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Old 11-21-2018, 02:28 PM   #1
Its Ray
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Red Face Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

I got my Saturn SL1 about five months ago(automatic 4 speed), I had my sister drive it for a while until i got some money saved up to pay for insurance etc. as iím still in school. I got it back around two weeks ago and it was working fine, but after i got the thermostat replaced on the drive back home the ďService Engine SoonĒ light came on. I didnít think much of it and when i drove it to the store the next day it started off really slow, as if it was starting in 3rd gear. When i took it on the highway i was listening and watching for the rpms to drop when it shifted. It shifted once when i got around 50 MPH and then again around 65-70. This pretty much answered my question and I knew it was starting in the wrong gear. I took it into my local shop, and all they said was that i needed a new transmission. I asked them to take a look at the error codes and they never did. I went to auto zone the day before and got them (there were around 4 - iíll comment what they were when I get home) and i told them this and they didnít take it into much consideration. I started calling around looking for a transmission to see if i could find any for cheap, and i found one for about $200 and they recommended a shop close to me. I called the shop and told them my problem, saying it was starting in a higher gear. They said since i only have around 145k miles on it that they donít think itís the transmission and itís in fail safe mode. They told me to try and unplug the positive and negative to the battery and let it sit for a minute, turn the keys on and shift through the gears. I did and turned it on, and the service engine light was on and i was hopeful. I backed it up and took off - and the problem is still there. After driving it around the block the engine service light came back on and now iím right back where i started. Looked around online and saw it could be something with the solenoid sensor, which was mentioned in one of the error codes. Do you think it could be this, or something else

Basically iím stuck here, thereís no funny smell, clunking, or anything. The transmission fluid is at the level it should be, and everything seems fine. This just happened out of nowhere

Also, do you think it would be safe to drive it around like this?

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Old 11-21-2018, 03:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

How is your battery? The automatic transmission is known to be sensitive to low voltage and can act up in a number of ways when the battery is weak/end of life.

Also, you should your model year, model, transmission and approximate mileage to your profile and/or signature as it helps. Some issues are mileage, model year and/or model specific.

...
2001 SL1 MT (423,500 km @ 10/2018)
1999 SL2 MT (267,940 km @ 10/2018)
2011 Suburban LT (116,506 km @ 10/2018)

Past Saturns
1993 SW2 AT
2001 LW200 MT
1992 SL2 MT

:canada:

Last edited by trottida; 11-21-2018 at 03:11 PM..

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Old 11-21-2018, 03:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

You should also post all the codes that you got - not the words, but the actual code number (e.g., P0123)

Quote:
When i took it on the highway i was listening and watching for the rpms to drop when it shifted. It shifted once when i got around 50 MPH and then again around 65-70.
It shifted twice? What were the RPMs at each speed before it shifted up?

It sounds like you started out in 2nd gear, shifted to third at 50, then to 4th at 65-70

Check the transmission temperature sensor, the ECTS, and the IAT

Read this thread
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=211771

Pic of the trans temp sensor at post 11

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=169988

...
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7/2010 Craigslist white 1997 SC2 project
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

Last edited by alordofchaos; 11-21-2018 at 03:42 PM..

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Old 11-21-2018, 05:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

I tested the fuses, and it was ďTRS 2-3Ē that was blown, replaced it and the car is working perfectly fine now, kinda upset at the shop i took it to that said i needed a new transmission.

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Old 11-21-2018, 05:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

"Needs a new transmission" the default answer a lot of shops give when it comes to transmission issues.

Sometime when the shop is busy, you should go back and say loudly, "Hey, remember when I had a transmission problem and told me I needed a new one? It was just a 10 cent fuse!"

Glad you found it was an easy (and cheap) fix!

That's the great thing about the Saturns, just about everything is easy to fix, and cheap.

The oil burning is an exception - BTW, have you checked your oil level?

and welcome to Saturnfans.

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11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 124k DD
7/2010 Craigslist white 1997 SC2 project
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

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Old 11-21-2018, 07:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

so glad to see your good news.

