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Old 07-18-2010, 02:48 PM   #1
Albiem
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1994 SL2
Default Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

I currently own a 1994 Saturn SL2 5 speed sedan. I purchased it used about 3 years ago and I have grown to love it. I am considering purchasing a larger, more comfortable car. I have seen a few L series sedans in the used trade and I'd like more info from current owners. Is the car reliable? Is it a gas hog? Is it comfortable? Is there anything I need to look for or stay away from?

Thanks

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Old 07-18-2010, 02:56 PM   #2
Robman
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2001 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

They're great to turbo charge. And they're more comfortable than a older S series.

...
Rob
2001 Turbo L200
1997 F150 XLT
1985 Range Rover Classic
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:01 AM   #3
cavalier
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Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

Best car I've ever owned....but it seems owning an L is a real crap shoot in that people either have few problems with them or lots.

I've got a 2000 LS1 that's heading toward 205,000 miles.

It's the 2.2 EcoTech 4-banger powering it and I pull down 32 MPG with a combination of city and highway driving on my daily commute (about 26 miles of highway and 4 miles of city traffic).

I had the dreaded timing chain issue resolved only recently, which set me back by a cool $900.

Unless you buy either the V6 or an L made in late 2003 you'll probably be replacing the timing chain at some point.

Problem is many have had the timing chain break and take out the whole engine (valves, etc.) in the process.

A new timing chain kit was released in 2003 and was put into all 2.2 L's in late 2003.

The 4 cylinder has plenty of power for my needs and is a real gas sipper compared to the V6.

Other plusses include:

* the fact that it'll never rust (polymer all around except hood, trunk and roof) with a galvanized steel underbody

*it drives like a sports sedan even though it's large (since it's based on the Opel Vectra and shares many suspension parts with the Saab 9-5)

* you can haul a TON of stuff with this car due to the space

Again, it's a roll of the dice whether or not you get a good one so proceed with caution.

If you do find a good one, however, it'll give you plenty of years of enjoyment and trouble-free driving.

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Old 07-20-2010, 07:27 PM   #4
radioouman
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

I have a 2002 L100 (with the 2.2 liter 4-cylinder) that I bought new. It now has 146,000 miles and it has been an excellent car.

This is the only one that I have experience with but over 8 years here are the things that I can remember having to deal with:
- Power steering rack started leaking and was replaced at 70,000 miles under warranty.
- Rear tires cupped so a shim kit was installed at 32,000 miles. Tires were cupped again at 101,000 miles and I had Sears perform an alignment. The tires have been perfect since. (45,000 miles so far.)
- Body control module failed and I finally replaced it at 125,000 miles. The dealer has to replace this because the mileage has to be programmed into the BCM. It cost me $600.
- The ignition control module failed at 140,000 miles. I decided to try to drive the car with only two or three cylinders firing, and I destroyed the catalytic converted and both oxygen sensors.
- The muffler rusted out at about 120,000 miles.

Sounds bad, right? Well the car has the original suspension and it is in great condition. The body looks great and the interior looks great. The engine doesn't burn oil unless the air filter is plugged. The A/C works. The transmission is good. The car doesn't leak anything.

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Old 07-21-2010, 04:55 AM   #5
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2004 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

We bought a used '04 L-300 from my in laws last year...it's a cream puff, 44,000 miles, regular service, always garaged. I love it. Average 27 mpg, mostly in town driving. Great in the snow, teriffic heater, I drive it in the winter instead of my 4X4 GMC.

The only gripes I have is that the stock front seats, being non power, are not very comfortable for long drives. The V6 is very difficult to service, being crammed into the engine compartment. The sole problem I have had in 2000 miles is that an OEM hose clamp holding a power steering line failed and the leaking fluid made a mess of the garage floor. It wasn't an easy fix because of the crowded engine compartment.

But overall, I just love the car, and wish it had a 2000 pound tow capacity so I could sell my gas sucking GMC which I use to tow my utility trailer. I keep scouring the classifieds for a clean, low mileage L-300 wagon....

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Old 07-21-2010, 01:43 PM   #6
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2002 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

I am 19 years old and i was given my 2002 L300 last year so that i could get to college.
My friends drive ridiculous cars:
03 Mustang GT
BMW 330xi e46
09 boxter
two have 04 WRX STI's
88 porsche v8 idk what the model is

Despite this, I am very happy with my L300. Just as comfortable as the beamer, fast enough to get past people on the highway, and great in the winter (I once had to dig tracks for a new FWD RAV4.

