Effect of extreme cold on trans? [Archive] - GrandAmGT.com Forum

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lone_wolf025
02-03-2007, 08:04 PM
Its really cold out (around 5 degrees (F) above zero or less) and the car has been sitting for several hours in this cold. I've noticed that the transmission is noticeably slipping in gear for the first mile of driving. As the distance and time continues the effect eventually fades away. I'd say within the first quarter mile the effect is very pronounced. If I had to guess I'd say maybe half the power of the engine is getting to the wheels for that first quarter.

Question is: Is this merely an affect of the extreme cold OR is it demonstrating that something is amiss?

I'm thinking its just the cold, but I've never experienced this on any other car. Under warmer temps (mid teens and above) I have never noticed any problems.

And forgive me if its a dumb question...

digitalballz
02-03-2007, 08:14 PM
I would say not a dumb ? I would also say that you might have a problem that you might be catching early cuz the cold is enhancing (sp) it. I have had my cars in colder weather for longer with no probs.

lone_wolf025
02-03-2007, 08:24 PM
Interesting...lets see if anyone else chimes in as well.

Grreen99GT
02-03-2007, 08:30 PM
my car seems the same way, it runs a little harder when its cold, but as soon as it warms it up it runs like normal

lone_wolf025
02-03-2007, 09:46 PM
Running a little harder I'd expect. But when pulling out of a space under low throttle conditions does it feel like the power just isn't being transfered? Its the same feeling like my bro's '96 GP was when it cold soaked. His trans would feel like it was slipping on that first movement. Cept his was worse whenever the average datytime temp got below 40 and the car sat for 6 or more hours. He never saw a problem in the summer.

Rich
02-03-2007, 09:59 PM
today when i was driving my work jeep i noticed the trans slipped a bit. when it warmed up it seemed to go away and it didnt do it any other time over the night. it was about 5 degrees here as well so i attributed it to the cold. i dont have a "professional" opinion but yeah.

H.O. Driver
02-04-2007, 12:27 AM
In the PCM file it will actually command a firmer shift when it see's cold operating temps, its made to help warm up the fluid in the trans faster and thats why you feel it shift different when its warmer. However if this setting is altered in the file (aka set too high for line pressure and shift speed set too fast) it will cause the trans to freak out and not shift right. When we were ****ing with my trans file, maxed line pressure and peeked out shift speed, the trans was not happy at all. Once toned down a bit, all was good.

MMGT1
02-04-2007, 02:20 AM
Have had mine in minus 35*C weather(For you Americans thats really freakin cold!!). Fired up no prob, touch of the key, put it in gear and it didn't want to move. Warm it it and all good. I think it's just the cold fluid. Living in Canada we know to keep the RPM's below 2500 until that trans hits at least 100*F...

ledfreak
02-04-2007, 04:00 AM
Had a similar issue with the Cavy a few years ago in -20 C weather, but like Paul said warm it up & all was good.
No issues with my GA so far. IMO, 5 F is a bit warm for the trans to be acting that way. You don't state mileage but a fluid & filter change couldn't hurt.

Molson
02-04-2007, 09:23 AM
pffft 5F is NOT extreme cold. Its a typical winter day.

lone_wolf025
02-04-2007, 10:04 AM
Mileage is around 31,000.

Exodus
02-04-2007, 11:05 AM
My g-am does the same thing when its really cold out. Usually I dont warm the engine up, but when its really cold outside I let it run b/4 I drive away. It seems to run better imo. Although mechanics say that cars now-a-days dont need to be warmed up, just drive at a moderate speed until the car is warm.
But yeah, the b!tch seems to slip at really cold temps :(

digitalballz
02-04-2007, 11:16 AM
Could be just cold fluid not circulating as well as it should. Try letting the car get to operating temp before you leave.

Ajaxus
02-04-2007, 11:49 AM
pffft 5F is NOT extreme cold. Its a typical winter day.

isn't that a summer temp for you?



and yeah, put me in this crowd too. now i just let my car warm itself up for about 5-10min while i wait inside, makes her drive better.

Mike Jung
02-04-2007, 01:17 PM
isn't that a summer temp for you?



and yeah, put me in this crowd too. now i just let my car warm itself up for about 5-10min while i wait inside, makes her drive better.
^
Do you remember that discussion that we had on condensation (water) & gasoline in your engine oil ?

& you wonder why you had condensation in your engine oil & steam during your last oil change lol
(He also did alot of short driving distances before turning off engine & parking the car.)

Plus, you are wasting gasoline (to a extent).

;)

PS: idling your car for x amount of time DOES NOT warm up your ATF (Auto Transmission Fluid) !!!
(Only driving will do that.)
It only brings up the engine coolant temps (& lesser extent to the engine oil temps).

& I hope you like the Pennzoil Platinum 5W-30 synthetic motor oil :applause: :D :cool:

Mike Jung
02-04-2007, 01:20 PM
(This is just a guess by me...)

ATF is used as a hydraulic fluid in the transmission.

I got a feeling that it does not work efficiently/well when cold.
(It does not flow or transmit pressure properly, until it is up to normal operating temps.)

