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Old 12-10-2002, 03:19 PM   #1
crawfordna
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Default Major 2002 L300 problems at 12,000 miles...

Hi group,

This is a 2002 L300 DVD edition with the chrome wheels, etc.
I've been following closely with the power steering issues and other issues related to coolant leaking, etc. I too have the left turn whistle, among other things. I changed my oil on Sunday and noticed my power steering fluid was low... so I brought it in to the dealership this morning to get things checked out. Here's a summary of my service invoice:

First Problem:
Customer states power steering losing fluid, high pitched whistle, noise on left turns, occasional loss of power assist between 0-5mph.

What I was told:
The rack needs to be replaced, but they won't do it until they receive the new "redesigned" rack after the first of the year. I was told that the left turn whistle has been confirmed with Saturn Corp and they've marked it as "normal" ... he said every L300 (not the new style) does it.

Second problem:
Customer states steering vibration at highway speeds-has four new potenza tires-been balanced three times.

What I was told:
They didn't notice any vibration. They did do a four wheel balance and rotation.
I didn't notice any difference, I still feel vibration. Hopefully the new rack will fix this.

Third problem:
Customer states service wrench lamp was on for 20 minutes-related to above problems?

What I was told/what they did:
CS SERVICE LAMP ON
C B1000 ECU MALFUNCTION-FOLLOW TROUBLE TREE
C REPLACE BCM AND PROGRAM. RETEST
Apparently my BCM was bad. OK.

Fourth Problem:
Customer states occasional burning smell-smells like burning paper, may be related to above.

What I was told:
Valve cover leaking oil. Ordered new valve cover gasket, will be here next week. OK.

Fifth Problem:
Customer states appears to be losing coolant.

What I was told:
Confirmed this, didn't tell me where it was leaking, said they would fix it when they fix the oil leak. OK.

Is it just me, or is the fact that I'm leaking oil, coolant, power steering fluid, have a bad power steering rack, nasty road vibrations at highway speed, a bad BCM, and need a new valve cover gasket just a little bit disturbing on a new vehicle that I've had since February and only has 12,000 miles?

This seems like problems you may have with a car with 75,000+ and that is atleast four years old!

I'm not very happy nor do I feel very secure with my $25,000 purchase... atleast not right now.

I guess any more information on any of the above problems would be helpful, I'd like to know what I'm in for...

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Old 12-10-2002, 03:31 PM   #2
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The first 12k is the shakedown cruise:-)

for the vibration
TSB-99-T-55b deals with replacing a "preload spring" in the rack
I would have them check into it.

If the racks are going to change after the first of the year that would be good news
Can anyone confirm this?

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Old 12-10-2002, 03:55 PM   #3
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These are fairly common problems since the L-series was introduced in 2000. I took my 2000 LW2 (V6 wagon) in at 35,000 miles to have all of these things attended to and my service department fixed everything (as far as I could tell since I traded it in 500 miles later on an '03 VUE). They replaced my rack (which cured the steering wheel shake), put the camber shims in the rear (which as also contributing to the vibration since it cupped the tires), replaced all four tires, replaced the wiper arms and blades, fixed a coolant leak in the oil cooler (this is probably where you coolant is leaking and why they'll take care of it when you bring it back for the cam cover leak since they have to remove the intake plenum and runners to get to the oil cooler. No sense in doing it twice), reflashed the pcm, fixed a door lock, the right tail light module, did the recall stuff...replaced the front inner door handles, and the a/c fittings.

It was like a completely new car when they finished with it, but then, you already have a completely new car and shouldn't have to go through this in Saturn's third model year for the L.

I have a fealing that the L will become Saturn's Edsel (note; there was nothing in particular wrong with the Edsel other than an undeserved reputation for poor quality and a funky name. -Note to self: If I ever build a car, do not name if after one of the kids).

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Old 12-10-2002, 03:56 PM   #4
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Funny... I mentioned 99-T-55B in my little piece of paper that he handed me. Here is exactly what the tech wrote, which appears to be a flat out lie to me, as I have the TSB sitting right in front of me:

ME:
CUSTOMER STATES STEERING VIBRATION AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS-HAS FOUR NEW POTENZA TIRES-BEEN BALANCED THREE TIMES-WAS TOLD TO REFER TO TSB 99T55B

Tech Comment:
NO VIBRATION AT THIS TIME (wrong!)
BULLETIN 99-T-55B REFERS TO ALIGNMENT-NOT BALANCE (that's not what I'm reading...)

Those loaded Volkswagon VR6 Jetta's look nice...
--Nick

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Old 12-10-2002, 04:44 PM   #5
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hehehe..that VR6 gushes oil too

Sorry to hear about your problems.

"Valve cover leaking oil. Ordered new valve cover gasket, will be here next week. OK. "

I havent heard of that one yet.

"The rack needs to be replaced, but they won't do it until they receive the new "redesigned" rack after the first of the year. I was told that the left turn whistle has been confirmed with Saturn Corp and they've marked it as "normal" ... he said every L300 (not the new style) does it. "

the new design will prevent it from happening again, at least thats what everyone is saying. Although 20 days without power steering is an unacceptable answer.

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Old 12-10-2002, 04:50 PM   #6
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Default luckily...

Luckily, I did a smart buy on this car so needless to say, I'm paying my $200 and it's going byebye in three years, even if I never have a problem with it again. I've had very bad luck with cars, new and used.

