Transmission stuck in top gear

Asked by Dec 02, 2014 at 09:11 PM about the Saturn S-Series

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

1999 Saturn SL; 1.9L motor, automatic transmission; my car seems to be stuck in "D" or
the top (4th?) gear; shifts from P to R with a thud, then to D but never goes down to first
gear.  Fluid levels appear okay.  No leaks.  Any ideas where to start?

5 Answers

20,140

Yes I do, the transmission is shot. I had the same thing happen to me. The p to r is a big thud right? You can get one out of a junkyard fairly cheap however the car isn't really worth spending that much money on it.

5,525

Any time I hear of shifting problems in an automatic transmission I think of accumlators, vacuum modulators, or the valve body. Problem is that for many cars there isn't a whole lot of information available on the web. I don't know if it's real kosher, but I'd suggest you try a Saturn forum and post the question. For example on a Ford forum there's a real transmission expert who happily helps people with trans problems.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Thanks for the input! The car was only $600 so I don't have much to lose by fixing it or parting it out. I guess it is time to learn about transmissions!

20,140

That's good you didn't pay much for the car. A good low mile transmission from a yard might be $400-900. A rebuild is going to run you around $1200-1500. If the car has a lot of miles on it (160,000 or so) its just not worth it, to me. That's my 2 cents worth and you got it for free, LOL

5,525

But... if you can find an expert online in some forum on Saturn transmissions to address your specific problem. An accumulator or modulator are usually around $30, valve body and separator plate gaskets are only a few bucks each. The ATF is directed through the valve body through channels, pistons, springs, check balls enabling the transmission to shift. If you've ever installed an automatic transmission shift kit the repair couldn't be much different.

Your Answer

S-Series

Looking for a Used S-Series in your area?

CarGurus has 673 nationwide S-Series listings starting at $2,990.

ZIP:

Saturn S-Series Experts

  • #1
    Alex Nazarian
    Reputation
    1,530
  • #2
    helpmeplease
    Reputation
    1,060
  • #3
    fabian_09_21
    Reputation
    900
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Saturn L-Series
439 listings starting at $1,995
Used Saturn VUE
35 Great Deals out of 2,055 listings starting at $1,200
Used Honda Civic
808 Great Deals out of 72,282 listings starting at $1,000
Used Mazda MAZDA3
319 Great Deals out of 26,231 listings starting at $950
Used Saturn Sky
8 Great Deals out of 185 listings starting at $5,500
Used Mazda MAZDA6
176 Great Deals out of 11,273 listings starting at $1,895
Used Saturn ION
4 Great Deals out of 1,057 listings starting at $1,995
Used Ford Mustang
713 Great Deals out of 38,357 listings starting at $895
Used Saturn Aura
19 Great Deals out of 941 listings starting at $1,695
Used Honda Accord
1,043 Great Deals out of 60,748 listings starting at $999
Used Saturn Outlook
29 Great Deals out of 713 listings starting at $2,450
Used Hyundai Elantra
478 Great Deals out of 41,411 listings starting at $1,995
Used Saturn Astra
3 Great Deals out of 158 listings starting at $2,300
Used Ford Taurus
250 Great Deals out of 16,489 listings starting at $1,850
Used Hyundai Sonata
723 Great Deals out of 49,305 listings starting at $790

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.