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Old 11-06-2017, 07:05 PM   #1
PrestonIII
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1994 SL2
Default 94 SL2 Automatic shift. Problem?

My '94 SL2 is a beauty of a ride, but I may have a transmission problem. I may not!

When it shifts from 1st to 2nd, it feels like is shifts twice. The first indication is an easy shift that feels fine. Then it feels like the transmission slips just the tiniest bit, then it shifts again, with a more definite grab for gear. This is when driven in the "NORMAL" switch position.

My question is: does this auto-box go into second gear, then lock the torque converter almost immediately after the shift? Maybe the "two" shifts I'm feeling are the actual 1-2 shift, then the torque converter lock up?

The 2-3 and 3-4 shifts feel just fine, and the car has barely over 50K miles.

I'm curious as to if I'm getting an early warning for an upcoming problem.

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Old 11-06-2017, 09:16 PM   #2
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2001 SL1
Default Re: 94 SL2 Automatic shift. Problem?

No torque converter should lock up before like 35 mph.
So, that being said, what is the condition of the transmission fluid?
Full level, bright red in color, smells sweet or just not dark or burnt?

When was the last time the trans fluid was drained and new filter put on?
And what exact type of transmission fluid is in the car now?

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Old 11-06-2017, 10:07 PM   #3
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2001 SL1
Default Re: 94 SL2 Automatic shift. Problem?

If all the above ^^ are good, it must be either a lockup solenoid is gone wonky or an electrical feed from the computer.

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Old 11-06-2017, 11:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Automatic shift. Problem?

My info indicates the TCC is active in all forward gears.

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Old 11-07-2017, 07:59 AM   #5
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2001 SL1
Default Re: 94 SL2 Automatic shift. Problem?

The torque converter locks when the engine rpm (impeller/housing speed of converter) and the transmission input shaft (turbine speed of converter) are roughly equal -- thereby improving efficiency for cruising. With the TC locked, the engine is effectively directly coupled to the transmission input, and no longer uses a fluid drive.

This is controlled by the transmission control module (TCM), and usually is only activated in top gear, and at steady cruise (low throttle position).

I believe, any input from the accelerator decouples the TC friction clutch, and the transmission reverts to a fluid drive scenario with torque multiplication.

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Old 11-08-2017, 06:19 PM   #6
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1994 SL2
Default Re: 94 SL2 Automatic shift. Problem?

Thanks guys for the input.

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Old 11-13-2017, 04:08 PM   #7
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1994 SL2
Default Re: 94 SL2 Automatic shift. Problem?

Here's how it works: The torque converter clutch is applied in 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears for 1991 and 1992 models. 1993 and up vehicles have converter clutch apply in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears. The speed at which the converter clutch will apply in 1st or 2nd gears is based on vehicle speed and tailored by throttle position, engine temperature and transaxle temperature. Once applied, the TCC will stay applied until vehicle speed is low enough in 2nd gear for the TCC to release. The TCC will also release when the brake pedal is depressed in 2nd gear at low engine speeds or when the transaxle downshifts into 1st gear.

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Old 11-13-2017, 06:14 PM   #8
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 94 SL2 Automatic shift. Problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrestonIII View Post
My '94 SL2 is a beauty of a ride, but I may have a transmission problem. I may not!

When it shifts from 1st to 2nd, it feels like is shifts twice. The first indication is an easy shift that feels fine. Then it feels like the transmission slips just the tiniest bit, then it shifts again, with a more definite grab for gear. This is when driven in the "NORMAL" switch position.

My question is: does this auto-box go into second gear, then lock the torque converter almost immediately after the shift? Maybe the "two" shifts I'm feeling are the actual 1-2 shift, then the torque converter lock up?

The 2-3 and 3-4 shifts feel just fine, and the car has barely over 50K miles.

