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Saturn cars


Jesse in WI

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Anyone know much about Saturn cars? I know they are not being made anymore but I'm wondering about part availability and how decent of a vehicle they were.

I am looking for a car for my kid in the next couple years and a couple S-series have come up in the 125k-140k miles range. 

 

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I knew a few young families who bought them new back in the day. The little cars and the suv.  I don’t believe any of them ever bought another one. 
IMO, a civic or a Corolla with more miles and older, would be a better car. And there’s literally endless aftermarket support for those. 
 

I have daughters. Didn’t want them breaking down and needing assistance on the road so  I got them well used civics when they were in high school. Then nicer ones for college.  Oldest daughter graduated with her masters last year, got a good job and wanted and “adult” car.   Her civic had 140k on it. She bought a domestic suv with 70k on it. 
it’s been a year…..and she’s just about sick of it. 
Rear hatch motor.

Sunroof motor/switch.

Something with the backup sensors.

she’s learning.  

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They share powertrain components with other GM stuff, a few I know have had them, and they were happy . My friend got pinched between a truck and ledges in one, it was kinda neat, it was cold so the whole thing just shattered and all ended up on the ground, it was a nearly bare skeleton with a hood and lift gate. 
check the underside for rust as the body obviously wont show. 

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I'd stay away since the S-series  shares very little with the rest of the GM line 

Engine and transmission were Staurn designed and produced only at the Staurn Plant in Spring Hill' TN

No other GM Platform used this powertrain 

Then the later series cars where Opel platforms and parts for those maybe hard to find in the US as well

 

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I've been driving them since 2001. First one was a '92 SL2 that had a blown engine.I bought it just to see what they were like. My wife drove it for 4 years but she didn't like the manual transmission. I bought a '96 SC1 for here but she wanted a 4 door so I parked that one. Got a '96 SL2 for her instead. I drove a '96 SC2 manual that matched the one I had parked for 14 years until rust got to it too bad that the rear suspension was coming loose from the body. Got the first '96 out of storage after 14 years and have been driving it since '17. We also have a '95 SW2 that either I or my #2 sone drove until last year when it blew a head gasket with a bit over 300,000 on it.

At this point the main thing to look for is rust mainly where the rear trailing arms connect to the body, brake lines running to the rear, and the engine cradle where the left control arm is fastened. Don't got hot rodding with them. If you have tire spinning under load they have a tendency to shear the roll pin retaining the pinion gear pin. When that happens the pin can move out of place and wear a slot in the case or blow out the whole bottom. The pin can be checked by removing the speed sensor on the right differential output shaft and looking at the differential. Be prepared to see oil usage of a quart to 700 to 1200 miles. The pistons have no oil drain holes behind the oil control ring so it is common to see stuck lowerer rings.

The positive side is the mileage should be low to upper 30s mpg. Not much in the line of electronics to go wrong. PCM only controls the engine and transmission if it is an automatic. '96 and newer has PCM controlled cruise control.

If you have a car hoist they can be quite easy to work on. Anything other than a simple job I just remove he entire drive train, Takes me a bit over 1/2 hour to remove and about an hour to put back together.

I've got about 30 of them from '91 to '97 in varying condition from crashed to restorable so I have my own parts supply.

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3 minutes ago, sandhiller said:

 

Your son asked me to tell you he would like a Black SSaturn just like this one😉     😄

 

I'll let him know that I'll have to give some serious test drive to that model of SSaturn. He'll have to wait his turn.

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My wife had Saturn Ion (don't remember year model) that she bought new and put 170,000 miles on it. Only reason she traded it off was because at the time all three of our great-granddaughters used safety seats and room was limited in the lon. She traded it for a 2009 Ford Explorer so she could haul the girls when needed.

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i had a coworker that had the first series and was really impressed with it.  put a ton of miles on it.  had another coworker that got that little hot rod 2 seater they made that was so fast.  he had engine and computer issues immediately.  warrenty was working on it all the time, but was in the dealership over and over.  finally, he brought up the alabama state lemon law to the service manager.  guy was nice and said let him call the factory.  told him that the factory said to replace it with a new car of the same model and features.  was identical of a car... no issues, drove it for years, trusted it to go on long trips.  not sure what that says other than a QA fallout and i can't comment on how the rate of that went.  

