1998 GMC Yukon



March, 24, 2012 AT 6:45 PM

Check engine light came on and code read that solenoids needed to be replaced. Did that, tried to clear code but it came right back on. Tranny was slipping before and after replacing the solenoids. When tranny gets hot it does not go into 3rd and 4th gear, it has to be manually shifted. Took to mechanic who replaced ignition, ignition switch, thoroughly checked all electrial wiring and fuses/relays in vehicle. After two weeks of troubleshooting, he gave the yukon back to us in same condition without charge and a promise to try to find a way to fix the issue. He is still baffled! Only thing not done at this point is replacing the PCM. Would this possibly fix the issue? Any insight would be great. This was a perfect running truck before this happened.


Trans Not Shifting


Not Shifting


3 Answers



March, 24, 2012 AT 6:56 PM

Time to visit a transmission shop. First of all, diagnostic fault codes never say to replace parts. They only indicate the circuit or system that needs further diagnosis. Second, the solenoids only switch different hydraulic circuits on and off. If a solenoid isn't working, the transmission will not shift out of or into a certain gear. Slipping means the solenoid did it's job and engaged a gear but that clutch pack inside the transmission is slipping. At 200,000 miles you got more than your life expectancy from the transmission. Most likely it's time for a rebuild, then another 200,000 miles of driving, but the transmission experts will confirm that.



March, 24, 2012 AT 7:08 PM

Sorry forgot to state that the transmission has been replaced twice, once with rebuild and once with brand new. Same problem exists. Could it be the PCM? Or any other electrical issue?



March, 25, 2012 AT 7:29 AM

Pressure tests will determine why it's slipping, but unless the transmission expert says otherwise, I doubt you have an electrical or computer problem. The solenoids are switched on or off to open and close valves. There's no in between state or partial opening. If a solenoid fails to operate or sticks, the transmission fluid will flow to the wrong clutch pack and the transmission won't shift to the proper gear but it won't slip. Slippage is almost always due to worn clutch plates or leaking seals that prevent sufficient pressure to build up to apply the pistons and squeeze the clutch plates together. With all the transmissions I'm familiar with, computer-controlled or the older hydraulically-controlled, there's no valve switching combination that can leave multiple clutch packs released when it's in reverse or a forward gear.

Your original description about not going into 3rd or 4th gear when warm COULD be due to a solenoid problem, but that is not slipping. Maybe just the terminology is inaccurate. That can also be caused by a sensor problem. Chrysler transmissions, for example, default to second gear, called "limp mode" that allows the vehicle to be driven slowly to a repair shop without needing a tow truck. I haven't heard whether GM uses the same strategy, but if they do, it should shift properly again immediately after stopping and restarting the engine. That will reset the computer.

Besides the pressure tests, your mechanic should be able to watch what's happening with a scanner that displays live data during a test drive. If the proper combination of solenoids aren't being activated at the right times, that rules out a transmission internal problem. If the computer is requesting 3rd gear by switching on a combination of solenoids but the transmission doesn't respond appropriately, that would point to a solenoid problem. Wiring shouldn't be the cause because the computer will detect that and set a fault code.

You also noticed the problem occurs when it's warm. That DOES agree with how a computer problem commonly acts, but you might want to observe how this happens. If you have a computer problem, it would be typical for it to inappropriately downshift out of 3rd or 4th gear while driving at a steady speed on the highway. If there's a valve problem, it will typically fail to up-shift out of 2nd gear as you accelerate. That is not "slipping", and will be electrical in nature. The transmission specialist should be able to narrow down the cause by using the scanner to command the various solenoids on and off through the computer.

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