Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Saturn S-Series: code p0101



  • my saturn dealer wants $139 an hour, but that's probably because they suck. I never see anyone there unless they are getting warranty work done, or have recalls to be done. Everyone I know goes to the next closest saturn dealer about 45 minutes away, and nobody has had a problem there. I have a friend who I am speaking to at this moment that had his manifold gasket done last ear for the same reason, and he said it took him like 1 hour 45 minutes start to finish
  • I also have the same problem. I'm in Canada if that makes any of the work harder or easier. I was told by the local Saturn dealer that my off warranty 2001 Saturn SL1 would require the same gasket to fix the problem. They tried selling me a OEM gasket set for over $100, and then said that it would take 7 to 10 hours work to get it in and would more then likely cost me $900 for work. I know for a fact it won't take more then 3 hours, but you know dealers, they wanna stick it to you in labour. So I decided to check the Haynes guide and it said to remove some front end parts for clearance, but that is way over my head. Could you send me your checklist of how to do this without all the unnecessary removal of parts for "clearance" I picked up the felpro gasket to fit, and just need to find a way to do this easily considering that I have already spent over $700 (arms-length list of replaced, and probably unneeded parts) to find this problem and don't want to spend any more then I need to at this point.
  • Your Saturn dealer is strange. Mine wanted 5 hours and that task is well known and booked. It is really a 2 hour job for them, and the gasket is worthless. Makes no sense to put the a new plastic gasket in there again. Haynes manual is my reference guide too, and its procedures are for outright removal of the intake manifold from the car. This is not necessary for gasket change only. The work is much less than prescribed. There's enough clearance to do the job pretty easily. Best to do this yourself if you're comfortable under the hood. This job is pretty straightforward. I should be able to look you up on the forum and get the repair material to you. I feel sorry for your situation. They probably replaced your fast idle solenoid, maybe injectors, maybe more. It's outrageous of course.
  • User Darkfyre07: click on my forum user name and use that E-mail to send me yours. Your profile lists your E-mail as private.
  • ok, my email should be visible now... if not then it's
  • I've your E-mail. OMG on the above work done. Your gasket leak must be in bad shape, to include the cyl-4 end of the block. Your gasket must be letting coolant into the manifold and some of this getting into the oil via cyl-4 or so. You probably have been smelling coolant burned with the exhaust for a while. Here in Massachusetts, the emissions test is failed if the OBD-II computer shows a fault. The SL is fundamentally a well designed car.
  • it's funny, it's not that bad. I just can't get it to stop. I'm following what I was told to follow, and now I have just said screw it and started looking for alternatives. I noticed the manifold leak when I was trying to clean some leaves from the cowl, I saw some fluid dripping from the cylinder 4 end of the manifold after it had been run, it was dripping onto the hot block and making a sizzling sound, so I took a rag and swiped it, and noticed it was smelling of gas and sugar, telling me that it was leaking a little bit of coolant, but not that much. The car sat outside from last July until late november without being run for more then a few minutes to move it, and the gasket looks like it just came apart from lack of use. It's not plastic, it looks more like cheap tin covered cardboard, so I know it's been done once. I just got it basically and have had nothing but trouble diagnosing what was wrong. I had a 1990 toyota camry before this car and the transmission broke going like 80km/h and literally stopped the front wheels and made the car skid into a ditch and rolled over 3 times. I did all my own work on it for the 2 years I had it, and never had a problem like this...
  • Your gasket sounds like it has been deteriorating for quite a while. The material is fiberglass. It flows and deforms over time from the heat and general lack of grip with the clamping surfaces. It doesn't expand in manner needed to match the aluminum head and manifold. Misdiagnosing has always been costly, and even the shops are like this to some extent. But the car will run like new after the gasket change. A flaw here and there is fixable, but a general bad design is not. The SL is not a bad car. Lots of good solid thinking went into it as I could tell studying it. Too bad you didn't visit this forum earlier on. Folks would've saved you a lot of aggravation. Be sure to have a deep socket 13mm, I think that was the only tool I took from the seldom-used tools supply. An extra person helps a lot, but not necessary.
  • seems like a lot of work for just a $40 gasket, but it has to be done. I see now from the proceedure that it does take time, but not the 5 hours needed to do it that the shop said. I've got a few people that own saturns like mine that do their own work, and I'll see if I can get a pair of extra hands to help out. I didn't realize that the power steering pump was attached to the manifold, but I went outside and looked at it myself. I wish it was a more simple job, but it's easier then the "we have to rip the engine out to do it" job that saturn wanted to do. they tried telling me on the phone that there is no other way to do it without rotating or removing the engine.
  • The FelPro high quaity replacement gasket only costed $18 for me. But like a lot of work on cars, most of it is in the labor. Your Saturn dealer is a particularly bad one. They must've done this job daily as all the folks I know (total of 3 including myself) had to get it done, so this is a widespread problem. The power steering pump is attached to a small bracket that is attached to the engine head, not the manifold. The PS pump is removed only because it gets in the way and prevents the manifold from sliding straight back towards the firewall. All hoses are flexible and it is a lightweight item. Just set it aside with hoses intact, etc. With the timing belt off, turn the PS pump pulley by hand aligning the 3 access slots on the pulley to get to the 5 bolts that hold PS pump to the bracket. Keep track of the bolts as there are 2 different lengths. The job is easy compared to working on a Toyota Camry for same job. Even at booked 5 hours job. Saturn charges $90/hr. If you consider the gasket is worthless and they only need 2 hours, they make about $250/hr. Working on own car is the highest self paying job available to anyone with a car.
  • catmando1catmando1 Posts: 10
    Thank goodness for these forums, and all of you who have shared your experiences. After reading this thread, I confirmed my problem to be the intake manifold gasket on my '01 SL1, and just finished changing it out this afternoon. Not a real difficult job, but it did take a little time. I'll put some miles on it this week and see if the check engine light will stay off.'s Miller time!
    '01 SL1, 230K and counting
  • saturnbluesaturnblue Posts: 10
    I noticed you mentioned having an abbreviated list of sorts for changing out the intake manifold gasket, could I get that list from you as well if it's not a problem?

