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Saturn S-Series



  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    I have a 95 SC, well my wife uses it to do her errands around the house, and so far it has served me well, except for a sticking clutch activating cylinder that I had to bleed and replace the fluid in. It also may need a new battery in the next few weeks, need to have that tested because if I let it set for a week or more the battery drains. Could be a exposed door switch however, the rubber has worn off the one on the drivers side and it may be shorting. Other than using a bit more oil that my other cars it is doing fine. I had a Honda Prelude before the Saturn and I didn't know repairs were as cheap as $400.00. Oh I did have it in to the shop once for a tune up and a smog check and that was only $250.00. I had to replace the alternator in my Subaru three years after I bought it, but I replaced it myself. I also had a CV- Shaft and Boot replaced at 70,000 just before I sold it. That was about $300.00. As big of a pain as it seems it would be better to keep and fix the car if it still meets you needs because you will be paying more than $700.00 to $1200.00 in six months just in payments on a new car, plus you still have to have it serviced. If however you have lost confidence in the car nothing anyone says will keep you from the showrooms. And if you are planning on getting a new car this would seem to be the best time.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    Have a 99 sc2 blackberry 5 spd with 79000 miles . So far have had to replace the front hub bearings both sides,exhaust intermediate pipe,3 foglights,clean out throttle plate numerous times,door window frame RUST had to be repaired .... rust bubbles under rubber trim. the car also burns a quart of Mobil 1 every 1000 miles . I wish Saturn would try to convince me to stay with them its pretty tough to see why i should
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Where do you live?

    Rust? Already?

    3 Foglights? They burned out? ?
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    I live in massachusetts . Yes the bulbs are burning out ....not always the same side . The rust is under the rubber covering at the top of the door window frame .
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    Do they salt the roads where you live? I haven't had any bulbs blow out on my 95 other than one side marker light and one headlight. Don't know if that is normal or not. I had several headlights burn out in my Prelude before I sold it but then I had it since 89 and sold it in 99. I have a 95 SC-1 coupe and the only problem I have had so far is if it is parked on a slope with the drivers side uphill it tends to leak between the door frame and door in the rain. That and then someone mentioned that prior to 98 they had charging problems and my battery went dead two days later. I think I was jinxed.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    They use salt bigtime here in massachusetts . But i think this problem is a little premature
  • If the rust is bad enough, it could still be covered under the Saturn rust through warranty plan, which is up to 100,000 miles I believe..

    Althou it has near 80,000 whole miles, Saturn may still be willing to work with you on repairing the rust if it doesn't qualify under the warranty plan, doesn't hurt to ask, worst they can say is " sorry, we cannot help you for your car has 80,000 miles and it hasn't rust through" Good luck...
  • I have not scrolled back far enough to your original posting, my 2 cents. Have the rims been checked for out of round or bent, checked the tightness of the lug nuts with a torque wrench, one lug tightened first and overtightened will cause the rim to warp slightly which is just enough to cause a vibration. (Check all four wheels)
  • scottc8scottc8 Posts: 617
    A note to Saturn enthusiasts: The other day I was following a Saturn on my way home from work. The guy turned onto a county road which has a series of curves marked 35mph. The visibility is very good and the pavement is only a little bumpy. It is my favorite playground for my Lincoln LS, which will corner with just about anything BMW puts on the road. I like to drive through those curves at 80 mph or so, just for fun. I expected the Saturn to slow down as we approached the first curve; instead, he accelerated, and led me through that stretch at 80-85 mph! He was using the whole road, whereas I was staying in the right lane, and while I kept up with him just fine, I had to work at it a bit. Obviously a pretty good driver, but the Saturn wasn't leaning very much, and didn't slide at all. I don't know anything about Saturns so I can't say what year or model it was, but it looked pretty ordinary from behind. It was definitely the original, smaller model, not the new mid-size one. For an economical, front drive car, most impressive.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    Have a 99 SC2 blackberry 5spd new April 99 Now has 80K mi. so far ....replaced both front hub bearings have second exhaust leak ,some rust issues , uses a quart of Mobil 1 every 1K mi have changed oil and filter every 3K it started using oil at 45-50K. Still orig tire and brakes .....highway mi 35-36 mpg usually Cant figure out if i should run it into ground or bail out and pick up an Imola Red M3 LOL
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Based upon the year and milage of the car rust may be something covered under warrenty.

    I live in So Cal so I really don' know anything about rust.
  • I have a 94. One of the original body styles. I have the "2" version with the performance suspension. It does take corners very well. It is still the same car in 2002. Next year it is a all new small car for saturn. Handling is a stong suit for the SL2/SC2. Mainly because of the strong spaceframe/cage structure of the car and it sits very low to the ground. I have decent performance tires which also help.