The handling is good (I have never driven anything else long term other than a 96 SC2). in relation to the SC2 my L series is MUCH quieter, seemingly better built, and i will list the main differences below:
The Lseries is,

much heavier
faster
a tad less fun to drive as the SC2 was manual
more balanced under turn in (less understeer)
more modern (traction control, ABS, CD player, etc)
SAFER: (side curtain ab's, steel frame and door braces and good frontal drivers side crash test rating) NOTE: i was hit at a 45 degree angle in my driver door by someone doing 35 and it buffed out. yes, buffed out.
bigger
more practical with 4doors and large trunk
worse on gas (i could get 40mpg out of the sc2 with a clever engine disengagement system i built into the shifter handle that i converted to a computer joystick) the lseries struggles to get 20.
better looking (less spaceship canopy look)
better to be in (leather seats and better sound)
weirdly, better steering feel. the steering is heavier by a lot but i feel like im holding the road in my hands through the wheel. the SC felt extremely dead.
better sounding (my v6 purrs)

My only real issues with the lseries is that it doesnt have AWD which is not expected, and the quality of the interior trim is rather shoddy. almost everything has some degree of rattle in it after its recently reached 76000th mile.

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Old 07-21-2010, 02:46 PM   #7
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2002 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

i forgot the problems with the l series that i have experienced:

i dont know the mileages because i just got it.

the steering was completely replaced down to the wheels basically.

im pretty sure i got new CV joints because a rock ripped the boots on them.

i had seriously chopping tires but that was the leaking tire's fault (constantly fluctuating pressure)

i had an oil leak that was eventually attributed to a cracked filter.

i have replaced the brakes myself recently with ceramic pads in the front and i replaced everything for the back brakes (discs) including calipers and some sections of line.

my muffler after a highway trip had a fist sized hole in it, this was around 74k.

my driver side door indented bar thing that lets it stay open at set intervals is broken somewhere and sounds like a gunshot at every stop on its opening.

lights for trac and heated seat passenger side are out.

driver's heated seat (back only) is broken. butt heater still works.

misc lights blow out as with any car.

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Old 07-21-2010, 11:27 PM   #8
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2002 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

I'm 16 and recently got a 2002 L300 as my first car. I really do love it.

It had 76,000 miles on it when I got it and I've put about 4,000 on already.

It's got leather seats, traction control, side curtain airbags, 3.0 V6, and a sun roof!

It needs struts in the front and the A/C has a leaky shredder valve (I've been told), but besides that its great. Those are thing that can be fixed anyway.

When putting the petal to the floor it goes! And since it's a V6 there aren't any timing belt issues.

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Old 08-02-2010, 11:09 AM   #9
Mainer4
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
2002 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

I own a LW200 2001. Have owned it for several months and put about 5,000 miles on it. I had to replace the BCD module right after purchasing it $500. The windshield wipers stopped working and the dealer has already spent 4 hours not finding the problem. Blows fuses immediately upon putting them into the fuse box. We get about 28MPG with 2.2 4-cylinder. Handles well, comfortable on long trips, and plenty of power - at least as much as our former minivan with 3.3L V6. Hoping it will be worth what we paid for it, but it was low mileage with its original tires on it.

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Old 08-10-2010, 09:33 PM   #10
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

I have a 2002 Saturn L200 and I've had it for almost 2 years now (I feel like throwing a birthday party for it, lol) and aside from the timing chain failure (which I think could have been user error since I didn't know much about cars accept they needed oil changes, I knew more about a jet turbine than a car engine) We were going to sell it for parts which made me sad but a guy wanted to buy the car from us but after hearing I needed it for college, let us buy the engine he was going to put in it. A 40k engine on a 135k car, the difference was night and day after the new engine "settled" in. Since then I've been keeping up with the maintenance (aside from the last oil change at about 4500 miles which didn't really affect the car at all).
I love my car and would never have anything else, although I'd like a manual.

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Old 08-22-2010, 06:48 PM   #11
BobL
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Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

Avoid 2000 L at all costs.

I had a 2000 LS which had so many design errors that I traded it at 18 months/21000 miles.

Unbelievable trash engineering but got many compliments on appearance.

Stick with 2003 or later.

DO NOT consider 5 speed. Clutch slave cylinder is inside bellhousing and is a $1K+ fix. It fails often.

Garbage German (Opel) engineering.

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Old 08-23-2010, 12:17 AM   #12
cavalier
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Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobL View Post
Avoid 2000 L at all costs.

I had a 2000 LS which had so many design errors that I traded it at 18 months/21000 miles.

Unbelievable trash engineering but got many compliments on appearance.

Stick with 2003 or later.

DO NOT consider 5 speed. Clutch slave cylinder is inside bellhousing and is a $1K+ fix. It fails often.

Garbage German (Opel) engineering.
So many "design errors"????

What exactly does that mean "design error" as I know of no such "design errors" on the L outside of the timing chain issue on the 2.2 4-cylinder?

Call me skeptical of your "review" of this car, but it's awfully vague, don't you think?

