Last post on Sep 11, 2012 at 4:19 PM
You are in the Saturn S-Series
What is this discussion about?
Saturn S-Series, Sedan
Jan 11, 2002 (9:33 pm)
The next compact car from Saturn will finally be all new. It is true! It is like the midsize L series. A global GM car built off the "delta" platform. All new from the gound up compared to the S-series. It is being developed by GM's opel division in europe.
I think it will be a small displacement "GM ecotec" engine. Polymer panels will stay. After 11 years it is way overdue. Details are hard to come by. As for rebates on the 2002's. I have no idea. It is hard to say what Saturn will do. They are keeping the ION secret to keep the S-series going. I would defintley wait to see the ION. If you wan't a S series there are plenty to go around. Used are better than paying full MSRP for a new one as they are very expensive when you add some options.
#853 of 1418 97 Saturn SL1 troubles
Jan 17, 2002 (12:40 pm)
Our 97 SL1 (my wife's car that she bought before our marriage) 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. In addition, the belts make a constant squeaking noise...the dealer says its normal due to dust etc..total BS....Anyone else have similar issues ??? I'm very disappointed and am thinking of trading it in for a Japanese car...my 98 Maxima with higher mileage is in much better shape..
Jan 18, 2002 (9:47 am)
I have a 94 SL2 as my commuter. About 50 miles a day. I am at 115,000 now. I have been through the altenator, engine mount repacement long ago.
As for batteries and brakes all cars need those replaced.
Since I went past 105,000 miles the repairs are really atarting to add up.
The squeaking noise I had was a bad engine belt tensioner. Had to replace it and got a new belt.
Water pump started to leak a little. Had to replace.
Muffler strap rusted away. Replaced strap and muffler. i had it done at Midas for a very reasonable price.
I just was told the lower control arms are getting lose and need replacement.The dealer wan't $600. I am going to hold off and have a non dealer tire/shock place do it sometime in the upcoming year.
I have alot invested in the car in the last year so I am keeping it. And I can't afford a car I really wan't at the moment.
One thing to watch out for is oil useage. It happens more with the twin cam "2" series cars but keep your eyes open for it.
I wouldn't just get a japanese car. I would focus more on the brand/model than nationality or race that really doesn't mean anything in the global auto corp. buisness.
Alot of Hondas and toyotas are made in the USA and as we all know, get constant praise.
#855 of 1418 Where's the oil going?
Jan 29, 2002 (10:16 am)
Was wondering if anyone else has this problem -
I have a 96 SL1 185,000 miles. Recently I've started to loose a lot of oil - about 1 qt every 400 miles. The strange thing is there is no leak & no blue smoke from the exhaust...so what's happening to the oil?
About a year ago I had the head gasket replaced & I had a sensor replaced three years ago - other than that it's only been the normal brakes & tires and tires and tires (anyone else go through a set of tires a year?) - even the muffler is still factory original (that has to be some sort of record!).
I do oil changes ... ocassionally (10 - 15k) & the dealership put in slick50 when it was new.
Any ideas or anyone who has/had the same problem out there?
(and yes it still runs like new & looks like new. no I haven't put money into it other than tires & brakes & 1 head gasket set... the muffler is even still original.)
#856 of 1418 Transmission Trouble
Jan 29, 2002 (7:46 pm)
We have a 97 SL2 we bought new in the fall of 96. We bought it based upon cost and the "Saturn Experience." Like all Saturn owners we received the maintenance booklet mapping out each recommended maintenance visit and followed for about the first 3 visits. We found that due to the distance we had to travel to the Saturn dealership for routine maintenance, it was costing us more(mainly time off work) than if we had a local reliable GM mechanic do the work.
We had to replace the alternator early in the life of the car which seemed strange, but we had it repaired and moved on. We now have 85,000 miles on the car and the TRANSMISSION gave out as I was driving down the highway without any previous warning. I tried to limp the car to the dealership but had to have it towed the rest of the way. The head mechanic at Saturn diagnosed the problem as "a weak part in the transcase that slipped out of joint which wiped out the entire transmission." The total=$1,500. After he told me that this was "unusual" and couldn't tell me how this would have happened, I contacted Saturn Customer Care to inquire about the problem. After getting the "run-around" for two weeks, I finally spoke with the regional manager. She tried to talk with the dealership manager about his assistance with this problem to which he responded with a $60 off the price of repair. Needless to say I felt this was a slap in the face. I called him to speak with him about his decision. He agreed it was a strange problem that should not have happened. But his major reason for not assisting us further was that we did not bring our Saturn to the dealership for all of our routine mainenance and so they have no "record" to show that I have taken care of my Saturn. He went as far as to say they might have been able to catch the problem had I brought the car to them for all my maintenance. HOW? It was an INTERNAL part?
Is anyone else having transmission problems?
Is anyone having problems with the customer care that Saturn prides themselves in?
