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Discussion Starter #1
I was cruising along at ~85-90 with a 350Z on the 5 freeway on the Valley Floor about 8 miles south of Bakersfield, almost home from mt 115 mile commute, dodging the slower traffic and listening to music blasting. I glance behind me to see how the slow people live when I notice smoke...it took me a second, but I quickly surmised it was behind- coming from my car!

WTF?

I turned the radio off and glanced to the temp guage...which reported OK...WTF is that grinding sound?

I pop it out of gear, and the sound stopped. A stab at the accelerator confirmed that the engine was not the problem- it's the transmission.

OK...sh1t.

Still at least 5 miles from town, I back way off and put the car into 6th. The grinding noise continued, slowly starting to subside. Luckily, the dealership is on the south side of town just off the freeway, so I decide to limp her to the the dealership.

Getting off the freeway, the nasty sounds had almost fully subsided. I pulled into the closed service department (it was 8:15pm), and spotting a parking spot, tried to put her into reverse.

No joy. No reverse.

So, I pull on forward and found another spot.

I climb under the car...a small pool of gearcase fluid is forming under the bell housing...dripping pretty steadily.

Double sh1t.

I had installed a B&M shifter just last weekend. I was very careful to put plenty of RTV sealant on the base and to torque the bolts where they felt "right." These were instructions that did NOT give torque values nor did they instruct to Loctite the base / tranny cating attach bolts-- those instructions came out on Monday.

I have a feeling that I may have a serious non-warranty issue on my hands.

Tranny gurus-- do you think I've toasted my transmission?
 

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My roommate, a CTS-V owner, is the Service Mgr for a major dealership here in SoFl, I showed him your post and his initial reaction was that the shifter install is the culprit. I would call B&M Racing and chew on them some for not including complete instructions with the kit. The shifter is responsible for how the forks inside the case move the gear sets and how much force they exert on them. What could have happened is that the gears were being held too tightly together causing excess friction thus heat. 6th is a 2:1 overdrive so the stress on this cog is greater than any of the other. The oil likely boiled, thus the foaming leak. If during tear down the gears or shafts are "blued" then metal was super heated and cooked the oil breaking it down and making it useless. I was a jet mech in the Corps for almost 2 decades. Oil is the life blood of anything the spins and heat is deadly to it. Good luck bro, hope it's a fluke failure.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
ftlfirefighter said:
My roommate, a CTS-V owner, is the Service Mgr for a major dealership here in SoFl, I showed him your post and his initial reaction was that the shifter install is the culprit. I would call B&M Racing and chew on them some for not including complete instructions with the kit. The shifter is responsible for how the forks inside the case move the gear sets and how much force they exert on them. What could have happened is that the gears were being held too tightly together causing excess friction thus heat. 6th is a 2:1 overdrive so the stress on this cog is greater than any of the other. The oil likely boiled, thus the foaming leak. If during tear down the gears or shafts are "blued" then metal was super heated and cooked the oil breaking it down and making it useless. I was a jet mech in the Corps for almost 2 decades. Oil is the life blood of anything the spins and heat is deadly to it. Good luck bro, hope it's a fluke failure.
Ouch.

There goes my "Too much oil was coming out-- it couldn't be the shifter" theory...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Went by the dealership today...the service dept was closed, but I had to pick up a rental car anyway.

My buddy Richard, the guy who sold me the car, was there. He's a good guy, a real gearhead and a long-time tuner type who deals with aftermarket stuff a lot. Anyway, he's pretty confident that it's a warranty issue. We looked at the car in the light of day-- there is gearcase oil all along the right side of the exhaust-- there's no way it came out of the little hole in the top of the tranny. Obviously a seal failed or the case cracked.

Even if the gears are "blued" that could be caused by the loss of fluid in the tranny...

These Tremec M12 trannies are known to be rugged SOBs...there are many out there, lots of them with B&M shifters bolted to them. Tales of catastrophic failure (like mine) are almost unheard of, especially during freeway cruising.

