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Old 06-13-2005, 10:24 AM   #1
jessy0780
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Default Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

My timing chain recently snapped on my 2001 L200. Now they are estimating a $2200 repair bill. Funny, it only took the service dept. 2 hours to figure it out- they must have known all along what the problem was going to be. I am extremely angry- I was driving with my 3 year old when the car just stopped. Luckily I was able to pull over before getting hit. Anyone know what my best recourse is? I have no warranty, but obviously this is a common problem with these vehicles and I feel that since this is obviously a defect I should not have to pay. I take good care of my car, and this should not have happened- it only has 45,ooo miles on it!

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Old 06-13-2005, 10:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Man, that suxx, bigtime. What a way to welcome a new member.

It's starting to be a common problem. Take a look at this link and you be the judge.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52293

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Old 06-13-2005, 10:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Sorry to hear that it was the timing chain.
thats tough.
I understand why you would blame saturn and your dealer.

What damage did it cause to the engine when it failed?

$2200?
thats probably the price of the whole engine
or at least
the price of a salvaged ecotec plus install.

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Old 06-13-2005, 10:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

First I've heard of a timing chain breaking on a Saturn. Was it actually a chain or a belt?

I think your up a creek without a paddle. Sorry. Maybe an insurance claim or get a motor out of a wrecked L200 (or another L series that would fit) and drop that in. This would be cheaper than rebuilding the motor you screwed up.

edit- well, I guess it's rare on the S-series anyway (where I know the most about Saturns)

--Tom

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Last edited by Tom92SCm; 06-13-2005 at 10:35 AM.. Reason: learned more about L-series timing chain failures

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Old 06-13-2005, 10:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom92SCm
First I've heard of a timing chain breaking on a Saturn. Was it actually a chain or a belt?

--Tom
2001 L200's have a chain.
The V6 L300's have a belt.
A chain vs. belt is one of the reasons I bought this car.
Go figure.

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Old 06-13-2005, 10:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom92SCm
First I've heard of a timing chain breaking on a Saturn.
If you read the L forum, I think you'll see it's happened quite a lot. I would guess there have been at least 6 chain failures reported here. I would love to see Saturn do a recall because of that. My cynical side says they wont.

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Old 06-13-2005, 11:02 AM   #7
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Quote:
Originally Posted by spork
I would guess there have been at least 6 chain failures reported here. I would love to see Saturn do a recall because of that. My cynical side says they wont.
Likewise for me on the recall.

And my cynical side says they won't, either. Look how long it took to get the tailights recalled.

They would rather collect a few thousand from more unhappy owners, rather than bite the bullet and recall em.

It's a safety issue as well. What would happen if you were passing somebody on a 2-lane as this happened?

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Old 06-13-2005, 11:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

http://www.gmpartsdepot.com/store/pr...ategory_ID=67&
See what you're getting for $2200, complete L61s are selling for $2000.

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Old 06-13-2005, 11:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Why is it that shops do that?
Repair, rather than replace the engine when a major overhaul is required?

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Old 06-13-2005, 11:29 AM   #10
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Quote:
Originally Posted by jessy0780
My timing chain recently snapped on my 2001 L200. Now they are estimating a $2200 repair bill. Funny, it only took the service dept. 2 hours to figure it out- they must have known all along what the problem was going to be. I am extremely angry- I was driving with my 3 year old when the car just stopped. Luckily I was able to pull over before getting hit. Anyone know what my best recourse is? I have no warranty, but obviously this is a common problem with these vehicles and I feel that since this is obviously a defect I should not have to pay. I take good care of my car, and this should not have happened- it only has 45,ooo miles on it!
I have a 2001 L200 and mine broke at about 37000 miles. Car was 13 months old. Out of warranty. Raised hell with Saturn, Engine and cylinder head were ruined. I was driving down the highway at about 65 mph and the car just died. No sound, no noise just went dead. Chain broke and cylinders hit valves and ruined engine. Saturn paid for half of the repairs......

I agree with you that it should not happen. But what do you expect when Saturn uses cheap parts!!! Good luck

Bob

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Old 06-13-2005, 11:44 AM   #11
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Quote:
Originally Posted by unkle bik
Why is it that shops do that?
Repair, rather than replace the engine when a major overhaul is required?
Because they're making money on the labor...
If they can bill you $72/hour and they only pay the tech $15 for his time, that's money in their pocket.

It's the same in every service industry.

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Old 06-13-2005, 12:57 PM   #12
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Google hasn't turned up any articles complaining about snapped timing chains using the search term Ecotec timing chain. There are some reports of timing chain failures over on the NHTSA's ODI database. If you think there should be a recall, that's the place you want to go.

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Old 06-13-2005, 01:16 PM   #13
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

If the Relay can get a recall, why can't the Ecotec?

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...376#post623376

"...engine harmonic balancer that is not completely seated may cause crankshaft key failure and lead to internal engine damage requiring engine repair or replacement."

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Old 06-13-2005, 02:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

One thing I did find is:
Make: SATURN
Model: L-SERIES
Year: 2001
Type: PASSENGER CAR
Service Bulletin Number: 030601017
NHTSA Item Number: 10002122
Summary Description:
TIMING CHAIN DESIGN CHANGE AND REVISED SERVICE PROCEDURES. *TT

This would explain why there doesn't seem to be any reports of post 2001 L-series vehicles with snapping timing chains. I mean, deliveryman's put over 200,000 miles on atleast 1 ecotec, and around 100,000 in his new Ion.

