Suburban Transmission Problems

Asked by Oct 30, 2010 at 08:31 PM about the 2004 Chevrolet Suburban LS 2500

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Folks:

Need some advice from the people much smarter than me when it comes to vehicles.

We have a 2004 Suburban with 122K miles on it. This has been a fantastic vehicle, one I'm hoping to hold onto for much longer.

This evening my wife was heading to the grocery store when just a few blocks from my house the suburban shifted into something like neutral. She moved it into multiple drive slots with no luck. She finally shut the engine down and started it back up and with no luck, but when she put it in reverse, it kicked into gear and she was able to put it in drive and get it home.

I then took a spin and the same thing happened to me. This time I shut the engine off and it would not go into gear immediately. After sitting for a couple of minutes I then got it to engage and get it home.

Transmission fluid is fine (just had the oil, etc. changed yesterday).

Have I lost my transmission or is it something else?

any help is appreciated!

17 Answers

815

This is the problem with electronic transmission & transfercases. The 2004 trucks had troubles with the transfer cases shifting into nuetral. I would have this shecked. I also believe that there is a recall on the transfercase.

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.
925

Sounds strange. In regards to what Mr. Hyzy said, i would check the t-case to be sure it is not leaking fluid or has a loose wiring harness (if you have a 4x4). You could also check to see it the t-case is acting up by shifting it in and out of 4x4 next time it acts up. If by messsing with the 4x4, it goes back to normal, you might have a t-case actuator problem. (by the way, you should have the t-case fluid changed with the tranny fluid on these). You said that you had the fluid on the tranny flushed the other day, if it started acting up after that, i would go back to that shop and tell them what is going on. If not, just check the level, add if needed or if it's ok take it to a transmision shop because there may be something wrong.

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.
30

HMMM, it happened the day you had the transmission oil changed. Did they use the wrong fluid, this could damage the clutches then the servos and valve body, things get sticky and does not get you into gear. check the bill see what fluid they used if they list it. Then again the clean fluid may dislodge dirt in the transmission and it stick in the valves.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
685

If you have never changed the trans fluid and then change it at 122k its a comon problem for the trans to go out. The new fluid cleans off all of the dirt and build up from not changing the fluid. Transmission fluid has a high detergent additive in it , with the old fluid it was not cleening the transmission parts inside and probably the trans would have gone out from poor maintence anyway. he new fluid has cleaned and released all of the built up gum and sludge inside the trans and then the valves and orafices get plugged up and start sticking hence transmission inop. Its not the place that changed the oil its the person that did not change the trans oil in 122k. I am Ford Motor Company Certified and ASE certified with 30years of service in the auto repair business.

15 out of 15 people think this is helpful.
100

Steve - I have the same problem and did just change the fluid out, what do I do now, do I need a transmission service or new tranny? what to do?

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.
7,905

There is a long history of problems with the transmissions in these vehicles. I've seen them fail at a lot lower mileage, too. It sounds like you may well be due for a rebuild. If the electronics have gone south, they have likely done damage to the clutches, too, so don't be surprised if it is a case of computer and transmission/transfer case replacement. The good news is that the rebuild, done properly, and with the appropriate upgrades, seems to last almost forever.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

I have no answer> I do however have the same problem, exact same problem. Mine has did same thing 3 times and that is why I am on this website.At least I know am not alone. Now I am going looking for the recall and hope there is one.

120

It sounds like the Encoder sensor, the encoder tells the truck what positoin the transfer case is in & the truck will adjust to it. Its a small flat circular piece on side of transfer case & it wears out over time. Costs around $100 & will take 1/2 an hour to hour to change yourself. I replaced 2 on my GM trucks so far. Good luck

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.

