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A Complete Guide to S60 Transmission Shift Flares, Slipping or Missing Gears

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A Complete Guide to S60 Transmission Shift Flares, Slipping or Missing Gears

  #1  
Old 12-24-2011, 03:59 PM
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Default A Complete Guide to S60 Transmission Shift Flares, Slipping or Missing Gears

This post is my conclusion to a another one I started on here (https://volvoforums.com/forum/volvo-...lipping-59168/). I decided to start it under a new topic so that this "guide" will be at the front and anyone can comment after. (Please see section 4.2 if you intend to leave a response. Thanks!)

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What is this?
This is an attempt at producing a complete, thorough guide to solving automatic transmission shifting problems on Volvo S60s, 2002-2009. It is intended to be a complete primer for anyone who only knows that problems exist and very little else. It is basically a compilation/summary of a large amount of knowledge dispersed online.

I hope people of all experience levels will find this useful. I broke it up into sections to allow you to quickly scan through the information. What you will find below was gained through this forum, other websites, notably ipdusa.com (an online Volvo parts dealer), and my own experience with a 2002 S60 T5 with 125,000 miles.

I have very limited automotive knowledge, and I apologize in advance if I have misinterpreted or wrongly assumed anything.


Contents
1.0 The Problem
1.1 Shift Flares
2.0 Solution
2.1 Updated B4 Servo Cover
2.2 Transmission Flush
2.2.1 Function of Transmission Fluid
2.2.2 Problems with ATF
2.2.3 Assessing the Quality of ATF
2.2.4 Type of ATF to Use
2.3 Software Update
3.0 Procedure
3.1 Replacing the B4 Servo Cover
3.2 Performing the Transmission Flush
3.3 Performing the Software Update
3.3.1 TCM Update
3.3.2 Adaptation
3.3.3 Reset Oil Counter
4.0 Results and Conclusion
4.1 Thank You
4.2 Responses Welcome
5.0 Resources
5.1 Websites
5.2 Volvo Forums

1.0 The Problem
The common problems on the transmissions in the early year models seems to be "shift flares" and sometimes generally hard shifting. These happen when the transmission "misses" a shift or "slips" between gears. Most of the time shift flares occur when shifting between gears 2 and 3.

The transmission in my T5 is an Aisin Warner AW55-50/51SN. It's the Volvo-branded "Geartronic" transmission.
1.1 Shift Flares
A shift flare occurs when the transmission shifts from one gear to another (usually between gears 2 to 3). Instead of shifting smoothly and seamlessly, the transmission is goes into "neutral" with no gear engaged. After a few seconds of delay, the next gear engages. This can be a frightening situation when unexpected. Your foot stays on the accelerator as you expect a smooth transition between gears. When a shift flare occurs, the engine revs high, since the car is essentially in neutral, so that once the next gear finally engages, it slams into gear hard, shuddering the car. This is apparently where most of the physical damage is likely to occur to the transmission. Shift flares occur randomly, although you may find some correlation between flaring and other events, or environmental factors such as temperature. In my personal experience, I noticed much more pronounced flares after going through a lot of stop-and-go traffic, when the lower gears are shifting up and down a lot.

2.0 Solution

There are three primary services you can perform to remedy these problems short of rebuilding or replacing the transmission altogether. They are substantially cheaper than a rebuild or replacement and are the main focus here, though you should take note of these solutions to prevent problems even if you haven't experienced any yet. In fact, prevention of these problems is ideal since it means there is likely no physical damage, which cannot be reversed by this process.

The three services are listed below. I consider them a "three-legged stool" with each one just as important as the others. They are listed in the order I performed them, but there isn't necessarily a specific order that needs to be followed. Ideally, they should be done around the same time.
  • Install updated B4 Servo Cover.
  • Perform a transmission flush or drain-and-fill.
  • Have the transmission software updated.
2.1 Updated B4 Servo Cover
In my personal experience, this is the single-most effective remedy to solving the shift flare problems. This section is somewhat limited as I lack a full understand of how the B4 servo cover works from a technical standpoint.
The B4 servo cover is literally a round piece of metal that is a cover for the B4 piston mechanism. A B4 servo cover is on automatic transmissions in 2001-2009 S60s. The problem lies in the design of the B4 servo cover. Early transmissions, like the Aisin Warner AW55-50/51SN in my 2002 S60 T5, apparently have the most problems. Generally, the later the year model, the less flawed the design of the B4 servo cover is likely to be. After problems started cropping up, Volvo learned, and they started redesigning the B4 servo cover. According to ipdusa.com, Volvo changed the design of the cover multiple times, presumably before coming to the optimal design. So, even if you don't have the oldest and presumably most flawed B4 servo cover, it still may not be the latest and greatest. ipdusa.com states that "the latest design is stock on later models" but doesn't specify which models exactly, later stating that 2004 and newer models "usually" aren't affected.

