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Old 12-08-2018, 11:22 AM   #1
Hiram_32
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2002 SL2
Default 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

I am about to replace the CV Axles on my 02 SL2 (in part because a mobile mechanic torched the boot on the passenger side when cutting the seized LCA bolt), and have a few questions. FWIW, vehicle is already up on jackstands outdoors in sunny winter weather conditions (no garage space to work in):

1. Is it okay to add a different type of replacement trans fluid than what was used before? Will mixing different kinds cause problems? Been reading here on the forums advocating the use of Dexron III (AMSOIL, Mobil 1), and need clarity.

2. After draining the trans fluid, do I simply replace the same volume as what came out? Am aware of needing to have engine running on level surface, and testing 3-5x's after refill. Will be pouring off old fluid into empty containers to ascertain what came out. Also, will be buying extra fluid to compensate a loss. FWIW, just did a quick visual inspection of the fluid from the dipstick wiped onto white tissue, and color is darker red, with a slightly greyish hue, leading me to think there may be metal particulates in it.

3. Is it necessary to change the filter at this time? If so, will using another autoparts store filter do the job, or is a Saturn OEM filter vastly better (as some folks on the forum seem to agree)? Last time it was done was when I first worked on the VB in late 2016, and it's gotten approx 3k miles on it since.

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Old 12-08-2018, 11:31 AM   #2
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

Filter and fluid change at 30,000 miles by book. If you switch to Torque Drive you are done with fluid changes, only filter required.

Gray fluid is water and clutch facing, not metal.

Any Mercon-Dexron compatible fluid at the FLAPS is OK. This product is sold as a Universal ATF along with the DEXRON-MERCON on the label. Mobil-1 synthetic universal, Amsoil Universal or Torque-Drive. Do not use any Dexron-6 or Dexron-6 compatible fluid as it is too thin and all your pressures will be off.

Measure what drains out and put that much back in. Inspect the drain plug and if it has a recessed sealing face use a rubber 12mm Dorman oil drain plug washer and if flush then use a 14mm nylon drain plug washer. Over tightening the drain plug will crack the case and it is not repairable.

Buy used OEM axles at a good JY as aftermarket is less than quality. Use a new axle nut and washer, Dorman lists them. Torque the nut with the wheel OFF of THE GROUND and turning or do not be shocked when the wheel bearings fail.

If you want torque specs there is a complete listing in my photo gallery and it is correct for all common parts such as running gear.

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Old 12-08-2018, 12:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Filter and fluid change at 30,000 miles by book. If you switch to Torque Drive you are done with fluid changes, only filter required.
Ok, no filter change now. What does Torque Drive refer to, and how does one switch to it? Though I've done a lot of repairs on the car, my breadth and depth of understanding the particulars is limited, so I'll be asking for more clarity (please bare with me).

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Any Mercon-Dexron compatible fluid at the FLAPS is OK. This product is sold as a Universal ATF along with the DEXRON-MERCON on the label. Mobil-1 synthetic universal, Amsoil Universal or Torque-Drive. Do not use any Dexron-6 or Dexron-6 compatible fluid as it is too thin and all your pressures will be off.
Okay, so any Mercon-Dexron compat. Should I seek out a Dex III fluid that meets those specs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Measure what drains out and put that much back in. Inspect the drain plug and if it has a recessed sealing face use a rubber 12mm Dorman oil drain plug washer and if flush then use a 14mm nylon drain plug washer. Over tightening the drain plug will crack the case and it is not repairable.
Is sealing face referring to the nut/plug?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Buy used OEM axles at a good JY as aftermarket is less than quality. Use a new axle nut and washer, Dorman lists them. Torque the nut with the wheel OFF of THE GROUND and turning or do not be shocked when the wheel bearings fail.
I've already got aftermarket ones I purchased from rockauto. Are AM CV axles of a significantly lower quality than OEM? I ask because this job has already taken too long, and don't wan't to be stalled any further (though if JW OEM are significantly better quality and outperform, I may reconsider. Also, do AM come with axle nut and washer? The passenger side CV was removed by the mobile mechanic already. The driver side is still attached with the tire removed. Is it okay to remove the nut with a breaker bar in it's current state?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
If you want torque specs there is a complete listing in my photo gallery and it is correct for all common parts such as running gear.
Thanks for the torque specs, and your feedback overall.

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Old 12-08-2018, 12:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

FWIW, I should not that I am replacing the passenger side CV Axle because it's totally compromised.

