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Old 10-07-2018, 09:40 PM   #1
cscustomcars
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Default Valve Body Issues (I've searched)

New here, lurker mostly. Lots of info, been greatly helpful.
Now I'm having an issue that I'm completely stumped on.

Please bear in mind, I'm on disability, any recommended parts replacements or otherwise may take me awhile. I am a trained mechanic, but I only have a universal OBD reader.

Ok, here's the whole story:

2000 SL1 Auto-tragic SOHC 168k Purchased with a reverse slam, and slow/clunky down shifting. Up shifting was fine, had all forward gears, and a slamming reverse.

Attempted the reverse slam cure, made the reverse slam worse and started to slam into drive. I parked the car as the trans was not slipping, but starting to slam into drive. With the reverse already slamming, i figured it was best to just leave it. Before the forward gear cluck (it wasn't really a slam as much as a clunk), I was getting codes randomly for gear 3 ratio incorrect, and gear 4 ratio incorrect. These were sporadic, and only came on when I forced it to down shift by giving it 100% throttle. If I let it be, and drove like a granny, it wouldn't give these codes and would EVENTUALLY down shift on its own.

I bought a valve body on eBay, no idea if the quality is any good, but I'm poor, I have no choice but to buy what I can afford. It DOES have a lifetime warranty so if it is the problem, I'll just request a new one.

Previous owner was a absolute moron, trans was overfull, oil was 2 quarts low, coolant was low, had copper plugs, bald tires, and no brakes. It does have a valve tick at idle on cylinder 1, goes away with a bit of throttle.

I put platinum plugs in it, 4 tires, new front brakes, and a new battery in it. Car ran without the battery in it just fine (yes I know this is risky to a PCM, did not have a choice). Multi-meter shoes 14.5 volts at idle at the battery terminals. The car does have a high idle when cold, drops when warm, but between shifting from reverse to drive, the idle goes to 1500 rpm before dropping back down.

I did the valve body job today. New fluid (walmart super tech dex III) new filter. Expected some problems with the relearn procedure but did not expect what happened.

After it warmed up a little, I shifted into reverse, gave it partial throttle, no reverse. Same with forward gears, nothing. Kept shifting it back and forth thinking maybe the pressure isn't there yet. I kept checking the fluid level. I was under the impression that these transmissions only used 3.5 quarts. Mine took 6 to get to level.

Upon first start, and shifting through the gears without moving to get the fluid up and where it needs to be, it took awhile to shift, but still didn't actually go into gear. I gave it throttle in reverse, and after 6 or 7 different changes from reverse to drive to reverse to drive, I finally got it to go into reverse, but it requires a significant throttle (3000 RPMS) and slams into reverse.

Forward gears aren't there at all. First gear barely moves the car with almost 50% throttle. I took it onto the road to see if it needed to be driven to fix it. Up and down the road I went, back and forth, reverse still slamming, drive barely moving the car. Every time it shifted into second, the RPMs shot up and speed slowed (slipping). I'm now getting constant gear 2 ratio incorrect, gear 3 ratio incorrect, gear 4 ratio incorrect, every time the codes popped up I erased them. They would come back almost immediately.

Sorry if this is a little convoluted, I'm annoyed.

To summarize:
Replaced valve body, fluid and filter
Has good platinum plugs
Has new battery and alternator is putting out correct voltage
Reverse slams still with new VB, requires 3000 RPMs to shift into reverse
Forward gears are basically not there. I can get it to move a little, but 2nd gear, 3rd gear and 4th gear all slip now

Did I get a bad VB? Or is my trans shot?

When I did the job, I noticed some bluing on the drum below the VB, gears all looked good. No metal shavings in the old fluid, which was VERY dirty.

Suggestions? I only paid $400 for this car, but it would be really nice if I could fix it so I can use it for the great MPG.
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:08 AM   #2
billr
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Default Re: Valve Body Issues (I've searched)

I'm a little confused about which of those symptoms are from before the VB and fluid change, and which are from after. However, you should be able to tell where that "new" VB came from. Frankly, the only VB vendor I would trust is Central Valve Bodies in Tulsa OK. Yeah, that VB may be bad...

When the VB is off, you can do some air-checks of the clutches and servo to see if there are any gross seal leaks.

Using live-data to look at trans (and engine) is strongly recommended, as it can save a lot of parts-swapping and guessing. Yours being OBD2, live-data is available inexpensively with an ELM327-type link to a computer of phone. Just don't go too "inexpensive" with the ELM327, I keep reading about problems with the ones priced under $15.

PS: platinum plugs are not usually recommended, more folks like copper for these engines
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:19 AM   #3
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Default Re: Valve Body Issues (I've searched)

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
I'm a little confused about which of those symptoms are from before the VB and fluid change, and which are from after. However, you should be able to tell where that "new" VB came from. Frankly, the only VB vendor I would trust is Central Valve Bodies in Tulsa OK. Yeah, that VB may be bad...

When the VB is off, you can do some air-checks of the clutches and servo to see if there are any gross seal leaks.

