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Doc 3/15/2017

1995 Buick Roadmaster Limited 8 Cyl 5.70L

Transmissions & Drivetrains

Why does my transmission take so long to shift from 1st to 2nd gear>

We put another transmission in the Roadmaster. We changed the filter, drained the fluid from the converter, replaced seals and filled with new clean fluid. The problem is that it takes too long to shift from 1st to 2nd. All others work fine, including overdrive. Any thoughts?

1 Answer


Jimm 3/16/2017

Before guessing at transmission problems, check the fluid level (car warmed up, engine running in Park on level ground) and have the PCM scanned for trouble codes FIRST. This guide is meant for problems that do not show up as PCM codes (like shift A&B solenoid failures, for example).

Secondly, put a line pressure gauge ($55 shipped on Ebay, or visit a local trans shop) on the pressure test port and go for a drive to verify proper line pressure. Base pressure at idle in P,N,OD should be around 70psi and around 140psi in R. Max line pressure should be at least 190psi at WOT in 1st or 2nd, 225psi is optimum. If base pressure is low, trans or pump is worn out. If max pressure is low, check EPC solenoid. If reverse is slow to engage, and line pressure does not come up to at least 130psi in reverse, replace the boost valve with a Sonnax boost valve (easy fix in pan).

Common failures on 4L60E, symptom - cause; any possible repair:
1. Slow, slipping or no reverse: "lo-reverse" clutches are worn out, fluid leak in the reverse apply circuit, or broken sunshell. It is possible to help a fluid problem by removing the checkball from its cage in the case in the rear of the trans may help (must remove valvebody), or adding a high-viscosity additive such as Lucas Transmission additive or other seal restorer product. May also have worn boost valve (can replace this by removing the pan).
2. 1-2 shift does not happen at WOT until you let off the gas: If you're lucky, it's a leak in the 2nd gear apply circuit (servo assembly or 1-2 accumulator). Double check by using the pressure gauge and watch for a big drop when the PCM commands 2nd gear. Worst case: poor line pressure rise (see below) and the transmission is worn out. This is the most likely case.
3. 1-2 Shift shudder at WOT; delayed or abnormal 1-2 shift; There's a problem ONLY on the 1-2 shift: 1-2 accumulator piston cracked or stuck cocked in the bore. Check the yellow spring inside the accumulator housing for breakage. Also, if the accumulator housing walls are scored, the housing must be replaced. Easy fix in the pan.
4. 1-2 shift is delayed and harsh, may not shift into OD: Check TPS (throttle position sensor) for smooth and linear electrical response over the entire range of motion. If not, replace.


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