Mechanics

STRANGE PROBLEM WITH TRANSMISSION?

2001 Saturn L200

Transmission problem
2001 Saturn L200 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 103000 miles

We have had our Saturn for about 4 years now with no issues. The following happened twice so far, one time last fall on a very hot day and one time this spring, again on a hot day.
Otherwise the car is having no problems.

I will be driving along, come to a full stop and then lose power when trying to accelerate again, I can accelerate a little but it is as if I am in neutral. After stopping and then starting the car again I can accelerate but automatic gear shifting is jerky for a few minutes. Then the car drives fine and no more issues for for the last 3 weeks. Last fall same thing, hot day, air conditioner on, problem lasts for a few minutes then car starts operating normally again.

Today I looked at the muffler and there is a small hole in it, it looks like it has rusted through.

Does anyone have an idea of what could be going on?

extra info: 103,000 miles, changed transmission fluid at 50,000 and according to maintenance needs new transmission fluid at 100,000 which I have not done.

I cannot check the fluid levels on this model since there is no dip stick. According to the mechanic you can only check the fluid by changing it.

I have checked the TPS with an ohmmeter and it seems to be OK, no dead spots.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Petrus4
May 22, 2010.




The hole in your muffler is probably the drain hole they put in when they make the muffler its to let the water out to prevent it from rusting out. You can check your fluid level but your car has to have all four wheels off the ground and be level theres a sight level hole right by the passenger side axle on the transmission that you remove while idling and filling the transmission. When the fluid starts comming out of the hole your full. But if you don't have any leaks then I wouldnt worry about it. But you are over due for your next transmission service which I would get done. The fluid gets really dirty between fluid changes because the clutchs in your transmissions wear and then the pieces get in the fluid. Do you have any codes?If you dont know then go to a auto parts store like autozone and get your codes read and bring me back the numbers of the codes. Let me know what you find.

Saturntech9
May 22, 2010.
Thanks for your replies saturntech9!

Thanks, did not know about that hole. This hole is is definitely rusted out, since I could pull a piece of rusted metal off of the bottom of the muffler and can feel exhaust coming out of it.

Yeah, it is a pain that it is not easier to check the transmission fluid levels. Do you think old transmission fluid could be causing this problem? How much does the transmission service usually cost?

I had the car scanned at advanced auto parts, but no codes. I did take it in to a mechanic and he scanned the computer during driving and said he was getting error codes on the TPS during shifting. He said that to start we should replace the TPS and then he could look further for other issues.

Reviewing the maintenance schedule it also says we should renew the cooling fluid, which we have not done since we bought it @ 48,000 miles, could old cooling fluid be the culprit?

I read this thread: http://www.2carpros.com/forum/2001-saturn-l200-saturn-l200-hard-shifting-when-fans-come-o-vt450777.html in which the person seems to have a similar problem in that it happens on hot days with the air-conditioner on. He replaced the TPS and cleaned the throttle body and that seemed to have fixed his problem which makes me think a TPS replacement and or cleaning the the Throttle body might fix the problem. But again testing the TPS with an ohmmeter showed no dead spots and the throttle body looked fairly clean.

One thing I forgot to mention is that the car conked out the second time this problem happened. So when I was pulling over to the side of the road because I could not get the car moving, the engine stopped as I was slowing down. Someone told me this could be due to a clogged fuel filter. I do not see "replacement of fuel filter" in my maintenance schedule, is this recommended after a certain amount of miles?

Thanks for all your help on this!

PS: what should be the normal idle speed on this car?

Tiny
Petrus4
May 23, 2010.
Thanks, did not know about that hole. This hole is is definitely rusted out, since I could pull a piece of rusted metal off of the bottom of the muffler and can feel exhaust coming out of it.

Yeah, it is a pain that it is not easier to check the transmission fluid levels. Do you think old transmission fluid could be causing this problem? How much does the transmission service usually cost?

I had the car scanned at advanced auto parts, but no codes. I did take it in to a mechanic and he scanned the computer during driving and said he was getting error codes on the TPS during shifting. He said that to start we should replace the TPS and then he could look further for other issues.

