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Old 08-04-2010, 01:34 PM   #101
oldraven
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

This has been very promising. Thanks to the few who took the initial risk.

My problem is a bit unique, thought probably not in Canada. I have an '03 Vue with a 2.2 VTi and AWD. I've found that this was the last year for an AWD 4-cyl Vue, so my chances of finding an automatic that will somehow bolt up to the transfer case are slim to none. Am I doomed? Do I have to go so far as a V6 swap to get a working automatic in this car? I know you couldn't get a manual and AWD, so that's not an option, sadly.

So, knowing I'm kind of stuck, I want to hear more about what the Russian fellow had to say about how easy it is to fix the VTi. From what I've read so far, it's a matter of replacing the pullies and belt/chain. If I could somehow source parts (maybe a few sets), this is a much easier solution than swapping altogether. I'm not willing to throw money away at a dealership to rebuilt this thing. Even if it's easy, they book 9hrs to R&R an automatic transmissions, before they decide it's really complicated and expensive to repair. 3 extra hours to scratch their heads. If it's just a matter of pulling a housing or cover, then changing out a pulley or two and a belt, I'd much rather not spend even more money that I don't have on a new vehicle when this Vue is perfectly good otherwise.

Any help on either front would be very appreciated. If all else fails, a V6 swap might be our only choice, but I don't know how similar the AWD systems are between the Honda and Ecotec. Even a few thousand bucks spent on that is better than spending $7-8k ($10k at a dealership) on a comparable vehicle, getting nothing for a trade in with a busted car.

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Old 08-06-2010, 10:03 AM   #102
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldraven View Post
This has been very promising. Thanks to the few who took the initial risk.

My problem is a bit unique, thought probably not in Canada. I have an '03 Vue with a 2.2 VTi and AWD. I've found that this was the last year for an AWD 4-cyl Vue, so my chances of finding an automatic that will somehow bolt up to the transfer case are slim to none. Am I doomed? Do I have to go so far as a V6 swap to get a working automatic in this car? I know you couldn't get a manual and AWD, so that's not an option, sadly.

So, knowing I'm kind of stuck, I want to hear more about what the Russian fellow had to say about how easy it is to fix the VTi. From what I've read so far, it's a matter of replacing the pullies and belt/chain. If I could somehow source parts (maybe a few sets), this is a much easier solution than swapping altogether. I'm not willing to throw money away at a dealership to rebuilt this thing. Even if it's easy, they book 9hrs to R&R an automatic transmissions, before they decide it's really complicated and expensive to repair. 3 extra hours to scratch their heads. If it's just a matter of pulling a housing or cover, then changing out a pulley or two and a belt, I'd much rather not spend even more money that I don't have on a new vehicle when this Vue is perfectly good otherwise.

Any help on either front would be very appreciated. If all else fails, a V6 swap might be our only choice, but I don't know how similar the AWD systems are between the Honda and Ecotec. Even a few thousand bucks spent on that is better than spending $7-8k ($10k at a dealership) on a comparable vehicle, getting nothing for a trade in with a busted car.
I was able to price the packs by searching the net and finding the parts for about 1000 to up to 5000 depending on the amount of warranty you want.
Shouldn't be too difficult to find. My VTi was writting off in an accident and I purchased an 06 Ion 3 with standard so I don't have to worry about it any more.

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Old 08-06-2010, 10:36 AM   #103
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

Easy:

MRT Transmissions in Illinois.
www.mrt-usa.com

Have it all when it comes to the VTi......

In my opion, your better-off with a swap......if you can.

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Old 08-06-2010, 08:02 PM   #104
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

I highly recommend you go to the vue section and find someone knowledgeable in engine/transmission/ECU/transfer case compatibility. you have an odd mix to worry about, so you just may be stuck with repairing the CVT. I hope there is at least a 4 speed auto you can swap in, though.

...
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Old 08-22-2010, 04:22 PM   #105
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

I've recently purchased an 04 Quad Coupe and I almost positive from reading your blog, it's a VTI, being that and most of what I read, all QC's come with the VTI. How can I tell the difference in a VTI and an AF23 transmission, externally looking.

Thought the deal on the ION was unbelievable, so I got it. The car is in immaculate condition, leather, sunroof, power everything, one owner, etc., so for $1,200, I couldn't pass it up. The tranny is inop, (won't go into any gear) so I've read your entire blog and it sounds pretty simple.

