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Old 09-25-2005, 03:22 PM   #1
JerryHughes
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Default Coasting in neutral hurt car????

Hello Fellow Saturnites

One question that I haven't been able to get a "firm" answer to is whether or not coasting in neutral will hurt the car. Basically there are two answers needed, one for those who own manual transmissions and another for those who own automatic transmission Saturns. Anyone's learned knowledge on this subject is gratefully accepted.

The reason I posted this is because yesterday, when coming back from a mountain trip (mountains at 6K elevation and home at sea level) I did a lot of coasting on the downhills. My r.p.m.s remained around 1K (expressway driving at approx. 65 m.p.h.) when I had the car in neutral---and clutch out on my manual transmission. (1997 SL)

I think there is a better chance of not harming the car if you have a manual transmission rather than an automatic but please enlighten me and I'm sure there are others out there who have wondered the same thing. Thanks for your replies.

Jerry

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Old 09-25-2005, 03:28 PM   #2
Zorak
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

sometimes i coast down hills in neutral in my auto, i guess to save gas? doesnt seem to be having a negative affect on transm. operation. i would also like to know other people's thoughts

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Old 09-25-2005, 03:34 PM   #3
eric02SC2
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

We always coast to the bottom of the hills in our '02 SC2 (manual transmission). I've never heard that a manual would be harmed by driving in neutral.

There seems to be a difference in opinion when it comes to automatic transmissions though. On the other hand, Saturns are often towed behind motor homes. Most moter homes are owned by people who prefer automatics. Therefore we can assume that it is safe to tow an automatic Saturn in neutral (on all 4 wheels). I see no reason for having the engine running (as opposed to it being off) would hurt anything.

Eric & Genieve
2002 SC2m

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Old 09-25-2005, 03:39 PM   #4
Luke
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Default No Issue with my automatic 1995 SL2

Quote:
> Fm Jerry <
> I think there is a better chance of not harming the car if you have a manual transmission rather than an automatic <
Every morning, upon my turning onto the final road towards my underground parking position, I'll shift my automatic into neutral and simply coast down the road towards the entrance, as well as into the garage. Been doing this since 1995. No issue has every come up.

...
> 95 SL 2 = 653,369 Miles 40.4 MPG, as of 5/20/11. My manual Radiator Fan Switch, courtesy of Wolfman's patient installation guidance, continues to be.......invaluable < The car was retired

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Old 09-25-2005, 03:56 PM   #5
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Post Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

Interesting subject.
The only thing I have ever read on the subject was in a motorcycle manual. It was for a 1979 1100 cc yamaha with the usual unit construction(motor and standard transmission in same housing). The manual warned against coasting in neutral @ speed. The same oil pump provided lubrication for the engine and the transmission. When the engine is @ idle and the transmission is @ 60 mph the oil flow/pressure for the trans ends up seriously diminished. The resulting reduced lubrication to the transmission would lead to premature wear and possible failure.

I will read with interest what our "Pros" have to say in regards to our saturns.

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Old 09-25-2005, 04:18 PM   #6
stu
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

peppermrj, I see that you have posted a fair bit since you came on board. Your comment about the "pros" caught my attention. I believe that at some point within the last couple of weeks, the format on this board changed, and that there is now more "tech talk" taking place under Saturn S-Series than the Sub-forum S-Series Tech.

Do the "Pros" even find their way here?

Could I be delusional?

stu

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Old 09-25-2005, 04:28 PM   #7
Tom92SCm
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

The "pros" probably just hit the "NEW POSTS" button from the main page and read only those posts that catch their eye- at least that's what I do (not that I'm saying I'm a pro by any stretch of the imagination).

The motorcycle case brings up a good point. But since our transmissions are lubricated by the differential spinning around through the transmission fluid, it does not matter if the engine is even connected to the transmission. Therefore it shouldn't hurt your car at all.

As a personal preference, I like to stay in gear as much as possible- regardless of how steep of a hill I'm going down.

--Tom

...
Not a Saturn.

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Old 09-25-2005, 04:40 PM   #8
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Post Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

Quote:
Originally Posted by stu
peppermrj, I see that you have posted a fair bit since you came on board. Your comment about the "pros" caught my attention. I believe that at some point within the last couple of weeks, the format on this board changed, and that there is now more "tech talk" taking place under Saturn S-Series than the Sub-forum S-Series Tech.

