Cam Shaft & piston damage 96 SL1

Discussion in 'Saturn S-series' started by NF, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. NF

    NF Guest

    I started hearing a clicking sound from the engine, local mechanic tells me the
    cam shaft has evidence of damage and the pistons as well. He can replace the
    engine for $1500, which seems insane for an 11 year old car.

    I'm shopping around, but I wonder if it's time to junk it. I have 83k on it.

    I'm willing to go up to a $1000 for the repair if I have to..
    NF, Jun 11, 2007
  2. NF

    Gyzmologist Guest

    Did this mechanic come to this conclusion after pulling the head? If not
    then this diagnosis is purely a rectal extraction. The clicking sound is
    probably just the cam timing chain telling you it needs to be replaced.
    How many miles are on this car?

    Gyzmologist, Jun 11, 2007
  3. NF

    SnoMan Guest

    You may be hearing a worn/loose timing chain but they usually last
    longer than this. They can get pretty noisy and if the break or jump
    time it will destroy the engine because it is a interferance motor
    (valve will hit pistons if cam gets out of time and it will not just
    make noisy when that happens, it woill break something and stop
    running. Time to talk to another mech.
    SnoMan, Jun 11, 2007
  4. NF

    BläBlä Guest

    84k is not a lot of miles for its age. Its possible the timing chain
    tensioner got stuck at some point or backed off and allowed the valves
    and pistons to touch. Just like terminal cancer, get a second opinion.
    BläBlä, Jun 12, 2007
  5. NF

    Sat2001 Guest

    This sounds like what I'm being told. I drove my 2001 L200 to run an
    errand last Saturday morning and when I came out to start the car it
    just cranked but sounds like its just spinning. Sputters a little but
    no attempt to start. Towed it to the mechanic and they are telling me
    no compression in at least 2 cylinders. Said they looked at the
    timing chain but it looks intact, maybe 1 tooth missing but otherwise
    it was okay. They did mention the tensioner may have had a problem
    and without pulling everything and really tearing into it and running
    up the bill that they can't tell what is causing such a loss of
    I'm going crazy, I just went on a short trip 3 weeks ago, 32 mpg and
    smooth. The only thing I've noticed was what seemed to be a loss of
    power when accelerating last Thursday and Friday, so I decided to to
    work on it Saturday, but it died before I even got a chance to check
    it. I replaced the fuel filter and crank sensor to see if it would
    help but no good.
    Is my mechanic feeding me crap?
    I can't believe a car can go from running great to dead like that
    without any other symptoms first.
    Thanks for any input.

    Sat2001, Jun 13, 2007
  6. NF

    NF Guest

    Luckily, the car is still running (so far), I am in the process of getting a
    second opinion
    NF, Jun 13, 2007
  7. NF

    Steve B. Guest

    Your mechanic said there is no compression in two cylinders. How in
    the heck do you expect someone here to know if that is true or not? I
    don't understand why you can't believe it could break without other
    symptoms. Cars break everyday without advance warning. If I were to
    guess I would say that the timing chain skipped but you would be much
    better off trusting a mechanic that is standing there looking at it
    than some guy hundreds of miles away with a cold beer in one hand and
    a cigarette in the other.

    Steve B.
    Steve B., Jun 13, 2007
  8. NF

    David Guest

    The timing chain should last more than 300,000 km. Haven't changed one
    since the sixties! Our cars had 300,000km 277,000km, 195,006km 177,000, and
    159,00 on them; the timing chains gave any problems.
    Did you ever change the oil?? Dirty oil will trash the chains real quick.

    Good luck,
    David, Jun 14, 2007
  9. NF

    NF Guest

    I just had the oil changed and an inspection 2 weeks ago, from the same
    mechanic. My paranoia radar is ringing...
    NF, Jun 14, 2007
  10. NF

    NF Guest

    Well, 2nd mechanic popped the top of the engine and confirmed. He thinks it may
    have been runnning awhile with no oil pressue (though I get regular oil changes
    and never got a warning light). Pretty much told me that since the car is
    running, it should last awhile and that the noise sounds worse than it is.

    Time to go car shopping. Will I get another Saturn...hard to say right now...

    the Honda fit is looking good...
    NF, Jun 20, 2007
  11. NF

    BläBlä Guest

    You're relying on the oil pressure light and not your eyes and the dip
    stick? Yeah thats a sure way to ruin a motor. You can ruin any motor
    running below a normal operating oil fill. Also I've never seen a Saturn
    more bone dry than a Honda. A Honda came in with a OBD II code set by
    the variable valve timing. The variable valve timing WAS NOT WORKING
    because there was NOT ENOUGH oil to work it. It had 0.3 quarts of oil in
    the engine. ZERO POINT THREE QUARTS! And no oil light... Good luck with
    that Honda.

    Did you bother to check the dip stick multiple times between oil
    changes. Me thinks not...
    BläBlä, Jun 20, 2007
  12. NF

    NF Guest

    I was always getting my oil changed at 3k, I guess I should have done more...
    NF, Jun 20, 2007
  13. NF

    Private Guest

    I find it interesting and somewhat revealing that people come here to find
    solutions to their own problems but seldom to learn from the mistakes and
    experiences of others. We have seen multiple examples of expensive repairs
    and engines ruined solely caused by the owners unwillingness to practice
    even the most basic preventative maintenance practices. I have no sympathy
    for people who are too lazy and/or ignorant to simply raise the hood and
    check the oil level EVERY time (minimum) they stop for fuel. The low oil
    pressure indicator is not called an idiot light for no reason, as only
    idiots rely on them to indicate anything other than imminent complete

    Check your oil level often, you will be paying yourself more money than you
    have ever earned in your life. I ran some (admittedly simple) numbers and
    calculate that the amount of money you are paying yourself is > approx
    $150/hr for a high mileage car and significantly higher (orders of
    magnitude) for a lower mileage car.

    Private, Jun 21, 2007
  14. NF

    BläBlä Guest

    I keep telling people their hoods aren't welded shut but they don't seem
    to believe me... I say passing a Basic Automotive Course should be a
    requirement before getting a drivers license.
    BläBlä, Jun 22, 2007
  15. NF

    Gyzmologist Guest

    I'd be happy if people just learned how to use turn signals! It's a good
    thing brake lights come on automatically.
    Gyzmologist, Jul 3, 2007
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