    Saturn was always to busy being "nice" that they never sold anyone on just how good a driving car the S-series can be.
  • A new small car? A replacement for the SL series, or just a new car--like the LS? It's a shame Saturn does not discount, because this would be a great year to buy a SL if it is on the way out!
  • The next compact car from Saturn will finally be all new. It is true! It is like the midsize L series. A global GM car built off the "delta" platform. All new from the gound up compared to the S-series. It is being developed by GM's opel division in europe.

    I think it will be a small displacement "GM ecotec" engine. Polymer panels will stay. After 11 years it is way overdue. Details are hard to come by. As for rebates on the 2002's. I have no idea. It is hard to say what Saturn will do. They are keeping the ION secret to keep the S-series going. I would defintley wait to see the ION. If you wan't a S series there are plenty to go around. Used are better than paying full MSRP for a new one as they are very expensive when you add some options.
  • arora1arora1 Posts: 2
    Our 97 SL1 (my wife's car that she bought before our marriage) with only 37k miles was doing pretty good till about 6 months back. I've had to replace battery and alternator, put new brake pads, replaced the engine mounts (the car was shaking like crazy while idling). Now, the front door on the passenger side seems to shake and rattle. In addition, the belts make a constant squeaking noise...the dealer says its normal due to dust BS....Anyone else have similar issues ??? I'm very disappointed and am thinking of trading it in for a Japanese 98 Maxima with higher mileage is in much better shape..
  • I have a 94 SL2 as my commuter. About 50 miles a day. I am at 115,000 now. I have been through the altenator, engine mount repacement long ago.

    As for batteries and brakes all cars need those replaced.

    Since I went past 105,000 miles the repairs are really atarting to add up.

    The squeaking noise I had was a bad engine belt tensioner. Had to replace it and got a new belt.

    Water pump started to leak a little. Had to replace.

    Muffler strap rusted away. Replaced strap and muffler. i had it done at Midas for a very reasonable price.

    I just was told the lower control arms are getting lose and need replacement.The dealer wan't $600. I am going to hold off and have a non dealer tire/shock place do it sometime in the upcoming year.

    I have alot invested in the car in the last year so I am keeping it. And I can't afford a car I really wan't at the moment.

    One thing to watch out for is oil useage. It happens more with the twin cam "2" series cars but keep your eyes open for it.

    I wouldn't just get a japanese car. I would focus more on the brand/model than nationality or race that really doesn't mean anything in the global auto corp. buisness.

    Alot of Hondas and toyotas are made in the USA and as we all know, get constant praise.
  • Was wondering if anyone else has this problem -

    I have a 96 SL1 185,000 miles. Recently I've started to loose a lot of oil - about 1 qt every 400 miles. The strange thing is there is no leak & no blue smoke from the what's happening to the oil?

    About a year ago I had the head gasket replaced & I had a sensor replaced three years ago - other than that it's only been the normal brakes & tires and tires and tires (anyone else go through a set of tires a year?) - even the muffler is still factory original (that has to be some sort of record!).

    I do oil changes ... ocassionally (10 - 15k) & the dealership put in slick50 when it was new.

    Any ideas or anyone who has/had the same problem out there?

    (and yes it still runs like new & looks like new. no I haven't put money into it other than tires & brakes & 1 head gasket set... the muffler is even still original.)
  • We have a 97 SL2 we bought new in the fall of 96. We bought it based upon cost and the "Saturn Experience." Like all Saturn owners we received the maintenance booklet mapping out each recommended maintenance visit and followed for about the first 3 visits. We found that due to the distance we had to travel to the Saturn dealership for routine maintenance, it was costing us more(mainly time off work) than if we had a local reliable GM mechanic do the work.

    We had to replace the alternator early in the life of the car which seemed strange, but we had it repaired and moved on. We now have 85,000 miles on the car and the TRANSMISSION gave out as I was driving down the highway without any previous warning. I tried to limp the car to the dealership but had to have it towed the rest of the way. The head mechanic at Saturn diagnosed the problem as "a weak part in the transcase that slipped out of joint which wiped out the entire transmission." The total=$1,500. After he told me that this was "unusual" and couldn't tell me how this would have happened, I contacted Saturn Customer Care to inquire about the problem. After getting the "run-around" for two weeks, I finally spoke with the regional manager. She tried to talk with the dealership manager about his assistance with this problem to which he responded with a $60 off the price of repair. Needless to say I felt this was a slap in the face. I called him to speak with him about his decision. He agreed it was a strange problem that should not have happened. But his major reason for not assisting us further was that we did not bring our Saturn to the dealership for all of our routine mainenance and so they have no "record" to show that I have taken care of my Saturn. He went as far as to say they might have been able to catch the problem had I brought the car to them for all my maintenance. HOW? It was an INTERNAL part?

