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Saturn S-Series



  • rhouserhouse Posts: 3
    I got 2 springs from the hardware store, removed the mounts and cut a slight amount of the numbs
    where they start to touch the metal. (more clearance). I then placed the springs under the
    mount to raise it back to stock position. it works pretty well! not to brand new standards, but this eliminated most of the vibration! If you check the condition of the rubber of a new mount against a bad one, you will find that the rubber gets very soft. movement will breakdown rubber, but heat will do more damage. Torque is not the problem, it is in the design of the mount. Before I buy a new mount(3rd time), I am going to try to make an insulater to divert heat. I'll post how it works. Saturn is really letting us down by not doing something about this problem. They certainly have the resources to fix this weak spot, but continue to ignor it. A real shame!
  • wenbwenb Posts: 45
    I am considering the Ion. I know that the engine is new. my concern is with the frame. Have alot of you had problems with rusting frames. If so was Saturn able to help you. I noticed a couple of post regarding rusty frames. Why consider the Ion. Well, GM has had time to work on the 4cly ingine Quad 4, Saturn 4 ect. Hopefully the Ecotech will be good.Because of the amount of computer control and sensors in cars, all makers are going to have thier share of lemons. I am hoping that Saturn has improved the spaceframe in the second generation. My main reservation would be a rust problem with the frame that hasn't been adressed. Any reports good or bad would be nice.
  • Yes engine mounts are a common thing. But would you rather a unreliable car with good motor mounts. I will say I work far a saturn dealer. Out of all the dealers I have dealt with saturn is the best. So stop your complaining and start wishing that were more car companies like Saturn.
    I am pretty sure when it comes to service and warr. items Saturn exceeds the rest by a million miles. for picks of the new ion.
  • The 2003 Ion should be an excellent car, way beyond and above the 2002 S Series. I myself am on my second Saturn S Series, and haven't experienced any rusting or engine problems. The 2003 Ion is said to have a stronger frame for "better occupant protection" whether this means it is less likely to rust, I cannot say. The main engine in the Ion is the 140 hp ecotec engine, the same one now used in many GM cars, such as the Pontiac Grand Am, Saturn L Series, Saturn VUE, Olds Alero, Chevy Cavilier, Pontiac Sunfire, etc.

    I believe it is a good engine, and a bit more refined than previous GM four cylinders. The 2003 Ion features many innovations not found on other cars in its class such as head curtain airbags, electronic power steering for better road feel and control, Traction control, On star navigation systems, and a cvt transmission for better fuel economy. The sedan may look a bit conservative from some views, but it'll be a hoot to drive. Hope this helped
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    Our 1999 SC2 5spd with 102500 mi has never had a rough idle but it has had many other problems . It uses a qt of Mobil 1 approx every 800-1000 mi .Car does a 140 mi highway commute. The transaxle is becoming increasingly louder (The ASE =read 4th grade reading skills with some auto jargon thrown on top ) mechanics guessed and changed the hub bearings and both half shafts to find that the problem is the transaxle.They even wanted to replace a steering knuckle thinking it was causing the noise I stopped the BS here . Have rusting on the trailing trim on the tront doors .Need to clean sticking throttle body every month. Have replaced the exhaust resonator and a few more minor problems. The oil usage and transaxle problem are major inexcusable problems . So much for the commercial I saw where the guy drove 300000 mi and only needed to replace the drivers seat. Positives - The firestone tires are still going strong ( I run separate snows 4 months per year ) Rotate as directed . The paint and alloy wheels have held up nicely. We do keep it clean. The interior is still in good condition even the seats . Oh well After we max out the mileage of this car We dont think we will be buying another new Saturn
  • We had a 1995 SL2 and currently have a 1999 SL2 and have experienced no rust with either. Have had no rough idle, either. Mine have been 5 speeds--are the rough idle problems associated with models with automatics? I also burn no oil. Commute 35 miles in city traffic (Atlanta) every day and run errands on weekends. I check the oil every other fill up and the dip stick always reads full.
  • Well, as for wwhite's Saturn story, after 102,000 miles, obviously there are going to be some problems, and no car is perfect, every car manufacturer makes some lemons.

    The new ION is completely new from the ground up, and to make blanket statements as to its possible frame rusting/ and engine, is completely lacking data and fact.

