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Old 04-22-2007, 05:24 AM   #1
plastic torpedo
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Thumbs Up S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

So I finally got to writing the how-to on fixing the infamous "reverse slam" along with it's various complications of no reverse, missing forward gears and slipping.

All the information to fix my car I got from this forum, so I'm simply re-writing it in a more readable form. This stems from my original post back when I had no reverse and no 2nd gear.

To sum the procedure up, I will quote Wolfman:
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfman View Post
Just as an attachment to this thread for future readers:

No or very delayed REVERSE with NO PROBLEMS with ANY OTHER GEAR = VALVE BODY ISSUE only 99% of the time

No or very delayed REVERSE WITH PROBLEMS with other FORWARD GEARS (especially 2nd) = LOOSE INPUT SHAFT NUT 99% of the time.

Parts you will need:

1. New or rebuilt valve body - anywhere from $50 to $600
2. Valve body cover gasket - ??$
3. End cover gasket - $20
4. Input shaft nut - $5
5. Output shaft nut - $5
6. A quart or so of ATF - $3

Tools you will need:

1. 8mm and 10mm sockets
2. Thinwall socket 12 point 23mm
3. Any 30 mm socket
4. Torque wrench
5. Flathead screwdriver
6. Drain pan (please recycle your oil)


I'm not going to go into detail on removing the valve body, it's a fairly easy procedure. If you can change your oil, you can change your valve body. In most early reverse delay / reverse slam cases replacing the valve body will be sufficient.

Here are the steps:

1. Disconnect and remove the battery

2. Disconnect and set aside the PCM (if yours is under the hood)

3. Remove the battery tray (bolts behind the wheel well splash guard)

4. Disconnect the valve body electrical connector

5. Remove the valve body cover (in most cases you can re-use the old gasket)

6. Remove all bolts BUT the ones pictured below (excluding the one in the middle there, I took it out by accident and then lost it):

This will keep your valve body as one piece when you remove it from the transaxle, so nothing will fall down in there.

7. Remove the old valve body. With the valve body out you can see all your shiny gears:


8. Put the new valve body in. Make sure you put the manual shift selector pin thing back in, it will only go in one way so you can't mess it up much.

9. Put everything back together and start the car.


If at this point your reverse problem is gone, you are DONE. If this procedure made little to no difference, proceed with the next steps.



10. Jack up your car and take off the left wheel:


11. Locate the end cover and remove the many bolts holding it in place:

Make sure that at this point you have the drain pan under your tranny ready to accept the ATF that's about to pour out as you go to the next step.

12. Now comes the tricky part. You have undone the bolts, pry the end cover with a flat head screwdriver. However, the tubes protruding from the end cover won't let you take it off all the way because the frame is in the way. You have two options:

Option 1: Grind off the frame! A ghetto solution, but will give you instant access to the insides of your slushbox:

The downside is, well, grinding your frame.

Option 2: Some replies I got were quite genius, however I have already done grinding the frame at that point. Here are the quotes:
Quote:
Originally Posted by geartooth94 View Post
instead of cutting into the frame like that and possibly weakening the car and compromising the crumple zones' effectiveness, I'd just get creative with a floor jack and remove the lower trans mount.
you'd get much more clearance that way to get that end cover off. and if you needed even more room, you could lower the whole engine cradle just on the driver's side. those engine cradle bolts are quite long so that'd give you lots of room then.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerRover View Post
Yeah, dont grind the frame. All you have to do to get clearance is to loosen the cradle mounting bolts a bit (but DONT remove them, just loosen)
13. Once you have removed the obstruction, take off the end cover. Be very careful and don't bend the tubes protruding from it:

If you bend those tubes, it will be a b**ch to put the cover back on. And I'll probably laugh at you

14. You will see two shafts. To your left is the input shaft with the nut recessed into the 1st gear clutch pack. To the right is the output shaft:


You will notice both shafts probably have plenty of play. Mine had SO MUCH that it actually GRINDED AGAINST THE COVER leaving bad-ass GROOVES on it:

You can clearly see the grooves caused by the grinding around the left metal pipe on the end cover. Most of that seemed to have not caused any permanent damage, however.

15. Use the 23mm socket and torque the input shaft nut to 111 lbs. You can immobilize the shaft by sticking a phillips screwdriver into one of the holes on the side of the 1st gear clutch pack and wedging it against the output shaft gear.

16. Use the 30mm socket to torque the output shaft nut to 111 lbs.

17. Put the new gasket on, put on the cover, put everything back together. You are DONE

Check your reverse - you will be surprised. Your tranny should work like new!
That's it. Let the PCM re-learn the shifting patterns for about 30 miles and don't freak out.

