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2006 Escalade AWD w/DiabloSport tuner,Jet Performance throttle body/MAF,Airaid MIT
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Today, my transmission failed on the way home from work. Very embarrassing experience. I had to have a very nice female police officer help me push it off the road into a empty lot until a tow truck arrived to pick it up.

The issue happened when I was driving on the highway when I heard a muted bang and then the gears started slipping and then all the forward gears went out completely and left me stranded. The funny thing is that reverse gear works perfectly and the gear shift level work as well even though all the forward gears seems stuck in neutral.

So I guess I will be replacing or repairing the transmission. The question is should I just pull it out myself and let a shop rebuild it or just buy a upgraded unit. I am leaning to towards just swapping for a stronger unit. Either way I will try to remove and install the transmission myself, unless my local shop can fix it for less than $800 with labor.

I will also be replacing my rear main seal and cover as well if I remove the transmission myself. Well, I understand that my transmission was on borrowed time due to it being 14 years old and having over 200k miles on it. Plus, I have been running a pretty aggressive Diablo tune for the last 3 years that has the had the transmission running pass the max stock 380ft/lbs transmission rating. I guess the full synthetic AC Delco Dexron VI fluid I use kept it going as long as it did.

I will let everyone know what failed exactly if I have the shop rebuild the stock unit.
 

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2006 Escalade AWD w/DiabloSport tuner,Jet Performance throttle body/MAF,Airaid MIT
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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
After I did some reading on the issue I have(no forward gear movement, but has reverse movement); I learned that the transmission can be forced into limp mode(3rd gear) by removing the 10a IGN0 fuse in the cabin fuse box in the dash. Therefore, I removed IGN0 fuse and the transmission moves forward in D and in reverse now.

So, it may just have a bad pressure solenoid(s) in the valve body. The transmission was shifting perfectly until it failed acutely. I do have some shift solenoids in the basement I bought a while back just in case one goes out so I did not have to wait for a replacement to come by mail at a bad time unexpectedly. Hopefully they may solve the issue unless it is a mechanical problem regarding the forward clutches or shaft, then I am screwed. That kind of repair is way beyond my shade tree automotive knowledge level.
 
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2006 Escalade AWD w/DiabloSport tuner,Jet Performance throttle body/MAF,Airaid MIT
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Another update. I used my Tech 2 scan tool to test the shift solenoids functions. It seems my transmission do not shift to third with the IGN0 fuse in place at all. The third gear does not even register on the shift test when I manually select gear position, however the other gear positions does register on the tool. Third gear only works when forced commanded to limp mode. I am no pro, but it seems that my third gear is the issue. However, it could be a mechanical issue like bad clutches/seals preventing third gear from engaging.

I may just bite the bullet and let the transmission shop check it out because it seems repairable. I just do not have the know how or courage to rebuild my third gear clutches. If I had a very large metal table then I would give transmission rebuild a go, but i do not. So I will leave it to the pros.
 
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2006 escalade esv platinum
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I am no transmission pro but it seems to me that if it moves both ways in limp mode your input and output shafts are ok.With your aggressive driving I certainly would have it beefed up over stock specs. Good luck
 

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2006 Escalade AWD w/DiabloSport tuner,Jet Performance throttle body/MAF,Airaid MIT
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I am no transmission pro but it seems to me that if it moves both ways in limp mode your input and output shafts are ok.With your aggressive driving I certainly would have it beefed up over stock specs. Good luck
Thank you.

I was thinking the same thing; if it moves then the damage cannot be that bad. However, I am no transmission expert so I will just let the shop have it on Monday and just let them tear it down to find the problem. I will also have the shop upgrade the stock internals if the price would be lower than a re-manufactured upgraded unit.

I will try to take a peek at my rear main seal to inspect it for any leaks if the shop will let me see the truck with the transmission removed.
 

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2006 Escalade AWD w/DiabloSport tuner,Jet Performance throttle body/MAF,Airaid MIT
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
My poor broken Caddy being prepared for its tow home.:(
 

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2003 Escalade 6.0
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59 Posts
Damn that sucks... I hope you'll have the Caddy up and running again soon!
 

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2006 Escalade AWD w/DiabloSport tuner,Jet Performance throttle body/MAF,Airaid MIT
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Discussion Starter #8
Damn that sucks... I hope you'll have the Caddy up and running again soon!
Thank you.

The transmission shop picked up my ride yesterday, and I will stop by the shop this morning to get a rundown on the issue. Hopefully, the repair do not cost over $2000. If so, i will just buy a upgraded re-manufactured unit.

