1997 SL2 rumble problem

Discussion in 'Saturn S-series' started by MMoniker, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. MMoniker

    MMoniker Guest

    Greetings! Might someone have some insights for me? They would be much

    I’m the original owner of a 1997 Saturn SL2 with about 54K miles on
    it. For a number of years I have had a problem with a rumbling sound
    under the front of the car, which I’m not sure how to fully describe,
    but which makes the car very unpleasant to drive as the sound
    continually comes and goes and is quite loud. The car runs very rough
    and at 25 mph or below, there is a deep persistent rumble under the
    front of the car. It comes and goes based on the tilt of the vehicle,
    yet this is not always predictable. It is VERY common and evident
    when driving downhill; not as much on the flat or uphill, but it does
    occur then as well. I can be coasting on a flat road with my foot on
    neither the brake nor the accelerator and it makes the noise. The
    steering wheel is not much affected by the rumble; I don't feel
    excessive vibration there, or so it seems. The noise appears to have
    gotten worse when I got new tires last fall, which might just be
    coincidence. At faster speeds the noise diminishes and, on the
    highway, the car still runs like a champ -- and I’m thinking the road
    noise drowns out the rumble so it only seems like it less?

    What else might be helpful for folks to know? I have had oil changes
    roughly every 2,500 miles from Day 1 (Aprils and Novembers). I just
    had a motor mount replaced (the transmission one if I have that
    correct). The one on the top left of the engine was replaced a while
    ago and still passes whatever test they use. I’m on my fourth
    catalytic converter, this one being an original Saturn ($$$) as the
    aftermarkets pooped out after a year each time (I am accustomed to
    exhaust system problems in all my prior vehicles due to my low annual
    mileage, so this was no big surprise to me.) I've heard something
    about Saturn engines getting out of balance over time and, while the
    car is safe to drive, at some point the noise will get too annoying
    and it’ll be time for a new car? Naively, I keep thinking a car
    should function well for more than 54K miles? But perhaps in Saturns
    “It’s not the mileage -- it’s the years?” (apologies to Indiana

    I just thought I’d run this past some Saturn folks to see if there
    were some possibilities I wasn't considering in trying to solve this
    problem, because, while I would like to keep the car longer, I think
    I'm about ready to trade away the noise problem for a new 2011/2012
    vehicle. Thanks much!
    MMoniker, Mar 22, 2011
  2. MMoniker

    Fred Guest

    Well... There is still one more motor mount to check!

    94 SC2
    Fred, Mar 24, 2011
  3. MMoniker

    MMoniker Guest

    I'll need to check this with my mechanic then to make sure he changed
    all three and not just the two. (I'm not the mechanic in this
    situation!) Thanks!
    MMoniker, Mar 25, 2011
  4. MMoniker

    Doug Miller Guest

    There's still one more, at the bottom of the engine. I think that's your
    That's nonsense.
    Nothing naive about that expectation. My 99 SL2 has just short of 130K miles
    on it, and my wife's 96 SL2 has about 148K -- and neither one of them has the
    problem you describe. Neither one has "gone out of balance" either...
    Not quite. With some *components* it's the age, not the mileage, that counts.
    This is especially true of anything rubber: the compounds that make rubber
    flexible and pliable are volatile, and eventually evaporate, causing the
    rubber to become stiff and brittle. The rubber in that last motor mount you
    haven't replaced yet is 17 years old.
    Doug Miller, Mar 25, 2011
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