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Old 05-22-2019, 10:45 PM   #1
cbutterfie1206
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Default 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

Hi everyone,

I know there are lots of posts on S-series trans issues, but still can't piece a fix together. First time in the forum!

I've got an automatic 2000 SL2 with 115k on it that i just purchased as a commuter. Had a tough time shifting when i got it because the tranny fluid was low. On the first drive wouldnt go above 2nd. topped it off and that help a ton in the lower gears. just getting the fluid amount right almost entirely fixed slipping in 1-3 and no issues with reverse, but 4th is no where to be found. Trying to figure out the odds i'm looking at an issue with the actual transmission gears or if i missed something with the valve body.

Tried so far:
fuses good
tranny fluid and filter new (looked like it had never been changed)
ECTS replaced
all solenoids checked (cold) for resistance and all tested good

Behavior (after all things i've tried in the list below)
lower gears shift normally most of the time. car feels great in 1-3. When getting over 3k rpm in 3rd the first time, if you keep on the gas it slips. Engine revs, trans disengages. if you drop revs it will rengage, not entirely sure in which gear. (note: once when it did this i dropped the shifter into 3rd manually and that did NOT cause to re-engage immediately like I expected. I thought if 4th was the issue, it slipped trying to go into fourth, i should reasonably be able to force it back to 3rd. This made me hold out hope that it wasnt a gear issue.) occasionally after it slips trying for 4th, it will will have sporadic delays or momentary slips between other gears, but these havent been predictable and always go away. This made me think fluid, but checked that about 20 times at this point. Perhaps worth mentioning that after the first slip trying to get into 4th, it won't try again and lets 3rd rev indefinitely.


Still may try:
t-stat- heard this can cause coolant flow issues affecting temp and therefore shifting. seems unlikley as temp gauge seems normal
charge system - battery isnt great but no issues starting car, starts right up
PCM: not sure how to test aside from plugging in a different one
Air test - seen mention of this but not sure what it is. is it a separate solenoid test?
test solenoids hot - havent do it yet since seemed unlikely as they tested good cold
input shaft nut - dont have a reverse issue
shift cable adjustment - not having an issues getting to D

Other potentially related or unrealted issues (in case they have electrical implications)
-all buttons on radio do no work except power know which works perfectly. buttons aren't worn or broken and all fuses good
-1/2 the dash backlights are out some go in an out of working
-upstream O2 sensor is cut
-Only codes are for the o2 sensor and the standard "Incorrect ratio 4th gear". Codes are getting throw without a SES light. possibly just burnt out too.

I realize those are likely on different circuits and unrelated, but just in case.

Am I missing anything obvious or any major false assumptions i made?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-22-2019, 11:02 PM   #2
billr
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

Do a search here for "F5" and research what to look for there. A bad connection at F5 may be the root of your electrical problems, and the trans too if you are lucky.

PS: forget the t-stat, that isn't going to cause the trans issue

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Old 05-22-2019, 11:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

The pins to look at for a Gen-3 are A2 and the others in the -2 row. The general info is searchable with just F-5. A-2 is the power feed to the transmission fuses.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

Thanks for the pointers. Looked at the entire 2 row as well as the rest. None of them were burnt like in other people pictures and none of them looked bent either. I resprung A2 anyway and put it back together.

Not sure if this is good to bad, but it made things significantly worse. Slipping is now much more sporadic and more consistently slipping from 2 - 3. Other than that fuse board the only things i did were change the ingition wires, unplug the light dimmer switch and the dash cluster. makes me think i messed something up on the board, but i just can't imagine how. I only touched A2. Maybe good because that would further indicate electrical, maybe bad because it would appear i F'ed something up as it got worse. Going to work on it more this morning and see if i maybe reconnecting A2 may have fried those down stream trans fuses.

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Old 05-24-2019, 08:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

all the fuses are fine. took another look at the back side of that fuse panel to see if anything was visibly wrong and didnt see any frayed wires or wires that had pulled out.

Drove it again and 1 to 2 is fine. now 2-3 slips major when cold and improves as it heats up, and then i think i only got it to go into 3rd once or twice. each time slipping majorly then kind of awkwardly lurching into gear. checked fluid once again and level is still dead on.

