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Old 11-10-2017, 07:19 PM   #1
gveinot
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2000 SL2
2000 SL2
Default pulling away at idle when cold

Is my transmission worn out ? 430,000km 2000 SL2 Automatic. When the engine is first started and placed in drive the car dips in rpm from 750-800 rpm down to 500 rpm ( almost stalls ) and pulls away unless I keep my foot on the brake. After it warms up the pull away issue goes away but randomly while in drive , stopped at idle, the rpm will go up and down from 750rpm to 500rpm and you can hear one of the transmission actuators modulating as the rpm changes, place the car in reverse and the up and down rpm issue goes away. The car shifts fine and no engine codes. Fluid is good, I change it every 30,000 miles. The line pressure actuator was brand new 1 year ago. Ideas ? The temperature gauge is normal, engine starts fine when cold or warm. Valve body has about 180,000km on it and the fluid was changed every 30,000 miles.

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Old 11-10-2017, 11:25 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: pulling away at idle when cold

430,000km = 267,190 miles, just a well used car. What's confusing is engine idle dropping to 500 rpm yet the car pulls away unless you hold brakes on? If I'm not mistaken, 500 rpm in any car with an automatic isn't enough to make the car move as this barely moves the fluid in the torque converter to transmit torque to the other half of the xmission to drive the wheels forward or backward. If the car does move at 500 rpm and you need to hold brakes on (firmly?), somethings amiss and within the xmission. This would be early xmission engagement where the morle likely event is a slipping xmission where higher rpm is needed to make the car move. This may be a pressure control solenoid fault. Its been described in service manuals that xmission solenoids failing allows a default mode of harsh xmission shifts to prevent slipping clutches from burning up.

The xmission uses pulses to each solenoid as a way to control hydraulic pressures to modulate shifts smoothly. Pulsing solenoids isn't 100% on or 100% off. Cycling a solenoid adjusts pressures for how hard or soft a gear shifts without slamming a person into the seat. All electronically controlled from feedback of sensors so the engine computer can make smooth shifts. Hard shifts when flooring the gas pedal, very soft shifts when barely pressing the pedal, granny driving for hypermiling.

Although no one has posted of the xmission temperature sensor failing and describing its affect on xmission shifts, its another part to consider. And last but not in the least, wiring. Is wiring dry rotted, insulation cracking, terminals to each sensor corroded? Hopefully its a simple failure and not turn into a witch hunt.

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Old 11-11-2017, 07:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: pulling away at idle when cold

hi, on a cold start the rpms will drop to 500 rpm when you place it in gear but it will recover to 750-800 and pull itself along easily to 5-10 mph. You need to keep your foot on the brake and you can feel drivetrain fighting against the brake. It does it both in reverse and drive when cold. As the engine warms up that issue goes away but then we get this up and down idle cycling while in drive at a stop light. If you move the gear selector into reverse there is no rpm cycling, just in Drive. All the sensors, TAAT, ECTS, and the Air Intake are the new Brass ones, about 3-5 years old. The wiring is great, the car is undercoated yearly. You would never know it's 18 years old, zero corrosion or dry rot. It shifts perfectly cold and warm. My TCC solenoid failed a few years ago and I drove it for a few months with the Torque Converter not locking up, I am wondering if I damaged something ? The Line Pressure Solenoid failed 2 years ago and I bought a new GM unit. It's a weird issue. Possible Torque converter failing ?

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Old 11-11-2017, 02:35 PM   #4
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: pulling away at idle when cold

If you Google how a torque converter works, it's never been proven for torque converters to fail unless something catastrophic occurs with the vanes breaking off, a moot point. All torque converters do is create a fluid coupling. Vanes force oil from the engine driven side of a tc to another set of vanes on the other half of a tc. The other half is connected to the output shaft of the tc to drive the xmission gearbox. The tc acts as the hydraulic version of a slipping clutch without cooking xmission oil. Xmission oil is the clutch with vanes spun by the engine forcing oil to the opposite vanes to turn. The same principle of fluid coupling occurs in turbochargers and superchargers - they move air. Air is a fluid medium. Water, air, oil are considered fluids with different densities. The torque converter simply pushes oil from one side (engine driveshaft) to the other side (converter output shaft) to drive the the xmission gearbox. I can be wrong too but someone will have to prove any errors of operation and failures in plain language and show images).

What's unusual is cold engine rpm. At idle, cold engine running usually runs around 1200 rpm. What's your cold idle rpm? Good torque converters simply allows a high idle to move car more when in normal idle speed. Creep describes this normal. All cold engines requires a rich fuel mixture that can drop idle speed so EFI systems automatically bump idle higher to prevent stalling on rich mixtures until the engine warms up where high idle drops back to 650-900 rpm in a few minutes of driving. Did someone meddle with the the factory adjusted throttle stop screw? Was throttle cleaned of build up?

Last edited by fdryer; 11-11-2017 at 02:48 PM..

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Old 11-11-2017, 09:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: pulling away at idle when cold

hi, sorry, at first start the engine will idle up to 1200 rpm and after two - three minutes or so it will slowly drop down to 800-750. Regardless if at 1200 or 800 rpm, as soon as you place it in drive it wants to pull away far too much, same for reverse. But if you wait 5 minutes or so the issue of pull away is not as bad and after 15 minutes or so it goes away. But when the pull away issue goes away, the idling bounces when stopped in Drive ( you can hear the accuators modulating-buzzing ) , move to neutral the idle is stable, move to reverse it's normal. The car shifts fine, starts fine, gas mileage is fine. It's a really wacky issue. I clean the throttle body from time to time. The idle set screw has never been touched. We have owned the car from new. The car works like new except for this weird issue. I replaced the radiator last year and replaced the lower transmission line to the radiator, did I mess that up somehow ? I bought a factory transmission line.