This is my first ION experience, as I have dealt with MANY "s" series cars over the past 6-8 years and those tend to be my favorite.

Anyway, I enquired to some other Saturn enthusiasts as to why wouldn't some other tranny work in the ION and they were lost as well. Can't wait for them to read your swap blog.

Thanks!

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Old 08-22-2010, 09:14 PM   #106
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

not a blog, a thread on a forum. and only QC's from 2003-2004 have the dreaded CVT transmission. the swap to an aisin 5 speed auto is affordable and easy to do, so it is not the end of the world.

...
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:43 AM   #107
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

So how can one tell the difference between the VTI and the AF23 transmission, just by looking at it? Also, some refer to it as a CVT. Is it a CVT or VTI? I'm confused.

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Old 08-23-2010, 06:05 AM   #108
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

look at the markings on the case. it will have the model marked on it, also, if it looks like the one you have, it's a cvt. cvt equals vti.

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Old 08-23-2010, 02:22 PM   #109
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

How do you know what mine looks like?

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Old 08-24-2010, 02:26 AM   #110
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

what? I have no clue what yours looks like, but you can look at it, paying attention to markings and shape and look for the only other model automatic transmission from 03 to 04. this is not complicated stuff, really.

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Old 08-24-2010, 03:32 AM   #111
Orion FE
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

Your previous response; "also, if it looks like the one you have, it's a cvt". That's why I asked how do you know what mine looks like.
Anyway, apparently, there's a company up North somewhere (I'll have the info later today) that has supposedly "cured" the problem with the VTi/CVT transmissions and they sell the remanufactured ones for $2,150. I was also told yesterday by the Local Chevrolet dealer that GM is offering a 50/50 split for Vue and Ion owners for the CVT/VTi replacement and they quoted me $1,200-$1,300 (my cost) for a replacement tranny, installed, with a 3 year/36k mile warranty. Either way, I didn't really want to spend that kind of money on a transmission, so I am going to attempt the swap with the AF23. I just have to find a donor car. Worst case, I'll let GM do their thang.

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Old 08-25-2010, 05:08 PM   #112
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

Orion FE,

If your mechanically inclined and have access to an engine lift, doing the VTi to AF23 swap is a breeze.

Follow the instructions on the first entry in his forum, and you'll be just fine.

I followed them to a "T", and had not a minute's problem.

What is hard, is going to a salvage yard that will let you get the parts on the list. One thing going for you is that there are a lot of ION sedans out there (03 & 04), so finding one shouldn't be a problem.

If you find a good candidate for a donor, be patient while removing the wiring harness. Some of the connectors, especially the small ones on the front, above the starter were a real b@tch. The brackets are easy to get to....as long as the collision isn't too bad in front...

In some ways, this project was fun, and it was nice to see the VTi out of the car.

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Old 08-25-2010, 06:21 PM   #113
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

Thanks. I have found a salvage yard that has 2 of the 03 Sedans. One of the transmission is already pulled and on the shelf, with the computer. The other one is still in the car. The yard said I could have everything I need (trans, TCM, Harness, mounts, lines, brackets, etc) for the swap for $350+tax. The tranny only has 56k on it and comes with a 3 month 3k warranty! I'm excited. I'll pick it up this weekend! I am going to try it out and see how it goes. I will post the results.
Like I previously said, I know the S cars like the back of my hand and have done nameless things to those, but this is my first Ion. It should be a breeze with all the thread here.
Thanks again everyone for their help.

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Old 08-30-2010, 09:08 PM   #114
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Question Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

Hello all,

I've read every thread in this post and many others. Thanks for the great info.

I was given an 03 QC with 138K on the original Vti. Its sounds to me that this mileage is quite remarkable.

In any case I am gathering parts for the swap now and have begun pulling the old trans.

As some of you had said before re-flashing the TCM is not necessary. Their are also some who have said the VIN needs to match match in both the ECM and TCM.
My question is this: Has anyone had any trouble in the vehicle inspection process regarding VIN inconsistencies?

I live in Mass and I think the computer system does a VIN check for inpection purposes.

Thanks for all the great info and keep posting the results of the AF23 swaps.

Greg

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Old 08-31-2010, 07:12 AM   #115
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orion FE View Post
I've recently purchased an 04 Quad Coupe and I almost positive from reading your blog, it's a VTI, being that and most of what I read, all QC's come with the VTI. How can I tell the difference in a VTI and an AF23 transmission, externally looking.