Either way-- when it's replaced I'm putting Redline fluid in the tranny...

We shall see Monday.
 

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Groucho - you were still running stock fluids??? One of the fearless leaders of our GTO Forum!?! Hope its covered under warrantee. Do you still have less than 36K on her?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Xman said:
Groucho - you were still running stock fluids??? One of the fearless leaders of our GTO Forum!?! Hope its covered under warrantee. Do you still have less than 36K on her?
Tranny fluids were going to be changed at the next oil change.


32,000 miles on her...I bought the 100k extended warranty. We shall see.
 

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Groucho,
Very sorry to read about your troubles. I certainly hope this is a warranty issue.

As mentioned above, synthetics will hold up to heat much better than stock fluids as can be seen at the chart at the bottom of this product page:
AMSOIL ATF

This is the tranny fluid I run in my car which sees some pretty extreme use. At my last race I lost a left axle seal on my diff and lost about half the diff fluid during the race. Since I was winning and I had a pro-SCCA World Challenge driver behind me, I decided to run her until she broke. The diff got so hot that the heat passed up to the tranny (attached together on the Z06), causing a high temp warning at 277F on the tranny with six laps to go. Since my tranny temp sensor is on my tranny cooler return line, the temps in the tranny had to be much higher and who knows how hot the diff was.

But, both held together fine (and I won).

I personally feel the AMSOIL PAO based synthetic is a better match for tranny's with synchros than the Redline Ester based synthetics which is why I decided to switch to AMSOIL at the beginning of last season. But, both a very good lubricants and way better than stock.

FYI, the above linked AMSOIL ATF is the correct tranny fluid for both the automatic and manual GTOs. :cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I spoke to a guy at B&M Racing. He stated there is no way the Sport Shifter caused the problem, as all the shifter does is reduce the throw. It does not put increased pressure on the forks or anything like that. He said there are 400 kits out there for the GTO, and there have been no reported catastrophic failures. There is no way, he said, to install it incorrectly in a way that would cause such a failure. He had doubts that they would even try to blame the shifter, and if they did, they wouldn't fight very hard. The Magnuson-Moss Act puts the burden of proof in the dealership's lap.

Overall, he was helpful and din't get immediatel defensive. I know he's a company guy toeing the company line, but I wanted to armor up before I actually speak to the dealership...if nothing else, this preliminary call gave me some hard numbers that I can throw in should things get dicey with the service manager.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
b_a_betterperson said:
That's good to hear. Keep us posted. In the meantime, what color Aveo do you have for a rental?
:lol:

Smartass.

Even worse-- it's a 2004 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi.

I stand by everything bad I've said about Pontiacs. Boy does this thing suck ass.

After acertaining it's crappiness, my wife has volunteered to jump on a grenade for me and drive the Bonnie while I take her Volvo V70 2.5T to work. She's a good woman. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Upshot-- B&M Racing is blameless.

Just got off of the last of several phone exchanges with the dealership.

OK- the GM service guy calls. "Who serviced your transmission recently?"

Me, confused: "Nobody. It was on my list of stuff to do next time I change the oil, but with the exception of the sport shifter nobody has touched the tranny since the car was new. Why?"

"The tranny was overfilled with gear oil and was blowing fluid out of the vent tube."

"What?"



The tech said the fluid looked weird and smelled like burned gear oil....the Tremec T56 tranny uses Dextron II ATF, not gear oil! This fluid mix got hot, and it boiled over, shooting out of the vent tube. The tech also states that there was torque seal on the drain plug- a practice he said is common with quick-lube joints but unheard of with OEM.

In other words,

SOME MININUM-WAGE NIMROD PUT GEAR OIL IN MY TRANSMISSION!!!!

Here's the weird / pisser thing. I haven't authorized anyone to change / service the transmission fluid in my GTO- ever. I hadn't had a quick lube place touch my car for the last 11,000 miles- back in mid April. I've taken over all fluid maintenance duties since then...and you can bet that I will continue to do so from here on out. I have no way of proving it was them, but you can bet yer ass I'm going over there to drive a Reebok up somebody's keester!

