These problems normal for a 5-year-old Saturn?

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Echoes, Aug 26, 2004.

  1. Echoes

    Echoes Guest

    Hello. Would you consider the problems listed below normal for a
    5-year-old 1999 SL2 Saturn?

    I ask because with my 1993 SL2 Saturn, I only had 2 major repairs
    throughout its 6-year ownership: 1) stuck solenoid switch (if I recall
    correctly), and 2) clutch issue in its 6th year of ownership.

    Problems with my 1999 SL2:

    - Major(?) problems include getting the water pump replaced twice.
    They are saying I had to get it replaced against because I was over my
    60K service by 8,000 miles.

    - Problem with alternator after 1 year of ownership

    - Brakes, exhaust system after 5 years of ownership.

    - Power window going out

    Question: Why am I seeing all of these problems after 5 years of
    ownership when my 1993 SL2 had 6 years with not as many problems? Was
    one of the mechanics correct in that she said that the 1993 Saturns
    were built better?

    Is this really par for the course, and I should just consider myself
    lucky with my 1993 Saturn?

    Here is my Maintenance history (I have also gotten the standard oil
    change every 3000-5000 miles):

    --- 08/26/99 -- purchased car, about 1K miles already on it (one of
    the sales people had been driving it for personal use)

    --- 03/08/00, 6K service -- done at 7926 miles -- $90

    --- 06/14/00, 12K service -- done at 11753 miles -- $104

    --- approximately 1 year after purchase, car broke down -- no power;
    nothing, something to do with alternator, was covered under warranty
    (can't find paperwork for this)

    --- 11/24/00, 18K -- 18037 miles -- $84

    --- 07/03/01, 24K -- 26763 miles -- $105

    --- 12/04/01, 30K -- 33270 miles -- $327

    --- 11/09/02, 48K -- 46842 miles -- $211

    --- 1/23/03, 42269 miles, had water pump replaced as Saturn said it
    was leaking. Note: This was done at non-Saturn repair place (Clinton's
    Auto Service in Seattle, WA, have had good comments and praise about

    --- 4/29/03, 53174 miles, had to have power-window motor replaced

    --- 7/20/04, 60K service -- 68039 miles, and also had brakes fixed --

    --- early month of August, had exhaust system and water pump replaced,
    Echoes, Aug 26, 2004
  2. Shouldn't be.
    DexCool(tm)! Regardless of what GM says, that orange crap is NOT good
    for 100,000 miles. Oh sure, on paper it is - makes the EPA happy - but
    in real life? No way. I'm taking a stab here and guessing that you
    didn't maintain your cooling system - NOT your fault - you read the
    manual which was vague on it.
    Saturns are reall hit/miss with this. It's weird, too, because some
    people go forever, other go through them like candy. I don't know why.
    Brakes failing, or wearing out. If the latter, they are a 'wear item'.
    The exhaust? If it rusted out while still under the EPA warrenty, you
    should NOT have had to pay for it. And check - some states have a
    longer than standard one (NY and Mass and Cali, among others).
    Maybe. Might be luck. I think the DexCrap in the cooling system is
    probbably what's killing water pmps, though.
    My '93's been fine.
    Well, with those changes, the motor should last forever :)
    Uh oh. When I see 'personal use', I immediately think burnouts, hole
    shots, racing everything in sight.....
    What was the replacement? Gen-u-ine Saturn, reputable OEM, Taiwanese
    special? The first two are good, the last is iffy at best. But still,
    water pump at 42k miles - something's not right.
    One heck of a fix - what happened?
    Philip Nasadowski, Aug 26, 2004
  3. Echoes

    Blah Blah Guest

    After 7 years and 150k miles on my fathers truck with the same dexcool
    coolant from the factory I dont think so. What you never heard of
    waterpumps going out repeatedly prior to Dexcool? I guess waterpumps
    never failed prior to dexcool... When we pulled the pump off it looked
    like it was cast just yesterday. No rust, no pitting, no scale. The seal
    just desided to give out.
    Blah Blah, Aug 26, 2004
  4. Echoes

    Echoes Guest

    Yeah, I'm not too knowledgeable about cars, so I go by what the manual
    says, or whatever the Saturn repair dept puts in there.

    What is a good antifreeze to put in there? Oh! I just remembered this,
    so perhaps this might be a major reason why. Months before I had the
    water pump replaced, I accidentally put in some blue antifreeze (not
    knowing better). Well, I ended up getting a coolant flush because of

    But perhaps the damage was already done? But even so, that should
    haven't had necessitated a second water pump having to be installed...
    $300-400 towing charge to the nearest Bellevue dealership. But it was
    nice having all of that covered under warranty :)
    I think it was just wearing out. According to the invoice, they
    replaced front brake pads and resurfaced the rotors. That there costs
    $226, with $158 being labor.
    The invoice here said something about a resonator mid-pipe and
    leakage. How long is an EPA warranty? All I remember them saying is I
    should get it fixed, as the leakage could spill carbon monoxide in the
    I should have kept mine. Worked great. Hope the social services that I
    donated it to is putting it to good use.
    Yeah, I was kinda wondering about that, too :)
    Good question, I'm not sure. I seem to recall Clinton's saying they
    had to order the part from Saturn, but I couldn't testify to that.
    This was the replacing of the front disc pads and resurfacing of the
    rotors, plus the standard 60-mile service checkup. The 60K service was
    around $400, the remainder for the brakes.
    Yeah, tell me about it.