Especially when you traded it in after only 21,000 miles?

You'd still have another 15,000 miles on the warranty, so what exactly went so bad in that time for you that you just had to get rid of it when whatever these issues you claim you had wouldn't have cost you a dime to fix?

And what exactly did you replace it with?

As for your claim that Opel's engineering is "garbage", it's among the best and far better than most imports/domestics here in the states.

Again, maybe you should help this OP a little more by posting some SPECIFIC problems you had that caused you to give up on this car so soon instead of blasting it with vague comments like "design errors" contributing to your hated of it.

Color me skeptical but I'm betting you've never owned one.

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Old 08-30-2010, 07:56 PM   #13
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobL View Post
Avoid 2000 L at all costs.

I had a 2000 LS which had so many design errors that I traded it at 18 months/21000 miles.

Unbelievable trash engineering but got many compliments on appearance.

Stick with 2003 or later.

DO NOT consider 5 speed. Clutch slave cylinder is inside bellhousing and is a $1K+ fix. It fails often.

Garbage German (Opel) engineering.
Really? Judging by your "review," I conclude that you're the kind of person who says a gourmet meal sucks just because there isn't a lot of food or you think you could do better. That is why I motion to omit your review as it lacks sufficient evidence (ha, listen to me sound so political XD)

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Old 09-01-2010, 12:07 AM   #14
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Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

Purchase a L200 6 months ago. Since...steering rack went ($900), AC hoses developed leaks ($800 - declined to fix), gas economy could be better. Engine has issues when cold started...lacks power and struggles for a mile or so and then improves. Have replaced plugs/boots, air/fuel filter...doing the ECTS next. Timing chain is a concern as my L200 was made in November 2002 and doesn't have the update. BCM has caused no issues.

Overall, make sure you purchase from a reputable person who cares for his vehicles and will be upfront about the little issues.

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Old 09-18-2010, 10:55 PM   #15
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

My 2002 L200 has been flawless aside from having to replace the main computer once which was $600. It started to malfunction and make a dinging sound as if the doors were open at random intervals while driving. Was extremely annoying...

I bought it with 32,000 miles on it, now at 73,000.

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Old 09-19-2010, 06:23 AM   #16
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2003 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

I have had my 2003 LW200 since new. I have used this car as a truck hauling engines, lumber, and moving supplies. this car has been a tow rig for my race car (yes it towed another car see photo below). This wagon has also been used as a race car for about 3 years. I have developed the power on this car to just shy of V-6 levels. On top of all this it has returned 30+mpg. I retired it from racing to serve as a daily driver and team support vehicle.


the race car weighs in at 1400lbs well below the 2000lb towing limit.


Race trim




the LW has been a good fun car and with just about 70k mi on the clock there has only been 2 faults 1 was Jiffy lubes fault the other was mine (AIT sensor wire torn out of plug by ham fisted tech and right front wheel bearing died due to 3.5deg of neg camber)

...
Phil

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Old 09-19-2010, 01:30 PM   #17
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by cblawton View Post
I'm 16 and... 76,000 miles on it when I got it and I've put about 4,000 on already. .... And since it's a V6 there aren't any timing belt issues.
There is if you neglect replacing it. Save up on replacing the timing belt, water pump, and spark plugs when you reach 100k miles. Avoid it and prepare to accept the consequences of timing belt neglect. Some have gone beyond 100k miles but replaced it. Belts don't last forever.........

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Old 09-19-2010, 07:15 PM   #18
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2003 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

V6 Saturns have belts and they should be changed every 60,000 the 4-cyl cars have a chain that "should" be good for 100k+

...
Phil

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Old 09-30-2010, 12:11 PM   #19
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Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

What would be the common issues or problems associated with the V6 engine? Friend just purchased a 2002 L300. 100k miles. Very nice car. Fully loaded. No leaks. In great mechanical condition. I was not too thrilled at first of the purchase, mainly because of how it looks difficult to work on that engine.

...
2000 SL2 auto - 167k - sold
1996 SL2 auto - 161k - sold
1997 SC2 auto - 105k - sold
2000 SC2 auto - 117k - sold
1996 SL2 auto - 250k - sold
2001 SC2 5sp - 160k - sold

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Old 10-01-2010, 03:36 PM   #20
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2000 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Wanting opinions about Saturn L series cars

I have a 2000L V6, it has well over 200,000 miles on it, timing belt changed 3 times, last time due to pulley bearing failure, 2 water pumps, 2 alternators, changed the oil cooler because dealer said it was leaking, not, had the new one so I put it in, the oil leak was due to the PCV system being stopped up and oil was pushing out all over the engine. It still runs great and no longer uses oil, if you find a 2000L V6 go for it, great car. Handles good, rides good, runs good.

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