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Saturn Maintenance & Repair



  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    holiday inn express - lol!

    I think I found that 2 wire switch on the tranny last night. It's just about below the battery. I unplugged it and plugged it back in, but didn't try the jumper thing. I'll try that tonight.

  • Has anyone else had a problem with water leaks onto the floorboards after rain? I have a 01 SC1 & 99 SL1 and they both have had this problem. Anyone else?
  • Is there a fuse for the dome light in a 1991 SL2 ?
    If so what number in the fuse panel is it? Thanks for any help anyone can give. My dome light will not work with a new bulb. There is no light coming from under the dash either. Can't remember if there ever was.
  • Do you have a sunroof? I had this problem with my '97 SC2. It was caused by the drains in the sunroof being clogged up with dirt and dry leaves. I had the dealer clean the four drains out, which cost me $80. I have had no problems since then.

  • My wife has a 2001 L200 automatic. 18,000 miles so far, and the only problem was caused by some a$shole in an SUV backing up and punching an exhaust-pipe shaped hole in the front of the bumper. Bumper replacement was reasonable at $500, which was for a factory-new bumper and excellent paint matching.

    Excellent car, smooth and comfortable. I recommend it highly.
  • I have a friend who has a '94 S-series with 120,000 miles. Her mechanic told her that it wouldn't pass the emissions test and would cost $1,300 to fix, but that the engine could fail at any time after the repair is done. Does this sound plausible? She's in the Army and was stationed in various places in Europe until last summer; now she's in Virginia. So I suspect that she doesn't know this mechanic well and he may be trying to sell her a bill of goods, to put it nicely. If he's being straightforward, how much would it cost to replace the engine, rather than repairing it? Thanks in advance for your replies.
  • Sounds like that mechanic is full of crap! If the only problem with the car is that it's not passing emissions, it's more than likely carboned up - common on some cars, and especially if it sat parked for a long time. The throttle body/air intake can be cleaned with throttle body/air intake cleaner, and that should probably fix it right up if it's nothing more serious.
  • I am new to driving a Saturn so I am wondering if anyone else is having trouble with winter driving and their saturn. I am having trouble braking in snow. My abs and traction control are working, I had them checked. I also had new winter tires put on recently also. I am just wondering if anyone can tell me what I can do to make sure I am driving the Saturn correctly and if there is anything else anyone is noticing with their saturn and winter driving. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • arora1arora1 Posts: 2
    Our 97 SL1 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 (not to mention the whole car also shakes - the body integrity is awful). In addition, the belts make a constant loud squeaking noise...the dealer says its normal due to dust BS....Anyone else have similar issues with the squeaking noise with the belts???
  • 4346943469 Posts: 2
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Were your plug wires changed? If not, the sparks could be arching between them and causing the hesitation. I can't remember whether your car has a distributor or not, but if it does, the cap could be cracked and causing the hesitation. It could be a problem with the timing chain slipping, but I'm not so sure. It should NOT cost $750 to fix the timing chain. I would pay no more then $400. Hope that helps a little.
  • btealebteale Posts: 1
    If the Saturn does have a timing chain, it shouldn't be worn out at 100,000 mi. Timing chains are better than timming belts which need to be changed every 80,000 mi. I know the plugs in my Saturn SL1 foul every 20-30,000 miles. I would bet the plugs or wires are bad. The Saturn has no way for you or the mechanic to change the timming, it is all computer controlled.

