Saturn Ion - $3500 transmission replacement???

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9,124
Location
Illinois
A good friend just called. Her daughter has a Saturn Ion with 126,000 miles. Apparently something has happened to the transmission in it. Her daughter says that it won't go over 40 miles an hour. She received an estimate of $3500 to replace the transmission with a used one, from a "trusted" shop. The daughter lives 3 hours from here, in St. Louis. First of all, I can't imagine why this is a $3500 job to R&R the transmission with a used one. And why isn't anyone mentioning repairing the transmission? My gut reaction is that someone is planning on ripping off the daughter, since she is 25, and lives three hours away from her parents. Is there something odd about the transmission in an Ion that I'm just not aware of?
 
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19,686
Location
Sunny Florida
That is robbery. Junkyard trans is 750-1000 dollars around here with a 30 day warranty. R & R is worth 3-500 MAX. A competent independent shop can probably do the whole job for less than 2k, and mine gives a one year unlimited mileage warranty with a free thirty day fluid exchange and inspection.
 
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11,697
Location
Illinois
Originally Posted By: mrsilv04
A good friend just called. Her daughter has a Saturn Ion with 126,000 miles. Apparently something has happened to the transmission in it. Her daughter says that it won't go over 40 miles an hour. She received an estimate of $3500 to replace the transmission with a used one, from a "trusted" shop. The daughter lives 3 hours from here, in St. Louis. First of all, I can't imagine why this is a $3500 job to R&R the transmission with a used one. And why isn't anyone mentioning repairing the transmission? My gut reaction is that someone is planning on ripping off the daughter, since she is 25, and lives three hours away from her parents. Is there something odd about the transmission in an Ion that I'm just not aware of?
If she can get it over to Wayne's Transmission in Belleville, IL, they do good work. It might take a long tow, but that's probably better than $3500 for a suspect shop bill.
 

pbm

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8,912
Location
New York
It sounds like a ripoff to me. Here is the Wikipedia info on the Ion's A/T. As you can see the earlier versions had an Aisin A/T or a CVT. "A Getrag F23 5-speed manual or an Aisin AF23 5-speed automatic transmission were available. The compact 5-speed automatic had several unique characteristics. The transmission lacked an overdrive, allowing for five forward gears to be packaged in the size of a typical four-speed manual gearbox, both providing close gear ratios for better acceleration and fuel efficiency while eliminating the heat and parasitic loss generated by the additional planetary gearset. The unit was also “fill-for-life”, meaning that it was not intended to be serviced for the life of the vehicle. The 2003 and 2004 Ion Coupes were available with the VTi continuously variable transmission or a Getrag F23 5-speed manual. In 2005, the Aisin 5-speed automatic transmission was discontinued due to a problematic trait known as shift-flare, which also occurred in other manufacturers' cars using Aisin transmissions, such as Toyota.[2] The VTi CVT used in the quad-coupes between 2003 and 2004 was also discontinued, for reliability reasons. GM's 4-speed 4T45-E replaced both transmissions, becoming the only available automatic transmission option."
 
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36,528
Location
ME
the CVT was a junker through and through. They also put it in VUEs. I would find a way of putting a later 4 speed in even if it means swapping *everything* (PCM too) from a wrecked donor. CL around here is full of idiot used car dealers looking for a cheap CVT tranny for a VUE they got a "good deal" on at auction, with the shocker being a good JY one going for $3000 instead of $300.
 

mrsilv04

Thread starter
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9,124
Location
Illinois
Originally Posted By: eljefino
the CVT was a junker through and through. They also put it in VUEs. I would find a way of putting a later 4 speed in even if it means swapping *everything* (PCM too) from a wrecked donor. CL around here is full of idiot used car dealers looking for a cheap CVT tranny for a VUE they got a "good deal" on at auction, with the shocker being a good JY one going for $3000 instead of $300.
Maybe that's the problem here.... it has a CVT transmission. Would a CVT transmission begin to fail in this way?
 
Messages
11,697
Location
Illinois
Ouch, Remind me to avoid any CVT Saturns. oilBabe has a CVT Altima and I DO NOT like the way it drives. The CVT horror stories don't help either. My heart goes out to your friends daughter.
Originally Posted By: mrsilv04
Originally Posted By: eljefino
the CVT was a junker through and through. They also put it in VUEs. I would find a way of putting a later 4 speed in even if it means swapping *everything* (PCM too) from a wrecked donor. CL around here is full of idiot used car dealers looking for a cheap CVT tranny for a VUE they got a "good deal" on at auction, with the shocker being a good JY one going for $3000 instead of $300.
Maybe that's the problem here.... it has a CVT transmission. Would a CVT transmission begin to fail in this way?
 
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16,004
Location
NE,Ohio
sounds like its time for a new car. I wouldnt put 3k into that.. and the cvt transmissions are notoriously bad and expensive fix.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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46,293
Location
New Jersey
Do an MT swap. No reason to drive an AT in that car. Had it been an MT, the clutch would have been far cheaper.
 
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10,146
Location
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
Do an MT swap. No reason to drive an AT in that car. Had it been an MT, the clutch would have been far cheaper.
Good idea, but I'll bet a lot that she will not know how to drive a MT nor have any interest in learning whatsoever.(no offense to the young lady). Having said that is it really that much cheaper to retrofit a MT vs a used or rebuilt AT?
 
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11,196
Location
NY Capital District
Originally Posted By: CATERHAM
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
Do an MT swap. No reason to drive an AT in that car. Had it been an MT, the clutch would have been far cheaper.
Good idea, but I'll bet a lot that she will not know how to drive a MT nor have any interest in learning whatsoever.(no offense to the young lady). Having said that is it really that much cheaper to retrofit a MT vs a used or rebuilt AT?
Tell her that she'll likely get much better mpg with the manual. And guys will think she's cool for driving a manual
 
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Messages
998
Location
Houston, TX
It seems like reman CVTs are $2300 on eBay. $3500 may very well be an OK price for a non-eBay unit, R&R, and tax. I would send the car to the junkyard.
 
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2,695
Location
Easton, PA
Originally Posted By: Stu_Rock
It seems like reman CVTs are $2300 on eBay. $3500 may very well be an OK price for a non-eBay unit, R&R, and tax. I would send the car to the junkyard.
+1000 on that! a $2500 used car (ANY car) would be a better choice than fixing a saturn CVT car. get rid of it...QUICK!
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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46,293
Location
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Nick R
Originally Posted By: CATERHAM
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
Do an MT swap. No reason to drive an AT in that car. Had it been an MT, the clutch would have been far cheaper.
Good idea, but I'll bet a lot that she will not know how to drive a MT nor have any interest in learning whatsoever.(no offense to the young lady). Having said that is it really that much cheaper to retrofit a MT vs a used or rebuilt AT?
Tell her that she'll likely get much better mpg with the manual. And guys will think she's cool for driving a manual
Plus she will learn to be a better driver, appreciate physics more, and learn to drive gently and deliberately. Unless you're handicapped or something like this, I see no good reason to not drive MT. I'm sure there are lots of excuses, but for the average person like my wife and I, there really isn't a good reason, IMO. And not wanting to learn is a dumb excuse.
 
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1,039
Location
Mississippi
I'm not handicapped but prefer an automatic. I drove nothing but manual trannys for about 30 years of my driving life and got enough of that. To the OP...like others have stated, may be time to scrap the car.
 
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