Low Coolant (Water), Coolant in Oil, Cracked Cylinder Head (Cam Journal), 1999 Saturn SL 1.9L SOHC

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Steve, Nov 19, 2003.

  1. Steve

    Steve Guest

    Some other folks have posted problems of this sort in this Newsgroup, so
    I wanted to add my two cents.
    This problem seems to be similar to the famous warrantee extension for
    1994-1996 model year cars with 1.9L SOHC engine that caused it to run hot
    and/ or contaminate the coolant with engine oil. My Saturn dealer's service
    manager informs me that engines starting in 1997 were completely different
    than those that had the problem, but from what I've seen in the Newsgroup
    they didn't solve the original problem.
    My experience: the coolant low pressure light came on. I checked the
    coolant reservoir and it was low. I bought the appropriate coolant (with
    DEX cool) per the owner's manual and added about a 2 cup mixture of coolant
    and water. After about five days, the coolant low pressure light again came
    on. I added another 2 cup mixture and scheduled an appointment with my
    Saturn dealer service department. They found and fixed a low pressure
    condition but no oil in coolant or coolant in oil. Another four or five
    days and the low coolant light returned. Scheduled another appointment;
    this time they found coolant in the oil. Service Manager and I discussed
    and decided to do nothing further, since the recommended engine teardown and
    fix would likely cost in excess of $2000, probably not worth my spending for
    a 64,000 mile-old car.
    Finding some favorable postings in USENet, I decided to escalate.
    Before doing so, I advised the dealer service manager, who suggested I
    contact Saturn Customer Service. I did so, and within 24 hours was phoned
    by an Area Manager from Spring Hill offering to pay for parts if I paid for
    labor to fix the engine. The dealer service department did so, charging me
    $1025.49 ($936.00 for labor and the rest for various parts, such as the
    torque axis mount, not related to the cylinder head problem and about which
    the service manager discussed with me ahead of time). The invoice shows
    $960.10 in engine parts for which I was not charged.
    While not pleased about having to pay anything to fix an engine problem
    that should not have occurred so early in the engine's life, I'm much
    happier than if I had to pay 11 times that amount for a new car. The engine
    seems to be running very well.
    Moral of the story: if you have this problem, escalate to Saturn
    Customer Service. They can be reached via the Saturn internet site
    (http://www.saturn.com/) or by phone at 1-800-553-6000. Note: one of the
    considerations seemed to be that I had religiously had regularly scheduled
    maintenance done by my Saturn dealer service department, so they knew that I
    was a good customer and had taken good care of the car.
    Steve, Nov 19, 2003
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