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Old 03-29-2018, 09:53 PM   #1
terminal89
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Default Sudden massive transmission leak

Last night I was leaving the grocery store and developed the notorious "reverse slam". Pulled into a gas station and I was low on tranny fluid. The stick was bone dry with the car in park running on a level surface. Went to wal-mart as it was the only place open at that time with Dexron III fluid. Topped it off with a quart. Drove to get some food at a restaurant, got home and parked the car. Check fluid again and stick is dry again after warming up tranny and cycling through gears. Add fluid again and this time it immediately starts coming out. I lose the entire quart I added in 30 minutes with the car off. Im thinking differential pin but I hope to god there are some other possibilities as I know what that entails. The fluid appears to be coming out the top of the transaxle as the part I can see between the motor and wheel well the entire surface is coated and when I add fluid it flows over that area at a river like pace, again, even with car off.
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

www.car-part.com

If you are losing fluid, when the car is off, the bell housing is cracked somewhere. You have 0psi, when the engine's flywheel is not spinning the input shaft.

Source a used transmission and swap.

0psi will not leak so quickly. This is evident when you pull one of the cooling lines out of the transmission cooler, while the engine is idling.

Normal line pressure is around 200psi at idle.
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Old 03-29-2018, 11:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

Could be a valve body seal or the trans fluid filter as well.
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Old 03-29-2018, 11:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

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Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
Could be a valve body seal or the trans fluid filter as well.
Bingo bingo bingo bingo. Reached down without taking airbox off and spun trans filter easily. Leak pattern matches as well. Reverse slam issue must have caused loose filter. Luckily the fix for both is the same. Replace filter and fluid. I believe the reverse slam fix involves using conventional fluid + an additive and leaving car in reverse for 30 minutes.

Hopefully tranny isnt too screwed from the driving I did on it with low fluid. I was already looking to get out from this car so I was already saving for a another saturn and was gonna use my current one for parts.
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Old 03-30-2018, 03:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

I had a friend who drove an SL1 with a leaking filter for a long time. He was going to sell the car for $500 with a blown transmission, but wanted me to look at it. He added nearly a gallon on the 15 mile drive over. I spun the filter a full revolution and he was g2g.
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Old 03-30-2018, 03:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

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Originally Posted by colonelhogan44 View Post
I had a friend who drove an SL1 with a leaking filter for a long time. He was going to sell the car for $500 with a blown transmission, but wanted me to look at it. He added nearly a gallon on the 15 mile drive over. I spun the filter a full revolution and he was g2g.
Yeah massive trans fluid spill normally should bring thoughts of total transmission failure as saturns are I believe the only car with an oil style external trans filter. Just not an instinct a normal car guy has to see if his trans filter is loose. Missed the obvious.

This is why IT techs start questions with "is the machine plugged in"
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Old 03-30-2018, 02:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

Seems to be fixed! Only thing was some hard shifting at first but after doing the reverse slam fix of leaving it in reverse, that went away as well. Transmission shifts smooth now. Discovered and replaced a bad drivers side torque mount while I was down there.
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Old 03-30-2018, 02:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

Nice, I love seeing easy/cheap fixes!
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This is why IT techs start questions with "is the machine plugged in"
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Old 03-30-2018, 11:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

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Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
Nice, I love seeing easy/cheap fixes!
Gotta find causes of new SES codes but I would but it has something to do with the greased up sensor by the ATF filter. If someone could tell me what that does? I had a SES light that would come on after 20 mins of driving. Now its immediate.
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Old 03-30-2018, 11:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

Found the other torque mount was busted as well. And by busted I mean split in half. Replaced and things are good again.
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Old 03-30-2018, 11:49 PM   #11
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

There's a trans temp sensor there, same part # as the ECTS. I think there's also the trans speed sensor and/or neutral safety switch.
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Old 03-31-2018, 12:01 PM   #12
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

My filter is often loose on my 99 SL2, no clue why these suckers loosen up.
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Old 03-31-2018, 12:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

On homebuilt aircraft, we use a hose clamp to safety wire conventional oil filters. See the bottom of this page:
http://www.mykitlog.com/users/displa...g=240601&row=8

Certified oil filters have a built in spot for safety wire.
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Old 03-31-2018, 10:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgg17 View Post
My filter is often loose on my 99 SL2, no clue why these suckers loosen up.
I have had to retighten mine a few times, over the last 30,000 miles. Pretty sure this will be the third time I had to.

Many people remove the magnet, which may be a possible cause. I suspect line pressure is another factor, as transmissions run around 200psi.

Oil in the engine barely reaches 80psi. The pressure increase plus vibration could be causing a slight loosening on the threads???

I am just throwing out possible ideas, because I honestly do not know for sure.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:02 AM   #15
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
On homebuilt aircraft, we use a hose clamp to safety wire conventional oil filters. See the bottom of this page:
http://www.mykitlog.com/users/displa...g=240601&row=8

Certified oil filters have a built in spot for safety wire.
Now that's a good idea. Being that it seems more than a few people have had tranny filters loosen up, it might be smart to make some good use of safety wire pliers.

But I suspect some people will have to do a search for what safety wire pliers are, so they can pick some up. Being my father was in an aviation field, I knew what they were was I was about 6, and they sure have been useful at times.
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Old 04-05-2018, 08:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
On homebuilt aircraft, we use a hose clamp to safety wire conventional oil filters. See the bottom of this page:
http://www.mykitlog.com/users/displa...g=240601&row=8

Certified oil filters have a built in spot for safety wire.
Great link. Just ordered the safety pliers/wire/clamp. Thanks.
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Old 04-05-2018, 10:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

Don't follow that link exactly, though. Be sure to safety-wire the screw on the clamp, as well as the clamp to the engine/trans.
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Old 04-05-2018, 10:59 PM   #18
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

I've had 3 saturns, and none of them, nor any other vehicle I have had over 50 years of driving and car ownership, none has ever loosened any filter.

Even when I had a bad upper engine mount, even then the engine vibration (really felt it in the steering wheel & car body!) never loosened a filter....somehow I don't feel it is all that common, IF one really cranks on tightening it by hand.
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Old 04-05-2018, 11:09 PM   #19
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

I'm now on my fourth Saturn. The transmission filters certainly do loosen. It is not an unusual occurrence.

Last edited by Cheyne; 04-05-2018 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 04-05-2018, 11:34 PM   #20
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Default Re: Sudden massive transmission leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Don't follow that link exactly, though. Be sure to safety-wire the screw on the clamp, as well as the clamp to the engine/trans.
If you look closely, the safety wire goes around the clamp and then to a through hole on the filter mount.
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