Questions on 1997 SL2(General???)

Discussion in 'Saturn S-series' started by jeff, Jun 30, 2003.

  1. jeff

    jeff Guest

    well the time has come to replace our trusty 1992 sl-1 with a newer model.
    my wife has picked a 1997 sl-2 at a near by dealership(not saturn) that was
    originally bought and traded at our local saturn dealership.
    our old one was as plain as they come with the sohc engine and very little
    the new(to us) saturn has a near full load(less sunroof).
    the few questions that i have are as follows:
    1: are these motors still subject to head cracking/oil burning(like the
    older sohc models)this is dohc motor.
    2): is there anything specific that i should look for that could/would be a
    trouble point.
    3)are the alternators still prone to early failure due to heat/position.
    4)are the front seats more durable/comfortable.
    5)how are the automatic transmissions in these models(ours was 5 speed std.)
    are the prone to failures(like my ford taurus)
    6)any recalls or tsb that i should know about.

    our old 92 was very trustworthy and reliable throughout its life with one
    alternator replaced,one oul pan and a belt tensioner.
    any input would be greatly appreciated.
    tia ,jeff
    jeff, Jun 30, 2003
  2. jeff

    Kirk Kohnen Guest

    From what I hear, it is only the sohc head that has the head cracking

    Do the 97s burn oil? Both of mine do to an extent (I have to add about a
    quart between my 3,000 mile oil changes).
    Make sure that you check your oil and keep on top of that.

    Yes, the alternators still fail due to the heat of their position. The best
    thing that I've found to do is to buy the alternators at the dealer. In my
    experience, they're much more reliable than the Pep-Boys-Kragen-Autozone
    specials. But, I've had to replace alternators about every 35,000 miles (we
    live in Southern California).

    The coolant temperature sensor is prone to failure. When you replace it,
    make sure that you get the replacement from the Saturn dealers. The OEM
    parts and the third-party replacement sensors are plastic. The Saturn
    replacement ones are brass - I suspect they're considerably more reliable.

    Torque axis mounts go out on those cars. That's the motor mount on the upper
    right hand side of the engine. Easy DIY job. If you can stick your finger
    between the top of the mount and the part that attaches to the engine, it's
    time to replace it. (When you do, make sure that you have the updated studs
    for the updated mounts. Again, ask the dealer).
    Yup. See Above.
    They're OK. I like the back support.
    Transmissions are VERY good. Replace the filter and fluid every 30,000 miles
    and you'll be fine.
    Ask the dealer about the horn recall.
    Kirk Kohnen, Jul 1, 2003
  3. jeff

    Kirk Kohnen Guest

    You're welcome!

    Enjoy your "new" car! They're good cars - don't get scared by my comments.
    Kirk Kohnen, Jul 1, 2003
  4. jeff

    Napalm Heart Guest

    We have a '96 SL2 with a '97 engine in it. I second everything that
    Kirk said. Ours has a manual trans, so I can't comment on the auto,
    but I also second your comments about Kirk and the value of his
    insight and comments.

    Napalm Heart, Jul 1, 2003
  5. jeff

    Kirk Kohnen Guest

    Ooooh! I have a reputation!

    Kirk Kohnen, Jul 2, 2003
  6. ....I think it was that month in a Mexican jail after Labor Day that started
    it, eh? You party animal, you! (wink)
    Jonnie Santos, Jul 2, 2003
  7. jeff

    jeff Guest

    we actually decided against buying the 1997 sl2 and went with a private sale
    1995 sw2(ac and automatic) with less than 100000kms.
    the car was bought new at our local saturn dealer and was maintained by them
    even after the warranty period.the history was very good so this seems like
    a better(but slightly older)car.
    hopefully everything kirk said about the 1997 sl2 applies to the 1995 sw2
    the saturn forums seem to think that the 95 wagons were the best saturn
    anyway thanks for all the info.
    jeff, Jul 4, 2003
  8. jeff

    P Lynch Guest

    Got to put my $.02 in:
    After working at a Saturn retailer for over 4yrs. a couple thing I can
    1) Not sure I would call the '95 the best year. The '95's are actually
    a breed all their own (old body style, but newer style interior; many
    parts on the '95 are '95 only including the engine).

    2) On the '97 the only major problem was the fuel pump (most of which
    were replaced under warr. for an extended crank condition.

    All and all you should be pleased with the improvement that a '97 has
    over a '92

    Saturn Parts Guy

    Just remember two words: My opinion
    P Lynch, Jul 27, 2003
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