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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The automatic on my 9000 has gone after 17 good years. After getting a quote of $3k from Aamco, I decided it was either DIY or junk the car. After doing much research it seems failures are very common.

I found a post on this forum describing my problem exactly, and that it was an easy fix, but no details on how to go about it.

This is the forum post: http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=200366

and here is the quote from User 90000006:

"besides the governor seals there are unfortunately 2 more common failure modes, the good news is that they are all easy fixable:

- sticky valve in the valve body, caused by dirty oil/lack of maintenance. Mostly the 3-4 or 4-3 traction valve will lock up, causing erratic or no shifting into 4th and a complete loss of forward drive if the car slows down coming from 4th gear. Also can cause whining noises. Sometimes temporary cures itself when the trannie cools down...."

Wondering if anyone has fixed this and what I should do.

Thanks in advance
 

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First of all, if you want to save the box it is vital that you don't drive the car any more while the box is playing up.
Pull the dipstick and smell the oil, if the oil is clear and there is no trace of a burned smell you can have a go at it. If the oil smells burned you're too late, if the oil is creamy/milky coolant has leaked into the oil and that will be bad news as well.

You need to remove the valve body from the transmission, located under the top cover. You have to remove the battery and battery holder to get access. Carefully clean the surroundings of the cover before removal, it is very important to prevent any dirt from getting in the transmission. Take off the cover and in case of a turbo remove the small metal pipe on the front side that connects the valve body with the transmission casing. It pulls straight out, tight fit, don't loose the 2 O-seals on each end. Now look carefully at the screws, 10 of them have a larger head than the others. Remove only those 10 screws (T27 bit, don't try a T25), put the gear selector in 1, pull the throttle cable tight and lift the entire valve body from the car. Put the cover temporarily back on to prevent dirt from getting in the trannie and take the valve body to a clean workspace.

Get some documentation, www.peugeot605.eu/letoltes/4hp18.pdf and http://www.citdoks.de/Bilder/635/automatik_4hp18_uebh.pdf will provide enough detail. Beware that the last one is for a Peugeot 605 box, so there may be small differences in springs, orifices etc.

Now you can either just remove the 3-4 and 4-3 valves (# 4 and 5 on page 16 of the first PDF mentioned above), clean out the bores with a lint-free cloth and a stick, clean the valves and reassemble.
Or you can disassemble the entire valve body, which is probably the better option as you can get all the gunk out but it's more work. It's not rocket science, you just need to meticulously label every part as each spring, orifice, piston, spacer etc is different and everything has to go back in exactly where it came from. So get your digital camera out, label each part and don't drink too much beer :cheesy: Whatever you do, work clean clean clean. It's dirt that kills autoboxes (and heat, and lack of oil changes).

When placing the reassembled valve body back on the box again place gear selector in 1th and pull the throttle cable, make sure the roller engages in the selector valve. Change the oil and clean the filter and take it for a test drive. If things have improved change the oil at least another 2 times with short intervals in between until it stays clear red. If you come that far, change the oil every 40000 kms and you trannie will probably live forever.

good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
tempted...

Thank you so much for your reply! The car isn't really drivable, so it hasn't been.

I looked at and smelled the oil. To me, it smelled like plain old transmission oil. It also looked ok, however, a while ago while changing the radiator, and the first new one was defective and mixed the coolant and trans fluid. The car wasn't driven like this, but I know some coolant was in the trans. I drained and refilled both the cooling system 5 times before driving hoping that it would be good enough. After this a small squeak happened in the 2-3 upshift but I didn't think much of it as it didn't effect the car performance at all.

Let me know if you have any other thoughts as I am tempted to try this.
 

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... but I know some coolant was in the trans. I drained and refilled both the cooling system 5 times before driving hoping that it would be good enough.
That changes the story a bit... First question as this is not clear from your post: did you drain and refill the coolant 5 times or did you change the transmission oil as well? If so, how did you do that? A complete flush or just changed it a few times?

Coolant in the box is very bad news. The problem is that over time it attacks the rubber O-seals on the pistons from the clutch packs, which leads to leakage, which in turn causes slip, which inevitable leads to burned clutch packs and only a complete overhaul will fix that. If any coolant gets into the box the only way to get rid of it is to flush the box and even then you can only hope for the best.

If you have a lot of coolant in the oil it will look a bit milky, like tomato soup with sour cream. Small amount will not show so clearly, one way to tell is pulling the dipstick and holding a burning cigarette lighter under it. If any water is present in the oil, it will sputter.

If it was coolant that killed your box then your options are limited to overhauling it or sourcing another unit.

On the other hand, you have nothing to loose so cleaning out the valve body never hurts...

Btw no chance of claiming the damage at the supplier of the faulty radiator?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, apologies for the mistype. I drained and refilled both the trans and coolant system 5 times. I'm going to go ahead and do the valve body cleaning and hope for the best. I wish I could claim damage but the supplier wont even acknowledge the part was faulty, only offered a refund.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also, another question:

Ive got the Battery tray and upper radiator hose out of the way of the transmission, and on top of the Trans there is a green cap towards the back. Just curious to what it is.
 

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it's the breather.

It helps to get the air intake pipe to the throttle body out the way as well, otherwise getting the cover off is a bit awkward.

Good luck and fingers crossed!
 
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