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Old 12-30-2009, 02:16 AM   #1
daffyphil
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Default 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

I wish to apoligize if this thread is posted in the wrong section.

But I need some advice. I bought a used 98 SC2 automatic with 96,000 miles 2 years ago. The first week I noticed that I had that reverse slam problem, and over the course of the summer I found that when driving in stop and go traffic my trans wouldn't upshift and the SES light would come on. To get through this problem I would pop the car in neutral and restart the engine. This would allow me to drive normally for a little while. To make a long story short after 2 years I started having serious problems with the trans, like when I exited the interstate and came to a complete stop the car would shudder and die. Well i took the car to a trans repair shop and paid $792.00 to have the valve body replaced. I drove the car for about 15 minutes and then the engine died on me again when coming to a stop. the next day the car started slamming in every gear while shifting, going from a dead stop the car seems sluggish like I was in second gear instead of first. Ironically going in reverse is no problem anymore. I took the car back to the shop and they replaced the valve body they put in but I still have the same problems. In the morning I will check the fuses under the hood but after that I have no clue. The repair shop said I need a new or rebuilt by the way. Can anyone help me? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, DaffyP

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Old 12-30-2009, 02:51 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

How old are the battery and alternator? You may want to see about getting those replaced..

if it *REALLY* ends up being the valve body, seek out Special Forces. his rebuilt VBs are AWESOME.

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Old 12-30-2009, 03:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

Thanks for responding, My battery is new, only 3 months old. As for the alternator I have no idea. the valve body (bodies)? have already been replaced twice in 4 days. what does an alternator have to do with the transmission? I am not a mechanic and only understand engine basics so I don't see the relationship between the two.

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Old 12-30-2009, 09:14 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

The tranny shop should be held responsible for repairs if they diagnosed it. While educating yourself on this forum is good, they should fix it! The input shaft nut has been checked? Also where are these valve bodies coming from?

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Old 12-30-2009, 09:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by daffyphil View Post
I am not a mechanic and only understand engine basics so I don't see the relationship between the two.
Your transmission shifting is electronically controlled - squirrelly electronics can end up with squirrelly shifting

First step in your diagnosis - get the code read (you mentioned an SES light - your car is trying to tell you something). Be sure and get the actual code number (e.g., P0741) and not whatever the translation is. Unless you live in CA, most auto part stores can do that for free.

Second step is to check the tachometer when it slams. When upshifting, do the rpms drop about 800-1k rpm, or do they swing up then drop when the shift is complete (after the slam)?

Check your ECTS to make sure it's brass and its connector to make sure it's not corroded. $10 part and easily replaced by a non-mechanic... if you can screw in a light bulb, you can probably deal with the ECTS.
Your temp gauge should show about 3/8 when fully warmed up, for your model year.
I have a few pictures (click on My Photos under my screen name to the left) and you can check out these great richpin06a videos on YouTube:

How to find the ECTS,
How to replace the ECTs, and
How to replace the ECTS connector.

More richpin video goodness

The How To Library

Misc good info
http://www.differentracing.com/tech_articles/index.html

edit: Welcome to the forums! Your automatic transmission fluid and filter should be changed every 30k miles. You can easily do this yourself to make sure it's done right.

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Old 12-30-2009, 10:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

@ lord of Chaos,

Thanks for the tip. I am very mechanically inclined so I believe that replacing the ECTS sensor won't be difficult. My biggest problem is I rent and have no place to do big repairs. I can't even change my own oil.
My temperature gauge gets just above the 1/4 mark during normal operation, and during the summer in construction/stop and go traffic it climbs all the way up to 1/2 half mark. I agree with the previous poster about the trans shop being responsible for repairs, but the owner of the shop says that I now need a rebuilt or new trans. I also agree that this problem seems electronical in nature. When the old valve body was removed I saw that it was coated with a fine grit (metal shavings) which looked like normal wear and tear. I was dealing with this problem when it suddenly got worse overnight. I also believe that my stalling problem is the torque converter locking on me, especially when I drive on the freeway with the cruise set.
The code the trans shop gave me is 741 or 742. plus one that says second gear is improperly shifting. Oh I also know that the tach usually revs high and slowly drops down, especially when shifting into N

Last edited by daffyphil; 12-30-2009 at 10:47 AM.. Reason: adding more

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Old 12-30-2009, 10:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

Go figure, when I called the shop to get the codes, the owner told me not to listen to you guys. He said I need a new trans and nothing else would fix the problem.

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Old 12-30-2009, 10:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by daffyphil View Post
Go figure, when I called the shop to get the codes, the owner told me not to listen to you guys. He said I need a new trans and nothing else would fix the problem.
Guys who make money selling / installing transmissions will tell you that.

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Old 12-30-2009, 11:01 AM   #9
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

I see you are from Madison, I live in Milwaukee. Have you ever heard of Trans X press on 69th and Capitol?

