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Old 12-26-2011, 07:55 PM   #1
jcc007
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Happy 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

I have a 2003 Saturn vue v6 engine, and I do allot of the work myself.. I change my own oil and use Mobil1 5w30 high mileage since the vehicle has 183,000 mile on it.. How do you change the transmission fluid in this vehicle? My chilton manual says I dont need to change it, but there is a delay by a second or two when I shift gears, and with the high mileage I know it needs to change. If anyone knows of a youtube video or a step by step instructions, would be great! Thanks JCC

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Old 12-26-2011, 09:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

This thread should have everything you need to know . . .
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=153950

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

I too own a 2003. Saturn changed the service interval from 100,000 to 50,000 miles for the 2003 V6 automatic.

Not sure if you have a FWD or a AWD. If you have the AWD, you will need to change the RDM fluid and the PTU fluid.

Recommended service for the RDM and PTU was 90,000 miles. Most posters here do it more frequently.

There are some good threads on the site for the RDM. A few folks have tried the PTU fluid change.

Hope this helps.

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Old 12-28-2011, 09:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

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Originally Posted by VTchemist View Post
I too own a 2003. Saturn changed the service interval from 100,000 to 50,000 miles for the 2003 V6 automatic.

Not sure if you have a FWD or a AWD. If you have the AWD, you will need to change the RDM fluid and the PTU fluid.

Recommended service for the RDM and PTU was 90,000 miles. Most posters here do it more frequently.

There are some good threads on the site for the RDM. A few folks have tried the PTU fluid change.

Hope this helps.
Hi,

I have a FWD.. Since I have a FWD do you know what type of fluid I should use and also where is the fill cap located at? I looked in my chilton repair guide and it doesnt specifically tell me where it is located at. Thanks.. JCC

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Old 12-28-2011, 11:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcc007 View Post
Hi,

I have a FWD.. Since I have a FWD do you know what type of fluid I should use and also where is the fill cap located at? I looked in my chilton repair guide and it doesnt specifically tell me where it is located at. Thanks.. JCC
See attached GM service manual extract.

Extract lists fluid type, quantity and fill location (dipstick hole).

If your fluid is very old you may want to change several times - perhaps at 100 mile intervals.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 03 Vue - ATF Replace.pdf (112.2 KB, 299 views)

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Old 12-28-2011, 11:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
See attached GM service manual extract.

Extract lists fluid type, quantity and fill location (dipstick hole).

If your fluid is very old you may want to change several times - perhaps at 100 mile intervals.

Thank you for the PDF, I just printed it out and noticed its for the AWD.. I have the FWD Vue. If possible can you post a pdf for the FWD? Also My dipstick is not visible on this vehicle, I heard that I have to remove the battery compartment to access it.

Thank you for your help.. JCC

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Old 12-28-2011, 11:31 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcc007 View Post
Thank you for the PDF, I just printed it out and noticed its for the AWD.. I have the FWD Vue. If possible can you post a pdf for the FWD? Also My dipstick is not visible on this vehicle, I heard that I have to remove the battery compartment to access it.

Thank you for your help.. JCC
Ah so, I checked a newer version of FSM and it appears FWD trans needs 4.29 quart to refill.

The FWD file is too large to post. I'll email if you PM an address.

I don't have a 3.0 and couldn't advise what needs to be removed to access dipstick.

Did you visit the link provided by Chazberry (post # 2) of this thread?

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Old 12-28-2011, 11:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
Ah so, I checked a newer version of FSM and it appears FWD trans needs 4.29 quart to refill.

The FWD file is too large to post. I'll email if you PM an address.

I don't have a 3.0 and couldn't advise what needs to be removed to access dipstick.

Did you visit the link provided by Chazberry (post # 2) of this thread?

Awesome! Here is my email address James.Crowton007@gmail.com

Yes I did read Chazberrys post in this thread but its refering to the AWD and not the FWD.. Allot of my questions were getting answered but was too the AWD and not the FWD.

Thanks, a million I really appreciate it allot! :-)

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Old 12-28-2011, 11:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

I'm assuming the 3.0 AT is similar to 3.5 transmission which means you'll not notice any topside hardware differences between FWD and AWD - other than need to add extra 16 oz of ATF.

The AWD prop-shaft adapts to the PTU which is attached to transmission case on lower-front-inner side.

BTW - I reduced dpi for FWD transmission fluid change extract and will attach for other members future use.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 03 Vue - 3.0 FWD ATF R2.pdf (121.2 KB, 108 views)

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Old 12-28-2011, 12:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
I'm assuming the 3.0 AT is similar to 3.5 transmission which means you'll not notice any topside hardware differences between FWD and AWD - other than need to add extra 16 oz of ATF.

The AWD prop-shaft adapts to the PTU which is attached to transmission case on lower-front-inner side.

BTW - I reduced dpi for FWD transmission fluid change extract and will attach for other members future use.

Do you know where the dipstick or fill cap is located on the FWD? I read that I might have to remove the battery and the battery holster to access it. I looked and looked and still cant find it. I heard its really buried inside the vehicle on the drivers side. If you can upload a picture or pdf of where it is, that would be great. Thanks, James

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Old 12-28-2011, 12:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcc007 View Post
Do you know where the dipstick or fill cap is located on the FWD? I read that I might have to remove the battery and the battery holster to access it. I looked and looked and still cant find it. I heard its really buried inside the vehicle on the drivers side. If you can upload a picture or pdf of where it is, that would be great. Thanks, James
I've attached another FSM extract - if thats the torque converter housing it means the dipstick is near engine.

