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Saturn VUE, Saturn ION, Saturn L-Series, Saturn Relay, Electrical, Engine, Coupe, Sedan, Wagon, SUV
#819 of 860 2001 L200 - timing chain (and engine) poof at 84,700
Jun 05, 2007 (6:31 am)
Today is Day 49 in my ongoing fight with Saturn over a broken timing chain at 84,700 miles on our 2001 L200. It broke while the vehicle was in operation on April 17, 2007. I discover after the fact that Saturn had known about the problem for a long time, since well before the vehicle had moved out of the extended warranty period, even as far back as during the model year, when they changed the design of the lubricating nozzel for the timing chain in the middle of the MY. On NHTSA, Saturn admits a high rate of failure for vehicles manufactured between Nov 2000 and Feb 2001, yet did not recall those to remedy the problem. There are fresh complaints on NHTSA's ODI site even now.
We purchased ours new from Saturn of Fairfax in June 2001, after the change had been made, but ours had been manufactured in November 2000, part of the increased failure period.
The above notwithstanding, Saturn has offered an insulting 15% off of a warranty price on a new engine - admitting responsibility but not wanting to pay the cost or even willing to make it reasonable for the customer - who in their right mind would sink $3k into a vehicle whose trade-in value is less than $5k?
Futher details on http://dontbuysaturn.blogspot.com/ - we were die-hard Saturn loyalists, having bought four Saturns (a 2000 SL2, 2001 L200 and two VUEs, 2003 and 2004) within a 5 year period between 1999 and 2004. The treatment during the process has been about as bad as the "final" word from the last-name-less area manager at Saturn. A four-page letter, along with 9 pages of email-thread with Saturn, and 12 pages of NHTSA printouts was fedexed to the head of Saturn Corporation, General Manager Jill Lajdziak, on May 23, 2007, and copies were sent by certified mail to G. Richard Wagoner, Jr., Chairman & CEO of General Motors Corp; Troy A. Clarke, President, GM North America; Mark R. LaNeve, Vice President, GM North America, Sales Service and Marketing; and Tom Tellepson, General Manager of Saturn of Manassas. These copies were sent on Friday, May 25, 2007. No response has been received from Saturn, and none of the reply cards have yet been received from GM or the local dealer.
The gloves have come off, and I am telling this story far and wide. Saturn has done a lot these past 7 weeks to keep us from ever purchasing a Saturn or GM product again. They seem not to care about losing my business, or that of anyone who hears this story.
#820 of 860 A/C High Pressure Problem (And No Cold Air)
Jun 05, 2007 (10:11 am)
I recently bought an A/C recharge kit for my 2000 SL2. It blows warm air and I thought it might need a recharge. The kit came with a pressure gauge, which told me that my system is holding at between 65-70 psi (25-45 is normal, according to the kit). Any ideas what could be causing this? My old auto shop teacher suggested a sensor?
#821 of 860 Re: 2001 L200 - timing chain (and engine) poof at 84,700 [relantel]
Jun 05, 2007 (6:43 pm)
I know you'd like to have a new engine (heck, who wouldn't), but just what is their responsibility in this? What is the published warranty on this product, 3 years and 36K miles?........which would put your vehicle at twice both the years and miles?
What would the cost be to pull the engine out of a wrecked car, and put it in yours (an engine from outside of that higher defect timeframe)?
I think your options are to:
- Continue to try to rattle the cages, which will probably have minimal chance of success. My opinion is that you are so far out of the warranty period that any reasonable third party person would come down on the side of the dealer as being fair.
- Swap out the engine with a previously totaled vehicle, guessing it would cost ?? 1K ??, then either continue to drive it or sell it at around it's value of 2.8-3.5K.
- Accept their offer of 15% coverage, spend 3K for a new engine, and then drive it till the wheels fall off (since you'll have a new engine good for another 80K miles).
- Unload it as is, take about a 3K loss.
I think I'd be looking for a replacement used engine.
I personally had a similar situation. Transmission went out on 11 year old 85K GM Suburban (our road trip vehicle). Turns out that they made a model year change to a transmission part, and didn't spec it as being made out of hardened steel any longer. These things are failing right and left, obviously a manufacturing weakness. Vehicle is worthless in broken condition, and way outside of warranty even though it's a previously recognized problem. This is a significant repair I ended up eating.
I'm sure you don't want to hear this, but I'd suggest channelling energies to finding a more reasonably cost solution than a full new engine replacement. You got dealt a bad hand of cards, make the best of it and get on with life. You'll look back at this in 5 years, and it will be a blip on your radar screen.
#822 of 860 Re: 2001 L200 - timing chain (and engine) poof at 84,700 [kiawah]
Jun 05, 2007 (7:44 pm)
Kiawah, the vehicle in question had a Saturn Car Care extended warranty until 60k, the max offered for that year, and a recall replacement of the transmission was performed at 72k even though there were no issues with the original one. The timing chain is said to be part of the 90,000 mile scheduled service according to Saturn - an implied warranty that the original should last at least that long. All maintenance was performed at a Saturn dealer, most of it at the same dealer. Saturn knew of the timing chain problems in the 2001 Ls long before the extended warranty was up - in fact, they knew of the problem before we purchased our L200 new from Saturn of Fairfax.