To the non-technical eye, there are only minor visible differences between an old B4 servo cover and the new one, and it can be hard to believe these changes would make any difference in the mechanical function of the transmission. However, I believe the cover has something to do with the hydrostatic pressure of the fluid inside the transmission that affects the shifting behavior. The ipdusa.com description of this product states, "It's ironic how this inexpensive part can save someone from a costly transmission replacement."
2.2 Transmission Flush
A transmission flush involves replacing all the old fluid in the transmission with new fluid. There are two types of transmission flushes. One I have read about online involves dropping the fluid pan--a real flush.

The other a drain-and-fill, the one I performed, is much simpler but less thorough. However, a drain-and-fill may be preferable to a full flush on transmissions that have been severely neglected. A flush can knock loose particles that damage moving parts when they circulate around with the fluid (according to IPD). A drain-and-fill is less likely to disturb those particles.

I have also read suggestions to install a magnetic filter in the transmission fluid line to capture metal particles from the fluid after doing a drain-and-fill. This sounds like a good idea, but I didn't do it.
2.2.1 Function of Transmission Fluid
Again, I lack deep technical knowledge of the inner workings of transmissions so I will only provide a simple explanation here. Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is a hydraulic fluid, meaning it is under pressure. It is also a lubricant which minimizes friction and wear on the moving parts within the transmission.
2.2.2 Problems with ATF
For a variety of reasons the fluid degrades. As the fluid quality degrades, it becomes less and less effective at meeting the performance standards the transmission is designed for. Also, even with the fluid acting as a friction reducer, the moving parts inside the transmission wear on each other to a limited extent. Over time, small metal filings end up in the fluid and help to wear the parts even more quickly. Thus, it is essential to flush the ATF at regular intervals to prolong the life of the transmission.
A major cause of ATF not being changed is that Volvo didn't (and may still not) recognize that the fluid needs to be changed, *ever*. Volvo owners manuals state that the fluid is lifetime. This has obviously not turned out to be the case. The dealer I went to for the software update, said they *do* recommend a flush every 50,000 miles.
2.2.3 Assessing the Quality of ATF
The quality can be roughly determined by checking the color and the smell of the fluid. The transmissions we are discussing use fluid that must meet JWS 3309 specification (see the next section). Fresh, new ATF has the color and viscosity of red cough syrup and has a slightly sweet smell. Essentially, the further your ATF varies from these properties, the worse its condition. For example, when I flushed mine, the old ATF was black (like soy sauce) and had an offensive, slightly burnt smell. Basically, it was on the opposite end of the scale from new ATF.
2.2.4 Type of ATF to Use
The fluid to use must meet the JWS 3309 specification. I ordered Mobil ATF 3309 from AV Lubricants (Petroliance) (Petroliance DBA AV Lubricants-Your ExxonMobil Oil Distributor!). The Mobil product is not the cheapest option (You can expect to pay about $7-$8 per quart, and you will need 12-14 quarts.). I have read about other people using a Toyota-branded ATF called T-IV that is the same thing as the Mobil and apparently quite a bit cheaper. There is also a Volvo branded ATF. It's the same stuff. Those are the primary options, not the only ones. Whatever you decide to use, just make use it meets the JWS 3309 specification.
2.3 Software Update

Another cause of the problems is related to the TCM (transmission control module), the computer that controls the transmission. Like the B4 servo cover, the software has undergone numerous changes.

The update is usually best done at a Volvo dealer since it requires the expensive Volvo VADIS system. There are probably good indie shops that can do the update as well. With the B4 servo cover update, IPD strongly recommends a software update. I also strongly recommend getting the TCM update. From my experience, it does make a big difference.

The shop can also do an adaptation procedure that makes the TCM to "relearn" how to shift and adapt to your driving style. It essentially involves clearing the stored adaptation memory and forcing the TCM to accumulate new data.

Lastly, they can also reset the ATF oil counter. I don't know what that does. It probably just lets the TCM know how old the fluid is.

3.0 Procedure
This section will focus on the "how-to". I won't provide step-by-step instructions for every procedure, but I will identify where you can find such instructions and add additional comments and tips based on my personal experience.

