3.3L V6 Auto trans problems [Archive] - GrandAmGT.com Forum

PDA

View Full Version : 3.3L V6 Auto trans problems


ShortysTRM
10-22-2004, 11:12 AM
Well, I think this started when I swapped out my old Royal Purple ATF for Mobil 1. However, I went to auto-x the next day, so that may have been when the problem actually started. I am just going to cut and paste the post I started in my local SCCA forums:

ShortysTRM
Novice poster


Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 9
Location: Teays Valley, WV
Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 3:51 pm Post subject: Auto Tranny problems

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is kind of a dumb question, but I must address it somehow. My car is a 1993 Grand Am GT with a 3.3L V6, and was not available with a standard transmission. In sunday's event, I just kept it in "2" for the first 2 runs and in "1" for the last 2 runs. My car's tranny seemed to be getting confused, but I think it's better defined as slipping..? It happens most when cornering sharply and then getting back on the throttle quickly as I am still turning. The engine revs up, but seems to be in neutral, then it seems like maybe one wheel gets into gear, followed by the other. It could also be that the first surge is the transmission picking a gear, then deciding to go with another. I swapped out all of my fluids the day before, and went from Royal Purple to Mobil 1 ATF. The slipping may have already been happening before the event, but I know it wasn't before I changed trans fluid. I drained some back out to get it back to where it should be, as I had slightly overfilled it, but it still slips. The guy at autozone suggested Lucas Oils Stop Slip, but he sells it, so of course he will recommend it. I don't know what to do, and this is my daily driver. I want to race again next month, but I can't if my tranny slips. If anyone has any suggestions or any ideas as to something we can get together and try, please help. I love my car to death and am confident I could've done much better than what I did (1:20.325, I believe). This was my first time actually competing in auto-x, as I'm usually just a spectator. Also, should I just put my car in Drive, or is it better to do what I did and leave it in "2" or "1"?
Thanks,
Troy Morgan
_________________
Troy Morgan STS 166

Back to top


ChetBurdette
Neon apologist


Joined: 10 Dec 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Charleston, WV
Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 4:39 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I know nothing about ATXs but it seems to me like even if you put in in 2, it is still going to shift down to 1 when you slow down enough and go WOT. If shifting is what is causing the problems you might just try to keep it in 2nd gear by modulating the throttle to better to keep it from downshifting. Contrary to what some believe, holding it wide open all the time isn't going to be the fastest way to drive.
_________________
STS 2003

Back to top


ShortysTRM
Novice poster


Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 9
Location: Teays Valley, WV
Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 4:50 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trust, I'm always far from WOT, as there's not much of a difference between half throttle and full throttle in my car. I don't feel like it's abuse that's causing it, it's something more than that. Something whines when I put my gear selector to 1, so I don't know if it's a pump or what. Someone has also suggested that it may be a vehicle speed sensor. I have been told time and time again that WOT isn't very useful on an auto-x course, and Davis rode with me on my first run to get me used to it. Trust me, I'm not some dumba** kid, I truly love cars. I just drive a Grand Am because I have no money and wouldn't trade the car for the world.
_________________
Troy Morgan STS 166

Back to top


MGAMGB
Driving The Fire Triangle


Joined: 21 Dec 2003
Posts: 275
Location: St. Albans, WV
Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:58 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ShortysTRM
10-22-2004, 11:15 AM
I'll take a stab at this one as I used to have an AOD in my old white Tbird. I say used to because I sold the car and it no longer had an automatic.

The basics of auto transmissions is the same no matter what you have. There was a slight change is how it shifts. Prior to 1994 or so, they relied on line pressure and basically check balls to actuate the shift mechanism. After that period, it has been done with a PCM (computer) that allows for things like "performance shift" in our GTP. I think Corvette calls it competitive driving. It's nothing more than a different set of numbers that the computer runs to rasie shift RPM, etc.

If your automatic is electronic, then there may be a problem with the PCM or it simply wasn't engineered to be driven that way. I don't think yours is electronic because the automatic in my 1995 Monte Carlo isn't. GM probably whiched when they went to OBDII in late 1995 (as I recall). This leads to the next area; a mechanical problem.

I'd say the likely cause for slipping, and thats what it sounds like from your description, is the fluid. When kept at high revs, the gearbox pump hold the line pressure really high and pressure causes heat. That combined with the shearing force inside the TC, the fluid could have frothed or worse, boiled. You say you're using RP or Mobil 1, unless you did a complete flush including the TC, you're probably running a 50/50 mix. That's probably not a good thing where performance is expected. I've only seen one TC that had a drain and that was the one in my AOD. My GM product doesn't have this, nor did any of the multiple Neon automatics that ran briefly and died in my sisters car. More on this later.