    I have PO301 and PO507 in doubles and single pairs with variable code sequence and I've collected all the necessary tools, but a step in the Chiltons that specifies relieving the fuel rail pressure also recommends replacing the o-rings on the injectors each
    time they're removed, other than obvious cracking from ozone damage, is this step along with draining all the Antifreeze a necessary step for replacing the Manifold gasket?

  • catmando1catmando1 Posts: 10
    I can't speak for Booboo6, but I did successfully replace my gasket yesterday. I tackled the job without a manual, which might have helped a bit. sure that the gasket is for sure the problem by spraying carb cleaner around each intake port at the cylinder head with the car running...if it races or chokes, then it is definitely sucking in air and the gasket is shot.

    The fuel rail is easy to disconnect at the end. A special squeeze clip is all that locks it in place and a gentle tug will pull it off (don't let it squirt you in the eye, and be ready to catch about two ounces of fuel from the rail since the pressure is relieved).

    the antifreeze caught me by surprise...I didn't pay enough attention to other posts in this thread. The manifold gasket does seal off cooling passages within the cylinder head, and once the seal is broken (as your removing the manifold) the contents of the head will leak out. So, draining at least a portion of the coolant...say a gallon or so...might prevent it from spilling down the back of the engine and onto the floor or ground.

    I wasn't able to acquire a torque wrench for the job...and also was confused with the torque specs in my Haynes manual (only listed up to 1999) I did a no-no and winged it. I tightened in 4 stages, evenly, starting from the center of the manifold and working outward. This is very tedious, and is probably much worse with an actual torque wrench. Perhaps someone else can comment on that.

    sorry....long-winded...but hope this might help.