A friend with non-model/make-specific knowledge of vehicles and I, with very limited automotive knowledge, were able to replace the B4 servo cover and flush the transmission in about 6 hours total. We would have finished quite a bit sooner if we had known a few small tricks. You may choose to have this work done by a mechanic or the Volvo dealer. My hopes are that by passing on this knowledge you will feel more confident in doing these procedures and be able to do them more easily yourself. Especially if your budget is limited, doing the work yourself is very cost-effective. In total, I spent about $170 to change the B4 servo cover and flush the transmission.
3.1 Replacing the B4 Servo Cover
The B4 servo cover is a round metal cover located on the transmission housing. It is accessed by removing the driver side wheel. I ordered the new B4 servo cover kit from ipdusa.com for around $21. The parts came in a Volvo-branded box and came with well-explained instructions from IPD. The same instructions are available as PDFs on their website under the product description, so even if you don't buy the parts from IPD, you can still use their instructions. However, I will say that I was very pleased with IPD. They also provided a bolt that is essential for doing the work.

First, be prepared to and have the basic tools for removing a tire. Next, you'll need a special tool called a snap-ring pliers. I bought a cheapo $4 pair with interchangeable heads, and they worked fine. Simply follow the IPD instructions carefully, and you shouldn't have any problems.

However, one important note that the IPD instructions are missing is to remove the large plastic underbody cover underneath the engine. It is attached with 6 bolts and comes off easily. This may be obvious to more seasoned DIYers, but we struggled for more than an hour until we took the underbody cover off. Taking the cover off gave us better access to the work area, but most importantly, it allowed us to use a long pry bar to gain more leverage when installing the new B4 servo cover. Before we removed the cover, we struggled unsuccessfully to depress the new B4 servo cover using a regular-sized screwdriver (It was all that would fit with the underbody cover in place.).

After you get it installed, the last step of the instructions have you basically drive around to let the car "relearn" how to shift under the new conditions. Immediately I noticed a huge difference. Shift flares were eliminated and shifting was less harsh in general. The instructions said to expect a few driving cycles for the transmission to learn, but I didn't notice any "learning curve." However, a few days later, problems started cropping up again but much less significantly.
3.2 Performing the Transmission Flush
I bought the flush kit from ipdusa.com. Using this kit doesn't perform a true flush, it's really a drain-and-fill. IPD provides good instructions instructions with the kit. People on this site have pointed out that it's way overpriced for what you get: a hose and a replacement o-rings and clip. That said, if you're new to this, like I am, I would suggest getting the kit so you know you have exactly what you need. It comes with a green plastic clip and a metal one. For the 2001-onwards S60s, you'll need the green plastic clip and have a extra o-ring. The metal clip is for older models. The instructions don't make that clear. Take note of how everything is put together when you take it apart and you won't have any problems.

The IPD flush kit costs about $23.

You will also need to purchase 12-14 quarts of ATF meeting the JWS 3309 specification. The 12 quarts of Mobil ATF was $87 from AV Lubrications. See section 2.2.4 above. I also ordered an additional 2 quarts from IPD--for good measure.
3.3 Performing the Software Update
The last and easiest step. Take the vehicle to a Volvo dealer service shop or a good indie shop and ask to have the TCM (transmission control module) software updated. It is separate from the normal software updates, which dealers usually perform automatically with regular maintenance. You have to ask (and pay) for the TCM update. I explained what I work I had done, and this is the service they recommended and did. The car stayed at the dealer 2 days, which wasn't bad because they provided a loaner car for free. The total cost was around $150 for the software work.
3.3.1 TCM Update
First, the dealer checked for a TCM (transmission control module) update, which it needed. They also checked for any "death codes" that might indicate the transmission was about to die imminently. Thank goodness that wasn't the case. I was told I would be better off putting my money into a replacement than the software update if they got the death code.
3.3.2 Adaptation
They also reset the adaptation memory. I have read different things about this procedure, and I don't know exactly what they did at the dealer. However, when I got it back, the service guy told me to drive it normally and that the TCM would adapt over the next 15 or so "key cycles." He said they cleared the adaptation memory and that the TCM would need to re-accumulate transmission data.

I specifically asked how I should be driving during the adaptation since I've read that you have to drive it slowly. The service guy said if you drive like a grandma, drive like a grandma, if you punch it at every intersection, punch it at every intersection. He explained that this is how the TCM adapts to your particular driving habits. During that time, I tried to do get a good cross-section of my usual driving habits, from fairly aggressive street driving to fast freeway driving to painfully slow creeping in rush-hour freeway traffic.
3.3.3 Reset Oil Counter
The third thing the dealer did was to reset the ATF oil counter since I told them I had changed drain-and-filled the transmission. I'm not exactly show what that does. It may let the computer know how old the fluid is. Nevertheless, it can't hurt.