Using live-data to look at trans (and engine) is strongly recommended, as it can save a lot of parts-swapping and guessing. Yours being OBD2, live-data is available inexpensively with an ELM327-type link to a computer of phone. Just don't go too "inexpensive" with the ELM327, I keep reading about problems with the ones priced under $15.

PS: platinum plugs are not usually recommended, more folks like copper for these engines
Interesting about the plugs. The engine smoothed out a lot after i changed them.

Before i replaced the VB:
Slamong into reverse
Poor downshifting/no downshifting unless throttled 100%
Gear ratio 3 and 4 incorrect codes intermittently
Developed a slight clunk into drive at which point i parked it

Adter I replaced the VB:
Reverse hard shift must be at 3000 RPMs to shift
Forward gears are nonexistent mostly first starts out very slow, kind of like the brakes are stuck on, second gear RPMS sky rocket speed changes at the rate of molasses, immediately throws a code for gear 2 ratio incorrect, if i can get it into third, then throws a gear 3 ratio and gear 4 ratio incorrect.
The faster i get up to speed, the more responsive the engine gets, transmission seems to be slipping but did not slip with old VB

Sorry i hope that clears things up.

I do not bave a compressor so no air check possible.

I will look into a live stream module.
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Old 10-08-2018, 01:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Valve Body Issues (I've searched)

After some more searching and thinking, I believe I may have gotten a bad unit, as it seems like I have no mainline pressure.

I read that if you disconnect the range switch or leave the VB unplugged that the mechanical reverse selection will still work, but will violently shift into reverse, which is what is happening to mine. Without main line pressure, there would be no forward gears, which mine is doing.

So my conclusion is my line pressure solenoid is probably defective.

I contacted the seller, who is shipping me a new unit. I asked him to bench test the solenoids before shipping to ensure the unit is a good one. Here's hoping number 2 will be a good unit.
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Old 10-08-2018, 02:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Valve Body Issues (I've searched)

Well, if you don't have line-pressure, then R would have trouble engaging as well as the forward gears. It takes high pressure to engage the clutches and servo hard enough to get that R "slam". I don't think low LP is your problem, but...

Generally, if the LP solenoid or its circuit is bad, LP goes to "full high". That is the default of the system, it takes activation of the LP solenoid to lower pressure for softening shift.

With just a 300 psig gauge and a few 1/8" NPT pipe fitting it is pretty easy to check LP. Let us know if you want details on how to do that.

So, if the VB vendor will send you another, then give that try; but I would sure consider borrowing/renting/buying a compressor to do the air-checks while the VB is off. Even a storage tank (or tire) that you can pump up may be a good enough substitute for a compressor.
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Valve Body Issues (I've searched)

You might also have a loose input shaft nut. After the transmission slams several times, the input shaft nut can become loose. The procedure for fixing that involves getting a thin 23mm socket, lowering the driver side engine cradle bolts, using a strap to move the driver's side strut out of the way. People might still be selling input shaft nut repair kits on eBay. If you have an impact wrench, then you can apparently tighten the input shaft nut without a specialized spanner wrench tool.

Here's a link to such an eBay listing:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Saturn-...rd!60645!US!-1

You can search eBay for the key words, "Saturn TAAT service kit".
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Valve Body Issues (I've searched)

my bet is on the input nut. The poster bought the car with the reverse slam and poor down shifting. I suspect the previous owner drove the car with the reverse slam and this backed in the input nut loose. The car I bought our daughter was similar, previous owner drove it with the reverse slam until the car would not back up once warmed up. I got a rebuilt valve body and with it, the shifting issue was worse, no reverse at all unless you reved in to 3000rpm.
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Old 10-14-2018, 04:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: Valve Body Issues (I've searched)

UPDATE:
Wanted to update in case others read this thread.

Received a replacement valve body from the eBay seller, installed it today without issue (though the shift selector on this one is pretty tight).

BINGO - drives great, no harsh shifts, no slamming, all gears working, downshifts properly, no slipping, no CEL, nothing. Problem solved. Was a bad unit.

Don't think my input shaft nut is a problem since now it drives and shifts perfectly.

Thanks guys for your help. Now that it's driving like it's supposed to, I can work on the menial stuff that it needs.
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Old 10-14-2018, 07:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: Valve Body Issues (I've searched)

excellent news, thanks for the update. Another S Series lives another day
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: Valve Body Issues (I've searched)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cscustomcars View Post
UPDATE:
Wanted to update in case others read this thread.

Received a replacement valve body from the eBay seller, installed it today without issue (though the shift selector on this one is pretty tight).

BINGO - drives great, no harsh shifts, no slamming, all gears working, downshifts properly, no slipping, no CEL, nothing. Problem solved. Was a bad unit.

Don't think my input shaft nut is a problem since now it drives and shifts perfectly.

Thanks guys for your help. Now that it's driving like it's supposed to, I can work on the menial stuff that it needs.
Thanks very much for your feedback. I'm up against a similar problem and considering buying a rebuilt VB. I'm not sure what goes wrong inside them other than the solenoids, but it would be a cheap fix for an otherwise good car.
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