Saturn S-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • rbillieuxrbillieux Member Posts: 36
    Car pain in [non-permissible content removed]--replace all sensors same symptoms only worse-surged to 50 mph -if antifreeze level down it can do that plus rough starting. Sticking--found out egr valve needs cleaning or replace. Carbon a problem it builds up fast. po404 code cost about $ 100 and clean throttle body too. Why does carbon keep bulding up in egr? Bpb B :lemon:
  • 442dude442dude Member Posts: 373
    Carbon builds up in EGR b/c the 1.9L motor likes to burn oil. Its an easy fix - take it off, toothbrush to the pintle & make sure it moves easily up and down - spray it with carb cleaner if needed to get the carbon off and replace it - do it once every 6 months and you'll never have a problem. Don't let the mechanic sell you a new EGR.
  • hillgalhillgal Member Posts: 1
    I've owned a lot of cars, but never a Saturn. We ran across one that looks like it's right off the showroom floor, runs like a top. The only thing is it is idling at about 1100 and is normal when moving. I looked this up and it said to set to 450-650 and I found 4 things that could cause this. Would you recommend just resetting the idle speed or what?
  • billjabillja Member Posts: 2
    If you still have car make sure you install the engine coolant temp sensor with the
    Saturn upgrade and cable harness.I installed a $10.00 autozone ECTS and it didn't work right.When the upgraded one installed (get it at Saturn) my problems were solved,rough start and high idle,alot of smoke coming from exhuast.
  • 96slvin896slvin8 Member Posts: 1
    About a year ago I purchased a used 96 SL sedan with SOHC engine and 5 speed. Did some basic maintenance, coolant flush, new plugs (Bosch Platinum 4s) and wires, new tires, muffler, and minor TLC. For most part, LOVE the car and drive it enthusiastically (i.e. don't follow the upshift light, rev above there regularly). When I took the car to a mechanic for a tuneup (after my work and repairing two minor exhaust issue/leaks), I was surprised when the mechanic told me the Bosch plugs were TOO HOT for the engine, and he, without my approval, replaced the new Bosch 4s with OEM type plugs (ACDelco, may be single electrode platinum) then tuned it.

    From some research I did prior to purchasing the Bosch plugs (and after consulting coworkers/mechanics at the local auto center where I work PT), I can see where the Bosch plug may burn somewhat hotter than an OEM, simply because it produces a more uniform burn "kernel" at ignition, thus being more efficient and producing more power (and heat) for the same amount of fuel. I understand that the heat range of a plug is important to the overall performance and longevity of an engine. Was I wrong to assume that the Bosch plug specified for my vehicle would be the same heat range as the OEM plug? If "yes", why would Bosch do so if it may damage the engine parts, in the long run? Should I switch back to the Bosch 4s, or something in between the OEM and the 4s, say Bosch Platinum 2s?

    Sorry for being long-winded.

    BTW, I'm new to this forum and really appreciate the depth of knowledge here. I'm a shadetree mechanic and appreciate my car for the relative simplicity of many repair tasks. Will be replacing the primary O2 sensor tomorrow as I, just today, had my car send me the P0133 code.

    Thanks again for all of the wisdom this board contains!
  • jaybird19jaybird19 Member Posts: 1
    Hey all, my SL1 has ~87,000 miles and is starting to make a lot of noise. No check engine light, doesn't seem to burn oil, drivability is the same as always. By the sounds of it I may have a similar problem to lilbirdy and elyons on page 5, but there wasn't an apparent resolution posted here.

    So the sound kicks in around 20mph and maxes out around 50mph, and gets a little less noticeable at higher speeds (or maybe just the usual sound of rushing air at highway speeds drowns it out.) It's completely uncorrelated to how high the revs are, what gear it's in, turning corners, etc. As elyons said it seems to be coming from just on the other side of the dash, a little bit on the driver's side of the vehicle. I would describe it as somewhat similar to the regular engine sound but louder, and with a rougher vibrating sound to it. I changed my spark plugs a couple months back just as regular maintenance; the sound wasn't apparent at the time. Another thing I've noticed lately is improved fuel economy. I commute on the highway and monitor my gas mileage closely, always have been around 42mpg but lately it's been closer to 47mpg! That's great and all but I'm wondering if it's running too lean? Another habit I've had in trying to get great mileage is putting it in neutral on long, downhill stretches on the highway. Is there any way that could be impacting this?