If the fluid is not to the correct level, ie low, it will slip while turning. The pump is basically starved and line pressure drops until fluid and pressure returns. To continue with fluid and the reason three came and went into my sisters car; fluid, or specifically fluid type and characteristics, is critical to proper function.

Chrysler uses special type 76 (as I recall) ATF, Ford uses Mercon or Dacon or something-con. They do or did this because the gearbox is engineered to operate with a certain friction...I want to say coefficient, but I don't want to sound like a know-it-all. The friction material on the clamps that "clamp" onto the bands and make the car move actually slip somewhat and are designed to do so. When you use an ATF other than OEM they may have friction modifiers that make it more slick. Ford does this to preserve the Traction-Loc clutches in the rearend and you actually have to add the modifier yourself. This was the case for my sister's Neon. She had the fluid changed and it started to slip. She continued to drive it and it slipped more. She returned to her "mechanic" who said it was low and added more. Eventually the friction material was burned off the clamps from slipping so much and the particals clogged the valve body and it died. The fluid was too slippery. She calls me...I bought a used trans and swapped them out. This second trans did the same thing only it died while I was taking it for a test drive after the install. It this point I figured even Chrysler doesn't suck this bad and started to look into (this is why I've been able to fill a sizable post here). I discovered the issue with the special ATF requirement. In fact, it's stamped on the trans dipstick. Use only type 76 fluid. Anyway the third trans worked and she traded it in on a '99 Grand Am.

I won't discuss my opinions of the Grand Am now. We had a 1993 as well and now we do not...nor will we ever again. Our problem was the Quad Four lump. Not trying to belittle any car selection. I drove a T-bird afterall. Ah, yes the T-bird; my conclusion to this epic.

It had an AOD and ran quite well until I started to autocross it. A few here may recall that it was quite good at laying the most savage, smoke-filled burn you've ever seen. As the years progress I added tires, power, etc and it gained some respect. Like you, I ran the car in 1 most of the time and used the old "hold 2nd" trick when needed. That's when you put it 1 drive fast push into D, the car shifts, and then you put it back down into 1. This holds 2nd and will provide lots of good times. Unfortunately, this engineering glitche is also incredibly abusive to the bands and clutch surfaces. Mine started to slip and then quickly started to skip shifting into 2nd. I inspected the fluid and not only found brown, foul-smelling fluid, but also rather large pieces of clutch material and melted plastic.

To recap:
I'd look at the fluid. A little overfilled won't hurt it. There's a breather valve that will purge if it needs too. If you still have the problem after the car is settled back into daily driving mode and the fluid is at the proper level, I'd change the fluid. The RP is expensive to waste, but honestly it isn't doing anything for an OEM gearbox. If anything it's probably causing damage because GM didn't design it to be used. Kind of like running 93 octane in a minivan. It benefits will never be realised. You'll have to do a complete flush or change the fluid a few times to dilute. Fluid is cheaper than a gearbox.

As for shifting, sure it's nice, but most of the time you pick a gear and run with it. Manually shifting a modern, electronic automatic is fine, because the shifts are prompted electronically rather than mechanically. Our GTP specifically adresses this. If you put it in 1 and lay into it it will still shift itself into 2nd. It downshifts when you slow down to an un-gearbox-damaging speed. If you put it in 2nd it will work much better, even if it does shift on it's own. I'd probably overfill the fluid a little just because the nature of autocross slings the fluids around inside and away from the pump. I had to add about a 1/2 quart extra of oil in my MGB when we did the skidpad.

Anyway, I hope this helped and if anyone can suggest a publisher for the post LMK.
_________________

Fall Down Dead

Back to top


ShortysTRM
Novice poster





Thanks for the detailed post. I work in a service garage and one of the mech's told me that either the filter may have slipped out a little ways and may be allowing air around the top of it while I'm turning. He also said there may be a small bit of dirt or somehting holding a valve open in my valve body. HOWEVER, on the way home from work, my car hesitated badly when I stopped at 2 redlights. My torque converter clutch went out before, which caused the car to stall violently. I don't know if this is the same thing in an early stage, or something different. My RPM's dropped, lights dimmed, and my engine almost dropped too low to maintain idle, but it never acted violent. The first time my TCC messed up, it acted like I was stalling a manual trans, but it has not done it this time.
On a side note, I would love to see that GTP. My 3300 is a smaller bore/stroke version of that engine, and I would love to compare to see what parts are swappable.
_________________
Troy Morgan STS 166

Back to top


MGAMGB
Driving The Fire Triangle


Joined: 21 Dec 2003
Posts: 275
Location: St. Albans, WV
Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:57 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stalling is caused by TC shutter. Early (94-95) Ford AOD-Es (electric autos) did this if you didn't use the correct fluid. I think they needed Mercon III or something specific to lessen the shutter aka stalling. They fixed it later by using a different material for the actuator or accumulator (I don't remember) in the valve body and I think the TC was altered for later years. My point is, if you had a problem before, there may have been a TSB on it and there may be a fix rather than a repair.