Jan 30, 2002 (7:54 am)
It is very common for the S series engine to use oil. I check mine evrey two weeks or so on my (94' SL2 115k miles) and have it changed evrey 3,000 miles. It uses about 3/4 of a quart between changes. I have noticed it uses more with long highway drives than stop and go around town. If you take a trip say driving all day, defintley check the oil. I don't see any smoke either but it isn't a leak. With the cat converter up to operating temp it must take care of any smoking. Another thing to watch is the oil ports for the timing chain. Sludge in a high mileage engine could block them and the chain will overheat and stretch. I am surprised you have just started using oil at 185k miles. Most start much earlier. It seems more of a problem with the twin cam SC2,SL2 version of the S engine.
As for the trans. I haven't had any problems or heard of S sereis trans having problems. It seems to be bad luck. I think the trans fluid does need to be changed but at what mileage intervals I'm not sure.
As for altenators. The placement of it in the S-series is in a hot spot of the engine compartment which caused alot of overheating and they wore out quickly. I believe Saturn came out with a modification to fix it in the mid 90's.The S series will also chew up top engine mounts. Because they produce good amounts of torque at low rpm and the engine kicks back from it.
Jan 30, 2002 (7:58 am)
When I have talked with them they are nice but....... there isn't much they can do from what I have learned. All Saturn delaers like any brand of car dealer are independently owned buisness from saturn (GM) and can basically do whatever they wan't. That is what saturn told me when I complained about my dealer doing unnecssary work and not following the owners manual maintanence schedule.
#859 of 1418 Transmission Troubles
Jan 30, 2002 (8:48 am)
Thanks "Silverbulit" for your response. The thing I can't quite wrap my brain around is the fact that while the car is out of warranty, that didn't seem to matter to them as much as my not using Saturn for all my routine maintenance. They even went as far as to say that they would have helped me more with the cost of the problem if I HAD used Saturn. What they might as well say is, "Since you didn't pay us for your oil changes, tires, tune-ups, etc., then we're not going to offer you any assistance." Or "We're not going to make any more money off of you so we're not willing to help you."
Oh well! Our local news station has a consumer help segment and is interested in helping us with this problem. So, we'll see what they can do.
#860 of 1418 All I can say is
Jan 31, 2002 (1:32 am)
The auto tranny on the S series is very good and extremely durable.
Remember that your Saturn dealer is an idependant business - and the service manager was basically saying that because you don't use his service department we aren't going to give you a break on the cost of the labor.
I don't mean to sound harsh - because if I had to pay for a new tranny with my car that is out of warrenty I would not be happy either (Its a nissan that has never been to the Nissan dealer)
I don't understand what getting a local tv consumer advocate involved will do to help your situation - but maybe you can fill me in on your logic.
As I see it you had the unfortunate luck of getting a transmission that has some weaker than normal parts and for whatever reason failed. Thats one of the risks you decided to take when you didn't purchase an extended powertrain service plan.
Most auto transmissions I have seen in 4 cyl compacts tend to go out between 125K to 175K miles. I have PERSONALLY seen 3 seperate saturns with over 300K on the original transmission - I'm sure there are more out there. Its just not one of the weaker links of Saturn longevity. Seems you just had bad luck and now you don't want something for nothing.
To answer your question - the Saturn philosphy is to treat the customer with respect and in an honest manner. Have they treated you any other way?
#861 of 1418 Transmission Trouble
Jan 31, 2002 (10:50 am)
My decision to call our local news advocate was more of a recommendation by someone close to me who had success in another matter.
I believe Saturn is not being as helpful as they should be in this situation because of the following:
1. Saturn's Regional Manager for my area stated to me that she was suprised that the dealership manager did not at least cover half of the cost of repair due to the "unusual" and "premature" failure of the transmission.
2. The dealership manager's argument with me was two-fold. One . . . since I did not bring my Saturn to them for all of my routine maintenance, then they were not willing to assist me any further. Two . . . if I had brought my Saturn to them for all of my routine maintenance, then they could have caught the problem. When I asked "how?", he did not have a response. So . . . the "out of warranty" issue was not the motivation for Saturn's lack of assistance. It was the fact that I did not always follow their maintenance booklet at a Saturn dealership.
3. I spent a couple of days contacting other transmission specialists in our area, including another Saturn dealership, to ask about their transmission maintenance and its ability to pinpoint internal failing parts. EVERY response was to the tune of, "We drain your transmission fluid, replace the filter, and add new fluid if needed." When I asked them about checking the internal transmission to make sure it was functioning properly, EVERY response was, "Well, then you're talking about a special request which would involve a much greater cost, but no, we don't check internal parts during our routine maintenance."
After speaking with the news station about the problem, to see if they were even interested in helping me, the producer contacted me and happened to be more passionate about the situation than I. The problem he wants to see resolved is the claim that Saturn can catch an internal transmission problem through their routine transmission maintenance.
Again, I had no warning signs that the transmission was failing.
I have asked several local automobile maintenance companies, including the ones I contacted about transmission service, if I am making a big deal out of nothing. Every single company thought I had a case. One company told me that they had serviced three Saturn SL2's with the same problem in the last year, but all three were over 120,000 miles. My Saturn has 85,000.
This is the second major problem I have had. The first was alternator trouble. But I had those fixed and moved on. This problem is just too unusual and Saturn's argument not to help is "far-feltched" to say the least.