4T65E Transmission problem: How much time do I have?

SlowBoating

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2006 Lucerne CX
My 2006 Lacrosse has an intermittent issue with the Forward Apply Band. The first time I turn onto a major road in the morning, I get the issue where the car barely moves for a few seconds before banging into 1st gear. This doesn't happen every day, and only when the car was sitting and isn't warmed up. It probably happens 3 times out of 10, because I usually take it very easy.

The car has 136000 miles. Anyone have an opinion on how long the trans can last in this case? Will it just refuse to move altogether one day, or will it progressively get worse?

Thanks!
 

Arthur_Davies

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2006 Lacrosse CX
What are your hopes for the vehicle? Are you just hoping to keep it running as you save up for a new transmission or a new vehicle? I don't have a specific answer to your question about the Lacrosse, it just seems that transmission is on borrowed time, and I guess the question you have, really, is how you want to use that time. How much do you use the car?
 

SlowBoating

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What are your hopes for the vehicle? Are you just hoping to keep it running as you save up for a new transmission or a new vehicle? I don't have a specific answer to your question about the Lacrosse, it just seems that transmission is on borrowed time, and I guess the question you have, really, is how you want to use that time. How much do you use the car?
I would do a new trans or rebuild if I have to, but I am trying to game out how long it will take for me to be forced to do it.

If someone says "I drove mine like that for years", then I would probably just leave it be until I am ready to get something else. At that point, I would probably try to rebuild it myself since I like to work on my cars and I could take my time.

If someone says "that trans is almost done" then I would start saving for a rebuild in the near future.
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2007LucerneCXL

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It's difficult to give accurate information on a failing component especially not knowing its current condition or driving conditions its being used in. Hills, flat lands, stop go, highway, around town, etc might be additional items that could be another factor in length of usage.

Hopefully someone may have had the experience to advise but even some of the best transmission shops may only have a guess.

Google "Forward Apply Band" and you will see additional information on the problem, solution and posts in other forums.
 

Globetrot1

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LaCrosse CX, (2008, 3800 Series III V6 ); previously: Regal Custom coupe (1992, 3800 Series I V6)
How do you know it's the "forward apply band?" Did a code reader give you this specific information?

It's hard to know, but, also, don't rule out other things. Sometimes, a sensor in another area (throttle position, accelerator position, etc.) can make the car shift strangely. I've read this on some forums because my car has a few quirks.

Also, across 136,000 miles, how often has the transmission fluid been changed? I have been a big believer in this, even if a little more often than recommended. I have had them done for $ 169 at the dealer. Is it a clear, paler pink color and free of bubbles or burning smells?

Right now, I'm evaluating what was done for me during my last repair. The car seems to be fine after plugs, plug wires, and a replaced ICM that failed. I got one odd sounding crank/start that seemed just like one of the ones I got when it was about to fail. Just one. I was going to take it on an intermediate length road trip in a few weeks and am cancelling it, even if it starts and runs well.

Also, on that same day, I got a shudder at about 15 mph. I get this about once every 500 miles when pulling away for a light. For the last 20,000 miles! No codes. Nothing weird in the trans. fluid. I have a feeling something in the engine management system is causing it. Could that be the situation with your car? It's always nice when the solution might be less costly and less involved.
 

SlowBoating

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2006 Lucerne CX
How do you know it's the "forward apply band?" Did a code reader give you this specific information?

It's hard to know, but, also, don't rule out other things. Sometimes, a sensor in another area (throttle position, accelerator position, etc.) can make the car shift strangely. I've read this on some forums because my car has a few quirks.

Also, across 136,000 miles, how often has the transmission fluid been changed? I have been a big believer in this, even if a little more often than recommended. I have had them done for $ 169 at the dealer. Is it a clear, paler pink color and free of bubbles or burning smells?

Right now, I'm evaluating what was done for me during my last repair. The car seems to be fine after plugs, plug wires, and a replaced ICM that failed. I got one odd sounding crank/start that seemed just like one of the ones I got when it was about to fail. Just one. I was going to take it on an intermediate length road trip in a few weeks and am cancelling it, even if it starts and runs well.

Also, on that same day, I got a shudder at about 15 mph. I get this about once every 500 miles when pulling away for a light. For the last 20,000 miles! No codes. Nothing weird in the trans. fluid. I have a feeling something in the engine management system is causing it. Could that be the situation with your car? It's always nice when the solution might be less costly and less involved.
True, the forward apply band is just a guess from the reading I have done. In my reading, I have not seen any codes mentioned associated with this symptom, and I don't have a reader capable of doing the transmission codes either.

I only just got the car, but when I did change the fluid the first time, the old stuff was still redish tinted and didn't smell burnt (and I have smelled burnt fluid, it's very obvious). The car was also leaking trans fluid from the cooler connectors, which was since repaired.
 

