1-2 shift hesitates and then hits hard

1.8-liter VVTL-i (2ZZ-GE) and VVT-i (1ZZ-FE) engine, transmission, exhaust, intake, and performance tuning discussions
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Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:34 pm

1-2 shift hesitates and then hits hard

Post by AZgl1800 »

2007 Vibe with about 125,000 miles....
used to drive like a dream, but then it got pressed into Rural Mail Delivery for the last 3 years.

Just checked the fluid level, about 1/4 inch from the Top Mark.

Normal takeoff in 1st, and then when it upshifts, it feels like it went into neutral and then slams into 2nd gear.

I can't afford spend a lot of money on the car, so hope there is a reasonable fix available
Posts: 937
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:07 am
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota

Re: 1-2 shift hesitates and then hits hard

Post by jolt »

When was the last time you replaced the filter and fluid? Check the bottom of the pan for material and clean the magnets. You will need a inch-pound torque wrench to put the filter back on. It could also be the valve body or a solenoid, but start with the filter and fluid. If you continue to drive it that way, you will be replacing the whole transmission if it is not already damaged.
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2023 5:50 am

Re: 1-2 shift hesitates and then hits hard

Post by 2vibeornot2vibe »

I've been scanning the forum looking for some responses on a similar issue I'm having. I just bought (Dec. '22) a 2009 Vibe. When I drove it off the lot, everything was running normally. Then the old battery died, so I took it to an Advanced AutoParts to have a new one put in. The guy put in a 26 group battery and took a long time doing so. In all honesty, it didn't really look like he knew what he was doing. He struggled to get the old one out and the new one in. Ever since then, my car has shifted really hard in-between 1st and 2nd gear. I've taken it to a mechanic, a Chevy dealership, and most recently a transmission mechanic. They've scanned it for electrical damage and didn't find anything. Yesterday, the transmission mechanic cleaned off/polished the battery terminals to make sure the battery is grounding properly.
One thing I've learned is that a group 26 battery is a "smaller" battery. I realize it might be a fool's hope, but if I replace the battery with a group 35, might this fix the problem?
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: 1-2 shift hesitates and then hits hard

Post by GammaFlat »

Got an '09 Vibe. It currently has 67K. I always hated the 1-2 shift - had car since about 56K. I thought it would maybe slip a little and then shift harder than it should. All other shifts felt fine. I just changed the filter and fluid (3.x quarts)... fixed. I used "WS" (as it says on dipstick) Valvoline trans fluid and don't recall the filter brand. What came out wasn't terrible looking but wasn't "cherry red" either.

I've suddenly become a fan of changing trans fluid. My beloved Honda Ridgeline was having shift problems (all shifts). I followed factory recommendations for changing the trans fluid (not filter) at 35K. At 76K miles all shifts seemed crappy. I changed the fluid (and inline filter). All shifts corrected to what I remember brand new feeling like. For good measure I changed out the fluid a second time to bring up the average amount of new fluid in the trans:
Assuming 12 quarts total..
  • after first change, 4 quarts new
  • drive it around a while, change it again (4 qts), about 6.67 quarts new - so a little more than 1/2 change out.
I'm thinking the factory recommendations for trans fluid changes are flawed. Maybe it has to do with marketing wanting to manage "cost of ownership" numbers. I don't much pay attention to the engine oil recommendations :shock: .
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Location: Toledo/Oregon, Port Clinton Ohio

Re: 1-2 shift hesitates and then hits hard

Post by tpollauf »

Gamma. Good advise. What size engine/tranny do you have. My son's 09 Vibe GT (2.4L & auto tranny) is pushing 160k miles and has yet to change the tranny fluid, yet it still drives like brand new. I told him he's one of the fortunate LUCKY ones and needs to get it changed. Anyways curious of the different sized trannys and their respective dependability. Thanks for your testimonial by the way. We need involvement here to increase if possible. Members/readers like me really appreciate it :D
2009 Vibe GT (manual), 2009 G8Gt, 2009 Vibe GT (auto)
2014 Silverado, 2004 Vibe GT, 2003 Vibe GT (project car)

"everything is modifiable"
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