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04 Saturn Ion, ?? miles, Worst UOA I have seen. #5277940 11/26/19 12:55 PM
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Talent_Keyhole Offline OP
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Attached is a UOA from a Saturn Transmission, probably worst wear analysis I have seen in 30 years.

My daughter bought a used, one owner 04 Saturn Ion a few years ago. Her first car. It has ran fine except I noticed it always had firm 1-2 and 2-3 shift. It never slipped or showed any other problems, even in the coldest/hottest weather. The transmission dipstick is bolted down and down low. I suspect the owner never checked it and the transmission cannot be serviced except for D&R or fluid replacement. No accessible filter. It now has 210K, bought it at 190K.

I decided to check the fluid. It was dark brown, smelt burnt, and it felt gritty. I have always heard stories about gritty fluid/engine oil, but this was the first time I saw it firsthand. Auto service techs probably see it more often.

I dumped the sump, and got about 4 qts, replaced with Valvoline ATF. Wasn't sure if it would start slipping. After a month all was good, no change in shift behavior. Fluid still dark brown and gritty.

Another D&R with 4 more quarts. Shifting 2-3 is much smoother. 1-2 is still firm. Fluid is still dark but less gritty. No slipping or any other issues.

Should I chance a 3rd D&R?

Saturn Ion Transmission UOA.png
Re: 04 Saturn Ion, ?? miles, Worst UOA I have seen. [Re: Talent_Keyhole] #5277957 11/26/19 01:13 PM
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SirTanon Offline
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Wow.. those numbers are... staggering.. and that's AFTER one previous D&F? Holy smokes!

If it were my car, I'd definitely do another D&F after running the current fill for a few hundred to a thousand miles or so. You want the new stuff to circulate for a while to make sure it's fully distributed.


2013 Nissan Altima SV - 2.5 liter/CVT - 124,000mi
2014 Nissan Altima SL - 2.5 liter/CVT - 68,000mi
2010 Ford Fusion - 274k mi - SOLD
Re: 04 Saturn Ion, ?? miles, Worst UOA I have seen. [Re: Talent_Keyhole] #5277963 11/26/19 01:21 PM
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Chris142 Offline
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She bought one of those cars where the previous owner said " it's been a great car,I have never don't anything to it". BTW how's the coolant look?


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87 F250 Valvoline 15w40
07 fjcruiser Car lube plus 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am Maveric edge 5w40
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Re: 04 Saturn Ion, ?? miles, Worst UOA I have seen. [Re: Talent_Keyhole] #5277975 11/26/19 01:31 PM
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rollinpete Offline
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Can't speak about the automatics, but the 5 spd's are okay.
The 2.2L engines run great. and the plastic body panels don't rust. LOL


Pete.
97 Ford Expl.Sport 4.0 ohv 4wd 5spd 189k miles
03 Saturn Ion 2.2 L4 5spd 240k miles
Shell Rotella Gas Truck 5w30
PPHM 5w30
Currently under the influence of oil shocked2

Re: 04 Saturn Ion, ?? miles, Worst UOA I have seen. [Re: Talent_Keyhole] #5277982 11/26/19 01:34 PM
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sdowney717 Offline
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Yes, do another. And you can add a secondary filter if it has a trans cooler line. The primary filter in AT is not a very fine filtration number.

Re: 04 Saturn Ion, ?? miles, Worst UOA I have seen. [Re: sdowney717] #5278033 11/26/19 02:29 PM
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JLTD Offline
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Originally Posted by sdowney717
Yes, do another. And you can add a secondary filter if it has a trans cooler line. The primary filter in AT is not a very fine filtration number.


Agree.

I had a friend who had a transmission that was not shifting right, he did a pan drop and refill and it got better… Then it got worse again... repeated that three times and he never had another problem with the transmission for 150,000 miles when he got rid of the car.

Don't know what the fluid looked like, but transmissions are designed for fresh fluid and there has been no negative change with the previous drop and refills.


I use the overseas manual to choose my viscosity.