Thought the deal on the ION was unbelievable, so I got it. The car is in immaculate condition, leather, sunroof, power everything, one owner, etc., so for $1,200, I couldn't pass it up. The tranny is inop, (won't go into any gear) so I've read your entire blog and it sounds pretty simple.

This is my first ION experience, as I have dealt with MANY "s" series cars over the past 6-8 years and those tend to be my favorite.

Anyway, I enquired to some other Saturn enthusiasts as to why wouldn't some other tranny work in the ION and they were lost as well. Can't wait for them to read your swap blog.

Thanks!
I got almost 150 000kms on my 04 QC and was still going fine. Just make sure you follow regular maintanance, for the tranny and don't do any hard pulls, at all. Drive easy and relaxed. It will go eventually, but you will notice when it starts to go. My car was almost all highway miles, so that may have helped. I have heard from as low as 30 000 to as high as 250 000km so I guess it all depends.....Also, the tranny ECM from the Aisen has to go with it and the ECM from the car you took it from. Basically the ECM has to know the tranny type. So if you get the Aisin from a wreck, make sure you get the ECM from this car as well. Make a deal with the owner of the wrecking yard to swap your ECM.

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Old 09-04-2010, 05:21 PM   #116
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

Completed the swap today on my 04 ION QC. Everything went great....just like jeepinwi said. I got all the required parts from an 03 Sedan with 56k on it. Everything, including transmission, mounts, harness, TCM, etc came to $372 with taxes. The installation was a snap except for the torque converter. MAKE SURE it's seated all the way in the trans before trying to hook it up, again just like jeepinwi said. I thought it was in but still like 1/2" or so before the trans would marry the block so I backed it out and sure enough, it will go in further than you think it would. I didn't have a cherry picker so I used a 4' long pry bar across the firewall to support the engine and use the motorcycle jack for the tranny. The bike jack is great for tranny installs!!!After that little ordeal, everything went smooth, as far as install. I was shocked how much the harness was a "Plug & play".

No codes on the car except PWR STR is on the instrument panel and there's no power steering. I read in the Haynes manual where there's sensor rings on the column that a dealer has to fix. Anybody got any ideas about that one? The only time the steering was messed with was when I disconnected the subframe from the car, I took the steering loose at the knuckle just above the subframe.

I used the Mobil 1 Synthetic trans fluid but Mobil makes a 3099 oil that is supposed to be for the Aisin transmissions. Unable to locate that. I can't drive the car too far yet to see how it performs until I figure out the Pwr steering. Seems to be all good thus far though. Thanks again jeepinwi. My buddy that is the master mech at the local Saturn dealer and even he is impressed!

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Old 09-05-2010, 05:32 AM   #117
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

I wouldn't drive it too far until you get the right fluid in it. the steering is possibly a fuse. if that checks out, you need a new steering column. if you are under 100k miles, this will be free.

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Old 09-05-2010, 06:42 AM   #118
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

What's wrong with the fluid I put in it? It says it's compatable with the Toyota T-III and T-IV, which is the same as the Toyota fluid. I would think any synthetic would do but before I put it in it, I read about it on the Mobil web page and it appears compatable. The Mobil ATF 3309 is what replaces the Toyota and Saturn, Lexis, etc fluid that have the Aisin transmissions. Check it out at http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/...aspx?WT.srch=1.

As far as the power steering, why would that all of a sudden go out? Why would I need a whole column? Wow. That's shocking. I will try and locate a fuse for it and check it, but the fuse panel under the hood doesn't have one for PS because I immediately thought the same thing. I'll let you know what I find out. Thanks for the help.

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Old 09-05-2010, 11:22 AM   #119
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

the motors go bad. you need a whole column because it's integrated, unless gm has made just the motor available.

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Old 09-05-2010, 08:18 PM   #120
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Default Re: VTi to AF23 transmission swap

I talked to my buddy at the dealership today and he says there's a recall on them and when they come in for the recall, all they do is change the motor. He also sais he's got a couple on the bench that were removed but are still good so he's going to bring me a motor and we'll try that. I'll let you know how that goes.

BTW-The TWO 30A fuses were good. I also drove the car around the block today and it revs up when changing from 2nd to 3r. It's fine if you manually shift it but everytime I start out, when it goes to shift from 2nd to 3rd, it doesn't go until I let of the gas. Do you think that's the ECM learning the shift points or what? Any ideas on how I can fix it?

Thanks for all your help thus far. I really appreciate it.

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