4.0 Results and Conclusion

It's been 2 weeks since the B4 servo cover update and the drain-and-fill and 1 week since the software update on my 2002 S60 T5 with 125,000 miles. The overall improvement has been about 95% (100% being a complete reversal of all the symptoms). Since then, I have experienced 2-3 hard shifts (2 of those might have been "mini" shift flares). Each time, I was pushing it rather aggressively. The most common problem that occurs every 2-3 days is a delay when shifting from Park to Drive before actual engagement. If I avoid hitting the gas immediately after throwing in Drive, I've been able to avoid a harsh engagement.

After the first two steps, I saw about a 70% improvement, with some hard shifts, especially after heavy stop-and-go traffic, and fewer, shorter and much less intense flaring. The software update took car of the rest. I read that the TCM update adjusts the shift profile to be in the optimal part of the torque curve more often, for T5s especially (Drive Line - Howard's Volvo Maintenance), and after the update, I noticed the TCM tended to let the engine rev higher before shifting (around 2400 rpm, as Howard's Volvos says).

While I don't consider this a permanent fix, I believe it will last me a year or two until I can afford to completely replace the transmission if I choose.

I highly recommend doing these procedures. You will almost definitely see an improvement. If the transmission has suffered physical damage as a result of flaring, there's nothing you can do to repair it short of a rebuild or replacement. The unknown variable in my situation was how much, if any, physical damage had been done. While I suspect it has been damaged some, it's at least drivable now.
4.1 Thank You
A special thanks to everyone on this website for all the great tips and suggestions. I would, in all likelihood, be getting an expensive transmission replacement right now, if I hadn't had this resource. I hope this post returns part of the favor. If you have a specific question or need clarification, please don't hesitate to post or contact me directly.

Also, thanks to the larger online Volvo community. It's great to now be a fellow Volvo owner, despite the headaches.
4.2 Responses Welcome
I know I have most likely left out valuable information or made suggestions others would disagree with. I welcome comments. Please just be sure to note the section number in your response so others can cross-reference the information as easily as possible.

5.0 Resources


This list is by no means exhaustive.
5.1 Websites

AV Lubricants
. Distributor of Mobil ATF 3309. Based in OH.
Petroliance DBA AV Lubricants-Your ExxonMobil Oil Distributor!

Howard's Volvo Maintenance: Transmission Issues. Provides a lot of useful advice and solid explanations on the transmission issues discussed here.
Drive Line - Howard's Volvo Maintenance

ipd (ipdusa.com). A Volvo parts supplier based in Portland, OR. Good selection of aftermarket and OEM parts. Very helpful instructions provided with some parts. Good explanations in some product descriptions. Trustworthy and helpful.
Volvo Parts, Accessories and Performance Specialist Since 1963

ipd: Haynes Repair Manual.
Haynes Shop Manual - UK Edition

Wikipedia. "Geartronic." Background info.
Geartronic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wikipedia. "List of Aisin transmissions." Background info.
List of Aisin transmissions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
5.2 Volvo Forums

"S60 T5 transmission slipping." My original post on this issue.
https://volvoforums.com/forum/volvo-s60-10/s60-t5-transmission-slipping-59168/

"01 S60 Transmission."
https://volvoforums.com/forum/volvo-s60-10/01-s60-transmission-50995/

"2001 S60 T5 Transmission ?."
https://volvoforums.com/forum/volvo-...mission-57444/

"2001 S60 TRANSMISSION ADVICE."
https://volvoforums.com/forum/volvo-...-advice-24333/

"2001 S60 Transmission fluid change."
https://volvoforums.com/forum/volvo-...-change-47897/
 
  #2  
Old 01-01-2012, 09:27 AM
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This is one very well written white paper on the transmission issue which may help a lot on this forum. Thanks for sharing your experience with the Volvo owners community.
 
  #3  
Old 07-16-2012, 04:16 PM
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Update.?
 
  #4  
Old 09-08-2012, 10:36 AM
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Default Flares persist at temp

First- technical writing is something you should pursue- great clear post! I have a 2003, s60 AWD T5, 98K miles. It started shift flare about a year ago, intermittentaly, until it finally scared my wife who made me buy her a XC90. I refused to sell or trade in in fear of transmission failure, as you mention, this problem seems to be rooted in several combined factors. I too did all that you mention, in this order:

1. Software

2. Drain Flush to mobile atf 3309(vehicle on, pulling fluid through)

3. New IPD purchased servo cover- Hard to get snap ring back on while prying with screw driver-

4. Transmission teach(also felt like it didn't work)


I have zero flares....when not in traffic. I commute from Santa Cruz to Silicon Valley. Car is fine at speed, over a steep hill, shifting up and down, passing trucks and gassing it to pass some of our huge stubborn Prius population.

