rummble at higher speeds

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I get what is like driving over the rumble strips on the side of a high way with my Buick LaSabre. It only happens at speeds above 65 mph and if I speed
up or slow down it stops. I took it to a shop and was told the left side inter or lower ball joint was loose and needs to be replace. I was not real comfortable that was the problem so I took it to another shop and was told the front end is tight and he felt the problem was the transmission shifting in and out of overdrive. He said that will cause vibration much like going over the rumble strips.
I took it to a local transmission shop and they did a computer scan. The car shows no codes. They said the transmission fluid needed to be flushed and that should take care of the problem. Cost is $120 and when I asked if that included filter and gasket I was told yes. On the way home I checked with another shop about the price of a flush and was told the same amount but they said its just a flush no filter or gasket they just flush the old oil out with new.
I feel if the oil needs to be changed then I should have a new filter also. This car has 106,000 miles and I don't know if the transmission has ever been serviced.
However I still am not convinced the transmission is the problem. I had the tires checked and was told they were fine. I will rotate the tires and see if that helps.
I guess my question(s) are, Has anyone had experience with a transmission causing this problem? And is a flush without changing the filter a dumb thing to do?
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I'll delurk and take a stab at this one. I had an '86 Ford Aerostar van that had a vibration similar to yours, I think, anytime the TCC was engaged and going up a slight hill or at higher speeds. I could feel it in my feet and the rear view mirror would shake to the point of becoming blurry. Tried wheel balance, checked driveshaft weights for being slung off, etc. etc. Finally changed the trans fluid and it stopped. The TCC was slightly slipping under load due to what I guess was contaminated fluid. If I remember it right, I only had about 40,000 miles on it at the time. Hope this helps.
Garrett Fulton
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Where do you feel the vibration?
If you feel it in the wheel, chances are it is a tire or front end problem.
If you feel it in the seat, it is more likely a drivetrain related problem.
Both scenarios you describe are possibilities, although the transmission is more rare. Given the age and miles, why not change the fluid anyway?
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I will change the oil but if that is not the problem it will have to wait. I need to fix the problem at hand first. Money is an issue I am on disability.

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It seems in the seat and floor. The steering wheel dose not shake. And it seems to be on the right side of the car.

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Tim wrote:

Check the wheel bearings. Especially on the right side.
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You have a balance problem in the right rear wheel, apparently

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Front wheel drive Toyota's are famous for cupping the rear tires. They make a rumbling sound, and a vibration. It changes if you go over a rise or drop in the road. You can feel the tread of the tire and it's obvious.
Al
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This is a Buick. I would never drive a Toyota.

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My Regal was the same though. Rear tires cupped badly, but would last forever if you could stand the noise.
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Thanks but I don't think it is the tires. They look and feel good, and I would think if it was the tires they shake would not stop if I speed up or let off the gas. The shake would continue until speed is lowered.

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It may not be the tires in this case but tires will indeed cause this kind of problem Tim. Out of balance tires, low air pressure, will both react this way. Out of balance in particular, will act up at specific speeds or speed ranges.
--

-Mike-
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Rotated tires and went for a drive. The vibration is still there and found it to be more when going up a hill. At this point I am thinking it is the transmission and will try to get it flushed tomorrow.

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Took it in for a transmission flush. Was told they found shavings in the pan and it needs to be rebuilt. They did the flush. My question to them was why did you flush it and charge me $120 if it needs to be rebuilt? Seems like a waste of money. They will refund my money if I have it rebuilt by them. Like that is going to happen. I will drive it and see if the flush helped and maybe by spring I can have it repaired.

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They had to do the flush to find the shavings. They did labor and supplied fluid, so some charge is fair.
The fact that they found shavings though, may or may not mean that the transmission has to be rebuild. They came from someplace, or course, but it may be a simpler fix. Ask around about reputable shops just in case.
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With 106,000 miles is some shavings in the oil normal?

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Yes... but...
A lot is in the definition of things. How big are the shavings? All transmissions collect shavings in the base pan. That's why there is a magnet glued to the pan of a tranny. How big those shavings are makes a lot of difference in determining if there's a problem or not. This is not the kind of thing that can be explained in a forum like this, to the point of properly interpreting what's appearing in your pan. You really need to get a second opinion if you don't trust the shop you took your car to. One might ask why you took your car there in the first place, if you don't trust what they tell you.
In short though, 106,000 miles would not be out of line with the need for tranny work. ATF (not oil) should be changed between 30,000 and 50,000 miles on most cars. I'm guessing this is your first tranny service on this car (?). What kind of driving is the car subject to? I'm sorry to have to ask - don't recall from earlier in the thread - what year and model car is this?
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I just purchased this car last summer so I have no idea what service was or was not done. This is a transmission shop. Only experience with them is this issue and my daughter took her Jimmy there. Her tranny was shot no question about that. So I trusted them because of that. Now I question them. Sure it needed a flush but I question why they did not call me when they found the shavings on the magnet but they continued with the flush and put the pan back on. Why put all that new oil in it?
I agree they had labor in it and should be paid for it but to continue it my concern. Labor could of been $30 with no parts instead of the $120 with labor and parts.

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The basic rule of thumb is that servicing a tranny on a regular basis is good for the tranny and extends tranny life. Having said that, another basic rule of thumb is that when experiencing tranny problems, about the worst thing you can do in most cases, is flush the tranny. It all starts with the idea that most tranny problems are well enough advanced by the time you feel them, that flushing only serves to exacerbate the problem. Yet - the first thing most people think to do when they have a tranny problem is to flush the tranny. It makes sense in a certain way, but it doesn't work. A decent tranny shop will advise you of that up front. They won't suggest to you that your type of problem can easily be remedied by a flush. Simply put - flushes do not remedy most tranny problems.
In another reply, you say...

It's disconcerting that this tranny shop told you this. But... if that's what they told you, then I believe you have every right to be upset. As to the second shop and the TSB they reference - as you imply, it's for a Ford tranny. There is no - absolutely no correlation between Ford trannys and GM trannys. Don't even waste the brain cells thinking "if it works on a Ford automatic, maybe it will work on a GM automatic - after all, they're both trannys".
Going forward, given the age of your car I think if I were you I'd be looking for a salvage tranny with reasonable mileage. Depending on where you are in the country, you should find one with under 60K on it for probably around $600. I have not invested any time to research this so don't hold me to that price, but you can certainly put one in cheaper than you can get yours rebuilt. This car isn't going to last forever and it's not worth investing $2000 plus into for a tranny overhaul.
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Thanks for everyone advice. I found a shop that has a 99 tranny with 60 K on it. Installed with 6 months warranty will cost me $650 and I can spread payments out for 3 months.

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