2000 Saturn LS2 Transmission issues

We are having intermittent issues with the transmission slipping on our LS2. Seems like it started when the car jumped time 14 months ago. Had the dealer fix the car when it jumped time and changed out water pump too.

Two months after this repair, the transmission started slipping when car was hot-had the pressure control solenoid changed and tranmission “reprogrammed”.

One month after that repair, had the Engine Control Module replaced as the transmission was still slipping when the car was hot.

Fast forward a year later and it still slips occaisionally. We have had the transmission fluid flushed and filled as well. There are no error codes saying the tranmission is slipping. How do we fix this?

I should say we are going to let our 17 year old son drive this car if we can get it fixed. HELP!

I’m sure you mean SL2, not LS2. How many miles on it. How do you determine that it is slipping as opposed to maybe the torque converter unlocking or downshifting without reason.

I guessing that it really is just the torque converter unlocking. Give us more information on when this happens, What are the indications and symptoms, what speed do they occur?

No, I mean the LS 2. It was built on an Opel platform and was the predecessor of the Ion sedan. It has about 94M miles on it. We have not had the torque converter checked; it could be the reason for our problems. It usually happens on acceleration, when you are trying to accelerate quickly. I have noticed it happen a few times as we are driving at 30mph. It usually makes a clunk type of noise.

I can feel the wheels spinning in place when the tranmission “slips”. We also notice that it happens when the weather is really warm or the car has been running for a long time. Prior to the replacement of the Engine Control Module, it would slip between 20-45 mph. The car would then jerk into the next gear.

If you need any more info, please let me know.

Can’t say that I’ve heard of a LS2. Wheels spinning in place sounds like a traction problem. Do you mean that the engine rpm’s go up without any acceleration, like it shifted into neutral? Kind of like it “uncoupled” for a few seconds?

If this is the problem and the fluid level isn’t low, I would recommend that you have the fluid drained and replaced with one of the new dexron synthetic fluids. You current fluid may be foaming up when hot, the newer fluids have a higher heat tolerance.

You may need the cooling lines and cooling tube in the radiator flushed out. This is not the same as a transmission flush. This is a separate procedure.

The LS2 became the L200 a couple of years later; I think Saturn realized the labels were too confusing (btw: we also own a SL2). Saturn had a lot of problems with the tranmission on this car; that’s why the discontinued its manufacture. I have heard that once you have an issue with the transmission, it’s almost impossible to fix it.

It could be the transmission shifts into nuetral for a few seconds. It definately is not moving forward when this happens from a stopped position. If we are already moving, the kinetic energy keeps the car rolling but it will not accelerate.

We had the transmission flushed just before the second repair. I am not sure what kind of fluid they used. So this is worth investigating.

Regarding the radiator, we had it flushed and filled just before the car jummped time. My husband doesn’t know if they removed the cooling lines to flush them.

I guess we will try both things to see if that makes the difference.

Let me go on the record here, I’m not a fan of flushing either radiators or transmissions. I do go along with flushing the transmission coil inside the radiator as there isn’t really any other way to clean it out.

Since it happens when the vehicle is hot, I think the fluid is overheating. Normally when a transmission begins slipping between gear shifts, it near the end. But in your case, since it only does it when hot after a trip of some length, there is hope.

For the transmission, I would drain, drop the pan and clean or replace the filter. Good chance this was not done when it was flushed. It wont replace all the fluid, but if half the fluid is replaced with the new synthetic dexron, there should be enough anti-foaming agents to solve your problem.

I have heard, but don’t know if it is true, that under some conditions, dexcool can gel up in the radiator. Dexcool is the antifreeze GM uses. Supposedly it will gel up if mixed with regular antifreeze, if you have a bad radiator cap that lets too much air into the system or just gets too old. I have never had a problem with the stuff myself but a lot of people at this site believe it.

The reason that I’m bringing this up is that if it is true, the bottom tank of the radiator could be gelled up, which would also cause the transmission fluid to overheat as that is where the cooling coil is. A radiator flush might not get this out. The radiator would probably have to be removed to get it out properly if it is there. Just a thought, but it might be worth looking into if the fluid change and flush of the cooling lines doesn’t work. Another option might be an external transmission cooler.

I’m curious as to what you found out on this topic if you ever did get it fixed. I also have a 2000 LS2 V6 that has developed transmission issues that you described, however it does not need to be warm, in fact it has a less chance of happening if it’s warm.