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Old 07-19-2018, 01:55 PM   #1
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Default 07 ion transmission fluid check

Is there a way check the level. After an oil change yesterday i went and parked somewhere for a good while and then i started driving again but my car wouldn't shift into the next gear. I went back to the place I got my oil changed at and the guy told me its probably just low on trans fluid but he saw no dip stick to check it and since its sealed and all they do there is oil changes he didn't have the special tool to check it. Said it was sealed.

He sent me to a place where he knew someone but the guy was off. But another guy that was there said there's no way to check it??.. unless you look down some whole or... (can't remember what he said). But they do flush and fills.

After i left there my car decided it wanted to shift gears again. Also, when i first noticed the car not shifting i pulled into a parking lot and also noticed that when i put it in reverse or drive it jerks pretty hard. Thats a first. Its been back and forth a few times yesterday. Acting normal for the moment today.

Is there not a way to check the level myself? Or can an automotive shop not check it?? Also, whats the typical cost for a flush and fill? Why is it "sealed"?

Thanks

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Old 07-20-2018, 01:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

If you have a five speed automatic transmission, Aisin AF23, please read the thread linked below.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=208890

If it's a four speed automatic, GM 4T45E, then look for an inspection plug on the part of the transmission which extends toward the passenger side. When viewed from the engine oil pan drain plug, the transmission inspection plug should be above and toward the driver side (probably an 11mm hex head).

To check the fluid level the engine must be at its normal operating temperature. The vehicle must be raised and level. When checking, remove the inspection plug. If fluid begins to drain from it then reinstall the plug. Adding fluid is not necessary. However, if no drainage is seen then fluid must be slowly added until it is seen draining from the inspection plug's hole. Then reinstall the plug.

...
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The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

Last edited by pierrot; 07-20-2018 at 02:04 AM..

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Old 07-20-2018, 06:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post
If you have a five speed automatic transmission, Aisin AF23, please read the thread linked below.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=208890

If it's a four speed automatic, GM 4T45E, then look for an inspection plug on the part of the transmission which extends toward the passenger side. When viewed from the engine oil pan drain plug, the transmission inspection plug should be above and toward the driver side (probably an 11mm hex head).

To check the fluid level the engine must be at its normal operating temperature. The vehicle must be raised and level. When checking, remove the inspection plug. If fluid begins to drain from it then reinstall the plug. Adding fluid is not necessary. However, if no drainage is seen then fluid must be slowly added until it is seen draining from the inspection plug's hole. Then reinstall the plug.
Can you please settle the debate of if the engine needs to be running during the check? I did search but got a lot of different opinions on that.

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Old 07-21-2018, 02:12 AM   #4
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

Only 2003-2004 Sedans and some late production 2004 Quad Coupes have the Aisin AF23 5-speed auto. This transaxle has a drain plug and a dipstick.

All 2005-2007 Ions with an automatic transaxle have the 4T45E. They only have level check and drain plugs (no dipstick).

The prerequisites for checking the fluid are similar for either transaxle, but slightly different. The 4T45E needs to be warmed up to just above room temperature (80 to 110F), but the Aisin AF23 needs to be warmed up to 60-70C (140-158F). In both cases the engine must be running and gear selector in park.

In the case of the 4T45E, do NOT shut off the engine while the level check plug is removed. Doing so will cause the transaxle fluid to stop circulating and run out of the level check plug hole.

...
2007 Ion 2 Quad Coupe 5-speed manual 179K miles
2007 Chevy Equinox LT 190K miles

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Old 07-21-2018, 02:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

With respect to the Aisin AF23 I cannot say. Some Japanese transmissions have dipsticks which will give you a "cold" reading, no warm engine required nor would the engine need to be running. However, the GM 4T45E and 4T40E transmissions affirmitively require a fully warmed engine prior to checking the fluid level and the engine must be on.

ruley73's point about not turning off the engine with the inpsection plug removed is absolutely correct! Turning off the engine with an open inspection hole will result in the fluid draining from it. (BTW, thank you to ruley73 for clarifying the Aisin AF23's years of service in the Ions.)

...
298,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

Last edited by pierrot; 07-21-2018 at 02:28 AM..

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Old 07-21-2018, 09:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

So, having the engine running is a absolute must? I just took it to a shop to have the level checked and the guy told me it was full and that I need to take it to a trans specialist. The car was not running the whole time he was under my hood. Im confused. Wondering if he lied now

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Old 07-21-2018, 11:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

Quote:
Originally Posted by that1man View Post
So, having the engine running is a absolute must?
Emphatically, yes!!. The FSM and Haynes agree on this subject.
Quote:
Originally Posted by that1man View Post
I just took it to a shop to have the level checked and the guy told me it was full and that I need to take it to a trans specialist. The car was not running the whole time he was under my hood. Im confused. Wondering if he lied now
I fail to understand how a mechanic has anything useful to say to a customer about a transmission when that person has apparently not checked the fluid level nor its conditon. This is basic - period. Did he find something wrong? Was the car taken for a test drive?

I can send you information on how to check the transmission fluid if you'd like to see it. Send me a p/m if you're interested.

...
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The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 07-22-2018, 04:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

I realized that we really didn't address your real issue.

Is the check engine light on?

If so, have you had it scanned for codes?

If you had it scanned for codes and know what they are, post them on here.