Reviewing the maintenance schedule it also says we should renew the cooling fluid, which we have not done since we bought it @ 48,000 miles, could old cooling fluid be the culprit?

I read this thread: http://www.2carpros.com/forum/2001-saturn-l200-saturn-l200-hard-shifting-when-fans-come-o-vt450777.html in which the person seems to have a similar problem in that it happens on hot days with the air-conditioner on. He replaced the TPS and cleaned the throttle body and that seemed to have fixed his problem which makes me think a TPS replacement and or cleaning the the Throttle body might fix the problem. But again testing the TPS with an ohmmeter showed no dead spots and the throttle body looked fairly clean.

One thing I forgot to mention is that the car conked out the second time this problem happened. So when I was pulling over to the side of the road because I could not get the car moving, the engine stopped as I was slowing down. Someone told me this could be due to a clogged fuel filter. I do not see "replacement of fuel filter" in my maintenance schedule, is this recommended after a certain amount of miles?

Thanks for all your help on this!

PS: what should be the normal idle speed on this car?[/quote:5cf0d56477]
If your muffler is rusted out then you will need to get another muffler.No i don't think the transmission fluid is causing the problem.I would think your transmission fluid change should be around a few hundred dollars.If someone is seeing the tps bad while driving i would have that replaced and go from there.You should get your coolant flushed its over due but that's not going to fix any of your transmission problems.Your fuel filter should be replaced every 100,000 miles.

Saturntech9
May 23, 2010.
Thanks for the replies! Sorry for the delay in response.

I waited for another hot day and yes the issue came up again though this time I really checked things out since I knew it was coming. This is what I found.

1. Very hot day.
2. Air conditioner on coldest fans full speed.
3. When I slow down to a stop during driving then start again I have no response from the gas pedal at all. Engine is turning only at idle speed.

Before I thought the engine was still revving up, like being in neutral, but it is not. No response from the gas pedal for a short period.

4. I also noticed that when shifting gears (during the time there is no response from the gas pedal, ) The shifting seems harder than normal.

5. After a 2 or 3 minutes or stopping and starting the car all is well again.

Hope this additional info can help diagnose the issue.

Tiny
Petrus4
May 29, 2010.
That's crazy what's happening sounds like you have a engine problem not a transmission problem with your throttle not responding. You have a throttle cable so your throttle not responding doesn't make sense if your throttle plate opens and you get more air in your engine then your computer adds more fuel which gives you more power and rpms.I want you to go check for codes again you should have some from all this crazy stuff happening. Let me know what you find.

Saturntech9
May 29, 2010.
So when you say " pull the codes" you mean Use a code reader like the ones they use at adavanced auto parts or autozone? Right? I will give it another shot.

So you don't think a bad TPS could be causing this issue under high temps?

Tiny
Petrus4
May 30, 2010.
I thought you said you were going to change the tps?You said that the tps readings were showing bad when the shifting was acting up so I would be looking at a bad tps or the wiring go to it. Yes I would go to a auto parts store like autozone to have your codes read. Let me know what the numbers are.

Saturntech9
May 30, 2010.
The mechanic said that the tps was showing error codes while driving. No check engine light code read outs from autozone. Also the issue was not occurring during the times that the mechanic got the error codes.

I changed the tps and cleaned the throttle body today. Will have to wait for another hot day to test and see if this fixed the problems.

Tiny
Petrus4
May 30, 2010.
Ok keep me informed on how your car is doing.
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Saturntech9
May 30, 2010.
Sorry for the late response, we did not have any really hot days for a while, and now have had qute a few!

I did not get a chance to test the car before doing more maintenance, so I am not 100% certain it was the TPS, though highly likely. I had the transmission flushed, radiator fluid flushed and fuel filter replaced (all needed maintenance). I have not had the issue return and have had many hot days lately.

The only time I get anything close the original issue, is when first driving the car on a hot day, I am still getting a little jump from 1st to 2nd gear, but this goes away after driving a few minutes.

Tiny
Petrus4
Jul 18, 2010.

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