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Watch those bolts

Monday, January 5, 2015 - 09:00
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The CVT VT20/25E transmission (figure 1) was used in two Saturn vehicles; the 2003 to 2005 Ion and the 2003 to 2004 Vue. Overseas it was used in the 2002-2004 Opel Vectra. 

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One of ATSG’s subscribers shared with us about an incident where one of these transmissions came in to the shop for repairs. After the job was completed and the vehicle delivered it soon came back with a leak. Upon inspection, it was noticed that the transmission was wet from the top of the transmission by the fill port in the pan all the way down to the bottom. At first it seemed as if they spilled the fluid during the fill process. But after cleaning the fluid from the transmission and topping off the fluid level, they ran the vehicle only to see fluid slowly running down the transmission. It took time for the fluid to begin to seep down the transmission but, it became more obvious that it was coming for under the upper mount area along side the filling port in the pan and not the pan or filling port (figure 2).

When the mount was removed, the mounting bolts and holes were wet with fluid. This area of the case sits over the tip of the driven pulley assembly. Figure 3 shows the transmission upside down with the case split. The drive pulley is to the right and the driven pulley is to the left. Figure 4 shows the case half empty. The bottom left side of the case is where the area the upper mount bolts to from the outside (figure 5). A close look in this area revealed cracks due to the misplacement of the mounting bolts as they are not all the same lengths (figure 6).

As the drive pulley was spinning slinging fluid against the damaged case, the fluid would seep through the cracks. So you have not only a weeping transmission, you also have a weeping shop owner who now needs to buy a new case.

Care obviously needs to be taken when placing these bolts to avoid this type of self inflicted injury. You will not have a clue running these bolts in with an impact wrench that the case just cracked. These transmissions are no longer made and parts are becoming more difficult to find so this can be quite a dilemma. In some “cases” it takes JB weld to a whole new “level.”

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