    Claywater, glad to hear you have had good luck with BOTH of your Saturns, as I have with mine.
  • O.K. folks I have two 97 saturns an SL2 with and auto tranny and a SC1 with a 5 speed the SL2 has 90000 miles uses no oil and has never had mount problems it did eat an alternator at 67000 miles but that is just GM bad alternators they are famous for them. It did have a no start problem from new that the dealer never could fix so I let the warranty run out and being an x-wrench went to work on it myself it was the EGR valve sticking but not shooting a code on the computer hay they are not fool proof. As for the dealers being so warm and fuzzy you folks have never delt with saturn of ST. Paul in Inver Grove, MN they are a joke it is no different than any other dealer you have to take care of your self or be ripped off by them I even had to sick the autorny general on them once of coures I won. As for the frames rusting it is no wores as other cars in the north country. Now the SC1 has 60000 miles on it to has good mounts but uses oil one quart every 1000 miles is the standard in the industry. Mine uses about one quart every 800 miles. I have found that if you keep the rpms up and do not lug the engine oil consumtion goes down but you do have to keep an eye on it. It does idle a little ruff but that is just the American four problem. I'd buy another one they are great little cars to go to work in and 37mpg in my SC1 is a lot better than 14.5mpg in my truck for running around town, but not on a trip for any time or miles spent in one and I can,t stand strait for a day and I,m short only 5.8 they do need to get better seats in them
  • wenbwenb Posts: 45
    about your oil consumption problem. I am curious what makes some engines eat oil.I was checking out the Honda 2002 SI hatch. Some of them and the acura rsx are having high oil consumption problems.High oil consumption is not easily resolved. It seems car makers set a genorous spec to limit liablity.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    I can only surmise. (Saturn techs are really clue less and upper level Saturn just blows it off) Our Saturn has a 140 mile per day commute. The commute is 95% highway 70/75 mph . Supposedly these 4 cylinder rev higher and run hotter to improve emissions. I can only guess that the engine wasn't designed to handle this high speed commute and the engine is just using oil. If cylinder head temps are to high the oil may be being vaporized . Other than that it would have to be that GM still has problems designing a solid 4 cyl....and to me that's hard to believe
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Why don't you take your car to a Saturn retailer and have them diagnose your problem?

    There are many possible reasons for oil consumption and its possible it could be an relatively inexpensive fix.

    BTW we have a 95 SL2 in our showroom with 293,000 on the original engine and transmission.
  • macadam1macadam1 Posts: 22
    I own an '02 Saturn SL2 4 dr. with a factory sun roof with 50,000 miles. Having problems with the workings of the sunroof. The sunroof has difficulty opening & closing and there is noise coming from the motor. [I assume the motor is located in the headliner at the switch.] Dealer told us motor could be going bad or that the entire rail system might have to be replaced. Anyone experience a similar problem; are there any TSB bulletins out there regarding after warranty service? Can use any help or advice.
  • macadam1macadam1 Posts: 22
    In my last post, the Saturn year is 2,000, not an '02.
  • While I am not new to the Edmunds web site, I am new to the Saturn message board. If someone can give me some advise re. the following, I will be grateful.

    My son and his family have a 1996 SL2 which they purchased new. They use it as a second car for local driving (39,000 miles on the odometer). For the past two + years, there has been a persistent odor which they suspected was being caused by something inside the car being constantly wet. Until recently, the odor came and went and was tolerated. It got so bad, however, that took it to a Saturn dealer, and, after 2 days and $600.00, they were told that there was a leak in the engine fire wall which let water into the passenger compartment. Only time will tell if this fixed the problem, but I have my doubts. The carpet underpad, for example, was soaked in front and back.

    Questions: 1)Do you think it is worth my time to pursue this with Saturn via their toll free customer service number? 2)If you do think it is worth while, do you have any opinion as to what I can expect from them? I don't know if Saturn cares, but they purchased a new Saturn in 1994. I also don't know if this problem is a matter of record with the dealer prior to the $600.00 visit, butI assume that any such visit is logged in their data base.

    Sorry for the lengthy post and thanks again.
  • Saturn may not do much at all. Check the "ownership" section here at Edmunds. I think they have a database of problems with every make of car. Not TSB's but NHSTA records if I remember correctly



    Check the extensive message boards, especially the tech talk section. There may be something there. Or post a new thread about your problem. Saturn techs do give free advice there almost daily.

    I really don't think Saturn would pay for a repair on a 96' model though.
  • Thanks for your response. I, too, doubt that they will pay, but I don't think I have a lot, if anything, to lose by trying. Also, I'll try your suggested sources. If I can find that this has been a persistent problem, I might have a better case.
  • force98force98 Posts: 81
    My younger brother just had a problem with his '96 Saturn diagnosed as a cracked head. The dealership agreed to pay for half the rebuild without any bargaining. I found the following site which says Saturn should pay for the entire repair (his car has only 67K on the odometer). Anyone else have this problem? How did the dealer respond?
  • pbagratpbagrat Posts: 25

    My wife's 1996 SL1 had a cracked head in May and we were offered the same deal. We missed the 6 years by a few months and had to pay $500. Last week both CV Boots cracked and I had to shell out $400 for two new boots and axles. Oh yeah, the car has 74K on it. Some other things we've had to get fixed include new motor mounts at 52K and a new alternator at 54K. The Saturn has been a money pit. We are buying her a Honda Civic EX Coupe tomorrow. I had a Civic for five years and put 149K on it and all I had to do was change the timing belt and water pump. My sister had a 91' SL2 that had lots of problems too. I would never buy another Saturn!
  • My Saturn experience is as follows, in regards to my 2001 S Series I can say that my 1998 SL had better build quality than my 2001. The 2001 hasn't had any problems except for what I believe is warped brake rotors. It currently has 11,000 miles on the odometer and I am bringing back to Saturn tommarow for a repair (at their expense) or not at all.