As soon as I hit traffic in the mid afternoon,(no issue in cold morning) I end up with very pronounced flares and harsh down shifts. It seems you still have some flare problems as well. I think I have temp related issue as the contrast is amazing.

I have found that:

Harsh shifting in traffic in hot ambient temperatures goes away in about 5 minutes when AC is turned on! Not sure why except it seems to turn on radiator fan and change engine/tranny dynamics. I have taken this as an indication that I need to checkout the following:

1. Fluid integrity- still looks decent(though not super pink) shop said it was bulk bought Mobile ATF 3309 and got irritated at me for asking. I will flush myself again or check into another fluid with better high temp operation.

2. TCU re-teach- I need help with this and how to clear and teach. I want to re-teach hot like I am in traffic. disconnect neg battery for a while to clear?

3. Transmission cooler-

4. Electric radiator Fan- this has some sort of dynamic speed control, maybe temp sensor is not turning it on soon enough.

Let me know your thoughts- sounds like we both still have the shift flare and might have a common failure mode/mechanism.

Thanks!
 
  #5  
Old 01-13-2013, 10:44 PM
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I have a 2005 S60 2.5T with the Aisin Warner AW55-50 /51 transmission with about 91,500 miles. I got the car used with 67,000 miles and the transmission had never been flushed before that, so I went with the drain and fill of the oil pan changing out 3.5 quarts or so with the Mobil 3309 each time. I did it initially at about 72,000, and again at around 80,000. I plan to do it again at not later than 95,000, but I may do another in the next week or 2 since I am taking the in the car in the next month on a trip and will put a couple of thousand miles on it over a 10 day period or so. From here on I plan to drain and fill every 10,000 - 15,000 miles. Basically, I'm checking into this more to do preventative maintenance so I can avoid getting shift flares along the way as it seems like this transmission develops issues as it gets older. I plan to check with the dealership in the next couple of weeks to see if I need a TCM software update. At one point they told me that it needed a software update for some other issue, and would check everything else to see if any other software updates are needed. When they speak in those terms, to me everything would include the transmission, as well, but we will see based on your post. My question is how can I tell for sure if I have the latest version of the B4 servo cover? All I've seen is this post that says if you have a 2004 or later you should have the latest servo cover, but how do I know for sure?
 

Last edited by DMac100; 01-13-2013 at 10:46 PM. Reason: font was too small
  #6  
Old 01-15-2013, 01:42 AM
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2005 S60 T5. Mileage 93,000 miles.

ATF never changed by the last owner, however, transmission is running smoothly so far.

I done ATF flush last Sunday with Toyota T-VI. Drained 4 liter (fill 4 liter) and flushed another 4 liter (flush 1 liter and fill 1 liter), total 8 liter. The fluid is black for sure but no burnt smell. The magnetic plug is kind of full with tiny chips

I think I might have a problem (drove about 100 miles after ATF flushed). The transmission is considered ok but it is not smooth in shifting as before. I followed some discussions that it might take 700-1000 miles for shift properties to fully adapt and change. Or should I spend money and send to workshop for checking? Please comment.

I plan to do ATF drain and fill every 10,000 miles after my 1st flush on 93,000 miles. Is that a good way for transmission to adapt the new fluid slowly?

Please advise.
 
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DMac100 View Post
I plan to check with the dealership in the next couple of weeks to see if I need a TCM software update. At one point they told me that it needed a software update for some other issue, and would check everything else to see if any other software updates are needed. When they speak in those terms, to me everything would include the transmission, as well, but we will see based on your post. My question is how can I tell for sure if I have the latest version of the B4 servo cover? All I've seen is this post that says if you have a 2004 or later you should have the latest servo cover, but how do I know for sure?
The TCM software is definitely separate from the usual computer updates, so they have to check it specifically to see if it's out-of-date. The guy at my Volvo dealer confirmed that.

As for the B4 servo cover, it probably doesn't need to be changed on your 2004. I changed the one on my 2002 S60 just to be sure, but it wasn't leaking, which I believe was the main problem. I would think an 04 would be fine. If you could visually check it for any obvious problems, at least you could have some reassurance.
 
