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Old 07-04-2019, 12:31 PM   #1
2OldSaturns
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Default 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

Hello Saturn Friends,

I have a problem that has gradually gotten worse over time. I have to rev the engine to about 3-4k rpm to get it to shift. It also shakes/shudders while in gear. In addition, gas mileage is very poor and the car heats up to the point where I have had to run the heater to reduce the coolant temperature. I should note that I do not have an issue with reverse slam. Could this just be an issue with transmission fluid level? I replaced the passenger side axle seal as it was leaking (see below).

Repair history:

This car has 200k+ miles on it. It has sat for intermittently long periods of time for repairs. I replaced a leaking axle seal and the inspection cover,which was sufficiently bent that I could not rebend it to fit. After that I refilled the transmission and drove around to find I had not added enough fluid by checking it and added more to bring it up to full (or so I thought-as anyone who has checked this level, it is not always straightforward). After that, I noticed difficulty shifting in drive, so I swapped the valve body with the one from the 2001 SL2. I pulled the PCM B fuse to reset the adaptives, but did not see any difference. The valve body swap did not seem to make a difference. So I tightened the input shaft nut, which turned a little bit. While in there, I attempted to tighten the output shaft nut, but it was tight enough that I could not budge it. In desperation, I swapped out the PCM with another 95 SL2 from the junkyard, but still did not see a difference, even after pulling the PCM B fuse and relearning. So I am out of ideas for an "easy" transmission fix, apart from a transmission fluid level that is either high or low. I believe I have a wheel bearing or axle on the passenger side that sometimes gives off a clunk when starting up from parked. My Haynes manual suggests that a bad CV joint might cause some of these symptoms-is this a realistic possibility and does it fit my symptoms?. Any suggestions are welcomed, as I am seriously considering the junkyard option since I cannot seem to run this problem down despite some effort.
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Old 07-04-2019, 02:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

Alas, getting live-data from that '95 isn't easy. Where are you located? Maybe somebody who can get live-data from OBD1 is close enough to help.

In the absence of live-data from a scanner, I would back-probe the ECT, MAP, TP, IAT, vehicle-speed, and turbine-speed sensors with a voltmeter; and a freq meter on the speed sensors, if you have one.

Have you checked the trans line pressure, just the simple "fuse pull" test to see if LP will get to the proper max?

Going into the trans, you should remove the VB and do the air-checks on the clutches/servo.
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Old 07-04-2019, 07:00 PM   #3
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

Have you checked the level at all? Since you had some leaking, did you top it off with Dexron III compatible fluid? Never use any other fluid in your Saturn, not Dex IV or VI.
How many miles since you last had the fluid completely drained out, replaced the spin on filter (just in front of the battery) and refilled with new Dex 3 fluid?

It should be done at least every 30K miles or it begs shifting issues or worse.
Also, the fluid should smell 'sweet', not burnt, and should have a bright red color, not brownish at all.
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Old 07-06-2019, 01:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Alas, getting live-data from that '95 isn't easy. Where are you located? Maybe somebody who can get live-data from OBD1 is close enough to help.


In the absence of live-data from a scanner, I would back-probe the ECT, MAP, TP, IAT, vehicle-speed, and turbine-speed sensors with a voltmeter; and a freq meter on the speed sensors, if you have one.
I have checked the resistance on the ECT and IAT, which are reasonable (~2.6 kohms) at ambient temperature, but it seems like pulling live data would be a lot easier than back probing the various sensors with the engine on, especially the VSS (I do not really know where the TSS is). I do not have a freq meter. Is a Tech-II necessary for this? I may be able to locate a local GM dealership or local independent repair shop to collect the data.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Have you checked the trans line pressure, just the simple "fuse pull" test to see if LP will get to the proper max?
No, I have not. I checked the thread entitled "TAAT line pressure specs?" and could do that if it is warranted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Going into the trans, you should remove the VB and do the air-checks on the clutches/servo.
I vaguely remember seeing this when researching how to check the input shaft nut (ISN). Do I need a compressed air source or could I use the air in a can such as is used to clean computer keyboards?
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Old 07-06-2019, 01:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

If you go to a GM dealer, I think it will be a TechI that will work, not the TechII. Again, where are you located, maybe one of us that has a scanner for OBD1 is close enough to help?

Checking the LP is fairly cheap and easy to do, so I would do that before digging into the VB area again.

The TSS is under the spin-on filter, it is the larger of the two sensors down there; looks (is) identical to the VSS on the rear side of the trans.

It may be possible to do the air-checks using cans, but I suspect it will take a lot of them. A cheap compressor would probably be about the same cost, and be useful in the future.