Point to the TSB, talk to Saturn about After Warranty Assistance. Though the simple fact is, I doubt that GM's going to be racing to offer much help when they're losing billions a year.

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Old 06-13-2005, 02:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Cars break. None are perfect. No sense in screaming for a recall every time more than two people have the same problem. Once the warranty is out Saturn has no more obligation. I would be upset, too, but things like that just happen.

All said, it is still pretty rare for a timing chain to fail. It is not a common problem.

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Old 06-13-2005, 03:33 PM   #16
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Quote:
Originally Posted by spencerb
Cars break. None are perfect. No sense in screaming for a recall every time more than two people have the same problem. Once the warranty is out Saturn has no more obligation. I would be upset, too, but things like that just happen.

All said, it is still pretty rare for a timing chain to fail. It is not a common problem.
Sure, the warranty is out, but that's little consolation to someone who has to shell out over 2 grand. Especially this close to the warranty expiring. Timing chains should last the life of the car, not krap out every 50k. This is the reason why people chose cars with chains over belts. so they don't have a costly timing belt replacement every 60-75k.
The catasrophe here is total engine damage. If it was like an A/c belt snapping, the A/c would be lost. Nothing more. With the timing chain failing, you lose big buxx in replacing an engine. Not only that, this is a safety issue. What if this person were to pass a truck on a two-lane? Loss of engine means a L200 sitting in the path of oncoming traffic. You care to be that driver?

I can see if these failures were due to negligence and high mileage, but they are not. Most of these failures are happening right around 50k. (which is where I am at right now). I, you, or anybody else would be pissed if that chain gave way after you took meticulous care of the motor the way I and others have.

If this were an isloated incident, I would agree with you per usual spencer. But the sad fact, is every week at least another owner posts here with the same problem. GM knows about the problem by posting a TSB. If that's the case, recall them to put the proper oiler in. Much cheaper than replacing an engine. They can recall the tailight, why not the timing chain oiler?

Thank God, I have the extended warranty with 0 deductible.

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Old 06-13-2005, 03:49 PM   #17
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Quote:
Originally Posted by unkle bik
Not only that, this is a safety issue. What if this person were to pass a truck on a two-lane? Loss of engine means a L200 sitting in the path of oncoming traffic. You care to be that driver?
And then your car skidded off the road crashing into a bus load of children? Or if there was a giant moose in the road! AAAHH!! Or if there was a black cat going under a ladder in an allyway adjacent to your car on Friday the 13th under a full moon? You can play "what if" all day long but an engine failure is rarely considered a safety issue.

Your only hope is that since there is a TSB out there that they might go 50/50 on it.

--Tom

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Old 06-13-2005, 04:05 PM   #18
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Quote:
Originally Posted by spencerb
Cars break. None are perfect. No sense in screaming for a recall every time more than two people have the same problem. Once the warranty is out Saturn has no more obligation. I would be upset, too, but things like that just happen.

All said, it is still pretty rare for a timing chain to fail. It is not a common problem.

i agree, i would be mad, but every make of vehicle has it's problems. i just hope my 01' L200 with 72,000 miles doesn't do this.

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Old 06-13-2005, 05:09 PM   #19
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Tom-


Maybe you think it's funny, but I had my 3 year old son in the car with me when my car shut down- not while I was stopped but when I was DRIVING!!! It was pure luck that there weren't any cars coming and I was able to get off the road. If I had been in the left hand lane on the beltway, I could have easily gotten hit- especially if my brake lights went out, which is what this new recall is about. The fact is that has been happening a lot lately, and it shouldn't- this timing chain should have lasted double the mileage it did- and since there have been many 2001 L200s with the same problem, it makes me angry that Saturn knows about the problem and has done nothing. Maybe when someone does get hurt they will decide to do something.

Last edited by jessy0780; 06-13-2005 at 05:12 PM.. Reason: adding a word

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Old 06-13-2005, 05:41 PM   #20
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Default Re: Snapped timing chain- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I have to say, having an engine stall shouldn't be considered a safety issue. The only time it would be is if you were already in an inherently unsafe situation.
As far as a lot of these happening, the data doesn't support that there are a lot of instances of timing chain failures.
I only rounded up a handful of reports spanning 2000 and 2001 models of the L-series on the NHTSA's website, and there are no open defect investigations on the L-series pertaining to the engine. Considering that there is an investigation on the Toyota Prius for stalling on the highway after only 13 reported complaints to the NHTSA I would assume that there are very few timing chain problems with the L-series.
Of course, if it is a problem, I'm kind of glad I took out the extended warranty on my Ion as it too has an ecotec. In fact I might pay the extra money to go from the 5-year 70k mile warranty up to something a bit longer.

In my opinion, you'll be better off simply putting a whole new engine in the car rather than have them try to fix yours, even if you have to pay more to have them do it.

Do file a complaint with NHTSA, like I said, they've been known to start defect investigations with fewer than 2 dozen reported instances of a problem.

...
Bob

Last edited by bobwill; 06-13-2005 at 05:51 PM..

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