I've had no reverse, no 2nd gear and slippage in 3rd.
After the fix, and many months later still, my tranny works perfect

Thanks for everyone for making this valuable info available!

PS: You can rebuild your valve body for about $50 if you have a Sonnax retailer in your area. Rebuilding the valve body is a moderately easy task once you get it out on a table. In most cases you will only need the boost valve and sleeve and the pressure regulator cushion spring. Sonnax parts come with instructions. Also make sure you get the right valve body if you're buying one. There are two different types.

PPS: You don't have to replace the nuts. It's enough to simply torque the old ones. But if you have time, it pays to be anal and do it right the first time.

Last edited by plastic torpedo; 04-22-2007 at 05:34 AM..

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Old 04-24-2007, 12:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: S-Series automatic transaxle "reverse slam cure-all" HOW-TO

This is good info, shouldnt this be a STICKY?


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Old 04-24-2007, 12:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: S-Series automatic transaxle "reverse slam cure-all" HOW-TO

Check this out.

http://www.transmissionspecialty.com...00-03K(in).pdf


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Old 04-24-2007, 01:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: S-Series automatic transaxle "reverse slam cure-all" HOW-TO

Wow. You put a lot of work into this. I'm sure people are much appreciative - pictures make a big difference. You have me wondering now, though. I saw a thread that wolfman put together on the "reverse slam" problem and it was a much simpler procedure. I'm guessing this one is needed if the other (simpler) procedure does not work?

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Old 04-24-2007, 06:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: S-Series automatic transaxle "reverse slam cure-all" HOW-TO

Thanks! I think the simpler reverse slam fix is meant for the early stage when your tranny still shifts fine in all forward gears and reverse is engaging consistently. It's supposed to remove some gunk from your valve body - which it has plenty of inside it's valves as I have confirmed when rebuilding one. The cure that wolfman suggests has to be followed to the very last detail, you'll need to put fresh ATF and additive in it for any results.

But eventually if your valve body is failing, it should be replaced to avoid the nuts coming loose and other damage.

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Old 04-25-2007, 10:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: S-Series automatic transaxle "reverse slam cure-all" HOW-TO

If you have a car that has the reverse slam, the longer you let it go on, the more it will be loosening that nut. Eventually it gets to the point where you will have to do the above. If you catch "reverse slam" early, you can do Wolfman's cure to clean out the valve body and prevent the input shaft nut from ever loosening, and prevent having to replace/rebuild the valve body.

Remember - change your auto tranny fluid and filter religiously!

Great writeup. I'm sure it will help the next person that has to do this.

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Last edited by RangerRover; 04-25-2007 at 10:09 AM..

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Old 05-12-2007, 08:06 AM   #7
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Default Re: S-Series automatic transaxle "reverse slam cure-all" HOW-TO

Very useful pictures.

Question :

During disassembly - was it necessary to disconnect lower/steering ball joints, remove the whole strut to get access to that cover ?

Thanks

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Old 05-12-2007, 11:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

No, you don't even need to remove the rotors.

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Old 05-12-2007, 02:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

Thanks again for an excellent How-To.

So – all it takes to get to that cover is removing the wheel and some plastic shields ?

I think I would remove the trans-mount and lower the transmission a little instead of grinding my frame….

** How difficult was it to insert those oil tubes ?? This part is my biggest concern. Are those tubes reasonably strong or easy to bend ?? How do I know that the tubes are properly inserted ?

** Did you use any gasket adhesive or gasket sealer for that new gasket ??

Thanks…

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Old 05-12-2007, 03:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

Yes, all you need to do is remove the wheel and the splash guard (if you have one). Then you need to lower the cradle / grind the frame to get the cover off. Pry it with the screwdriver when you get the bolts out. Then scrape off the old gasket and put a new one in. No need to use any sealer, there's no pressure in that part of the tranny.

The tubes are pretty easy to bend, but also pretty easy to un-bend. You'll know they are in when you put the end cover on as it won't close if one of the tubes is not in all the way. You might need a helper to rotate the steering wheel when you put the cover on / take it off because the caliper would be in the way. The alternative is to take the brake caliper off but I was too lazy.

The important thing is not to force the tubes in, they'll go in easy if you just fiddle with them for a little even if they are bent. You're risking damaging some internal seals if you force it and your 4th gear will not engage.

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Old 05-14-2007, 01:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

Thanks a lot for detailed info

I took the wheel and plastic shields off and inspected my "work area”.

