250,000 mile Saturn 1997

Tiny
KDMSA
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 SATURN
97 Saturn SL2 - This actually makes me rather sad because it's been a great road car. Some months ago while driving on the highway, the car just started sputtering, blowing smoke out the back, and a whole host of odd things. It was towed to a Saturn place where they replaced the fuel pump, etc. Still, when I drove away, the car wanted to stall if I didn't put it in neutral at lights or when driving really slow. Like coasting. If I take my foot off the break, I have to have the gas down already so it won't stall as my foot moves from one pedal to the other. It's driving very rough now and will certainly get close to overheating in heavy traffic. Before this happened, it WAS burning a lot of oil. Now, that isn't happening at all for some reason but the exhaust is quite smokey and it runs out of gas much quicker than it ever did. The plugs, to my knowledge were changed and I've kept up the recommended stuff during its entire life. Saturn said I should replace the motor mount and maybe the plugs and all of that. However, another very good mechanic looked at it and told me that the 4th cylinder is "dead" or "blown" after running some tests. My questions are - Who is most likely correct? Could Saturn have missed that? How could a cylinder just go bad like that? Is it too much money to fix it? Could they be wrong? Are the symptoms the car is having consistant with a bad 4th cylinder? And finally, if that is the case, what other problems will come up due to all of the engine stress? Right now, the car is fine as long as I don't do any really heavy driving.I mean, it still runs great over 60 and 70 miles per hour. But it sounds tired. I'm hoping there is something I can do for the ol car. Please help and thanks SO MUCH!
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Friday, January 13th, 2006 AT 6:30 AM

8 Replies

Tiny
DODGE89
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How fast is it over heating? Did saturn check the egr valve. Check the oil if it looks like chocolat milk, then there is coolant mixing with the engine oil. Witch usally means you have a blown head gasket. But if the oil is clear (normal) then it could even be a catalatic converter
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Saturday, January 14th, 2006 AT 9:38 PM
Tiny
KDMSA
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First - Thank you for the reply. "How fast is it overheating?" Not very fast in most cases. When I'm just driving on the freeway, nothing. However, if say I sit a bank drive up for a really long time, or a busy intersection with lots of waiting, the gauge will go higher and higher.I've put the heater on, etc to cool it down a bit. This was really more of a problem over the summer months in South Texas but not so much now. I thought maybe since they said the 4th cylinder wasn't working maybe the engine was just over-stressed BUT, since I have no idea what I'm talking about, I wouldn't know. It's never overheated to the point of steam coming out or anything. Yet. I'm sure it's come close though. I hope that helps. The ERG Valve - You got me there. I don't know nor do I know what that stands for. Tomorrow, I'll get the invoice from the service of the two places and tell you exatcly what they say. I'll also check the oil in the light tomorrow and I'll let you know. These are excellent questions and I certainly appreciate this. If not anything, I will be able to take it in and KNOW what I want them to look at. I'm just afraid to take it back and only partially be able to explain what needs to be looked at and why. That's why your information is really, really helpful. Talk later - Kelly
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Saturday, January 14th, 2006 AT 11:05 PM
Tiny
DODGE89
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No problum glade I could help. And thank you the comliments. The way you tell me is it sounds like the head gasket is getting ready to go. Just a thought.(My friends 94 grand dam did this.) When it starts to over heat does it seem to cool down when you excerate up hill? 2. When you do city driving try to put it in nutral when comeing to a stop. This might help. Egr.
(exuast, gas, reciulation) controls air fuel mixture through the exaust.
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Sunday, January 15th, 2006 AT 8:55 AM
Tiny
KDMSA
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Hey there - Not sure about the cooling off going up hill - Never thought to check for that. I'm going to look into that and the other things you suggested about the oil, etc. And get back to you. EGR - Now I know what THAT means. Oh, about being in neutral. When I do city driving I HAVE to put it in neutral when coming to a light or stop because if I don't, it'll come close to stalling and for sure will stall while sitting at a light without it being in neutral. In fact, not only does it HAVE to be in neutral while at a light, I have to press down the gas a tad to keep the idle up. Then, when the light changes, I have to put it in drive and slam down the gas almost to the floor to keep it from stalling. Once I get over that hump from stoping to moving, it's nice. Just like the way it used to be. Talk to you soon! - Kelly
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Sunday, January 15th, 2006 AT 12:41 PM
Tiny
KDMSA
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Hey there - Not sure about the cooling off going up hill - Never thought to check for that. I'm going to look into that and the other things you suggested about the oil, etc. And get back to you. EGR - Now I know what THAT means. Oh, about being in neutral. When I do city driving I HAVE to put it in neutral when coming to a light or stop because if I don't, it'll come close to stalling and for sure will stall while sitting at a light without it being in neutral. In fact, not only does it HAVE to be in neutral while at a light, I have to press down the gas a tad to keep the idle up. Then, when the light changes, I have to put it in drive and slam down the gas almost to the floor to keep it from stalling. Once I get over that hump from stoping to moving, it's nice. Just like the way it used to be. Talk to you soon! - Kelly[/quote:f24ede6058]

