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Reprogramming my transmission

I just had my 99 saturn sl2 automatic in a trany shop to fix a leak and replace the valve body. When I got it back it would not shift to 3rd. The owner said it needed to relearn the shifting. He said to moved it manually to 3rd and back to drive. After doing this the car ran fine on its own for the rest of the trip. After being shut down it again needed the manual shift and then ran fine again. I had about 5 stops and each time had to do this in the beginning. I don’t see any reprogramming tips for Saturns and I have never seen this step for other cars. Is this a normal step to take or should I follow a different path and how long should this take? I have tried to drive casually in both city and freeway these last two days as I said having made about 5 trips. Thnx.

Hmm, I’ve never heard of this either.

I wonder if you’ve been given bad advice… or a bad repair… or both.

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Never heard of that either but the initial programming would not be unreasonable to believe. After that it should have remembered the setting so maybe there is a problem with the memory. Maybe going to have to talk to a dealer. I do remember though the about 20 step procedure called for programming my Olds after work on the idle. It was in the factory manual and a weird sequence of steps to take. I suppose so it couldn’t be done by accident. Maybe need to take a look at a factory repair manual though to see if there is a learning procedure.

That’s a lousy shop, in my opinion

If programming is indeed necessary . . . the shop should have performed that procedure before returning the car to the customer

improper/incomplete repair

I see mention of Resetting Adaptive Parameters and performing a Learn-In Procedure for the 98-99 automatic transmission. The adaptives are reset using a scan tool. Presumably they’ve already done that. There’s a specific relearn procedure involving warming up the transmission to a certain temperature, 10 sets of upshifts at 30 % throttle, and some more steps depending on whether you have a DOHC or SOHC engine (believe it or not!). I concur w/dB above, the shop shouldn’t expect you to perform the relearn procedure. I guess they’ve found that eventually it all gets relearned by normal driving. If they won’t do it for you, ask the shop to give you a copy of the re-learn procedure. It’s something you could do yourself, but has a lot of steps. Verify w/the shop they’ve reset the adaptive parameters first, using their scan tool.

Presumably op paid the shop money do diagnose and repair the transmission

And the shop handed back a car which wasn’t fixed, but apparently took their money

I don’t see why op should ask the shop for “a copy of the re-learn procedure”

op should insist on the shop fixing the car correctly . . . that’s presumably what they paid for

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Thank you for the quote George and to all the rest also. I have done some research now that I have the correct search words and found lots of info on this subject.

I think that maybe the relearn was not finished or not done properly and giving it to me without explanation just caused me to continue in an improper manner. I plan to pull the fuse and try a new relearn. It may have adjusted to a wrong relearn.

As for the trany shop… It is one of 4-5 reputable shops in Anchorage but I have low expectations for any shop and this one lowered it further. First they kept the car for three weeks waiting for an open bay (to do a 10 hr job). Once I got it back it leaked worse than before, like half a quart during the first ten miles. I took it back of course and hopefully it will not be but a day or two for them to redo whatever seals or gaskets they screwed up. I could get pissy about it but I’m trying to work with them and their ineptness. The trany did function perfectly like new other than what I mentioned. Hopefully all will turn out well and I will never see them again.

The adaptive learning will occur with normal driving, you don’t have to force the process. This happens after each major repair or dead/disconnected battery without engaging in a special process. If your transmission is not shifting there is a problem that will need to be repaired.

The trany shifts fine manually, just the one gear does not work automatically from first start and then all gears work fine after throwing it into 3rd manually once.

The only question I have left is the 50% throttle when reprogramming gear shift. Sounds to me like they just want you to keep the speed low until it automatically jumps into the next gear but I would think it is either going fast enough or not.

Computers have to be programed – they do not “learn”. For the shop to expect you to troubleshoot their work is just sloppy mechanics. You are between a rock and a hard place. If you take it back they will just let it set because they are too busy to get to it right away. Sometimes you have to take it to a dealer and bite the bullet. If it were me I would take it to a dealer, have it repaired, get a good analysis of what is wrong, and get a good written warranty. Then I would show the paper work to the first shop and demand your money back or you’ll be forced to hire a lawyer. I wish I had better advice. Good luck.

What dealer?? The OP is driving an old Saturn…I would take it to a different transmission shop instead if I were to follow your advice

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It’s a technology called “machine learning” and is used all the time. If interested, it’s explained in this book:

The Master Algorithm : How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World
By Domingos, Pedro

“Algorithms increasingly run our lives. They work by learning from the trails of data we leave in our newly digital world; they observe us, imitate, and experiment. And in the world’s top research labs and universities, the race is on to invent the ultimate learning algorithm: one capable of discovering any knowledge from data, and doing anything we want, before we even ask. Domingos gives us a peek inside the learning machines that power Google, Amazon, and your smartphone, and discusses what it means for you, and for the future of business, science, and society.”

Good point.

Thanks for the lesson. You know more about computers than I ever will. I still say the OP will always have his problem if expects his computer to fix it. His vehicle needs a human’s touch.