Warm Transmission - won't shift

  #1  
Old 12-06-2012, 09:45 AM
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Default Warm Transmission - won't shift

After I drive my 2004 L300 (V6) a few miles it won't shift, stays in a low gear. The problem seems to be getting worse.
Any ideas?
 
  #2  
Old 12-06-2012, 05:25 PM
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When was the last time you had transmission service performed on your car ??
 
  #3  
Old 12-06-2012, 06:41 PM
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My bad, but it was at around 50,000 miles - I know have 125,000. I was told though by a shop that a flush/change generally does not fix any problems. I am having trouble getting any shops to look at this, they don't want to work on Saturns. A large transmission rebuilder in the area (about 40 miles away) though told me this transmission is basically a Grand Am transmission, that the local shops don't realize it.
 
  #4  
Old 12-07-2012, 08:13 AM
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This story is becoming more and more typical of a variety of Saturn problems. Like it or not the concept of a corporate platform consisting of a design by Opal and assembled by Daewoo and marketed under a variety of corporate names does very little to establish a product loyalty and as the parts bins used to assemble the things from consists of left overs from international flops or in some cases those that might have been successful still creates a parts availability problem. Other wise known as badge engineering where the only engineering was to come up with a name badge.
However, the later transmissions are full of electronics, solenoids and such to shift things with, electric motors to run as the highly touted and over priced hybrids and related vehicles. That technology has proven to be a maintenance headache which has been superseded only by the failure prone variable speed variants. Those things hate heat. And when maintenance has been let to slide and the fluid has problems they slip generating more heat. This leads to aggravating failure.
You may have been told that a flush/change rarely fixes things, but on the later transmissions the lack of doing so encourages the things to quit.
Check the fluid, it should be red and smell like fresh transmission fluid. If it is anything less than red and smells like burnt cork or other raspy stuff the fluid is shot, heat has been high and continual driving does no good.
The odds are something expensive and hard to get parts for has already happened.
The cheapest thing you can do at this point in time is to flush it. The problem with that is unless it is power flushed the torque converter will remain full of cruddy transmission fluid. Yes you can do it your self, it is generally messy as you need to jack the thing up and unbolt the transmission pan unless there is a drain on it some where and the drain the fluid, the unbolting of the pan spills it all over the place. You will need a new gasket and some gasket sealer, RTV or something better. Your choice. It probably would be to your benefit to try to take the warpage out of pan hold downs with a hammer, actually two, one to hammer the point where the bolts went through if that is how you had to deal with things things and the other to act as a dolly. A new filter because it never hurts to have one and what ever transmission fluid is required.
And my suggestion would be to obtain some LUCAS transmission additive. I have had some interesting success with Lucas products to the point now when I perform a transmission maintenance I automatically use it.
To those nay sayers who say it does nothing, I look at it this way,l it is already broken. You can not break it any worse and it might actually do something.
If you do these things your self you are ought the cost of the materials, some time and a sloppy job. If you have plenty of money pay someone to do it. Seems to me around $100.00 bill comes close to having it done. The bottom line. No guarantee's. The transmission already is broken. The only sure way is to have it rebuilt and you may have to have that done anyway. And depending how and who does it the cost will ruin Christmas.
 

Last edited by uncljohn; 12-07-2012 at 08:15 AM.
  #5  
Old 12-07-2012, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by uncljohn View Post
This story is becoming more and more typical of a variety of Saturn problems. Like it or not the concept of a corporate platform consisting of a design by Opal and assembled by Daewoo and marketed under a variety of corporate names does very little to establish a product loyalty and as the parts bins used to assemble the things from consists of left overs from international flops or in some cases those that might have been successful still creates a parts availability problem. Other wise known as badge engineering where the only engineering was to come up with a name badge.
However, the later transmissions are full of electronics, solenoids and such to shift things with, electric motors to run as the highly touted and over priced hybrids and related vehicles. That technology has proven to be a maintenance headache which has been superseded only by the failure prone variable speed variants. Those things hate heat. And when maintenance has been let to slide and the fluid has problems they slip generating more heat. This leads to aggravating failure.
You may have been told that a flush/change rarely fixes things, but on the later transmissions the lack of doing so encourages the things to quit.
Check the fluid, it should be red and smell like fresh transmission fluid. If it is anything less than red and smells like burnt cork or other raspy stuff the fluid is shot, heat has been high and continual driving does no good.
The odds are something expensive and hard to get parts for has already happened.
The cheapest thing you can do at this point in time is to flush it. The problem with that is unless it is power flushed the torque converter will remain full of cruddy transmission fluid. Yes you can do it your self, it is generally messy as you need to jack the thing up and unbolt the transmission pan unless there is a drain on it some where and the drain the fluid, the unbolting of the pan spills it all over the place. You will need a new gasket and some gasket sealer, RTV or something better. Your choice. It probably would be to your benefit to try to take the warpage out of pan hold downs with a hammer, actually two, one to hammer the point where the bolts went through if that is how you had to deal with things things and the other to act as a dolly. A new filter because it never hurts to have one and what ever transmission fluid is required.
And my suggestion would be to obtain some LUCAS transmission additive. I have had some interesting success with Lucas products to the point now when I perform a transmission maintenance I automatically use it.
To those nay sayers who say it does nothing, I look at it this way,l it is already broken. You can not break it any worse and it might actually do something.
If you do these things your self you are ought the cost of the materials, some time and a sloppy job. If you have plenty of money pay someone to do it. Seems to me around $100.00 bill comes close to having it done. The bottom line. No guarantee's. The transmission already is broken. The only sure way is to have it rebuilt and you may have to have that done anyway. And depending how and who does it the cost will ruin Christmas.
The reason I am not sure if I would be wasting my money flushing right now is even the local Aamco shop told me not to bother, first get it dx'd. I figured they would say pay for a flush first!
 
