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Old 07-19-2008, 02:35 PM   #1
JohnASmith
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Default SL2 shifts hard

My 2002 SL2 automatic transmission suddenly developed hard shifting into all gears. It has only 50K miles. The fluid is clean and at proper level. I tried disconnecting the battery to reset the computer. I just had the tires rotated which is likely just a coincidence but is there something they could have done while lifting the car? I am not a fan of Saturn transmissions since I had a 2000 SL2 that needed rebuilt at 60K miles. Any advice would be appreciated.

Last edited by JohnASmith; 07-19-2008 at 02:48 PM. Reason: More detail
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Old 07-19-2008, 02:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

Manual or automatic?
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Old 07-19-2008, 02:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

Automatic
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

Hopefully, one of the automatic trans guys will jump on this one. I am not very knowledgeable on automatics.
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

First, check to make sure the charging system is functioning properly, improper voltage will cause many problems in these cars, not the least of which is transmission problems. These automatic transmissions are computer controlled, and faulty voltage will cause problems.
Check the fuses in the hood fuse box marked TRS 1/2 3/4 (I think.)
these are the fuses for the solenoids in the valve body that control shifting.

Have you changed the fluid & filter every 30,000 miles?

Do a search of these forums keywords Valve body rough shift slam
Many posts, many answers.

Do you have a service engine soon light going off? If so, get the code scanned & post it here. I have had tranny problems just like this without codes.

This is a very common problem with these cars, luckily it can usualy be fixed by putting in a different valve body(~$100 on ebay) if you have moderate mechanical skills.
First start checking the cheap stuff, charging system, fuses, fluid level.
Others will pipe in on this, I'm sure.

Good Luck!
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

If all else is good then the line pressure solenoid could be at fault. Line pressure test would be the way to start.
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Old 07-19-2008, 08:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

Charge voltage is 14.6 volts and all fuses are good. Best bet now is the pressure control solenoid in the valve body. If I need to do that wouldn't it make more sense to just replace the valve body? I still need to try a new filter and fluid. Should I try the Lucas additive? Is there any possibility of an electrical connector coming loose when the vehicle was lifted to rotate the tires?
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Old 07-20-2008, 11:31 AM   #8
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnASmith View Post
Charge voltage is 14.6 volts and all fuses are good. Best bet now is the pressure control solenoid in the valve body. If I need to do that wouldn't it make more sense to just replace the valve body? I still need to try a new filter and fluid. Should I try the Lucas additive? Is there any possibility of an electrical connector coming loose when the vehicle was lifted to rotate the tires?
I wouldn't try the additives. Anything is possible. But it sounds valve body related to me from the sounds of it.
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Old 07-20-2008, 03:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

I also would skip the additives.
Possibility of an electrical connector coming loose, sure, anything is possible.
Check the connector on top ot the transmission pan.
You could just change the line pressure solenoid, or change out the entire valve body. A solenoid will cost around $45-$60, and there are 5 of them and they are all interchangable. A used Valve body will cost around $100 on ebay.
It just depends on what you want to spend & what your mechanical skill level is.
Or you could just go to the dealer and spend around $1500.

Do a search of these forums, there are many postings that will show you how to test the solenoids resistance with an electrical tester and many other helpful postings that will provide insight into this not-really-as-difficult-as-you-might-think repair.
A valve body can be swapped out in under an hour, if you know what you're doing.

Good luck!

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Old 07-21-2008, 11:48 AM   #10
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

Thanks so much for the great advice. Will I hurt anything if I baby it along for a while? I can be gentle and prevent hard shifts.
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:54 AM   #11
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

If you keep driving it, you could cause the input shaft nut to back out. That's not expensive but, it's more of a pain to fix than the valve body.
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

I have read the different posts but have not found a instructions on testing the selenoids. Do you have to remove the valve body to get to them to test them? Also, my check engine light has never come on, could I still have fault codes?
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:23 PM   #13
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

From my understanding you can test the solenoids with the Valve Body in the car (you obviously pull the solenoids out). Instead of removing the whole VB, you just open it up more. Hopefully somebody can describe or link better info than this.
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:27 PM   #14
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stasy View Post
From my understanding you can test the solenoids with the Valve Body in the car (you obviously pull the solenoids out). Instead of removing the whole VB, you just open it up more. Hopefully somebody can describe or link better info than this.
You go at it like your going to replace a solenoid. There's no need to even take out the solenoid once you see the bus plate. Simply take a multi-meter and check the resistance on each one. You can see the two leads on each solenoid from this section of valve body. It should be at or around 5 ohms.

However, this is by no means a guarantee that the solenoid is good or bad. I had a bad valve body and a solenoid from what I have gathered by thorough checking but all the solenoids were in the 5 ohm range.

This test only checks for continuity and that there is a level of resistance. A solenoid doesn't work off of resistance alone. A solenoids main purpose is to magnetize and move a pin in the middle outward.
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:07 PM   #15
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

After watching the YouTube video I think I am up to replacing the Line Pressure Control Solenoid. Is the dealer my only source for the part?
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:03 PM   #16
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

I have a 2002 SL2 with 185k miles that I have driven hard.

I had the same problem at 100k miles and babied it for about 50k (manually downshifting and not gunning it). Then I found a how-to on these forums on changing out the valve body. I got a used (tested good) valve body on ebay for under $50. Transmission has been running like new for the past 35k miles.

Just so you know, I replaced my ECTS first (was bad but didnt fix it), tried the reverse slam fix (didnt work) and tried tightening the shaft nuts first (not loose). I would just recommend changing out the whole valve body first, much easier (took me 15 minutes with the guide) and worth it if you get one cheap enough.

My two cents.
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:32 PM   #17
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

more than likely its gonna need a valve body, and if this has been going on for a while now you are most likely gonna need new input and output shaft nuts. these nuts are also seals, they loosen when the pc solenoid in valve body goes causing hard shifts. saturn dealer will get you most accurate diag and will end up doing a pressure check and air pressure check of valve body. trans shops will throw the kitchen sink at it and it will cost you alot.
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Old 08-06-2008, 04:01 AM   #18
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

I bought one solenoid for my daughters 2000 SC2 from here:
http://www.bulkpart.com/Merchant2/me...roduct_Count=0
Fixed it right up!
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:09 AM   #19
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

mikeh, how do you determine which 1 of the 5 in there to replace
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:50 AM   #20
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Default Re: SL2 shifts hard

The line pressure solenoid is the one closest to the front of the car.
I used this thread for reference:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...id+replacement

There are a few other threads as well.
The symptoms for my daughters car were the transmission slammed into all forward gears at all temperatures.
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