: Hard shifting transmission when cold!



jjhammer
12-04-08, 04:38 PM
When I start driving and it is cold outside my transmission shifts noticeably hard and takes much longer to shift into the higher gears. No problem when it is warm. Is this a common problem witht these cars?? Thinking of draining the fluid and replacing the transmission filter but would like a couple of more opinions from you more experienced guys. It is a 2000 Catera with 70,000 miles on it. I have only owned it for a couple of months. Thanks!

lakesidepark
12-04-08, 05:17 PM
The hard shifting I dunno....
The higher RPM before upshifting in cold is normal. The computer changes the shift points in cold start-up conditions to bring up the tranny temp.

Southern-Hospitality
12-04-08, 07:55 PM
It's not shifting hard it's pushing the rpm like the guy above said.

Then when it changes gears the rpm will drop to 1100 or so not the usual 500/600 like it usually does in warm weather.

Nothing to be worried about, if you want to avoid it let the car warm up before you drive it(until the temp level is around a quarter)

JRomano
12-05-08, 12:18 AM
Same happens to me.
I'll leave my driveway about 30 seconds after starting the car when its under 40, usually around 30-35* F here recently.
I don't want to be revving past 2500 when the engine is that cold and the transmission acts like it only has first gear.
I have to do the lift and then gas again trick like 3 or 4 times to get it into second gear which is really irritating.
I end up going 20MPH max for about 1/4 mile and I live on a road with a 30mph limit that most people do about 50mph on, so I get honked at or double yellow passed or people just riding my bumper every morning. :rolleyes:
Then I do the same to get into 3rd gear.
Fortunately there's a traffic light about 1/2 mile down the road I almost always have to sit and wait for.
By the time I leave the light the car has usually warmed up enough for the transmission to act "normally" which also includes shifting early into higher gears when I'm moderately accelerating.

Is there anything I can do to help the situation?
I was also wondering about a fluid and filter change but I worry about the transmission slipping afterward which I know can happen if the fluid has been neglected and then flushed.
From experience I've seen neglected transmissions get fluid changes and suddenly start slipping because the clutch packs have severely worn and the old burnt contaminated fluid was transferring the power. Then without the crud in the fluid the transmission has nothing grippy inside to transfer torque to the wheels.
My 01 Catera has 122k hard miles on it and I bought it from a repo auction, so I really don't think the previous owner took great care of it. So I'm wary to change the fluid... :helpless:

jjhammer
12-05-08, 01:16 AM
I am glad that it is normal since replacing the transmission appears to be a very expensive job. Mine wil stay in first and I am always wondering when it is going to shift into second. But like I said once it is warm it shifts normal. I am not going to worry anymore about it. I will just let it warm up for a few minutes. Thanks for the info!!

frank moran
12-05-08, 08:38 AM
the delayed 1-2 shift when cold is to bring the cats and the o2 sensors up to temp asap and ultimatly get the engine into closed loop, all for emmission purposes. This is normal. You will also hear the AIR pump come on after a few min, this is to purge the cats with a burst of air/oxegen.

achapra
12-05-08, 08:03 PM
By the time I leave the light the car has usually warmed up enough for the transmission to act "normally" which also includes shifting early into higher gears when I'm moderately accelerating.

Do you start your car like 10-20 min before you start driving it to let it warm up?

Po Pimp
12-05-08, 09:58 PM
These cars now a days do not have to be warmed up before they are driven. You really only need to wait until the RPMs drop from the immediate jump on start up that is all. Things like delayed shifts and leaner mixtures (when cold) are more then enough to warm the car up safely/fast. Now a days it is just wasting gas to do otherwise, although, I do realize some people have kids or circumstances where they might want the car to be fully warmed.

JRomano
12-05-08, 10:13 PM
Do you start your car like 10-20 min before you start driving it to let it warm up?

10-20 minutes??? :eek:
Oh heck no, I wait until the RPM has stabilized or about 30 seconds.
On any day when its colder than 32 outside, when I begin wearing more than a hoodie over a tee, I usually wait a bit longer like 1-2 minutes.
There have been many studies to show that idling past 2 minutes does no good and noticeably wastes fuel, in fact anything over 30 seconds is certainly arguable.