  • saturnbluesaturnblue Posts: 10
    I know what you mean about the torque settings, I have a torque wrench, but I have to find it first, it does say in the Chiltons to start from the center and work your way outwards, so you're correct in that step, the torque settings are a bit confusing, up til 99 on DOHC and SOHC it says 22 ft-lbs 2000 and above it's 114 "inch" lbs for the DOHC only, why the change in 2000 for the DOHC and in inch-lbs. vice ft-lbs. is a bit odd unless they started using a different alloy around the manifold surface area bolt studs.

    The manual says something about a schrader valve depressing to relieve the fuel pressure, (this step is in another chapter from the 20 sentence steps listed for the manifold replacement.

    Did you remove your hood to do your gasket? I'm thinking about doing it and the valve cover just to get a better view of what I'm doing, the other thing is I might want to replace my serpentine belt as I have an oil wicking problem where the leaking oil only leaks when the car is running and whips all over the underside of the hood and some of the hoses in the vicinity.

    Since I have to relieve the tension on the serpentine to remove the power steering pump, I thought it would be a good time to replace it before the oil eats up the belt or causes it to fail,(I don't know for sure I'm guessing) my past problems were limited to just cracks in the rubber due to age and ozone exposure, this is my 3rd Saturn, my 1st one
    (91)I traded in just as the catalytic converter was starting to be really noisy like a bunch of marbles trapped inside it.

    My second one was a used 92 SL2 and I found out quickly about the TSB that related to the non-joke of carrying around a case of oil in the trunk because of it's notorious
    oil burning problems, once I came back after my wife had been driving the car and she said it sounded like clicking
    in the engine,(1500 miles without an oil level check) to me it sounded like dieseling, lo and behold, the dip-stick was bone dry, almost no oil! Anyway I got rid of it as soon as possible, ironically 6 months later I spied it traveling in the same direction one morning, (some woman was driving it) in a city of over a million people what a surprise, I just feel sorry for her even though I replaced about $1000 worth of stuff during the 2 years I owned it, the most expensive being that damn $700 windshield after I kilt a mosquito and cracked that old windshield.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice on the 2 oz of fuel drippage, I have lots of pads to absorb that and maybe it won't burn or corrode through the plastic layer of these diaper pads.
  • saturnbluesaturnblue Posts: 10
    One last bit, I did the carb cleaner on the top of the intake area and it revved up each time I did it, this was a confirmation of some advice I paid for just to make sure as I didn't wish to give away my money to Saturn if I could fix the problem and finish getting my car smogged as these 2 flags are the only thing keeping my car from getting smogged and I'm ready to start getting better mileage already since I'm already paying $4.60 a gallon out here in
    "you're being punished for not enough of you voting (R) in SoCal" it's always political of course if I wanted to waste more gas, I could do what some are doing and drive down to Mexico where state price supports make it about $2 a gallon cheaper! ($2.45)!!!
  • saturnbluesaturnblue Posts: 10
    I changed my gasket out last thursday (July 3rd) and it took me longer because I spent a lot of time looking for my hand-me-down torque wrench which I gave up looking for after a few hours.

    Most of the time I wasted 2 out of 4 hours was trying until the next day when I found out (duh) that the drain for the radiator is merely a 1/4" socket, (double duh for me!) the
    power steering pump was the lone problem as removing 3 bolts did little until I noticed that there's a hard to reach bolt at the bottom of the P.S. bracket, I managed to
    push the P.S. pump back far enough to give me the necessary clearance to push the intake assembly off the engine studs.

    I used nitrile gloves to protect my hands and a shop rag to absorb the gas from the rail, (there was no pressure in my line, but a bit of liquid gas)
    I didn't have 2 oz drain out, most likely due to having the Saturn at an incline with the front wheels on a level surface (for the jack stands stability) I used the left over gas on a shop rag to clean off the 2 mating surfaces and once I had full clearance, the gasket went on without any problems, I too hadn't drained enough coolant, so as I removed all the nuts, some coolant started dribbling out, so I opened the drain again to lower the coolant level.