Okay - I have lots of information for you about the car!

Number One: The oil is black. Very black. Not chocolate-milky nor clear. Just plain black! The only time the exhaust looks smokey is if I spill some when I put oil in it. However, since this mess started some months ago, I really haven't seen the oil loss like I used to.

Number Two: Gas mileage is not so good anymore. Was 25-30 mpg before it broke on that drive, now its less I would say a good 5-7 miles per gallon less.

Number Three: It does NOT seem to cool off going up hill. It's just as I said it was before.

Number Four: If I have drive below 40-45 miles per hour, it really is very, very, rough. Once I get it over 40-45, smooooth sailing.

Number Five: Here is what the invoices say for the work that was done:
After it started acting up on my road trip, it was towed to Saturn in Waco and this is what they did:

"Tech Replaced the fuel pump, fuel filter, PCM temp sensor & Connector."

Then, when I got the car back, it still drove really bad as I described and I took it to someone I would say is a really good mechanic. This is what he wrote:

"Check Loss of Power, Hesitates on Acell, Dies @ Stop -- Compression Test, #4 Cylinder No Compression. (Advised customer)

Okay - There are all the facts! So, is it the 4th cylinder that's actually bad or could it be that something else is wrong causing the "no compression?" Bad cylinder is what's causing it to drive so poorly under 45mph? If you think it may be something else, please be specific about what I should ask them to check out. By the way, if any of the stuff you suggest are REALLY expensive and you don't think it'll be worth it with this many miles, let me know.I can take it.I'll be strong and I'll try to cry!

After all is said and done, I'll be sure to say great things about you people on here! Thanks so much. Again and again.- Kelly
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Tuesday, January 17th, 2006 AT 2:14 PM
Tiny
DODGE89
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Try changeing the spark plugs, wires, oil, (high milage) oil filter, and maybe run saome fuel injection cleaner in it. Let me know how that goes. Hope it works.
If thats not it and no improvement ill ask my buddy tomorrow. And let you know.

Tim.
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Tuesday, January 17th, 2006 AT 5:14 PM
Tiny
DODGE89
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I forgot all about this but check out the catalactic converter. A way you can check it is have the car run for a while and look under the car and see if the catalactic converter is red or hot. This could be part of the problum too. Not sure tho. Justa thought.
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Tuesday, January 17th, 2006 AT 9:02 PM
Tiny
DODGE89
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Okay - There are all the facts! So, is it the 4th cylinder that's actually bad or could it be that something else is wrong causing the "no compression?" Bad cylinder is what's causing it to drive so poorly under 45mph? If you think it may be something else, please be specific about what I should ask them to check out. By the way, if any of the stuff you suggest are REALLY expensive and you don't think it'll be worth it with this many miles, let me know.I can take it.I'll be strong and I'll try to cry!

Others will say it aint worth fixing. But tis not up to them. Its up to you and only you.(And your walet lol) if you think its worth fixing then it is worth fixing. If you like the car and you want to fix it then its worth remember its up to you and no one else.
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Wednesday, January 18th, 2006 AT 2:41 PM

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