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Old 12-01-2010, 10:46 PM   #1
Leonard1818
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2004 VUE 3.5L
Default 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Hey everyone.

In reading the forums I think I've found an answer for the problem we have had with our vue since buying it. It seems to hesitate or studder right around 35 or 40 MPH (right around 3rd gear?).

Sounds like #PIP3713B (found in a different thread).

I want to get some routine maintenance done on the vehicle. It's at 90,000 miles and it needs things like plugs, tranny fluid, timing belt etc. So I turn to the forums with the following questions:

1. It REALLY sounds like we're experiencing TSB #PIP3713B (see below). At 90,000 miles, I doubt there's anything GM is going to do about this. Is this a fair assumption?

2. Let's assume GM is NOT going to do anything. Is it worth me at least asking them to flash the PCM? I would think even if they are not willing to replace the tq converter, perhaps they will flash the PCM and the problem will go away or lessen?

3. If I don't pay to replace the torque converter at this time, will this problem be detremental down the line?

4. I'm thinking about transmission service. At 90K, would I need the full transmission service (pressurized) or just a simple drain and fill?

5. Will a drain and fill do ANYTHING to help the studdering between 35-40MPH?

Any input is GREATLY appreciated. I wish they would fix this issue for us but seeing as we're at 90K miles, I doubt they will do anything. I'm hoping to at least get the PCM reflashed for free but I don't even know if that will help or if it will actually hurt the issue. Also any input on drain/fill vs. full transmission service? Thanks in advance!

Here's that TSB for reference:




Torque Converter Shudder - keywords chuggle hesitation PCM PWM reflash reprogram surge vibrate #PIP3713B - (11/28/2006)



Models: 2004-2005 Saturn Vue

equipped with a 5AT transmission




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

This PI was superseded to include more keywords in eSI per request. Please discard PIP3713A.


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

The following diagnosis might be helpful if the vehicle exhibits the symptom(s) described in this PI.

Condition/Concern:
The vehicle that is equipped with a 5AT transmission shudders or vibrates while driving between 35 and 40 MPH.

To confirm the customer's complaint, test drive the vehicle on a smooth road, preferably one with a slight uphill incline. Set the cruise control speed between 35 and 40 MPH, and monitor the engine RPM using the vehicle's tachometer, or use the Tech 2 to take a snapshot of engine RPM.

Recommendation/Instructions:
Replace the torque converter and reflash the PCM. The new calibration for the 5AT transmission will be any superseded calibration available at this time.

Please follow this diagnostic or repair process thoroughly and complete each step. If the condition exhibited is resolved without completing every step, the remaining steps do not need to be performed.

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Old 12-02-2010, 12:38 AM   #2
chillin05VUE
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Have you changed the trany fluid. GM says to change it at 100k miles but Honda says to change it every 15-20k miles.

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Old 12-02-2010, 01:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

I would strongly suggest a flush, rather than a drain/refill. It will remove far more of the dirty fluid and will save you money versus the 3 drain/fill services many on this board have done.
As far as the software update, it is a good idea but beware that on the older Honda VUEs (04-05 IIRC) with the 4th gear pressure switch that is mounted vertically I have had several that tripped a check engine lamp immediately after flashing. A new sensor is cheap and fixed the code, but it is rather odd that it only sets the code with the old sensor after the reflash. Also, on the Tech2 it states it is a THIRD gear pressure switch problem, when it actuality it is the 4th
+1 to changing the fluid every 35-50k miles, depending upon your driving style. 100k is just asking for trouble. And speaking of mileage, you are approx 4 years and 54,000 miles out of warranty. It would not be at all reasonable to expect any assistance from GM, especially considering they didn't even manufacture the powertrain on your VUE. Just my 2 cents

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Old 12-02-2010, 08:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Have a look at what I have written in this thread:

"For those that have experienced torque converter failures (3.5L)"


It should be evident to everybody by now that our transmission is flawed and that using Z1 fluid does not work 100%.
I think an oil cooler is necessary because the transmission runs too hot, and a thicker viscosity ATF is better. This is based on this experience: 3 days ago I added 24 oz of Lucas Transmission Fix and it solved the issue for me. I drive the car everyday and it now feels like I have a new transmission...

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Old 12-02-2010, 09:38 AM   #5
Leonard1818
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by chillin05VUE View Post
Have you changed the trany fluid. GM says to change it at 100k miles but Honda says to change it every 15-20k miles.
You know, I bought the car at about 75,000 miles. My father-in-law says he usually has transmission fluid changed around 50K but he doesn't have the maint. records for the car so I can't say with 100% certainty that it has EVER been changed. With that said, I plan on doing at least a drain/fill.

