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Old 02-20-2009, 03:36 PM   #1
62morgan
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Default Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

Hello all,
1999 Automatic SL, 84k miles. Regularly overfill trans fluid upon dip showing lower 1/3 of hatch. I read “Low”, add 1/3 qt. then see overfill [1/8” above hatch]. Confusing.
Now know to do multi-reads to determine actual level.

Recently 90 miles into a roadtrip (not driving); but Saturn in “Neutral” and towed 4 wheels down behind a motorhome. I rest-stop & detect smoke and significant heat from tranny. See ˝ cup trans fluid on ground. Trace spill residue on”both” dipstick inlet neck & spin-on filter. Remove filter & see indentation of wire on gasket. Fluid spill is burnt, dark brown & hot to touch. Assume I have excessive fluid pressure buildup & resulting in significant low fluid level. All within 90 miles from home, where last level read was fine.
New spin-on and replace fluid. BTW: Drains only 2.5 qts of fluid.

Resume trip (car still towed) another 90 miles. Check engine light. See Chevy dealer who reports: TCC solenoid R&R, part $64
Valve gasket, part $17
And noted leak, R&R Trans. Input Speed Senser, part $32
Total Parts/Labor anticipated $750 . I deem this too much cost & thanked them.
I have them R&R fluid & spin-on. Will return to home town for repairs.
(BTW: wire under spin-on not deemed the problem.)

I have local AAMCo shop troubleshoot OBDII code 718 & they report Saturn TCC will not go into lockout. Repeated attempts w/ no success. Ask if valve assembly OK & told it and solenoid works per their checklist. Suggest removal of TC for inspection, major overhaul could run $1600 & more if need to replace TC.

Guess nearby Saturn Dealer is next, hour’s drive away. Do I give them GM part numbers for solenoid & Input speed sensor or have them trouble-shoot from know low fluid condition? I hope the valve assembly is the problem area. But not sure what else is active while vehicle in “Neutral” & being towed down the highway. Assumed it to be free-spinning.

Seeking ideas from the knowledgebase veterans on forum. Course is clear: go to Saturn Dealer. But I want to understand what happened before I go. To me, car shifts & runs good as before; I do not have keen enough sense to detect lockout or not. Did internal seals, clutch discs get damaged under towing condition? Or did over-pressure of fluid Do-in the valve assembly?
Old fluid had no debris, just brown & burnt. Current fluid is perhaps 1/3 new-to-old.

Sincerely,
David
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Old 02-20-2009, 03:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

Did you get the tranny fluid down to proper level? Overfilling it can force fluid through the seals and cause it to leak.
You say it runs drives and shifts fine right now? Basically all you will notice if the TCC does not lock up is you will rev about 300-400 RPM higher then usual. It could very well be the TCC solenoid in the valvebody, or the fuse labeled TRS 2/TCC in the underhood fuse box. The solenoid is replaceable and in the how to section richpin has a nicely done video of how to replace the solenoids.
Basically all a shop can test without actually pulling the valvebody out is the resistance of the solenoids in the valvebody, but it could still fail mechanically and test fine electrically.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

Thanks for the quick reply.
Yes, it's dead-on the fill mark. If I am trying to detect the lockout..how much rpm should I have at,say 50 mph? on level road, smooth conditions.

I can easily check the two items you mentioned. I believe you you are correct in shop only verifying the resistance of the leads without any further investigation on their part.

>>David
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

SOHC or DOHC engine? Different transmission with different gear ratios.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

Does the car still have burnt tranny fluid now that it was drained and refilled?

Does the car still leak fluid?

Replace the ECTS (10 bucks plus teflon tape). With 89k i bet its the stock one and cracked. ECTS is VITAL for many subsystems of the car INCLUDING TC lock up points.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

A SOHC engine should rev at about 1800 rpm in 4th gear at 55 mph.
I believe a DOHC engine should rev at around 2200-2300 at 55 MPH, not 100% on the DOHC though.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1995sl1sohc View Post
A SOHC engine should rev at about 1800 rpm in 4th gear at 55 mph.
I believe a DOHC engine should rev at around 2200-2300 at 55 MPH, not 100% on the DOHC though.
He says he has an SL...SOHC.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

rc,
No longer leaking. Runs well as far as I can tell. Will take another change or two to approach near 100% . No longer smells.

1955,
That's just what I need in order to see for myself if it's doing a non-locking.
Thanks,


PS...do not know the acronym ECTS.
What are we talking about?

>>David
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 62morgan View Post
rc,
No longer leaking. Runs well as far as I can tell. Will take another change or two to approach near 100% . No longer smells.

1955,
That's just what I need in order to see for myself if it's doing a non-locking.
Thanks,


PS...do not know the acronym ECTS.
What are we talking about?

>>David
Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor. Check the how-to library for instructions how to change it. 13mm deep socket and 1/4 in wrench is all that is needed.

To check for Nont TC luck up:
On the highway, let off the pedal and then tap the accelerator pedal. If your TC is locked up it should jerk the car foward and back. If the TC is NOT locked up, you will see the tach needed move, but the car will not jerk at all.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

Saying SL tells me it is a 4 dr that's about it. Could be an SL1 or SL2.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:44 PM   #11
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

Engine Coolant sensor, good idea! Believe it's a SL-2, but not 100% sure. You gave me good enough RPM range that I need. Thanks.

Seems like opinions are this tranny is one tough bird. I can do all of the above & see if error code persists after disconnecting battery for a time.

>>David
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Old 02-20-2009, 05:37 PM   #12
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1995sl1sohc View Post
Saying SL tells me it is a 4 dr that's about it. Could be an SL1 or SL2.
Or an SL.
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Old 02-20-2009, 09:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

Quote:
Or an SL.
lol yup... cant forget the ol' base SL!
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Old 02-21-2009, 12:09 AM   #14
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

What about the Transmission Temperature Sensor next to the filter - does that have any input into when the TC locks?
...
Car has 2,000,000 mm and runs like new!
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:30 AM   #15
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Default Re: Overfilled trans Fluid, now TC not lockout. Is Total trans rebuild ahead?

[Up-date from original Poster]
1. Fuses are O.K.
2. R&R Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor.[former looked good, brass style & wire clip was good]
3. Transmission Temperature Sensor [confirmed O.K. by 2 techs]
>>> test drive result: it downshifts as normal, not over-revving in 4th of 5th.

"Check Engine Light" appears again....
but, Car now appears to run fine (despite C.E. light).

As I originally asked. What could be damaged while I had the car in "Neutral" (under towing conditions)? With the loss of trans fluid; what internal parts, valves, seals could be damaged? Tranny was hot when I popped the hood & could detect fluid residue at both filler neck & spin-on filter seal. Something inside certainly got heated beyond normal limits.
AMMCO wants $2K to do exploratory on Torque Converter; GM tech thinks bad Solenoid & leak at Input speed sensor.
Should I focus on the valve assembly?

...any ideas?
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