    Since the book (Chilton's) calls for 22 ft-lbs. on the intake nuts for the SOHC 2002 SL I felt the relative ease at removing the nuts in the middle and it was a bit harder on the edges, this is probably due to more heat concentration on the middle and less on the edges where the
    flexing of the metal is different (I suppose) so I tried not to over tighten and I followed the recommendation for tightening from the center and working outward.

    After all of this, I started it up and all my codes disappeared! Now I can pass the smog!
  • booboo6booboo6 Posts: 46
    I'm in NYC right now. I'll send you after I get back to MA. I did the list to show only the necessary steps to do the operation. I logged the times for each step to demonstrate how excessive is Saturn's quoted 5 hour labor. If anyone else has the list I sent (I sent out to a couple of folks in this forum, please forward to the fellow in need. Keep in mind that the Hayne's manual and references to fuel rail is for those literally REMOVING the manifold. That is not what we are doing here for gasket change. A lot of steps are not needed. Do not remove the fuel rail from the manifold. Fuel rails goes along for the ride with the intake manifold while assembled together.

    Draining antifreeze from the block is necessary, with draining the radiator also good idea, but not necessary. Just the block is necessary and there will be some leakage when separating the intake manifold from the head. The P0301 is 1st cyl misfire, so you have a bad leak at the passenger end of the manifold. P0507 is fast idle and loss of idle speed by black box. The leaked air got detected triggering more fuel flow and faster idle. When idle switch is enabled and engine rpm much above 750 rpm or so, P0507 will trigger.
  • darkfyre07darkfyre07 Posts: 12
    So it's been almost 5000 miles since I replaced the manifold gasket, and so far, not a single problem has risen. i've regularly checked around the intake manifold for any signs of leakage, besides the normal seaping from it being new, and nadda on both. I did however swap out a set of ignition coils and the module to help get a better spark since the repair, not out of necessity, but out of instinct, and had the old coils tested and as my instincts told me, the coils were degrading. I was told that is the only other problem with the Saturn SL series, and that it was a very common idea to just swap them out if they needed it or not to save in the future. Thanks again for the help guys.

  • booboo6booboo6 Posts: 46
    Your problem has been resolved by the gasket change. You can bet on that! There should be no seeping. Not sure if you meant you heard some. A good gasket is the case with most Japanese cars. Their gaskets last life of car. Ironically, only with the Saturn SL did I have to go through the labor of changing the intake manifold gasket! The other thing to look after is THE BATTERY. The OEM AC-Delco battery with side terminals is prone to LEAK. The Saturn SL uses a good inert plastic battery tray with 2 deep reservoirs to catch acid. Both got filled and started to fill up the tray. I lost all the acid above the side terminal in the first cell at the positive terminal. The acid dribbled on one hardware and dissolved it, and dribbled on the tranny oil filter. I found leak in time, but will change out tranny oil and filter. Had the tray been metal and/or not designed to catch and hold the 4-5 oz of acid that came out, I would be looking at serious damage to tranny connections, the entire solenoid panel for shifting, etc. Check your battery terminals. Top terminal are safer as they are above acid, but side terminals are below the battery acid head and will leak in time.
  • darkfyre07darkfyre07 Posts: 12
    luckily, the previous owner put a battery in with top terminals, and did it the day before I bought the car, thank god. The reason that I knew about the coils is from my mechanic, god rest him. He said that he had heard from enough people that Saturns built in, or maintained under warranty in Canada have bad coils, plug wires and ignition modules, and that they can be expensive, but that a quick $25 swap from a wrecker will fix most problems, so long as you pick one up from a 97-99 Saturn (canadian cars sometimes are very cheaply made and most often break down faster then their American built versions), mine being built mostly in Tennessee, but the electronics were swapped out in Oshawa Ontario during some dealer maintenance when the car was under warranty, using parts from the GM plant warehouse.
This discussion has been closed.