The only car I've _NEVER_ had a problem with was my '97 Saturn SL2. Aside from a little oil usage, that thing never gave me any trouble for 60,000 miles.

My Fiancee just bought a new ION, luckily she hasn't had any problems with that yet (although it still has less than 200 miles on it). Our sales experience was a complete disaster, but that's a totally different story.

--Nick

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Old 12-10-2002, 05:11 PM   #7
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If they dont feel the vibration then take them for a ride
A fast ride
The TSB is not for balance or alignment.
It is for a steering preload spring.
Holds the front tires in place better.

If you are not satisfied call the CAC as soon as possible.

They will also owe you a new set of tires.

Gerry
On my LW1 it was the left tail light.:-)

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Old 12-10-2002, 05:17 PM   #8
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Here is the TSB


http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/TSBScans/sb631295.pdf

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Old 12-10-2002, 05:41 PM   #9
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This makes me feel really good. I just bought a 2002 L100SE this summer for my wife as a replacement for her '99 Ford Escort. We haven't had any problems with the L yet, but when we do, I'm going to regret trading that Escort. (they had great reliability record...)

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Old 12-10-2002, 05:42 PM   #10
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I checked out my tires, they appear to be fine. Here is exactly what the service document says about the steering:

RECORD INFORMATION FOR CALL WHEN RECEIVE REDESIGN POWER STEERING GEAR

They said this would be sometime in January. Is "power steering gear" synonymous with "power steering rack" ?

--Nick

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Old 12-10-2002, 06:13 PM   #11
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There have been plenty of L's without these sort of problems.

The 2002 L series defects per 100 cars (provided by JD Powers) numbers undercut several big name midsized imports in reliability.

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Old 12-10-2002, 06:38 PM   #12
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Default L reliability

I've always had bad luck with cars, and that's why I took delivery of my 2000 LS2 in September of 2000.

I haven't had any issues with my car besides the Steering rack, which fixed the power steering issue, and the vibration at high speeds. The car still runs great, and the only things I have to do is the 3mo/3000mi Oil change and routiene maintenance. I think in a couple weeks I'll be replacing the brakes, but that's due to how hard I drive the car.

You can't be like "Oh man this car has problems, I hate it". Face it, every car does. For the 2 "problems" which were easily fixed by the dealership for FREE, at my convenience, I am very happy that I don't have a used car with tons of problems.

Even if I was dealing with tons of problems at the 12K mark, I know that the Dealer would fix the issue for free, at my convenience. Yeah, it isn't always the best of times to hang out at the dealership while they fix your car, but hey, you could have someone drop ya off and go do the things you need to do while they are fixing it.

I personally have been very happy with my car, it's realibility, and the assistance of the dealership with any issues.

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Old 12-10-2002, 06:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by woowoo
...Gerry
On my LW1 it was the left tail light.:-)
Yes, it was the left tail light. Don't know how many times I pulled the bulb and cleaned the contacts to make the damn thing work. I finally figured that it wasn't going to make a difference what I did, other than replacing the module.

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Old 12-11-2002, 09:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gerry Proctor
Yes, it was the left tail light. Don't know how many times I pulled the bulb and cleaned the contacts to make the damn thing work. I finally figured that it wasn't going to make a difference what I did, other than replacing the module.
Saturn found out
"the devil's in the details"


To the original poster,

If you are not happy take it to another dealer.
Call the C.A.C and complian
Or
Just keep a list of these items and have them fixed when you do oil changes.
All in all it is not a bad car.

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Old 12-12-2002, 11:23 AM   #15
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Just about every car will have a few design flaws. The L series has been rather famous on the tire vibrations, etc. Some of the other problems you mention (leaking gaskets, etc.) are similar to the small problems that I had with my SW2 when it was new. I had a transmission gasket leak and my coolant light came on due to lost coolant. All the leaks were fixed on the 1st try and haven't come back in 100K+ miles. Some years I haven't done anything but oil changes. Everyone is so busy that we'd all like a car that never ever breaks, but I have found Saturn service to be good, cheap, and reliable - the opposite of the "Dodge Boys" who ran me around in circles with my last car.

It sounds like someone got a real good deal on Gerry's used LW2 since it seems like he probably had it all sorted out by the time he gave up on it and traded it in on the VUE. It is a tough call. Some cars are just trouble forever, others may have a few glitches at first and then settle into steady and reliable. Of course I tend to hold onto cars for longer than average, so maybe I have a longer term point of view?

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Old 12-12-2002, 07:16 PM   #16
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There must be a lot of silent L owners, or I got the only good one in July 2002. It now has 21000Km (12000mi)(I do 500mi per week, and this on one fillup+a little). The only problem so far was vibration after tire rotation, and that was corrected by the dealer by high speed balancing. All in all, I have to say that I am happy with this car

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Old 12-12-2002, 07:24 PM   #17
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Go out and drive the bag off it - when the engine craters and seizes from lack of oil and coolant - you now the have evidence that the dealer wouldn't fix it - should be no problem to get a brand new engine under warranty. Just joking!

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Old 12-13-2002, 07:57 PM   #18
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Had my L300 for almost a year now.

Still no issues.

In fact, I've been gone for over a week travelling and just returned yesterday.

Had forgotten how fun the car is to drive.

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