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Old 11-22-2019, 06:32 PM   #1
ratwhisperer
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Location: Salem, OR
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1997 SL1
Default Transmission Question

Hi! It's been forever since I've been on here Things are mostly going well. Sooo... we attempted to cell Cinnamon a few months ago, our 1997 SL1 (manual). This was a crazy experience.

So a 'friend' 'bought' the car. I will NEVER do this again. I should have just asked for cash up front and sent him on his way, but I felt bad for his situation and we told him he could pay us $50 a month and we would give him the title after he paid us $600. Yes that is probably cheap, but this is someone who was in a bad situation, and we felt for him. Plus we had just gotten our 1996 SL2 with only 36,000 miles on it, so we were in happy Saturn land for ourselves.

ANYWAY. I just towed it back to the house. I'm in tears. He only ever gave us $30 for it, and he DESTROYED it. This car was my baby. Cinnamon ran beautifully when this guy drove her away, despite having 288,000 miles. He shredded the interior (or his dogs did) threw about a billion cigarettes all over the place, and there is like an inch of dog hair on EVERYTHING.

Yes, I was dumb to have let him do this in the first place, I admit that.

The worst part is this.

The car has NO oil in it.
Two, he says that the transmission is destroyed. I had put a brand new clutch in it less than a year ago. He says "all the fluid drained out of it," and this is after he drove over something because apparently he was taking the car out logging roads or something.

So! My question is this.

Is it really the transmission? I don't know much about transmissions at all. I took the tow strap off of my truck on one side of my property and put some oil in the car, and actually drove it to the other side of my property with no issue. It shifted fine, and drove fine. So I'm perplexed.

Could it be the oil pan?

HOWEVER! The pictures that he sent me (which I am attaching here) show dark fluid dripping from what does in fact look like the transmission.

I will put it up on ramps when I have a bit more time and give it a full once over, but I wanted to ask you here first what you think.

Please be kind, I'm already in tears over this.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg car1.jpg (54.4 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg car2.jpg (49.7 KB, 27 views)

...
Past:
1995 SW2 - Cynthia
2000 SW2 - Ruby
2004 Vue - Jade
1996 SL2 - Ursula
1994 SL2 - Nelly Belle

Current:
1997 SL1 - Cinnamon - 285K
1996 SL2 - Blanca - 36K

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Old 11-22-2019, 07:26 PM   #2
SC2Sick
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1997 SC2
1995 SW2
Default Re: Transmission Question

Probably blew the diff-pin

You'll need a new transmission. It's common enough on these

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2002 Saturn SL2 - RHD

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Old 11-22-2019, 11:29 PM   #3
ratwhisperer
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1997 SL1
Default Re: Transmission Question

Thank you for that insight! I will read up on it.

...
Past:
1995 SW2 - Cynthia
2000 SW2 - Ruby
2004 Vue - Jade
1996 SL2 - Ursula
1994 SL2 - Nelly Belle

Current:
1997 SL1 - Cinnamon - 285K
1996 SL2 - Blanca - 36K

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Old 11-23-2019, 12:09 AM   #4
ratwhisperer
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1997 SL1
Default Re: Transmission Question

One more question... if the diff pin is blown would it still be able to shift and drive? Because it does shift and drive with no issues; at least around my yard. I didn't attempt anything above 2nd gear, but 1st, 2nd and reverse seem to function okay. I do not want to drive more than I already did, but I'm just curious.

...
Past:
1995 SW2 - Cynthia
2000 SW2 - Ruby
2004 Vue - Jade
1996 SL2 - Ursula
1994 SL2 - Nelly Belle

Current:
1997 SL1 - Cinnamon - 285K
1996 SL2 - Blanca - 36K

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Old 11-23-2019, 10:44 AM   #5
Zeebins
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1997 SL2
Default Re: Transmission Question

If only a piece of the diff pin broke off, you would still be able to shift at least somewhat. The transmission is dead either way though weather it was the whole pin or just a piece. There should be an obvious hole if it broke but you can also take out the vehicle speed sensor and see if it's still there.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=96588

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Old 11-24-2019, 01:32 PM   #6
hholbein
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1997 SW2
Default Re: Transmission Question

Very sad to hear your story from a fellow Oregonian! A partially dislodged diff pin could have worn/knocked a hole in the transmission case, or perhaps this guy cracked the cast aluminum transmission casing by high-centering it on a rough Forest Service road.

You can easily check how much ATF was lost by looking at the dipstick close to the battery tray.

Let me know how you get on.

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Old 12-03-2019, 06:44 PM   #7
ratwhisperer
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1997 SL1
Default Re: Transmission Question

So yes you folks were definitely correct, there is a big hole in the tranny, and I believe it's the diff pin I have a hookup for a rebuilt tranny from B&R auto wrecking for $100, so I think I'll do that and attempt to fix it myself, and then clean the poor thing up and see how it goes. Thank you!!

...
Past:
1995 SW2 - Cynthia
2000 SW2 - Ruby
2004 Vue - Jade
1996 SL2 - Ursula
1994 SL2 - Nelly Belle

Current:
1997 SL1 - Cinnamon - 285K
1996 SL2 - Blanca - 36K

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Old 12-03-2019, 07:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Transmission Question

Sorry for your situation, it hurts having to be the nice guy I know. At least the title is in your name still. You are going about fixing it the right way putting a used transaxle in it, that's the cheapest for certain. Next time though tell the clown to get a loan through a bank, they take monthly payments too.

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Old 12-04-2019, 01:34 PM   #9
alordofchaos
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2002 SC2
1998 SL2
Default Re: Transmission Question

People like that tend to have terrible credit and no credit cards, and have also burned all their bridges with other friends and relatives (after borrowing money and never paying it back, taking advantage of their kindness, being thoughtless with borrowed things, etc)

I'm glad your car wasn't more damaged by this guy

...
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