  #6  
Old 12-07-2012, 02:29 PM
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Don't trust AAMCO for anything. It's abbreviated for All Automatics Must Come Out. You may have debris from the transmission clogging the cooler and lines. IF you can find a new radiator and lines for it and want to incur the expense, then replace them and do a fluid, filter and flush on it. Oh, and check all of your electrical connections too. Maybe you'll luck out and find a corroded connection.
 
  #7  
Old 12-08-2012, 07:45 AM
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A shop such as AAMCO is in the business of selling you rebuilt transmissions. A commodity which has a high profit margin. If you were running a transmission shop which would you push. A new transmission which you could make a killing off of or a Flush which barely makes chump change.
They care very little about the ultimate effect if has on you, only the effect if has on your wallet.

When my local Chrysler dealer or Saturn before they closed down and disappeared recommends a hand full of Flushes, oil water and brakes for example when I take the car in for a warranty required transmission maintenance it is not because the are interested in preserving the reliability of those items, items which will run way beyond the expected life required by the first owner and the implied factory warranty even if run under the conditions of pure neglect, but at $50.00 a flush are pure profit.
And my Saturn? Probably one of the reasons the dealers no longer exist is the last time mine saw a dealer was for an estimated $350.00 repair and the nice young man with the clip board and the new tie carefully explained to me how I needed to have an addition $3200.00 in repairs just to make it out of the mechanics bay. I liked the part about $75.00 worth of windshield wipers.
Needless to say he and I had a difference of opinion.
And mine was not very popular.
It is your car and it is a used car and requires a certain amount of maintenance to continue being functional. You either learn what can be done with some success and reasonable cost effective and with in the scope of things you have control of and can learn to do yourself.
Or
You can pay some one else to do it for you. But having done that and chosen to accept the word of some one else with out having a justifiable means to analyse the effects of doing or not doing it. The decision is up to you.
You can try a flush, the car has a problem. The odds are the problem may not be resolved by flushing something. But it might be. So it becomes a gamble.
What is you budget? Is it open ended? Then don't worry about it, take the car some where and have the transmission rebuilt or a rebuilt installed. It may or may not prove to be the right decision.
My estimate of the costs, some where between $1500 and $3500 depending on where you go.
Of course at either number you probably can buy a used running Saturn about the same year of the one you have and maybe even in better condition for less money.
If the budget is tight? I wold try flushing. It might do some good.
Especially if diagnostics today say the fluid is damaged as it exists.
However I can assure you, if the fluid had turned to junk and the transmission is acting up at all, the more it is driven the less the odds are that you can get by doing something inexpensive.
 

Last edited by uncljohn; 12-08-2012 at 07:51 AM.
  #8  
Old 12-08-2012, 11:18 AM
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-I tried the Lucas suggestion today without success. Maybe though it takes a little time to 'cure' the seals if that is the problem.
-I would have thought Aamco would have tried to sell me the flush first to suck me in, then tried the new tranny sell.
-I don't have unlimited funds, I am disabled. I can no longer crawl under it even to do any of this work...
-I am going to try and get it to a shop next week to have them take a look.

thanks all.
 
  #9  
Old 12-08-2012, 11:05 PM
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And in what shape was the fluid? Did it smell stinky and raspy and look yucky? Because if it did , just putting transmission fix it in a can will probably do very little.
If anything.
I just put some lucas Transmission additive in my car tonight, it was down about a quart and leaking. But, the transmission fluid is in good shape. It started shifting correctly immediately and I have no clue whether it will stop leaking or not.
some of these things IF they are going to work take a little time for the chemistry in them to take effect.
It is not like hitting your finger with a hammer. Something which hurts immediately. IF transmission fix it in a can IS going to do any good it may take a few miles for it to take effect.
The transmission did not fail immediately it took how many years and over 100,000 miles? If something in a can is going to do any good, it will take time for the cheistry to affect anything.
On mine? I will look under it in the morning to see how big the puddle is if any! And by the way I am old, I turned 71 this week, I have a bad back and it hurts to freaking move and I have been disabled since 1999. But if my car is broke there is no one around to fix it for me and I will be damned if I will pay some one else to not fix it when I can not fix it cheaper.
 
  #10  
Old 12-09-2012, 08:32 PM
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I'm disabled also, but not quite as old as Unc. I'm just 56. And even though it pains me to change my own oil, do brakes, tune ups or whatever to my vehicles, I'm just like Unc. I'll be damned if I'll pay someone else if I can do it myself. I don't care if it takes me a few days even. I have only run into one problem in the past 8 years since I've become disabled that I couldn't do myself. And GM finally fixed it for me for free under an NHTSA recall. I had to stay on their asses about it, but when I mentioned a buddy of mine that's an attorney at a very powerful law firm in Nashville, they were more than happy to cooperate.
 

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