My suburban encountered the same problem causing it to destroy the entire drive train pretty much over 6000$ in repairs

35

Same thing here folks. I bought a 2001 1500 4x4 z71 Burb.( Pan hasa drain plug).I hear that is afterthought/market? my vehicle started making a whining sound . by chance putting it in 4 wheel drive hi range and back to 2 hi made the sound go away. I thought maybe something was just slightly hung up in the transfer case. Took by a transmission shop twice to let them listen. of course we all know our vehicles better than anyone, and the unusual sounds they can make. Ive heard these 46o (?) transmissions commonly fail around 130k. Shop had 3 on shelf because they see a lot of them. Usually noise and weirdness doesn't get better magically; ) Anyway, mine slipped out of D at 65 mph on an incline. Pulled over....fluid clean/ clear and pink but smelled like toast. Limped into next town in 3-d @3500rpm. Cool tranny guy coded tranny and got "performance " code. Drove it, and 1, 2nd ok, but clutch- pack between 3-4 (D) cooked. Yep.......rebuild time. Parts cheaper than a Dodge, and looking @ $2500. O' Reily has them (dyno tested) for $1300+. Install prolly $1000+ if I can find a shop willing to install owner aupplied trans. 200 mile tow home and can drive around town in 2nd. No more as too much heat will f@#$ everything no broken. Sorry for the length of post, but I ask a lot of questions trying to reduce wallet-flush! Peace

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
340

I really need some help here, I bought my truck in Jan. and it has been a perfect vehicle sense. about two weeks ago now everything went down hill. My husband is pretty certain the transmission is done for but i still have hope. I drove it and it wouldnt shift out of 1st gear, the oil pressure went over the 80 line an she growned the whole time til i got back home (real quick trip) my husband has drove it twice and both times it wouldnt go into 3rd gear. I need to know all of the possiblities of what could be wrong with it so i can try and fix it. i am a mother of 4 and this is my only family vehicle and we r on an extremely tight budget, please help!

34 out of 34 people think this is helpful.
80

Hi.. I'm looking to buy a 2001 Chevy Suburban with 167K miles for $5000 ...I know the family they are really good people.. they have never had trouble with the tranny but my partner thinks that it will go out... because he knows cars..however I was going to take it in to a tranny guy we know and get it looked at... well at least he can drive it... $5000 is not bad but if the tranny goes out and then I was told it would then need a new engine... Does anyone have better luck with Transmissions on these vehicles...the car is very nice shape inside and out and was going to trade work for their car... (i'm a daycare provider...) ...I know this may sound like a dumb question but I just don't want to miss a nice opportunity if the vehicle transmission stays in good shape...Thank you ..p.s. our friend who has a transmission shop did say Transmissions going out is a big thing in these models...

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.
40

i have a 2001 Chev Sub 1500 200K plus NOW same transmision and have never done anything to my vehicle except oil change every 3- 5k miles, battery and tires. Excellent vehicle for me still runs, drives and pulls well. Coldest A/C in town too.... Love mine just hope this post doesn't jinx it for me... Did I mention I am the only owner purchased and purchasef New @ $40K. Love it !!!!!

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
130

I have a question I have a 1999 Yukon suburban my truck won't go forward but It reverses fine could it be the sensors or would it be my transmission my 2 wheel and 4 wheel drive buttons don't work could that be the problem?

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.
80

i have chevy suburban 2012 and the problem is when i switch from auto to two wheel drive it keeps going to high wheel drive and will not switch back to two wheel drive. I did change the transfer case motor the front and the back. In the front next to the two transfer cases. What should I do?

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.
200

Steve, I just encountered the same thing. Happened to my wife and it was hard to believe. Took it to my local mechanic who tried to reproduce the problem to no avail. He put it into 4 wheel drive hi & lo and back into 2 wheel drive and drove it. He also supposively hooked it up to a diagnostic machine and it didn't spit out any codes. I picked it up, drove it to a gas station got gas and then stopped in on a work project. When I went to leave it finally happened to me. I put truck in drive and it was like I was in Neutral. I know because I was coasting backwards and my rpm's were going up with no luck. After revving the engine and changing gears a bunch I finally turned off and back on and was able to get in gear long enough to park. Is this a transmission gone bad or something else minor? Any help is much appreciated. Local transmission guy has bad reviews & charges sky high. I have a 4 WD Z71 suburban 2004 1500 with 164,000 miles. I purchased it a year ago with 150,000 miles on it. Don't use it to pull anything & haven't used 4 WD since purchased. It's basically wife's mommy vehicle & gets babied.

