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Shift Solenoids


Scotty

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I am about to drop my tranny pan and change the gasket that is leaking badly and I will change the filter and anything else I can get to.

My question is this, while I am there, is there ANY reason NOT to drop the valve body and replace the shift solenoids as a PM (preventative maintenance) measure? I have 73,000 miles.

When the shift solenoids go can they damage clutches or do any other damage>

I am a big fan of, "WHILE I AM THERE LET ME REPLACE EVERYTHING I CAN". What do you think?

Mike

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Mike,

FWIW, I am of the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" camp. I just did my trans service last week. I didn't even change the screens, just cleaned them. There really was nothing to clean. It would have been a big waste of money to replace them. It is a lot more work to go after those solenoids if they ain't broke. I thought it was the earlier models that had the problems. I'd take the gamble and leave well enough alone. Just my $0.02.

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I wouldn't bother replacing the solenoids at this point. I think the failure mode was on the earlier cars anyway. Besides, you need a break from the A/C job. ;)

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

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Nope I am on to the next job, remember I have struts, springs, bushings, a ball joint and a hub bearing wasting time in my garage! :lol:

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Willie, that is what I was thinking, I am going to be there and I have rebuilt a few trannys in my life, so dropping the valve body isn't a biggie.

I just spoke to ATRA Transmissions and will buy a rebuilding manual from them, I have used them before

http://www.atra.com/bookstore/catalog.pdf

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Willie, that is what I was thinking, I am going to be there and I have rebuilt a few trannys in my life, so dropping the valve body isn't a biggie.

I just spoke to ATRA Transmissions and will buy a rebuilding manual from them, I have used them before

http://www.atra.com/bookstore/catalog.pdf

Isn't the trans information in the factory shop manual?

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

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Willie, that is what I was thinking, I am going to be there and I have rebuilt a few trannys in my life, so dropping the valve body isn't a biggie.

I just spoke to ATRA Transmissions and will buy a rebuilding manual from them, I have used them before

http://www.atra.com/bookstore/catalog.pdf

Scotty,

When I get home I will post a 'home-made' procedure I made about 2-1/2 years ago for shift solenoids, that has been posted on this site many times. It may help...., and warns you about the check balls!!!!!

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Willie, that is what I was thinking, I am going to be there and I have rebuilt a few trannys in my life, so dropping the valve body isn't a biggie. 

I just spoke to ATRA Transmissions and will buy a rebuilding manual from them, I have used them before

http://www.atra.com/bookstore/catalog.pdf

Scotty,

When I get home I will post a 'home-made' procedure I made about 2-1/2 years ago for shift solenoids, that has been posted on this site many times. It may help...., and warns you about the check balls!!!!!

Come to think about it, I recall you might have a 4.9L engine, which, in that case, may not be the 4T80E transmission, and the procedure may not be applicable...

Can you confirm your transmission type?

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I have a Northstar 4T80E tranny ...

Kevin, I do have the manual and I am sure that this procedure is in it, but I must tell you if you have never seen an ATRA rebuilding manual they are quite amazing... I would use both sources, and yes I do wear a belt and suspenders :lol:

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Scotty,

I have had my car for more than five years. Replaced parts here and there, you know. My experience shows that about HALF of replacements were absolutely unnecesaryand just contributed to the cost of maintenance. I know you just like many of us do not buy new cars, only used ones. So, money matters. As for PM you simply cannot prevent everything! How about replacing head gasket while you are there?

The current solenoids served well and how do you know the replacement parts would be as good as these ones? Yes they are not that expensive, but when you add all the unnecesary repairs/replacemnts it turns to be a pretty noticable amount.

You did a good job on the AC. I would take a rest for the weekend and move rather to the suspension project we have been hearing from you about for a long time! :lol:

p.s. I know you'll kill me if solenoids fail in the immediate future! :lol::lol:

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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Hi Scotty

I agree with all the posts if it ain't broke don't fix it. Murphy's Law applies here

You are as bad as my Son I tell him he's an accident looking for a place to happen

Why not just drop in a New trannie??

Good Luck

Jim

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Hi Mike,

I did my solenoids a couple years ago. One failed while I was 150 miles from home.

I drove home in "drive", as overdrive (4th) was completely gone. There was no damage to the trans.

I obtained the solenoid kit from GM. (Two solenoids and the new bracket)

The reason they fail is that the edge (wing) of one of the solenoids is used to retain a screen oil filter. That filter in mine had the "O" ring worn on the filter and it was allowed to "bump" up against the solenoid when fluid passed in that direction.

