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Old 06-08-2004, 07:59 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Question 2000 SL1 Automatic transmission problems.

I made this same post to the saturn newgroup a couple of months ago and I'm posting here to see if I can get any more feedback.

I bought my 2000 Saturn SL1 a little over a year ago from the used car division of a new car dealer (not a Saturn dealer). When I bought it it had about 40,000 miles, and it now has about 56,000. For the past 5 or 6 months it has been making noises, which I'm sure are coming from the transmission. I'll try to be as detailed as possible here, as I hope someone can help. The local Saturn dealer (north Houston, TX) sure didn't help; they just told me they could not replicate the problems.

The registration record showed (if I remember correctly) this vehicle as having one owner before the dealer and myself, with no other potentially detrimental entries in the record. Also, note that I changed the transmission fluid and filter about 4 months ago (home job, not a transmission flush).

Remember, this is an automatic transmission. The first set of noises I'll describe occur when shifting into 2nd gear from 1st, and when shifting from 2nd into 3rd. Each noise is reliably accompanied by a slight lurch forward. Note though that I do not always hear these noises in the above conditions, though they may vary in loudness enough to be heard at some times and not heard at others. I know my descriptions of the noises may make it sound like a manual, but these are just my impressions of the noises.

Shifting into 2nd from 1st, many times I hear a sound like an almost dry meshing of gears. It also sounds as if these gears turn slightly slower as the noise is being made. The sound lasts less than one second. As mentioned above, this noise is accompanied by a slight lurch forward.

Shifting from 2nd into 3rd there is a different sound. My impression of this sound is that of a gear jerking away from another gear it was meshed with. There is a similar almost dry mesh sound to the 2nd from 1st noise, but much shorter. Right after that, or maybe at the same time, it sounds as if a piece of metal hits something else inside the transmission (think of a large submerged metal rod tapping the inside of the case once). This too of course is accompanied by a slight lurch forward.

More recently, a while after the above mentioned fluid change, another noise has begun. This noise too is not something I hear all the time when driving. I think it only happens after the transmission has gotten above a certain temperature. When I've been driving and I come to a stop, for instance at a stop light, as long as the transmission is in gear (only in a forward gear, not reverse) and I either have my foot on the brakes or if the parking brake is applied, I hear a tapping sound coming from the direction of the transmission. This sound is always a constant frequency (number of taps per minute). The sound tapers off in loudness after I begin to accelerate and quickly fades to nothing. This noise is also accompanied by a shuddering of the vehicle which I have found stops if I put the transmission in neutral when I am stopped.

One last noise that I have read about already is the slamming into reverse problem. My transmission is also exhibiting this noise, though it is not severe.

I hope so much that one of you reading this will be able to diagnose this. I don't know anyone who can say for sure what might be wrong, and I'm afraid to take it to a mechanic until I have a leg to stand on with this (tired of getting pushed around at the shop when I don't know what else to say but "ok fix it"). Right now I'm working part time and college bound so the money is tight; yet another reason I'd like to avoid the shop. Anyway, thanks for reading this.


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