2007LucerneCXL

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Post back when you actually have a confirmed problem with codes.
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SlowBoating

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Post back when you actually have a confirmed problem with codes.
I actually have a confirmed problem, no code needed. I was just looking for others who had the same issues in the past and wondering how long it lasted if they drove it like that.

From all the reading I have done on the forward apply band, there doesn't seem to be an associated code.
 

Mad_Coachman

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I actually have a confirmed problem, no code needed. I was just looking for others who had the same issues in the past and wondering how long it lasted if they drove it like that.

From all the reading I have done on the forward apply band, there doesn't seem to be an associated code.
Have you tried the diagnostic in Chiltons?
 

2007LucerneCXL

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Sorry but you said it was a guess so I assumed it's never been inspected by a shop. If you feel it's the problem then all the details point that it's not long before it will fail. But getting a transmission scan may confirm that it is the only problem or possibly another issue just something to consider. The Pressure Control Solenoid can also cause the 1st gear launch, feels like a neutral drop from a dead stop, TSB 08-07-30-040C.
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SlowBoating

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2006 Lucerne CX
Sorry but you said it was a guess so I assumed it's never been inspected by a shop. If you feel it's the problem then all the details point that it's not long before it will fail. But getting a transmission scan may confirm that it is the only problem or possibly another issue just something to consider. The Pressure Control Solenoid can also cause the 1st gear launch, feels like a neutral drop from a dead stop, TSB 08-07-30-040C.
No you are right it is a guess. I am not looking for a diagnosis in this thread though, just looking for anecdotal data on how long people drive with this issue, no matter the cause.

I did find posts on another site that indicate that people have driven many miles with intermittent slam-banging into first, so I feel like I can safely do so as well for the time being.
 

Mad_Coachman

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Good luck. I "drove around" my shifting issues with my 4T65e for a few months but once I got in there and installed the updated springs and spacers in the accumulator I could kick myself for waiting so long. If I was using the car for commuting I would have done it much sooner.
Did you at least change your fluid and filter?
 

HotZ28

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I had the same problem with a '94 LeSabre years ago, mostly when it sit overnight with ambient temps below 50°. I found out that if you shift into 1st gear, it increases line pressure to help overcome the problem. I drove the car for several years like that before trading.
 

SlowBoating

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Good luck. I "drove around" my shifting issues with my 4T65e for a few months but once I got in there and installed the updated springs and spacers in the accumulator I could kick myself for waiting so long. If I was using the car for commuting I would have done it much sooner.
Did you at least change your fluid and filter?
Oh yeah, I did the fluid (twice now) with lubegard, new filter, and I also did the shift kit which has so far eliminated the issue where the car would increase line pressure to maximum.

My only issue now is the infrequent thing where it bangs into first gear from a stoplight. Shift kit can't fix that one, I guess.
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Mad_Coachman

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Lubegard did absolutely nothing for me. My last car would seem to slip out of gear momentarily If I had to make a sudden stop and bang if I tried to get right back on the gas. It was a '97 Olds 88 with the 4T60e. I learned to drive around the issue until I sold it. It wasn't an issue in normal driving.
 

G-966407

Your issue with the trans is similar to mine in my 2009 lacrosse super ls4 V8. As you described when taking off from a light, the car basically neutral drops and then slips into 1st gear. GM set the line pressures basically to almost zero from the factory. I have to shift into 1st manually to get going from a light. It raises line pressure so that you can get going easier. But it can also be the pressure control solenoid sticking and causing this issue. Drop the pan and inspect the magnet for fine shavings and change the fluid ONLY if it is burnt or smells burnt. Do NOT do a flush especially @ 136k that trans could be on borrowed time. Good luck!
 

Globetrot1

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LaCrosse CX, (2008, 3800 Series III V6 ); previously: Regal Custom coupe (1992, 3800 Series I V6)
GM set the line pressures basically to almost zero from the factory. I have to shift into 1st manually to get going from a light. It raises line pressure so that you can get going easier. But it can also be the pressure control solenoid sticking and causing this issue. Drop the pan and inspect the magnet for fine shavings and change the fluid ONLY if it is burnt or smells burnt. Do NOT do a flush especially @ 136k that trans could be on borrowed time. Good luck!
This is important. It's good you mention this. If a person doesn't know the history, the car has a lot of miles, and/or the transmission service has been neglected, do NOT flush the transmission. Do NOT let the adviser, tech, or oil change jockey sell you that the torque converter fluid will be fully flushed out with the flush option. Stick with the dropping of the pan and changing the fluid and the filter old school style.

About 15 years ago, a service advisor told me that, just as I was doing, you can do a drop, drain, change filter every 30,000 with NO flush and the transmission should last a very long time, barring other issues like a sensor or a solenoid. That transmission went almost 300,000 miles using that maintenance schedule I learned as a teenager.
 
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