The transmission was 14 years old with over 237k miles, so it was time for a rebuild or replacement. Crap happens sometimes especially with older vehicles.
 
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2004 ESV
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Good luck. If you do rebuild the transmission, look up Monster Transmission rebuild kit. Not cheap, at $1000, but good for up to 600 hp.


You can also buy new transmissions with a torque converter for a little over $2k. You'll have to send your core back to Monster. Precision transmission is also another good, yet expensive, option.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Good luck. If you do rebuild the transmission, look up Monster Transmission rebuild kit. Not cheap, at $1000, but good for up to 600 hp.


You can also buy new transmissions with a torque converter for a little over $2k. You'll have to send your core back to Monster. Precision transmission is also another good, yet expensive, option.
Thank you.

Well, transmission work is expensive. The shop charges $899 + parts for labor to disassemble and repair the transmission for a rebuild. The shop owners claims to upgrade the clutches and other weak areas of the 4L65E. The shop do not like to use other aftermarket transmission units, but will still charge $899 to drop another unit in if I want. So I will lose $899 either way it seems at this shop.

I pulled the trigger and let them tear down the transmission to see the actual damage. He did removed the pan and it did have a lot clutch material in the pan, so it is not looking too good. Looks like I will be spending over $2000 either way to get my Caddy running again, so I will just let them rebuild and upgrade it with a 2 year 25k mile warranty. Most of the other transmissions for sale online gives only a 6 month to 1 year warranty. Fingers crossed that they will do a good job and the final price will not be too high.

Next, time I will attempt to rebuild or drop in a replacement transmission myself since labor is this expensive. Plus, i found out the 4L65E only weighs 150 pounds; I thought it weight about 300 pounds and need very heavy duty table to support it. So next time I will DIY the work like usual.

Good news is that the owner said that I have the cleanest looking 2006 Escalade he has seen recently. Looks almost new inside and out. That was unexpected, but good to hear.:)

However, it probably why he is sticking to me with labor since he knows that I can afford it.:(
 

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2004 ESV
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Are you going to do things like the corvette servo, and reverse band upgrades? Watch the Precision Transmission Youtube channel. Old Texas dude who knows more about transmissions than anyone will ever forget in their lifetime. Hell, he probably knows more about the 4l60e than GM does.
 

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It's a bad transmission. Same thing happened to me I just left the house about 5 minutes away and Drive went out so I drove home in Reverse.
 

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2006 Escalade AWD w/DiabloSport tuner,Jet Performance throttle body/MAF,Airaid MIT
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Are you going to do things like the corvette servo, and reverse band upgrades? Watch the Precision Transmission Youtube channel. Old Texas dude who knows more about transmissions than anyone will ever forget in their lifetime. Hell, he probably knows more about the 4l60e than GM does.
I asked about the corvette servo and the owner claims that it makes for rough shifting 2nd gear changes, which may be undesired for a luxury truck like mine. Best suited for a muscle car he states. I like the current smooth shifting 2nd so I may just stay with the normal servo. The owner did states that they would add bands to all the gears for better friction. I believe the stock has four friction plates in the drums and the shop will upgrade them to six friction plates and other beefed up parts.

I saw a few YouTube videos that are really detailed about breaking a 4l65e down and rebuilding it. Seem like I could tackle the job if needed in the future. I was more concerned about the transmission weight and having the proper work area to do the job. Now that I know that it do not weigh over 200 pounds I can create a work space for it.

Now I will just bite the bullet and hope that the shop does a good job so that I will not have to worry this issue for another 10 years.

I like the transmission bench videos series, very detailed. Here is an example.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
LOL. I called the shop today to inquiry about the exact source of the failure, and the shop told me my Escalade will be ready for pickup tomorrow. I thought I only gave the O.K. for the tear down, not the rebuild. Well, the job is done so I guess I hopefully can get a explanation of the failure tomorrow. The owner claimed that the entire transmission was completely rebuilt and upgraded, including an over-bored valve body and new factory stall speed torque convertor. Claims the transmission will last the life of the vehicle with 30k miles fluid changes. Apparently the 4L65E had a lot weak areas from the factory that the upgraded kit addressed per the owner, so it may have just been age that did it in.

I will just use the Dexron VI blended transmission fluid going forward instead of the AC/Delco fully synthetic fluid. The fully synthetic stuff may be too thin to protect the 4L65E properly. It may not be the reason for the failure, but it was the only major change to the system that I did before it failed. I will stick with the Castrol Dexron VI blended fluid for my changes and change my filter every year so that I can catch any issues early by checking my pan at the same time and remove the break in fluid full of fine metal.