  #8  
Old 01-15-2013, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Keng View Post
2005 S60 T5. Mileage 93,000 miles.

ATF never changed by the last owner, however, transmission is running smoothly so far.

I done ATF flush last Sunday with Toyota T-VI. Drained 4 liter (fill 4 liter) and flushed another 4 liter (flush 1 liter and fill 1 liter), total 8 liter. The fluid is black for sure but no burnt smell. The magnetic plug is kind of full with tiny chips

I think I might have a problem (drove about 100 miles after ATF flushed). The transmission is considered ok but it is not smooth in shifting as before. I followed some discussions that it might take 700-1000 miles for shift properties to fully adapt and change. Or should I spend money and send to workshop for checking? Please comment.

I plan to do ATF drain and fill every 10,000 miles after my 1st flush on 93,000 miles. Is that a good way for transmission to adapt the new fluid slowly?

Please advise.

I don't think the tiny metal chips on the magnetic plug are necessarily a sign of doom. After 93k miles, any transmission is likely to have some wear.

I can imagine it might not shift as smoothly since the TCM is adapted for conditions much different than you've created by changing the fluid. The TCM reset isn't absolutely necessary. Even the guy at my Volvo dealer told me that. It actually causes the transmission to shift harder at first since it's has no adaptation memory. I don't recall the TCM reset being extremely costly (~$150), and it included a TCM software update, which I would recommend.

I'd check the fluid to see if you want to change it at 10k miles. That seems a little soon, but it may be necessary the first time. Mine is well over 15k and I haven't changed it yet. Probably should. I don't think changing the fluid that often will help the transmission adapt more gradually because the properties of the fluid aren't likely to change drastically between 10k and 15k or even 20k miles. The stuff is designed to last. Like I noted, the biggest enemy is metal flakes in the fluid.
 
  #9  
Old 01-15-2013, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by david87 View Post
The TCM software is definitely separate from the usual computer updates, so they have to check it specifically to see if it's out-of-date. The guy at my Volvo dealer confirmed that.

As for the B4 servo cover, it probably doesn't need to be changed on your 2004. I changed the one on my 2002 S60 just to be sure, but it wasn't leaking, which I believe was the main problem. I would think an 04 would be fine. If you could visually check it for any obvious problems, at least you could have some reassurance.


Mine is actually a 2005, so your thinking mine should be ok. As for visually inspecting, are you referring to looking at the outside of the cover without taking it apart? If that is what you are referring to, what would I be looking for. From what I read, something would break inside and cause something to be disconnected which would cause these shift flares to occur, so I was thinking that I wouldn't be able to tell anything unless I had it apart. If I did need to take it off to look at it, I'd just replace with a new one. I got off the phone with my service rep and he also confirmed to me that the TCM software update would not have been done with the rest of the updates that they performed earlier last year. He also said it would cost $160 for the update if it was needed, but there would be no charge if there was no update that was required. I didn’t think to ask about resetting the TCM though without updating but I imagine it would be $160 if they make any changes to the car. At this dealership, they don't work on them, just replace the whole transmission if required, so he wasn't familier with the B4 Servo Cover issue, but said to send him info and he would ask around with the techs in the shop. He did say they haven't really seen issues with transmissions in the 2.5T which is what I have but have seen significant issues in the T6 and some issues with the T5. Maybe more power can cause rougher shifting. I’m definitely going to do a drain and fill in the near future. Still not sure on the B4 Servo Cover, but will take in to shop to see if I have the latest software upgrades. If I don’t need any upgrades, I won’t have them reset it unless I’m putting in on a new B4 Servo cover. I keep thinking there has got to be something linked to the Vin number of these vehicles that would tell you which version of the transmission you had.
 

Last edited by DMac100; 01-15-2013 at 02:18 PM. Reason: added information
  #10  
Old 01-15-2013, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by DMac100 View Post
As for visually inspecting, are you referring to looking at the outside of the cover without taking it apart? If that is what you are referring to, what would I be looking for. From what I read, something would break inside and cause something to be disconnected which would cause these shift flares to occur, so I was thinking that I wouldn't be able to tell anything unless I had it apart. If I did need to take it off to look at it, I'd just replace with a new one.
I can't remember what the potential problems are with the B4 servo cover. I've slept since then. I was thinking you could just see if any fluid has leaked out without taking anything apart. If you're up to task, it definitely wouldn't hurt to replace it.
 
  #11  
Old 01-16-2013, 02:56 AM
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1) Lucas full-syn engine oil and change filter
2) AFT flush
3) flush Power steering fluid
4) flush coolant
5) clean air filter
6) use contact cleaner to clean airflow sensor

Hard to believe that after these 6 major maintenance, my fuel consumption is jumped crazy! It drink more 20-25% than before. I could not come to a conclusion yet since i only drove 180 miles so far. I will hold my breath and pocket to monitor it for another 500-600 miles.

Am i miss something? Start to doubt whether i ruin my car
 
  #12  
Old 01-16-2013, 08:16 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,997
Default

The problem with the B4 servo cover is
Information removed.
 

Last edited by ES6T; 01-20-2013 at 12:22 AM.
  #13  
Old 02-22-2013, 03:15 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 22
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S60/T5/MY2005

After TCM reset/update for transmission adaption, my transmission come alive again!! Thank you very much!! There is really a big difference before & after TCM reset in my case. Thank you for your advice.

From here on I plan to drain and fill ATF every 15,000 - 20,000 miles as DMac100. Do I need to reset TCM everytime for ATF drain & fill?

After 20 minutes smooth drive, my transmission temperature is about 190 F (88C) (read live data from VIDA), is that consider too high? Is that necessary to install a external transmission cooler?
 
  #14  
Old 11-14-2013, 04:31 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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Thanks! I wish I would have read all of this a few months ago, instead of having to piece it together from various sources!

3.3 - Just from my personal experience - After receiving notification of Volvo's Service Advantage program, including free software updates for life, I took my s60 in and asked for the free update for the transmission software. The service writer argued with me that it would not fix any problems. The update must have included the transmission, as the "neutral shift" feature is gone. I love it!

Hopefully everyone else will get their updates for free as well!
 
  #15  
Old 11-14-2013, 09:55 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1
Default John, did you solve the problem?

hello, John, I happened to find your message posted here. and my volvo s60 2004 is experiencing the exact same thing as yours. I don't know if you have found the right solution or not, if yes, could you share it here with us?

thanks.

Originally Posted by jonnygovolvo View Post
First- technical writing is something you should pursue- great clear post! I have a 2003, s60 AWD T5, 98K miles. It started shift flare about a year ago, intermittentaly, until it finally scared my wife who made me buy her a XC90. I refused to sell or trade in in fear of transmission failure, as you mention, this problem seems to be rooted in several combined factors. I too did all that you mention, in this order:

1. Software

2. Drain Flush to mobile atf 3309(vehicle on, pulling fluid through)

3. New IPD purchased servo cover- Hard to get snap ring back on while prying with screw driver-

4. Transmission teach(also felt like it didn't work)


I have zero flares....when not in traffic. I commute from Santa Cruz to Silicon Valley. Car is fine at speed, over a steep hill, shifting up and down, passing trucks and gassing it to pass some of our huge stubborn Prius population.

As soon as I hit traffic in the mid afternoon,(no issue in cold morning) I end up with very pronounced flares and harsh down shifts. It seems you still have some flare problems as well. I think I have temp related issue as the contrast is amazing.

I have found that:

Harsh shifting in traffic in hot ambient temperatures goes away in about 5 minutes when AC is turned on! Not sure why except it seems to turn on radiator fan and change engine/tranny dynamics. I have taken this as an indication that I need to checkout the following:

1. Fluid integrity- still looks decent(though not super pink) shop said it was bulk bought Mobile ATF 3309 and got irritated at me for asking. I will flush myself again or check into another fluid with better high temp operation.

2. TCU re-teach- I need help with this and how to clear and teach. I want to re-teach hot like I am in traffic. disconnect neg battery for a while to clear?

3. Transmission cooler-

4. Electric radiator Fan- this has some sort of dynamic speed control, maybe temp sensor is not turning it on soon enough.

Let me know your thoughts- sounds like we both still have the shift flare and might have a common failure mode/mechanism.

Thanks!
 
  #16  
Old 12-02-2013, 12:11 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: NorCal
Posts: 26
Default

Thanks for the excellent write up... I am having the problem with our 01 v70s. One will roll backwards and the other has developed the hard shift 1>2>3, and 3>2>1. I ordered the B4 servo cover kits for both. My 03 S60 is working fine right now so I am just going to wait a bit on that one.
 
  #17  
Old 08-21-2014, 02:21 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 19
Default cover question


Hi, my cover looks like the lower left. The above ring is not in there at all. It didn't fall out . By this picture I assume the ring is crimped into the cover
I have had this car for 2 days. I'm guessing someone took this apart and just discarded the ring and reassembled.
Does this sound feasible?
 