Do the "Pros" even find their way here?

Could I be delusional?

stu
I do have to get over my shyness. Unfortunately I have been injured twice since joining in Feb. and have more time than I know what to do with. I know off topic.
I believe the term "tech" to be somewhat subjective. Even under the previous format the threads seemed to be interchangeable between the two forums.
One thing that makes this forum exceptional is the selflessness of the pros that share their guidance (also opinions check out politics). They have in the past visited most all forums. Some guys have 6000 to 7000 posts, Even the shadetrees like myself will go out of their way for you. I could not find a torque setting for a particular fastener. I posted and someone took the time to look it up in their FSM and respond within 5 minutes! (Thanxs Razorback)

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Old 09-25-2005, 04:53 PM   #9
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Post Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

Quote:
The motorcycle case brings up a good point. But since our transmissions are lubricated by the differential spinning around through the transmission fluid, it does not matter if the engine is even connected to the transmission. Therefore it shouldn't hurt your car at all.
Tom, are your refering to an auto, standard, or both? I know very little about saturn Automatics. Just enough to know they are different from the old fashioned Automatics. The old automatics had a front pump that was driven by the torque converter if I remeber correctly. That makes me wonder about coasting in nuetral. I have no idea if the manual trannies have a pump of some kind or simply rely on a splash system. Appreciate any info.

There is also a lot to be said for engine braking as Tom mentioned.

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Old 09-25-2005, 05:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

no problem coasting in a manual, and for saturns, coasting in an auto is fine too. like someone said, they can be flat towed behind a RV. it has to do w/ how the saturn trans is designed. other autos depend on the input shaft to be spinning to provide lubrication. not saturn autos, they are more like manual trannys, and do not need the engine spinning to get lubricated.

...
for the first time in 8 years, I don't own a saturn.

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Old 09-25-2005, 05:24 PM   #11
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

Seems the good book (i.e., owner's manual) is strangely silent on this topic, other than a reference to towing an automatic (make sure tranny is filled properly). My guess is that Saturn wouldn't recommend it in either auto or manual tranny models because of the reduction in vehicle control if there
need for sudden acceleration... .

The "myth" about not running an automatic in neutral came about from vehicles that were designed to pump fluid as the tranny actually operated. If
I'm not mistaken, the recommendation (if they were towed) was to run them periodically to ensure proper lubrication (every 50 miles or so). Obviously, nobody outside of Tibet would exceed that "coast"!

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Old 09-25-2005, 08:55 PM   #12
kagekun
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

How about "shifting" into neutral. I have always wondered if I needed to clutch in to pull it out of gear into neutral and then clutch out. I pulled it into neutral once in an emergency and it went fine, no gear griding, didnt need to use any more force then I would to shift from gear to gear. Can that be done, I would imagine it would be a break on the clutch.

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Old 09-25-2005, 09:48 PM   #13
mjo
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

IMO shifting an automatic into neutral while the car is coasting is ok at low speed. But I am very reluctant to put it back into drive without the vehicle completely stopped. At least for my car, you can push the shifter between drive and neutral without pressing in the shifter button. If it weren't for that feature it would be crazy to even consider putting it in neutral when cruising because of the possibility of selecting Park and destroying the transmission.

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Old 09-25-2005, 10:53 PM   #14
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

I usually coast in neutral on a few hills around here, but only the ones that I don't have to stop or slow down on (just so long as I don't go more than 5mph over the speed limit). On that type hill, I keep it in gear to brake with the engine. In regards to older cars being towed, I know the owner's manual for my 1966 Comet said that if you had to tow the car for more than so many miles (I think it's 50 miles), then you have to disconnect the driveshaft to avoid damage to the transmission. Of course, that's for an old automatic rear wheel drive vehicle.

...
Brandon

'92 Saturn SCm- Red & Silver (rebuild in progress)
'04 Saturn VUE Red Line- Black Onyx

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Old 09-25-2005, 11:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

as long as everyones talkin 'bout transmission shifting type stuff...

whats the deal with accidentally putting your tranny into park while moving? i (yes a new teenage driver) put my saturn into park once while i was still inching just a bit forwards (probably less than 1 mph) anyway, the tranny clicked a few times before the car stopped rolling (i was braking) how does the parking gear behave in such a situation? is there some kind of safety that causes the click? or is that click something really bad happening? another question: lets say your brakes failed and you were moving with considerable speed, what would shifting into park do?