Eventually the solenoid failed (cracked the plastic housing on the solenoid). The filter causes the solenoid to break and "cock" sideways.

The kit contains solenoids without "wings". A new metal bracket and bolt is supplied.

The metal bracket now retains the screen filter.

1/ When you have the pan removed, I would check to see what version you have.

At some point in time GM changed to the new metal bracket to hold the filter.

If you have the newer type, I would not bother to change the solenoids.

2/ If you do not have the newer type I guess I would also be tempted to replace the solenoids "while you were in there".

You know you'll have one fail a week after changing the fluid if you don't change it.

To change mine I followed the instructions of someone here that had already done the job and had posted a great description. I don't remember who that was.

Use your manual to know where the "balls" go.

A couple "extra" hours while changing the pan gasket should be all you need to do the solenoids.

Anyone that went thru the AC ordeal like you did should have no problems with a couple solenoids.

Barry

2008 STS V8
2016 Colorado Z71
1970 Corvette LT-1 Coupe

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I agree with you guys "if it ain't broke don't fix it". However, I WILL have the pan off, and its NOT really a big deal to drop the valve body, the ONLY issue is making sure the check balls return to the correct locations. For $60, I don't have to worry about it, and the new ones I understand are redesigned.... I could see NOT replacing the SPEED SENSOR BURIED DEEP IN THE TRANSMISSION, but we are talking about something that is NOT that difficult.

Come on, comparing this to replacing the transmission altogether or doing the head gaskets isn't even in the same QUADRANT of the GALAXY... Don't you agree? This is NOT a difficult task. As a matter of fact, a few VERY inexperienced Caddy owners/mechanics have undertaken this task....and been successful. The thing with NOT doing this kind of a job is that they WILL go out at the worst possible time, why not cross it off the list of potential problems?

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Scotty,

Here are my notes and cautions about undergoing shift solenoid replacement on a 4T80E tranny. Mine was on a '93 STS 4.6L. Again, I think your decision to replace/not replace should weigh how long you plan on keeping the car, and your ability to 'split' the valve body and keep up with the check balls. The shift solenoid appears to be a plastic injection molded body with a stainless steel jacket. They typically tend to crack/fracture at the neck of the plastic body. The design may have been improved by '96 which may also weigh in on your decision. It seems mine failed around 130K miles.

4T-80E Shift Solenoid Replacment

a) the job is a mess, be prepared.

B) drop the pan, and careful removing the tranny gasket, it is re-usable. Once you clean the pan, you can reset it with gasket sealer.

c) disconnect the solenoid electrical connectors and the mechanical linkage. The linkage has a metal clip you lift and slide.

d) remove the valve body screws, and drop the valve body.

e) place the valve body where you can afford a mess, it will continually leak. Best thing is to set it on cardboard on a bench. There is a valve spool that can be removed as well, careful it can slip out, you don't want to damage it.

f) remove the two clips holding the solenoids, careful they are spring-loaded and will fly

g) remove the screws holding the "large" portion of the valve body split, this is where the solenoids are incased. Remember the screw locations, there are about four different screw lengths

h) CAREFULLY remove split, there are 4 steel check balls loose inside the split (about 1/4" diameter, they will fly, as well)

i) inspect spacer plate, if the black coating is not chipping off you can re-use it, otherwise plan on spending another $ 70 at the dealership parts house. If you replace it you will have to remove the "smaller" split, as well. It also has three check balls.

j) replace the solenoids

k) now comes the fun,....you will note three holes in the spacer plate where three of the check balls reside, seat them there (appr. 3/16" diameter with a smaller relief hole next to it, as I remember). The fourth check ball will need to be inserted in a spherically-cast cavity, which is near one of the solenoids. You can set it with grease, I re-assembled successfully without using grease.

l) re-assemble valve body, carefully and equally torque.

m) you will note a square black plastic item near one of the solenoids, on the end. Replace this plastic filter with the new filter in the solenoid kit. The kit will also come with an L-shaped bracket that is to be used to "capture" this filter and keep it from backing out. The kit also comes with a slightly longer screw used to mount the bracket to the valve body (discard the old screw).

m) re-assemble valve body to transmission, hook up linkage and electrical connectors

n) replace both tranny filters

o) replenish fluid

p) reset codes

I am told there is a hidden drain plug for the side cover fluid (where most of the fluid is...) that is accessible once the lower pan is removed. The plug is pretty evident on the end of the trans under the side cover. Use this to drain additional fluid out.