I'm usually on a 30K mile schedule with all of my Hondas (drain/fill).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoparNut View Post
I would strongly suggest a flush, rather than a drain/refill. It will remove far more of the dirty fluid and will save you money versus the 3 drain/fill services many on this board have done.
If I do anything it's going to be a flush or one drain/fill. I don't have the time to go thru several drain/fill cycles (much less the money!). The independent shop must have been quoting a flush at about $150. Does this seem right? They're usually really fair with pricing but I've never had a flush service done on a transmission so I don't know what pricing would be like.

Quote:
As far as the software update, it is a good idea but beware that on the older Honda VUEs (04-05 IIRC) with the 4th gear pressure switch that is mounted vertically I have had several that tripped a check engine lamp immediately after flashing. A new sensor is cheap and fixed the code, but it is rather odd that it only sets the code with the old sensor after the reflash. Also, on the Tech2 it states it is a THIRD gear pressure switch problem, when it actuality it is the 4th
I may investigate the software flash a bit more. I don't want it to trigger a CEL though. I'm not extremely mechanically inclined so I would likely just take it to a garage to do any pressure switch replacement (obviously a reflash is not a DIY job either lol).

Quote:
+1 to changing the fluid every 35-50k miles, depending upon your driving style. 100k is just asking for trouble. And speaking of mileage, you are approx 4 years and 54,000 miles out of warranty. It would not be at all reasonable to expect any assistance from GM, especially considering they didn't even manufacture the powertrain on your VUE. Just my 2 cents
I will have the fluid done soon. I just need to determine if it needs a drain/refill or a flush. Would there be any potential issues with dong a flush at this point? I hear there are internal filters in the Honda transmission. Would these be effected negatively by a flush?

To be honest, I agree with you about the warranty thing. Obviously I'm out of warranty however I wouldn't think it to be *too* insane to question if GM would do something about it... The way I see it, this is a KNOWN problem that they've admitted to (I see anything they issue a TSB for to be a "known" issue). This would be similar to the gas cap issue that I've been seeing lately. Except with that issue, they did come out and extend the warranty for that particular part. I don't think it to be unreasonable to question if they've extended the warranty for this issue as well. Further, I don't really care WHO they sourced the part from, they provided the vehicle so be it their part or hondas, I would expect them to take ownership of it. That would be like you buying a computer from dell, it dies and they say "Well, we got the processor fron intel so it's not really our problem..."

Don't get me wrong, I agree... it's out of warranty so it's my problem at this point. If the warranty was not extended, so be it. I have heard of some places doing "goodwill" work on something that is SLIGHTLY out of warranty (however I wouldn't fall into this category) and it would be nice as this car is starting to get on my nerves... but I'm not going to get too hung up on anything but ensuring that my pregnant wife is safe this winter and won't get stranded. I just need to know what my best course of action is without spending a ton of money unnecessarily but also getting the work done to fix the problem.

I greatly appreciate your input as you seem to have first-hand experience with this type of issue. Thank you VERY much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olivier View Post
Have a look at what I have written in this thread:

"For those that have experienced torque converter failures (3.5L)"


It should be evident to everybody by now that our transmission is flawed and that using Z1 fluid does not work 100%.
I think an oil cooler is necessary because the transmission runs too hot, and a thicker viscosity ATF is better. This is based on this experience: 3 days ago I added 24 oz of Lucas Transmission Fix and it solved the issue for me. I drive the car everyday and it now feels like I have a new transmission...

Olivier
Vue 2005 3.5l FWD

Olivier, thanks for your input as well! I will have a look at your thread and take all experience into consideration when determining what course of action to take.

I welcome any further input as well. The facts are:

-- I don't know when the transmission fluid was last changed
-- I need to determine if I should do a flush or drain/fill (I've got one vote for flush!)
-- I then need to determine if $150 is reasonable for a flush service.
-- Finally, I need to determine if I should pursue a reflash or if that will compound the problem.

Thanks again to all who took the time to post replies!

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Old 12-02-2010, 09:38 AM   #6
1saxman
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Olivier; just curious, but how did you get 24 oz of fluid in the trans without raising the level too high?