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Wife bought a brand new one in 2004-5ish. Only brand new car she ever had. Never had an issue. She sold it back to the dealer about a year and a half later, she hated making car payments. Dealer bought it for what she paid.

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10 hours ago, Owen Aaland said:

I've been driving them since 2001. First one was a '92 SL2 that had a blown engine.I bought it just to see what they were like. My wife drove it for 4 years but she didn't like the manual transmission. I bought a '96 SC1 for here but she wanted a 4 door so I parked that one. Got a '96 SL2 for her instead. I drove a '96 SC2 manual that matched the one I had parked for 14 years until rust got to it too bad that the rear suspension was coming loose from the body. Got the first '96 out of storage after 14 years and have been driving it since '17. We also have a '95 SW2 that either I or my #2 sone drove until last year when it blew a head gasket with a bit over 300,000 on it.

At this point the main thing to look for is rust mainly where the rear trailing arms connect to the body, brake lines running to the rear, and the engine cradle where the left control arm is fastened. Don't got hot rodding with them. If you have tire spinning under load they have a tendency to shear the roll pin retaining the pinion gear pin. When that happens the pin can move out of place and wear a slot in the case or blow out the whole bottom. The pin can be checked by removing the speed sensor on the right differential output shaft and looking at the differential. Be prepared to see oil usage of a quart to 700 to 1200 miles. The pistons have no oil drain holes behind the oil control ring so it is common to see stuck lowerer rings.

The positive side is the mileage should be low to upper 30s mpg. Not much in the line of electronics to go wrong. PCM only controls the engine and transmission if it is an automatic. '96 and newer has PCM controlled cruise control.

If you have a car hoist they can be quite easy to work on. Anything other than a simple job I just remove he entire drive train, Takes me a bit over 1/2 hour to remove and about an hour to put back together.

I've got about 30 of them from '91 to '97 in varying condition from crashed to restorable so I have my own parts supply.

You sir are a interesting character! 

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11 hours ago, Jesse in WI said:

Anyone know much about Saturn cars? I know they are not being made anymore but I'm wondering about part availability and how decent of a vehicle they were.

I am looking for a car for my kid in the next couple years and a couple S-series have come up in the 125k-140k miles range. 

 

There are few farm kids around here with the sedans.  They all say they just won't quit.  Fields, barns, 5 boys, dirt roads and 30mpg. 

I'd listen to Owen's advice 

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Saturns are gems, the story of the creation of the brand as I have heard it was to try new ideas in car manufacturing without potentially tarnishing established brands like Pontiac, Chev, Oldsmobile.  They were different than most other GM cars at first, the SL1 with the 1.9L 4cyl engine, the SL2 had the same or similar 4cyl available, or a 3? 3.2? v6 of European influence.  The 90s Saturns didn't share much with other GMs of that time.  In 2002 the Saturn Vue was one of the pioneers of the light duty/minivan/sedan size of SUVs.  The Vue was one of the first vehicles to use the 2.2 Ecotec, they were also available with a Honda 3.5 V6, the same platform was used for the first Chevy Equinox and Pontiac Torrent SUV but they all came with the GM 3.4 V6 that was the successor to the 3400 V6 and predecessor to the 3.5 V6. The Saturn Ion came out around 2003, it had the 2.2 Ecotec as well, the platform of the Ion is similar to the Chevy Cobalt that came out in 2005.  The Saturn Astra was one of the last iterations of the brand and was the first Opel GM car available in North America, similar to a Chevy Cruze.

I have seen the early Saturn SL1 with the 1.9L be a cheap and reliable car, at higher mileage usually burn some oil or require a heavier weight than the recommended 5w30, pretty hard to kill if you keep oil in it.  

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1 hour ago, stronger800 said:

I’m going to keep my eyes open and see if I can’t notice one on the road anywhere.  I feel like I haven’t seen one years 

I see Saturns on the road down here in central TX. Perhaps one or two a week. Interesting thread here. 

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