Looks like I’ll have to remove the brake line bracket as well as the caliper/rotor...

All ball joint threads are all rusted Hopefully I won’t have to separate any ball joints….

*** If I lower the whole cradle – do I still have to remove the trans mount ? It looks easier to remove the mount without lowering the cradle…

*** I normally put my jack under the cradle. To lower the cradle it has to be free – where should I put the jack then???

*** I can’t find 23mm socket – I’ve got 24 and 27mm… I vent to SEARS - they do not have it.... Anybody knows - where I could buy that 23mm socket ??

Thanks

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Old 05-17-2007, 12:02 AM   #12
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

thanks for the great howto, It'll come in handy on my sister's car. Now I just need to fix everything ELSE on it...

btw, the frame grinding, while not ultimately necessary, made for one nifty pic

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Old 05-28-2007, 07:35 PM   #13
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

Awesome thread!

Hi all,

I've been reading on this forum for a while now and it's just great to see how so much information is shared. A big thank you to everyone, especially Torpedo and Wolfman. Great job guys.

I'm in the middle (wish it was the end) of working on my daughter's '95 SL2 and could use some advice.

1.) The car had a reverse delay of about 1.5 seconds (with mild slam) for several months.

2.) Then it lost reverse & 2nd completely, at the same time.

3.) The input shaft nut was loose so I replaced it. The output shaft nut was already properly torqued. Note: Even with both shaft nuts tightened to 111 ft/lb there was some noticeable axial (in and out) play in both shafts, maybe .010"-.020". Should there be any play there? If not, what might this indicate?

4.) I then did Wolfmans reverse slam cure (but didn't think to test reverse & 2nd first). When I was done with that there was still no reverse or second and the reverse delay was still there.

5.) So, like a trooper, I bought a rebuilt valve body and installed it. It went very smoothly but when I was done.......... still no reverse or 2nd and the reverse delay was still there!

This car is in otherwise great condition and my daughter's starting to look at me like I'm an idiot. Does anyone have any idea what else it could be or what I might have done wrong?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

I appreciate all I learned on this forum and I'd like to add some (hopefully) helpful info from my experience.

1.) Like Torpedo I opted to remove some frame material to access the tranny side cover rather than lower the cradle. I didn't plan to do that but when I got in there I realized that it's a very small amount of sheet metal and is more or less just flash outside of the spot welds. I used a sawzall and it came off real easy. Just watch the brake line.

2.) If you have an air compressor it's a great idea to blow off any and all dirt/leaves/debris in the engine compartment before removing any covers.

3.) An impact wrench came in handy to remove the tranny end cover bolts. They were pretty tight and there's not a lot of room for swinging a wrench or getting leverage.

4.) I didn't have any luck sliding the end cover past everything that was in the way. I bent (and had to straighten) the long tube 3 times before I decided to unbolt the steering knuckle from the strut, then I had plenty of room. I did have to use a spring compressor on the strut to put it back together though.

5.) 23mm - 12 point is an oddball socket size. They can be found at industrial suppliers (like MSC) or your local tool truck (like Snap-On).

6.) Getting in to the valve cover bolts is tricky. An assortment of 1/4" drive extensions/wobblers and a "magnet on a stick thing" are pretty helpful.

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Old 05-28-2007, 09:49 PM   #14
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

Here's a 3/8" drive 23mm/12 pt. socket - $5
http://www1.mscdirect.com/CGI/NNSRIT...MT4NO=23293153

And a 1/2" drive 30mm/12 pt. socket - $8.50
http://www1.mscdirect.com/CGI/NNSRIT...MT4NO=23293153

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Old 05-28-2007, 10:02 PM   #15
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

The thing is folks, most of this can all be avoided by simply keeping your fluid and filter changed with an OEM filter and a decent ATF. Although, if you happen to get to the point where at does happen, and believe me, even though you baby a car, things like this can happen, then catching it in early stages is always the best, as RangerRover has already said.

Another trick I've learned since my car does occasionally slam into reverse, is that if it does, try not to push the accelerator as that will only cause it to slam even harder into reverse and make the problem worse. What I do is put the car into reverse and WAIT until I feel it slam and to see if it will slam, then once I know it's into reverse, then I proceed to backup. Ever since I changed my fluid and started waiting for it to go into reverse instead of making it slam harder, mine is gradually getting better.

And another thing, if you know your car has reverse slam, don't let anyone else drive your car, for one it will freak them out, and two they will end up forcing it into reverse.

