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Saturn Maintenance & Repair



  • i know what it is believe it or not its the cylinder head may have a rounded cam or valves need to be replace or u can go on ebay and buy the whole block for 325 plus shipping like i did.
  • Hello. This should shed some insight to your problem.
    The saturn ION 5spd auto trans has an issue where the trans will flare on the 1-2 upshift when cold only and the 3-4 shift all the time.
    The TCM update will fix 80% of these problems but there is a "learn in procedure" that must be performed to finish the job. Any Saturn tech can access this bulletin and perform the learn in. Not performing the learn in procedure will result in bad shifts and customer complaints.
    reference these tech bulletin numbers
    03-07-30-033 and
    Have the techs perform this procedure and see if it helps. If you still have a problem, you will need a new Valve body for your trans.
    Contact Saturn customer assistance if the local dealer cannot help you.
  • If you have no spark, 99% of the time you will have to replace the Crank Sensor. If that doesnt fix it, then you will need an ignition Module.
    The crank sensor is tough to reach. (back of engine behind starter) best left to a pro with a lift.
  • check recent posts. I'm new here and not sure how you will get my replies
  • Which vent? Sometimes foam gets lodged in the airway of the end vents. If thats it you can see it with a pen light. If thats it, take it out and discard the foam insulator.
  • check recent posts. I have some info for you there about this particular problem.
  • utkwhiteutkwhite Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Vue. When I hit 36000 miles the transmission started slipping does anyone know if this is a common problem?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496
    hi Mike,

    We have a forum that shares the Relay with the Montana and Uplander. Here's the link:

    Saturn Relay/Chevy Uplander/ETC Forum


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

    Share Your Vehicle Reviews Here

  • kegshkegsh Posts: 1
    Our 2000 Saturn needs head gasket, how much should I expect to pay at a Saturn Dealer to have it replaced. I understand things can come up to make it cost more. But if nothing else goes wrong what should I expect to pay at a Saturn Dealer for this work?

    Thank you,
  • expect at least $1000. it is a very involved process, as it is pretty much the center of the engine.
  • geargalgeargal Posts: 1
    Re: 1997 Saturn SL2, 120,000 miles suddenly died while in the middle of driving [johnakaj]

    Mine also died suddenly while driving, mine is just short of 101,000 miles. My 2000 L-series wagon (actually built in 1999), bit it yesterday. All electric was still working and there had been no warning. I'd driven it 150 miles Easter Sunday in the rain and everything was hunky-dory. Same for the Monday commute, 75 miles. No wierd noises, no idiot lights, it just cuts out on Tuesday. I am told it is the timing chain, it slipped and has "done some damage." A polite way of saying "She's dead, Jim!" Since I cannot afford to start over I am going to go for the offered Saturn dealership replacement engine (34,000mi) with a 1 year warranty. Is there anything thing I should be wary about in doing this (besides the 4 grand price tag?). I own it, and thought it had another 4 or 5 years in it. Good maintenance, new brakes pads, second set of tires. All the best for my baby so I feel a bit betrayed....
  • vdarevdare Posts: 1
    Mine is 2002 L200 Saturn & headlights flicker like strobe light. Saturn Corp says car is made that way & all cars do it! Still under warranty & they refuse to fix or replace. Said if I don't drive it often I won't notice it! Any advice on resolving the issue with Saturn Corp.
  • Did you end up doing the alternator? If so, what did you use, and did it work? I've got the same problem with an L200...
  • I've done everything including making a log and trying different things. Still getting "normal."

    The log I did revealed the issue clearly on my car. Drive it from a cold start and without fail the lights will flicker between 7 & 10 minutes out, but no more after that. Sometimes 2 or three times in that "bout".

    HOWEVER, Start the car and drive from a cold start, then after about 2 minutes turn it off for about a minute and restart, and the car will not flicker the lights.

    I've heard that changing the battery, and possibly the alternator, will do the trick...