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Old 12-02-2010, 10:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Leonard...do yourself a favor... get the fluid done.. pronto! And you need to drain/fill 3 times.. otherwise, what's the point.. you only remove 4.5 out of 12 or so quarts with a single drain/fill...
Secondly.. from what i've read, Honda does NOT recommend a flush.. due to the sensitivity of the internal parts.. so beware. Others will probably chime in on this....

My wife's 2004 Vue had problems at around 75k a while back, and the fluid change took care of the noises/vibrations, etc. Unfortunately this past a summer i had to get it rebuilt at 145k ...
This could probably have been avoided if I didn't follow the Saturn recommendation of 100K .. The tranny guy told me these tranny's run very hot, and need to be changed every 30k t 50k or so...depending on your driving profile.

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Old 12-02-2010, 12:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlc5 View Post
Leonard...do yourself a favor... get the fluid done.. pronto! And you need to drain/fill 3 times.. otherwise, what's the point.. you only remove 4.5 out of 12 or so quarts with a single drain/fill...
Secondly.. from what i've read, Honda does NOT recommend a flush.. due to the sensitivity of the internal parts.. so beware. Others will probably chime in on this....

My wife's 2004 Vue had problems at around 75k a while back, and the fluid change took care of the noises/vibrations, etc. Unfortunately this past a summer i had to get it rebuilt at 145k ...
This could probably have been avoided if I didn't follow the Saturn recommendation of 100K .. The tranny guy told me these tranny's run very hot, and need to be changed every 30k t 50k or so...depending on your driving profile.
MLC5, thank you!

I am taking the car in for plugs and a DRAIN/FILL tomorrow. I called Honda and spoke to them. I like my local honda dealership and have been dealing with them for some time. They know me (I'm the idiot who stores a civic for the winter ) and I asked them about it. He said that Honda NEVER recommends flushing their transmissions (EVER). My family has owned many hondas and many have seen 200,000+ miles. They've never been flushed (to my knowledge).

I'm going to go with the drain/fill this time around. If it doesn't get all of the fluid, then I'll have to go back when my wallet recovers. I think the recommended procedure is drain/fill, drive for a few hundred miles. Drain/fill drive for a few hundred miles, drain/fill. Is this correct?

FWIW, I passed on getting the transmission on our Grand Am SE flushed as I've read the same thing on the GA forums about the internal tranny parts not being too happy with the flushing process. Personally, I've driven hondas my entire life (OK, so my entire DRIVING life which has only been about 12 years) and I've done tranny fluid on one of them (Acura RSX-S) it was easier than an oil change and seemed to smoothen up the shifting (placebo effect, maybe?). Point is, I've never heard of Honda recommending a flush of the transmission (where you hook it up to a pressurized machine). The term "flush" as used on my Acura forums (and IIRC in the manual) meant to unscrew the fill bolt, undo the drain bolt, drain fluid out, pour a qt of fluid in, let it drain all the way out, put another in, let it drain all the way out (a 3rd is optional), then replace drain bolt, fill to spec, replace fill bolt and good to go.

I still welcome input and experiences with pressurized flushes.

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Old 12-02-2010, 12:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlc5 View Post
Leonard...do yourself a favor... get the fluid done.. pronto! And you need to drain/fill 3 times.. otherwise, what's the point.. you only remove 4.5 out of 12 or so quarts with a single drain/fill...
Secondly.. from what i've read, Honda does NOT recommend a flush.. due to the sensitivity of the internal parts.. so beware. Others will probably chime in on this....

My wife's 2004 Vue had problems at around 75k a while back, and the fluid change took care of the noises/vibrations, etc. Unfortunately this past a summer i had to get it rebuilt at 145k ...
This could probably have been avoided if I didn't follow the Saturn recommendation of 100K .. The tranny guy told me these tranny's run very hot, and need to be changed every 30k t 50k or so...depending on your driving profile.
mlc5 - I'll point out that Saturn recommends ATF service at 100K if vehicle is operated under "normal" conditions.

My 2005 Vue (V6) owners manual recommends ATF service on a 25K mile schedule for severe service. Their definition of severe service probably describes how majority of Vue owners use the vehicle.

Here's definition from 2005 manual:

Severe service is when the vehicle is mainly driven under one or more of these conditions:
− In heavy city traffic where the outside temperature regularly reaches 90F (32C) or higher.
− In hilly or mountainous terrain.
− When doing frequent trailer towing.
− Uses such as found in taxi, police, or delivery service.

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Old 12-02-2010, 12:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
mlc5 - I'll point out that Saturn recommends ATF service at 100K if vehicle is operated under "normal" conditions.