...so many questions!

...
- 1993 SL1 Auto 100,000+ miles

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Old 09-26-2005, 12:37 AM   #16
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

It won't hurt the car.

However, I'm sure they are laws out there against coast downhill using neutral.

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Old 09-26-2005, 05:40 AM   #17
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

The two posts above talking about coasting in automatic with *most* cars is correct. Most cars require the input shaft to turn the pump in the automatic to provide lubrication.

Some autos can get away with it as they have such a low "stall speed." My hot rodded stang can't handle that with a 3krpm stall converter. Would burn up the auto in a very few miles.

Until I hear how Saturn designed their pump to turn without the input shaft (engine!) doing it, I'll hold off on coasting in neutral. I am new to this Saturn SL2 auto, but I don't recall seeing an electric motor attached anywhere to do it... but... I'm still learning about it.!

...
'93 Automatic SL2 with 150k+ miles-

'93 AOD Mustang LX- 5.4L fuel hog-Gas mileage? "Don't ask- Don't tell!" This one is tuned for power.

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Old 09-26-2005, 08:33 AM   #18
Bill Murray
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

Quote:
Originally Posted by acr2001
is there some kind of safety that causes the click? or is that click something really bad happening?
The park system is designed so that it will "ratchet" above a certain (low, 1-2 mph) speed and not engage and lock the wheels while the car is moving and exert a large force on the transmission internals.
Occasional inadvertent applies like this won't hurt it, but it's not a good thing to try repeatedly.

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Old 09-26-2005, 09:23 AM   #19
Luke
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Default Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

Quote:
> Fm mjo <
> At least for my car, you can push the shifter between drive and neutral without pressing in the shifter button. <
Same with mine.

Quote:
> Fm Leadsled Coupe <
> Until I hear how Saturn designed their pump to turn without the input shaft (engine!) doing it, I'll hold off on coasting in neutral. I am new to this Saturn SL2 auto, but I don't recall seeing an electric motor attached anywhere to do it... <
Very good alert, thank you for the input.

Quote:
> Fm Bill <
> The park system is designed so that it will "ratchet" above a certain (low, 1-2 mph) speed and not engage and lock the wheels while the car is moving and exert a large force on the transmission internals. <
When will the learning here every stop........I guess never....

...
> 95 SL 2 = 653,369 Miles 40.4 MPG, as of 5/20/11. My manual Radiator Fan Switch, courtesy of Wolfman's patient installation guidance, continues to be.......invaluable < The car was retired

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Old 09-26-2005, 11:52 AM   #20
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Post Re: Coasting in neutral hurt car????

Quote:
lets say your brakes failed and you were moving with considerable speed, what would shifting into park do?
As previously stated the mechanism will not engage. Make sure your emergency/parking brake is in good shape and adjusted properly.

Quote:
Until I hear how Saturn designed their pump to turn without the input shaft (engine!) doing it, I'll hold off on coasting in neutral. I am new to this Saturn SL2 auto, but I don't recall seeing an electric motor attached anywhere to do it... but... I'm still learning about it.!
Hope to keep learning as long as possible. I spoke with a friend with a motor home that told me that saturns can indeed be flat towed without damage. Saturn Revives Tow-friendly Design in 2005 But Be sure and follow the new instructions for towing four down. The VUE uses a Honda engine/transaxle and Honda is rescinding their instructions on towing the '05 Odyssey which the VUE may share, and Saturn is changing their instructions. It's strange though as the '04 and older Odysseys are still OK to tow and Honda won't say what is going on. Just something to be sure of as you wouldn't want to destroy the trans! (I would research each model individually before trying to flat tow.)
He could not explain the particulars (enquiring minds want to know) but said he seriously considered a saturn for just that reason. He ended up with a jeep liberty which can be towed with the transaxle in nuetral.
I must make a correction on my motorcycle post. The manual did indeed warn against coasting in neutral at speed without the engine running.
.

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