Without knowing anything else, I suspect a wiring issue or a bad Electronic Pressure Switch in the transaxle (assuming transaxle fluid level is full when properly checked).

...
2007 Ion 2 Quad Coupe 5-speed manual 179K miles
2007 Chevy Equinox LT 190K miles

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Old 07-23-2018, 08:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

Apropos of what ruley73 stated above, I thought I should directly respond to some other items in the OP.
Quote:
Originally Posted by that1man View Post
...Said it was sealed.
In one sense this is true as the manufacturer believed that unless the there was a fluid leak there was no need to check the transmission fluid level in between oil changes. Since I've been doing this checking for myself for about four years now I have found this to be true. When the gasket was tightened with inadequate torque there was a leak from the pan gasket. Otherwise, it doesn't leak at all. I highly recommend against doing a transmission flush. There is no recommendation for that within the FSM. In my case, a flush was performed once at a Saturn dealership and resulted in very intermittent shifting problems. The dealer was unable to experience the problems when the car was in their car for several days and so no repair was ever made. (Frankly, I like the idea of being able to replace all of the transmission fluid. The problem with the flush is - apparently - that it pushes the fluid flow backward through the system. This then results in a some disturbance with the solenoids as they are supposed to react to fluid pressure moving in one particular direction.)

All transmission services since have been performed by removing the pan and replacing the filter and filling it 7 quarts of fluid (1/10 of a quart over full). The transmission has performed normally.

Now, with regard to service intervals for the transmission drain it depends upon the driving conditions one regularly experiences, perhaps needing to be drained and refilled every 50K miles. This is what I follow because of where I live and my driving conditions. On a personal and anecdotal note, I do not believe that the transmission fluid should go unchanged despite the factory's claim that it is acceptable not do so within in my service schedule. Following this recommendation also depends upon driving conditions and circumstances. I take it that no fluid can retain its proper lubrication qualities indefinitely. So every 50K miles for a transmission service is okay by me. I continue to use DEXRON III type fluid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by that1man View Post
After i left there my car decided it wanted to shift gears again. Also, when i first noticed the car not shifting i pulled into a parking lot and also noticed that when i put it in reverse or drive it jerks pretty hard. Thats a first. Its been back and forth a few times yesterday. Acting normal for the moment today.
ruley73's point regarding a particular transmission solenoid, the Pressure Control Solenoid (PCS) (perhaps even a Torque Converter Clutch solenoid [TCC]) is a potential source for the problem you're experiencing. Until we know that the fluid level is correct and that its condition seems adequate we should presume nothing about any part failure.

FYI, some members in the L-Series Forums have had problems like yours and no trouble codes were generated. In other cases they would illuminate a "wrench" warning light if a transmission trouble code were to set in the PCM or ECM.

...
298,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

Last edited by pierrot; 07-23-2018 at 08:29 PM..

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Old 07-25-2018, 09:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruley73 View Post
I realized that we really didn't address your real issue.

Is the check engine light on?

If so, have you had it scanned for codes?

If you had it scanned for codes and know what they are, post them on here.

Without knowing anything else, I suspect a wiring issue or a bad Electronic Pressure Switch in the transaxle (assuming transaxle fluid level is full when properly checked).
I had it scanned for codes a while ago at the same place that claims they checked the trans fluid but I can't remember the codes. I think I have a printout somewhere. If I find it i'll post

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Old 07-25-2018, 11:05 PM   #11
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post
Emphatically, yes!!. The FSM and Haynes agree on this subject.
I fail to understand how a mechanic has anything useful to say to a customer about a transmission when that person has apparently not checked the fluid level nor its conditon. This is basic - period. Did he find something wrong? Was the car taken for a test drive?

I can send you information on how to check the transmission fluid if you'd like to see it. Send me a p/m if you're interested.
This is the same place I took my car to for an oil change and a while after started noticing a problem with the way it sounded on a cold start. I have a whole thread on that on the forums. I only went back just recently because of a guy at another place that changed my oil said he knew someone there that would give me a deal on the flush and fill

Anyways, my gears have been shifting fine for the past few days. My engine light has been on for the longest so maybe that has something to do with it? This car is probably gonna give out on me any day now. Probably when I really, really don't need it

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Old 07-25-2018, 11:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

To the best of my knowledge the "check engine" warning light is for emission related trouble codes, a small number of which relate specifically to the transmission. The failure of some emission components can have a negative impact upon shifting. Knowing what codes have been stored in the ECM's memory - if any - will be helpful.

Does the ION have a wrech-shaped warning light at the dash console? (Transmission specific trouble codes which are unrelated to emissions should trigger a different warning light.)

...
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The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 07-26-2018, 12:02 AM   #13
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

No wrench-shaped lights

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Old 08-17-2018, 12:51 AM   #14
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

They are "fill for life" trans, there ussually no user dip stick to check it. But underneath theres a plug you pull out, with mine it was supposed to filled till fluid leaked out, so i pulled it out fluid came out so i just shoved it back in knowing trans has correct fluid level.

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Old 08-17-2018, 09:58 AM   #15
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Default Re: 07 ion transmission fluid check

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2006 ion 2 manu View Post
They are "fill for life" trans, there ussually no user dip stick to check it. But underneath theres a plug you pull out, with mine it was supposed to filled till fluid leaked out, so i pulled it out fluid came out so i just shoved it back in knowing trans has correct fluid level.
Did you have the engine running or no?

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