    Have fun,
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Saturn engines use a timing chain. It's common for the chain guides to fail before 100,000 miles. The spark plug fouling is usually due to seized oil rings.
  • davedave1davedave1 Posts: 45
    for a little more detal on the timing chain issue you have.
    As a 93 SW2 owner, I haven't changed the chain yet, but it can fail prior to 100k, even though many go to 150k. Oil changes are crucial in the 3-4k mile range to max chain life.
    You didn't say if your mechanic was at a saturn dealer. I don't think timing chain is an issue for out of spec timing, so I wonder if your issue is really a timing problem at all; there's a tensioner that takes up wear and stretch of the chain until it's too far out and then the chain has to be replaced; usually timing chain NOISE (rattling sounds) is the first indicator of a problem. If the chain breaks it will damage the valves so be sure on this point.
    Quotes for a chain at saturn dealers in my area have been in the 600-650 range.
    Wrong plugs in saturns can cause problems and a host of other things can also (egr, engine temperature sensor, etc.) all much cheaper than a timing chain.
    Check the site forums doing a keyword search for info on what you're interested in getting help with - lots of smart folks there to point you in the right direction!!>>>> Good Luck
  • olddawgolddawg Posts: 3
    I have 2 Saturns, a 95 SL2 and a 96 SL2. Both have over 80k miles and burn oil at the rate of about 1 quart every 3000 miles. The Saturn website says that this is normal. Does anyone have any experience with this? It sure wasn't normal in any of my other cars.
  • davedave1davedave1 Posts: 45
    I have a 93sw2 and it has burned at least 3/4 quart in 3000 miles since day 1. I took it back under warranty, and the dealer did a check finding that in 2000 miles it didn't change enough to warrant engine work. Oddly enough, when I use valvoline it consumes less than other brands.
    Some owners have experienced even greater consumption, so you shouldn't feel bad about this; this is about a quart per change.
    It is also a good idea to keep your oil level up on the dip stick too; don't let it get too low before adding. The saturn engines use a timing chain [not a rubber timing belt] that needs good lubrication to have a long life.

    The saturnfans site will give you more information; see message 5.
  • mharamhara Posts: 1
    I have a '99 SW2, 45k miles. We recently switched to Quaker State synthetic oil, and it's consuming oil at an alarming rate: about 3 1/2 quarts in a little over 1000 miles. I've taken it two places and no one can find any leaks, and it doesn't *seem* to be burning it (no smell or smoke or anything). The last mechanic did a pretty thorough check and didn't find anything. I think I'm going to go back to regular oil and see if that fixes it, but I'm wondering if anyone has any other ideas.

    On a possibly related topic, the "Service Engine Soon" light has been coming on as well -- again, since we switched to synthetic. The mechanic said the code indicated a misfire in the fourth cylinder and an emissions code (I don't know what). Any relation?

    Thanks in advance.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Saturn oil consumption is usually caused by the oil rings seized in their grooves in the pistons, combined with taper in the cylinder walls. New pistons, rings, and hone the block. Won't smoke because the catalytic converter runs so hot it burns off all the oil. The misfire is probably due to a defective spark plug wire. Mist the wires with a salt water solution and look for the arcing.
  • greenslgreensl Posts: 1
    We have a 96 SL2 and it started burning over one quart per thousand miles around $75,000. Our local dealer and the factory rep agreed to rebuild the engine for warranty cost and we only pay 1/2 of that. Did not even buy the car there. The first time they did everything but bore the cylinders. Did not fix. We are scheduled for boring and oversized pistons next week. Only paying $200 for our share of that and problem should be fixed. I can't say enough about Saturn pleasing the customer because we were 35,000 miles over warranty!! Never showed blue smoke or leaks on the garage floor.
  • with 43k miles on it, my friends 2000 LS1's AC compressor seized up. the belt broke shortly after. The service center is saying that it'll cost $850 for the new compressor. They say the clutch (AC) is shot as well from the compressor siezing up. Does any of this sound suspicious... it sounds kind'a to me. It's Saturn of Bordentown in NJ.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    If the compressor seized up it could turn out worse than that---the debris from a seized compression could contaminate the entire A/C system, repquiring replacements of dryer and condenser and cleaning out of all lines.

    Compressor seizing is a bad thing to let happen. I'm surprised there was no warning noises for a few weeks prior, but you never know...

