Trans or axle?

Tiny
MARKTHELARK
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 BUICK LESABRE
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 208,000 MILES
My 1997 buick lesabre custom won't to into gear. The transmission wasnt showing any signs of slippage. I was driving on the highway and heard two loud thumping noises and the car just died. White smoke is coming from below the engine around the oil stick. I checked the oil it was fine and so is the transmission fluid. Both fluid levels are normal. I went to autozone and used their diagnostic and it said transmission control solenoid and it also needed a map sensor. I wondering if its the cv axle because when I shift gears and put it back into park I hear a grinding noise. Any ideas im dumbfounded and not a mechanic?
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Monday, April 18th, 2011 AT 8:24 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
If the engine died, how did you get to Auto Zone? Did the engine actually stall or did the car just stop moving?
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Monday, April 18th, 2011 AT 8:53 PM
Tiny
MARKTHELARK
  • MEMBER
I borrowed the diagnostic and took it to my car, which was nice of the manager. I was on the highway and heard two loud thumping noise and the car locked up. Got it towed home and then borrowed the diagnostic from autozone. It read map sensor and transmission control solenoid needs replaced. When you change gears the car doesnt move forward or backward at all. When you finally put it into park you hear a grinding noise. Also some white smoke is coming from underneath where the oil dipstick is.
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Monday, April 18th, 2011 AT 9:53 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
That sounds like one of the cv joints broke. If you look underneath, you should see one of the two half shafts hanging down and there might be transmission fluid dripping. That will allow one of the shafts in the transmission to spin when you shift into drive or reverse. The transmission is going but it doesn't know that the car isn't moving. The grinding is from the parking mechanism trying to engage while the transmission is still coasting. In effect what is happening is the same as if you tried to shift into park while the car was still moving.

Replacing a broken half shaft is not the most serious thing to have to do. It can be done by a do-it-yourselfer but if you don't know how to do it, it's best left to a professional. A rebuilt shaft can be found now often for less than $100.00 but could run up to $200.00 depending on the car model and whether or not it has anti-lock brakes. These shafts rarely break without a lot of warning. The first thing to go is one of the rubber boots. That lets the grease spray out and dirt and water can get in. That will be noticed by the guys who change your oil. Later, as wear takes place, the outer joints can make a clicking noise heard mostly when turning and accelerating. You won't hear that noise when driving straight ahead.

In rare instances a spring inside the inner cv joint can break and allow that housing to pop out of the transmission. The spring pressure is what holds it in place. That can happen without warning but it isn't real common.
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Monday, April 18th, 2011 AT 10:30 PM

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