  #18  
Old 12-28-2014, 07:02 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1
Default 2002 s60 awd 2.4t tranny

So I have an awd 02 turbo s60. And i was looking to put a new tranny in it. But the tranny I'm looking at (55-50sn) but does not have the geartronics. Is it still compatible with my car even tho it's awd and has the geartronic system.
 
  #19  
Old 12-29-2014, 01:12 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 3
Default Second to Third shift flare fixed

First of all, I wish to thank you for your write up. It helped me immensely.

I have a 2002 S60 with 168K mi. It has had a flare issue from 2-3 since I bought it 3 years ago.

I purchased the transmission drain/fill kit and Updated B4 Servo cover from IPD.
I purchased a case of transmission fluid from AutohausAZ.

11 quarts of fluid were required to get clear red fluid on the dip stick.

A couple of hours were required to replace the B4 Servo cover.
I'm a newbie, so I don't know how to post photos. However, I put photos of the old B4 cover in my album. It shows the washer that is stamped into the B4 cover loose from the cover and also pressed into a concave shape.

UPDATE 3/23/15
It's been almost 3 months now and I still have no issue with flare between 2-3.
The only time it ever hiccuped was turning hard right at an intersection at just the right speed (i.e. shifting from 2-3 in the turn).

According to a Volvo publication NO: 43-37, the separation of the steel washer from the Aluminum cover is the source of failure.

The hardest part was getting the old cover to come out after the snap ring was removed. I used vise grips to grab the ribs on the cover and a lot of pushing and pulling before it came out.

I was disappointed with my first test drive. I still had flare but the characteristics were a little different than before.

I let the car sit for a few hours and did another test drive following the recommendations in the IPD B4 cover instructions.
What a relief, the flare is gone. I still hold my breath when it shifts from 2 to 3 but I have yet to have a flare.

I did not and probably won't pay Volvo to clear/reset the transmission computer. Hopefully it won't be necessary.

Link to Volvo B4 cover document:
http://www.volvoxc.com/0/resources/h...ervo-cover.pdf
 

Last edited by bdbengtsson; 03-23-2015 at 08:04 AM. Reason: 3 month update
  #20  
Old 03-21-2015, 05:30 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 40
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B4 servo cover as referenced in point 2.1: issue is caused by the steel washer as can be seen in the message from blurat. The steel washer is there to provide a hard surface for the piston to push against. The cover is aluminum and would wear over time so the washer is there to prevent that. The piston which pushes on the B4 cover is used for changing gear (3rd) and the TCM uses that information in its 'learning' process.


In the early transmissions, the washer would come loose and move around causing inconsistent movement of the piston and the resulting shift challenges that people have experienced. The solution was to crimp the steel washer in 4 places. Unfortunately, that did not cure the issue so the next version saw the washer crimped in 6 places. If you look at the two photos in blurats' post you can just see the crimps on the circumference where it meets the aluminum housing. So it is possible that you have 0 crimps, 4 crimps or 6 crimps on the cover.


There are no external leaks caused by the B4 cover so that cannot be used to diagnose this issue.


The learning of the transmission is the software adapting to the mechanical tolerances inside the transmission. Due to the fact that the metal washer was coming loose and moving, when the TCM applied the values it had 'learned' and the washer was in the incorrect place, that would result in a poor quality shift. Obviously, the TCM could not predict where the washer was so that resulted in random concerns that changed with temperature etc.

So, replacing the B4 servo cover will make the position of the steel washer consistent and allow the trans to adapt and use the correct values resulting in better shifting. Resetting these values will speed up the process as the TCM adapts quicker to no information. Once these values are learned the TCM assumes they will only move marginally over time so the adaption process is slower if it is not reset. Having said that, the transmission will adapt either way; just one will be quicker than the other.


On the subject of 3309 fluid, it is important that you use the correct fluid. These transmissions are designed with the fluid and will have other issues if the correct fluid is not used. JWS-3309 is a standard, so multiple manufacturers can meet the standard but just make sure the product you are buying meets that standard. There are products on the market that say they can be used in these transmissions but to protect yourself make sure it specifically meets the standard. Cheap insurance against future issues.


In addition, the TCM tracks temperature over time to determine when the fluid needs to be replaced. Temperature (near or above design limit) is what causes the fluid to break down and the longer it is at those temperatures the more likely the fluid is to be compromised. So, if you live in a warmer climate, spend a lot of time in stop and go traffic etc. it would make sense to change your fluid more often. Just balance that with the fact that this fluid is synthetic, manufactured specifically for this application and is expensive so it should last a long time but if you want cheap (compared to transmission replacement) insurance then make an informed decision.
 

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