    Let us know, but I think this is going to be a pretty expensive repair for your friend unfortunately.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • tjohn12tjohn12 Posts: 2
    I just got a letter yesterday offering to "exchange" my 2000 L-Series 4-door for any 2004 Saturn, within the next 4 days! They need to fulfill a "special used vehicle request". What is that? Sounds like a buy back for some sort of lemon flavored catastrophe looming large in Saturn's future. I've read some depressing remarks from 2000 L-Series owners (Tires, Alignment, Cooling System, Sensors, Ignition, etc). Is it really that bad? This is my 3rd Saturn, the first two were an SL2 and SC2, both 1996. Loved them. Should I sell ASAP? []
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    It's a sucker play to deal your used car in and buy a new one.
  • tjohn12tjohn12 Posts: 2
    I tend to agree. The words "Buy back ..." were in the letter, so I called on the slim chance that they would buy the car. No deal. Strictly "come on down ..." and trade-in.

    I guess what worries me is now I'm stuck with a questionable car. Love the motor and tranny, but some of the body squeaks and loose front make me start to think. I've read several other forums and lots of people complained about tires, front ends, cooling, ... . Might have to, but don't want to hold on to this car for a while.

    Thanks for listening.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    It's a little soon to bail out of the car in terms of depreciation, etc. Usually around 80K miles or just under is a good time if you are worried. That's when major things start to happen. And being under 100K, you can still sell it to someone.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • jasjas Posts: 115
    I have a 97 SL2 (DOHC) with 90k miles which has been extremely reliable and cost efficient. I have been having an intermittent starting problem which I am hoping somebody can shed some light on:

    When it is warm out (usually upper 70's plus) and the car has been driven, then left off for a period of at least 15 minutes (i.e. drive to the store on a warm day), I experience a hard start condition, where the car cranks for 5-10 seconds before slowly starting. Normally, it fires within 1-2 seconds.

    The dealer is worthless unless there is a code in the system. I took the car to a trouble shooting mechanic. Based on the symptoms, the likely guess was a pressure regulator (fuel system losing pressure when the car is turned off). When it is hot, a vapor condition would make it more difficult for the car to build up pressure.

    He tested the car and found that is was losing pressure when off, so we had the pressure regulator replaced.

    The problem still exists. The mechanic stated that the pressure test following the new regulator was fine.

    I have already had the temperature sensor replaced previously, which was bad and caused a starting problem if the car sat for a week or so. The dealer could find this because the system detected the problem.

    The alternate possibilities, I am told, are the fuel pump (which is expensive) and the ignition module (in which the car would probably not start at all if it had a problem).

    Has anyone experienced a similar problem or have any thoughts on this one?
  • jreasejrease Posts: 14
    My '91 SL2 with 170000 miles started screaming a high pitched squeal on the highway today. Sounds like the belt, or when power steering fluid is low. The fluid is fine and the car is handling fine. But it did that off-and-on traveling home. Very loud! Right now, sitting in my garage, it does that when I simply startup. Sound like a slipping belt or something to anyone? I'm an extreme novice, but it seems to have something to do with that. If so, what can be done, if anything, myself? I plan to get it to the dealer or other mechanic tomorrow.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    RE: Hot start-- well, you have what we call a "heat-soak" starting problem, meaning that sometehing doesn't like just sitting there and getting warm from the engine heat with no fan running to cool it.

    Your mechanic had I think a half-good idea there, but really the possibility of a "vapor-lock" in a modern fuel injected car is so remote that my confidence in the mechanic's diagnosis is diminished somewhat.

    Why don't you try this. Change your fuel filter, just in case.

    Have you ever had a compression test on this engine? With 90K miles, a drop in compression would certainly affect hot starts. Does the engine feel as strong as ever, pulling up hills, etc.?

    One experiment that your mechanic or you could perform is to inject some starting fluid into the intake horn just before a hot start to see if it fires off faster.

    RE: SQUEALING SATURN--could be a belt, or could be a defective pulley bearing or idler pulley bearing. You can tell if a belt is slipping by examining the inside of the belt to see if it is glazed and shiny---the slipping sort of burns and buffs it.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • jasjas Posts: 115
    Thanks for the input.

    I agree about the vapor lock issue. The fuel pressure regulator was losing pressure, but did not solve the problem.

    The fuel filter was just changed at the 90k scheduled maintenance and I run injection cleaner every other oil change.

    I have not done a compression test, but the engine performs and can pull the hills - as well as a small 4-cyl can.

    The thing is that the problem is intermittant - it starts fine more often than not.
This discussion has been closed.