    Is anyone else having transmission problems?

    Is anyone having problems with the customer care that Saturn prides themselves in?
  • It is very common for the S series engine to use oil. I check mine evrey two weeks or so on my (94' SL2 115k miles) and have it changed evrey 3,000 miles. It uses about 3/4 of a quart between changes. I have noticed it uses more with long highway drives than stop and go around town. If you take a trip say driving all day, defintley check the oil. I don't see any smoke either but it isn't a leak. With the cat converter up to operating temp it must take care of any smoking. Another thing to watch is the oil ports for the timing chain. Sludge in a high mileage engine could block them and the chain will overheat and stretch. I am surprised you have just started using oil at 185k miles. Most start much earlier. It seems more of a problem with the twin cam SC2,SL2 version of the S engine.

    As for the trans. I haven't had any problems or heard of S sereis trans having problems. It seems to be bad luck. I think the trans fluid does need to be changed but at what mileage intervals I'm not sure.

    As for altenators. The placement of it in the S-series is in a hot spot of the engine compartment which caused alot of overheating and they wore out quickly. I believe Saturn came out with a modification to fix it in the mid 90's.The S series will also chew up top engine mounts. Because they produce good amounts of torque at low rpm and the engine kicks back from it.
  • When I have talked with them they are nice but....... there isn't much they can do from what I have learned. All Saturn delaers like any brand of car dealer are independently owned buisness from saturn (GM) and can basically do whatever they wan't. That is what saturn told me when I complained about my dealer doing unnecssary work and not following the owners manual maintanence schedule.
  • Thanks "Silverbulit" for your response. The thing I can't quite wrap my brain around is the fact that while the car is out of warranty, that didn't seem to matter to them as much as my not using Saturn for all my routine maintenance. They even went as far as to say that they would have helped me more with the cost of the problem if I HAD used Saturn. What they might as well say is, "Since you didn't pay us for your oil changes, tires, tune-ups, etc., then we're not going to offer you any assistance." Or "We're not going to make any more money off of you so we're not willing to help you."

    Oh well! Our local news station has a consumer help segment and is interested in helping us with this problem. So, we'll see what they can do.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    The auto tranny on the S series is very good and extremely durable.

    Remember that your Saturn dealer is an idependant business - and the service manager was basically saying that because you don't use his service department we aren't going to give you a break on the cost of the labor.

    I don't mean to sound harsh - because if I had to pay for a new tranny with my car that is out of warrenty I would not be happy either (Its a nissan that has never been to the Nissan dealer)

    I don't understand what getting a local tv consumer advocate involved will do to help your situation - but maybe you can fill me in on your logic.

    As I see it you had the unfortunate luck of getting a transmission that has some weaker than normal parts and for whatever reason failed. Thats one of the risks you decided to take when you didn't purchase an extended powertrain service plan.

    Most auto transmissions I have seen in 4 cyl compacts tend to go out between 125K to 175K miles. I have PERSONALLY seen 3 seperate saturns with over 300K on the original transmission - I'm sure there are more out there. Its just not one of the weaker links of Saturn longevity. Seems you just had bad luck and now you don't want something for nothing.

    To answer your question - the Saturn philosphy is to treat the customer with respect and in an honest manner. Have they treated you any other way?
  • My decision to call our local news advocate was more of a recommendation by someone close to me who had success in another matter.

    I believe Saturn is not being as helpful as they should be in this situation because of the following:

    1. Saturn's Regional Manager for my area stated to me that she was suprised that the dealership manager did not at least cover half of the cost of repair due to the "unusual" and "premature" failure of the transmission.

    2. The dealership manager's argument with me was two-fold. One . . . since I did not bring my Saturn to them for all of my routine maintenance, then they were not willing to assist me any further. Two . . . if I had brought my Saturn to them for all of my routine maintenance, then they could have caught the problem. When I asked "how?", he did not have a response. So . . . the "out of warranty" issue was not the motivation for Saturn's lack of assistance. It was the fact that I did not always follow their maintenance booklet at a Saturn dealership.

    3. I spent a couple of days contacting other transmission specialists in our area, including another Saturn dealership, to ask about their transmission maintenance and its ability to pinpoint internal failing parts. EVERY response was to the tune of, "We drain your transmission fluid, replace the filter, and add new fluid if needed." When I asked them about checking the internal transmission to make sure it was functioning properly, EVERY response was, "Well, then you're talking about a special request which would involve a much greater cost, but no, we don't check internal parts during our routine maintenance."