After interrogating the GM service guy repeatedly about whether my tranny was damaged or not (he insists it's fine- no sign of metal or weird wear). At this point, I'm not sure I'm drinking the service department's flavor of Kool-Aid... but I have no way of disputing what he says until I get my car back.

The dealership didn't have any Redline or other synthetic fluid in stock, so I gave the go-ahead to flush-n-fill with GM Dextron II ATF. First chance I get, I'm taking that jizz out and putting in Redline or Amsoil synthetic in the tranny and the proper synthetic gear oil in the diff.

On one hand, I'm relieved that the problem is "fixed." On the other, I'm not entirely convinced that all is well...a tranny making noises is never a good thing...so still stay tuned.

Big lesson learned-- those quick lube places are the domain of Satan, or at least Hillary Clinton!!!
 

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So, a safe assumption is, last time in, some monkey mistakenly drained the transmission, said nothing, and overfilled, and its just now rearing its ugly head ? Doesn't make a whole lotta sense.

Reminds me of Wal Mart adding 12 qts of oil to the LS1 in my '02 SS Camaro.
The LS1 ran, not good, but it ran.

Question - If you get the car back, change to Redline, then the tranny goes south, would it still be warrantied ?

Hope the noise is gone :cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
westell said:
Question - If you get the car back, change to Redline, then the tranny goes south, would it still be warrantied ?

Hope the noise is gone :cheers
Yeah, the Redline Synthetic ATF is a GM approved Dextron II.

The noise had stopped by the time I got to the dealer.

The service tech had said that the shifter "felt funny" but I'm betting / hoping that is because they are unused to the B&M.

We shall see.

I'm hopefully optimistic.

I'm also thinking that "monkey" just topped off the tranny fluid...though that doesnn't explain the torque-seal on the plug.

Does anyone here know if the transmission temperature is monitored by the OBD II computer? If so, I want one of those Interceptor gauges...
 

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Wow. Geez, do you think some idiot couldn't find the drain plug because of the shield -- and went after the transmission instead? Or just thought they were doing you a favor because of their "50 point check" policy? If so, what the hell is in your windshield washer reservoir? Prestone?

Well, it sounds like the dealer you're working with is pretty cool. I'd have them totally drain it, put in fresh ATF, cycle the transmission through all gears and get it up to temp, then have them drain it again -- then get synthetic into it this weekend. I honestly wouldn't sweat the transmission too much -- because this stuff is so tough now.

That is the most amazing thing I've ever heard. Even tops the guy who did an oil change on my uncle's Corvair back in 1969 -- and forgot to put the fill cap back on (reducing Pittsburgh's mosquito population by half for three months) -- although 12 quarts in a Camaro's pretty impressive, too.

Regarding how you approach the oil change place, be sure you have the receipt -- and have the dealer save some of the torque seal and gear oil. Then, somehow, find out if the suspected place uses this stuff. If you confirm it, I'd talk to the owner about springing for your extended warranty -- or, if the event of a transmission failure, picking up your deductible. Don't know if you could do anything in small claims court -- as the time involved probably wouldn't be worth the reward.

Well, Grouchoman, you scared the crap outta me with your initial report (as I've got the same shifter in my car) but now am relieved and thankful that it wasn't any worse. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Over on The Other Site, AmesGTO had an excellent theory:

AmesGTO said:
That's interesting. I guess I could see a quick change guy draining the tranny since the engine oil plug is "hidden" behind the skid guard. I could also see them figuring out what they did and putting gear oil back in instead of ATF. But going 11k miles just fine seems strange.
That is the best, most plausible theory I have heard yet!

What a bunch of retards.
 

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Anytime I have someone change my oil, I always insist that I get to watch them. I do this to protect them. I think I could justify murder to a judge. Now Groucho put the gun down.

Glad to here things are mostly ok.
 
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