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Saturn S-Series



  • footrestfootrest Posts: 1
    i own a 97 saturn which I like, though don't truly love, but was interested in buying a used one for my teenager. i was surprised to hear engine noise in a SL2 98 and an SLl 99 louder than what I have in my 97 that already has 75,000 miles on it. These cars had l6,000 and 30,000. what should i be suspicious of in such a noisy car?
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Could you clarify noisy engine? You mean at idle? Or while driving?

    I wouldn't be too concerned about engine noise, its not indicitive of any particular problem. Where are you buying this Saturn?

    Have you considered buying yourself an L series and giving your son yours? The L series is quite an amazing car and currently you can get a 2000 model for a great price. I think you should go drive one.
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    Does Saturn have any plans for styling revisions on the L series? I have heard a lot of good things about it, but the front end I think is so bland. It could use some more rear overhang too. A bit too stubby looking for my tastes.

    Just curious.
  • raernraern Posts: 1
    Hi- Chrissy, I believe your major questions last week were concerning the longevity and super-mileage-ability of Saturns. I believe my experiences can help.

    I bought a 93 SCI (plum!!!) and put 36K miles on it in a year and a half, then decided I wanted a four door. I bought the 95 SLI and am just passing the 118,000 mile mark now. My husband bought a 91 SL2 with 28,000 miles on it in 94 and proceeded to put 90K more on it (with my help)over the last 5 years. My brother now drives that one as a family car for his 2 year old. All of these miles are hard driving, back roads, errands, stops and starts, hours and hours of highway driving on end, etc.

    Anyhow, no real problems at all and I really beat the living crap out of any transmission I come in contact with. I think most of the "work" I have had to do with all of the cars is to change the EGR valves---definitely has to do with driving A LOT. And the brakes squeak periodically when it is cold or rainy---but that happens to all cars with the asbestos-type linings.

    My one bad experience was with a particular saturn service place, not the car itself. I moved 80 miles away from my usual saturn dealer so I tried the service stop closest to me...they found $800 worth of things that needed to be fixed- power steering pump, transmission pan, gaskets everywhere. I had enough $$ for the power steering pump so I fixed it even though I had had no problems. Driving home that day, I could not turn into my driveway. Royal runaround when I took it back...eventually took it to my regular Saturn dealer (Worcester, MA--- YAY!!!) the "new" pump was faulty, the tran pan gasket was leaking a LITTLE and the EGR valve needed a dusting---as usual for me!! ALL DONE FOR LABOR COST ONLY OF THE MINOR THINGS!

    Saturn's are great little cars, a little noisy (but you can crank the radio), and the SLI's need a bit of oomph to get up hills when they get older (so do we all).

    And I still get 32-40mpg, my brother gets 26 on the 91.

    I am thinking about the 2001-2002 LS2 for next be truthful, I am also checking out the Subaru Legacy Sedan, too...Must decide between 4wd or 6 cylinder.

    Good Luck
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    As far as I know there is no planned changes to the L series styling. There is two new colors for 2001, bluesilver and cream white. The styling is somewhat bland IMO. However if you drop the car about and inch and add 16 inch chrome wheels the car becomes quite a looker. No spoiler for me thanks!

    I'll probably go to an L series when my two year lease is up on my 2000 SC2.
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    One of the automotive magazines (popular mechanics) reported that for 2001 Saturn SL's will have a gm automatic transmission instead of the saturn unit. Did anyone else read of this?
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    My understanding is that they are considering the GM 4 speed transmision for the 2002 model. Not the 2001. However I didnt read the article.

    This is Whoop btw

  • chasmalachasmala Posts: 14
    First I heard that the SL model was in for a major face lift in 2002. Now I hear 2003, because 2002 will be the introduction of the new SUV. Anybody know about when the SL model will change?
  • I recently leased a 2000 SL1 and have no complaints about the quality of the car. I have discovered, unfortunately to late, that the electronic fuel pump emits Radio Frequency noise that interferes with my Citizen's Band and Amateur radios. This is a common problem for new cars with the electronic fuel pump in the gas tank and the common place for antenna installation in on the trunk. Ford is aware of the problem and has engineered a filter to be installed at the owners request. Saturn on the other hand, stated that they were unaware of the problem and did not intend to rectify the problem. I'm not sure what other electronic equipment this will interfere with but it makes a High Frequency Amateur radio and a CB useless in the car.
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    I reread the August Popular Mechanics and it gave 2001 as the year Saturn loses its transmission and 'gains' GM's 4-speed automatic and at a later time loses its engine and 'gains' GM engines hence it becomes just another GM. :(
  • ken1776ken1776 Posts: 41
    This was copied from the expert review on the 2000 SL's from Saturnboys bible JD Powers & Associates. I have maintained all along that although this car is different then GM products, it's still a GM product. Now the experts are calling it a division of GM, and the parts are being replaced by or redesigned by GM. So much for a new car co.
    JD Powers & Associates
    Since Saturn's launch just one decade ago, GM's
    newest division has focused on maintaining a close
    relationship with its customers.

