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Old 03-03-2012, 12:35 PM   #1
Gfresh
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Default Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

I have a 2003 Saturn Vue 3.0 FWD. I read in the manual that came with it they recommend 100,000 mile transmission fluid change.

I recently talked to a mechanic who said if you don't change the transmission fluid in them every 30K, then don't bother at 100K, as it could end up hurting the tranny more, with some mention of "the stuff keeping it together would fall out." I glossed over and thought I would consult here. This forum helped me through a water pump and timing belt change, I figured I trust here more than this mechanic. Any truth to what he is saying? Thanks.

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Old 03-03-2012, 12:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

The whole "if you don't change it for awhile, don't bother changing it at all" is a highly debatable subject. I'm of the opinion that you should change it no matter what. Flushing high mileage transmission fluid could lead to some issues because of the gunk. I would just change the high mileage fluid.

But yes, 100,000 miles is WAY too long unless the transmission is kept at a VERY cold operating temp. At the temp most automatic transmissions operate, the fluid should be changed every 20-30k miles.

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Old 03-03-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

I agree, change that fluid

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Old 03-03-2012, 03:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

I was going with the Manual's recommendation and didn't change it until 102k. It came out pretty dark looking, but I just did a 'drain and fill'. I'm at 108k now and haven't noticed any difference.

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Old 03-03-2012, 04:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

I vote for find a new mechanic and change the tranny fluid.

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Old 03-03-2012, 04:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gfresh View Post
I have a 2003 Saturn Vue 3.0 FWD. I read in the manual that came with it they recommend 100,000 mile transmission fluid change.

I recently talked to a mechanic who said if you don't change the transmission fluid in them every 30K, then don't bother at 100K, as it could end up hurting the tranny more, with some mention of "the stuff keeping it together would fall out." I glossed over and thought I would consult here. This forum helped me through a water pump and timing belt change, I figured I trust here more than this mechanic. Any truth to what he is saying? Thanks.
I caught your question and thought you might want to consider a different option... sell the vehicle or trade it in. Mechanics make money by doing easy jobs like fluid changes, so the fact that this mechanic didn't take the easy money may be a sign of his honesty. If this was a Saturn SC with an extremely reliable torque converter, then it would make sense to do the change and keep the vehicle... but the 2003 Vue was equipped with the notoriously unreliable CVT/VTi transmission.

If you go to http://www.edmunds.com/saturn/vue/20...r-reviews.html you'll notice that the reviews for the 2003 seem to be broken down into two groups... the first group is those that bought a 2003 Vue Automatic and the Auto failed... the second group is those that bought a 2003 Vue with a manual tranny and seem to be relatively happy with the vehicle.

The above said, if you do the work yourself then it's hard to believe that a simple change would be worse than leaving the likely burnt fluid in there... although if you kept the vehicle, the value of the change might be questionable at this point given the transmission's poor history of reliability/longevity and the fact that it hasn't received previous maintenance.

Unless you can do it yourself, then the cost of a rebuilt transmission + installation could easily exceed the total value of a 9 year old FWD Vue with over 100K miles on it. So, if you go to sell or trade the car, one thing a buyer may look for is whether the fluid is in good condition.

Quote:
GM settles class-action suit over transmission failures in Saturn Vue and Ion
September 15, 2008
From the February, 2009 issue of Truck Trend
By Scott Evans
|

In yet another big red mark on GM's ledger, the General has settled a class-action lawsuit brought by the owners of more than 90,000 Saturn Vue and Ion models that came with GM's VTi continuously variable transmission. The transmissions have, apparently, had an unusually high failure rate and cost $4,000 to $5,000 to replace. The transmissions were found in the 2002 to 2005 Vue and 2003 to 2004 Ion. It was discontinued after 2005.
Gm Saturn Vue Settles Suit Front View

The settlement has received preliminary approval from a federal judge, but the official settlement hearing will not occur until February 17. In an interview with Automotive News, Rob Schmeider, who represents the Saturn owners, estimated that the lawsuit could cost GM over $100 million, though GM attorney Joe Lines found that figure to be "wildly exaggerated" and estimated the true cost would be closer to $10 million to $20 million. Lines declined to give a failure rate for the transmissions.

