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Discussion Starter #1
I could really use some help on this one. I have a 2011 Cruze with a 1.8 liter. I recently had my Cruze shipped to Hawaii and figured at 140k miles I'd drive it another year or two and trade it in or sell it. I'm on a pretty limited budget because moving to Hawaii is super expensive. My wife was driving my car up a mountain and all of a sudden lost power. The check engine light came on and the abs light came on. She had it towed to the only certified Chevy place on the island which is actually a Toyota dealership. We had it there two days prior for an oil change and it took 3 hours despite having an appointment and the service advisor didn't even know about dexos oil. So my wife sat there for 5 hrs and they told her we needed a new transmission for $7000. I talked to the assistant service manager and asked what the tech did to diagnose the problem. He said they hooked it up to a diagnostic computer and pulled code p0776. He said there may be a bad 3 5 R waved plate but wasn't sure and suggested replacing the trans. I asked him if they had it up on a hoist to do further diagnostics. He said no. So I knew they didn't even check the fluid. I went to the dealership and begrudgingly paid them $87 for something I could of done myself with a $15 scan tool. I drove it home 60 miles up and down hills with no problems. A day or two later I started getting the same issue. In about 4th gear around 40 mph I lose power, it revs way up check engine light comes on followed by service stabilitrac and traction control. I got a scan tool and I'm getting these codes. p0700, p0796 and p0300. It seems like it might just be a solenoid issue. Would that be an expensive fix? I had the trans flushed about 30k ago. Would some seafoam or lucas trans fix and a flush get it to trade in quality? If I had to bite the bullet and have somebody replace the waved plate would it be worth it on a car that only blue books at 5k? Some insight into the issue would be appreciated.
 

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the only certified Chevy place on the island which is actually a Toyota dealership.
Gotta be one of the smaller islands. I think your first problem is who will be doing the work given the service resources are that small? You could barge it over to a bigger island, but that just adds to the repair costs. You might call a repair shop, give them the codes and see if they'll give you a "planning number" for what kind of cost you might be looking at. Most shops are loath to give you a price without the car in hand (for good reason), but I generally find they're willing to give you a number or range so you can figure out what to do. Given your limited options, I think you'll need the "on island" price rather than what we'd normally pay.

And you might also explore what your trade-in options are. I'm thinking your car is way high on the mileage from what the other cars of that age are. So make sure that blue book value is adjusted to your location.


I had the trans flushed about 30k ago.
I'd suggest sticking with fluid changes and skipping flushes in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm on the Big Island, but there is only one Chevy dealer which shares it's service center with its Toyota dealership. Now it won't even go in reverse.
 

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The codes certainly point to a transmission problem, but I can't say what.

p0776 - Pressure Control Solenoid Valve 2 Stuck Off.
p0796 - Pressure Control Solenoid Value 3 Stuck Off.
p0700 - means there's an error from the Transmission Control Module
p0300 - Engine misfire detected (as sensed by the instantaneous speed of the crankshaft position sensor.)

P0796 indicates that the wrong gear ratio was detected when the 4-5-6 clutch was commanded on.
P0776 the conditions to set it seems more convoluted. It controls the pressure on the 3-5-R clutch. But it seems like the computer isn't happy with either the detected gear ratio or the gearbox slip.
p0700 adds no information
p0300 could be caused by the transmission problem.

If you're handy, you might consider changing the transmission fluid according to the DIY post. As you know, one problem with this transmission is there's no dip stick - so you can't see the color or know if you're low on oil. I don't know how these transmissions behave if you have low oil. Maybe it's getting fooled, but I'm looking at the two codes pointing to different valves and clutch packs. Which makes me think it's something common to both - like the oil. I'd think lack of oil would cause low pressure and look like a valve stuck "off". I haven't gone though the other codes to see if there's one for low oil or low pressure.

It's possible you have a slow leak, or your transmission could have been under-filled at the last change.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I was thinking along those lines, probably low or dirty trans fluid. That actually reminds me that last year they replaced a cooler line to my transmission. They had it apart to fix an oil leak from my rear main seal. Then they realized after they put dye in that it was actually the oil cooler dripping down and looking like it was coming from the rear main. They had already fixed it twice before they wised up. It would only happen during a "polar vortex" when it was 30 below zero or colder. I have it at an independent shop that came recommended and they're checking it out tomorrow. Hopefully it is one of those cooler lines because gm repairs are warrantied for a year. It might mess it up because its not a gm certified service center, but I have a legit beef to take up with gm for reimbursement.
 

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The shop I took it to was ok, but not trans specialists. The guy showed me how to check the trans level, which doesn't do me much good without my jack stands here. We both noticed the axle seal leaking a very small amount. They said it probably wasn't the problem, but I heard the auto transmissions are pretty sensitive.
 

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The real question is how it's behaving with that extra half a quart.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It is doing the same old slip and I have the same code. I'm wondering how much pressure that small leak would make me lose. Here is an easier question, how do you get your prior rides to show up?
 

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Here is an easier question, how do you get your prior rides to show up?
I think scan tools pull all codes. Note that history can be cleared (and will clear itself if it goes long enough with no trouble.)
 

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It is doing the same old slip and I have the same code. I'm wondering how much pressure that small leak would make me lose. Here is an easier question, how do you get your prior rides to show up?
Edit your signature block.
 

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Had some good luck and I call this luck with Lucas AT seal conditioner on high mileage transmission. Kid's 2000 Taurus at 100K miles was using a quart every 700 miles with a front seal leak, poured that in, put another 150K miles on it, never leaked again.

There is another one to restore slipping clutch plates, breaking my old brain now, can't think of the name of it.

Codes are electrical and not mechanical, new problem with electronically controlled transmissions. Found problems with connectors, brake switches, and that neutral safety switch with dirty contacts, use to use a separate AT module, now part of the ECU. They do this to save money for themselves but not the consumer. A friend with a VW, they want 1,300 bucks for a new ECU with AT problems, least they claim that is what the problem is.

Most transmissions have pressure check point to determine the hydraulics, but with FWD inaccessible, rear easy with RWD. For this reason, had my fill with FWD AT's, and just never ever want another one. These are miserable to remove.

Another one of my kids was told he needed a rebuilt transmission in his vehicle for the tune of 3,600 bucks due to shifting problems. Can you bring it home, yes dad. Found the neutral safety switch had green contacts and dried up grease, cleaned it and he was find to go.

The reason why they dumped that vacuum modulator and government, an 89 cent microcontroller is a lot cheaper, using much cheaper solenoid valves that also gets rid of that expensive to make control valve.
 
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