How difficult is it to replace an Automatic Transmission


Asked by Jul 20, 2009 at 02:29 PM about the 1994 Saturn S-Series 4 Dr SL2 Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 1994 Saturn SL2 Homecoming Edition 4 DR Sedan. The Automatic Ttransmission is starting to slip very bad (over 220,000 miles), I found a used 1994 Auto Trans with 99,000 on it for $200. How difficult is it to swap out transmissions? What different types of tools will I need? I am mechanically inclined.

6 Answers

Tom Le

befor you start are you shure its not the torque converter? if it seems to slip in all gears i would learn toward the torque converter because the chances of all the clutch disc in the transmission going out at once is slim unless someone put rocks and coolant in the tranny.. but installing transmission are pritty much simple just lots of bolts. One thing you will need to do is take out the axle. You might need a slide hammer or a air hammer to knock it out of the knuckle. after that its pritty much simple tools. dont forget to unbolt the torque converter befor you pull out tranny or your gonna have a hell of a time putting it back in and unbolting. You probably going to need a cherry picker but i have seen it done on jacks because most likely your going to unbolt the engine to get more clearance. Some cars its easeir just to pull the whole engine and tranny out to do the tranny swap. I suggest it that way so you wont brake anything. Your practically like half way to pulling the engine out by then so might as well just to make things more easier (but will take longer).

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

How do I check to see if it's the torque converter, what type of tool would I use to test it? This is what happens when I go to shift from Park to Reverse - A loud slamming noise. When shifting to Drive - Taking off in first is normal, when shifting into 2nd nad 3rd the tranny slips in and out of each gear. After I come to a stop, when restarting the trans is in 2nd gear instead of returning to first. Tranny fluid is fine.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
Tom Le

doesnt sound like a torque converter.. if it is it will happen in all gears. its the tranny or valve body but valve body come with tranny so good luck with the install! oh and the whole takign the engine out thats if its easy most cars you can do it with it in there

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Andrew Conrod

This sounds like a valve body. Is the new trans you got also from a sl2, sw2 or sc2? If its from a sl1, sc1, sw1 it will not work. Before swapping the whole trans I would try and change the valve bodies first because its pretty easy. Unplug the wires going into the top of the trans. Unbolt the top cover and than undo these bolts. . If the slam is still there than as far as changing the trans. You either pull the motor out the top with the trans or support the engine from the top and pretty much remove the subframe to sneak the trans out the bottom.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
John Welsh

If the car goes forward ever so slightly when you put it in reverse change the valve body. Its not as easy to change the trans as a VW or Civic, but its not that bad. You will need an axle nut socket, basic tools, step by step directions, and an engine hoist if you want to take it out the top. By the way Im jealous I have a 1992 SL2 but yours beats me in the cool factor.

Jonathan Shaw

I had the same exact banging on my 1994 Saturn SL2 when I shifted to reverse. It's a common problem with the TAAT transmission. It's the valve body. I bought a rebuilt one off of Ebay with the Sure Cure fix done that solves this problem for $200. Tranny has shifted like new ever since, and it was super easy to swap. You get to it from the top of the transaxle, from inside the engine compartment.

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