Best bet is to check Chazberry photos in post # 3 of this thread:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=158509
Attached Files
File Type: pdf AF33 Dipstick.pdf (138.3 KB, 77 views)

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Old 12-28-2011, 01:11 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcc007 View Post
Do you know where the dipstick or fill cap is located on the FWD? I read that I might have to remove the battery and the battery holster to access it. I looked and looked and still cant find it. I heard its really buried inside the vehicle on the drivers side. If you can upload a picture or pdf of where it is, that would be great. Thanks, James
This post has a pic of the dipstick - it's a little right of the oil filter canister. These pics are of my FWD '03. There is no fill cap - you have to slowly fill through the dipstick tube.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...08&postcount=3

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Old 12-28-2011, 01:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazberry View Post
This post has a pic of the dipstick - it's a little right of the oil filter canister. These pics are of my FWD '03. There is no fill cap - you have to slowly fill through the dipstick tube.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...08&postcount=3
Chazberry Thank you for the pictures, I can now easily find the right drain plug and Ill look for the dipstick this weekend. Also Im going to pick up ATF Type-IV from the dealership, but with my vehicle being 183,000 do you recommend getting a high mileage ATF type-IV first? If so what brand?

Thanks, James

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Old 12-28-2011, 02:16 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

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Originally Posted by jcc007 View Post
Chazberry Thank you for the pictures, I can now easily find the right drain plug and Ill look for the dipstick this weekend. Also Im going to pick up ATF Type-IV from the dealership, but with my vehicle being 183,000 do you recommend getting a high mileage ATF type-IV first? If so what brand?

Thanks, James
I called my local dealership and he said that I can use Dextron 6 in it..

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:16 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

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Originally Posted by jcc007 View Post
I called my local dealership and he said that I can use Dextron 6 in it..
Many folks here using MaxLife. Valvoline says it exceeds Dexron VI and can replace just about anything, including T-IV . . .
http://www.valvoline.com/pdf/maxlife_atf.pdf

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Old 12-29-2011, 06:29 AM   #16
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

I have an '03 3.0 liter V6 AWD with 196,000 miles. I changed all three fluids at about 90,000 and haven't changed them since. I used Mobil1 tranny fluid for the automatic tranny. Dipstick is a tiny blue plastic thing on the right, way down and hard to reach. I may have used needle nose vice-grips to help reach it. I think I used a long skinny funnel, maybe a piece of hose over tube and end of funnel. The capacity may be less if you don't drain the torque converter. Never had any tranny, transfer case issues. The rear module was noisy and replaced under warranty, been fine since.

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Old 12-29-2011, 10:16 AM   #17
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazberry View Post
Many folks here using MaxLife. Valvoline says it exceeds Dexron VI and can replace just about anything, including T-IV . . .
http://www.valvoline.com/pdf/maxlife_atf.pdf

Chazberry, I wish I could shake your hand, I want to thank you for taking time to answering my questions. Thanks to you, I found my Dipstick for the transmission. When you told me to look near my oil filter I did and I saw it and it was so filthy I couldnt recognize it!! Im going to change my transmission this friday, but I want to know. Can you tell me how I can drain the torque converter while I drain the transmission? Im afraid to see the fluid in my transmission, when I drain it. Im going to the store and see if I can get valvoline max life transmission fluid

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Old 12-29-2011, 10:18 AM   #18
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivernut View Post
I have an '03 3.0 liter V6 AWD with 196,000 miles. I changed all three fluids at about 90,000 and haven't changed them since. I used Mobil1 tranny fluid for the automatic tranny. Dipstick is a tiny blue plastic thing on the right, way down and hard to reach. I may have used needle nose vice-grips to help reach it. I think I used a long skinny funnel, maybe a piece of hose over tube and end of funnel. The capacity may be less if you don't drain the torque converter. Never had any tranny, transfer case issues. The rear module was noisy and replaced under warranty, been fine since.
How did you drain the Torque converter? Can you upload a photo of what hose I need to take off to drain it?

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Old 12-29-2011, 10:51 AM   #19
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
I'm assuming the 3.0 AT is similar to 3.5 transmission which means you'll not notice any topside hardware differences between FWD and AWD - other than need to add extra 16 oz of ATF.

The AWD prop-shaft adapts to the PTU which is attached to transmission case on lower-front-inner side.

BTW - I reduced dpi for FWD transmission fluid change extract and will attach for other members future use.
Far2grumpy, Thank you for uploading the Pdfs on how to locate and find the transmission dipstick and how to drain the transmission as well. I easily found it last night when I got home from work. Tomorrow Im going to change the transmission fluid tomorrow with Valvoline max life. But when I drain it Im going to let it drain till no drips are coming out, make sure all the old fluid is removed.

Thanks, James

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Old 12-29-2011, 11:45 AM   #20
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn vue V6 transmission fluid change

Quote:
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Can you tell me how I can drain the torque converter while I drain the transmission? Im afraid to see the fluid in my transmission, when I drain it.
I wouldn't worry about that. The pic of my draining fluid shows what it looked like after changing it for the first time at about 100k - pretty dark, but I haven't had any driveability issues. Yours will probably look pretty nasty if this is your first fluid change. If your tranny shifts fine after the drain/fill, maybe do it again after a few k miles.

Btw - how many miles on this VUE when you got it? Was the 100k service (Timing Belt, Water Pump, Spark Plugs) definitely done? Original T'stat in there?
Sounds like maybe you need Cam Cover Gaskets, too.

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