I did try shifting manually into 2 and 3 and at first this did nothing. Driving along and going back and forth between D, 2, and 3 made no difference. After a while, its like they started to kick in then i could manually shift between. WTF? why would slipping improve and manual selectors start working as it got warmer? Maybe i'll ll the battery and see if i can let the whole thing reset.

I guess the question is what electronically controls shifting? TCM (in the BCM under the dash). is that my next step? Going to a junk yard today and looks like they just got in my exact year and model. not sure about trim package.

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Old 05-24-2019, 10:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

I would suspect either the valve body or the transmission oil pump. The BODY CONTROL MODULE has nothing to do with the transmission. Changing the PCM WILL trip passlock security.

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Old 05-24-2019, 01:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

Got live-data? Use that to start checking things. Check "gear commanded", "turbine slip", and check "line pressure" against what an actual gauge shows. If no joy from checking live-data, I would remove the valve body (an easy project) and do air-checks of the clutch/servo seals.

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Old 05-24-2019, 04:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

Grabbed a junkyard valve body and swapped it in. Almost identical performance except 1-3 shift more smoothly than before. seems like it help the lower gears, but still not trying to engage 4th.

However, it does feel more consistent. smooth through 1 and 2, depending on how much gas i give it, a little hard into 3, then no attempt at 4th. Fluid looks good. Makes me think while the new valvebody shifts a little more smoothly, its not the main issue. On the whole, I'd say it now performs perfectly well (albeit older) if it were a 3 speed. Its like it just forgot there's a 4th gear.

Need to track down an OBDII scanner to get any new data.

In the mean time, not sure what to think. Wish i'd seen the bit about air testing the seals while i had it torn apart. Suppose i can still test the old one and see. Hoping that nearly identical behavior with both valve bodies eliminates this.

Last edited by cbutterfie1206; 05-24-2019 at 04:40 PM..

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Old 05-24-2019, 09:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

Do you understand that the air-checks are done on the main trans, not the VB. Unfortunately, a VB from JY is just a crap-shoot; you may just have another bad VB. It would have been great if it healed the trans; but since it didn't it tells us nothing.

For inexpensive live-data, look for ELM327 devices, but don't go for the cheapest available. You have step up into the $15+ range to get one that works reliably.

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Old 05-25-2019, 12:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Do you understand that the air-checks are done on the main trans, not the VB. Unfortunately, a VB from JY is just a crap-shoot; you may just have another bad VB. It would have been great if it healed the trans; but since it didn't it tells us nothing.

For inexpensive live-data, look for ELM327 devices, but don't go for the cheapest available. You have step up into the $15+ range to get one that works reliably.
Thanks for you advice on all this!

No, i was thinking it was the valve body. Thank you for clarifying. After looking a bit more, i get the idea. If i understand correctly, when i blow air into the channels I should not see anything coming through the transmission. IF i do see air bubbling up, that means the seal is bad right? I see a little on where to test, but haven't found anything super specific. Which hole am i testing for 4th? attached is the best picture i could find of the top with the VB out.

If i test it and the seal is bad, is a rebuild the only way to fix that seal? I'd assume so but might as well ask.
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File Type: jpg VB.jpg (16.2 KB, 6 views)

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Old 05-25-2019, 12:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

Even a little bit of bubbling would probably be OK, but you sure don't want a gush that blows the fluid around. Also, listen for the clutches and servo to actuate. I'm not sure if you can hear the clutches "clunk", but I expect the servo can be heard. You may even be able to see the servo move in there.

Yes, if something is leaking bad in there, the trans will have to come apart.

I don't have any pictures of where to apply the air, but there are threads here showing that. I'm sure somebody else can come up with links to appropriate threads or videos.

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Old 05-25-2019, 02:01 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

got the valve body back off and have a better picture. Still looking for a diagram of which hole is which. If anyone has a link of can just tell me on the picture i have, that would be really helpful. if i dont learn anything from an air check i'll move on to live data with the original valvebody.
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Old 05-25-2019, 04:18 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

after looking everything over and making my best guess here it how i think they go looking at the connected holes on the DS, from front to back of the car: 2nd/rev, 3rd, bolt, no idea on the two oblong holes, bolt, 4th, park.