What I did to help mine, as Wolfman's cure didn't work, was I first changed the fluid and tried his cure, then after trying the cure, I knew it cleaned gunk off, so I ended up changing the fluid again early, and this is what I recommend to ANYBODY with the reverse slam problem.

I've also noticed that my car seems to be getting better, especially after long trips, this must help work the valve body better and clean gunk off. I actually had a friend that had reverse slam on their SL1 and went on a trip from here to Florida and back, and when they got back the reverse slam was gone.

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Old 05-30-2007, 05:57 AM   #16
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogueMachinist View Post
Awesome thread!

Hi all,

I've been reading on this forum for a while now and it's just great to see how so much information is shared. A big thank you to everyone, especially Torpedo and Wolfman. Great job guys.

I'm in the middle (wish it was the end) of working on my daughter's '95 SL2 and could use some advice.

1.) The car had a reverse delay of about 1.5 seconds (with mild slam) for several months.

2.) Then it lost reverse & 2nd completely, at the same time.

3.) The input shaft nut was loose so I replaced it. The output shaft nut was already properly torqued. Note: Even with both shaft nuts tightened to 111 ft/lb there was some noticeable axial (in and out) play in both shafts, maybe .010"-.020". Should there be any play there? If not, what might this indicate?

4.) I then did Wolfmans reverse slam cure (but didn't think to test reverse & 2nd first). When I was done with that there was still no reverse or second and the reverse delay was still there.

5.) So, like a trooper, I bought a rebuilt valve body and installed it. It went very smoothly but when I was done.......... still no reverse or 2nd and the reverse delay was still there!

This car is in otherwise great condition and my daughter's starting to look at me like I'm an idiot. Does anyone have any idea what else it could be or what I might have done wrong?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

I appreciate all I learned on this forum and I'd like to add some (hopefully) helpful info from my experience.

1.) Like Torpedo I opted to remove some frame material to access the tranny side cover rather than lower the cradle. I didn't plan to do that but when I got in there I realized that it's a very small amount of sheet metal and is more or less just flash outside of the spot welds. I used a sawzall and it came off real easy. Just watch the brake line.

2.) If you have an air compressor it's a great idea to blow off any and all dirt/leaves/debris in the engine compartment before removing any covers.

3.) An impact wrench came in handy to remove the tranny end cover bolts. They were pretty tight and there's not a lot of room for swinging a wrench or getting leverage.

4.) I didn't have any luck sliding the end cover past everything that was in the way. I bent (and had to straighten) the long tube 3 times before I decided to unbolt the steering knuckle from the strut, then I had plenty of room. I did have to use a spring compressor on the strut to put it back together though.

5.) 23mm - 12 point is an oddball socket size. They can be found at industrial suppliers (like MSC) or your local tool truck (like Snap-On).

6.) Getting in to the valve cover bolts is tricky. An assortment of 1/4" drive extensions/wobblers and a "magnet on a stick thing" are pretty helpful.
Try this to see if it will engage the reverse "manually"
Get a haynes repair manual for your car, go to wiring diagrams. On one of them it will show the wires going into the automatic tranny. There should be about 10 wires, you're only interested in the one responsible for "2nd gear actuator" and "MLP - mainline pressure". The wires are in the harness that plugs into the valve body. The two wires should both be "hot" (positive polarity) for a few seconds when you start the car. Clip both wires and connect the 2nd gear actuator to ground. That will engage the required solenoids and increase your line pressure to the max. Put the shifter in reverse, it will slam in gear somewhat hard. If it does, then you need to troubleshoot an electrical problem.
If it doesn't do anything for you, you have a mechanical problem inside the transmission. Possible broken seals from the bent tubes (unlikely scenario to affect 2nd/reverse) or perhaps you have the wrong type valve body. Valve bodies come in Type1 and Type2 variations.
Make sure the mechanical clip that's connected to your shifter is connected to the valve body inside the tranny. I've also heard stories of a bad wiring harness, the dealer caries them for a reason.

That's all I can think of. Defective valve body should still work, it will just slam really hard in reverse. I don't want to say shot clutch packs because mine was doing it severely bad and for a long long time and the clutch packs still work like brand new up to this day.

Here's an attached picture of the damage the clutch pack did to my end cover by actually GRINDING against it. Yet the clutch packs survived.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Copy 2 of Image010.jpg (47.5 KB, 579 views)

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Old 05-30-2007, 11:15 AM   #17
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

Thanks for the reply Torpedo.

I have the Haynes manual so I'll give the electrical test a try.

