1997 GMC Safari Transmission Shifting Problems

1997 GMC Safari

Engine Size : 4.3 Vortec
Hi, After a long trip, I pulled into a parking space and went to back out and reverse didn't work, I have to pull in where I can only go forward now. Someone said a

modulator or solenoid could be bad? I also noticed it seems to hesitate shifting to 2nd, unless you run 1st up like a manual shift, then it shifts, and I think it stays there in 2nd, and won't shift to 3rd, now. Can you please shed some light and tell me exactly what I need to do. The engine is still strong and I hate to just let it go because of transmission but it is old and not sure of the cost of rebuilt or God forbid a new 1. Thanks in advance all you great experts who help others! You r just 2 much!! God Bless. Will a 87 GMC 4.3 Vortec Safari transmission be a direct replacement for a 97 GMC Safari, and if so,, what other things/parts should and need replaced while changing this over. Thanks again!


Answer: You definitely have an internal transmission problem. Acting how it is now, with the additional shifting problems, you will most likely need a complete transmission overhaul. Once one part goes bad or breaks inside the transmission, that just leads to more and more trouble. Debris from the clutches, and other hard parts makes it way throughout the transmission and valve body, basically destroying it. The more you drive, the worse it gets. It would need to be removed the vehicle and disassembled to find the exact cause of failure and what new parts are required to rebuild it. You might be better off to try a used transmission from a reputable junk yard if the price is too high to rebuild. As for your second question about swapping transmissions from a 1987 Safari, that will NOT work. The older transmission will NOT work with the electronic systems on the 1997 Safari. If you choose to get a used trans, make sure it is from the same year and model as yours.


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Comments (4)
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  • Guest - Linda Reynolds

    Will a 04 Astro van transmission work on 97 GMC Safari van

  • Guest - Tommy

    In reply to: Guest - Linda Reynolds

    No that transmission will not work on the older truck. It might bolt up OK, but it is a totally different transmission with different electronics, solenoids, etc.

  • Guest - Don

    just changed heater valve on 97 SAFARI. filled with water. o
    Over heats rpretty quick. Does sys need antifreeze under idle conditions?

  • Guest - Tommy

    In reply to: Guest - Don

    Yes, an engine needs coolant under an idle condition. You have an air pocket. You need to bleed the cooling system.