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Old 05-07-2008, 05:54 PM   #1
itsah2
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Default 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

Alright so I have a 2003 Saturn Ion 3 Quad Coupe with the CVT. I found out the other day that it needs a new transmission. A new CVT from Saturn costs $5100, which seems kind of extraordinary to me.

I know that GM put the same engine (the Ecotec 2.2 liter) in a lot of other cars, which obviously had a lot of other transmissions. Besides getting an aftermarket or used transmission, can I stick any old transmission in it? I really know nothing about these things but I'm just trying to figure out how much money I'm going to have to spend. It's in the shop right now with a mechanic that I actually trust, so I don't think he'll try to rip me off or anything but I just wanted to see if anyone here had a similar situation or could give me any more information.

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Old 05-07-2008, 06:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

If the car is less than five years old and fewer than 75,000 miles then it is still under warranty.

Putting in a different trans could be a lot of work. Unless you are able to have the car not working for awhile and are able to do the work yourself then it would likely be as expensive or more than to just replace the trans.

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Old 05-07-2008, 09:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

It's not still under warranty . The car has over 100k miles on it. I don't know enough at all about cars to go about replacing a transmission - probably even if a new one fit right in haha. I can change the oil but that's about it. If I end up having to pay $5k for a trans I might end up just getting a new car because I only paid 6k for it to start with.

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Old 05-08-2008, 08:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

Quote:
Originally Posted by itsah2 View Post
It's not still under warranty . The car has over 100k miles on it. I don't know enough at all about cars to go about replacing a transmission - probably even if a new one fit right in haha. I can change the oil but that's about it. If I end up having to pay $5k for a trans I might end up just getting a new car because I only paid 6k for it to start with.
yep, that's what I was about to suggest. Hit a local trans shop first and see what they can do for you. A trans from a junk yard can be used, just not a CVT. But it will have to come from an ion.
This is a manual trans, but just to give you an idea:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/GM-5s...spagenameZWDVW

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Old 05-08-2008, 03:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

So my mechanic sent the car over to a transmission shop somewhere around here. They told me that the trans could only be replaced with another CVT since it's controlled by the ECU. I don't know much about CVTs except that they're expensive and complicated... Is buying a used CVT a smart idea? I know GM says they're only good for around 100k miles so obviously it would have to have less on it than that.

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Old 05-08-2008, 04:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

Cut your losses and get rid of it. you may be better off getting rid of it before it's fixed.

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Old 05-08-2008, 06:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

Quote:
Originally Posted by itsah2 View Post
So my mechanic sent the car over to a transmission shop somewhere around here. They told me that the trans could only be replaced with another CVT since it's controlled by the ECU. I don't know much about CVTs except that they're expensive and complicated... Is buying a used CVT a smart idea? I know GM says they're only good for around 100k miles so obviously it would have to have less on it than that.
well obviously your mechanic knows more than me....just get rid of it. I would not buy another CVT, new or used. Let me put it to you this way, even if your car worked fine it would not be worth the price of a new CVT.
Like some people have said on this forum in the past...you've been Saturnized, a unique kind of experience!
good luck.

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Old 05-12-2008, 07:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

I agree with everyone else. I love my Ion, but the CVT is NOT worth it. I'm not experiencing too many problems right now (it's just a little wonky), but I hate thinking I'm sitting in a ticking time bomb. My husband and I aren't well off enough that we can just trade the thing in and get another car especially when we have 15K left on our loan.

I thank my lucky stars that California has a decent Lemon Law. Saturn is buying our car back.

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Old 05-17-2008, 11:26 AM   #9
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

Quote:
Originally Posted by itsah2 View Post
So my mechanic sent the car over to a transmission shop somewhere around here. They told me that the trans could only be replaced with another CVT since it's controlled by the ECU. I don't know much about CVTs except that they're expensive and complicated... Is buying a used CVT a smart idea? I know GM says they're only good for around 100k miles so obviously it would have to have less on it than that.
Wouldn't the ECU from the car the donor trans came from work ? Can't it be reprogrammed to work with the 5 speed auto from the 4 door? This doesn't make sense...... Does that mean you couldn't replace it with a manual ? Or the 4 speed auto from an 05-07 with the 05-07 ECU ? Obviously it CAN be done because GM did it in the last 3 years of production and I don't think they had to reengineer the car to get the 4 speed auto to fit.