It is possible that a passage is blocked in the valve body. I don't know if you've been into the trans that far, but the valve body and the plate that is sandwiched between it and the trans has MANY small holes and passages. I think I'd drop the pan and flush everything and inspect the magnet in the bottom of the pan for material. The clutch material from the bands, if there is any material loss, will be suspended in the fluid. You'll need to strain the fluid to find in. A quick test would be to pull the dipstick out and wipe the fluid on a white towel. Also smell it to see if it is burned. The trans in my 95 Monte has 182,000 miles and has never had the fluid or filter changed. Unless you do towing or hard driving the average slush box auto, in theory, will never require a fluid change.

The filters are usually bolted to the valve body so it's unlikely that could slip.

You should go to www.mymonte.com They have a bunch of info on the GM V6s. The GTP swap is pretty involved for the 3.1, 3.4 cars. It may be easier for a later car. Comparing our two GMs, they don't have anything in common.
_________________

Fall Down Dead

Back to top


ChetBurdette
Neon apologist


Joined: 10 Dec 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Charleston, WV
Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 10:58 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ShortysTRM wrote:
<snip> Trust me, I'm not some dumba** kid, I truly love cars. I just drive a Grand Am because I have no money and wouldn't trade the car for the world.


Easy there, I don't recall anyone suggesting you were a dumbass kid. There's also no need to defend the car you choose to drive, hell my autocrosser is hardly a "sports car." Sorry you found my advice so offensive. There was a guy who used to run with us a while back who drove a red Grand Am and he did well with it as I recall.
_________________
STS 2003

Back to top

ShortysTRM
10-22-2004, 11:16 AM
evilnissan
Moderator


Joined: 10 Dec 2003
Posts: 330
Location: Elkview WV
Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 11:03 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You are not the only one to run a automatic on sunday. My saturn is Automatic and I can not just select 1st gear, only 2 or 1-2-3. or 1-2-3-4.

Mostly I leave mine in 3 so I have 1st gear for the starts and comming out of slow corners and it will stay in second most time.


I would check the fluid level in your car first sounds like it might be starving out like MGAMGB said above.


Here is a good site that I visit when I work on my GF's 94 quad4 GA. http://www.gaownersclub.com/

Also if your car is stalling and you think its the TC lockup you can allways just pull the plug going to the bell housing for the TC lockup.


For hesitation you might want to run a few bottle of fuel system/injector cleaner. Autocrossing will slosh you gas around in your tank and might have stirred crud and junk in the bottom of your tank and got into the fuel system.
_________________
Jeremy Vickers

2001 Saturn SL2
1.9L DOHC automatic.... Drifter..
No dents in these doors!


Back to top


ShortysTRM
Novice poster


Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 9
Location: Teays Valley, WV
Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 12:21 am Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MG: I didn't strain my fluid, but I did check my magnet, which didn't have anything out of the ordinary on it. My filter isn't bolted to anything, though there is a bracket that I think holds it up off of the pan, but it just sits on top of the bracket, there is no restraint. My fluid was high when this all started, but it's normal now. I ma considering having it flushed at work, but that requires 16 quarts of my choice of ATF, and synthetic is expensive but really made my car feel a lot smoother, especially in the 1-2 shift. I never had any problems (besides the TCC) before, so I assume there shouldn't be any dirt or anything, so have no idea what to try first. The reason I was talking about swapping parts with a 3800 is because, I believe, it uses the same block as my 3300. I'm assuming heads, headers, blower, and possibly a lot of other things would basicially bolt right on. Fuel injectors, fuel rail, and some other stuff would be nice, too.

Chet: I didn't take you harshly, I was just stating the way I feel. Being young and driving a turd, people tend not to take me seriously. I baby my car and was terrified to take it to the event, but besides this issue, my car never skipped a beat and never even got hotter than normal. I just wanted you to know I defnitely don't go WOT all the way around the course, because without a limited slip, I would be all over the place. I didn't think your advice was offensive, and I'm quite glad you offered your assistance.