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Old 11-22-2018, 08:55 AM   #7
Its Ray
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
The oil burning is an exception - BTW, have you checked your oil level?
I keep checking it every couple weeks because it was already getting low about a month ago when i drained it and put new oil in around 6 months ago. Donít think it should be going through that much oil.

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Old 11-22-2018, 09:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

Nice job Ray!

...
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Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 11-22-2018, 11:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

So i woke up this morning and the fuse was blown, took the AC fuse out as i donít need that this time of the year in michigan and replaced it, working fine again until i get to an autozone or something thats open today, any one know what could possibly cause this?

Happy thanksgiving and thanks in advance

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Old 11-22-2018, 08:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

Update; seems to only pop after itís been sitting and starts up cold, if i replace the fuse after it warms up then it doesnít pop

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Old 11-23-2018, 09:16 AM   #11
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

Are you sure it was a TRS 2/3 Fuse? (I thought they are TRS 2/TCC and TRS 3/4.) But anyway, check the Solenoid resistances. If they look good you might have a wire that's shorting to the chassis.

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Old 11-23-2018, 04:32 PM   #12
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazberry View Post
Are you sure it was a TRS 2/3 Fuse? (I thought they are TRS 2/TCC and TRS 3/4.) But anyway, check the Solenoid resistances. If they look good you might have a wire that's shorting to the chassis.
On the fuse box itself it says ďTRS 2/3 but in the manual all it shows is TRS 2/TCC and TRS 3/4. How would I check the solenoid resistences, what should they be, and would it be worth it to just replace the entire valve body?

Last edited by Its Ray; 11-23-2018 at 04:37 PM..

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Old 11-23-2018, 04:52 PM   #13
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

Ray, keep a close watch on the oil level.
As you start putting more miles on it, it may consume a wee bit more oil and you need a good idea of how much oil it burns off. Don't let it get below the hashmarks on the dipstick before topping it off.

Misquoting here, but Saturn Night has a comment something like this:

What does a Saturn owner do at a gas station?
They fill up the oil and check the gas.

Humorous, but excellent advice.

Also said on this forum:

The RED light on the dash is not a low oil light, it can mean, REPLACE ENGINE.
Our cars do drink oil and you as a new owner need to be aware of this fact.

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Old 11-23-2018, 08:20 PM   #14
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

I recently posted a message that describes how you can check the resistances of the transmission solenoids:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...36&postcount=7

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Old 11-23-2018, 08:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Its Ray View Post
How would I check the solenoid resistences, what should they be, and would it be worth it to just replace the entire valve body?
This video was shot with the VB removed, but you can access these pins with the pan on by just unplugging the harness . . .
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tDmBlKn2jI

You can get a new Solenoid on Amazon for about $50 - I think a rebuilt VB is at least $150 from one of the 3 reputable rebuilders.

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Old 11-25-2018, 11:29 AM   #16
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 Transmission Issue

First I would inspect the wires going to the transmission, these wires control the solenoids, if certain ones are rubbing on the frame of the car with a cut in the insulation, you can blow a fuse. Remove the battery and battery tray to see them. Note there is a large bolt behind the drive site tire that helps hold the batter tray in place, you will have to remove that. But since your issue seems temp related, I offer you this: based on my experience with electronics for over 35 years I would say you have a solenoid issue in the valve body. Temperature change is causing the coil resistance to go too low of one or 2 of the solenoids and the reduction in coil resistance is exceeding the current rating of the fuse. You will need to know how an ohm meter works, find the schematic and colour code of the wires going into the transmission and measure the coil resistance right after the fuse blows. Or you can take the top off the valve body, expose the solenoids and measure the resistance of them cold, hopefully 1 or 2 are close to being out of spec when cold. The coil resistance of the solenoids is on this site. If you do take the valve body apart, measure all 5 of them and replace all that are out of spec. I have 455,000 km on my car, it is on its 3rd valve body and then between times I have replaced the TCC and the Line Pressure Solenoids separately. I will also add, I have found some of my solenoids starting to come apart. So if you do remove them, inspect them for coil resistance and wiggle them to make sure the top body part of the solenoid is tight and not lose from the lower section of it.

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