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Old 07-25-2005, 06:06 AM   #1
SL1_Owner
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1998 SL1
Default Manual Transmission Oil

What kind of transmission oil do I need to use in my 1998 Saturn SL with 5 speed Manual. Went to AutoZone and they said AF3 oil, but could not find any in the store ???

A second question, how do I know if the car I have is an SL or SL1 os SL2, what differentiates the three ?

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Old 07-25-2005, 07:00 AM   #2
S3aturnR
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1996 SL2
1999 SL1
Default Re: Manual Transmission Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by SL1_Owner
What kind of transmission oil do I need to use in my 1998 Saturn SL with 5 speed Manual. Went to AutoZone and they said AF3 oil, but could not find any in the store ???

A second question, how do I know if the car I have is an SL or SL1 os SL2, what differentiates the three ?
i would get that 'oil' right from the dealership. they have plenty. saturn recommends that you use ONLY their fluid for the tranny anyway. not exactly sure of the differences between an sl and sl1, but the main differences between an sl1 and sl2 is the sl2 has a twin cam engine (sl1 has sohc), the sl2 has a rear sway bar, painted bumpers (in most cases), 15" wheels (as opposed to 14"), higher gearing in the tranny (sl1 is lower for better fuel economy) and seats with an adjustable headrest. this is not a complete list, tho.

now that i think of it, maybe the difference between the sl and sl1 is power steering? not for sure, tho...


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Old 07-25-2005, 08:29 AM   #3
98SL
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1998 SL
Default Re: Manual Transmission Oil

It says in the manual that you can also use Dexron III in the Saturn manual trans--most all auto parts stores should have that.

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Old 07-25-2005, 08:35 AM   #4
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2001 SL2
Default Re: Manual Transmission Oil

Any Dexron-III automatic transmission fluid should be fine. I use Mobil 1 synthetic ATF in my SL2 5-speed. You'll pay top dollar if you buy ATF at the dealership, but since you only need 2.5 quarts (IIRC), it won't break you.

As for telling which model you have, gently release the clutch and get the car rolling at 5 mph or so, then floor the accelerator in first gear. If the front tires chirp and the motor zings to 6500 rpm while throwing you back in the seat, you've got an SL2. If the tires don't chirp and the car gently gathers speed until the rev limiter cuts in at 5500, you've got an SL/SL1.

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Old 07-25-2005, 08:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Manual Transmission Oil

The transmission fluid is ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid), and yes, you are using it in your manual transmission. The grade is as said above, Dextron III.

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Old 07-25-2005, 08:45 AM   #6
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2001 SL2
2005 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Manual Transmission Oil

If you really want to know the difference between SL/SL1/SL2, besides the obvious SOHC, DOHC, simply look at the decklid reflector. If the decklid has a reflector it is a SL2, if it does not, then it is either an SL or SL1.

For ATF i would highly recommend the Saturn fluid part # 21005856, but if you are to go aftermarket use Redline D4 ATF.

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Old 07-25-2005, 12:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: Manual Transmission Oil

Can highly recommend the Mobil 1 ATF for a refill. Works great in cold
weather (goes into gear much easier), assume it does the same when
hot.

Get yourself a funnel with a loooong flexible neck on it. The one I have is about 12-16" long, really makes adding new fluid much easier.

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Old 07-25-2005, 01:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: Manual Transmission Oil

Is it just ATF for all the S series manual transmissions? I tried to lookup the tranny fluid on one of the sites and it told me that the tranny fluid should be bought from the dealer... Pretty strange. Thoughts?

How hard is it to drain that fluid and replace it? Is it just a drain plug, or is is a pan sorta thing like an auto tranny has?

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Old 07-25-2005, 01:33 PM   #9
98SL
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Default Re: Manual Transmission Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Longsnowsm
Is it just ATF for all the S series manual transmissions? I tried to lookup the tranny fluid on one of the sites and it told me that the tranny fluid should be bought from the dealer... Pretty strange. Thoughts?

How hard is it to drain that fluid and replace it? Is it just a drain plug, or is is a pan sorta thing like an auto tranny has?

Longsnowsm
There's a drain plug--it's kinda to hard to get at without putting the front on jackstands but you can do it. Just drain the oil into your normal oil collector and take it to your local auto parts store just like for engine case oil. Dexron III is all you need--don't buy it at the dealer; get it at you local Kragen or NAPA or whatever. Don't buy ANYTHING at the dealer that you don't have to. The dealer would prefer that your car breaks so you'll buy a new one from them. *******s.

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Old 07-25-2005, 05:03 PM   #10
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Default Re: Manual Transmission Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiSaturn
Can highly recommend the Mobil 1 ATF for a refill. Works great in cold
weather (goes into gear much easier), assume it does the same when
hot.

Get yourself a funnel with a loooong flexible neck on it. The one I have is about 12-16" long, really makes adding new fluid much easier.

I add a strong second to this. I use Mobil 1, and it leads to noticably smoother shifting in the manual trans.

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Old 07-25-2005, 05:21 PM   #11
Unique Concepts
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2001 SL2
2005 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Manual Transmission Oil

There is nothing special about the Saturn Fluid, use what you would like. Saturn does not prefer your car to break down, they prefer that you buy Saturn parts. Mobil 1 is also an excellent choice

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