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Old 02-02-2020, 01:15 AM   #1
lrbraner
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2002 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
2003 L-Series 3.0L Wagon
Default P1811 questions

Both my Saturns occasionally start shifting hard accompanied by the wrench light coming on, and a P1811 code.The consensus is that it is most likely caused by the Pressure Control Solenoid (PCS ). My questions are; Does the PCS fail, if so why and how. Was this a defective design from the beginning? Are the replacement parts better? And lastly, is the PCS a variable pressure control device, or a on/off solenoid ? Trying to better understand this problem because most shops I talk to immediately say the transmission is shot and needs a total rebuild at the tune of $1400 to $1900. By the way the 2003 LW300 had 68K on it when I purchased it a couple years ago,80K presently,and had this problem from the beginning. So I dont believe the tranny is worn out.

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Old 02-02-2020, 01:30 AM   #2
focusofheart
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1998 SL2
Default Re: P1811 questions

You might read this thread. It could give you some direction.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...=151489&page=2

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Old 02-03-2020, 10:55 AM   #3
floridasl22002
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: P1811 questions

The shift and pressure solenoids are located at the end of the transmission to the drivers side. They sit inside the end cover. They are arranged vertically and the PCS sits at the top BELOW the level of the transmission fluid. As a consequence it doesn't get lubricated or cooled as the shift solenoids do. Whether this is a bad design I have no idea. But that is the reality, so just deal with the reality.

My son's 2003 L300 had the hard shifts + wrench on light. If you switch off the engine, then restart, all goes back to normal till the next time!

My son's 2003 L300 had this very same issue. We took it to a tranny shop and the technician checked it out with his Tech11 and like your situation, we were told you need a rebuild, blah, blah. That will be $2000 thank you very much! As I paid $2100, that was not going to happen.

I asked him what would happen if we kept driving with the issue. His response was 1) If you drive short distances, you could drive for years like that.2) If you drove long distnaces, then the most that would happen is the car would go in limp mode. So neither are self-destruct.

In the end I found a thread on here and followed that thread and did the job of replacing the solenoids myself. It is a PITA job, but I swapped my son's car for mine and I simply took my time over a couple of weekends.

You basically have to remove the drivers side strut altogether and pull out and move to one side the driveshaft. You have to loosen the sub frame bolts on that side as you will lower/higher the tranny after removing battery, battery tray, moving fuse box to one side. The latter bits are simply to give you the room to remove and move up the side cover to reveal the solenoids. Repalcing the solenoids takes all of about 10 minutes for all 3 as they are all plug & play. It's just getting to that's the problem.

You do of course drain the tranny fluid before you start and I also changed out the filter as well. The Saturn guide for filling the tranny with fluid is that the car must be level on all fours. I simply jacked the car up on each corner and raised it on axle stands. That allowed me to replace the fluid in the correct amount. All because GM wanted to save 50c on not installing a dipstick!!

My costs were no more than $150.00 all told. Da's time comes free. LOL

Any way, that's my contribution. My thread on the job should be around somewhere too. Here's one I found on the task;

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=155126

Here was my thread on the job;

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=235496

Last edited by floridasl22002; 02-03-2020 at 11:00 AM..

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Old 02-03-2020, 11:50 AM   #4
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: P1811 questions

The pressure control solenoid is neither on nor off. I might have posted reprints of service manual descriptions of P1811 in these forums. You can Google the error code and line pressure control solenoid operation.

Electronically controlled xmissions utilize computer, sensors and solenoids to shift gears efficiently whether for fuel economy or stoplight racing. Sensors detect whether to shift early at lower rpm for conservative driving to reap the best fuel economy or shift at redline for street racing. The line pressure control solenoid operates on pulse width modulated signals, neither full battery voltage nor off. PWM are digital signals varying in pulse width to vary the on and off times - high speed switching of power effectively making a solenoid vibrate on and off at high frequency to move its valve into a specific position that's neither completely open or closed. When switching power at high frequency rates, the valve mechanically moves to open but when power is suddenly switched off, the valve stops moving and a spring tries to move the valve back to closed position. Pulsing signals controls the position of the valve. Controlling valve position varies line pressure. Varying line pressure smooths gear shifts. When P1811 occurs along with hard shifts, the default program in the tcm is to prevent wearing out the clutch packs by disabling the line pressure control solenoid and allow full pressure to shift gears.

The pressure control valve is wearing out.

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