The driver side, however, doesn't have torn boots, but I suspect it's bad because I was getting an intermittent clicking sound when reversing, and in D when making turns, and sometimes when braking. Is my diagnosis way off? Was gonna get a professional diagnosis at a reputable local repair shop before I got myself in a bind trying to remove the passenger side LCA... =P

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Old 12-08-2018, 03:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

Forum working again....

As to axle shafts. Your diagnosis is correct so replace both of them.

Aftermarket axle shafts are maybe good and maybe bad depending on the quality of the rebuild labor.

A local JY that can sell you a pair for abut 50 for the pair or less is a better deal. They can be tested by turning them in your hands while holding the joint at an angle to the shaft. Do not ever carry them by the stub shaft or CV housing as they will come apart if the boot tears and even if they do not it tends to ruin them.

Amsoil Torque-Drive, high quality compatible ATF. You shift over by changing the fluid twice after running the first change for a week or so. Torque Drive is sold by the gallon and that makes a swap expensive so I would use a name brand Universal ATF Until you are sure everything is working as it should.

Change the filter with the fluid change.

There is no more official Dex-3, the brand name can not be used either. The Universal ATF Dexron-Mercon is compatible with Dex-3. The compatibility statement can still be used though.

Sealing face on transmission drain plug.

If you have a pair of aftermarket axles now then use them. They do not come with nuts or washers, those come from local parts store. They are Dorman parts so they can order them for you from their warehouse.

Either put the left side wheel on the ground or get someone to step on the brake hard so you do not bust the PARK pawl in the transmission. If the wheel is off put the transmission in neutral before attacking the nut.

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Old 12-08-2018, 06:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

Thank you for all of this info! Will move forward with the driver side replacement, as well. Got 6 quarts of Mobil-1 Synthetic fluid, and will get a new filter, as well as the 12mm rubber plug washer (recessed in plug).

After pouring off all the drained fluid into two old 1 gal water jugs (got about 5.5 quarts, just from eyeballing it), I noticed that the fluid is very dark, almost blackish red and opaque. Does this indicate the transmission is nearing a rebuild in the near future? Or something else? Didn't get a good feeling after inspecting it, to say the least.

As for the nuts/washers, where do they come into play with the replacement procedure? A video I watched on YT on the same year and model (but a manual instead of auto) didn't cover anything regarding that, just draining fluid, removing parts to gain access, and replacing axles, then topping off to full.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Either put the left side wheel on the ground or get someone to step on the brake hard so you do not bust the PARK pawl in the transmission. If the wheel is off put the transmission in neutral before attacking the nut.
If I comprehend correctly, given that the wheel is off on both sides (and LCA is still unattached--awaiting bolt & nut from local GM dealer that didn't arrive on time today), I should put the trans in neutral before breaking the axle nut loose from the driver side with a breaker bar? The mobile mechanic who torch-cut the LCA bolt off the passenger side also removed the nut with his impact wrench, and removed what he could of the CV axle he burned up the boot coming into the cradle, so don't if that is of any significance in this whole procedure. Again, I've much to learn.

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Old 12-08-2018, 08:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

If it shifts OK then you do not have a fluid problem.

You have to hold the axle to get the nut off. Either put the wheel on and set it on the ground or get help and step on the brake hard to hold it. Either way put the trans into neutral. Remember if you drag the inner CV splines across the trans seal the seal will be cut and then you have another mess.

Use the big search box at top of the page and find out how to get the axle out and back in as it is not just a pull on it and then replace. The left side axle is a PITA.

Last edited by OldNuc; 12-08-2018 at 08:25 PM..

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Old 12-08-2018, 09:41 PM   #8
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2002 SL2
Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
If it shifts OK then you do not have a fluid problem.
Ok.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
You have to hold the axle to get the nut off. Either put the wheel on and set it on the ground or get help and step on the brake hard to hold it. Either way put the trans into neutral. Remember if you drag the inner CV splines across the trans seal the seal will be cut and then you have another mess.
Thank for you the clarification--I'd never would've known otherwise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Use the big search box at top of the page and find out how to get the axle out and back in as it is not just a pull on it and then replace. The left side axle is a PITA.
Will do so.

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Old 12-09-2018, 10:56 AM   #9
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

@OldNuc: Here is a link to the ATF I bought. Is this the correct fluid to use?
https://mobiloil.com/en/automatic-tr.../synthetic-atf

FWIW, the AM CV Axle halfshafts claim they are 100% new, and both also come with new axle nuts on the end.

