Transmission Fluid
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Saturn S-Series

How do you replace transmission fluid in a 1995 Saturn?

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2010-06-21 22:37:44
2010-06-21 22:37:44

It's just like changing the oil except you put the new fluid into the trany dip stick holder with a funnel. There is a plug on the trany you just unscrew it and let it drain a pan, take the filter off its located in the front of the motor compartment towards the driver side (looks just like an oil filter and replace with a new one, put the plug back and fill.

It is important to know that Saturn transmissions SHOULD have a Transmission Fluid change conducted every 8,000 miles. The reason: the fluid in the torque converter is NOT drained by draining the pan, and the standard filter will NOT pick up the fine particles (>1 micron) that will cause the valve body spool clearance to grow enormously and wear out. The Saturn manual recommends 30,000 mile intervals, but that is not enough - Why?

The standard filter is only intended to pickup larger particles. Even the Saturn dealer or AAMCO do not have the tools to do a 100% purge/flush utilizing the transmission's own fluid pump. If 100% of the fluid (7 quarts, not 4) is not removed, the fine particles persist in the remaining fluid and will eventually cause the transmission pressure regulator valve spool to erode the labrynth-casing - and the necessary hydraulic pressure drops too much. You'll notice the problem gets worse as the fluid heats up and the viscocity drops. What happens is that the reverse gear is activated before the "clutch" can disengage (because the fluid pressure is too low). This manifests as "reverse slam" (or eventually forward gears) not shifting reliably.

The vane pump in the transmission is a particle generator, so it is important to keep up with the fluid changes. IF you are one of the people that neglect fluid changes and are starting to notice transmission shifting problems, it may be too late to get by with just a fluid change, but it is worth a try. If it helps, make sure to keep up with the fluid changes at 8,000 miles (or even more frequent). If the problem persists, there is a permanent solution - have a "Sonex sleeve" installed on the transmission valve body. The parts are ~$200-400, and it takes a day to replace - it's a better design than the original Saturn valve body and the problem will never return.

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