Is there anybody out there had this rattling issue?

gselvamwgselvamw Member Posts: 8
edited March 2015 in Saturn
I have a 2004 Saturn VUE, 3.5 L, V6 (212 CI), AWD, with 164,000 miles that I purchased used in Michigan from a GM Dealer about a year back.
During cool weather, first time in the mornings, after starting the VUE and start to drive, it makes a rattling noise when it shifts. The noise is not there when the cars is parked and on idle. While driving, after the initial first, second and third shifts and after the system warms up, the noise goes away until the next morning or the vehicle cools down to cooler outdoor temperature. After starting the vehicle in the morning, if I let it idle for about 10 minutes before driving away, there is no noise and the vehicle handles as great as if nothing is wrong.
I purchased an Ennova model 3140 scan tool and did a diagnostic and I’m receiving an error code P0420. Is there anybody out there had this issue? I am trying to prevent replacing all the components that this error code mentions that could be wrong.


  • gselvamwgselvamw Member Posts: 8
    As I mentioned on one of my earlier post, I was receiving an error code P0420 which I believe is an indication that the catalyst system efficiency is below the threshold. While driving around Cape Coral, I noticed a GM dealer advertising that they are authorized Saturn service shop. I took my VUE there and asked them if they have any means of checking if the O2 sensor is functioning properly. They said yes and that they need to perform a complete diagnostic to determine this. After 2 hours of waiting and $110 invoice I was given an estimate of $3,200 to replace two catalytic converters, a fuel pressure sensor and a computer module. The catalyst part numbers they gave were GM12581992 and GM12581993. I researched these part numbers on line and they looked almost identical.
    Prior to purchasing the VUE from a GM dealer, I took it for a test drive and had a mechanic that I used for over 35 years evaluate the vehicle. They performed a 93 point inspection and provided me with few items. While they were performing the inspection, I took numerous photographs both under the hood and under the vehicle. I don’t recall seeing two catalysts under the vehicle when I took the photographs. I came home and reviewed the photographs and there is only one catalyst in my VUE. Further research on line regarding the fuel pressure sensor failure indicated several symptoms and I’m not experiencing any of those symptoms.
    Anyone have any ideas as to what I am missing from the GM dealer’s conclusion and repair quote? Except for the grinding noise for few minutes during cold mornings, the VUE runs like a charm. All I am trying to do is to find the cause of this grinding noise.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    There are 2 catalytics, yes. Very often, you can buy aftermarket replacements for a lot less.

    The retail price for factory catalytics is about $400 each with a total of 3.2 hours labor, so maybe in FLA a total of $1250 for the cats.

    The fuel pressure regulator is part of the fuel filter system which is part of the fuel tank module. It is not serviceable separately. There's a primary and secondary fuel tank module. You have to drop the fuel tank. Primary and secondary are about $500 from I don't know what the dealer charges for them. Figure maybe 3 hours labor on that, so maybe another $1,000.

    I don't know what computer module they're talking about and I can't say how all this relates to a rattle, unless the catalytics (one or both) are starting to fall apart internally----certainly possible at this high mileage.

    You may have to run the car on the lift, when cold, to isolate this noise.
  • gselvamwgselvamw Member Posts: 8
    I took couple of actions with respect to my VUE since my last post and I was waiting for the results of those actions before answering you all. While I was browsing the web trying to find answers to the issues on my VUE, I came across another Saturn forum. In that forum, I found an email address of a GM social network ([email protected]). They claimed that they will act as a liaison between GM and the forum to get the proper answers and action. Since this is an email, I was able to attach all the pertinent documents and photographs to support my concerns regarding the Michigan GM dealer that I purchased the VUE from and the Cape Coral dealer who gave me an outrageous diagnostics and quote. I received a reply back from the GM social network to let me know that he/she is not a technical person and please email back contact names, telephone numbers and addresses of the dealers in order for him/her to open a file on my issues. I attached 9 MB of documents and photos that had all the information he/she needed. Apparently they were not all that interested in reviewing the attachments.
    Some interesting developments on the grinding noise and the error code P0420 issues on the VUE. As I mentioned, I took it to a GM dealer in Cape Coral and gave them a written description of the symptoms. After a $110.00 diagnostic charge, they gave me the bad news. Over &1750.00 to replace both the catalytic converts and over $1380.00 to replace the fuel pressure sensor and the computer module that controls the fuel pressure system. Well, I walked away from them.

    Couple of days later we had a gathering with few retired GM workers at our house. One of them mentioned a small auto mechanic shop in Cape Coral that he dealt with and he felt comfortable with their knowledge and performance. He thought their diagnostics were free. I took the VUE there but they wanted to charge me $60.00 for diagnostic and I didn’t mind. After a test drive, he came back and performed an extensive diagnostic. He said that he found 480 misfire error codes. He deleted them all and took the VUE for a second test drive, came back and rechecked and few misfire codes were back which prompted him to check the spark plugs. When he opened the hood, he thought the engine seemed a bit too hot.
    He then came over to me and said that the O2 sensors are performing the way they are supposed to perform and that he didn’t feel that there is anything wrong with the Cat Con’s. Yes the VUE has two Cat Con’s and they are about the size of a small coffee can. He then presented me with couple of spark plugs and associated coils that he removed from the VUE. The sparking side of the plugs looked clean indicating that there was clean ignition but there were evidence of corrosion on the opposite side of the plugs where the metal connects to the porcelain. The coils were burned to a point the outer insulation was gone in several places. The lobby where I was waiting had a full glass wall between the lobby and the shop. Although I was able to see him working on the VUE from the lobby, he took me back into the shop and removed all the remaining plugs and coils while I watched. They were all just as bad or worse. There was also an error code for the fuel pressure issue. He checked the fuel tank cap and said that it is defective and told me if I replace it with an OEM product, the error will go away. He also pointed out to one of the engine mount and said that it needs to be replaced. The rubber bushing was worn out to a point there was metal to metal contact.

    I had them replace all the plugs and coils, the engine mount and the fuel cap. All error codes are gone. I no longer have the grinding noise and the SUV is running like brand new for the first time in two years for a cost of under a $1000.00 instead of the $3200.00 estimate by the GM dealer gave me. The error P4020 code was caused by the bad plugs and coils and the worn out engine mount was making the grinding noise.
    I was under the impression that the GM dealers have the best of the diagnostic equipment and that the GM trained mechanics are the best qualified mechanics to diagnose and fix GM products. A mechanic from a small auto repair shop, with the help of a scope he had on hand and by listening to the various sounds of the VUE was able to diagnose and zoom in to identify and fix all the issues.
Sign In or Register to comment.