Last edited by gveinot; 11-11-2017 at 09:56 PM..

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Old 11-12-2017, 12:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: pulling away at idle when cold

In my opinion, no, you didn't do anything wrong replacing a xmission line. And you're explanation to clarify things does make this an unusual issue. The only guess I can make is the possibility of the pressure control solenoid or something in the xmission that isn't allowing for normal shifts with a cold engine and fluctuating rpm when warm. Grabbing when cold and disappearing when warm can be a component part, loose electrical connections, oil or worn oil passages in the valve body. With regular oil changes, this may be a wiring issue in the valve body. Disconnecting and examining for loose male or female terminals (burned, discolored) may reveal something. This may be one of those things where a fine tooth comb and careful review of what was done can help while others can contribute from their perspective.

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Old 11-12-2017, 07:06 AM   #7
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Default Re: pulling away at idle when cold

thanks FDryer, in your opinion could it be a worn clutch pack or would the issue still show up when the engine is warm ? We have two SL2s here, the engine gave up in that $400 one we bought our daughter and it shifts like new. I think I'll pull the valve body out of it next weekend and swap it plus examine the transmission temp sensor and change it was well. Someone had a similar issue on an old thread and there was a comment of too much fluid seeping in the torque converter overnight, leaking seal internally, but the thread ended without an explanation, does that make sense ?

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Old 11-12-2017, 11:51 AM   #8
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: pulling away at idle when cold

I'm not versed on what happens when a clutch pack wears and symptoms but googling should turn up extensive info. I presume a clutch pack is a clutch pack no matter which xmission is being discussed so a general guide on worn clutch packs with plenty of information should be available. If this is determined to worn clutch packs, you, I and others will learn something.

Since torque converters work bathed in xmission oil, more or less oil can affect it and a reason for using methods for checking fluid levels. A leak that allows more xmission oil into a torque converter seems unlikely - if true there should be a must of common xmission issues everywhere about it and discussed like which motor oil is best or which spark plugs are better than others, gossip. In my small world on the internet, I haven't come across this little tidbit so I'm leery of gossip and try separating hearsay from facts. If you ever pull up diagrams or images of their converters, there isn't much to see except a round welded steel assembly and drawings or images of a cut open converter to show the vanes. Not much is ever discussed about seals or output shaft connection to the xmission gearbox. Assembled, welded, attached to the end of an engine and xmission slid on. Is there a seal, it may be a seal to prevent xmission fluid leaking between the tc and xmission gearbox. I would guess this as an external leak with fluid dripping onto the ground. There's enough misinformation on the internet where it requires separating fact from fiction. I ignore threads that don't end with a solution so any unverified statements are ignored among with possible misinformation misleading many by spreading unverified statements. I believe America is in the midst of the most divisive President speaking in ways to deliberately distract from the role of a sitting US President. Our President is a good example of spreading innuendo, negative comments and un presidential statements frustrating millions.

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Old 11-12-2017, 01:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: pulling away at idle when cold

Well, I can sure agree that there is a lot of misinformation on the internet, and the above is full of it. I'm not concerned about the political opinions, just the auto advice.

I don't intend to get into a big pissing-match here, but felt obligated to warn the OP. Consider several sources of advice and use some common-sense.

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Old 11-12-2017, 02:38 PM   #10
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1998 SC2
Default Re: pulling away at idle when cold

This transmission is a unique design and the only commonality with other automatic is that it is an automatic transmission. Google searching will be a trip down a dark rabbit hole unless it specifically referring to a S-Series TAAT.

With the gen-3 vintage TAAT there is an o-ring issue for these transmissions which can lead to main oil pressure supply failure varying from low to none. This is a fatal failure so checking pump discharge pressure is a good idea. There are 2 seals in the side cover that feeds the 2 tubes and if tehy fail you have issues with the TC clutch. The valve body may also cause this.

---So, pick the easy one to start with. As you have another good transmission you are not in dire straights.

Clutch pack wear is gradual and compensated for by the TCU adaptives until you run out and then it slips, no real better or worse, just slips. Clutch piston seals usually just produce delayed shifts which are consequently harsh and an air test will find that.

Pro Tip Political rants belong in the Politics subforum, only!

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Old 11-12-2017, 03:04 PM   #11
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Default Re: pulling away at idle when cold

Misinformation is everywhere whether anyone likes it or not. For instance, here is these forums a member suggested water as a flushing agent in ac condensers. I mentioned politics in America merely to point as much if not more misinformation given as another example of how the misformation highway is made, established, and promoted until people believe it when its wrong. I don't know anyone water flushing vehicle ac system internals and have never read of anyone recommending it anywhere but it was suggested here. If this isn't misinformation........ Youtube videos are full of wannabes misinforming anyone not aware of incorrect info simply because they're not liable until someone is harmed and is traced back to one video. If youtube contents aren't policed and filtered, misinformation is easily spread. I see it when viewing topics I'm interested in. It only takes one frivolous lawsuit to drag down a business, tying up finances to blame anyone else for personal ineptitude when not taking responsibility.

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Old 11-12-2017, 06:04 PM   #12
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Default Re: pulling away at idle when cold

thank you everyone, I'll try and swap the valve bodies this week and I will let you know.

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