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Hi Mike,

I did my solenoids a couple years ago. One failed while I was 150 miles from home.

I drove home in "drive", as overdrive (4th) was completely gone. There was no damage to the trans.

I obtained the solenoid kit from GM. (Two solenoids and the new bracket)

The reason they fail is that the edge (wing) of one of the solenoids is used to retain a screen oil filter. That filter in mine had the "O" ring worn on the filter and it was allowed to "bump" up against the solenoid when fluid passed in that direction.

Eventually the solenoid failed (cracked the plastic housing on the solenoid). The filter causes the solenoid to break and "cock" sideways.

The kit contains solenoids without "wings". A new metal bracket and bolt is supplied.

The metal bracket now retains the screen filter.

1/ When you have the pan removed, I would check to see what version you have.

At some point in time GM changed to the new metal bracket to hold the filter.

If you have the newer type, I would not bother to change the solenoids.

2/ If you do not have the newer type I guess I would also be tempted to replace the solenoids "while you were in there".

You know you'll have one fail a week after changing the fluid if you don't change it.

To change mine I followed the instructions of someone here that had already done the job and had posted a great description. I don't remember who that was.

Use your manual to know where the "balls" go.

A couple "extra" hours while changing the pan gasket should be all you need to do the solenoids.

Anyone that went thru the AC ordeal like you did should have no problems with a couple solenoids.

Barry

Hey Thanks Barry! I will look to see if I have the old type or the new type, that's a great tip! Thanks for the info and the vote of confidence... Mike

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Thanks Willie for that terrific procedure! The major unknown is the spacer plate, I would hate to get in there and find out my local Caddy dealer doesn't have the spacer. I will be sure they have all of the parts BEFORE I drop my pan. Thanks a lot.. Mike

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Thanks Willie for that terrific procedure! The major unknown is the spacer plate, I would hate to get in there and find out my local Caddy dealer doesn't have the spacer. I will be sure they have all of the parts BEFORE I drop my pan. Thanks a lot.. Mike

Most people that have posted results did not have to replace the spacer plate. In fact, I think I am the only one who has posted they had to. The spacer plate is a very thin metal plate with a coating over it that appears to be a flat black plastic of some sort. I only repleced mine as the plastic was peeling in a few places and I was worried about future contamination. Of course, it endured 130K miles at extreme southern temperaturesm so I would expect yours to be in better condition. Its was about $ 67 from a Caddy Dealer and took about three days to get in.

If it is available locally, I would perform the job with the intent of not replacing it. You can avoid the second body split by not replacing it (and more check balls to contend with).

Based on Barry's comment about the L-bracket, you may not consider the repair, assuming you are not planning on holding the car that long, I would say holding it less than 40K miles.

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Chuck I will do this on my back with the car on ramps. That does not bother me, being 6'5" having a car on a lift is really no help to me anyway...having to crouch and crook my neck to look up. I don't mind laying on my back. Thanks

Luckily, the hard part is done with the valve body on the bench.

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Thanks Willie for that terrific procedure!  The major unknown is the spacer plate, I would hate to get in there and find out my local Caddy dealer doesn't have the spacer.  I will be sure they have all of the parts BEFORE I drop my pan.  Thanks a lot.. Mike

Most people that have posted results did not have to replace the spacer plate. In fact, I think I am the only one who has posted they had to. The spacer plate is a very thin metal plate with a coating over it that appears to be a flat black plastic of some sort. I only repleced mine as the plastic was peeling in a few places and I was worried about future contamination. Of course, it endured 130K miles at extreme southern temperaturesm so I would expect yours to be in better condition. Its was about $ 67 from a Caddy Dealer and took about three days to get in.

If it is available locally, I would perform the job with the intent of not replacing it. You can avoid the second body split by not replacing it (and more check balls to contend with).

Based on Barry's comment about the L-bracket, you may not consider the repair, assuming you are not planning on holding the car that long, I would say holding it less than 40K miles.

I once 'modified' a spacer plate by drilling a specific size hole in it to make the shifts more positive...on a TH350 and installed a shift kit. It made a big difference, TOO much of a big difference, it felt like a TORQUEFLIGHT Chrysler tranny if you ever felt those, a little TOO positive for my liking... :lol:

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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I would take a rest for the weekend and move rather to the suspension project we have been hearing from you about for a long time! :lol:

First things first... I needed AC as no one would ride in my car, and on hot days I was dying in it. Forget about going out with nice clothes on I was sweating through them before I got to where I was going. So I prioritized and did the OTHER job you have been hearing about for a long time, since OCTOBER to be exact, my AC job... Now on to the NEXT important job, my leaky TRANNY....before I screw it up from having low fluid.. There in the reason why I inquired about the shift solenoids...