That could be one reason for the cold driving symptoms.


Offtopic:
Yesterday morning at -16C / 3F air temperature (with a wind chill factor of about -25C / -13F).
I idled for about 1-minute in the driveway.
It cold started & idled at about 1100-rpm's.
Went on the highway right-a-way (but trying to keep the rpm's down).
Got off of the highway in 10-minutes.
There was no traffic (because of a jack-knife tanker truck before my highway entrance); so I drove the whole way there with no stopping.
The transmission never locked the torque converter in OD during the highway drive.
At the end of the off-ramp: I thought it was alittle harder to brake to a stop.
Look at the rpm gauge: & it was still idling at 1100-rpm :wtf lol
Stopped at another couple of stop lights & my rpm's kicked down to normal idling at about 700-rpm.

So yeah, cold weather can do weird sh*t to your car; when it is not running at normal operating temps.

lone_wolf025
02-04-2007, 06:29 PM
Anyone know the operating temp range of the trans fluid you'd expect to find in a stock car?

rocketfast123
02-04-2007, 06:39 PM
PS: idling your car for x amount of time DOES NOT warm up your ATF (Auto Transmission Fluid) !!!
(Only driving will do that.)
It only brings up the engine coolant temps (& lesser extent to the engine oil temps).



Thank-you I was going to say that. Your car can be at 200 and still move slow. Just drive and easy till the tranny changes like it should.

sound_xtreme
02-04-2007, 06:44 PM
remote start ftw

andrewe77
02-04-2007, 08:57 PM
Mine feels like it doesn't transfer much power in 1st when it's very cold out and I just started it. It's done it since I can remember and I have 106k on the odometer now.

Sounds like it is normal.

lone_wolf025
02-04-2007, 09:38 PM
Judging from the responses here I think it might be normal too. Would anyone recommend a flush or pan drop since I'm at the 30k mile mark or let it go?

H.O. Driver
02-04-2007, 11:29 PM
Judging from the responses here I think it might be normal too. Would anyone recommend a flush or pan drop since I'm at the 30k mile mark or let it go?

would be a good idea to flush it when its around the 36k mark and keep at it with the flushing every 36k. If you don't do it and let it go long enough you are better off keeping the fluid in there, after so long the sludge and chunks are what is keeping the damn thing together, lol.

As for letting it idle for a long time, it will warm up the trans fluid, not as fast as driving it or as warm as driving it will get it, but if the engine gets to full operating it will get up to 100* it just takes about a half hour, only if its warmer than sub zero tempratures.

Sprucegagt
02-05-2007, 06:32 AM
I think people are noticing a combination of cold trans fluid, low tire pressure and cold wheel bearing grease.

Exodus
02-05-2007, 07:44 AM
So, it is pointless to idle ones car to warm it up?
But yeah, acceleration, braking are slow and sluggish when its really cold out.
Not to mention all the rattling and squeaking and clicks, etc. that come hand in hand w/ the cold weather.

coupe
02-05-2007, 08:12 AM
I dunno about my GA (dont drive it in winter) but my truck is haveing a hell of an attitude since the temp got bellow 10F.

I also have 2 shop lights in my garage that dont wanna come on ever since it got bellow 10F and they are rated for 0F.

Mike Jung
02-05-2007, 09:10 AM
So, it is pointless to idle ones car to warm it up?...
No it isn't pointless; but excessive idling is.

Like you want to have flow engine oil, sometimes need heat to clear the ice on the windows, smooth out a rough cold idle, etc...


Idling excessively, causes:
- waste of gasoline
- builds-up condensation (water) & gasoline in the engine oil (which kills the additives in the engine oil faster than normal)
- etc...

Exodus
02-05-2007, 09:19 AM
No it isn't pointless; but excessive idling is.

Like you want to have flow engine oil, sometimes need heat to clear the ice on the windows, smooth out a rough cold idle, etc...


Idling excessively, causes:
- wastes gasoline
- build condensation (water) & gasoline in the engine oil (which kills the additives in the engine oil faster than normal)
- etc...

phmm, thanks for the tip. Definitely will keep that in mind.

Mike Jung
02-05-2007, 09:24 AM
I dunno about my GA (dont drive it in winter) but my truck is haveing a hell of an attitude since the temp got bellow 10F...
Use a synthetic motor oil & plug in the block heater (use with a timer for 4-hours before starting, so to save using electricity).


Synthetic motor oil FTW in the winter cold conditions.

Example:
German Castrol Syntec 0W-30 synthetic motor oil (that has been used in my GA for 7-months (& in my Mom's Sunfire GT has her's in for 9-months so far) had no problems at -20C / -4F last night.
(Sometimes, "cheaper" quality motor oils lose their cold point cold cranking ratings by thickening up when used over time.)
It is rated to cold start flow at -40C/F.
& doesn't freeze to about the range of -70C/-94F (IIRC); not that the oil would flow enough to start a vehicle.