The settlement applies to all owners of '02 to '05 Vues and '03 to '04 Ions with the VTi transmission. The percentage of the settlement each person receives will depend on the number of miles on the vehicle when the transmission failed and whether the current owner bought it new or used. Assuming the settlement is approved, all owners of those vehicles will receive a claims form for expenses related to the transmission failure, but only if the vehicle had less than 125,000 miles on it before the failure and the transmission fails within eight years of the date the vehicle was manufactured.

Read more: http://www.trucktrend.com/features/n...#ixzz1o5gOqyFx
Although you're under the 125K mile mark, the settlement requires the vehicle to be *manufactured* less than 8 years ago, and Saturn probably stopped manufacturing "2003" Vues prior to the end of October 2003. In addition, the old GM filed bankruptcy and eliminated the Saturn brand, so even if the car was less than 8 years old, it questionable whether GM would honor any of that warranty.

I would recommend looking at selling the vehicle, and strongly consider doing a normal drain and fill before selling.

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Old 03-03-2012, 04:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by regenoldiii View Post
but the 2003 Vue was equipped with the notoriously unreliable CVT/VTi transmission.
True. But only true for the 2.2L 4 cylinder automatics. The 3.0L (which the OP has) is a V6 with a normal automatic.

...
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Old 03-03-2012, 04:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

Thanks all for the input. I have the V6 automatic tranny, so I prob. wouldn't make any headway on the VTi claim

I think my wife and I have decided to drive this thing into the ground, me doing most of the work if possible (which means it could find its way into the ground sooner rather than later!)

I will add changing the transmission fluid to my to-do list.

The correct fluid alone is $90 from the dealership. But to have them do it is $100 more. My aftermarket repair book says I have one of two different kinds of automatic transmissions on my 3.0. I can't recall how to ID, but I believe it explains it in there (Not sure if VIN, or some other kind of number on the transmission). Looks like this is gonna be fun.

Any tips for changing it? Thanks again, everyone!

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Old 03-03-2012, 04:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom92SCm View Post
True. But only true for the 2.2L 4 cylinder automatics. The 3.0L (which the OP has) is a V6 with a normal automatic.
How did you know that? I even went to the OP's info page and found nothing about the type of engine or tranny. If that's the case, then I guess I wasted a bunch of time with my post...

At any rate, if it's a normal torque converter GM Auto, then I would completely agree that changing the fluid is the way to go. In fact, he might consider doing multiple drain and fills since most of the fluid is inside the torque converter during a typical drain... or, there are ways to drain the converter by disconnecting the ATF cooling line and allowing vehicle to idle with ATF line disconnected. Although, given the chance of more metal shavings/particles inside the tranny due to the long interval, it may be better to just do a simple drain and fill... drive a few hundred miles and do another drain and fill.

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Old 03-03-2012, 05:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by regenoldiii View Post
How did you know that?
If you look at the original post it says that the member has a 2003 3.0 V6. So no VTi in this case.

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Old 03-03-2012, 05:37 PM   #11
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikec View Post
If you look at the original post it says that the member has a 2003 3.0 V6. So no VTi in this case.
I don't believe it said V6...
Quote:
I have a 2003 Saturn Vue 3.0 FWD.
...but did mention 3.0 liter. At any rate, from what I've read about the CVT tranny, very lucky he doesn't have the CVT. I guess another question is why the mechanic wouldn't just take the easy money and do the change and why do people claim that changing the ATF could cause more damage?

I've heard this "just leave it alone or it could make it worse" before, but I've never heard/read a credible explanation for the reasoning.

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Old 03-03-2012, 05:48 PM   #12
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

Change it with the proper T-IV automatic transmission fluid.

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Old 03-03-2012, 06:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gfresh View Post
Any tips for changing it?
This thread has some pics of what's involved . . .
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=158509

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Old 03-03-2012, 07:46 PM   #14
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by regenoldiii View Post
I guess another question is why the mechanic wouldn't just take the easy money and do the change and why do people claim that changing the ATF could cause more damage?