You know, when you do the work yourself you can go BEYOND what a mechanic can or would do.... Now just imagine what it would cost to have a compressor, condenser, accumulator, orifice tube, tensioner, idler wheel, serp belt, water pump tensioner and belt, a sensor and a switch replaced at a garage.. I would have to junk the car (like FlamingGoatBalls was going to do). But because I do my own work, I can do more, and to me, it does make a difference. You can not even imagine how good my car is running right now and how quiet it is, its AMAZING... Everything that I replace makes a huge difference... Having replaced all of those tensioners and the idler wheel the engine makes no noise and just accelerates seamlessly...

This is a hobby for me, that is something that I want to continue to explain. It gives me great satisfaction to make something work better than it did, to bring it back to spec... yes I missed my calling..no doubt...

By the way, everytime I use my magnifying desk lamp on my bench, I have been meaning to thank you, I love it!

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Hi Scotty

Well take it from me You can rebuild everything and something else will break. It's just the way it is.

Do the engine the trans. goes, electrical harness shorts or struts go bad etc.. or you can total the car who Knows what tomorrow holds.

As far as the valve body I know it's easy but you can always drop it in the process "Murphy's law" again..

I never mention How great my car is doing or any mechanical device bad Luck in my book find some wood to knock on about your ac job hope all your other repairs go well.. I have been a working on technical mechanical things for a few decades and trust me everything does not go as you plan them to. Consider the mileage you have now and how long it will take you to get to your magic number of 130k before the sensors will go Heck buy that time it will be time to do the fluid again anyway I do the fluids at 50k on my cars myself.

Just my thoughts

Good Luck

Jim

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I have never been too much of a gloom and doomer maybe that is my major fault in life, I never think of Murphy's Law or that something else will go wrong. If something goes wrong, I fix it...

I did the same thing with my 91 Seville and drove the hell out of it. Right now I have major problems with my Deville and I am going to systematically go through it. Hell you are right, I could do all of this work and then have a massive heart attack or the head gaskets would fail. What would I do then? I would time-sert the somebitch. When Matt replaced his engine we provided him with a laundry list of things to replace while he had his engine out. This is pretty much the same thing, while I have my PAN off, why not spend two more hours and replace a potential achilles heel. I know what I do does not make financial sense as Adallak stated, but on the other hand Adallak has taken the minimalistic approach to the extreme as he does not have heat or AC, is that what you all expect me to do? Hell I could light up cans of STERNO for heat in the winter and put them in he back seat like my parents used to do with their 54 Packard Convertible.

As far as the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" adage goes, how about this one that was drilled into my head by my dad, "if you don't do it right, don't do it at all". This statement along with 5 years of working in Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock performing PM on pumps, cranes and machinery is what makes me NOT wait for something to fail.. In the shipyard when something fails sometimes someone is killed. Long before something fails, it is providing you with misery, in the form of poor handling, unsafe handling, road shock and feeling every bump. I have never been one to wait for something to fail, it just isn't in me..

If you knew my history, if you really knew how mechanically inclined I really am and if you knew how rewarding it was to me to fix and repair things, you would no longer see what I do as illogical, you would realize that is it enjoyment to me...and the cost or ROA is not an issue.. On the other hand if I had to take this car to Cadillac for repairs, I would set fire to it...

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Hi Scotty

I'm not trying to discourage you go for it. if you are going to do something Do it rite applies to anything I do and I'm sure you are the same way. I have worked on aircraft for a living and you have to do it rite. As far as preventive maintenance it's normal with aircraft same as cars but it does not prevent a major failure it may Only help to prevent some. I'm sure you are mechanically inclined I can swing a wrench as good as anyone or troubleshoot a problem better than most but that does not mean anything in the whole scope of things. I have no problems fixing any of my cars if I choose to but at this stage in my life I just don't care to do repairs anymore. I don't mind paying someone else to do them but I get Pissed off if they are not done rite, then I figure I should have done it myself. It's good that you like to do these things Me I may build one more car that I want done my way something fast that offers good handling and looks good to boot. I just haven't locked in on the car yet and maybe one more airplane but some of them I would like to own just so I could wake up every morning and go out and Piss on it

Cheers

Jim

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