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Old 02-14-2004, 07:19 AM   #1
sattech
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Default The last word on flickering headlights

I don't have a scanner so I'll copy word for word

Bulletin# 04-08-42-001
(1-30-04)
The purpose of this bulletin is to inform Saturn retailers of normal headlamp and instrument panel illumination characteristics

Customers may comment on sporadic dimming (flickering) of headlights and/or instrument cluster illumination. The flickering may occur intermittantly as a result of transient current loads on the electrical system during normal vehicle operation; however, at no time do the headlamps turn completely off. This is considered a normal operating characteristic.

No service is required for this condition

...
~ If it worked before you messed with it, it must be something you did ~

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Old 02-14-2004, 07:32 AM   #2
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sattech, what do you think about this problem

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Old 02-14-2004, 02:41 PM   #3
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What a load of cod's wallop !!
The last sentence in paragraph 2 of the bulletin should read....."This is considered a normal operating characteristic due to an as yet undetected design deficiency in the alternator,wiring harness and/or the software programs and a possible combination thereof."

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Old 02-14-2004, 07:31 PM   #4
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I have experienced the dimming lights issue once on my 2003 L300.... it was kind of scary actually because it was so bad I nearly couldn't see the spedometer.. While this incident was more than a mere aggravation, as long as it does not happen repeatedly I will continue to drive my L. I am currently putting away an extra 45-50 dollars a month to savings just for future repairs on my L... so that should I experience the oil cooler issue or steering rack... I can have it replaced... or, take the money and move on..

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Old 02-14-2004, 10:06 PM   #5
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I should think that any such design is fatally flawed and the engineers who designed should be looking for another job. If GM thinks dimming lights are "normal", it is no wonder people buy Japanese cars.

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Old 02-14-2004, 11:18 PM   #6
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There must be an awful lot of complaining about the dimming
headlights reaching Saturn/GM and rightly so. And what an
embarrassment it must be at having to admit to the entire
automotive world and to their customers that dimming headlights
are a characteristic of their vehicles.

Saturn/GM would do much better if they corrected this issue,
not ignore it. After owning six new Japanese vehicles, and with
my L200 being my first new American car, I'll be kind and say
that I hope Saturn does a better job with their future products.

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Old 02-15-2004, 12:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Miso
There must be an awful lot of complaining about the dimming
headlights reaching Saturn/GM and rightly so. And what an
embarrassment it must be at having to admit to the entire
automotive world and to their customers that dimming headlights
are a characteristic of their vehicles.

Saturn/GM would do much better if they corrected this issue,
not ignore it. After owning six new Japanese vehicles, and with
my L200 being my first new American car, I'll be kind and say
that I hope Saturn does a better job with their future products.
I know what you mean. It's a shame to have to put money into cars that create jobs overseas instead of America, but it's getting so hard to be a proud American car owner! Every time i tell myself, "Ahh, American cars used to suck, but I'm sure they got better in the last ___ years" I am always wrong. The bottom line is that since the good old days all that America produces well are trucks!

I still love my L200, but there are too many problems for a car that has so few in production! So, now Ford and GM are both on the list of cars I'll probably never buy again! Japan, here I come (in 3 years when this thing is paid off)!

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Old 02-15-2004, 08:55 PM   #8
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After the POS 2000 LS, I bought 2 03 Corollas for the family.

Much less grief and assembled in Calif.

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Old 02-15-2004, 09:58 PM   #9
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GM would love for all of us dealing with this, to accept that it is normal operation. They also would love it if we believed them when they tell us we have no other options other than to live with it.

There are options.....many, many of them...
Luckily, I only had to resort to one.
Since the dimming issue IS unsafe, the law makes it clear, that the car must be bought back or replaced, if it can not be fixed within a reasonable number of attempts, usually 3 or 4 depending on various state laws.
Trust me, if I had not won a buyback by doing things the "nice way" through the BBB recently, I would have resorted to whatever vocal and public measure possible to get GM to deal with me and this issue.
In situations like this, when it is our families and others lives at risk, "you got to do what you got to do, especially since GM won't do what it SHOULD do".

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Old 02-15-2004, 10:25 PM   #10
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In case it might help someone having serious dimming issues or other issues with whatever make car....

Just because GM is tying the techs hands, by not allowing them to work on your car, does not mean GM can get around the repurchase/replacement lemon laws.
According to the lemon law attorney, each time I took my car to my dealership to be worked on, and GM refused to let them do so, STILL counted as an attempt....
So don't give up, if you feel your issues are severe enough to go the lemon law or BBB route.

Again, a big thank you and sincere appreciation goes out from me, to my local Saturn techs, the techs here at Saturnfans and all others who tried their best to help me when I was going through this.

Last edited by pandorasun; 02-15-2004 at 10:31 PM..

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Old 02-15-2004, 10:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by pandorasun
GM would love for all of us dealing with this, to accept that it is normal operation. They also would love it if we believed them when they tell us we have no other options other than to live with it.

There are options.....many, many of them...
Luckily, I only had to resort to one.
Since the dimming issue IS unsafe, the law makes it clear, that the car must be bought back or replaced, if it can not be fixed within a reasonable number of attempts, usually 3 or 4 depending on various state laws.
Trust me, if I had not won a buyback by doing things the "nice way" through the BBB recently, I would have resorted to whatever vocal and public measure possible to get GM to deal with me and this issue.
In situations like this, when it is our families and others lives at risk, "you got to do what you got to do, especially since GM won't do what it SHOULD do".
The strange thing is that I really don't believe it's a normal operating condition. I don't have this problem and neither do about 90% of us. The worst I ever get is that the lights dim a little when I first put the heater on, or if I roll down all of the windows at once - especially if I hold it down too long! However, the symptons I have ARE normal operating conditions that I have seen in every other car I've driven.

