The Nova/Prizm family is found with 3 automatic transaxles, selected by the manufacturer for the best match of power transaxle characteristics and engine performance. The A131L 3-speed automatic transaxle and two 4-speed automatic transaxles, the A240E and A245E were used. Refer to the Automatic Transaxle Application chart in Routine Maintenance .
The A131L transaxle is a 3-speed automatic, developed specifically for transversely mounted engines. The wide gear ratios and efficient torque converter combine with the built-in locking clutches to operate quietly and efficiently.
The A240E and A245E, 4-speed transaxles may also be referred to as an ECT type or Electronically Controlled Transaxle. Is is controlled by a microcomputer, allowing the driver to select either the Normal or Power mode. The system function is overseen by an electronic control module (ECM); shift behavior and timing are triggered by the computer rather than by internal oil pressures. Should the system malfunction, the ECM will select a gear which allows the car to be driven, although performance will be greatly reduced.
Troubles occurring with the automatic transaxle can be caused by either the engine, the electronics or the transaxle itself. These areas should be distinctly isolated during troubleshooting. Begin with the simplest of possibilities (low fluid, loose wires, etc.) and eliminate all the external causes before committing to transaxle removal and repair.