In its ODI filings, Saturn claimed the failures never happened during operation. Wrong. The failure due to a manufacturing defect could have resulted in serious injury, and I am not alone. Saturn used to value the "100,000 mile club" - a wall of poloroid photos at each dealer of Saturn owners and their cars that made the 100k mark. They used to value the customer - now they'd rather throw them under the bus. A timing chain should have lasted more than 200,000 miles, not fail at 84,700.
#823 of 860 Re: 2001 L200 - timing chain (and engine) poof at 84,700 [relantel]
Jun 05, 2007 (8:33 pm)
The vehicle was purchased with a 36,000 mile "Car Care" service package, which was extended to 60,000 miles before its expiration, a package which also acted as an extended warranty.
So is the care package a legal warranty specifically covering parts and labor, or a service package covering normal maintenance and serviceable items....in your terminology "acting as" an extended warranty? If the original 36K package was was purchased by you (as opposed to a warranty which is included in the sale of the vehicle), it sounds more like the service packages that dealers have which cover oil changes, brake pads, etc. Does it use the words warranty?
#824 of 860 Re: 2001 L200 - timing chain (and engine) poof at 84,700 [kiawah]
Jun 06, 2007 (4:29 am)
Been thinking about your situation some more. What exactly is it that you are asking for from Saturn? What is it in your eyes, is a fair resolution to your situation?
Is Saturns' logic on their offer of 15%, that you drove 85K miles of the 100K miles that gets your picture on the dealership wall....therefore you were short 15K miles or 15%?
Now I don't know what the actual statistics would prove (as opposed to marketing/sales hype) as to the average mileage of Saturns before they are retired....but I'm betting that most people would think by the time an average GM vehicle is at 100K it's taking it's last breaths. There's always the stories about someone making 250K, but I'm talking about the actual average mileage retirement.
#825 of 860 Re: [alcan] no car storm2 [storm2]
Jun 06, 2007 (3:42 pm)
#826 of 860 Re: [alcan] no car storm2 [storm2] [george74]
Jun 06, 2007 (5:09 pm)
If it died after an oil change, you should check to make sure there is the correck amount of oil in the engine. If you check the oil level (via the dipstick) and it's low, check to see whether the oil filter came loose and and lost all the oil, or the oil pan bolt came out and is missing (thereby loosing all the oil).
#827 of 860 Re: '05 Relay-Alignment issues and clunking noise [caza1518]
Jun 07, 2007 (5:42 pm)
I bought my Saturn Relay 3 new in 2005, and we loved it. However, there was a problem from the time we drove off the dealership lot with the alignment. After bringing it to them 4 times (twice for just the alignment, and twice for that & to rotate tires), they have told me (female, as you may guess from their reasoning - I don't think they'd even try this line on a man...LOL) everything from "It's the high winds in the area that make it seem to be pulling." to "that's just the way the roads are made - it's not the car pulling - it's the roads...the Alignment is perfect. The first time we had the tires rotated, they had to completely replace one, due to excessive wear. 12K miles later, they tell me that the tires on this minivan (warrantied by Continental Tires for 80K miles) are completely worn (unevenly from the looks of it, although they didn't say that), and all of them need to be replaced. Oh - and their reason for this at 29K miles...."tires are just not made to withstand the weight of a minivan or truck - you will always need them replaced at around 30K miles". I've skipped the service dept altogether, and gone straight to the President of the dealership. Will find out what he has to say tomorrow. Any advice would be appreciated. In any case, they finally DID manage to align it (somewhat) - and they told me they didn't do a thing to it...just makes you laugh. I looked, but could not find the "stupid" sign on my forehead. Guess we'll see tomorrow.
#828 of 860 Re: '05 Relay-Alignment issues and clunking noise [mdawne]
Jun 08, 2007 (8:35 am)
sounds like they don't know how to align the vehicle, or their specs for alignment are off. you may have an issue with tire inflation, or suspension / steering components. it's hard to say what you are dealing with when people can't see it.
continental should have some mileage guarentee and provide pro-rating of the tires. At 29K, you didn't get 1/2 the mileage of the tires.
roads are sloped to the sides and your vehicle should naturally drift to the side, but at a very slow rate if it's aligned properly. don't ask me how long, but several seconds.
you shouldn't have to fight the wheel with excessive force to get it to track straight down the road. if you let go of the wheel and move quickly towards the side, you have a problem.
winds can affect a vehicle, honestly they can. tire tread pattern and road surface, specially groves in the road or going over a metal grate bridge together can cause you to move all over as well. but both of these phenomenon are situation dependant and short lived.
if you have to use excessive force to turn right or left, or you don't have to use much force at all, your tires may be under or over-inflated respectively. the former usually is indicated by wear on the sides of the tread but not in the middle, while the latter (over-inflation), you'll have wear in the middle of the tires but not the sides.
these may help: