SL1 1998 Overheating after visit to dealer. (97000 miles)

Discussion in 'Saturn S-series' started by dewclaws, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. dewclaws

    dewclaws Guest

    Ok, here is the problem. a few weeks ago a slight knocking sound and a
    soft howl started. I had no other issues as for as I could tell. And
    checked and replaced my fluids ever 3 to 4 months.

    My room mates said I should take it in for a repairs directly to the
    Saturn Dealer here in San Jose Ca.

    1st call , within the first hour after dropping my car off. I was
    called and told my Water pump needed replacement. And my Radiator
    should be replaced soon. I approved the Water pump replacement. And
    said I'll have to wait for the Radiator.

    2nd, 2 hours later, I was called and told my Thermostat was not
    letting water in. (? I should have asked ??) and it had to be
    replaced. I approved.

    3rd call next day. My radiator and hoses had to be replaced. And my
    Radiator was blocked. After a few hours of biting this and canceling
    my planned vacation plans. I put up the money and said Sure.

    4th call, It was ready and running great! it would be 1420 dollars..
    Cough.. Choke. Ok. but a quick note for future repairs. Replace the
    Head Gasket, Cylinder head, Cam Cover Gasket (2300 dollars ???)

    Today I just picked up the car. Started up nice and smooth. No clouds
    like I was told to expect. No odd rocks or such. I signed and drove

    Within 3 miles my car started flashing check lights, and the heat
    gauge was pegged. Thank god I was home by then as I pulled into the
    driveway and turned off somthing kept running. My room mates said it
    was the cooling fan trying to cool down the engine. Within 10 minutes
    it turned off.

    I called the Dealer. Response, Yep, that head gasket or Cylinder is
    dead. Bring it in and pay us and well fix it.

    Help or suggestions
    dewclaws, Jul 14, 2007
  2. dewclaws

    Kevin Guest

    what color is the antifreeze? is it overflowing?

    take it to another mechanic for an estimate on what is wrong with it.
    Kevin, Jul 14, 2007
  3. dewclaws

    Lane Guest

    DEFINITELY find another dealer and get a second opinion.

    Lane [ lane (at) ]
    Visit my Saturn Car Audio and Performance Page at

    what color is the antifreeze? is it overflowing?

    take it to another mechanic for an estimate on what is wrong with it.
    Lane, Jul 15, 2007
  4. dewclaws

    Navajo Guest

    Well this morning, I unbuttoned the top and filled the empty Radiator
    reserve up to the marked level and left the cap off. Started her up
    and let it run. It was good for about 10 minutes, the temperature
    guage staying at the 1/4th mark.

    The color was fine, no odd tints, just a slight-very light film on the
    water when I looked into the radiator reserve tank. Only issue is.
    LOTS of bubbles.. LOTS.. Big ones and small ones.

    Within 2 minutes after the bubbles started while sitting it reached
    3/4th and I shut her down. No overflowing, but it the water level was
    lifting and rising almost over a short period of time. And I stress.
    LOTS of bubbles.

    Thanks for listening.

    Navajo, Jul 15, 2007
  5. dewclaws

    Joe F. Brown Guest

    OK, first thing, is it green coolant or dex-cool (orange or red)? Second,
    was the level low when you opened the (cold) resivour in the morning? If
    so, where did the coolant go? Did it leak?.

    What was the cooling fan doing when it reached 3/4 of the gauge? if the
    cooling fan isn't running, it won't cool down. On Saturns, unless you are
    running the a/c, the fan won't come on until 3/4 of the way up.

    With the cap off, most cars will boil over before the fans come up. The
    thermostat dosen't open until 195 degrees, and many cars, saturns included,
    won't kick on the fans until 220 degrees. Without some pressure to lower
    the boiling point, you WILL overflow.

    Call around, find someone that will chemically block test your car. The
    garage I used to work at didn't even charge for it. They will open the
    resivour cap and use a small tool and some blue fluid to check for the
    presence of CO2 in the coolant, which will make the fluid turn yellow. If
    it turns yellow, you have a blown head gasket, cracked head, or cracked

    finally, just a thought. I can get a complete used engine from Greenleaf
    for under a grand with a 1 year warranty. The job pays between 11 and 13
    hours labour.

    Let it sit overnight, fill the coolant resivour up, drive it somewhere and
    get it checked.

    Joe F. Brown, Jul 15, 2007
  6. dewclaws

    Lane Guest

    My fan goes on at 3/4 or slightly above. I do not think this should be
    considered 'overheating'. If it gets to the red and the fan doesn't go on,
    then something is wrong.

    FYI - I ran my track car all day one day, on and off of redline in 90 degree
    temps, missing the front air dam. The temp gauge was at the top of the red
    and stayed there with no problems (I had a spare motor in the garage that
    was going in soon so there was nothing to lose if something bad happened).
    All was fine. No spraying, no burst hoses, no overflowing. So I don't
    think people need to be so afraid they shut off the car at 3/4 on the gauge.

    Lane [ lane (at) ]
    Visit my Saturn Car Audio and Performance Page at

    Lane, Jul 16, 2007
  7. dewclaws

    Navajo Guest

    Ok, the coolant I use is a green one I purchase from the Saturn
    dealer. I'll have to put a new Gallon of coolant in the tank and
    check its color before I do anything else.

    On opening the radiator reserve yesterday, the coolant level was
    bellow the lower hose, just large splash at the bottom of the reserve
    tank. I checked around the car, and had spread newspaper under the
    car to check for leaks. I couldn't find one.

    The fan seems to come on as soon as it starts the temperature starts
    to rise quickly and is on by the time the gauge has reached 3/4ths.

    Thanks again.
    Navajo, Jul 16, 2007
  8. dewclaws

    James1549 Guest

    My Saturn fan turns on at 213°, most cars I have dealt with do the

    You should be able to run your car with the cap off if everything was
    proper. I would say you have a head or head gasket issue with all the
    bubbles you describe.

    James1549, Jul 16, 2007
  9. dewclaws

    BläBlä Guest

    You forgot your link james

    The bubbles could of been from aeration from the pump because the system
    wasnt filled fully and purged of air pockets.

    Buy or borrow one of these
    BläBlä, Jul 17, 2007
  10. dewclaws

    Just Joshin Guest

    Now not there, so this is purely a guess. Your system is dry. You
    say no leaks, you have lots of escaping air, and levels are very low.
    When a coolant system is drained many passages get air bound. So the
    only way to refill is a fully flowing coolant system, and a mech
    watching radiator level directly (adding as needed till level stops

    Now my humble suggestion, get the car back to the mechanic, they did
    the work, they need to clean up their mess.

    BTW, is this in NJ?


    tom @
    Just Joshin, Jul 19, 2007
  11. dewclaws

    Navajo Guest

    No, this was in San Jose, CA. I have plans to take the car in next
    week to a new mechanic. The local Saturn shop I took this too demands
    its a new head gasket.

    Thanks for the reply.
    Navajo, Jul 20, 2007
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