I'm curious as to if I'm getting an early warning for an upcoming problem.
That 94 1-2 shift issue is usualy fixed with a new valve body from these guys ONLY.
Or call these people (Donny IIRC) and mention Saturnfans: http://centralvalvebodies.com/ Describe your issue and go from there they actually know how these transmissions function.

There is a world of differences between the different models in the 1st gen cars so what works for late 93 is likely not quite right for 94. The answer to all your other questions is found in the FSM. The 91-94 set is most common and there is not 1 on eBay right now. Search in all categories. Use this string: saturn service manual and select USED. Check daily as they will show up. You need at least 4 separate volumes and the cost to pick them up individually is much higher than the entire set will be.

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Old 11-14-2017, 07:00 PM   #9
PrestonIII
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1994 SL2
Default Re: 94 SL2 Automatic shift. Problem?

I found in a transmission repair manual that the sloppy 1-2 shift is commonly due to a loose nut on the input shaft. This also causes a hard shift or "bang" when going into reverse.

I have both these issues, and it requires removal of the transmission to get at the nut, as it is is behind the torque convertor.

One thing that seems to cure the 1-2 shift problem is to drive with the performance/normal switch in the "performance" position.

But I'm trying to go for economy.

Again, thanks for the info.

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Old 11-14-2017, 09:50 PM   #10
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 94 SL2 Automatic shift. Problem?

Your transmission manual is incorrect. The nut is under the side cover in the wheel well.

Some of this does not concern your issue and new nuts are not available. A drum holding tool is required and you do not want to over tighten the nut either. You will have to figure out how to attempt to lock a used nut. 3M TL-71 is a possibility.

Transmission repair
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...nput+shaft+nut

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=112858

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=164114

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=164115

Transmission gasket and nuts part numbers
21003202 is the valve body cover gasket. This fits 96-02
21001684 is the end cover gasket. This fits 91-02
21001679 is the output shaft nut. This fits 91-02
21001680 is the input shaft nut. this fits 91-02

Parts numbers
http://parts.nalleygmc.com/default.aspx

Valve Body remove-replace How-To video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwV4TPL3TDg

Transmission Shaft Holding Tool
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...ighlight=shaft

Transmission parts
http://www.wittrans.com/c-785-taat.aspx?pagenum=4

Here are some skinny sockets with OD specs. Need socket end OD of 1.200" (30.48mm) or smaller.
* Snap-On FM23, 3/8" drive 23mm 12-pt std: 29.9mm
* NAPA 23mm 12-pt thin-wall, special order: sorry no part#
* Armstrong 3/8" drive 23mm 12-pt, std #38-123: 30.2mm
* Armstrong 3/8" drive 23mm 12-pt deep, #38-323: 30.2mm
* Armstrong 1/2" drive 23mm 12-pt deep, #39-323: 30.2mm
* NOT Snap-on 1/2" drive 23mm 12-pt #SWM231: 31.2mm
* NOT Armstrong 1/2" drive 23mm std #39-123: 30.9mm
Snap-on FM23 or NAPA is the 23mm thin wall socket winner.

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Old 11-15-2017, 01:38 PM   #11
PrestonIII
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1994 SL2
Default Re: 94 SL2 Automatic shift. Problem?

Thanks Oldnuc.

I guess I misinterpreted the transmission drawing that I saw as to indicate that the nut was behind the torque converter. I was looking at a sectioned drawing along the shaft's centerline.

Thanks for clarifying it to me.

By your explanation, it doesn't seem such a major undertaking.

Last edited by PrestonIII; 11-15-2017 at 01:47 PM..

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Old 11-15-2017, 01:48 PM   #12
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 94 SL2 Automatic shift. Problem?

The last 3 links I posted above show several methods of getting at it. Search box above will bring up several different more recent methods but the bottom line is the tie rod and lower ball joint must be detached so the fluid tubes will come clear without being bent. The longer you run in this condition the more of the clutch is worn away.

Just search for loose nut

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