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Old 03-05-2018, 11:18 AM   #1
Steve_Vue
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Default 2003 Saturn Vue CVT Transmission swap

Hi! I'm new to this site and just bought a 2003 Saturn Vue with cylinder 2.2l motor. It also has the CVT transmission which is bad. I bought this Vue for a deal and love the room, features, and look of it. This is a project for my daughter. She will be 15 here in a couple of weeks and we are going to work on this together. I originally purchased a 2004 Malibu Classic for her that needed work. It also has the 2.2l 4 cylinder in it. I purchased a rebuilt head due to a timing chain issue and put the car back together. After driving it for only I mile I realized the bottom half of that motor was bad, so I decided to purchase another vehicle with the same motor, hence the Saturn Vue.

Now I am having second thoughts. We both like the Vue better and I really don't want to just pull the motor out of this and haul it off to the junk yard, so that's why I joined this site. I was reading quite a bit of transmission swap stories, but none seem to have all of the information I am looking for. Here is what I am thinking. Take the transmission out of the Malibu Classic and try installing it in the Vue. I know the transmission bolts right up to the motor, but what are the "pitfalls" to doing this swap? Not sure I can get a dealer to program the transmission when and if this complete and possible so there is that info.

I've been working on cars since I was 7 and now in my 40's. I am restoring a '68 Chevelle right now, but putting that on-hold to start/finish this project. I am ready for a challenge.

The only thing wrong with the 2004 Chevy Malibu Classic mechanically is the motor, so there is always the possibility of just pulling the motor out of the Vue. I would like to save the Vue if I can get some help from here.

Take care and thanks for reading!

Steve D.

2003 Saturn Vue
2004 Chevy Malibu Classic
2016 Chevy Malibu
1997 Chevy Suburban
1968 Chevy Chevelle
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Old 03-05-2018, 12:51 PM   #2
oldmanina2005vu
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2008 SKY Red Line
Default Re: 2003 Saturn Vue CVT Transmission swap

I think your best bet is to go with a proven swap combination. I know for a fact that the AF23 is a proven swap and is a reliable one. It is also well documented and a manual even exists for the process. The AF23 is a readily available transmission as it was used in the ION sedan in 2003 and 2004. If you go with the Malibu tranny you will be in uncharted waters I believe. You can purchase the transmission and all the parts needed for the AF23 swap for less than $400 if you have a pick and pay JY local.
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Old 03-05-2018, 06:13 PM   #3
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2003 Saturn Vue CVT Transmission swap

The ECM and transmission control module talk to each other.. Not sure how you could get the ECM to recognize whatever is needed to control the new tranny..

I'd recommend go with a proven and documented swap.

Our "Rescue Vue" started life as a CVT and is now sporting a 5 speed manual. We tow this behind our motorhome and are very happy with it
...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.
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Old 03-05-2018, 06:56 PM   #4
oldmanina2005vu
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn Vue CVT Transmission swap

I agree with waiter21 both the 5 speed manual and AF23 Aisin automatic are better options. PM me your email addy if you want a look at the manual for the AF23 swap. It is pretty thorough and easy to follow. The wiring is the hardest part and you will have to do a little fab work for the front lower mount. We will be here to help.
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Old 10-15-2021, 01:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn Vue CVT Transmission swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmanina2005vu View Post
I think your best bet is to go with a proven swap combination. I know for a fact that the AF23 is a proven swap and is a reliable one. It is also well documented and a manual even exists for the process. The AF23 is a readily available transmission as it was used in the ION sedan in 2003 and 2004. If you go with the Malibu tranny you will be in uncharted waters I believe. You can purchase the transmission and all the parts needed for the AF23 swap for less than $400 if you have a pick and pay JY local.
Can I get a copy of that manual to swap a automatic or manual transmission into a 2003 Saturn Vue 2.2L AWD with the CVT?
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Old 03-06-2018, 11:57 AM   #6
Steve_Vue
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn Vue CVT Transmission swap

Perfect! I am planning on posting if more people would like to see this process done. Anyone know if any programming needs to be done to the engine or transmission?
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Old 03-06-2018, 03:48 PM   #7
oldmanina2005vu
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2004 VUE 2.2L
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn Vue CVT Transmission swap

Which swap are you going to do?

VTI to 5 Speed Manual
VTI to AF23
VTI to the Malibu which I believe is a 4T45E
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Old 03-06-2018, 04:11 PM   #8
Steve_Vue
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn Vue CVT Transmission swap

I think I will do the ION automatic transmission. Now I just need to find an ION to buy. I figure buying an entire car will save me money in the long run.
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:25 PM   #9
oldmanina2005vu
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn Vue CVT Transmission swap

Do you have a copy of the VTI to AF23 swap manual that Jimmy Ford put together? I have it if you are interested.
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:36 PM   #10
Steve_Vue
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn Vue CVT Transmission swap

I do not..
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Old 04-27-2018, 05:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn Vue CVT Transmission swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmanina2005vu View Post
Do you have a copy of the VTI to AF23 swap manual that Jimmy Ford put together? I have it if you are interested.


Wanting to know if i could get a copy of this manual in the middle of a swap. Thank you
My email. Jegnemc@yahoo.com
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