Are you getting any of the "blinky codes", other than "12"? As I recall, "11" indicates a trans code is present, and for that you have to count blinks of a different dash light (engine temp?).

It seems that the root of nearly all TAAT problems, other than the diff pin, is the VB. However, there isn't a good systematic way to test the VB; so your task is to eliminate other possibilities before throwing a VB at it.
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Old 07-06-2019, 01:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
Have you checked the level at all? Since you had some leaking, did you top it off with Dexron III compatible fluid? Never use any other fluid in your Saturn, not Dex IV or VI.
How many miles since you last had the fluid completely drained out, replaced the spin on filter (just in front of the battery) and refilled with new Dex 3 fluid?.
Ok, I just checked the level. If anything, it appears high. I drove a little bit, got the engine temp between 1/4 and 1/2, let it idle with accessories off and checked it three times. I see fluid on all the hatchmarks, up to the top, but then it becomes difficult to determine how high up that goes. How would I remove enough to bring it down without going too low?

I am running Mobil 1 ATF. I last drained and refilled it and replaced the filter when I replaced the axle seal, almost exactly a year and 365 miles ago(it has been sitting A LOT).


Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
It should be done at least every 30K miles or it begs shifting issues or worse.
Also, the fluid should smell 'sweet', not burnt, and should have a bright red color, not brownish at all.
Fluid appears OK, still pink. No burnt smell.
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Old 07-06-2019, 01:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Checking the LP is fairly cheap and easy to do, so I would do that before digging into the VB area again.
That seems simple enough to do, just plumbing really. I'll have to get back after I assemble the parts for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
It may be possible to do the air-checks using cans, but I suspect it will take a lot of them. A cheap compressor would probably be about the same cost, and be useful in the future.
Hoping to avoid that, see my comment about the VB below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Are you getting any of the "blinky codes", other than "12"? As I recall, "11" indicates a trans code is present, and for that you have to count blinks of a different dash light (engine temp?).
I checked this morning and only got the "12" codes, three times and repeat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
It seems that the root of nearly all TAAT problems, other than the diff pin, is the VB. However, there isn't a good systematic way to test the VB; so your task is to eliminate other possibilities before throwing a VB at it.
I have swapped the existing VB with one from my other saturn (a 2001 SL2) and am still having the same issues. Doesn't this eliminate the VB as a possibility? Also, doesn't this eliminate the necessity for the compressed air checks?
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Old 07-06-2019, 02:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

Swapping with a used and unknown VB isn't a sure test. Problems with these VBs are so common that you can't assume that the one you swapped in is OK. However, I agree that it is unlikely that the swapped VB would show exactly the same problems; especially if it came off of a trans that seemed to be working OK. Pay close attention to the symptoms, are they exactly the same as with the previous VB?

Now, if we assume for the moment that you have proven the VB is OK, then the air-checks are vital. If the VB (and LP) aren't the problem, then the mostly likely place is leakage at the internal seals. I'm talking about the forward gears, right now. R has its own special problem with the ISN.

Do you know how to check the LP? That port is common 1/8"-27 NPT, easy to find plumbing adapters.
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Old 07-10-2019, 04:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2OldSaturns View Post
Hello Saturn Friends,


Repair history:

. I replaced a leaking axle seal and the inspection cover,which was sufficiently bent that I could not rebend it to fit. .
By "inspection" cover, are you referring to the side cover on the transmission?

What is your shift quality? Does the car slam gears on upshifting and downshifting?

Is the "Service Engine Soon" light illuminated on the dash? If so, what codes are coming up?

You can scan them with a paper clip, as live-data requires an very expensive SNAP-ON brand of scanner to get on OBD-I. Even then, the information is very limited. Snap-On charges about $5k for that scanner.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Swapping with a used and unknown VB isn't a sure test. Problems with these VBs are so common that you can't assume that the one you swapped in is OK. However, I agree that it is unlikely that the swapped VB would show exactly the same problems; especially if it came off of a trans that seemed to be working OK. Pay close attention to the symptoms, are they exactly the same as with the previous VB?

Now, if we assume for the moment that you have proven the VB is OK, then the air-checks are vital. If the VB (and LP) aren't the problem, then the mostly likely place is leakage at the internal seals. I'm talking about the forward gears, right now. R has its own special problem with the ISN.

Do you know how to check the LP? That port is common 1/8"-27 NPT, easy to find plumbing adapters.

All right, followed something that Chazberry posted from the 95 FSM (#24 in the thread entitled "TAAT line pressure specs?", first link under FSM pages and attached below), and I ran a test.