    I guess I'm kinda disappointed; I had such a good experience with my
    first Saturn, it kind of bums me with the repair experiences with my
    second one.
    Echoes, Aug 27, 2004
  5. Ahh. Yeah , brakes do wear out :) BTW, I wouldn't bother getting
    rotors turned, they're generally cheaper to just replace.
    Check your manual. I'm pretty sure yours was up by then, but depending
    on your state, it might not have. BTW, the EPA warrenty covers any
    emissions related part / system, regardless of it being a safety hazzard
    or not.
    Well, two water pumps is kinda bad, the power window? I dunno. The
    exhaust is weird too. But the brakes? That's wear and tear. Better to
    replace your brakes than your car!
    Philip Nasadowski, Aug 27, 2004
  6. Echoes

    Blah Blah Guest

    Not sure how the hell people get coolants mixed up unless their
    completely color blind... Any silicate phosphate free coolant is what
    you want. This isnt the 1950's so you want a coolant designed for this
    new metal they got out now, I think they call it aluminum... If you're
    intolerant of Texaco Havoline then try Prestone Extended Life Coolant.
    It is compatible with Dexcool and doesnt eat up the cooling system like
    conventional green coolant does.
    Btw once your system has a non-extended life coolant in it you cannot
    switch back and expect extended life coolant to last more than 2 years
    because of contamination. If using conventional coolant it should be
    changed yearly at the least and left in for NO more than 2 years tops.
    Blah Blah, Aug 27, 2004
  7. Echoes

    Echoes Guest

    Yeah, the power window and brakes are par for the course. And yeah,
    better to replace my brakes than not able to replace my life!
    Echoes, Aug 27, 2004
  8. Echoes

    Echoes Guest

    It's actually quite easy to get mixed up, if one such as myself is
    uninformed and unknowledgeable what type to put in there, and then
    attempts to make extrapolated assumptions, and thus inaccurate
    guesses from the manual on what kind should be put in there.
    Echoes, Aug 27, 2004
  9. Echoes

    Blah Blah Guest

    Making guesstimations? :) This should take some guess work out of it.
    This is just me going from my memory... The overflow bottle cap will
    have a Orange or Green dot in the center for Saturns. The rest of GM
    will have a sticker near the bottle that mentions something about
    Dexcool if its a dexcool system, unless its pealed off. I'm kinda
    thinking that "blue coolant" might of been windshield washer fluid and
    someone filled the wrong bottle. Just a theory.
    Blah Blah, Aug 27, 2004
  10. Echoes

    Echoes Guest

    Excellent, thanks, I'll keep a lookout on that in the future.
    LOL, I'm not that bad -- at least, I hope I'm not that bad!. The blue
    in this case was a lot thicker than the windshield stuff; I picked up
    a small container of it at some gas station (Chevron or Shell or
    Echoes, Aug 28, 2004
  11. Echoes

    Blah Blah Guest

    Oh I thought they put the blue in at a shop. I read something wrong...
    Blah Blah, Aug 28, 2004
  12. Echoes

    Elector Guest


    Be very careful here, the Ross-Magnusson Act does not cover the
    "Intake" only the exhaust. In my manual it was pages 25-27 for the
    1999 SL1. However when confronted with the logic both at the
    dealership and that no use customer support line and 2 managers they
    said that the intake manifold was not covered and not part of the
    exhaust system. In my case I told them to fix the problem (An intake
    leak) and I would pay the invoice and then sue the hell out of them to
    get the money back. That caused quite a stir all around and they
    called back and said as a courtesy they would eat the cost of the
    repair if I would pay the $9 for the gasket. Seemed like a good deal
    and it had been fixed.

    The law in New York mirrors California but it had to be a car
    purchased in 2004 (After January) when the law took affect. That
    emissions control law only affect 5 years up to that new car year
    purchase. The 2003 on down have a 5 years of coverage and not 8.

    Elector, Aug 29, 2004
  13. Interesting. The EPA considers the intake to be an emissions control
    componnt, as does CARB....
    Philip Nasadowski, Aug 29, 2004
  14. Echoes

    Elector Guest

    Yes it does. For fun read the manual for the Saturn you own and see
    that little exclusion. I am under the impression that the court would
    have felt it covered also. Saturn of Albany did not want to fight the
    issue so they gave the "courtesy repair". You had to be on the phone
    with Saturn's Customer Service when they argued it was not under the
    federal act, and was under their own warranty terms. I wish I taped

    Elector, Aug 29, 2004
  15. I'm sure if you reminded them the EPA likes to investigate this stuff,
    they'd have been even more cooperative...
    Yeah, sounds like fun (not!). The trick is to get past the first and
    2nd level phone answerers and get to someone real...
    Philip Nasadowski, Aug 30, 2004
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