    GM worked hard to reduce noise and vibration in the 1999 Saturn engines. Pistons were made smaller and lighter, connecting rods were made longer, more counterweighting was added to the crankshaft, the block was redesigned and reinforced, the timing chain was made smaller. The cylinder head was redesigned on the twin-cam engine. The list goes on and on.
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    I agree that the Saturn was owned by GM, but the total car including engines and transmissions were made at Saturn thus were not clones of any of GM's platforms. Now in a couple of years the Saturn will be one in name only and not a unique car. The popular mechanics article also stated that the Saturn SUV is a GM platform and a new sport coupe will use a similar platform from GM and not be a Saturn platform. That is why I called my earlier post Disappearing Saturn.
  • afallerafaller Posts: 1
    I just purchased a used 95 Saturn sl2. I'm satisfied with the car, except for the issue of its audio system. It only has the factory system, which is only a tuner, no cassette, and no cd. I'm looking at putting a cd player in, but as of now i know very little, and am looking for information. Has anyone out there installed a CD player in a 95 sl2? Is it difficult? Where can I get a kit, seeing as all the GM kits I can find are not compatible with the 95 sl2? I understand that I have to get an antenna adapter, but do I need any other auxiliaries? Any information would be great. Thanks.
  • chasmalachasmala Posts: 14
    Has anyone read the lastest Consumer Reports article on the SL2, Ford Focus, Sentra, and Neon? I find it hard to believe they thought the NEON rated as a better car. I don't argree with this report based on the '99 SL2 that I have driven.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    They hate Saturn. Always have. Always will.

    If you read their reviews, they often make snide comments about Saturn which they don't do with other manufacturers.
  • shanianshanian Posts: 26
    For anyone inquiring about the longevity of this little car. My 1992 SL2 has about 156K, when I tried selling it, I had the satisfaction of noting that there were only 2 other cars in that sundays classified's with higher mileage, a legend and some civic or accord.
    I have long ago stopped fussing over it, recently its new owner, my brother found that it had low oil, Oh, well top it up and get on with it. While it has had the usual engine mount, alternator problems, it never stranded anybody, ever.
    Reason for getting rid of it, engine noise and boredom with the same car, I am sure it could go on till 200k, but my new car urge was greater than my curiosity.
    My new car is an Intrigue GL, and it's go only 2.5k miles, so too soon to comment. If you value 1)value, 2)looks and 3)power then look in this direction.
  • dannygdannyg Posts: 131
    Just curious why you chose the Intrigue GL instead of upgrading to the Saturn LS. Styling? Cheaper V6? No GM Card discount until recently? I'm just curious.

  • jimontjimont Posts: 5
    My 95 SL just turned over 100K and the fuel pump went. My first warning was ~ 2 weeks ago when the engine stumbled and ran rough for about 10 minutes, then miracuously cured itself. Then a few days ago it quit and could not be restarted.

    FYI..., if your engine behaves like this, take it as a warning. If it conks out and you're stuck, check for spark and fuel (unscrew the cap of the shraeder valve near the fuel rail and depress the stem.) If no fuel and you've jiggled all the wires and checked the fuses/ relays, then whack the gas tank with a rubber mallet while someone cranks the engine, this can sometimes jar the pump into operating again so you can get the car to a mechanic you can trust.

    Of course, you kind of have to know what you're doing. Then again, Saturn could make a better pump.

    Oh yeah, check your rear exhaust hanger too. They rot out unexpectedly.

