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I just purchased a used CTS 144457 miles one owner who kept monthly maintenance on the vehicle(supported by carfax info).

after driving it for a month the DIC stated that the transmission fluid is at 39% life. I went to a Cadillac dealership to get a transmission flush, they stated that it would not be a good idea to do this. So what am i suppose to do to keep this car running, I've had no problem with itjust had the oil change by the Cadillac dealship. (but what about the Transmission Fluid life). P.S. did not buy car from the Cadillac dealership from another dealership. Need advice!

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Car suggests a transmission maintenance and the dealer said no? or was this a subtle issue where the dealer would suggest a transmission service but not a transmission flush?


Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black; 2013 Cadillac ATS 2L Turbo Premium (Wife's)

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At 39%, I wouldn't worry too much about getting the fluid changed. The proper method is to drain and refill the trans., not a flush.


Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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In my experience, a transmission flush is a bad idea. Especially if there are no issues with the transmission.

This particular Cadillac dealer seems to be an exceptional one, passing up an opportunity to perform an unneeded service!

Follow KHE's advice and drain & refill the transmission. Then reset the transmission life display on the DIC.

NEVER flush a properly operating transmission. It is a device to generate income for repair shops and can cause more problems than it solves.


Britt

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As stated above, flushes can do more harm than good (specifically on an older/high mileage transmission); your dealer was protecting you AND himself because if you had problems after his flush you'd be likely to bring it back to him (to fix). A drain, new filter and refill is the sound thing to do.


Chuck

'17 XT5, '04 Bravada........but still lusting for that '69 Z-28

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I have good general automotive maintenance knowledge but little knowledge of your car. Others that do know what's up with your car can help if you post to the forum.

My older car has a transmission oil life monitor that never moves from 99% unless the car is overheated badly, the transmission is abused during towing, or something along that line happens. I would assume that a 39% reading on the transmission fluid means that in your car it operates similarly to the engine oil life monitor.

My personal belief is that transmission maintenance should be more often than the dealer recommends; others will disagree. The engine oil life monitor doesn't pop up a warning until it goes to 10% or below, so I don't know what to make of a pop-up with 29% left. And, I believe that 145,000 miles is enough miles to warrant a first transmission service. In any case I would get the fluid serviced and the fluid flushed - at another dealer. Be sure that they use Dexron VI.

There are experienced people on the forum that advise against flushing the fluid. I disagree, except perhaps at small outfits like JiffyLube franchises. Some of us have heard stories about people using machines contaminated with old fluid, sometimes contaminated with debris from failing transmissions, to flush transmissions; Cadillac dealers using GM-certified requirement do not do this, of course. I would not hesitate to get a transmission flush at a dealership.


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-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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The problem with a "flush" is that one simple mistake and you get contaminated fluid in your trans. A flush will not remove the clutch debris in the bottom of the pan like what can be done when the pan is dropped.

Dealers and other shops use a flush machine because it is faster than dropping the pan and they can charge more money for the service. Nowhere in the owner's manual or the factory service manuals is a flush recommended.


Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Kevin - you're right, of course, on both counts. I recommend a flush only in very special circumstances myself:

  • When a transmission filled with Dexron III (models older than the 2006 model year, or that may have had Dexron III used in prior maintenance) and
  • When the first transmission service is made at over 100,000 miles, or at intervals of 100,000 miles or more.

This is no substitute for dropping the pan and cleaning it out, and changing the pickup filter (other filters are in there but not accessible in simple service). Doing conventional servicing just before flushing seems not a good idea to me because cleaning out the pan may leave tiny amounts of loosened debris and I don't know what would happen to that in a flush, so the conventional service should follow the flush with Dexron VI, if you choose to do a flush at all. I would change my mind on that if I heard from someone reliable that had done many 4T80E conventional service procedures followed by a flush, but I don't see this coming because nearly everyone does just one or the other, and even if some conscientious tech did do both he/she would likely do the flush first to avoid flushing a transmission with loosened pan debris.

As for some people using Dexron III in a transmission for models made after the end of 2006, when GM terminated all licenses to manufacture Dexron III at the end of CY 2006, yes, there are what the Navy calls "retrograde techophobes" out there that use green antifreeze and tap water in coolant, single-grade dino oil, and what is now illegally labeled "Dexron III" in newer cars because that always worked for them and they aren't willing to trust their work to changes in their supplies - and that is propagating through newer generations of techs, too. I've had young mechanics argue with me recently about using green antifreeze in my Northstar and all other cars besides because they believed that red antifreeze ate up water pumps. And, I've been struggling with both cars cooling change schedules for years because some otherwise well-thought-of local mechanic put green in both cars without asking or calling, and this was in 2006 or so; as you know, green antifreeze went out after 1995 because a better anti-corrosion and sealing agents were needed for engines with a lot of aluminum in them, which had become near-universal by then. May the Good Lord protect us if some tech puts DOT 3 or older brake fluid in our Cadilacs and we go driving up Mt. Washington and contemplate coming down, or drive through the Rockies or something - but you and I know that this has happened.


CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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i am speaking about the 4t80e trans and no other. i dropped the pan and removed the drain plug and got almost 2 gals of trans fluid out. is draining most of the fluid any more severe than forcefully flushing the fluid out with a machine? flushing just means changing more of the fluid? it does not scour the internals of the trans. i do not follow the reasoning that flushing a high mileage trans loosens debris and causes issues.

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Draining the fluid is not severe at all. You will add new fluid before starting the engine and there is not any load on the clutch packs with the trans. in park or neutral. There will be enough residual oil on the bearings to lube them before the new fluid gets circulated in the trans. This happens very quickly.

As far as the flush - Any clutch debris will accumulate in the lower pan. Flushing stirs some of it it up and circulates it through the trans. Not a good idea.


Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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A good machine flush as done by the GM dealers uses only new fluid on the input lines and replaces *all* of the transmission fluid (except for possibly traces). My apologies to KHE for disagreeing on detail, but flushing shouldn't be any harder on the transmission in terms of debris in the pan than normal operation because driving along on roads with potholes pumps fluid from the pan, through multiple filters and pumps, into the transmission and torque converter, much as the flushing operation does - if the flushing machine operates through normal transmission fluid flow paths.

Flushing that recirculates fluid or uses "filtered" or recycled transmission fluid strikes me as a really bad idea. Although using all-new fluid uses vast amounts of expensive transmission fluid, I can't see wisdom in pumping used transmission fluid into a good transmission. The GM dealer's machines uses all-new fluid. If you have any doubt, ask the mechanic, and if there is any hesitation or ambiguity, don't let them flush your transmission.

Again, note that I see flushing as a positive thing only if the transmission fluid is obviously bad, as when the transmission overtemps or when you are doing the first service at well over 100,000 miles or when the PCM prompts you to service the transmission, or when you want to replace Dexron III with Dexron VI. This is a very expensive alternative to normal service, and it doesn't clean out the pan and change the pickup filter, so normal service is definitely better as a 30,000 mile to 60,000 mile transmission scheduled service plan.

Additives to the transmission fluid that keep the seals supple and condition the clutches as well as performing lubrication functions can eventually become depleted as with engine oil, although transmission fluid is not subjected to blow-by gases as engine oil is. Therefore replacement of the transmission fluid from time to time will extend the life of your transmission. Although conventional servicing doesn't drain about half the fluid, you do replace enough of it to serve the purpose of extending transmission life, and you do clean the pan and change the pickup filter.


CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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09 cad srx 3.6  drove short distance, in D, truck stopped pulling.  suggestions  i would like to change the trans filter and fluid.  now i find theres is no dip stick or filler,  this is been like top secret on how to change the fluid and filter,,,,,h e l p

 

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The 5L40-E/5L50-E used in the 2006 SRX uses a transmission fluid level hole plug.  The FSM shows three locations, depending on model.  The plug is horizontal, just above the oil pan gasket (see figure below).  Full is fluid at the bottom of the hole with the bolt removed.  The FSM says to use a screwdriver as a dipstick to look at and smell the fluid.  Fluid level is supposed to be measured when the fluid is between about 90 F and 120 F, with the car level.  If fluid is OK but low, add fluid until it starts to drain out the inspection hole.

The filter is inside the pan, as with most automatic transmissions.

For the "no drive" condition, the FSM symptom table is dire.  The headings are Forward Clutch Assembly, Forward Clutch Sprag, Fluid Pump, Low Clutch Sprag, and Input and Reaction Carrier (gears).  Perhaps fluid leaked out while the car was sitting and the fluid pump needs a higher fluid level, though.

I believe that 2006 was the last year that you could read out the OBD codes on the dash info center or entertainment center.  If so, you might read the codes and post them here.  If not, a code reader that includes transmission codes (most home DIY code readers just read emissions-related codes) would help, or you can take the car to an Autozone or other shop that offers to read your OBD codes for free.

5L40E-5L50E_fluid_level_hole_plug.png


CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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6L50_Fill_Tube_Plug.pngThe 2009 model year is certainly made after Cadillac stopped allowing the OBD codes to be read through the dashboard.  Also, the 2009 SRX may have the 5L40-E/5L50E or the 6L50/6L80/6L90.  If you noticed whether you have five or six gears before the transmission stopped driving, that can help.  Otherwise, you can use the location of the inspection plug to tell.