Hers: 2008 Jeep Liberty 154k, SS 5w30/Amsoil
Looking at options.

His: 2015 4Runner 60k, SS 5w20/Amsoil

Re: 04 Saturn Ion, ?? miles, Worst UOA I have seen. [Re: Talent_Keyhole] #5278066 11/26/19 02:57 PM
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BlakeB Offline
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I’d add an auxiliary spin on filter, maybe an xg8a. If it was mine I’d do another drain and fill and add a bottle of lubegard red. Any subsequent drain and fills should be treated at 1oz/quart or LG red.

Re: 04 Saturn Ion, ?? miles, Worst UOA I have seen. [Re: Talent_Keyhole] #5278336 11/26/19 08:04 PM
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nickaluch Offline
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Change it again and just drive it. It's a Saturn don't be dumping money into it. Looks like she already got her money's worth out of it.


2007 G6 beater.2012 E450 box truck. 2018 Chevy Traverse.2017 E450 box truck.2017 Chevy 3500 extend cargo van.
Re: 04 Saturn Ion, ?? miles, Worst UOA I have seen. [Re: Talent_Keyhole] #5278349 11/26/19 08:19 PM
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benhen77 Offline
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If it hasn't started slipping after the 2 drain and fills, it almost certainly won't after this one.
FWIW, the X5 in my sig had similar shifting symptoms. If it's easy to pull the pan and change shift solenoids, it may be worth doing. With that level of neglect, there's a solid chance a solenoid is causing the harsh shift. They just don't work as well after sitting in a crusty bath of old transmission fluid. Did solenoids in a half day on the X5 and shifts perfectly now.


2012 Kia Forte EX 2.0 I4 6AT 49k- Valvoline Synpower 5w20
1994 BMW 530i, 5MT 201k M1/Castrol 0w40
2009 Honda Accord 2.4 I4, 5AT, 178k- RP 0w20
2004 BMW X5 4.4l 239k- M1 0W40 FS
Re: 04 Saturn Ion, ?? miles, Worst UOA I have seen. [Re: Talent_Keyhole] #5281292 11/30/19 04:04 PM
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1978elcamino Offline
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There's your lifetime fluid


2018 F150 5.0
2016 Ford Fusion 2.5
Re: 04 Saturn Ion, ?? miles, Worst UOA I have seen. [Re: Talent_Keyhole] #5284499 12/03/19 10:11 PM
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MolaKule Offline
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Originally Posted by Talent_Keyhole
Attached is a UOA from a Saturn Transmission, probably worst wear analysis I have seen in 30 years.

...My daughter bought a used, one owner 04 Saturn Ion a few years ago. Her first car. It has ran fine except I noticed it always had firm 1-2 and 2-3 shift. It never slipped or showed any other problems, even in the coldest/hottest weather. The transmission dipstick is bolted down and down low. I suspect the owner never checked it...


Undoubtedly the fluid was never changed as the analysis shows and what you are seeing is the remaining crud being dispersed.

Originally Posted by Talent_Keyhole
Should I chance a 3rd D&R?


Absolutely and 1oz. of LubeGard Red per quart of replacement fluid to clean the varnish from the valving.

It took 5 D&R's before the fluid in my Frontier finally cleared up and it only had about 34,000 miles on it when I received it. It was black and the viscosity was about a 30 grade instead of a 5W20 ATF.



Last edited by MolaKule; 12/03/19 10:15 PM.

"Dr. Larry Fleinhardt:
You know that it's considered unsolvable?
Charlie Eppes:
Well, certainly people who have failed to solve it might think that." From NUMB3RS
Re: 04 Saturn Ion, ?? miles, Worst UOA I have seen. [Re: 1978elcamino] #5284617 12/04/19 05:36 AM
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dave1251 Offline
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Originally Posted by 1978elcamino
There's your lifetime fluid


So far all it has is 16 years and 210K miles on mostly DEXRON III assuming the fluid has never been changed.


make the inside of your engine oil cap white.
don't use.
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