    Another thing I'm not clear on, will a scanner produce any codes if the check engine light isn't on? Any input would be much appreciated, I've already learned a lot from all the previous discussion.
  • tony2shoestony2shoes Member Posts: 1
    :cry: :sick: Hi,
    1997 saturn wont start when a/c fan and a/c buttons are on position can start first time in morning a/c can be left on position and fan can be left on . but once the car is running for a while with a/c on can not restart car unless i shut a/c down and turn fan off help. i was told it needed a fuel pump,fuel filter, alternator(generator) etc.etc. its just a pain to have to shut fan and ac off before i can start it or not use the /ac in florida noway.
  • chevylvr2chevylvr2 Member Posts: 1
    I just changed a clutch on a 96 sl-1. After putting engine and tranny back in, I have 2 connections that I cannot find where they belong. 1 connection has a grn/wht and a pnk wire and the other has ppl and yel. Engine turns over, just won't fire. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • shopdog97shopdog97 Member Posts: 160
    Hi, billja. I have a similar problem on my '96 SL-1. Over a year ago, I replaced the thermostat, flushed the cooling system and also did the Temperature sensor while I was at it. And yes, I got one from Autozone cheap. Almost immediately I had issues. The temp gauge went up to the halfway mark as soon as I started it, and the electric fan also started as well. The fan has only come on when I use the A/C in the summer, so I thought this was odd. I thought it was a fluke and let it go a few days. It was NO FLUKE! Good thing I kept the old sensor, and I put it back in and had no trouble for a long time till recently. One day about a month ago, I started the car(in cold weather here in Pa)and on came the fan. Now the car heated up quickly as it usually does, but the temp gauge barely moved. I got out and put my finger on the 2 wire connector on the sending unit, and the fan went off immediately and the gauge went up to its normal position and I had no problems. Now today, after it sat for about 4 days, the same thing is happening, and the cooling fan wants to run again! I have a feeling I have a bad connector issue here, not so much a sensor. I remember I had trouble getting that plastic thing off the sensor, and it did come off hard last year. I called my local Saturn dealer and it seemed to me that he knew there was an issue with these connectors and they have them in stock for about $25. I will probably go pick one up, but I'm wondering if I should get a new sensor while I'm at it. I wonder if the one for the '96 and '97 are different? What does ECTS stand for? Is it Electronically controlled Temperature Sensor? I may not get around to do this until spring!!
  • shopdog97shopdog97 Member Posts: 160
    I had a similar EGR issue with my '96 SL-1 over a year ago. I didn't have an OBD2 scanner then(I do now) and the engine light kept coming on. My former boss at the time used to buy Saturns and fix them up and sell them. He said they were great cars. I've had mine for nearly 3 years now. He read the code at the time and it was an EGR problem, and he said he just might have a couple of them in his garage at home. He still had a large number of parts, he told me. So he brought 2 of them in and I took them home and the next day put one in, using a new gasket, then we cleared the code. All was well for a couple of days, then the same code again. Put the second one in and maybe a week later, the same thing. So BOTH of the used ones were duds. Autozone wanted $150 for a new one, and Saturn was even higher than that. So I got one from a salvage yard not very far from me. This yard specializes in Saturns. For 40 bucks, I got one that was so clean it looked like it came from an auto parts shelf. Been in ever since, and I have had no recurring issues with it. Just thought I'd share this with you. Happy New Year to all!
  • shopdog97shopdog97 Member Posts: 160
    Hi, everyone, I just wanted to post an update on the problem I was having(see above) regarding what I thought was a faulty coolant temp sensor. Today, as cold as it is here, I set out to get to the bottom of the issue. I went to NAPA and bought a new sensor, but on the way home I decided to stop at my local salvage yard and see if I could get another 2 wire connector there instead of having to get one from the dealer. I got lucky and they had one. Came home, replaced the sensor, but put the OLD connector on and started the engine. SAME THING HAPPENED- on came the fan, and my temp gauge went right to halfway! So, in my case, the problem was definately with the connector. I cut off the original one and spliced in the one from the salvage yard, and I am fine!! The car started up with no fan on, came up to temp nicely and all seems well. Probably didn't need the new sensor, but I gambled and it was only $11.50. If any of you have this issue in the future, you may want to replace the connector first and go from there.
  • diane35diane35 Member Posts: 1
    I want to replace the Applique on doors of our Saturn SE. The paint is worn off and makes the car look older. The part is on the exterior of the passenger door and dirivers side door (entry side) I have the replacement parts so the part should come off. Do I have to remove the entire door. I can send a pic if needed..The dealership was no help. I have asked this question to the Edmunds experts iand the question is still open.
  • togfleon2003togfleon2003 Member Posts: 20
    :) drive that car until it falls apart then haul to the junk yard.asap!!!!!!!!!junk car
  • 442dude442dude Member Posts: 373
    You should replace the connector with the ECTS - the connectors go bad when the sensors go bad.

