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Old 10-19-2018, 03:53 PM   #13
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 1,347

2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2002 L200 Sedan Diverter Valve Melted, Exhaust Issue?

It sounds like you have several issues going on at the same time. Don't try and confuse yourself by trying to link one to the other. Sometimes that happens, but I don' think it is in this case. From reading your posts it appears you have the following issues;

1) Diverter Valve issue

2) Oil Pan leak

3) Wheel shake/judder

My son's car is the V6 L300, so I can't help on # 1 at all, BUT if the consensus is that the Cat is the solution, then replacing it with the new one you ordered should maybe solve the issue. If it doesn't then at least you have a new Cat on your car.

# 2. If there is an oil pan leak, then the ONLY way you will determine that is visual. That means crawling under the car and looking. Unless your mechanic friend has a hydraulic 2 or 4 post lift, then you will have to use ramps or a jack + axle stands. NEVER go under the car with just a jack.

I'm from the UK and we call oil pans SUMPS. That's a fairly accurate description as the sump on most things is where stuff accumulates. In a car engine the sump or oil pan is the bottom of the engine and that is where the oil resides. When the car is running the oil pump picks up oil from the sump or oil pan, pumps it around the engine and it finds it way back into the sump. The seal between the pan and the engine block can over time begin to leak as the seal begins to fail or sometimes the oil pan gets a thump from road debris and can be damaged causing a leak. Either way changing the seal is not a big job, other than you will also have to drain out the oil. If you do that job, it's the best time to change the oil & filter for new. On the Saturn L series and it's baby brother the S series, the oil pan is pressed steel. As a result they rust. it is not unknown for rust to create holes in the pan for oil to leak out of, even though the seal is fine. If you do end up removing to pan to change the seal, then I would suggest giving the steel pan a good clean up and maybe a coat or two of paint to protect it.

As for oil consumption, the best advice I can give is use the dipstick to ensure the oil level is at the MAX/Normal level. Check the level on the dipstick weekly with the car level and the engine cold (that will mean all the oil is in the oil pan). By doing that you will be able to see if the level is dropping and hence you have oil consumption. Consumption can be one or both of the following; it is leaking oil; it is burning oil. It can be both. But fixing leaks is the first solution. If you are burning oil, the exhaust is usually a blue or faint blue smoke. White smoke is coolant. Only by checking the oil level and adding set amounts like 1/2 pint or 1 pint or 1 qt and noting the mileage do you start to get some idea of how bad the consumption is.

# 3 Judder/Shaking on your wheels can be several things. It can be as simple as wheels need balancing. It can be worn tie rod ends. It can be warped brake rotors if the judder is felt on braking. A quick check is to jack up the car and with the wheel off the ground grasp it at the tire edge. If you hold it with your hands at 9/3 position and try wo wobble the wheel, if it moves side to side then you have worn tie rods. Grasp it at 12/6 and try to rock the wheel. if it rocks then you have worn wheel bearings.

On the tie rods, you have 2 on each side. An Outer tie rod and an Inner tie rod. The outer tend to be the ones that wear and are easy to replace. The inner ones do wear out but you need a special tool to replace them. If you decide to do that job yourself, you can rent the tool for free from the autostores. I replaced both inner/outer on my son's car a year or so ago and it was a fairly straightforward job. Whether you swap the outer or bother outer/inner, you will need to have the front wheel aligned. I checked and the wheel alignment cost was like $90.00, so I replaced all the tie rods (they are a small cost relative to the alignment) so I only paid the 1 alignment. If you change 1 set, then find you need to change the others, you'll end up with a 2nd visit for alignment. None of us bursting with cash, so keep those things in mind.

Props to you for wanting to do jobs yourself and learn as you go. That's the benefit of forums like this, where everyone is there to give advice, opinions and help for free. And when you own an orphan Saturn, where parts are getting harder to find, then inventiveness and work arounds are often the name of the game.


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