    Rotors warping at 11,000 miles is clearly a manufacturers defect, however I do not blame Saturn. I blame General Motors, for many GM cars are now using "thin" rotors that wear quickly even under normal driving circumstances. My 98 Saturn went 30,000 miles without even needing brake pads.. Other than that, it has been so-so. I may or may not consider the Ion, I am also looking at the Corolla, Jetta, and Altima for its replacement in a year or so..
  • Here is my saturn experence; Alternator at 38K, Left rear spindle bearing and wheel cylinders at 40, Motor mount, belts, plugs and wires at 50. Not bad so far. Original brakes. Does not use any oil between 3K oil changes. Almost all of the miles have been around town.

    I was having a problem with rough idle and surging during acceleration, but then I woke up and changed the fuel filter. That fixed that.

    I also notice a stale odor when first opening the door. I chalked it up to spilled baby milk in the back floor a few years ago, even though I cleaned the carpet once with a steam vac. but now, maybe I should chack for a leak.

    The seats do a number on my back and I can't stand to ride in it for more than one hour at a time. I tried a Chevy Lumina and the seats were the same. Must be a GM cheep seat thing.

    I do all my own maintenance, mainly because of the inconvenience of the 100 mile round trip to the dealership. When I bought the car in 95, I was told that they would be opening a new store in my town within one year. Never happened.

    I do think that Saturn dealers are too few and far between. That is bound to hurt sales. It is the major reason I'm not looking saturn's way again.
  • After visiting my dealer today, I was informed that my rotors warped (front)at 11,000 miles. They were resurfaced for free, and I hope to get another 20,000 miles out of them. So, while Im not happy in regards to needing the rotors resurfaced, I understand that things happen. So, Im still looking at the altima, jetta, and now the 2003-4 L Series.
  • We've got a '96 SL, and I'm blown away at how reliable this little car is. We've got about 65K miles on it, and outside of routine maintenance the only thing it has needed is 1 battery and an EGR valve (both of which I changed myself). Saturn always advertised low cost of ownership, and boy were they right!
    I did receive a letter from Saturn a few years ago about the cracked cylinder head issue, but as of yet I have not noticed any of the symptoms.
  • Glad to hear redline, while I am looking at other autos to replace my SL1, I am starting to have a newfound interest in Saturn again. Whether it is enough for me to purchase a 2003 L Series, Vue, or Ion, remains to be seen.
  • I agree for the most part...
    But the problem is not with my dealer, it's with
    the corporate attitude. What happened to: "We have a problem part...lets fix it! As it is now,
    my headlights vibrate, the dash buzzes, i can feel buzzing through the entire car! But I'm working on it, and will solve the problem some-
    how, hopefully. So, next year when I trade in I
    probably will go to the Saturn dealer, I just wont
    be buying a saturn! Just like the six other people
    I've recently talked to, with the same problem, have indicated.
  • The head on my '96 SL went in Jan 2000 after a 500 mile road trip. It had 70k miles at the time.
    The dealer did not even suggest cost. It was all taken care of under manufactures defect(Towing and all).
    Now at 102k miles the clutch bearing and clutch need to go, with the 0% finance, I will be driving away with a new one (2002 SL with automatic) this afternoon and leaving the '96 behind...
    Overall it's been OK..
  • I would assume you meant the SL1, since the SL has never been available with an automatic transmission. As someone who has bought a second S Series Saturn, I strongly suggest you look into an L Series, for I myself can't stand my S Series on some days, for the simple fact that it isn't fun to drive imo. Even an SL2, would be worth a look.
  • I do mean an SL with automatic.
    It even has SL2 type seats, I could have gotten one with air too!
    Although I am disapointed with it, I may see about the 30 money back deal!
    It's the same as the 96 except for a bit of appearance...not worth the cash imo...
  • Don't get me wrong, I believe Saturn has some very good qualities, such as the polymer panels, good crash test results, and good dealer service. However, when it comes to build quality, Saturn has taken a big turn for the worse.

    This may be more then you wish to spend, but if would be willing to look outside the Saturn family, look into the 2003 Honda Accord. I test drove one yesterday (2003 Accord LX) that was about $ 19,160.00. It was awesome to say the least, the interior was very well assembled with high quality fabric/plastics/ it has a new 160hp 4 cylinder that was very smooth, and it comes standard with abs, pwr windows/locks/ 6 speaker cd player/ keyless entry, and so on. If price is an issue, you could look into an Accord DX for around 16-17k. Good luck
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    I agree with your post except.... the dealership and the abilities of its employees here in the Ma. area really leave a lot to be desired. I plan on driving a 03 Accord. I gave Saturn a chance with a 99 SC2 that now has 110K miles and I am not impressed. Highway miles do not agree with this car.
  • I have had similar experiences. Numerous things have gone wrong with my Saturn, the most recent being the transmission. My car is a 1996 with 65K on it and the transmission did not give any warning signs, it just broke. I do not want to pay the $2500 to fix the car as I am tired of pouring money into it. I was wondering if you completely fixed the car before selling it or found some wonderful person to take it with mechanical problems...Thanks.
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