    ECTS= Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    Where is drain plug located?bob billieux :lemon:
  • togfleon2003togfleon2003 Member Posts: 20
    you have to take pan off :lemon:
  • togfleon2003togfleon2003 Member Posts: 20
    these cars are junk trade it in as fast as you can ,before you do what i did.500.00 a month in repairs,then i traded it in .junk i tell you :lemon:
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    What would make it leak all of a sudden? I just had a new water pump installed at Firestone and radiator was previously leaking stopped with Bars sealer-started again after flush -put more in -stopped now transmission started to leak-suspucious.Filter ok-dripping on pan? :lemon:
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    Replaced leaking filter-can tell someone messed with it-no names-go into a shop with no leak and come out with one--HEHE bend over. Still dripping from new place-cross member. -Probably from before. After brake job-noise fron wheel-they tell me wheel bearing. Before identical noise in other wheel and it was bolts rusted holding caliper on -went away after putting new ones in and putting antisieze lube on. is pulsating noise bearing or not? gets louder when increwasing speed Bob B :lemon:
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    Can anything be done for noisy wheel bearing except replace? Last tine it was bolts making noise -rusted in when lubed noise went away Every time I have Firestone work on brakes it happenes. Noise was in left front wheel before now right. Had pads and rotors put in -water pump fuush 2 new tires $900.00 :lemon: :mad:
  • togfleon2003togfleon2003 Member Posts: 20
    how do you know it is a beaing? sounds like they messed the brake job up and brakes making noise. is it like a screaching noise? :lemon:
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    More like pulsating noise -thought it was tires before louder as increase speed. Firestone told me there was no excess play in bearing. Before when replacing brakes same noise put grease on new bolts and went away-was left wheel now right wierd car. AC died too and temp guage only goes up one quater EGR keeps carboning up :sick: :lemon:
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    I reset my 97 saturn but if it is running good would not recommend I put it too low and it will roll back on hill It is sealed for a reason
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    After doing brake job Firestone told me there is a bearing making noise I was told sealed bearing but diagram does not look sealed How hard is it to do? and how difficult to replace radiator? :lemon: :sick: and easy job to replace heat sensor-on reclyclying antifreeze container -unscrew and replace -autozone has diagram not expensive
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    Refrigerent empty on AC--took less than one can -shot up to red zone quick-still blowing hot-lukewarm air Help :lemon:
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    :lemon: :lemon: Something I was not aware of-EGR can set false codes when plugged up-Po4o4--set off trans code Now AC blows warm air-re-charged-took less than one can-still warm air.
    Thermostat normally one quarter hot unless hot outside. Just had brake job water pump 2 new tires and now Firestone tells me wheel bearing shot-not loose yet. can freeze up if gets loose causing serious accident. $900. botch job I think .Also need new radiator. Any info on AG?
  • isaiah2923isaiah2923 Member Posts: 1
    i have a 1996 sl2 that after jumpstarting my brother's truck I tried to start mine.nothing! have lights,fan,et al but it is blowing ignition fuses(3 so far) read it may be the starter relay.Have searched under dash in wiring harness.can't find it .any help with finding it would be GREATLY appreciated
  • togfleon2003togfleon2003 Member Posts: 20
    check your battery cables the smaller red wire
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    According to Autozone there is a ignition module under hood drivers side lower engine-exhaust manifold. Did you have engine running when you did jump? Battery may not have sufficient amperage now. When other car started may have fed back voltage :lemon:
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    Found out may be defective schrader valve Pressing down hard on can connection may solve problem -if plunger does not return will lose pressure and clutch will not kick in -hot air :sick:
  • mryner99mryner99 Member Posts: 1
    I have a '95 Saturn SL2 (automatic) with possibly a bad sensor in the gear shifter. I thought my starter went out afew days ago, because I have a "solenoid issue" but when the guy from the tow truck company came out, he attempted to start my car before he towed it. He put the car into neutral, then put on the emergency brake, then put the car back in drive, gave the gas pedal a couple of taps, and turned the key. What do you know, it started. But since then, I have been dealing with this problem. The tow truck driver said that he's not a mechanic, but he thinks it's a bad sensor in the gear shifter, like the shifter has to be put into "Park" perfectly in order for the car to start the next time out. I've gone over a few things, hoping it wasn't a sensor, like my key was wearing out, so I thought it was the key, so I grabbed a spare and used it. The car seemed to start better, and more often, for a couple times. Also, every time I had troubles, I would open the hood and let the engine cool, thinking that the car could only be started if the engine was below a certain temperature. Nothing has worked. So, could you please tell me what is wrong with my car, if I can fix it myself, and how much something like this would cost.
    Thank you for your time...

