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96 Saturn SL2 Hard shift after rebuild and valve body

 
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Jjbeano Jjbeano
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 06/12
Posted: 06/16/12
03:13 PM

Hey everyone!
Ok, 96 Saturn SL2. Two months ago tranny was rebuilt, valve body replaced. I got the car back and immediately noticed a bump while shifting from 1-2.  Also, immediately as well, if driving 35 and I stepped on the gas to the point of down shift, it would get confused, almost kind slip really quickly into a brief neutral, then slam itself hard into the lower gear. Me an the transmission guy decided to part ways, and I gave him my word that I wouldn't come back.

Jump ahead a month. Every gear now shifts hard for the most part.  I've learned to work with it so it doesn't seem to slam as much, but if I'm not paying attention, it will slam almost every shift. My google research tells me it could be the pressure solenoid. Check engine light came on right before things got really bad. Codes are P0711, P0741, P0781.  

Now heres my thinking, but I'm just a DIYer. NOT a mechanic. With all these codes hitting at the same time And slamming my car around, I was thinking that it's a faulty valve body. I dont feel as though this is mechanical, but rather electrical. At first shot I'm thinking bad valve body. But what about just the wired communication?  What are the chances it's just a bad wire harness or just not plugged in tightly?  Any ideas as to what it would be?

Please tell me what I can do on my own to diagnose this if you guys have any ideas for it. Thanks!  

440t4 440t4
Guru | Posts: 1009 | Joined: 04/09
Posted: 06/16/12
04:40 PM

What was the trans doing before the rebuild? If I had access to the car i would drive it while watching a live data stream to see if any sensors are malfunctioning. There is a good chance that your valve body is no good but why didn't the shop straighten it out? How many attempts did they make at correcting it? If they were willing to let it go this way then who knows what they did to it?  

Boone1 Boone1
User | Posts: 92 | Joined: 02/12
Posted: 06/16/12
05:02 PM

If you're confident that the valve body has been replaced/remanufactured then I would suggest replacing pressure control solenoid.  

Jjbeano Jjbeano
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 06/12
Posted: 06/16/12
05:04 PM

I bought the car about 7 years ago.  From day 1 it always had a little bit of a clunk when going into reverse.  Eventually, that clunk turned into a hesitation, then clunk...the LONG hesitation / clunk..and finally no reverse gear at all.

Within 2 weeks of completely losing reverse, I lost all forward driveability.

The mechanic I took it to was a little tranny shop recommended by someone I know that had their truck tranny rebuilt.  When he found out it was a saturn, he seemed uncomfortable, but said he'd be able to make everything perfect again.  He rebuilt the tranny, and then purchased a valve body from a third party and installed it.  

The company told him that the hard shifting would go away after a tank of gas...re-training the computer to adjust to the new valve body.  Well, I took the car, drove it for 3/4 of a tank, and it was just too unacceptable for me to keep driving.  I figured it'd only get worse.  I brought it back to him, and he admited that he doesn't know everything, and that sometimes things go wrong.  I completely understand that, and I'm glad that he owned up to it.  He said I should still be able to keep driving it the way it was forever.  I figured that it would only get worse from that point forward.  However, we agreed to part ways.

I don't know much about trannys, but he says saturns are harder to work on than other vehichles.  Regardless, I need to get it fixed.  Now, I have the warranty from the company that sold him the valve body.  It's good for a year.  My only concern is that if I get a new valve body, what is going to prevent this from happening again?  Keep in mind - this valve body was new 2 months ago.  Got worse everyday.  Why didn't the computer re-learn it?  What reason is there that it would be ok to begin with (althoug not by any means perfect), but then just kill itself after two months? Is there anything else that could be making it die?  Or just defective?

What tool or software proggy / laptop etc do I need to use in order to watch a live data stream in order to check the sensors?  

Jjbeano Jjbeano
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 06/12
Posted: 06/16/12
05:07 PM

That's what I'm thinking also.  The only question I have along with that is Why would I also be getting a thermostat error code?  

"P0711 - Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit/Range Performance"

I understand that component is inexpensive, so it's worth at least changing out.

Also - If I just replace the solenoid, wouldn't I most likely void the valve body warranty as a whole?  

Boone1 Boone1
User | Posts: 92 | Joined: 02/12
Posted: 06/16/12
09:01 PM

P0711 you should make sure it is plugged in.  The trans temp sensor is a one wire in front by the spin on filter.  I cannot imagine that replacing the solenoid would void the warranty, you wouldn't even be removing the VB.  I would check the line solenoid fuse also.  It's under the hood and is labeled TRLS.  

440t4 440t4
Guru | Posts: 1009 | Joined: 04/09
Posted: 06/16/12
10:10 PM

That valve body is not very hard to change.Its right on top of the trans. If you tell the valve body reman people you think its defective they will send you another one without too much fuss because they will just take yours and test it and if its good they just resell it. The only thing lost would be some shipping $ and about an hour of your time if you do it yourself.At least that would either solve the issue or eliminate the entire valve body assembly as the possible problem.  As far as the data stream you would need a professional grade scanner.Not something you would buy just to check one vehicle. 96 is the first year of OBD2 I don't know how much data your car's computer would provide. I am not sure about this but it may be possible that the computer is boosting line pressure because of the bad temp sensor. If you do change the valve body yourself be careful with the bolts. Two of them have a wider shank and they act as alignment pins.  

mmoigold mmoigold
New User | Posts: 29 | Joined: 03/12
Posted: 06/20/12
06:49 PM

I bought 96 Saturn SL2,too.i love it, but i don't know how to deal with your problem. Good luck!  
I heart which I could not help him
mmoigold

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