  • Is that a 4 cyl or a 6 cyl? If its a 4 cyl then the factory warranty has been extended until 75K miles, and I reccomend immediate repair. If its a 6 cyl it has a 3 yr 36K mile warranty. The only slip problems with the 6 cyl that show up after the first 30K miles is usually fixed with a re-calibration of the trans control module followed by an intense re-learn drive cycle performed by a dealer technician. That would address a 2-3 shift flare or a 1-2 shift flare. Actual slipping would result in a check engine light. The difference is significant. Shift flares feel like a slip but aren't. They are caused by foaming of the fluid.
    This is assuming that the transmission fluid is full. Low fluid can cause the exact same thing.
  • Hello. I'm looking for advice from all you Saturn Tech's out there. I recently had an 03 VUE 3.0 V6 with a Cyll misfire. The misfire seemed central to #1 it would mis only off idle in neutral, at absolute cruise, (no increase in speed but foot on accellerator) or when slowing down. Never on accelleration in gear.The things I checked and found no problem with are:
    Timing belt alignment,Compression, Cyllinder leakdown, injector Ohms, injector balance, fuel pressure, I swapped spark plugs, ignition coil, entire upper plenum (injectors and all), Called T.A.C. 3 times and was lost. I found that spraying brake cleaner onto intake spacer near #1 caused the fuel trim to spike to -25% in both banks. Thinking I found it I swapped the plenum spacer with a used but good one, (Ihave a junk motor that swallowed water that I'm swapping parts out of) After replacing the spacer the misfire was still there but the fuel trim was spiked at +25% !!! It wouldn't come down. I cleared codes, still high. I disconnected the battery and shorted the cables together to clear the long term memory and still it was the same. Then I sprayed brake clean into the same area, the fuel trim came down to -25% again, then leveled off to 0%, then the misfire went away and wouldn't come back for me. I drove it 10 miles, it ran perfectly. I started Vacation the next day and left the car with a fellow tech to drive home to see what could have possibly happened. I'm not convinced that it's fixed. I was burned out from taking the plenum off so many times and the day was over.
    Has anyone else seen this?
  • vmedranovmedrano Posts: 1
    My 2001 SL1's latest problem is when I put it into reverse it jerks, jolts, kicks, whatever it's called, REALLY hard. I have to keep the brake all the way down for a while after I put it into reverse so it won't kick so hard. I've had this problem before but it was accompanied with the car violently jerking when I increased speed, then a little later when the car violently jerked when decreasing speed. The dealer fixed it both times - the second time conveniently right after my warranty expired. Both times the reverse jerking stopped for a while but now it's back again. Any one familiar with this problem?

    I can't really remember what the dealer said the problem was when the car was jerking when increasing speed - a relay I think. It was under warranty then so they covered it. But right after they fixed that it started jerking when decreasing speed and things went crazy like the service engine soon light went on and the overheating gage light went on and I can't remember what else, but then they said it was the "brain" or something that had to be replaced. I don't know, I mean I bought a new car so I wouldn't have to have these service problems. I'm so sick of this car.

    Oh, also the airbag light is on pretty frequently - since I bought the car actually. Dealer says they can never find anything wrong. I don't know if this has to do with any of the other things, or the current one anyway.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I only replaced the battery and that has calmed the flickering down. Mind you, the battery in my vehicle was over 5 years old (2000 Intrigue). I did have a charging system analysis done when I had my car inspected at the end of February. They could not complete the test because of my battery was low. I changed the battery 2 days later and it appears that my lights are brighter than before. I have noticed minor flickering once or twice since then but nothing like before and nothing that will annoy other drivers (my biggest fear). I only noticed that flickering because I was looking for it.

    I also had the charging system checked at AutoZone using their machine that hooks to the battery terminals. Their test WILL NOT pick up the problem with the alternator. Take it to a mechanic and have them do a check on the charging system. The service manager at the shop I had my car inspected said they missed a lot of problems when they tested the charging system with this machine. They have a different way to test which is more complicated and yields better results. I'm sure others in this forum can explain the process better technically. It cost me $40 to have the charging system analyzed.

    If the problem persists, which I am sure it will when the battery begins to lose its power, I'll dropp the $600 to have the alternator replaced. Until then, things seem "acceptable" for now.

    If your vehicle is still under warranty, do not accept that "they are made like this" excuse. If it was not like this when you drove off the lot, it is not acceptable!!!! I would call the service manager again and ask them to fix it. If he/she gives you the same response, ask them to put that in writing since you don't want to misinterpret their words when you call the regional manager. If the regional manager gives you the same song and dance, ask for his response in writing as well so when you call the local TV station, you don't want his words misinterpretted. Then call the district manager and so on. make sure you record all conversations and get names and titles.

    Please remember that this is a safety issue as well as a major annoyance to other drivers. ONe person on this forum almost run off the road by a truck who thought he flashed his lights for him to get back over to the lanes.

    Also go to the NHTSA web site and file a complaint. have your VIN number handy. Enough complaints will trigger an investigation by the NHTSA. GM does not need anymore investigations.