    Gee, my dodge K-car (sold at 163k)and Plymouth minivan (sold at 113k) never left me stranded like my Saturn...oh well.
  • After many problems with my 98 Intrigue I am seriously looking at a 2000 LS2,V6.The Intrigue has had Starting problems, The battery had to be replaced at 37000 miles(2 ys, 6 mo). Brakes at 1800 miles.The steering has been the worst problem, with re-occurring replacement of the rack, the half shaft and just about everything in the steering components.The interior filled with water after a hose from the a/c became disconnected during one of the repairs to the steering.The car has 45000 miles and is a real disappointment. I thought Olds had its act together,and I bought the hype instead of buying a quality car. Maybe the new ones are better?
    I am impressed with Saturn,and I found the V6 as quick if not quicker than the Intrigue.The styling is nothing to shout about, but I'd rather drive a good overall car, then a stylish repair sponge.
    Good Luck.
  • shanianshanian Posts: 26
    We decided to go with the Intrigue GL for several reasons.
    1.When we started looking, My wife wanted the Saturn LS, so we test drove the LS2 with the V6, I was suitably impressed with the acceleration/handling, but was disappointed with the front end styling.
    2.Then we test drove the Intrigue Gl in midnight blue, and it was like who could ask for anything more (sorry Camry, I would like a cheaper sticker and better dealerships), quiet and powerful (quiet coming from a 4cyl world, not compared to other V6's) and great understated styling.
    3.My brother's influence in asking me try different cars instead of same, My desire to drift away from a coldly rational, price, reliablity kind of decision making (which would have led to accord camry 4cyl Saturn) - ie take risk but not too much of one. Two to three years ago I would have been prime candidate for the said bland mobiles but now I feel a little looser, so what if my choice is not the best,so what if it depreciates, it is my choice.
    4. Then came rumblings of renaming etc,of the Ls1 to L100,which decided it for me. Finally in June Saturn decided to take GM card rebates for the LS but by then I had already made up my mind and did not want to return to the tediousness of deciding which was better etc. all over again, after all it is only a car.
    5. The Intrigue is a good value, if it holds up quality wise, Consider that you get the same drivetrain as an Olds aurora 3.5 starting at 19-20 instead of 28-30K, It has a long list of goodies, is not all that common on the road, and did I mention all the rebates/low financing and dealers eager to deal. Also the LS 2 too is a terrific hidden value as it has a Catera Engine which you could pay thousands more for,so it would be 2nd choice in the GM fold once the naming issues are put to bed.
    6. Buy the dip - .9 financing for 60 mo seemed like a dip, so I did, more fun than fixed price no haggle.
  • doug107doug107 Posts: 1
    Thought I'd relate my '95 SL2 experience. Bought in TX. Used for commuting and road trips. Loved it. Alternator had to be replaced early on (other '95 Sat owners in town had similar experience). Dealer took me for a ride at 60K maint. Around $900 of "needed repairs", $200 of which went toward solving what wound up being wheel noise (first rotation after being replaced). Moved to WA, where the Sat got exposed to a little off-road action. Puyallup, WA dealership was great! I give them higher marks than Austin, TX. No problems, but last month, the engine blew a rod! (at 107K) Hole in the block the size of a donut. I thought this is WAY too early for an engine too go. Had been about 6K since oil change, maybe it had burnt all the oil (?) NEwayz, had an independent put in a new engine from wrecking yard ($1300), and think I have a lemon. Once engine warms up, it runs great, but for the first few minutes, it spews white/blue smoke from the exhaust (burning oil). So ... it's off to the dealer to see if it's worth saving. FYI, I've had the dealer do all the work. More $$$, but I have enough hobbies.

    I'm disappointed it's come to this, because I like the car. Some cosmetic wear and tear, but I was hoping for another few years out of it. Thought this was a great excuse to get a new car - 4WD/something I can sleep in, but looking at new SUV/truck prices is quite discouragine, not to mention the gas mileage.

    All in all, here's my likes/dislikes regarding the Saturn and the "Saturn experience"

    Dislikes: wind noise at highway speeds - makes getting a decent sound system useless, rain leaks in through door seal. Both these are "known probs". Dealerships could have better hours for service. Hard to vacuum up dog hair out of cloth seats. Wish it could store more (bought a Yakima storage box), and wish I could stretch out and sleep in it after those long drives to the trailhead before an early-morning climbing outing.

    Likes: great gas mileage, unique styling, dependable. A very practical car. I've only gotten stuck once due to conditions (snow/ice - I now have tire chains), wish it I could haul more (bought a Yakima storage box), and . I've taken it on a few back road in the woods up here, and no real problems.