But note:
Mobil 1 5W-30 motor still flows better (is thinner) at that temp than German Castrol Syntec 0W-30 motor oil lol
(Because it is a thicker oil at operating temps.)
But any colder & German Castrol 0W-30 flows better than Mobil 1 5W-30; as 0W-x is rated for cold start at -35C/-31F & 5W-x is rated for cold start of -30C/-22F (& above).

nascarnate326
02-05-2007, 09:36 AM
My car shifts like poo in this weather. Its going to get warmer though.
22 on saturday!!!

Chaos
02-05-2007, 12:45 PM
I'd have to agree with the cold thing.. Its been pretty darn cold here.. and My car hasn't been plugged in at all.. and its fired up.. twice the remote started didn't start it.. But went out there and it fired up.. never had a problem.. Not yet anyhow.. really hope not to.. Being from Alberta, its a bit chilly.. Maybe not AS chilly as some!! But been out sitting in -35 C for 2 days and started!! I've got 43,000 KM on it or so right now... Never had a problem at all..

GALover
02-05-2007, 02:25 PM
I've noticed a little harder 1st-2nd gear shift at around the 10f range and colder if I don't warm her up. She tends to snap into 2nd gear. She does idle at 1100 rpm's on the really cold days. The state of Alaska has a plug @ 20 campaign. Plug in your vehicle at 20f or colder for 2 hours before you leave in the morning.
http://www.muni.org/healthesd/WhyPlug20F.cfm
When it's ~5f and colder the trunk creaks a little and there's a rattle in my door. I just let it idle for ~7-10 minutes and she's happy. I believe that any idling beyond the 15 minute mark is waste. In Fairbanks, at -40f/c they either don't turn the car off or plug it straight in when they perk it.

Coupe: I live in lighting. Get rid of the Fluorescents and get some HID's or halogen lamps. They aren't as temperature sensitive.

lone_wolf025
02-05-2007, 07:34 PM
I've found that in these temps in Chicago if I let it idle for 5 min the coolant temp gauge reads about half way to operating temp. Though if I had a block heater I would plug it in.

sjones419
02-05-2007, 08:46 PM
it is cold as f***in balls!!!!!!!

Mike Jung
02-05-2007, 09:07 PM
it is cold as f***in balls!!!!!!!
Yup !!!

It was -17C / 1F offically at the airport this morning.
But it was -20C / -4F in my car (& wind chill value factor of -35C / -31F).

They are calling for next Sunday & Monday morning:
-21C/-6F & -22C/-8F air temperature in the mornings.

(Good thing it is my days-off lol ;) )

But it has been a "warmer" winter here in Toronto :) lol

The Prairies can keep their Arctic air mass weather patterns ;)

iceman
02-05-2007, 09:38 PM
I still have an additional trans cooler, that I really should bypass in the winter, but meh, it's not nearly as cold for so long here. I let the car warm up so at least the trans cooler will pick up some warmth from the rad

coupe
02-06-2007, 05:19 AM
Coupe: I live in lighting. Get rid of the Fluorescents and get some HID's or halogen lamps. They aren't as temperature sensitive.


I cant get rid of them. I have 10 48" dual flourescents hanging from the ceiling and 2 arent working now that it has gotten this cold. I cant afford to upgrade the lighting plus this garage really isnt worth it, well it is, but i would wanna finish the interior if i went pro on the lighting lol
I at least hope its the cold thats stopping them from coming on, they are rated for 0F but they wont even come on when its 10F. The last time they worked it was ~20F.

bballr4567
02-06-2007, 06:05 AM
Its been down to around 20 or so and the first 2-3 miles I drive if I warm it up or not its still a little rough. Got a ton of creaks and rattles though thanks to the worn rear shocks.

MMGT1
02-06-2007, 07:51 AM
The 3400 is designed to "start and go". Just take it easy until it heats up. The pistons in the factory motor are designed to expand and seat against the cycl walls. My GM instructor said, and I quote, "Get the temp up as quickly as possible. Don't let it idle at any time if you can help it. Drive the car immediately, and keep the RPM's below 2500 until the car warms up."
My 2-cnts...Get rid of the remote starters, a block heater is ok but not necessary here. It just doesn't get cold enough. I've seen 50 below where all night your car(mostly trucks) will have to be left running in the driveway 24 hours a day or you won't be going anywhere. So, start n' go guys, just take it easy, IT IS WINTER TIME!! :)

slowbird
02-06-2007, 01:08 PM
With my block heater and using Mobil 1...I start my car in the Morning...let the car idle for no less than 30 seconds, no more than 1 minute. ( I watch the CD track time elapse) and then I drive at a granny like pace until I see the Temp gauge move to around 1/3 of the Operating temp. (I'm very anal...I know)

In the extream cold weather I have noticed the following:

-Block heater brings the coolant temp to slightly above the first "tick" or "mark" on the temp gauge at start up.
-Other day was -30C/-21F out. The block heater was plugged in. The car started but the gauge was showing no temperature for the frist minute, and then it slowly started to move up.
-When cold, the tranny does seem to rev but not accelerate like it would if it was warmed up. (No issues when warm)
-The OD/Lockup doesn't kick in at highways speeds until a little while after the car has reached normal operating Temperature.