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I post this question to those of you that have survived a 3-5-R Wave plate failure.

What led up to this, did you notice any symptoms of hard shifting, slipping etc before? or did it just happen?

The reason I ask is that I'm having a hard shift/slip while at hwy speeds only when trying to pass or go up a grade while in drive mode, not in manual. I cannot get this to reproduce during city driving conditions, shifts like a champ. She's going into GM next week so I'm trying to build a little info before hand. Trans fluid level is good, color is pink (one year old) no codes, now I'm stumped.

Thanks all.
 

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Well I never had transmission down shifting problems, it always down shifted easily, maybe too easily. The 6 speed tranny is maybe too many gears, or engine is under powered. It wasn't a smooth downshift but I wouldn't consider it as hard. I had my mechanic perform a transtech fluid change around 100k.
The 3-5-R went around 128K. The only symptom I had was that I started out at a stop and it wasn't in 1st gear, it seemed as if it was in 3rd or 4th as well as it had no reverse. It was driveable, but I was across the river and didn't want to drive risk a breakdown going across the GW bridge to home. I had it towed to a shop, it drove off the flatbed in reverse, no problem and seemed like there were no problems. The mechanic hooked up his transmission code scanner and the only code was a mismatch gear ratio kind of thing, he test drove it, cleared the code and sent me on my way.
I drove it home and continued to drive with no problems for a two or three weeks, while doing some research on reputable rebuild shops and replacement options. While I was doing some research I came across some comments from dealerships about how they treat Lambda owners. Some comments I read about are as they joke, "Has your wave plate gone yet?" Just the kind of compassion you need from some business where you spend $36,000. Most dealership mechanics work on a flat rate, so they usually get a set number of hours for a particular job. The mechanic can actually loose out on money by taking on a transmission job. A guy at work has a brother who is a Honda mechanic. He says they must take turns on transmission rebuilds so one guy doesn't loose out all the time. Just the kind of expertise you want, Russian roulette transmission rebuilds. Some dealerships send out their rebuilds to a transmission shop. This is the kind of mechanic you want, an expert.
I took it to an independent shop where they had just rebuilt a Traverse, he showed me the failed plate. I knew this shop was the place to have it rebuilt since he already did a few. The most important procedure is to hot flush all the remaining metal particles, several times if needed. Since then I had two other transmissions rebuilt here so I do trust them.
After I paid $3500 for my rebuild, GM came up with extended coverage to 10 years and 120k on the 3-5-R problem. I applied for reimbursement and they sent me a check, before it cleared, they stopped payment on it since I was 8K over, just my luck.
So how many miles do you have? You should be covered with the 120k special program.
I also read that they can replace the plate before it fails and not have to remove the transmission, they just take the case apart in place, This saves a lot of labor and costs about half of a rebuild. Well I have over 185K and it runs great, I am hoping to put on another 100K.
 

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I took it in to my local GM dealership on Wednesday last week, told them what was happening. About 2 hours later I received a call back from my service advisor that they had determined that the problem was indeed the wave plate and that I would be getting it covered under warranty. I have 132K on it when it went in. I got it back on Friday and read the report. They replaced everything, rebuilt it all, changed the TCM as they determined it could not be cleaned, new torque converter, load test, alignment and out the door. All out the door with a wash and vacuum it was $120 with an oxygen sensor changed out.

I know the transmission was not farmed out because I have a buddy who works on the parts counter who gave me periodic updates as well as my running parts total. The mechanic said the wave plate had not broke yet but noted a crack. So all in all a great experience from GM.
 

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Redrabbit said:
I took it in to my local GM dealership on Wednesday last week, told them what was happening. About 2 hours later I received a call back from my service advisor that they had determined that the problem was indeed the wave plate and that I would be getting it covered under warranty. I have 132K on it when it went in. I got it back on Friday and read the report. They replaced everything, rebuilt it all, changed the TCM as they determined it could not be cleaned, new torque converter, load test, alignment and out the door. All out the door with a wash and vacuum it was $120 with an oxygen sensor changed out.

I know the transmission was not farmed out because I have a buddy who works on the parts counter who gave me periodic updates as well as my running parts total. The mechanic said the wave plate had not broke yet but noted a crack. So all in all a great experience from GM.

wow, 12,000 past warranty and they fixed it-- NICE!
 
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