I just brought the 97 grandprix

Asked by Mar 30, 2017 at 08:45 PM about the 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix 4 Dr SE Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

just brought it be cause the motor is very good only
150 thousand on it but the transmission taking a
long time to shift out of 3 gear and Jen I looked at
the transmission stick the fluid is black . is that a
bad sign?  I drove it home wit no problem from it
on the highway. should I change the fluid in it be
fore i put it on the highway again?

3 Answers


Black fluid is bad, very, very bad. The fluid should be red. Try changing the fluid and filter but I think you are going to need another transmission.


If previous owner never change trans fluid & filter, that engine may not be as good as you think. Black trans fluid at 150k, had to never been changed out. I would be thinking what was added to it to keep it working long enough for you drive it away.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Do you know if the head gaskets have been done? Since you have the SE model I'm assuming you have the 3.1L (3100) V6? They blow head gaskets. At 150,000 miles if they haven't been done yet, you're due. As for the transmission, black transmission fluid means that the fluid is burned. You probably have other things going on in the transmission. These transmissions often lose overdrive and torque converter clutch lock in. If you hear a whine at cruising speed (60-70 MPH) and/or the tach is reading around 2500 to 3000+ RPMs you've lost overdrive and torque converter clutch lock in. If you have, I would not change the transmission fluid. Doing this at that point may very well leave you dead in the water!! Believe it or not the dirt and junk in the fluid is actually helping the worn parts in the transmission continue to work. By putting clean fluid in there you're taking that away and the car may not move (drive) at all! Hopefully you didn't pay a lot for this car. With that in mind, I'd drive it as is and be shopping for a good used transmission. If you plan on keeping the car. My 2000 GT has 155,000 miles on it and has lost overdrive and torque converter clutch lock in as well. I drive it in "3" on the dhifer and it's fine. The fluid is crimson color (slightly burned) so when I bought the car I decided to leave it alone until I decide to repair or replace the transmission. This is not my daily driver though so I have time to decide. I'm definitely keeping the car for the long term so I just need to decide whether to repair or replace the transmission. HTH. -Jim

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