    After speaking with the news station about the problem, to see if they were even interested in helping me, the producer contacted me and happened to be more passionate about the situation than I. The problem he wants to see resolved is the claim that Saturn can catch an internal transmission problem through their routine transmission maintenance.

    Again, I had no warning signs that the transmission was failing.

    I have asked several local automobile maintenance companies, including the ones I contacted about transmission service, if I am making a big deal out of nothing. Every single company thought I had a case. One company told me that they had serviced three Saturn SL2's with the same problem in the last year, but all three were over 120,000 miles. My Saturn has 85,000.

    This is the second major problem I have had. The first was alternator trouble. But I had those fixed and moved on. This problem is just too unusual and Saturn's argument not to help is "far-feltched" to say the least.
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    It's been on the road for 6 years, never been back to the dealer, 85,000 miles,50,000 miles or so and 3 years out of warranty [!!!!!]and the dealer is supposed to bend over backward??? What makes you think he's obligated to even cut 60.00 dollars off the price, much less be made the object of some ambush style local news reporter's hit piece on him???
    An automobile is made of 10,000 to 15,000 individual parts, each part is built to approximate the design as closely as mass production will allow, it happens that once in awhile a part will not be made quite as strong as another, it won't fail but it won't last as longer either. IT HAPPENS! Who knows how well your car was maintained. Did you ever change the trans fluid? Got any teenagers driving it? Got any PROOF you did proper maintenance??? "Normal" maintenance sched, when your driving actually qualifies as "severe"? The dealer has no obligation to you after the warranty is over except if you choose to have work done there. If you had done trans. fluid changes at the dealer, they might have seen evidence of unusual activity in the pan or on the filter.As a result of YOUR choices, you are really on your own, even if you DID do all service at the dealer. You've been out of warranty for YEARS now. Get real!
  • Dweezil,

    This arena is probably the wrong place to talk about such a complex problem. It's not me who is making it complex, its Saturn, based upon the mixed messages I have received from the company and dealership. Other Saturn dealerships feel I have a case as well as other maintenance companies which is the only reason I am still fighting this problem. I could pay for this repair today. I just want to know why the mixed messages on such an expensive problem.

    No, dweezil, I don't have teenagers, just two toddlers that I'm glad were not in the car with me that day. Yes I have taken care of my car and have receipts, but Saturn will not accept them because I am missing about 2-3 receipts. They have communicated that the receipts must perfectly fall in order of the Saturn maintenance booklet. As I have stated before, its not an issue of warranty they are arguing, its that I have not ALWAYS used Saturn for my maintenance.

    This will be my last entry on this situation as I can see its difficult to communicate, and then have others, who are not directly involved, understand. Originally, I was simply searching to see if anyone else had any troubles close to this, and I have. I have also intended for these entries to be a warning for people to pay attention to how dealerships/companies deal with the customer when they pride themselves on customer service.

    Dweezil, be careful in your responses to people. As you have responded to me, you have presumed alot that has no bearing on the communication between me and Saturn.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    going to montana soon gonna be a dental floss tychoon
  • This April I plan to buy a used SL 2 to use as a second car. I have been looking at the ones on the Saturn lot (on Sunday) and the prices are in the window. I am looking for a 1996 model year but have found the prices to be a lot higher than KellyBlue Book says a Saturn sold retail should be. Do Saturn dealers negotiate prices on used vehicles or do they sell them like they do the new models? I see SL2's in the paper for much less, but I thought buying from a dealer would give me a better chance of getting a decent car with less problems. Any thoughts?
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Depends on how much the savings are. Personally I would try to get a 98 or 99 Saturn over a 96 - unless you know the altenator has already been replaced.

    All things being equal its better to get a used Saturn from a Saturn dealer - since it was probably a trade in and they wouldn't have gotten another Saturn if this one was a pile of crap.

    Many Saturn dealers will negotiate the price of a used Saturn.
  • tnc70tnc70 Posts: 1
    I have been to three Saturn dealer used car lots. No matter how large the dealer is, you only find up to seven or eight used cars on their lots. Does anyone know what they do with all of their trade-ins? One of them is a volume dealer. I am sure that they do not have all wholesale trade-ins.
  • I recently looked into trading in for a 02 L series special edition. The deal was $5,000 for my 96 SL2 with 49K. However they did want proof of the transmission service at 36K. and knocked off $200. for bad motor mounts. I wonder what they would sell it for?

    I think it is a good deal on the trade, but not overly impressed with the L. No cup holders in the rear. What were they thinking, cheep,cheep cheep.

    The other holdback is the same problem as with the S. 110 mile round trip to the dealership and time off from work to do it.
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