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Old 01-24-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
RONSL1
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Default Update on transmission repair

Well i finished installing new seals and clutch pistons in my tranny. Got third gear back no more go into neutral instead of third, no reverse slam, no fourth gear slam. This was the first time that i did an automatic trans. I bought the service manual for it and it really wasn't that hard. the worst part was taking it out and putting it back in. I found that the clutch plates were ok and the only problem was old age on the seals. The trans shop wanted $2000 to rebuild it but i found that it didn't need a complete rebuild. ron
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:56 PM   #2
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1995 SL2
Default Re: Update on transmission repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by RONSL1 View Post
Well i finished installing new seals and clutch pistons in my tranny. Got third gear back no more go into neutral instead of third, no reverse slam, no fourth gear slam. This was the first time that i did an automatic trans. I bought the service manual for it and it really wasn't that hard. the worst part was taking it out and putting it back in. I found that the clutch plates were ok and the only problem was old age on the seals. The trans shop wanted $2000 to rebuild it but i found that it didn't need a complete rebuild. ron
Congrats. There aren't many people on here how have successfully rebuilt an automatic transmission (although as you realized, there really isn't that much to it). Glad it solved your problems.

Now, keep it healthy with good synthetic fluids (and keep a careful eye on the fluid level for a little while--there are a lot of places it can leak).
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:45 PM   #3
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1999 SW1
Default Re: Update on transmission repair

Wow, nice! That must feel like quite an accomplishment!

How long do you think it took from beginning to end? (Starting with removing the transmission and ending at the test drive.)
...
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Update on transmission repair

I took my time and only worked an hour or two a day to take it out and then maybe a day replacing clutch pistons and o rings etc i had to read some parts of the service manual several times to be sure of not making a mistake and then other things came up and i didn't work on it for about five days i put it back in the car in about six hours i worried more about not making a mistake than i did the time. ron
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:05 PM   #5
denisond3
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1995 SL2
1996 SL1
Default Re: Update on transmission repair

Im a hobbyist owning a 1995 SL2 with the engine out for a rebuild (it jumped time 'cause I think the chain tensioner was faulty), and getting the trans out wont be hard. So with 170k miles on it, Im thinking to rebuild the trans, though it seemed to be working pefectly. I have rebuilt a couple of the F4EAT auto transmissions in my Ford Escorts, and that didnt seem hard. Its a great feeling to be driving across the USA and northern Mexico in a car I rebuilt myself.
Im retired, so I dont mind the time and need the exercise. I dont have any special tools aside from circlip ring pliers, but would buy any that were Really essential. With the F4EAT I djinned up the needed spring compressors from chunks of angle iron and large "C" clamps. Im hoping to get the official auto trans manual from Saturn, if not would get one from ATSG. Im sure I will discover the transmission model # eventually. I also work slow, and outdoors; but here in far south TX we have almost no rain and sunny warm days, so the bed of my car trailer will be my workbench.
I hope some of you folks will still be around if I run into the usual snags.
First issue: Should I get a rebuilt torque converter? I did with the Escorts because the factor converters dont seem to last beyond 200k miles - or less.

v/r Dave D.

P.S. I rebuilt a 95 SL1 engine and gave its 5-speed a new clutch (& new shift cables) - which is now a fun daily driver that we keep at our summer home; in the VA suburbs of Washington DC.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Update on transmission repair

Honestly, unless there is a problem, I wouldn't mess with it. Aside from valve body problems ('reverse slam'), and differential pin failures, there isn't much that goes wrong with S-Series automatic transmissions. There are a few failures here and there, but they're actually quite reliable, if you exclude the valve body problems and diff pin failures (neither of which would be effected by a rebuild).

I would recommend putting the money and time into using a good synthetic (Dex III) ATF and changing it regularly. As long as you do that, and don't spin the tires, you should have nothing to worry about.

I did rebuild mine (only because I had to disassemble it to modify the differential), and while it wasn't that difficult, nothing I replaced was worn out.

That said, if you do decide to rebuild it, I can give you a few tips.
...
High compression build: .033" shaved/ported head, flat-faced valves; gen3 rods, pistons, tie-plate; OE header, custom CAI, SDA street cams with adjustable sprockets, WBO2, SAFCII, LSD. ASE A1-A8+L1
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:15 PM   #7
denisond3
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1996 SL1
Default Re: Update on transmission repair

In that case I will leave it alone; and I thank you for the advice.
I can always rebuild it if problems arise in the future. I will devote my efforts to the engine, to cleaning crud from the engine bay, and to replacing the amazingly rusty fuel tank straps!!
Folks who look at my Saturns usually say, "It looks great, no rust anywhere".... until I open the rear doors so they can see the rust on the metal sub-sills. And some day I would be glad to get an unrusted Saturn SLx parts car, in order to "recycle high value resources", including getting a less rusty front subframe.

I like to do 'pre-emptive repairs', since I much prefer doing the work at the time and pace of my choosing, in a shady spot next to my driveway; instead of getting it towed to a mechanic who, if he is good, probably has a waiting list of work already.

I replaced the auto trans when I fixed up a 92 SL2 for my younger daughter. That trans had a thumb sized hole gouged into the bell housing from the emergent diff. pin. If you poured in enough ATF, the car still worked okay, exept for the stream of ATF coming out.
I had thought of welding the gouge shut - with the MIG welder that I havent bought yet - just to see if that trans would still work okay.
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