20 out of 20 people think this is helpful.
10

I have read that the newer than 02 has the 4L65E trans.That is supposed to be better than the 60E trans. Like most cars changing the fluid enough seems like a good idea.I would consider a large filter kit,That uses a fine micron filter that is the size of a oil filter.Stock trans filters are only so good. Consider any connectors getting bad or dirty. I once applied for a job at a transmission shop and they were keen on getting the customer to sign papers so they could do as much major things as possible. While i think that not every shop is this bad,I would bet that many so called bad trannys are just something minor. (electronics)There are many small passages that can get blocked.Even a small inline filter like a Magnafine? would be a good idea. If you do have a transmission go bad,You well want to bypass the old factory transmission cooler and install an aftermarket one.Otherwise bad stuff well get pulled back into your transmission. I came here trying to figure out any year to avoid,I think the Suburban is great.A bit thirsty though.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

  • Transmission problem 1996 Suburban 3 answers

    While in drive, vehicle will shift once then at or around 20 - 25 miles per hour the engine will race but transmission will not shift. I replaced transmission filter which was dirty but transmission ...

    1996 Chevrolet Suburban

    -

    Maintenance & Repair

  • Transmission question 1 answer

    Can I put a 4 l65e transmission in a 2001 Suburban

    2001 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 4WD

    -

    Maintenance & Repair

  • Suburban Repair 2 answers

    I have a 2002 Chevy Suburban that I put down about a year and a half ago when gas got outrageous. Now it will not shift when driving it. There were no issues with it prior to putting it down. Have I l...

    2002 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 4WD

    -

    Maintenance & Repair

  • 2004 Chevy Suburban 2 answers

    My Chevy Suburban 2004 5.3 liter half ton 4wd speed thermometer is not working and is not shifting I change the transmission is still the same problem please help

    2004 Chevrolet Suburban 1500

    -

    Maintenance & Repair

Suburban

Looking for a Used Suburban in your area?

CarGurus has 21,765 nationwide Suburban listings starting at $2,095.

ZIP:

Search Chevrolet Suburban Questions

Chevrolet Suburban Experts

#1 Andrew Olsen
Andrew Olsen
Reputation 850
#2 Eric Fritz
Eric Fritz
Reputation 840
#3 Neal Turner
Neal Turner
Reputation 730
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used GMC Yukon XL
396 Great Deals out of 13,113 listings starting at $2,400
Used Chevrolet Tahoe
1,089 Great Deals out of 31,949 listings starting at $1,495
Used GMC Yukon
536 Great Deals out of 17,581 listings starting at $1,777
Used Ford Expedition
635 Great Deals out of 23,042 listings starting at $1,100
Used Cadillac Escalade ESV
173 Great Deals out of 5,856 listings starting at $3,994
Used Cadillac Escalade
360 Great Deals out of 10,988 listings starting at $2,995
Used Chevrolet Silverado 1500
2,677 Great Deals out of 149,054 listings starting at $1,800
Used Ford F-150
3,395 Great Deals out of 205,480 listings starting at $1,273
Used Toyota Sequoia
175 Great Deals out of 6,805 listings starting at $2,477
Used Lincoln Navigator
135 Great Deals out of 6,021 listings starting at $1,995
Used Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
427 Great Deals out of 28,700 listings starting at $2,295
Used Ford Excursion
21 Great Deals out of 840 listings starting at $2,500
Used Dodge Durango
485 Great Deals out of 23,226 listings starting at $1,100
Used Nissan Armada
188 Great Deals out of 6,686 listings starting at $3,300

Used Cars For Sale

2017 Chevrolet Suburban For Sale
2,716 listings starting at $44,635
2016 Chevrolet Suburban For Sale
93 Great Deals out of 7,182 listings starting at $33,250
2015 Chevrolet Suburban For Sale
130 Great Deals out of 2,524 listings starting at $28,991
2014 Chevrolet Suburban For Sale
24 Great Deals out of 529 listings starting at $19,900
2013 Chevrolet Suburban For Sale
75 Great Deals out of 1,074 listings starting at $18,977