I tested all four of these holes. 2 and 3 both had solid pressure and nothing gave when i pressurized them. 4 blow air out of the park hole and the park hole actuates that selector arm directly below it.

Are these the right holes? I was expecting each hole to actuate something, but sure doesnt seem like they did which make me wonder if i have the wrong ones. However, if i'm right and 2nd and 3rd hold pressure but the 4th just blows air right on through, would this tell me theres no seal at all on 4th?

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Old 05-25-2019, 08:49 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

Did you do a search here for "TAAT air check"? I'll give it a try later tonight if nobody else chimes in soon with a link.

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Old 05-26-2019, 12:25 AM   #15
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

Here you go, a map of those ports on the trans case (courtesy of "Chazberry")

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/att...7&d=1329421615

Darn, that link didn't work! I'll try to post a link to the whole thread.

Try this:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...0&postcount=29

OK, that worked for me.

Last edited by billr; 05-26-2019 at 12:33 AM..

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Old 05-26-2019, 10:24 AM   #16
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

THANK YOU!! Thats perfect! I was fairly close, but not quite.

So in this case i checked 2nd apply, 3rd, apply, both fwd/rev, and 4th apply.

2nd apply - firm with no give. feels sealed
3rd apply - firm with no give, feels sealed
4th apply - feels like blowing air through a dry port. not even any "liquidy" sound. Doesn't sound like its going through much of the transmission body at all. It honestly sounds like if i put air through a bolt hole (trust me, i did not. I am 100% sure i was testing 4th per the diargam). Does this mean the 4th seal is nonexistent?

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Old 05-26-2019, 11:19 AM   #17
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

I can only guess, as I'm not there, and have never done this air-check personally anyway; zero real experience. Is this "shop air" at about 90 psi you are applying?

My guess is that a seal is bad, but you better wait for some other opinions.

Even without live-data, a pressure gauge with long hose may be telling. If the line pressure drops very low (under 50 psi) when the trans is trying for 4th, then it would seem there is massive leakage there. You would be looking for a distinct difference in pressure than that you see in other gears; similar to a compression check where you want to see all cylinders reading about the same, regardless of the exact number.

Last edited by billr; 05-26-2019 at 11:24 AM..

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Old 05-26-2019, 02:04 PM   #18
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

The only place air can blow out without making bubbles is either a place you can not get to or the side cover tube seals. These are not user easily serviceable but a spare trans does have another set to try. These can be tested when they are out of the transmission by blowing in one tube while holding your finger over the other tube.

The fix is you go find another good transmission, you have lots to pick from. A rebuild is rather expensive.

That 2000 SL2 will work just fine with a nice good trans out of any 94 and newer S Series with a DOHC engine. You will have to install new axle seals. I would sugest a 98 or newer trans.

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Old 05-28-2019, 01:17 PM   #19
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

Thanks for all the great info. Couple last ditch efforts:

first, a guy at a transmission shop was telling me SL2 have a selector for OD that can lock/turn off OD (4th). I haven't seen anything like that anywhere on the gear selector, dash, or anywhere. Please tell me i'm not missing something obvious haha

Second, is there a specific relay associated with overdrive? Possible thats gone out?

third, I replaced the ECTS, but there is a very similar looking sensor on the front of the trans just below the mounting surface for the valvebody. Could this be impacting anything? engine temp got up to halfway last time i was driving it so seems like temp issues should be ok, but perhaps engine temp is fine but trans temp is reading incorrectly?

Thanks again for the help!!

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Old 05-28-2019, 02:47 PM   #20
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Default Re: 2000 SL2 Valve body or actual gear?

Yes the TTS, transmission temp sensor, is an identical part to the ECTS, SMP TX73, and it will cause some problems if completely failed. There is no 4th gear lockout except for extreme cold as detected by the TTS and it also forces a 2nd gear start. That is not likely your problem. The PCM controls the transmission and there is no relay.

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