This repair will cost me $2800.:(

Atleast I get a 2 year/25k warranty, so they do stand by their work.
 

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What was the name of the shop? I have a place in Roswell, GA I really like, but it's always good to have a backup.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
What was the name of the shop? I have a place in Roswell, GA I really like, but it's always good to have a backup.
Mr. Transmission in Lawrenceville. I decided to go with a established chain even though I know that they will charge the crap ouf of me, but it is a high chance of them being around years later if I have an issue unlike some other privately owned shops that change names every six months so the warranty is just a worthless piece of paper when you walk out the door.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Well, it has been six days since I was supposed to receive my Caddy back nice and repaired and I have not gotten it back as of yet. Apparently it developed an issue where the check engine light remained on. The shop owner told me that it just need a ECU/TCM reflash to remove a hard code stored in the unit and a specialist will reprogram it. Well, a couple days later, the issue turn into a possible internal electrical part that had to be ordered. Some new parts(solenoids,wire harness) later; same issue.

Today, the issue was traced to a transmission wire that was pinched during the transmission install that is causing a fault and is triggering the engine light. Therefore, another specialist will repair the damaged wire. So I will give it some more time and see what happens. I assume that the wire in question must have been the TCM cable.

The shop owner was bit vague on what exact wire was damaged, however I give him credit for being forthright and honest about the delay. Accidents do happen even with professionals and he seem every frustrated as well because it did not make sense for the transmission job to take so long. However, I am not surprised. No repair ever went as planned with my damn Caddy. Hell, even the pros get stumped by GM engineering sometimes and throw parts at it due to being clueless to the exact cause of the problem. Hopefully soon i will get my Caddy back.
 

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It's good this isn't your only vehicle. But hopefully it's going to be right once you get it back. That's the important thing.

My parents went to Mr Transmission years ago, and the experience was similar. Took a while to get the car back, and they also did pretty shoddy work that I think lasted just longer than the warranty. To be fair, this was a 90s American car with an AOD transmission, so it's probably more the fault of crappy engineering. But poor first impression
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
It's good this isn't your only vehicle. But hopefully it's going to be right once you get it back. That's the important thing.

My parents went to Mr Transmission years ago, and the experience was similar. Took a while to get the car back, and they also did pretty shoddy work that I think lasted just longer than the warranty. To be fair, this was a 90s American car with an AOD transmission, so it's probably more the fault of crappy engineering. But poor first impression
Thank goodness I do have my main ride to use. However, my main ride has summer performance tires so I need my Caddy back before the temps drops to the low 40's. Summer tires so not do well in the cold.

My main ride


I kinda wished I just swapped my bad tranny out myself for a cheaper rebuilt unit available online, even if i only got a 6 month warranty. Monster Transmission have a upgraded bare-bones 4l60E for sell for only $900 plus shipping. Next time I will just go the DIY route.

This experience reminds me why I do not like other people touching my rides. I can mess up my own car repair myself for less money.:)
 
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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I got my Caddy back yesterday and it ran like a dream. For only 50 miles!!!!! And then the transmission crapped out and could only be driven in D2 because it lost 3rd gear and fourth gear I think. It also overheated and gave me the "Hot Transmission" warning in the dash.

Took the Caddy back to the shop and met the master transmission expert who was sick for the last two weeks who blamed the failure on installation mistakes and an inexperienced transmission builder who took over for him in his absence. He admitted that he usually over-look the work of the guy that helps him rebuild transmissions and that he also inspects the installation as well as perform the test drives. He was a bit upset that they released the car to me without waiting for him to return because he heard about the installation mistake with the TCM cable and wanted to have a look at it before I got the car, but the owner pushed to get the job done quickly.

Well, he stated that he will pull the transmission and tear it apart and correct the issues. He was able to tell me exactly what rebuild kit I have(well the included parts and how they work)and correctly told me the new torque converter 1800 stall speed when I asked him. I only knew because I looked up the part number off the invoice online and it was a GM 1800-2000 stall converter. So I guess his story checks out so far because I did not see him in the shop the last few times I stopped by before today.

The good news is the Caddy moved like a rocket from standstill before it crapped out. The stock stall speed is 1650 I believe so I guess the 1800 stall converter makes a difference in off the line acceleration because it just pulled to over 60 mph from a standstill like a train without any hesitation. The builder stated that I will be a happy customer when he get the transmission sorted; so I will see next week.

Note: The owner is a very nice guy, but do not know crap about transmission details it appears. Hence the vague answers I was getting. His partner the builder is the one to talk to about the specifics.
 
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