message me so we can discuss the situation further. Include your contact information, VIN, current mileage and the name and location of the dealership you have been working with. Thanks!

    Laura M.
    Cadillac Customer Service

  15. #14
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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    AAIIIC, I am pretty sure Level-10 sells complete built transmissions. Yep.
    Send in yours: $2,498
    Built from scratch: $2,998
    That makes it one way shipping (still expensive), but I would gladly pay the difference for a much better built transmission.
    Obviously you still need a new transmission cooler. You do not plug a custom built transmission into a known to be faulty transmission cooling system.

  16. #15
    Kael's Avatar
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    Re: Transmission failure. Would love to hear from Cadillac.

    Everybody, also remember that me having my radiator replaced and my transmission going are a couple months apart.

    ----------

    Also, Private message sent.

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