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> 2005 S60 T5 Transmission Problem, intermittent hard shifting and occasional slip
bigbasinguy
post Feb 7 2011, 08:04 PM
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Drives: 2005 S60 T5



Hello group,

I have a 2005 S60 T5 with an R engine that has 70.5K miles on it. It started up and downshifting a bit hard between 2nd and 3rd, sometimes 1st and 2nd when accelerating moderately or coasting to a stop respectfully in drive, and downshifted harder than one would expect from 3rd to 2nd in Geartronic mode, once slamming into 2nd from 3rd alarmingly hard. There is also another problem which appears to occur when I am in drive on a downhill slope giving enough gas to drive the wheels and then lighten up on the gas. The transmission appears to slip before upshifting, then upshifts very hard into a higher gear.

My mechanic inspected the transmission for any visible external leaks thinking I might possibly be low on transmission fluid, didn't find any, and then advised me to take it to the dealer because he saw several technical service bulletins posted regarding software updates to address hard transmission shifting issues.

I brought it into the dealer in Palo Alto, CA and they charged me $234 to diagnose the problem. They said they didn't find any error codes logged and tried to make it sound like they did me a big favor and said they got Volvo to allow them to update the software at no additional charge. They told me it was "shifting pretty good" and if I noticed any problems my only option was to have the tranny replaced with a factory rebuilt one at a cost of $5k-$6K. I don't consider it a diagnosis to tell me they don't see any error codes and if I have a tranny problem the only solution they can provide is to replace the tranny but this just is on par with my previous Volvo dealership experiences and just one more strike for dealer service and IMHO Volvo as a company.

On the way home it appeared that the transmission now shifted pretty smoothly on moderate acceleration from a stop through all of the gears so I guess I got something for my $234, but I can still feel it shift harder than I think it should into 1st somewhere between 10 and 2 MPH with a thump in the break pedal and the back of my seat when I decelerate at a coast with light brake pressure. I notice however if I force the deceleration faster by breaking harder to a stop, the gear transition seems much smoother. Another issue I am seeing is that when I get to the top of the hill I take going home, after stopping at the stop sign, when I accelerate from the stop on the downside of the hill and the car wants to go a bit too fast, when I lighten up on the gas, the transmission still seemed to slip then slam moderately hard into the next higher gear. I have seen this type of behavior intermittently before in instances where I am on a down slope and I lighten my foot up on the gas pedal.

One side note that may completely be a red herring, but maybe not is that I did have a weird intermittent problem a while back with the gas gauge going to zero and then coming right back to where it should be if I cycle the car off and then on again. This was clearly not a stuck sensor because cycling the power immediately restores the guage reading. I wiggled the computer boards and the problem stopped and has not surfaced for four months now. Wondering if the transmission problems however could possibly be a intermittent issue with a control computer connection or so far unaddressed or unacknowledged issue with the software? I am therefore at this time not convinced that even if I were prepared to pay $6K to have the dealer drop a rebuilt tranny in, that it would necessarily solve my problem. If I did that I could be $6k poorer and the dealer might tell me the car is shifting normally and they don't see any problems again as they did after they did a diagnosis and I picked it up.

Any insights or advice will be much appreciated.
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FCPGroton
post Feb 16 2011, 08:04 PM
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Well, they don't call them stealerships for nothing.

Anyway, have you considered flushing the transmission with new fluid?
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bigbasinguy
post Feb 16 2011, 08:39 PM
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Drives: 2005 S60 T5



I did and had brought it into a transmission shop that came highly recommended to get their assessment the other day, and after a test ride the mechanic suggested that it might solve the problem of might possibly make it worse. He suggested doing that first if I was tight on money but thought that it was likely an indication that the valve body was starting to malfunction.

On the way home from the shop, it did a pretty significant gear shift flair on an uphill grade, the check engine light came on, it threw a torque converter did not engage error code and went into limp home mode. I had it towed back to the shop and unfortunately they are now in the process of tearing down the tranny to see what's going on. May just be the torque converter but there may also be issues with the valve body. They are going to send the valve body over to the rebuild shop they work with and have them bench test it, so I don't know exactly how bad things are but I do know it is going to cost me some significant $$$ to resolve.

Thanks for your comment.
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CostingMeThrough...
post Feb 18 2011, 05:04 PM
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Drives: 2003 Volvo S60T



I had a similar problem. But the tranny would not shift into 4th and would flare in and out of 3rd somewhat. I swapped out the fluid and drained from the radiator...12 quarts later all is running properly again. Took about 2 1/2 hours because I would get air bubbles every 1/2 quart instead of the 2 quarts I hear so many other people getting but so far so good. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Oh, when I took the drained plug out there was no metallic bits to be found. That was a good sign for me. The old fluid was not burned but sure did look like motor oil.
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