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Old 05-14-2016, 11:24 AM   #1
Dude64
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1998 SW2
Default Transmission leak

1998 sw2 just passed 252k. complete service records since new engine rebuilt no record of transmission work other than filter changes. when I got the car I changed the trans filter and fluid. some months later and 10s of thousands of miles later I noticed a smell of burning trans fluid and I could see faint smoke coming from the area below the intake. when i got the car up and looked underneath i could see fluid all over and what looked like a leaking axle seal. fluid along the half shaft and dripping down onto the exhaust. shortly thereafter i changed the seal and wiped the whole area clean. the next day i could smell the burning fluid again and see a wet spot on the street under the area. car up and checked again and again a wet mess. i carefully reread the posts here on axle seal replacement and changed it again. the first time i used a timkin now this time national. anyway same thing again next day burning fluid, smoke and stink. this time i jacked the car up and kept it running. i could see the wet mess once again but as far as i can tell its not coming out of the axle seal. the seal was relatively dry since i just did the seal and wipe last night. i stayed under there for a while and finally saw fluid dripping from the area just in front of the trans drain plug but not from the plug itself. as if it was coming out the the trans casing along the case seam. i couldn't see any trails down to that area but i did see another drip toward the front of the cast metal piece, i'm not sure what its called but it seems to be an exhaust bracket. and as far up as i could see in the confined area it was all wet. question... whats leaking? is there a leak point somewhere above the axle seal? is the leak coming from between the trans and engine? is the trans case itself leaking? is it time for a new trans?
Thanks in advance for any advice or insight.
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Old 05-14-2016, 12:25 PM   #2
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2001 SC2
Default Re: Transmission leak

Differential Pin Inspection
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Old 05-14-2016, 01:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Transmission leak

Wipe down around and double check the filter too
...
97 sl2 a/t 104 K
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Old 05-14-2016, 06:58 PM   #4
Dude64
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Default Re: Transmission leak

Will check the pin tomorrow. Need a day off from laying under that car.
Thank you.
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Old 05-21-2016, 09:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Transmission leak

Pin is flush on each side of the carrier. As best I can tell the leak is coming from under the black dust cover. The leak is also not consistent. On short drives there seems to be no leak, nothing dripping when I look under and no spot on the ground thereafter. Leak seems to happen more after longer usage. Yesterday it was leaking so much I could see a trail on the ground when driving slow and then a big spot after it sat. Drove home and on next start fluid was so low trans wouldn't engage. Refilled fluid and then no leak for another couple hours... filter has no leak.
I don't know very much about the transmissions insides. Is there some kind of seal on the main shaft that could be leaking? Is there a torque converter in there that might be leaking? I feel a transmission pull coming on...
Thanks.
**Found a bunch of posts by searching torque converter leak rather than transmission leak. Sounds like there is an input shaft seal and TC seal... ugh... Am I looking at replacing those seals or just swapping in a used tranny with something less than 252k
Thanks.

Last edited by Dude64; 05-21-2016 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:48 PM   #6
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Transmission leak

There is a seal and o-ring on the torque converter. This is a problem as it may have been damaged during the engine swap.

Trans swap is the best bet so you get rid of that well used one.
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Old 05-31-2016, 09:54 AM   #7
Dude64
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Default Re: Transmission leak

I'll look for a used trans. Anything specific I should beware of or look for?

And just so I'm sure... do I need another 1998 or can I use a newer one? I don't want to have to modify anything.

Thanks for the help.

Last edited by Dude64; 05-31-2016 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: Transmission leak

How far away from Escondido are you?
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:44 AM   #9
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Transmission leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dude64 View Post
I'll look for a used trans. Anything specific I should beware of or look for?

And just so I'm sure... do I need another 1998 or can I use a newer one? I don't want to have to modify anything.

Thanks for the help.
Low mileage is the big issue and from a car that got hit in the rear. You do not want a bad one right out of the yard. (4 and newer all swap as long as the same performance level, DOHC or SOHC and this is critical as most yards get this wrong. MP6 - SOHC and MP7 - DOHC. Newer is better but once you get into the 00 and newer the seals are different for the axles so something additional to change.
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:24 PM   #10
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Transmission leak

Don't overlook the obvious. If that is the first time you replaced the filter yourself, you MAY not have tightened it enough. I specifically remember buying one at the Saturn dealership (for someone else since I own a manual transmission), the parts manager made a point to remind me to put it on very tight. They are different than an oil filter and need to be tightened much more - maybe someone with a manual can look it up (difference between oil and transmission filter tightness).
...
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:46 PM   #11
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1998 SW2
Default Re: Transmission leak

There's always an auto to manual swap, but you'll need to do some hacking to your wiring harness, and grab the clutch/pedal/switch/cylinders and shifter from the donor as well as the pcm for the DOHC manual. Also, grab the wire that goes from the cluster to the pcm for the 'shift up' light or else you'll never get rid of the service/wrench light denoting a burnt out indicator.