In the 6Lx0 transmissions, the transmission oil level inspection plug is on the bottom of the front, flat part of the transmission oil pan (see figure).  From the FSM:

"More information, including an instructional video, can be found at the following GM training websites: www.gmtraining.com: 17041.62V - 6-Speed Automatic Transmission Fluid Checking and Filling Procedures, www.gmtrainingcollege.com: A26021.01T - Check and Fill Procedure for 6-Speed Automatic Transmissions."

By 2009 all GM car and light truck automatic transmissions were using Dexron VI.  Don't use Dexron III in these transmissions.

If you need to add fluid to a 6-speed, use the fill tube plug (see figure).

As you know, checking and filling automatic transmission fluid involves warming up the transmission, cycling the transmission through all the gears, and putting the car on a lift while running.  Or, putting it on jack stands before warming up the transmission etc.  I haven't looked at the videos but they probably have enough to refresh you on everything you need to remember.

6L50_Inspection_Plug.png


CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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got the fill plug out, quarter cup fluid ran out, put the fill plug in cranked and went thru shifter 3 times, while running took fill plug out and fluid started pouring out, 1 1/2 to 2 quarts, I did not expect any to come out, I,m at my whits end, fluid was dirty nothing when I ran a mag thru it

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You have the 6-speed?  It looks like it may have been overfilled, which is a sign that the previous owners were having trouble with it and added fluid trying to fix it.  If you have 4WD, there is a remote possibility that you have a transfer case problem.  But, at this point, there seems to be two ways to go:

  1. Get a used transmission from a recycling yard,
  2. Get the OBD codes and evaluate the future of the car and the cost of a rebuilt transmission.

The OBD codes are important because you can find other problems in the car that may affect your decision.  We can interpret them for you if you post them here.  Be sure and get all of them.  Only a really good laptop-based OBD code reader will get all of them.  They fall in four categories:  powertrain (Pnnnn format, where each n is a number), body (Bnnnn), chassis (Cnnnn) and network (Unnnn).  If all you see are Pnnnn codes, you aren't getting all of them.  The FSM lists about 60 codes to look for from the 6L50/6L80/6L90, all Pnnnn format.  Note that an ordinary DIY code reader that shows emissions-related codes will not show transmission codes.

You will need the exact model of your transmission.  I don't know where the numbers are on your transmission.  The VIN for your car will be associated with the right parts anywhere on the car, though, so write that down first.  With the VIN, and possibly some numbers off the transmission (if any), you can then identify the right recycling yard used transmission or get a realistic quote for an exchange rebuilt transmission.  Or, you can use the VIN to get the right rebuild kit for your transmission; if you decide to rebuild it, understand that you may need sprags and other parts that aren't always part of a kit.  The "no drive" problem could involve the torque converter, too.


CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I found that there is an identification plate on the 6L50/6L80/6L90.  Take a photo of it with your cell phone.  Make sure that it is clear and focused so that you can read everything on it.

 

6L50_Identification_Plate.png


CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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got the fill plug out, quarter cup fluid ran out, put the fill plug in cranked and went thru shifter 3 times, while running took fill plug out and fluid started pouring out, 1 1/2 to 2 quarts, I did not expect any to come out, I,m at my whits end, fluid was dirty nothing when I ran a mag thru it

Follow up, dropped the pan and cleaned it, changed the filter.  Pan had some micro metal.  new filter/fluid.  Runs great shifts great. PROBLEM SOLVED.

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That's wonderful news.  Some micro metal in the pan is normal for any automatic transmission.  It's an old AAMCO trick from the 1960's to show that to a customer to sell a rebuild instead of just a service.

Be sure and check the transmission fluid level according to factory instructions after running it a few days.


CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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On 10/14/2020 at 10:59 PM, krow said:

got the fill plug out, quarter cup fluid ran out, put the fill plug in cranked and went thru shifter 3 times, while running took fill plug out and fluid started pouring out, 1 1/2 to 2 quarts, I did not expect any to come out, I,m at my whits end, fluid was dirty nothing when I ran a mag thru it

Follow up, dropped the pan and cleaned it, changed the filter.  Pan had some micro metal.  new filter/fluid.  Runs great shifts great. PROBLEM SOLVED.

@krow So to summarize, you had NO DRIVE, changed the fluid and now all is good?   

How was the fluid level when there was no drive?


Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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I'm thinking that his pickup screen was blocked.


CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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3 hours ago, krow said:

the fluid was normal.  fluid ran out when I took the plug out.  the problem was the fluid was not passing thru the filter because it was clogged

I sort of thought that this is what happened but I had no way of knowing for sure.  I would service the transmission every 60,000 miles or better to keep it working well.


CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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This is great to know.  And I am glad you got it running again.  In all my years this is the first Iv see a filter change solve a no drive in drive condition.  Obviously, I know it's possible, but I had never seen it happen before.  

This is definately solid reasoning to maintain your tranny regularly as I know Cadillac Jim does. 


Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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