    The Sat SUV talk is interesting, maybe my car can hold out until then. Hearing that its taking on more GM parts is kind of discouraging.
  • mark204mark204 Posts: 1
    I'm looking for a new used car and came across the Saturn SL1 at a local dealer. It was a nice looking car at a good price and only 37K miles on it. I've checked it out on this site and others and it seems to have had all good reviews. Has anyone had experience with this car? I'm just looking for a dependable car with good gas mileage to get me to college, work, etc.

  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    The Saturn SL1 is the commuter specialist. It isn't exciting, but it is very reliable and safe. It is extremely economical - both on gas and maintience and insurance.

    Good luck
  • Just sold our 97 SL2 Saturn. We purchased a Saturn for safety reasons. We previously owned a Nissan Maxima, and we were quite unhappy with our Saturn purchase. Our main reason for this was the repairs. During my previous Nissan and Toyota experiences we never had any auto repairs except for normal maint. We never had to add oil! We only replaced the battery and brakes. We drove each of these cars to around 200K. However, when we purchased the Saturn we replaced every pump, alternator, exhaust hanger, brakes before 36K (and again recently), fuel injectors, headlamp assembly, and experienced problems getting the key in and out. The real kicker was that after the fuel injector repair, we ended up with gas in our oil somewhere around 36-38K. We then burned 2-3 quarts of oil between every oil change. After complaining about the oil problem, Saturn just disconnected by oil light, and informed me that my oil consumption was normal. When the transmission was nearly gone at 77K, we traded for a Honda. My father-in-law has driven his over 200K, and they were more reasonable then the Nissan Maxima. Sorry if I seem disloyal to the "Saturn family", but that was the worst car I ever owned! But the trade-in was far better than I expected.
  • j_colemanj_coleman Posts: 143
    That's too bad about your Saturn. I guess the quality is just hit and miss with these little cars. My wife's '96 SL has been more dependable than my '99 Intrigue GL. She had a few leaking engine seals and a sticky gas pedal that were fixed under warranty. She also had one of the body panels crack and a few interior pieces break, but never a mechanical breakdown of any sort. The car has about 50K miles now and has never left her stranded. My Intrigue, on the other hand, left me stranded once with a dead battery that went bad. It also has some front suspension and steering issues that I have to get checked. I still love the Intrigue much more though, since the Saturn is under-powered, rough-riding, cramped, and handles pretty poorly (especially with lack of power steering). But it is very reliable basic transportation that has been excellent for her.
  • chasmalachasmala Posts: 14
    Things go wrong with lots of cars. If I think of the thousands of dollars I have spent keeping my 1991 Ford Taurus with 76,000 miles running I get sick. New air conditioner, $1,000.
    New fuel pump, $250. New radiator $500, new engine mounts, master cylinder, windshild wiper motor, rebuilt transmission, new rear calipers and rotors, battery, accelerator cable and on and on. But I keep thinking finally it will run well if I fix just one more thing.
    I keep looking at the Saturn SL2 and wishing I had bought one $5,000 ago. There is something about that car that I just like a lot. I know a number of people who own one and they have nothing but good things to say about them. I will most likely buy the 2001 model with the side head curtain as soon as they come out. I hope my Taurus lasts until then.
  • j_colemanj_coleman Posts: 143
    chasmala - Are you sure you want to move from a Taurus to an SL2? You may not be happy with the ride quality, room, and comfort of the SL2 after driving a midsize for so long. Maybe you should check out the L-series midsize Saturns instead.
  • chasmalachasmala Posts: 14
    Actually, I have driven the SL2 series, but never the L-Series. I keep thinking that smaller is better by way of cost. I should take your advise and test drive the L series to compare the two. Thanks for the thought.
  • Both the SL2 and LS base offer good points. The SL2 is nimble, quick for it's curb weight, low maintenance costs and costs around 13,500 for a base model with 5 speed. However if you start adding a few options such as automatic, abs, cd player, side curtain airbags, your around 15,600. which is LS price range.

    As an open Saturn loyalist, I think the LS base model is much better in terms of handling, interior comfort, power, quietness. My aunt bought a 2000 LS1 , now 7 months old she has had only one minor problem with it and loves the car.

    What options do you think are a must have? and what ones can you live with out? Definitly drive both, they are two very different cars, both having positive and negative points. The choice is ultimately up to you. Good luck.
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