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Old 06-01-2015, 01:21 PM   #1
doc4bax
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Default 2006 Saturn ION auto transmission fluid change...

It's time to change the transmission fluid on my sons Saturn. I just bought this for him for School and don't know a whole lot about the ION. I did have an SL1 years ago and this model is completely different.

OK, the transmission on this thing was designed by a bozo. No dipstick and no drain plug. Just an access port to check the fluid level. I have read all about what is involved with jacking the car up and having to use front and rear jack stands to make sure the car is level. Then actually crawling under the vehicle will its running to check the access port. That doesn't sound very safe.

Here is my idea and just wanted to know what others thought. First of all my sons transmission has no leaks. So technically all the fluid that was put in at the factory should be there. I plan to lower the pan, drain the fluid and then pour the fluid in a large jug(s). Then look at precisely how much transmission fluid I have removed from the transmission. Now I will just replace it with the same amount. Why would I even need to attempt to check the level? It should be spot on. Right?
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Old 06-01-2015, 02:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2006 Saturn ION auto transmission fluid change...

Quote:
Originally Posted by doc4bax View Post
Why would I even need to attempt to check the level? It should be spot on. Right?
Yes, in a perfect world.

http://www.google.com/cse?cx=partner...ission%20fluid

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=126932
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Old 06-01-2015, 03:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2006 Saturn ION auto transmission fluid change...

there was a huge discussion regarding changing auto fluids, and other things about it.

excuse me while I go dig it up with the search...

EDIT: found it, with enough time to edit this post.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...tomatic&page=3

its a few years old, but there are some recent comments on it on page 3 regarding a dipstick...before subjects change towards manual trans.
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Old 06-02-2015, 11:06 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2006 Saturn ION auto transmission fluid change...

well, isn't 06 different from the 5-speed Aisin AT in 03-05?
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Old 06-02-2015, 07:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2006 Saturn ION auto transmission fluid change...

I have the 4T45E....

The "MN5" 4T45E is able to handle vehicles up to 4,500 lb (2,041 kg) GVWR. Final drive ratios include 3.63, 3.29, 3.05, and 3.91. This same transmission is used in the Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid vehicle with the addition of an auxiliary oil pump and hybrid-aware electronics. It is designed for 3.03.5 L engines producing up to 205 ftlbf (278 Nm) of torque, but was also commonly mated to some versions of GM's 4-cylinder Ecotec line

They put these in the cars where they were using the "Aisin 5-speed automatic transmission".

Nice to know it was built for the 6cyl and is pretty beefy for the 4cyl application. I read recently the system is sealed for life and does not need to be changed for a maximum of 150K miles. Uses DEX IV which was far more superior to DEX III.
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Old 02-25-2016, 12:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2006 Saturn ION auto transmission fluid change...

I finally got around to changing the AT fluid on the boys Saturn. I drained the pan and exactly 8 quarts came out. I cleaned the pan, the magnet and replaced the filter and the metal sleeve the filter fits into. I used a filter that came with the OEM gasket and it also came with the sleeve from amazon. OEM gasket is the way to go. I filled it back up with 8 quarts of Wally Worlds finest Super Tech DEXRON VI Automatic Transmission Fluid. No leaks, shifts nice and crisp. I figure if 8 quarts came out and I put 8 back in then whats the point of checking the level (major PITA). It has to be the spot on perfect world or not. So far so good....
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Old 02-25-2016, 04:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2006 Saturn ION auto transmission fluid change...

All ion transmissions except the cvt share the same procedures. All you have to do to check the fluid is remove the tire, then lower it until it's level (i used a torpedo level on the upper rad support). Not that hard. Then you remove the level check plug (right above the ever present drain plug, on all ion transmissions) and fill it until fluid starts to dribble out. Not sure what's hard or unsafe about this, or why people complain. You can change the fluid yourself. My jetta with a regular 6 speed auto i have to spend $200 at vw to get the fluid changed or it fries itself. It's not even possible to do it at home without expensive equipment. All you need for your ion is an Allen key and a jack.
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Old 02-29-2016, 12:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2006 Saturn ION auto transmission fluid change...

I guess people find it unsafe because the engine has to be running as you do not want to open the plug with the car not running as fluid will leak out all over.

I just figure that eight quarts came out so I put eight quarts back in. So technically it shouldn't need anymore AT fluid. It's never leaked AT fluid so I don't know how it could possibly need more than what I took out.

I'm not sure but I don't think the AT fluid has ever been changed. The car has around 122K at time of change ( I bought it used). Through the light as it was draining it looked pretty good, a rich red color. In the drain pan it looked pretty dark and dirty. The magnet didn't have any metal pieces on it so I guess that's a good sign.

I read some where that the case is a sealed case and you didn't have to change the AT fluid until 160K. Some forums said you never had to change it. Who knows. The procedure was not that big of a deal. I will probably change it again before it hits 200K.
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2006 Saturn ION auto transmission fluid change...

I don't know where that rumor started, I don't know of any "sealed" transmissions where you can't ever have the fluid changed. Gm designed these as a well sealed transmission, as in its highly unlikely you'll lose fluid over even 300k without a change, and is not usually possible to get contamination in the case, so the fluid "should" last three life of the car. Changing the fluid around 150k to synthetic dex vi is really the best plan, and really should be more than this transmission needs for lubrication life. My jetta needs to be serviced every 40k, and youu can't drain, fill, or check the fluid level without very expensive tools. I wish they still made the ion.
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:16 AM   #10
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Default Re: 2006 Saturn ION auto transmission fluid change...

My brother has a VW passat and its a real pain to change the oil or do any maintenance. Like you said, special tools. Not to mention taking all these panels off under the car to get to anything. His son has a Jetta with a manual. It's looks to be a little easier to work on.

The VW's recommend a 10K mile interval oil change. I think that's crazy. I check my nephews oil at 8K and it looked like black paint. I told him screw their oil interval change it every 5K or 5 months.
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Old 03-01-2016, 04:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2006 Saturn ION auto transmission fluid change...

10k is reasonable, but the engines require synthetic and use 6? Quarts (one jug plus a quart) of euro spec oil.
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