It's not too difficult to make the switch if you're wary of the condition of all available auto transmissions you can find. I enjoyed doing this to my 98 SW2

I endorse fixing it, but a swap is easy enough. A direct MP7 swap would be much easier and cut off some time under the hood. It would also be a good time to replace a potentially worn transmission mount and inspect your CV boots.
...
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:18 PM   #12
Dude64
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Default Re: Transmission leak

Escondido is about 3 hours from me...

So is MP7 a code for the dohc trans? Where will I see it?

Filter area is dry. I found out the hard way on the first filter I changed...

I'm too old for all the work involved with a manual swap and I need the auto.

Today it started slipping so I topped off the fluid which was down maybe 1.2 quarts... Now it will only catch first and still slips there. Also threw 732 733 and 734 codes. Erased and just came right back. I guess I must have finally burned out the actuators? I knew this was coming.

Another question. I saw a video on youtube where a guy picks up a trans and installs it from the top... Can it be pulled out from the top as well?

Thanks for the quick and informative responses. Much appreciated.
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:46 PM   #13
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Transmission leak

You have to get the engine out first then you are good to go with a swap.

Where to find it...
How to check the trans model number. There is no tag. Look right between the top 2 transmission to engine mounting bolts. Clean the area with a rag and brake cleaner, do not use any abrasive! Take a large tip sharpie pen and rub it in the center of the case between those bolts. You will see some 1/2" high dot matrix letters and numbers. They are quite hard to read. You are interested in the first 4 positions.The 1st position is the year code and may be either a number or letter, the 2nd position is the letter M, the 3rd position is the letter P, and the 4th position is a number - either 2 or 3 for manual or 6 or 7 for automatic. You must have the correct MP number for the application or it will not work in the car. These letters/numbers are centered between those top 2 mounting bolts and they are really are there.

What it looks like when you finally find it...
Use these for trans.
http://i.imgur.com/dwb6a.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/vEmqC.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/vEmqC.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/vEmqC.jpg

Yes, you must check for MP-7 on any used transmission.
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Old 05-31-2016, 08:39 PM   #14
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Default Re: Transmission leak

Take a peek at this thread:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...highlight=taat

If you are willing, let me know precisely where you are located, maybe I can arrange for free shipping to me in NorCal
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Old 06-01-2016, 07:00 PM   #15
Dude64
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1998 SW2
Default Re: Transmission leak

The videos I've seen show the trans coming out thru the drivers wheel opening. Maybe a dumb question given the info I have so far but what years should I be looking at? Ex; I saw a 00 sc2 smashed from behind at the junk yard. Can I use that trans?
Thank you so much for the help.
I'll send the junk one if you want to get it shipped.
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Old 06-01-2016, 07:02 PM   #16
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Transmission leak

Yes. Any MP7 94-02, you cxan use the one out of the 02 SC2.
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Old 07-14-2016, 08:43 PM   #17
Dude64
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Default Re: Transmission leak

Finally got my trans out. Now looking for a replacement. I will check the diff pin but anything else I should be aware of? Also should I use my torque converter? Expect one to come with a used unit? Or look forward to replacing it?
Thanks.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:10 PM   #18
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Default Re: Transmission leak

Oops, I missed your reply that you would give me the old TAAT if I can arrange for shipping. Is that still an option? If so, what city in SoCal is it now?
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:43 PM   #19
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Default Re: Transmission leak

Went to the junk yard today and now I'm looking for a few opinions please. My options are
1 I found a 2001 SC2 insurance total hit in the rear. The insurance sticker said 139k. Price $143 $15 core and $43 available 30 day warranty.
2 $350 for a pulled 2001 with unknown mileage and 30 day warranty
3 $400 for a pulled 2000 with unknown mileage and a 90 day warranty.

My inclination is to go for the one with known mileage 139k but then I don't really know what I'm getting... right?

The guys at the 'pulled' yards warned against pulling my own they said the Saturn trans are all crapped out. I did see about 20 at the yard and maybe two were smashed so unknown why they were junk...

My old trans is in 93063 CA

Thanks
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:58 PM   #20
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Transmission leak

Keep looking as some yards buy running cars at auction to strip and they will know if the trans was functioning correctly. Lower mileage is better but no guarantee.

None of those warrantees are of much good as you will have to be set up for a quick swap to get any value out of it. Remember when swapping a trans you will have to retrain it before you can begin to decide if it is good.

I can aim you to a yard who may have better options but it will be more money that option 1 at $200 total.
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