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Q: What will cause the transmission to not shift down to first gear? on 2000 Buick LeSabre

After vehicle sits overnight, we have to manually shift the transmission through the gears. If we do, it will then be okay for the entire day. If we don't, many times it will act as if it is in 3rd gear when we pull out on the road. When this happens, it downshifts very hard. Some very fine metal shavings in pan. I want to change filter, fluid, gasket, and drive it for a while to see if it does any better??
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I dropped it off at my mechanics shop. He said there are "fine" metal shavings in the transmission fluid. The fluid doesn't smell burnt and is a nice red color. I told him to change the filter, fluid, and install a new pan gasket. I want to drive it for a while and see if anything changes. I can't remember the codes he recovered but, he originally thought it was the "shifting" solenoid or maybe something in the "valve body". When he saw the shavings in the fluid, he really didn't do anymore troubleshooting. This vehicle has only 38K miles on it and has had the shifting problem since we brought it home. It only had 21K miles when we bought it from and individual.

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