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Old 12-30-2009, 11:16 AM   #10
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

No, sorry; I don't know Milwaukee well at all. There's a woman from Milw. who was active on here several months ago, but I haven't seen her posts in a while.

Honestly, the folks here on SF (other than me; I'm a 5-speeder) know these automatics probably better than most tranny shops, ESP. if it's more an electrical/electronic issue than a tranny one. The one thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread is the importance of fresh fluid; these trannies require fluid/filter changes EVERY 30,000 miles at the OUTSIDE (some say more often).

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Old 12-30-2009, 12:27 PM   #11
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by daffyphil View Post
I see you are from Madison, I live in Milwaukee. Have you ever heard of Trans X press on 69th and Capitol?
+1 with what Madepogue said. Best approach is to PM Special Forces here and you probably need to change out the valve body. It is not a difficult DIY job. You will need a warm place to work. Special Forces sells rebuilts and provides the instructions you need to get it all working for about 1/4 of your estimate.

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Old 12-30-2009, 12:38 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

Since you are not in CA, autozone or advance auto will read your code for free.

Special Forces was on here recently on a 0741 code - I think it's a solenoid that can be replaced. You can check the resistance to confirm. I'd search and post a link but I'm due to a meeting

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Old 12-30-2009, 12:52 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

Thanks for all the advice!!!
Once again I will state for everyone that didn't read the entire thread that the valve body was replaced, and after returning to the shop because of the above stated problems replaced once again. That is all the trans shop I took it to is willing to do. They are now saying I must rebuild or replace the trans at additional cost. I am going to go check the pressure sensor fuses and drive it for awhile to see what is happening today. I just got it back from the shop last night. I really appreciate everyone's input on this/my problem. I cannot afford to rebuild/ nor can I go buy another vehicle. I do use this vehicle for my work and average 120 miles per day. I do 1099 work as a low voltage telecommunications technician.

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Old 12-30-2009, 01:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

What shop did you take it to? A friend of mine works at a trans shop in Milwaukee.

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Old 12-30-2009, 02:24 PM   #15
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by daffyphil View Post
Thanks for all the advice!!!
Once again I will state for everyone that didn't read the entire thread that the valve body was replaced, and after returning to the shop because of the above stated problems replaced once again. That is all the trans shop I took it to is willing to do. They are now saying I must rebuild or replace the trans at additional cost. I am going to go check the pressure sensor fuses and drive it for awhile to see what is happening today. I just got it back from the shop last night. I really appreciate everyone's input on this/my problem. I cannot afford to rebuild/ nor can I go buy another vehicle. I do use this vehicle for my work and average 120 miles per day. I do 1099 work as a low voltage telecommunications technician.
More than likely all you need to do is tighten the input and output shaft nuts if you are lucky. But many replaced valve bodies are also defective right out of the box. That is why I suggested you contact the person with the detailed experience with the complex problems with these transmissions. That would be Special Forces. Your problem could be any of the following, bad valve body, loose nuts, worn out clutches, failed torque converter, or excessive main oil pump wear. Clutches, main pump, or torque converter require an overhaul and the others do not. I did not see much point in looking deeply into it as I know Special Forces is available.

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Old 12-30-2009, 03:22 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by LotusLord View Post
What shop did you take it to? A friend of mine works at a trans shop in Milwaukee.
+1. I'd like to know what shop (let alone chain) that was that told you this, as I personally wouldn't visit them again.

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Old 12-30-2009, 06:01 PM   #17
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by daffyphil View Post
... I am going to go check the pressure sensor fuses.
Where are said fuses located & how are they marked? [yeah, my SC2's trans is still giving me fits.]

TIA

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Old 12-30-2009, 08:32 PM   #18
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

the shop is called Trans X Press on 69th and Capitol.

The fuses our labed TRS there were 3 in the fusebox found next to the battery under the hood. Look at your owners manuel in index for fuses then on corresponding pages, that will tell you which fuses are which.

*update* I checked the fuses they are fine. The temp sensor was not on the engine block where that video(the one with Creed as background music) showed. different engine. I have a 4 cyl DOHC. not sure waht size engine. I think that I will nurse this car till it dies and try and save up some cash. I am unable to buy another vehicle at this time and cannot afford the money to have the trans rebuilt. Thank You to everyone that tried to help me. At least i got my moneys worth out of this vehicle, I bought it on C.L. for 1,000.00 and drove it for 2 years.

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Old 12-30-2009, 08:40 PM   #19
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

I would not throw in the towel yet. The ECTS is right behind the top radiator hose where it meets the head. You have to remove the air inlet pipe to see it. You can follow the 2 wires up to it. It tends to hide behind the EGR valve.

If your transmission issue is a loose input or output shaft nut the parts and gasket are a about $25.00 total for both nuts and the gasket.

You really should PM Special Forces.

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Old 12-30-2009, 08:41 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SC2 Transmission problems

The trans temp sensor is on the front of the transmission near the trans filter. I think you need to check the input/output shaft nuts before you give up on this and go for a rebuild.

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