2000 Grand Vitara Automatic, First Gear Problem

Tiny
MKURZAWSKI
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 SUZUKI VITARA
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 91,000 MILES
I have a 2000 Grand Vitara automatic with 91k miles on it. I am experiencing an issue with the vehicle being unable to **** into low gear. I have to manually shift it to first when starting out on a hill, pulling out at an intersection, or any time first gear is needed. I took it to a dealer and they initially said it was something called a "drop cable"? They said it was broken and had to be replaced.

I had it replaced but it did not fix the problem. They are now telling me that I need to replace the transmission! But when shifting manually it works fine once the vehicle is up to speed. So if I can shift manually isn’t the transmission Ok?

At one point I went through an automatic car wash and it started working just fine for a day or two then all of a sudden it stopped working and I had to go back to manual shifting. The mechanics I have taken it to are puzzled and so am I. Any Help? Please?
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Friday, March 18th, 2011 AT 3:55 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Honestly, it doesn't sound like it needs replaced. To me it sounds like a problem with a shift solenoid. They are what determine the gear the transmission goes to based on speed, load, conditions. They receive information from the PCM. I would have the 1 - 2 shift solenoid checked. If the trans isn't slipping and the shift is the problem, a sensor or solenoid is causing it.
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Friday, March 18th, 2011 AT 6:41 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Yes, it most likely is a solenoid malfunctioning and since it was able to work for a while, I would suggest checking the wire harness connectors for the solenoids at transmission. It could be loose or lacks continuity due to contaminations or corrosions. Was any scan done to retrieve trouble codes?
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Friday, March 18th, 2011 AT 8:11 PM
Tiny
MKURZAWSKI
  • MEMBER
I did take it to a mechanic in the beginning and he did mention that but said he couldn't order the part and I had to take it to the dealer. The dealer seemed to disagree and then told me about the "Drop Cable" or whatever it's called. Of course replacing the cable involved taking out the transmission and charging me almost $700. Which didn t fix it. (No he didn t charge me, thank god) Is there a way to get new solenoids and replace them myself? I don't suppose it s like changing a light bulb?

As far as trouble codes none of the three mechanics I have taken it too have mentioned it. No trouble lights are lit on the dash but I believe I could get access to one of those computers and check. I'll try that tonight and see what it says. Thank you for all your help!
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Friday, March 18th, 2011 AT 8:46 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Keep us posted of the outcome
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Friday, March 18th, 2011 AT 8:55 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Like KHLow said, let us know. As far as the shift solenoid, they are in the transmission accessable through the trans pan. Not a major ordeal but a little more than changing a lightbulb.
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Saturday, March 19th, 2011 AT 3:45 AM
Tiny
MKURZAWSKI
  • MEMBER
Well a quick update, I did check to see if it was showing a trouble code and nothing. Some diagnostic computer on THAT car let me tell you.

The challenge now is finding the shift solenoids and/or somebody to put them in. All the local places that don't try and sell me a new transmission say they won't touch it. But I do want to thank you all for your replies and advice. They have really helped steer me in the right direction. One quick question though. Is there anything else it could be? I ask because when I describe the situation, most of the mechanics look at me as if I rode short bus all my life.

Is there a fuse or a wire that could be shorted? Or would that show up as an error code? I know that without looking its hard to say but I just wanna make sure I have all my bases covered. Thanks in advance.
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Friday, March 25th, 2011 AT 2:12 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
What is your engine and transmission model (code)?
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Friday, March 25th, 2011 AT 2:32 PM

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