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Old 11-19-2005, 04:54 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas
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Default "S" Series automatic transaxle fluid/filter change

You will need:
A drain pan capable of holding 2 GALLONS (8 quarts) of liquid
Set of metric wrenches
Oil GOOD filter wrench
7 quarts of clean ATF (Mobil 1 synthetic ATF HIGHLY recommended)
Replacement transaxle filter (Buy it from SATURN, not the autoparts store)

Proceed as follows.

Just prior to the day you are going to change the fluid, CHECK IT with the dipstick (HOT in PARK engine RUNNING) to confirm it is full. (You'll understand why later)

The fluid can be changed COLD or WARM (NOT HOT)

1. Remove the air cleaner "box"
2. Remove the battery and battery tray*
*Gives better access to the FILTER, but may not be 100% necessary. IF you have a THEFT DETERRANT RADIO make SURE you have the unlock code BEFORE removing the battery. If you do not, DO NOT DISCONNECT THE BATTERY!
3. Under the car, driver's side, position the drain pan under the transaxle drain plug (differential case) and remove the drain plug. When the plug comes out the fluid will RUSH out VERY QUICKLY, be ready
4. While the fluid is draining, use your oil filter wrench to remove the transaxle filter (turn COUNTER CLOCKWISE) Very little fluid will run out of the filter when it comes off. BE CAREFULL, there are TWO SENSORS mounted in VERY close proximity to the filter. Use caution around the sensors and wires.
5. Wipe off any residue from the filter mount area. If there is a magnet mounted on the filter mounting area, remove it and wipe it off, then replace it ONLY IF USING A FILTER PURCHASED FROM A SATURN DEALER.
6. Smear a thin coat of ATF on the new filter gasket and install the new filter. Tighten it 1/2~3/4 of a turn after the gasket contacts the base. BE CAREFUL not to get any of the sensor wires between the filter and its base, and not to damage either of the sensors!
7. Reinstall the battery, battery tray (if removed) and airfilter box.
8. Under the car, wipe off the drain plug area and reinstall the drain plug.
9. Pour 1 full quart of NEW fluid into the dipstick tube for the transaxle. Then refill the EMPTY bottle with dirty fluid from the drain pan. Continue this NEW in refill bottle with OLD sequence until there is LESS than 1 quart of dirty fluid left in the pan. (You should have 1 empty bottle and maybe 1 or perhaps 2 full ones left at this point)
10. Pour the remaining dirty fluid into the empty bottle. There will be a scale on the side of the bottle so you can tell how much is in it. Using that scale as a guide, add the equivalent amount of CLEAN fluid to the transaxle.
11. Replace the dipstick and start the car. LOOK FOR LEAKS! Especially around the filter! If you spot a leak near the filter, just snug it up a little more. No leaks? Let the car RUN for 10 Minutes
12. With the car RUNNING and in PARK, check the fluid level. It "should" be exactly were it was when you checked it "dirty" as you have effectively put back in the same amount of clean fluid as you drained out dirty. If it needs to be topped up, do it SLOWLY and CAREFULLY a little a time.

Wash your hands and go for a test drive. Recheck the level when you get back.

NOTE: Saturn recommends checking the transaxle level on the dipstick 3~5 times in rapid succession to ensure an accurate reading.

Old Saturns never die, people KILL them, so check your damn oil!
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." Albert Einstein


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