Broken seal from the bent tube is unlikely as I didn't have to use any force to seat it after I straightened it.

Valve body is correct. I compared it closely to the old one and they were identical, including the four holes on the bottom that the older style ones don't have.

The mechanical clip is installed in the tube on the bottom of the valve body.

I saw your picture with the grinding from the clutch pack. Mine had just a small amount but nothing to worry about. My daughter may have revved the crap out of the engine on several occasions to get the car to back up when reverse first died. Would that possibly ruin the clutch packs? If so, which one(s) and can they be changed with the tranny in the car?

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Old 06-01-2007, 11:42 AM   #18
Audience of One
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

Hi
I am new to this site and have done some searching but am not sure if it relates to this issue or not.

For a while my sl2 automatic (95), would slam into reverse and all forward gears intermittently. I took it to Saturn who took the tranny apart and replaced a servo I think? the problem went away for a short time, but then came back and was intermittent again. Now it is all the time. Does this sound like the same issue? It sometimes slam hard enough from 2nd to 3rd to make my CD skip. Also, when I come to a stop, I hear a weird sound from the engine area. Not a grinding noise, or rubbing but more of an electronic sound.

I appreciate any help!

Todd

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Old 06-01-2007, 10:12 PM   #19
plastic torpedo
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Audience of One View Post
Hi
I am new to this site and have done some searching but am not sure if it relates to this issue or not.

For a while my sl2 automatic (95), would slam into reverse and all forward gears intermittently. I took it to Saturn who took the tranny apart and replaced a servo I think? the problem went away for a short time, but then came back and was intermittent again. Now it is all the time. Does this sound like the same issue? It sometimes slam hard enough from 2nd to 3rd to make my CD skip. Also, when I come to a stop, I hear a weird sound from the engine area. Not a grinding noise, or rubbing but more of an electronic sound.

I appreciate any help!

Todd
An electronic sound is normal operation. The dealer most likely torqued your input shaft nut for you, but didn't do anything for the valve body, which would cause reverse slam in the first place. I'd get a replacement valve body and do the nut again, if that doesn't work you can always sell the valve body on eBay for nearly as much as you bought it. Problem in forward gears indicates you have a loose input and possibly output shaft nuts again.


Quote:
Thanks for the reply Torpedo.

I have the Haynes manual so I'll give the electrical test a try.

Broken seal from the bent tube is unlikely as I didn't have to use any force to seat it after I straightened it.

Valve body is correct. I compared it closely to the old one and they were identical, including the four holes on the bottom that the older style ones don't have.

The mechanical clip is installed in the tube on the bottom of the valve body.

I saw your picture with the grinding from the clutch pack. Mine had just a small amount but nothing to worry about. My daughter may have revved the crap out of the engine on several occasions to get the car to back up when reverse first died. Would that possibly ruin the clutch packs? If so, which one(s) and can they be changed with the tranny in the car?
Yeah, I'm sorry to hear that you're running into this kind of problem. I'm not sure much can be replaced without taking out the tranny, I never took mine out. You might need wolfman's advice in this, he seems to know just about everything and most of my autotragic knowledge came from his and other forumers' replies. She could have broken something by revving it really high to get it in reverse, I've seen clutches literally brake in pieces when people try to downshift to 2nd at 90 mph or drop the clutch at high RPMs. Not sure if it's the same way in the automatics.

If you have the ability to take out the tranny, I wouldn't take it apart, I'd replace it with a salvaged one, and then take out the valve body from the old tranny and sell that on eBay, and keep the tranny for spare parts if you ever need them.

2nd and reverse are controlled by the same solenoid. You can take a voltmeter to the 2nd gear actuator wire near the valve body harness and see if the voltage changes when you try to shift.

If it doesn't, your computer is not sending the right signal for some reason. Or you have a bad harness.

If it does, disconnect the line pressure (MLP) solenoid wire and try shifting to reverse or 2nd. It should slam into gear if there's no mechanical/solenoid damage.

A PCM reset is not required when connecting/disconnecting the wires. So long as you turn the ignition off, the PCM performs solenoid checks and picks the right program when you start the car again.

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Old 06-14-2007, 10:07 AM   #20
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Default Re: S-Series Automatic Transaxle "Reverse Slam Cure-All"

I would like to add that you can get a rebuilt valve body for $175 off Ebay.
User name is: donnylester. He has them on there for $247.50 buy it now or
best offer. I offered $175 and he took it.

His website is
www.centralvalvebodies.com

You have to return the core within 15 days or there is a $100 core charge.

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