Saturn Coupes/Sedans/Wagons 1991-1998 Repair Guide

Automatic Transaxle

Print

FLUID RECOMMENDATIONS



Saturn Transaxle Fluid (P/N 21005966) is recommended. If not available, DEXRON®IIE or DEXRON®III transmission/transaxle fluid is also acceptable.

LEVEL CHECK



See Figure 1

  1. Start the engine and operate the vehicle for 15 minutes or until the normal operating temperature is reached. An incorrect level reading will be obtained if the vehicle is operated under the following conditions immediately before checking the dipstick:

    In an ambient temperature of 90°F (32°C) or above
     
    At sustained highway speeds
     
    In heavy city traffic, during hot weather
     
    When used as a towing vehicle
     

  2.  

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface and apply the parking brake.
  2.  
  3. Move the gear selector through all gears, then position the selector in P .
  4.  
  5. With all accessories turned OFF , allow the vehicle to idle for 3 minutes.
  6.  
  7. Withdraw the dipstick and check for proper fluid level as compared with the illustration. Check the fluid color and condition; fluid should be smooth, transparent and red. If the fluid is not transparent or if it is a dark brown, the fluid is contaminated or overheated and must be replaced.
  8.  
  9. If necessary, change the fluid or add fluid to bring the amount to the proper level.
  10.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Common automatic transaxle dipstick level markings

FLUID & FILTER CHANGE



See Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8

The automatic transaxle fluid and filter should be changed when the vehicle reaches 30,000 miles (50,000 km). Although the manufacturer recommends changing the filter with only every other fluid change thereafter, it is recommend that the fluid and filter be changed together, at the recommended interval in the Maintenance Intervals chart. A few dollars more spent on a filter today may offer greater protection against transaxle wear and repair in the future.

Change the fluid and filter as follows:

  1. Warm the fluid to the normal operating temperature of 190-200°F (88-93°C). It should take approximately 15 miles of highway driving to reach this temperature.
  2.  
  3. If possible, raise and safely support the vehicle so that it is level. If not, support the vehicle so the drain plug is at the lowest point of the transaxle case.
  4.  
  5. Position a drain pan beneath the plug.
  6.  
  7. Clean the area around the drain plug, then remove the plug using a socket or box wrench. Push in on the plug as you turn it out, so that no fluid escapes until the plug is completely removed. Allow the fluid to completely drain into the pan; it may take 5 minutes or longer.
  8.  


CAUTION
The transaxle fluid was heated to operating temperature for maximum flow. Use a rag and protective gloves to make sure you are not burned by the extremely hot fluid.

  1. Clean the drain plug, then lubricate the plug using clean transaxle fluid. Wipe off the excess fluid and install the plug using a new washer (1991-early 93 models) or integral rubber seal (late 1993-98 models). On 1991-early 93 models, tighten the drain plug to 33 ft. lbs. (45 Nm). On late 1993-98 models, tighten the drain plug to 22 ft. lbs. (30 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Position the drain pan beneath the transaxle fluid filter.
  4.  
  5. Remove the air deflector/shield mounting fasteners and assembly from beneath the front of the vehicle to allow access to the transaxle spin-on fluid pressure filter.
  6.  
  7. Use a nylon strap-type filter wrench to loosen the pressure filter, then remove the filter from the transaxle. Make sure the filter seal was removed from the transaxle with the filter. If equipped, remove the magnet from the old filter and install it on the new filter.
  8.  
  9. Lubricate the new filter seal using clean transaxle fluid, then install the filter by hand and tighten until the seal makes contact. Tighten the filter 1 additional turn by hand or, if necessary, using the nylon strap filter wrench. Do not use any tool that might scratch, dent or damage the filter. A filter that is scratched, dented or damaged must be immediately replaced.
  10.  
  11. Hold the air deflector and shield assembly in proper position and install the mounting fasteners.
  12.  
  13. Slide the drain pan out from under the vehicle, then remove the supports and carefully lower the vehicle to the ground.
  14.  
  15. Using a funnel, slowly refill the transaxle with the recommended type and quantity of fluid. Check the fluid level cold.
  16.  
  17. Start the engine and check for leaks, then check the level hot and add fluid as necessary to achieve the proper level.
  18.  
  19. On 1991-93 vehicles, the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) stores a parameter called oil life left percent. This is used by the computer to illuminate the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light when the percent reaches a minimum level and to inform a technician that the fluid is in need of a change. If a suitable scan tool is available, connect it and reset the parameter to 100 percent by accessing the special test function. If you do not have access to a suitable scan tool as described in Emission Controls of this guide, the vehicle should be taken to a dealer or shop that has the appropriate tool. Simply tell them that the transmission oil has just been changed and the oil life PCM parameter needs to be reset.
  20.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Loosen the front splash shield/air dam mounting fasteners



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: Remove the front splash shield/air dam assembly from the vehicle



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: Location of automatic transaxle fluid drain plug



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: Loosen the drain plug with an appropriate wrench



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 6: Remove the plug and drain the transaxle oil into a suitable container



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 7: After loosening it with a strap-type wrench, remove the transaxle oil filter by turning counterclockwise



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 8: Removal of the transaxle oil filter may be easier from above the engine cradle crossmember

 
label.common.footer.alt.autozoneLogo