I've heard this "just leave it alone or it could make it worse" before, but I've never heard/read a credible explanation for the reasoning.
The same reason there's such a discussion about if you should break in an engine hard, soft, etc. Old wives tales and advice from people who are thinking about cars 40 years ago.

The reasoning behind it was that over time, if you didn't change your oil, it would get thicker from all the crap in it, and would fill out passageways that were getting larger due to wear better. If you replaced it, in theory your fluid would be less contaminated, and thus might not fill the passageways as well.

Except the reasoning is stupid, and makes no sense if you really think about it.

My guess is that it comes down to 2 things.
1) If people haven't changed the fluid on vehicles that required frequent changes, there's no telling what other upkeep they neglected, so you could make a change for the better that would end up causing something that isn't technically working properly to fail under what's supposed to be "normal" conditions.
2) People get used to their transmissions behaving a certain way, and after 100k likely don't remember what it shifted like when it was brand new. If the fluid has worn out and gives slow and long shifts now, then they change it out and it gives firm and quick shifts (or vice versa), they're going tho think that the mechanic broke the car.

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Old 03-03-2012, 07:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

i am a gm cirtified master tec in auto trans repair and an ase master so i thought i would shed a little light on this ...it is not a very good idea to change atf in high mileage units due to the following reason.. the friction materil that is bonded to the cluch plates wears off and is suspended in the fluid as the fibers wear the particals help hold the frictions maintain apply pressure without slipage.. now the most comon failures in a trany is eather a hard part failure such as a suport bushing or or drive/driven support assy or a piston seal lip or a scarf(fitted/sized seal failure) seal alowing pressureized atf to bleed off letting the cluch fiberd and steels slip and burn up instead of being locked..so alot of shop don't like to take on the risk of a free trans replacement after a flush on a high mileage unit.. now in all fairness all auto units will fail as they all have comon to the unit failures like the gm 4t80's lose the tcc/driven support or 3rd cluch houseing bushing.the 4t65 lose the forward cluch piston seals or the lowroller cluch support or the 6t70 in vues loose the 3-5-r wave plate.. so it won't hurt it to change it but if it is starting to have a problem it will not prevent failure.. if it is a gm 4spd trans and is almost black with slight burnt or funky odor it's probably to late if it's just dark with no smell you should be fine.. but however it will eventuly fail just like a cluch in a man trans...i can't speak to other dealers but my own but our flush machine supplyer has coverage to protect the cust and shop and privide for repairs if a flush wipes out a trans but you have to prove it.. so if the bushings or seals that can't lie show it was on it's way out.. it's usualy declined by them but we as a dealer have o/hed or replaced them for free due to perception that it was caused by it and to keep the cust happy and comming back.. however they have me look at questinable fliud/trannys before service whan possable to prevent this from happening in the 1st place... and i determine this but feel of the fluid, smell of the fluid,and color..

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Old 03-03-2012, 11:24 PM   #16
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by satlite440 View Post
i am a gm cirtified master tec in auto trans repair and an ase master so i thought i would shed a little light on this ...it is not a very good idea to change atf in high mileage units due to the following reason.. the friction materil that is bonded to the cluch plates wears off and is suspended in the fluid as the fibers wear the particals help hold the frictions maintain apply pressure without slipage..

What does this mean?
Are you suggesting that using gritty contaminated fluid will help clutches, which are essentially shot keep working? If this is true its on borrowed time and a moot point.


I think I agree with satlite440 on two things, but I'm not sure as it was kind of hard to follow his post. I feel ATF should be changed when it needs to be. As in, not by mileage but by appearence and smell. I also agree for the most part that if the fluid is burnt the trans is shot, however I don't beleive it is necessary the fluids fault.

I also feel, that if you change ATF and a transmission fails shortly after the change, that it had absolutely nothing to do with the fluid change and was going to fail regardless.