Basically, install pressure gauge, get transmission temperature to 70C, turn off car(I added this, didn't want to pull fuse with car on), pull 7.5 amp TRS LP fuse in UHJB, turn car back on(added this again), shift to drive with parking brake on, and read pressure. I include more detail below:

Installed pressure gauge with fittings into TTS hole in transmission, including a place for TTS, which I reconnected.

Drove around for 30 minutes (15 minutes was not enough to get to 70C) getting the transmission temperature up, stop the car, pull all the intake stuff out of the engine compartment to access the TTS to measure the resistance of the TTS (My haynes manual, at beginning of Chapter 6 gives resistance versus temperature and states that 430-480 ohms is 160F (70C is 158F)).

The resistance was too low initially, 360 ohms (somewhere between 160 and 200F), which is higher than 70C but which gave 120-130 psi. When the TTS indicated 430 ohms, I tried again and got 150 psi and then checked the resistance, which was still 430 ohms. The earlier test which gave a resistance of 560 ohms (corresponds to somewhere between (120 and 160 F, < 70C) gave a pressure of 180-190psi.

In summary, for the TRS LP fuse out, the transmission in drive, and parking brake on, a table of results follows.

TTS resistance (ohms)..... TTS Temperature........ Pressure (psig)
560..................................120-160F(<70C).........180-190
430..................................160F(approx 70C).......150
360..................................160-200F (>70C)........120-130

All this data, I believe, indicates low pressure in the trans., assuming the test was done properly.

The question I put out is, what's the diagnosis (and remedy, if there is one)?
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:25 PM   #11
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

Yes, since the LP seems low, the next thing to do is the air-checks. I think you are really going to need a compressor to do this.

When you go in to do the air-checks, I would swap back in the other VB and repeat the LP testing, see if the LP changes appreciably. There is no need to stop the engine before pulling the LP fuse. By the way, what was LP before the fuse was pulled?

I'm not sure if it makes a difference, but I would check LP with the trans in D or R; just be very sure the brakes are set so the car can't move, especially as you pull the LP fuse.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:47 PM   #12
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2OldSaturns View Post
That seems simple enough to do, just plumbing really. I'll have to get back after I assemble the parts for that.



Hoping to avoid that, see my comment about the VB below.



I checked this morning and only got the "12" codes, three times and repeat.



I have swapped the existing VB with one from my other saturn (a 2001 SL2) and am still having the same issues. Doesn't this eliminate the VB as a possibility? Also, doesn't this eliminate the necessity for the compressed air checks?
The input shaft nut is likely your problem.
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Old 07-28-2019, 01:09 PM   #13
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Yes, since the LP seems low, the next thing to do is the air-checks. I think you are really going to need a compressor to do this.
Ok, followed the '98 FSM for the air checks(and used a rented compressor):

1st clutch-hear a definite clunk when pressure is applied.

2nd clutch-can see clutch move when pressure is applied, hear a gurgling and clutch rebounds more quickly than 3rd and 4th clutches when pressure is released.

3rd clutch-clutch moves and slowly releases.

4th clutch-clutch moves and slowly releases.



Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
When you go in to do the air-checks, I would swap back in the other VB and repeat the LP testing, see if the LP changes appreciably. There is no need to stop the engine before pulling the LP fuse. By the way, what was LP before the fuse was pulled?
With the current VB and before the fuse was pulled, I recorded the following pressures (do not know what temperature transaxle fluid was at, but I believe it was before warming to about 70C, so <70C).

P-60 psig
R-170 psig
N-65 psig
D-70 psig
3-60 psig
2-110-120 psig (flickering)

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
I'm not sure if it makes a difference, but I would check LP with the trans in D or R; just be very sure the brakes are set so the car can't move, especially as you pull the LP fuse.
A previous post(#10) showed pressures for the fuse pulled and the car in drive with parking brake on for various temperatures of the transaxle fluid.
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:00 PM   #14
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Default Re: 95 SL2 automatic needs to rev high to shift

You reported the results of four "air checks", but the diagram below indicates there are twelve ports ports. I don't know if all twelve are required, but it sure looks to me like you need to pressurize more than the four basic "clutch apply" ports.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/att...7&d=1329421615

The full LP (fuse pulled) in reply #10 is low, it should be more like 260 psi, so if any one of those twelve ports shown above, even a "lube" one, is leaking somewhere, it may drop LP. I simply don't know, am just trying to help talk you through this.

I am also suggesting you post videos of the air checks. Results of that testing is very subjective and hard to describe. Maybe if somebody who is familiar with that testing can see and hear the testing "in person", they can give better clues. Alas, that won't be me, I have never done those tests myself.
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