2003 Saturn Vue Engine Squeal and Knocking

Tiny
DAVIDJETT
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 SATURN VUE
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 155,000 MILES
My Vue stalled on me the other day after driving fine. After re-start the oil indicator light was on (not the change oil soon light, that was already on for a few weeks). The engine was knocking, sounded like a old diesel. I drove to the closest gas station, which luckily was very close. I checked the oil and the dip stick showed it was bone dry. I thought, "No way this thing is empty". I bought 3 Quarts of oil to add. After adding the 3 Quarts I checked level again and it showed I had too much in it? The engine holds 5 quarts so I'm confused as to how it would show empty, then by adding 3 quarts it showed over. I got the car to my in-laws house and my father-in-law and I started to try and figure out what was going on. He (in-law) was a tech for Mercedes so he had a few ideas. We drained all the oil, added 3 quarts of 20w/50, 2 quarts of ATF and 8oz of Seafoam. Let the car run for a bit, let it rest, ran it again then drained again. Added 5 quarts of 20w50 and drove around for a bit. The car still knocked but wasnt anywhere as bad as before. We thought that perhaps a lifter was stuck and our cleaning strategy would work. After a short drive I returned to in-laws and let it idle. The car would idle just fine, knocking, then go quiet, knock, then go quiet. We thought it still had some junk and would work itself out.
The next day, upon starting, car still knocked. I drove a short distance and when I got to my destination the car was as quiet as could be. I thought "We got it". Nope, no such luck. The 3rd day it got worse. After 1st start, knocking was back. I drove to gas station. But I didnt make it. This thing started knocking SO bad I slowed to a crawl so I could find a place to park it. Before I got to a safe place it sounded like an extra knock started, then it started a noise that could only be metal on metal sound. The squeal or chirping was very bad. The car almost didnt make it to the parking lot. Then it stalled. I really dont want to restart it. Ive seen that the Saturn SL2 has timing belt issues. Is this part of my problem? Have I ruined the engine? Is this something that is fixable w/o replacing the entire engine?
Sorry for such a long post, but I wanted to try to cover everything.
Thanks for your time. David
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Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 AT 9:10 AM

2 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
The reason when u put three quarts in and it read over full was because when the dipstick reads empty it doesnt mean it is when it doesnt read on the stick it means its atleast two quarts low. When ur oil light came on it meant u had low oil pressure for some reason. With the knocking like u said it sounds like u have a rod knock or multiple rod knocks. Also if u have a 2.2 4cycl then u dont have a timming belt and niether do the sl2 saturn. And when u said the sl2 has timming belt issues u are thinking of the ls saturn with the 2.2 that had timming chain issues and they had a campaign that saturn replaced the timming chain set. By the time 03 model came that was all taken care of so there wasnt a timming chain issue in the 03 vues.I would have ur vue checked out at shop and they can tell u if ur engine needs to be replaced or not I would say it does but with being there I cant say for sure. Let me know how it goes.
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Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 AT 1:22 PM
Tiny
DAVIDJETT
  • MEMBER
Thanks saturntech9.
After posting I spoke with a friend that is a tech for Carmax. He mentioned pretty much the same thing you did, so I feel confident that I am on the right track. He also mentioned that perhaps a bearing could have gotten messed up during this time, thats why I hear the loud squealing (Ive confirmed that this is not the belt). Its not a constant squeal but more like a squeal-squeal-squeal that speeds up with RPM, just like the knocking does. Anyway, I dont have the cash for a new engine, so Im going to dig in to it and see what I see. If its ruined, its ruined. Oh and my bad on the timing belt deal. I did mean timing chain and my Carmax friend corrected me and said that it was the L series that had the issue, not the SL2. Thanks again, and Ill keep ya posted. Wish me luck.
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Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 AT 1:54 PM

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