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Ok, so I got a 1994 vulcan with 163k miles on it, runs pretty good or it did until the abnormaly cold winter NY is having started. When the extreme cold started the car started to act like crap, mainly the tranny not the car. First it wont shift out of first for a couple blocks, after limping for a couple of blocks going about 20-25 in first gear it starts to shift thourgh the gears but not smooth shifts, not to bad for up shifts the 2nd to 1st shift is bad makes me slide forwards in the seat sometimes and on top of the crappy shifting my speedo dont work. AFter the car gets hot and stays hot for a while I duno like 40 minutes or so it starts to act ok and speedometer starts to work. So the tranny has been doing really well up until this started i did have the needle bouncing a bit on the speedo for a while though it started to bounce a lot more when the cold started. I have flushed the tranny every year or so with quaker state 4x4 syntheic tranny fluid (meets mercon specs) and it was just done last about a month ago. I checked teh specs for teh tranny fluid and its not cold enough for it to be a problem according to datasheet it should be good til -40F almost got to 0F at some points but never did the level of fluid is fine also. So my thinking is the the VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor ?) went bad since the speedo is controlled by the cable going to the trany and that dont work and i guess the shifts could be bad because the computer has no clue how fast the car is going so its defaulting to some limits that are crappy. I dont know, probably get a new vss soon and try to change the old one hopefully it will fix the problem. Looking for comments or other suggestions, thanks.
 

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Don't want to state the obvious but make sure your not low on fluid also! Tranny fluid expands when warm and might just a little low til it warms up.
 

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The fluid level is within normal limits. You cant really check it when its cold atleast not accuratly. yes the fluid is between the two circles when its cold thats about all you can get from the cold reading. When its hot its pretty full meaning if anything its a bit overfilled then underfilled. Even if it was low wouldnt the speedometer still work? The fluid was my first guess too but it doesnt seem to be the culprit.
 
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Do you normall let the car warm up for a few minutes before going someplace when it's cold - my car acts a little differently in the cold (not really all that bad) but if I let the car warm up until the temp reading is about 1/4 of the way up (normal running for me is about @ 1/2) it drives perfectly. So maybe you just need to let it warm up before driving away. Just my .02.
 

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you should get your speed sensor looked at its probably shot. the same thing happened to me in my 91. it cost me about 150 bucks-parts and labour (CAD) does it slam into a lower gear while coasting?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Warming up the car does nothing to remedy this situation, even if i let the car idle for 40 minutes and its really warm and toasty when i get in it still does the same thing.

Autozone has the speed sensor for 20 bux, is it dificult to replace? What where your symptoms?
 

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Originally posted by qaz-@Jan 19 2004, 10:28 AM
The fluid level is within normal limits. You cant really check it when its cold atleast not accuratly. yes the fluid is between the two circles when its cold thats about all you can get from the cold reading. When its hot its pretty full meaning if anything its a bit overfilled then underfilled. Even if it was low wouldnt the speedometer still work? The fluid was my first guess too but it doesnt seem to be the culprit.
Whoops! I didn't mean to suggest that low tranny fluid would cause all those problems only some. It is curious that the tranny and speedo act ok after a while. Any chance there is some sort of ice buildup possibly in the wiring of the speed sensor causing a short ,then when it warms and melts the ice it acts normal ?
 

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sound like the exact problem i was having. it would stick at about 20-25, then slam into 2nd. same thing for third. and the speedo would stop working when it started acting up. it was the vss, and i am pretty sure thats the problem you are having as well. it was like 150 to get it fixed at the shop.
 

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It just so happens that my '96 GL started doing the same thing a couple of days ago. Everything runs perfectly for about 10 miles. Then the speedo starts getting erratic and the tranny starts shifting real rough.

Is the VSS the fix? My tranny has already been rebuilt twice and I'm not looking forward to having it done a third time...

Mike
 

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Speed sensor or the ATF...

When I put my ('92) AXODE tranny back in my car I didn't get the speed sensor in just right. It wouldn't shift right at all; acted just like described above, but I knew right away what the problem was. That was a quick and easy fix for me.

But --- someone said "maybe the ATF"... Could be in that VERY COLD weather. My AMSOIL Universal ATF has a "Pour Point" of -56C (-69F) degrees. Thats for a high quality synthetic ATF. Regular ATF can't handle that cold of temps; it'll start getting stiff like it's thicker at some point. I don't know what kind of ATF you use or what it's "Pour Point" is, but if your local temps are getting way down there and your ATF is old, it could have something to do with your problem.
Key word here is "COULD", like just maybe, or would not rule it out completly.

So check the dip stick and see if the ATF feels thick and gooey. That's a cheap and easy check.
 

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Originally posted by JCC@Jan 31 2004, 08:20 PM
Drop the exhaust and back of subframe to reach the VSS. Shop time would be pretty high on this.
Looks like it won't be too hard to reach the VSS from under the hood on my '96 GL. Might have to go thru a few contortions though.

AutoZone wants to know if my instrument cluster is electronic or mechanical, but they show the same part number for either. O'Reilly's shows a different part number for mechanical or electronic.

Which is it? <_<
 
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