Nissan: I don't think the "hesitation" I referred to was in the fuel system. I'd say, if anything, my fuel system is cleaner now than ever. I always run 93 octane (for the Stage 2 chip) and had Chevron fuel that day and even some Seafoam fuel system cleaner in the tank. It seems to be completely tranny related, but other than the TCC, I dunno what else would make my car try to stall. I am a member of grandamgt.com, aleromod.com, gmpower.net, and n-body.net. I should post something on there, but I was hoping we'd have some technicians on here.
_________________
Troy Morgan STS 166

Back to top


MGAMGB
Driving The Fire Triangle


Joined: 21 Dec 2003
Posts: 275
Location: St. Albans, WV
Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 12:54 am Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If it was smoother, that probably means it was slipping more and it shouldn't do that. Conversely, a shift kit makes the shifts crisper and actually that makes the trans last longer because the bands slip less. Again, synthetic trans fluid is probably a waste on a stock transmisson. The synth oils work in the engine because the reduce friction. In a trans you need a certain level of friction. Otherwise the friction material will wear because it can't lockup like it's supposed to. I think you'd have better luck with the GM recommended fluid. Many of the performance products have a placebo effect.

It probably goes without saying that autocrossing, drag racing, neutral drops, and manually shifting an auto will cause premature wear and/or damage. All but maybe a half dozen of the cars that regularly autocross with us were never meant to take the abuse they receive.
_________________

Fall Down Dead

Back to top


MJ86GT
Veteran forum member


Joined: 11 Dec 2003
Posts: 310
Location: Ripley WV
Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 8:42 am Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Probably what I would do is to get someone to hook up a computer to your diagnostic port and check it. They can check slip codes if any were set.

I talked to our tranny guy here at Tom Pedens and he said that even though it is electonically shifted if you leave it in second it wont downshift on its own. You have to put in first if you want it to.

I just hit and missed reading your posts so I dont know exactly what going on (being at work and all) but if I can help out with any info let me know.
_________________
Marcell Jordan
86 Mustang GT C-PREPARED


Back to top


Dale Holden
Veteran forum member


Joined: 19 Jan 2004
Posts: 233

Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 10:50 am Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I run an auto vette and putting it in 2 only gets first gear when I start. Any auto's ive ever driven hard only go to first after you get down to about 3 mph.

As for the lucas stop slip. I've known a few people that have run it for years in autos that were slipping when they started using it. It did solve their problems. One was even a delivery truck it currently has over 400k on it and is doing fine. when the guy started using it at about 100k the trans was slipping and he had nothing to loose by trying it.

The bit about the engine reving coming out of a turn sounds very much like a problem of the atf going away from the pickup and starving the trans of fluid.

As for your choice of car, we all love our cars and think everyone elses car isn't as good as ours. Basically this is just a support group for people that love to actually DRIVE cars. Razzing others about their car is # 7 in our 12 step program.
_________________
The left foot belongs on the brake, not that little clutch thing.

Back to top


ShortysTRM
Novice poster


Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 9
Location: Teays Valley, WV
Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 12:26 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The synthetic vs. dino oil debate kills me. I know that the benefits are small for a stock transmission, but for something to get a Dexron III rating, it must have the correct viscosity. It is this viscosity wheich my tranny relies on. So the synthetic isn't hurting anything. I have had synthetic for about 50,000 miles before this, and it ran better with the synthetic than with the conventional (could be placebo, I know). It does seem almost like it's starving itself of ATF, but it did it going straight last night, and it also wouldn't explain my car almost stalling. Also, by smoother, I don't mean like a manual. It just made the tranny seem happier.

As for working at Tom Peden, you may want to ask what the Chevrolet equivalent of my car was (Beretta, maybe) and then ask if they've had a lot of tranny problems. My car is a 3.3 L V6, which is important, because they were only available in n-body cars for 2 years, I believe. Unfortunately, the Jet Stage 2 chip makes my diagnostic system useless, and I'd say that's about all it did lol. I may try taking it out soon to see if I can get some codes to flash up, then just take it to Autozone or somewhere to have them run a scan on it. I also thought about disconnecting my TCC to see if that helps at all, but the alsmost stalling was the only reason that I feel it MAY be the TCC.
_________________
Troy Morgan STS 166

Violator
12-16-2004, 12:40 PM
My car is a 3.3 L V6, which is important, because they were only available in n-body cars for 2 years, I believe.
_________________
Troy Morgan STS 166


After driving awhile the a stall when you come to a stop is the Converter 3t40's are nortorious for it, as for the 3300v6 it was available from 89-93 and there was 5 different long block version of this motor including a rare 209cu version found in some 93 GS Skylarks. Also the engine was available in th Old Cutlass Ceira, and Buick Century Which aren't N bodies. I used to have a link to a site that had all the info about a 3300v6 and detailed history but that was about 4 yrs ago and have had many Hard Drives since then.

ShortysTRM
12-18-2004, 09:40 AM
Well, my TCC went out a while back and I know they're notorious for that, but this is different. It hasn't ever stalled, but it seems to get confused, like shifting into a couple of different gears before selecting one to use or free-revving before the transmission re-engages.