    good luck with your vehicle.
  • Hello. If the bang into gear is all gears all the time, then it may be a bad main line fuse, actuator, broken wire to the actuator or a bad bus plate connection at the main line pressure actuator in the valve body.
    If it happens only when hot, then the valve body will require replacement and the end cover will have to come off so the Input and out put shaft nuts can be replaced.
    The Valve body (If previously replaced) comes with a 12 month 12K mile warranty from saturn so the repair may be covered under warranty.
    A few years ago, Saturn started to factory rebuild the valve bodys and also the partial valve bodies. This began a world of problems for us tech's because we get something like a 50% failure rate right out of the box with these things. Be sure you use a Saturn dealer to make any repairs to your Transmission, otherwise the tech will replace the piece, still have a problem and then condemn the transmission. The most common issue with these re-man valve bodys is a bad actuator bus-plate that loses connection at the main line pressure actuator. While buzzing the actuator, you can wiggle the connector and actually get the actuator to shut off.
    Sorry, you can only do the test with a tech2 scanner at the dealer.
    Hope this helps.
    p.s. the partial valve bodys have been discontinued. :D
  • mbuttsmbutts Posts: 2
    we have a 1.9l motor with 2 burned out exhaust valves. I've read that some of the engines used a lot of oil, but havent been able to find a post that talks about valve damage. anyone know of a reason why the engine might have lost first valve on # 1 and second valve on #2 cyl exhaust? I just read on the forum about it costing about a grand to get to the head gasket, any idea what a couple valves might cost as well? tnx, martin :)
  • what year is that motor? Burned exhaust valves are uncommon. Sounds like a lean misfire caused the cyll's to overheat. Bad intake gasket? stuck closed egr?
    Valves cost around 20.00 each . I reccomend replace the head with a factory reman. (all new valves) Call saturn for price.
  • jamstutzjamstutz Posts: 2
    I am new to this site, so bear with me it I don't follow the "un-written" rules. My wife has a 99 S-Series sedan. On one ocassion this past winter her car would not start. I drove to where she was and tried it out. It started the first time I turned the key. This morning, she called me and said that her car won't start again. It will turn over, just won't start (same as in the winter). I am a novice mechanic who can do some minor repairs. I just do not know how to go about figuring out what is wrong since this does not happen everyday. Let me know what your thoughts are. Thanks.
  • I've got just under 5000 miles on my Ion and it's been having issues since about 3000 miles. Three or four times the fuel gauge has gone to zero and the passlock symbol lighted up on the dash. The car still drove fine and the problem fixed itself after a while. The most recent problem occured yesterday when I started up the car - the steering wheel was all locked up. It still turned a little bit, but was very, very tight. I restarted and the problem when away.

    We bought the Ion because we wanted to save a little money but still have reliable transportation and had heard good things from a few people who owned Saturns ( the S- Series). However, we are now planning to trade in the Ion as soon as possible because let's be honest, a car with electrical problems after just 3000 miles isn't worth hanging onto.

    As far as I can gather, the Passlock system is supposed to disengage the the fuel and lock up the steering wheel when it determines that you aren't using the right key. Something with the Passlock system on my car is all screwy and I suspect it's not easy to fix. The dealer was quite circumspect about and that gave me a bad feeling.

    I asked myself, would it have helped if we spend a little more money and got an ION 3? Probably not, since it's all the same engine underneath the hood.

    We are lucky that we are able to absorb the financial loss on the Ion and get a different car. I am sure that most Saturns are reliable vehicles, but unfortunately, mine just isn't one of them. There is no doubt in my mind that the problems will only escalate. I have no desire to be zooming down the freeway at 60 have the steering wheel lock up, or the fuel system disengage. We are just going to bite the bullet on the trade in and get a different car.

    Good luck to everyone else out there with Saturn problems!
  • halserhalser Posts: 20
    I have a 1994 Saturn SL2 with 123,000 miles on it. Sometimes when I am slowing down the transmission slams into the next gear as it is downshifting. It doesn’t happen all the time. If I have a faster stop it is ok. Usually stop and go traffic is a problem. The transmission is perfect up shifting during acceleration. Yesterday it slammed into reverse from a stopped position. Could it be a valve body or a sensor? When the car had 72,000 miles the car would go into reverse fine when cold but be very slow in responding to reverse when the transmission is warmed up. I brought the car to the Saturn dealer who stated that the upper valve body needed to be replaced. With a new valve body the car has been fine until now.
  • i have a 95 saturn sl, it is high mileage rebuilt engine, it runs great, but there is an oil leak around the main pulley shaft from the timing cover. i replaced the cover with a used one and i also replaced the seal. the leak is down to a quart every 600-800 miles i was just wondering if there was any way that anyone knew if there was a way to fix this further? :D
  • mbuttsmbutts Posts: 2
    the car is a 1994 coupe s2 type i believe.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Wow you gave up on the vehicle that quick. Your car is under warranty still and it seems like it is isolated to possibly the PASSlock system. You gave a pretty good description, the service manager should be able to troubleshoot the problem. I would not be so quick to trade the car so quickly.

    My advice is give the dealership a chance to fix it. But check the lemon laws in your state. You may want to use that path if they cannot fix it. Also you will be shocked at the trade in value of this vehicle esp. an ION 1.
  • for anyone else that sees this problem, This issue can be resolved by reprogramming the ECM. A bulletin was released within the last 2 weeks.2005 only.
    I think us Saturn techs will be glad to see this customer jump ship. :cry:
    Sounds like a nightmare to deal with! :confuse:
  • read post #203. Sounds like it MAY be the same issue.
  • the 3 most common causes for a crank no start on the 98's are
    #1 a bad crank sensor.(no spark or injector pulse)
    #2 a bad fuel pump (no fuel at fuel rail)
    #3 a cracked coolant temp sensor (green corrosion in connector)
    Also look at the battery. If you see a trail of corrosion leading from the positive cable connection or a crusty collection of corrosion around the positive cable bolt at the battery, you have to replace the battery, the cable, and anything damaged by the leaking acid.
This discussion has been closed.