Question about 1997 Saturn SL

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Transmission problems I took used tranny out of 1997 Saturn SL2 DOHC 1.9 engine which is the same as mine. It will not shift out of low gear. How do I tell what gear ratio it is. Also what does the two black screw in sensors do I had to replace one of them in used tranny.

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I have a 97 SL2 and it has the typical slam into reverse, but also after a couple minutes of driving it downshifts... It stays there for like 3-5 minutes then runs fine afterwards... What is the problem?

Posted on Oct 08, 2010

  • bkjones4 Oct 08, 2010

    sorry that solution was as a question...didn't know what I was doing at the time...


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If you have the same year that is only part of the swapping process. You need to have the same transmission. The SL1 use the MP6, which is a economy ratio'd transmission. The SL2's use the MP7 which is a performance ratio'd transmission.

You need to have the correct year range and correct model level. So if you have an SL1 then you need a 1993-1997 MP6 (out of another SL1). If you have an SL2 then you need a 1992-1997 MP7 (out of another SL2).

Your computer has no idea how to shift the current transmission and hence why it won't shift out of any gear.

In order to identify transmissions, look on the bell housing where it meets the engine. Clean it off really well because there is a dot matrix stamping on it with a serial number. 3 of the characters in that serial number is MP6 or MP7.

Posted on Feb 04, 2010

  • Jta91
    Jta91 Feb 04, 2010

    Also I meant to add that it doesn't have to be an SL, as long as your on the right model "level" 1 or 2 then an SC and SW work as well (coupe and wagon).



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I have a 1998 saturn SL2 with a LL1.9LL4 engine, want to switch out with a 1998 saturn SW2SW wagon with a 16 valve twin cam will this work? SL2 engine blown, SW2SW ****** is going!

If you are replacing a DOHC 1998 engine with another DOHC 1998 engine yes it will work. Saturn only made two engines from 91-99 and they all had the same block, difference some were SOHC and others were DOHC. The number "1" after SL or SC or SW means SOHC while the number "2" after SC or SL or SW means a DOHC.

Note if one is an auto and the other manual you are going to have to swap the flywheel/ring gear stuff over.

Sep 10, 2011 | Saturn SW2 Cars & Trucks

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Cna you use a transmission from an s model car to put in a sl edition

Probably possible. The tranny in my '95 Saturn SL2 failed at 30k and the engine blew at 57k while starting. Hope you have better luck; no more GM for me.

Dec 05, 2010 | 1993 Saturn SL

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1997 manual transmission will not shift properly. It started by kicking out of 5th gear on the highway and now it is shifts correctly sometimes and sometimes it wont go into any gear at all. Does this...

I think you need to call around to junkyards and find a used transmission to fit your car. You can find sites by googling it as well. Most likely any saturn manual transmission 91-98 will fit, possibly even up to 2002 if you stay with the S series cars. They have an interchange which will tell you.
Take this time to replace the clutch too. The big caveat here is that the DOHC cars SL2 SW2 SC2, transmissions have a different final gear ratio than the SOHC cars Sl1, SC1 SW1 so you have to know which type you have and get one from a donor vehicle which is the same.

Oct 19, 2010 | 1997 Saturn SL

1 Answer

What's the difference bteween a 99' saturn sl and a saturn sl1? My 99' saturn sl wont go in reverse, what might be wrong with it?

The SL2 is a DOHC 1.9L and the SL1 is a SOHC 1.9L. They have different transmissions, the DOHC uses a 15 inch wheel while the SOHC has a 14 inch wheel. So when you are shopping around for another transmission you must get one from the same type of engine. Saturn auto transmissions seem to be problematic, I stuck with the manual trannys and had very good luck.

Aug 31, 2010 | 1999 Saturn SL

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New transmission 96 Saturn SL now HIGH RPM

is your car sohc or dohc ?
1995 to 1997 years are the same
1998 to 2002 years are the same
find out what year he put in

Apr 29, 2017 | 1998 Saturn SL

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I have a 96 saturn that i replaced the tranny in with a 95 tranny. when i drive it it will go through the gears. when it goes to shift into 3rd it downshifts. what is causing that to happen

You have to make sure that you are using the correct transmission. If you have a SOHC then you need the SOHC transmission. A DOHC transmission will bolt up but it has the wrong gear ratios for your SOHC and its computer. You will get all kinds of funky shifting if you use a SOHC car with a DOHC transmission or vise versa. Check the stamping on the bell housing of the transmission you put in and see if it has an MP7 or MP6. MP6 trannys are the SOHC transmission, the MP7 is the DOHC transmission.

Mar 19, 2010 | 1996 Saturn SC

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Chaged transmission on 1997 saturn now it will not

It sounds like you have the wrong transmission. If your car is a DOHC aka an SL2, SC2, or SW2 then you have an MP7 transmission. If you have a SOHC, aka a SL1, SC1, or SW1 then you have an MP6. You need the right transmission for the right motor...DOHC needs the MP7 while the SOHC needs the MP6.

On top of that, you need the correct gear ratios which changed over the years. Your '97 CANNOT use a '98-'02 transmission. It must be 1991-1997 if it is an MP7 or 1993-1997 if it is an MP6.

Otherwise the PCM will not shift the wrong transmission.

Feb 02, 2010 | 1997 Saturn SL

2 Answers

1994 Saturn SL2 stuck in 3rd gear.

There might be a torque converter lock up sensor or solenoid. When it quits working you have a problem like your having. Some times the side pan can be removed and solenoid can be replaced. I have never replaced one in a saturn, but I have in a chevy cavalier. I'm not sure but I think that is a GM made transmission.

Jan 16, 2010 | 1993 Saturn SL2

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1999 Saturn SL2 shifting problems

I also have a 1999 sl2 saturn . I was having about the same problem but mine also did not want to go into reverse somtimes as well . Ichanged my fluid and filter and put in a good trans conditioner and just about all my trouble went away. The trans filter is just like a oil filter it just screws on the outside of the transmission . It is located down under the air filter housing, and the fluid plug is right on the bottom of the trans.

Mar 27, 2009 | 1999 Saturn SL

2 Answers


by vehicle speed sensor do you mean the throttle positioning sensor? If not that sounds like your problem.... and if you have changed that then I would reccomend a tranny flush.

Jun 18, 2008 | 1998 Saturn SL

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