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[K12OSN] ldap problems...HELP!!!

I need to make sense of some problems we are having...
any help narrowing down our problems would be greatly appreciated at this point...
I am about out of ideas.

let me know if I should post my config files...

We implemented ldap last year, and the transition went very smooth.
we were on samba 2.2.8a, and openldap 2.1.17
so, samba 2.2 schema, and we used the idealix smbldap-tools.
RedHat 9

I use a windows client ldap browser, to check how our ldap was doing, and
we were using ldbm backend, with cachesize 1000, and dbcachesize 1000000, and it worked great.
the softerra ldap browser would pop up our 1000 users instantly, and I could click on any of them and get instant results..

we had a server crash, and had to start over from scratch....so, we decided to get samba 3.0 working, in compat mode with
our samba 2.2 schema. I went ahead and used the schema file from samba 3.0, and modified it, so our ldap entries still worked
2.2 style. We still use the idealix smb-tools to add, and delete entries.

The problem is, it works, but we are seeing some erratic behavior out of the server now....
We have tried, openldap 2.0.27, 2.1.17, 2.1.22, and nothing has fixed the strange things we are seeing.

strange problems:
1) the softerra ldab browser now takes forever to open and view the ldap directory
we need to determine why.....softerra comes with openldap.org setup as another ldap directory,
and their entries pop up instantly....what could we possibly have configured wrong ?
is this limited to remote queries, or does it affect localhost also...slapcat works instantly...
no delay there...samba log-ons seem just a tad slower than they did last year, but then again,
we were very impressed at samba-ldap speed of logins compared to what we had seen with
samba, and smbpasswd auth

2) since starting over from scratch on the server, re-loading redhat 9...our putty terminals
will drop our shell connections several times during the day....it is very frustrating, and we have no idea what is causing it.
when it happens, sometimes we can't log right back in, nad have to wait a sec...the strange thing is that this server is the only one doing it...
all 6 other linux servers have no problems..
thinking it may be hardware related, we have tried disabling the onboard gigabit nics in our server, and installing 2 new
gigabit nic's, and we are still seeing the same thing...I have also wondered if it was ldap related, and that ldap was runnign too slow to keep up
and everynow and then , connections would terminate

3)openldap when we moved to 2.1.21 rpms, and then again on 2.1.22 rpms, gave us an error when database backend was set to ldbm.
something about not finding the module, but then the module it was aking for was not even on the system. i looked at the source rpm,
and the spec file shows --enable-ldbm is there, and nothing about compiling ldbm as a module is in there...so I have no idea about that one.
we had to specify bdb for those rpms, and the ldap server acted very funny while that was set...timing out on entries, and searches, and
smbldap-usermod.pl commands....causing database corruption.
I have since reverted back to apt-getting openldap 2.0.27 that came with redhat 9.and it is working , but still having strange problems...

so, since I have ldbm working, with 2.0.27, the only thing different from a really great system last year, and this quirky one runnign right now, is the
samba 2.28a, and samba 2.2 ldap schema...

I am going to revert back to 2.2.8a tommorrow and see if it works as well as it used to, but if anyone can give me more input, I would appreciate it.

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