My 2005 Vue (V6) owners manual recommends ATF service on a 25K mile schedule for severe service. Their definition of severe service probably describes how majority of Vue owners use the vehicle.

Here's definition from 2005 manual:

Severe service is when the vehicle is mainly driven under one or more of these conditions:
− In heavy city traffic where the outside temperature regularly reaches 90F (32C) or higher.
− In hilly or mountainous terrain.
− When doing frequent trailer towing.
− Uses such as found in taxi, police, or delivery service.
Hey there!

I was looking fwd to you chiming in here...

any futher input besides the obvious "Leonard, you really really need to get your ATF changed ASAP" lol?

While I've got your attention, what do you feel about changing the RDM fluid and/or Transfer assembly fluid? Are these critical at 90K?

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Old 12-02-2010, 01:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard1818 View Post
Hey there!

I was looking fwd to you chiming in here...

any futher input besides the obvious "Leonard, you really really need to get your ATF changed ASAP" lol?

While I've got your attention, what do you feel about changing the RDM fluid and/or Transfer assembly fluid? Are these critical at 90K?
I intend to stick to severe service intervals for RDM (50K) and PTO (25K).

I'm a fluid changing idiot but I sort of think it'll be cheaper in the long run.

Please don't ask if I intend to change the timing belt at 50K (severe service suggested). I might let that slide until 75K (at minimum).

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Old 12-02-2010, 02:01 PM   #12
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
I intend to stick to severe service intervals for RDM (50K) and PTO (25K).

I'm a fluid changing idiot but I sort of think it'll be cheaper in the long run.

Please don't ask if I intend to change the timing belt at 50K (severe service suggested). I might let that slide until 75K (at minimum).
Yeah, the other 2 are on my "to do" list and hopefully soon. I will do plugs and tranny drain/fill. Next comes T-belt (hard pill to swallow) and finally RDM and Transfer assy fluid.

I'm debating if I should do the coolant flush (again, is this a drain/fill or a FLUSH?) and water pump when I get the t-belt done... Dealer wants $685 for coolant/T-belt and $960 for coolant/T-belt/h2o pump.

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Old 12-03-2010, 08:10 AM   #13
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
Olivier; just curious, but how did you get 24 oz of fluid in the trans without raising the level too high?
Saxman, I just drained about 24 oz of ATF before putting the stuff in, but I think the actual ATF level is not too critical as long as you have the minimum. I know I am still a bit high but it is difficult to measure correctly.

Olivier

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Old 12-03-2010, 04:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olivier View Post
Saxman, I just drained about 24 oz of ATF before putting the stuff in, but I think the actual ATF level is not too critical as long as you have the minimum. I know I am still a bit high but it is difficult to measure correctly.

Olivier
I suspect you are right for the most part regarding fluid level. Too low is a bad thing however too full should not cause damage. I assume too full will just cause it to blow out of the vents and make an unnecessary mess. the 4 times I've done our fluid I was sure to keep it pretty much right at the top line on the dipstick.

Overfilling could possibly cause undue stress on seals, but I doubt it. Regardless of stress on seals or an oily mess its easy to avoid. Don't over fill it.

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Old 12-05-2010, 12:26 AM   #15
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrtube View Post
I suspect you are right for the most part regarding fluid level. Too low is a bad thing however too full should not cause damage. I assume too full will just cause it to blow out of the vents and make an unnecessary mess. the 4 times I've done our fluid I was sure to keep it pretty much right at the top line on the dipstick.

Overfilling could possibly cause undue stress on seals, but I doubt it. Regardless of stress on seals or an oily mess its easy to avoid. Don't over fill it.
Too full WAS the problem with mine. As soon as I drained enough to get it back into the correct range it shifted and drove perfectly. No more studdering.

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Old 12-07-2010, 07:51 PM   #16
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

$150 is quite reasonable for a flush. As far as flushing machines go, it depends on how it operates; if it uses the pump internal to the transaxle to move the fluid (such as the machine made by MOC that we use) then it basically takes the place of the cooler temporarily and cannot harm the trans. If it forces the fluid through with it's own pump I suppose it might not be great, but since the trans can generate over 300 psi I doubt it would hurt.

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Old 12-08-2010, 11:33 AM   #17
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Default Re: 3.5 V6 AWD transmission (TSB?)

Thanks MoparNut for the insight.

I ended up just doing a drain/fill per the recommendation of Honda (they do not recommend pressurized flushing of any of their trannies ever). I'll probably do another drain/fill in the spring as I don't think doing just one gets all the fluid out (?)

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