vectra automatic gearbox problem - SteveC
I have a 1997 Vectra 2.0 auto, and experience problems with my auto box when starting off from cold. When I start the car up in the morning all warning lights go out, but as soon as I move the shift out of P the transmission warning light comes on and the car jerks as I move it through R, N, and especially into D. At this point I have very little drive in D although R seems to work OK. If I stop and restart the engine a couple of times, then move the shift, the warning light does not come on.
This only started happening last winter and did not occur during the summer, but has been a constant problem this winter. Once the car is properly warmed up the gearbox works perfectly and the light doesn't come on when moving the shift.
I have taken it to the dealer who changed the fluid, which perhaps not surprisingly, made no difference.
Before I take the car to a specialist, has anyone any ideas as what I can check myself, or is there anyone who has experienced the same fault? On the surface it appears to be temperature related?
vectra automatic gearbox problem - Dynamic Dave
This exact same fault happened to my old Cavalier. I believe the Vectra autobox is the same as the one fitted to the Cavalier. Vauxhall traced the fault to the selector switch on the gearbox. Water and dampness can get into the switch, thus corroding the contacts. I was told that it is a non servicable item and the only remedy was replacement. I ended up living with it, as like yours, it only did it when cold. What you\'re experiencing when the light comes on and the car has little go in \"D\" is that the gearbox goes into limp home mode. If this happens treat the gearbox as you would a manual one, ie drop into 1st, then 2nd, and so on. A little trick I discovered when the light comes on when you select \"D\" is to build up a bit of speed then momentarily turn off/on the ignition switch. This will reset the gearbox\'s ECU and the fault will go away until next time.
Now here\'s the bad news - 2 yrs ago Vaux wanted over £200 for a new selector switch, and a further £100 or so to fit it. I rang around a few auto gearbox specialists who all told me that I could only aquire the switch through Vauxhall. If you consider 2nd hand from a scrappy yard, remember that you could pick up an equally faulty selector switch!
vectra automatic gearbox problem - SteveC
Thanks very much Dave, this sounds extremely promising.

Any idea whereabouts on the box the selector switch sits? The whole auto box chapter in my manual is very vague about repairs and doesn't seem to mention this, or if it does it may well be using another term for it.

Also, I think I'll probably do the same as you and ring round a few specialists, perhaps 2 years on they may now be able to get hold of the part.
vectra automatic gearbox problem - Dynamic Dave
The auto gearbox has it's own ECU, so Vauxhall could plug their box of tricks into it and confirm Whether or not it is the selector switch.

On my Cavalier the selector switch sat on top of the gearbox - easily identified by the cable that connects from the gear shift to it. I've now got an auto Vectra, but have never looked for the switch, so can't confirm it's still in the same place or not.

A place you could try is www.autovaux.co.uk I have never used them myself, but looking at the site, and others opinions about them on this forum suggests that the prices are a lot cheaper than Vauxhall themselves, but you still get the genuine article.
vectra automatic gearbox problem - Torque
More than likely the selector switch, they do suffer from condensation. If you are mechanically minded, you can take the switch apart, be careful, lots of springs and sliding contacts, clean the contacts, lubricate and you have saved yourself a couple of hundred pounds.

I did this many times with the Cavaliers and Vectra's, worked 95% of the time.

If you have not already sorted the problem go to The Federation of Automatic Transmission Engineers website www.fedauto.co.uk This will give you a Automatic Transmission Specialist Federation Member in an area not to far from you.
vectra automatic gearbox problem - amylou27
I have just bought a 1998 vectra automatic. I have only had it a few days and its been fine. This morning i started it, reversed and then tried to drive, it was very sluggish like it was in 2nd? There was no warning lights on, but the Lcd display read 'Automatic Gearbox'?
I have been reading this may be a common problem in the vectras? I wondered if anyone could shed any light on the matter.
It was raining badly last night and dont know if this has caused the problem. I drove in it about 10 mins later and i had no problem and no lights/warnings showing?
I am going to take it back to the garage and he said he'll put it on the computer. I dont fancy apying vauxhalls prices!!
Thankyou
vectra automatic gearbox problem - Dynamic Dave
There was no warning lights on, but the Lcd display read 'Automatic Gearbox'?


Same thing as the warning light. The message is telling you there is a gearbox fault and goes into limp home mode, which was why the car felt sluggish. When this happens, the gearbox starts off in 3rd gear, and to overcome the problem to get home you have to use the gearbox manually through the gears.
It was raining badly last night and dont know if this has caused the problem. I drove in it about 10 mins
later and i had no problem and no lights/warnings showing?


My money is either on a faulty gearbox selector switch, or water getting into one of the connector plug / socket joints under the bonnet. I wouldn't say it's a *common* problem, but the selector switch has been known to fail.

Only real way to find out is to have the fault diagnosed by Tech2 (ie, put on a computer), but IIRC, the gearbox ecu doesn't store fault codes, and if the message / light isn't displayed when they Tech2 it, no fault code will show up.

Unfortunately intermittant faults are the hardest fault to try and diagnose.
vectra automatic gearbox problem - amylou27
Since that problem yesterday morning, i have had no problems!? (touching wood as i type)!
I have been told i can take it back to the garage and they'l get into into vauxhall for me. But i dont know what to do now, as its been ok.
Also, if it happened the once, wil it show up on the computer at vauxhall??
Thanks for any advise you can give me.
Amy
vectra automatic gearbox problem - Dynamic Dave
Also, if it happened the once, wil it show up on the computer at vauxhall??


I very much doubt it. As previously said, I don't *think* the gearbox ecu stores fault codes, and even if it did, I imagine it will be like the engine ecu. That being if there have been 25 or 30 clean start ups (by that I mean no more errors in 25 or 30 key turns) the codes get deleted anyway.

If it's behaving now, just carry on driving it. If it does happen again, remember that you can still use the gearbox manually to get you home / to the nearest garage.
 

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