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Old 03-03-2012, 11:49 PM   #17
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

Quote:
Originally Posted by satlite440 View Post
i am a gm cirtified master tec in auto trans repair and an ase master so i thought i would shed a little light on this ...it is not a very good idea to change atf in high mileage units due to the following reason.. the friction materil that is bonded to the cluch plates wears off and is suspended in the fluid as the fibers wear the particals help hold the frictions maintain apply pressure without slipage.. now the most comon failures in a trany is eather a hard part failure such as a suport bushing or or drive/driven support assy or a piston seal lip or a scarf(fitted/sized seal failure) seal alowing pressureized atf to bleed off letting the cluch fiberd and steels slip and burn up instead of being locked..so alot of shop don't like to take on the risk of a free trans replacement after a flush on a high mileage unit.. now in all fairness all auto units will fail as they all have comon to the unit failures like the gm 4t80's lose the tcc/driven support or 3rd cluch houseing bushing.the 4t65 lose the forward cluch piston seals or the lowroller cluch support or the 6t70 in vues loose the 3-5-r wave plate.. so it won't hurt it to change it but if it is starting to have a problem it will not prevent failure.. if it is a gm 4spd trans and is almost black with slight burnt or funky odor it's probably to late if it's just dark with no smell you should be fine.. but however it will eventuly fail just like a cluch in a man trans...i can't speak to other dealers but my own but our flush machine supplyer has coverage to protect the cust and shop and privide for repairs if a flush wipes out a trans but you have to prove it.. so if the bushings or seals that can't lie show it was on it's way out.. it's usualy declined by them but we as a dealer have o/hed or replaced them for free due to perception that it was caused by it and to keep the cust happy and comming back.. however they have me look at questinable fliud/trannys before service whan possable to prevent this from happening in the 1st place... and i determine this but feel of the fluid, smell of the fluid,and color..

Gad it hurt my brain, and eyes, even trying to read that.

Its Certified and ASE is always capitalized

And .. Both the VUE owner's and Saturn OEM Service Manuals don't say anything about using a "Flushing Machine"

Don't Flush. CHANGE.

Dirty little secret about those money making machines... When a transmission is flushed, the internal FILTER is almost never changed. So Mr. Flush simply spreads all the crap in the filter back into the Transmission. THAT, and leaving a 100K filter in place, is the cause of the failures..

If you insist on flushing, then ask for the old filter to be returned to you at the end of the Service. I'll bet they'll look at you like you have two heads, or say something like.."that cost xtra......"

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Last edited by wolfman; 03-03-2012 at 11:55 PM..

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Old 03-04-2012, 12:37 PM   #18
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

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Originally Posted by wolfman View Post
Gad it hurt my brain, and eyes, even trying to read that.

Its Certified and ASE is always capitalized

And .. Both the VUE owner's and Saturn OEM Service Manuals don't say anything about using a "Flushing Machine"

Don't Flush. CHANGE.

Dirty little secret about those money making machines... When a transmission is flushed, the internal FILTER is almost never changed. So Mr. Flush simply spreads all the crap in the filter back into the Transmission. THAT, and leaving a 100K filter in place, is the cause of the failures..

If you insist on flushing, then ask for the old filter to be returned to you at the end of the Service. I'll bet they'll look at you like you have two heads, or say something like.."that cost xtra......"
That's typical. My cousin's garage DOES change filters with a flush. Unfortunately, that can't be done with my '04 & '05 Honda trans.

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Old 03-04-2012, 03:13 PM   #19
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

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Originally Posted by RedGeminiPA View Post
That's typical. My cousin's garage DOES change filters with a flush. Unfortunately, that can't be done with my '04 & '05 Honda trans.
Yes it can. Contrary to popular belief, we DO have a serviceable filter, it's just a ***** to get to and replace.

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Old 03-04-2012, 06:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: Mechanic says no to 100,000 mile transmission fluid change

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Yes it can. Contrary to popular belief, we DO have a serviceable filter, it's just a ***** to get to and replace.
Oh? The exploded diagrams I've seen show the filter buried in the bottom with no access. I've also seen a top filter (trans cooler lines area?) that can be replaced, but not the primary filter in the bottom of the transmission.

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