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Old 12-11-2018, 12:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

Got a few more questions:

1. I've read its advised to remove the magnet from the trans filter, as it was considered only essential for the initial break into the new transmission. Is this the correct?

2. Seeing as I wills have the transaxles removed already, is it advisable (or necessary, even) to replace the transaxle seals? Don't know if it's evnr been done (2nd owner owner, approx 256k on engine)

3. Is Mobil 1 synthetic multi-vehicle an appropriate replacement fluid for the 02 SL2 transmission?

4. Couldn't track down oem trans filter, so got Wix instead. Is considered a comparable quality filter to the oem?

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Old 12-11-2018, 01:55 PM   #11
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

#1 & #4 = Yes.

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Old 12-11-2018, 02:08 PM   #12
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

#2, it's a WYAIT question - is it worth it to you to change the seal While You Are In There? I did not change my seals and they were fine for 100k miles. YMMV, you might skip the seals and then have to redo it if one of them starts leaking 10k miles from now, or 20k, or 50k, etc. Seals are fine until they aren't.

#3, should be OK. Meets Dexron IIIH and Mercon V specs. Good cSt
I think it was roughly the same price as Amsoil or Transynd, though, and (opinion) the latter two are probably better

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Old 12-11-2018, 02:37 PM   #13
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiram_32 View Post
@OldNuc: Here is a link to the ATF I bought. Is this the correct fluid to use?
https://mobiloil.com/en/automatic-tr.../synthetic-atf
---That is OK ATF

FWIW, the AM CV Axle halfshafts claim they are 100% new, and both also come with new axle nuts on the end.
Depends on where they were made and the build quality, at least not a rebuild.

Change the seals as they are cheap and a real pain to replace while the trans is in the car. If the trans is in the car then don't fiddle with the seals. Just take clean q-tips and clean the gunk out between the seal lips and wipe a layer of chassis grease on the inside of both seals before installing the axles.

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Old 12-11-2018, 04:15 PM   #14
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

Thank you everyone for the replies. May just leave the seals for the time being.

@OldNuc: After breaking tension of the axle but with the car in N, do I leave it in N for the remainder of the replacement procedure to remove each transaxle? Also, Haynes manual suggests to unplug the battery-- should I do that or disregard and do the job with it connected?

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Old 12-11-2018, 08:36 PM   #15
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

As long as you can manage to not ground out the battery leave it connected, there is only the general idiot proofing for that recommendation. It is the same as don't run with scissors.

Once the nut is loose you can put the trans in any gear you want.

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Old 12-12-2018, 10:06 AM   #16
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
As long as you can manage to not ground out the battery leave it connected, there is only the general idiot proofing for that recommendation. It is the same as don't run with scissors.
LOL okay, makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Once the nut is loose you can put the trans in any gear you want.
Okay, great. Thank you.

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Old 12-13-2018, 02:05 AM   #17
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

the Wix filter will accomodate the magnetic ring

It took me about 15-20 gallons of oil changes to remove most all the sediment in my '97 DOHC... I noticed that by observing the extensive corona of steel filings around the magnet ring.

The TAAT didn't miss a beat to 230kMi (when engine blew&car gifted to tow-er).

So i was glad i used cheap valvoline DexMerc ATF , Blue gallon jug.

The red jug DexMerc MaxLife-red gallon jug- is good to use for a flush, because it runs hotter, but might slip because tooo low viscosity.

I would do a couple changes before running expensive fluid.

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Old 12-13-2018, 10:06 AM   #18
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Default Re: 02 Sl2 Trans Fluid Replacement Questions

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Originally Posted by TomM96 View Post
the Wix filter will accomodate the magnetic ring

It took me about 15-20 gallons of oil changes to remove most all the sediment in my '97 DOHC... I noticed that by observing the extensive corona of steel filings around the magnet ring.

The TAAT didn't miss a beat to 230kMi (when engine blew&car gifted to tow-er).

So i was glad i used cheap valvoline DexMerc ATF , Blue gallon jug.

The red jug DexMerc MaxLife-red gallon jug- is good to use for a flush, because it runs hotter, but might slip because tooo low viscosity.

I would do a couple changes before running expensive fluid.
Thanks for the info! After doing the math, and accounting for the mileage on the vehicle (over 250k), it doesn't make sense to use full synthetic at this point. I ended up buying wolfshead brand synthetic blend--much cheaper! Good to know that the Wix will accommodate the magnet, too.

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