What you described (and others are probably complaining about) is nothing like the "normal operating conditions" that I experience.

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Old 02-15-2004, 10:34 PM   #12
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Somehow, I get the feeling GM's bulletin is not going to be the last word...

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Old 02-15-2004, 10:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by swzine


What you described (and others are probably complaining about) is nothing like the "normal operating conditions" that I experience.
Hello my Saturnfriend !!
You are so right !! Slight dimming as you express would be totally acceptable and labled "normal".
The dimming many are describing is severe dimming and most definitely not what anyone would term normal....It is infuriating for GM to have documentation from their own service departments in reference to how severe the dimming really is for us, yet GM still wants to label it by their terms as "normal"...
That is what keeps me trying to help others still dealing with this...
I will never forget how I felt the first time Saturn/GM told me this was normal.

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Old 02-15-2004, 10:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Bob
Somehow, I get the feeling GM's bulletin is not going to be the last word...
Probably not, but I'm not surprised they tried! Unfortunately it will probably take a few accidents to get anything done.

Everyone go out and crash your L tonight and blame it on the lights on Monday!

Just kidding. The above statement was a joke and I assume no liability if any idiots follow that poor advice.

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Old 02-15-2004, 10:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Bob
Somehow, I get the feeling GM's bulletin is not going to be the last word...
And it shouldn't be. Or if you mean because I am posting, sorry but my email this week, had almost 4 dozen people asking for my help.....3 of which wrecked recently and have injuries due to this dimming issue....so yes, this is a heartfelt cause for me.

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Old 02-16-2004, 11:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by swzine
I know what you mean. It's a shame to have to put money into cars that create jobs overseas instead of America, but it's getting so hard to be a proud American car owner! Every time i tell myself, "Ahh, American cars used to suck, but I'm sure they got better in the last ___ years" I am always wrong. The bottom line is that since the good old days all that America produces well are trucks!

I still love my L200, but there are too many problems for a car that has so few in production! So, now Ford and GM are both on the list of cars I'll probably never buy again! Japan, here I come (in 3 years when this thing is paid off)!
A lot of "foreign" vehicles are put together right here in the States.

There is a Honda plant, for example, in Marysville, OH that was tooled for making the CRV amongst others, the last I knew.

BMW has a plant in the Spartanburg/Greenville, SC area.

I'd generally like to keep purchasing under an American badge, but it the American based companies are going to pull crap like this - I'll start sending their CEOs pics of me standing next to every new foreign badged purchase I make - along witha copy of a TSB like this one.

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Old 02-16-2004, 02:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Thalisa
A lot of "foreign" vehicles are put together right here in the States.

There is a Honda plant, for example, in Marysville, OH that was tooled for making the CRV amongst others, the last I knew.

BMW has a plant in the Spartanburg/Greenville, SC area.

I'd generally like to keep purchasing under an American badge, but it the American based companies are going to pull crap like this - I'll start sending their CEOs pics of me standing next to every new foreign badged purchase I make - along witha copy of a TSB like this one.
Makes sense. We can build, just can't design anymore. You also bring up a good point - there really is not a big difference between many "foreign" and "american" cars, since many of our american cars (like the L) have a lot of foreign influence in their design. So, I wonder what makes American cars gernally have more problems.

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Old 02-16-2004, 02:46 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by swzine
So, I wonder what makes American cars generally have more problems.
As much as we would like to blame it on greed, money, and corrupt automakers, I honestly believe the answer to the above question is simply "profit."

If anybody here on this board invests in other companies, what indicators for buying do you consider? Ethics of the company, dividends, etc? Well, if you were the head of GM, and were told that GM was exceeding expectations (as far as profit, cash flow, and keeping investors happy), what do you care if your products "weren't as good" as the Japanese or Koreans? Sure, you may be a little short-sighted then, but GM has always been the largest automaker in the world. More than likely, they always will be a large player too.

As owners of such a small segment in GM's corporate lineup, and also a small voice of the Saturn population as well, it really is unfair to be bashing GM and American automobiles in general.

BTW: I have four cars:

One American "Classic."
Two Japanese SUV's, one '03 model and one '04 model.
One '02 Saturn L300.

Each of the Japanese SUV's (one an econo SUV and the other a $40k SUV) have had more problems than my Saturn. I've even had Acura buy back a previous car from me because it was a POS.

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Old 02-16-2004, 07:16 PM   #19
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Like swzine mentioned, I have noticed that the lights may dim slightly if I hold a window button too long, or right after I turn on the a/c. I've owned lots of cars, Japanese and American brands, and have seen similar dimming before. But with almost 20k miles on my L200, I have not experienced the extraordinary, random, dangerous dimming - and I hope I never do. If this is a "normal operating characteristic," as the bulletin states, then why don't all the L-series cars do it? I wonder if it's more pronounced on the V6 models than the 4-cylinder cars for some reason?

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Old 02-16-2004, 08:45 PM   #20
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""I wonder if it's more pronounced on the V6 models than the 4-cylinder cars for some reason?""

I hope not because I have an L300 with the V6

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