I know it's more complicated than that, but someone out there is going to make a nice sideline buying CVT transmissioned Saturns for dirt cheap and replacing the trans with something from a later model.

Best to avoid one though they have seemingly had fewer problems than the CVTs in the VUE.

I think my nephew bought one but can't get any answer from him or my brother as to what it is exactly. Just that it had a $2000 trans problem. My guess is it's an 03 CVT ION.

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Old 09-05-2008, 02:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

I had the same problem with my 2003 Saturn Ion CVT tranny. If you dig deep enough on the net, you will find tons of people in the same boat. I owe $7k on mine still and finally blasted enough service reps for saturn to slowly work up their chain of command. Finally i threatened with going to the attorney general and sure enough, they gave me another number to talk to someone. GM does not want the attorney general in this problem so they are going to do what it takes to fix it and stay off their radar. it took a little while but she finally admitted that their is a problem with that tranny and saturn is aware of it. When all else fails, go to the attorney general! there have been many cases where saturn has baught cars back or replaced the tranny on cars with over 130K miles. Good luck.

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Old 09-06-2008, 06:01 AM   #11
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

Quote:
Originally Posted by Citation84 View Post
Wouldn't the ECU from the car the donor trans came from work ? Can't it be reprogrammed to work with the 5 speed auto from the 4 door? This doesn't make sense...... Does that mean you couldn't replace it with a manual ? Or the 4 speed auto from an 05-07 with the 05-07 ECU ? Obviously it CAN be done because GM did it in the last 3 years of production and I don't think they had to reengineer the car to get the 4 speed auto to fit.

I know it's more complicated than that, but someone out there is going to make a nice sideline buying CVT transmissioned Saturns for dirt cheap and replacing the trans with something from a later model.

Best to avoid one though they have seemingly had fewer problems than the CVTs in the VUE.

I think my nephew bought one but can't get any answer from him or my brother as to what it is exactly. Just that it had a $2000 trans problem. My guess is it's an 03 CVT ION.
If the car runs on a CVT tranny, you can't simply swap to a manual or automatic. You would need much more like a new pedal set to control the clutch, the clutch cylinder, and an ECU. Lot's of money. The same goes for the auto. Too many other things need to be removed or replaced. It would cost the same, if not more, to go any other way than just getting another CVT put in.

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Old 09-06-2008, 11:00 AM   #12
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

Quote:
Originally Posted by NRJIZED View Post
If the car runs on a CVT tranny, you can't simply swap to a manual or automatic. You would need much more like a new pedal set to control the clutch, the clutch cylinder, and an ECU. Lot's of money. The same goes for the auto. Too many other things need to be removed or replaced. It would cost the same, if not more, to go any other way than just getting another CVT put in.
why would you need a new ECU if you're swapping out the tranny for a manual? the ECU doesn't change, just the TCM. And a MANUAL transmission doesn't need a TCM. And if you can get an AF23 for cheap, the tcm is only $350.

To the OP, if you wanted to switch out for a traditional auto, you'd be stuck with the aisin AF23 5 speed auto, which is a better choice than the cvt, but not as good as the 4T45-E that came in the later ions. The reason is PCM/TCM compatibility, the 03-04 ions came with a different PCM with the old speed density type sensors. The 05 and up have mass air flow systems and only had the 4t45-e tranny put in it. The two PCMs never had any overlap in compatibility, so you'd have to convert your engine to the MAF system and put in the e37 PCM and the TCM for the 4t45-e to put the "good" tranny in your car. If you wanted to stick the AF23 in your car, "all" you would need is the tranny, tcm, and associated wiring and sensors.

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Old 11-07-2011, 11:28 AM   #13
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

Can anyone tell me if they've successfully done the switch over and out 03 quad cab From the vt trans to the m 43 train If so can you tell me exactly what I need to do this thank you

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Old 11-07-2011, 11:47 AM   #14
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn ION Transmission

Read my post. DO A SEARCH IN THE TECH SECTION for a thread.

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