    M. Ryner
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    Got a good one for you--A elder lady saw me looking at radiator she said put black pepper in antifreeze had already had bars sealer in and it still leaked turned soultion white--not leaking yet DUH :confuse:
  • dulinaadulinaa Member Posts: 10
    You have a restriction in the a/c system. most likely at the orifice tube, which is clogged with aftermarket stop leak, or compressor parts. compressors can still appear to sound ok running after they imploded. But on the slim-to-no chance, water vapor was introduced into the a/c system and a 'random' restriction of ice forms and melts, relocates, and forms again and again.
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    Funny when charging myself-goes up to red line on guage but now after I pressed in valve nothing came out can was empty
  • lukemorelllukemorell Member Posts: 1
    edited July 2010
    I have been trying to find out how to fix leaks in my saturn. It is a 1997 sc2 5 speed manual transmission with 130,000 miles on it, i drained the tranny fluid and refilled it with lucas stop leak and dextron III like the manual said, it's not leaking so much from the bottom of the transmission now, but leaking at the top near the clutch, but i didn't overfill it, i think it's leaking around the seals, which is the best way, to fix it, or change out tranny's? Please help. And what should it cost me?
    i was told saturn s series has 4 different trannies, i think mine is DOHC dual overhead cam, how hard are these to repair> Or can i just drive it and make sure i keep tranny fluid in it, and forget reparing it? I like this car and wanted to keep it for a few years.
  • larryboy60larryboy60 Member Posts: 1
    My window regulator and motor are fine but the plastic slide in the window lift bar spit and the regulator lift arm jumped the track. I have a 2000 SL2 but I think all the regulators are identical in the area of the lift bar. I don't want to spent $65 for a new regulator just to get a new plastic slide that will probably break again. My question is: how can I replace just the broken part and keep my old regulator? Who sells replacement parts for the window regulator?
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    Autozone or junkyard
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    Autozone or junkyard
  • phish3phish3 Member Posts: 1
    is there a quick fix for fouled plugs already put those oil restrictors on bottom of plugs no help
  • togfleon2003togfleon2003 Member Posts: 20
    put a tea spoon of dot 3 brake fluid in it and it will stop leaking.
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    How long can a noisy wheel bearing be let go-usually a pulsating noise all the time but yesterday when slowing down from 70-high pitched noise have not heard it since How dangerous is this? will it lock up? R Billieux :lemon:
  • togfleon2003togfleon2003 Member Posts: 20
    you will be going 30mph and the wheel will leave your car.
  • twinoakmomtwinoakmom Member Posts: 1
    I have an SL2 that hasn't been used in over a year. It needs a new transmission and other stuff. Is it worth fixing?
  • togfleon2003togfleon2003 Member Posts: 20
    no, junk it out
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    With transmission gone not worth it unless low milage and good body :lemon: :lemon:
  • saturntimsaturntim Member Posts: 1
    Did you find a solution to this problem? both of my rear doors are stuck shut just like yours.
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    Stud broken off at manifold about one quater inch of end of bolt protruding tried stud remover tool no dice any ideas Bob B :sick:
  • rbillieuxsrrbillieuxsr Member Posts: 47
    One of my doors dont work-motor burned out get in car realease manually if that does not work something wrong in keyless entry program :lemon:
  • saturnlover1saturnlover1 Member Posts: 1
    I need detailed instructions on replacing the shifting cable for my Saturn SC2, specifically how to remove the mounting off of the transmission.
  • 2000saturnsl12000saturnsl1 Member Posts: 1
    I . a 2000 saturn s series. On the throttle body there are 2 vacuum lines, 1 big, one small made of plastic, the small one broke in 2 places. Once where it runs across the top of the throttle body, and second at round junction connection where plastic connect changes to rubber connect on other side to secondary vacuum pump? its a long plastic vac line that goes from top of throttle body to front of block on belt side vac pump. Not sure what it is called. Where can I get a replacement line from and will this take care of ">error code po410?
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