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Old 06-08-2006, 11:26 PM   #1
maestro
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Default lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

whats the dilly-o !hearing about staying away from certain engines in the saturn vue,,hearing lot of negative about saturn vue ,,,i am intrested in buying one i like the design but,,,reviews and owner expierences,,,some one wanna clear the air for me or is it tru,,,some one said that even saturn knows it ( saturn Vue ) is crap they produced and offering extended warrenties etc,,not sure jus need the truth from vue owners,,please,,,,,response needed thanxx,! Maestro!!!!
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Old 06-09-2006, 04:45 AM   #2
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it tr

The engines in all the Vues are apparently decent depending on your preferences and budget. The CVT tranny used in the earlier 4-bangers are apparently what you'll likely want to avoid from what many of the posts say.
There is a lot of back and forth about the 3.0L V6 (Vauxhall) Vs. 3.5L (Honda) engines. While the Honda engine would seem to be more refined and produces more power with somewhat better fuel economy, the Vauxhall is generally considered reliable and durable while producing enough power to satisfy most drivers. The biggest dings against the Vauxhall engine seem to be questionable water pumps and thermostats, which would be less of an issue if they were easier to access and therefor cheaper to replace if you don't do it yourself. Also the 100,000 mile timing belt change is not cheap partly due to some high dollar single use bolts. The 2.2L Ecotec would seem to be the way to go with a pre '04 Vue if you want maximum fuel economy with the 5-speed stick (see above re CVT).
I recently got an '03 3.0L FWD and am happy with it so far. The deal I got on it (from a family member who made me an offer I couldn't refuse even though I was not in the market for any car) helps minimize any Honda engine envy I might otherwise have!
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Old 06-09-2006, 05:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

most of the negativity is toward the transmissions on 4cyl trannys before 2004
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Old 06-09-2006, 05:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it tr

The ENGINES are fine. The 3.5 Honda went in starting in the 04' Model year. Is it "superior" to the 3.0 Vauxhall? In many ways yes. But the 3.0 is far from a slouch.

The TRANSAXLES are where caution is advised. The CVT, used in ONLY THE 4 CYLINDERS has had its share of problems, and has been discontinued (in ALL GM cars it was put in) Saturn extended the warranty out to 5/75. If I had to hazzard a GUESS, the actual "failure" rate is probably under 10%, but with the overall high reliabity that consumers have come to expect from "modern" cars, that's too high.

The automatics behind the 3.0 AND 3.5 (different units) V6's are fine, the base MANUAL transaxle for the 4cyl (Ecotec) is too.

From from a maintenance princess, the 3.5 Honda engine (same one used in the Oydessy minivan) will require a timing BELT replacement AND valve adjustment within 100K miles. (Just like it will in whatever Honda it is installed in)
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Old 06-09-2006, 09:00 AM   #5
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Happy Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it tr

I have a 2003 w/ the 3.0 l vauxhall engine, w/ awd. The engine has been dead reliable. Never let me down yet. Gets regular oil changes and I ust changed the timing belt at just under 100k. Other than a few thermostat issues early on, this engine has beed good to me. (warranty issues) I regularly pull a 5 x 8 enclosed trailer to my cottage and the engine has been more than up to the duty.
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Old 06-09-2006, 09:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

There's nothng wrong with either of the 2003 VUE engines--they are some of the best around.

It's the auto transmission that's the problem on 4 cyl. 2003 VUE's. It's a CVT transmission called the VTi by Saturn--stay away from it as it's trouble. Because of the VTi problems Saturn gave a 5 year/75,000 mile extended warranty for all VTi owners which is transferrable to any new owner.
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Old 06-09-2006, 09:27 AM   #7
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it tr

This will probably be the kiss of death to my luck, but my 2002 V6 AWD has peformed without a lick of an issue.
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Old 06-09-2006, 09:31 AM   #8
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

Our two 2003 3.0L V6 (GM L-81) VUEs each have about 36K on them and have been fine in regard to the drivetrain. Some of us actually prefer the 3.0L because it's a little 'racier' than the Honda, with it's dual overhead cams and four valves/cylinder. It develops it's power in the higher RPM, and the transmission shift points are correspondingly set. For 'motorheads', the sounds with this engine are delicious. The 5-speed auto works great and has some real 'snappy' shifts. Gas mileage is about the same as the larger and more powerful Honda engine, which speaks to the job the Honda/Saturn engineers did with it's calibration. Neither engine has used any oil or coolant to this point and both VUEs are dry underneath. In fact, I'm getting ready to get underneath one of them and do an oil change this morning - I use Mobil-1 5W30. I think the most frequent posts here about the 2003 concern wheel bearings, brake rotors, front end rattles from brake calipers, sway bar links and bushings, and rear drive modules. To a lesser extent are cooling system problems; water pump leaks and failures and a leak at the crossover pipe between the heads. Certainly not all VUEs will get all or any of these problems in seven years or 100K, but they all remain possibilities. All cars, no matter the price, have things go wrong - it's just part of vehicle ownership. This is why it has been the practice of millions of owners for many years to trade every two years, and more recently, to lease. Anyone buying any three or four year old vehicle must be prepared for some unpleasant surprises, even if they don't happen right away, and the same goes for those of us who decide to keep a vehicle for the long term.
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Old 06-09-2006, 10:06 AM   #9
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

Ok I should pipe up since I gave Maestro some info that I heard, which is what led him to post here. The info about the 4-cyl, and VTi are same as I told him, but regarding the 3.0L engine, I have heard nothing but trouble. What I was told by a very good friend who is a Saturn tech, and has been working at the Saturn dealer for about 10 years that he would never buy one. He was saying the 3.0L was a SAAB sourced poweplant, and that there was a problem with a lot of the castings. He had seen some that had coolant literally seeping though the block. Not a seal, but right through the metal. That was their biggest issue, but I got the impression that they were on the whole an unreliable (or junk to use his words) engine. He loves the VUEs, but would never own a pre-'04 (his wife wants an auto, so 4-cyl 5-spd is out). He was telling me the problem was so bad the many people were given full engine replacements with 5/125(km) extended powertrain warranties, or the entire vehicle was exchanged no questions asked, or in a few cases there were full refunds handed out. This is exactly what I heard from him, and I was shocked since I had never seen any mention of it on here. I knew all about the VTi before I was on SaturnFans, but the 3.0L problems I'd never heard of, and I've noticed there is very talk of them on the board at all. wolfman, I know you were a Saturn tech, but I don't know until when, and you already put your two cents in, but have you ever heard of this happeneing? Or was it an early run issue and 2003 was not affected? Or is this all news to you, all of you?
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Old 06-09-2006, 02:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

I have a 03' 2.2L and I Love Love Love the Ecotec Engine, decent power for the weight of the Vue, itll get up and go nicely, Very reliable, I just switched to Mobil 1 Synth oil and it loves it, and its great with gas.....
Like all the previous posts before, its the VTI transaxle that is the problem, Im on my 3rd one.....
simply put dont get a 02/03/and early 04/ 4 cyl Automatic, 5 spd manuals are fine, and all 3.0/3.5L V6's seem to be fine also. Avoid the VTI tranny at all costs.
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Old 06-09-2006, 04:58 PM   #11
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it tr

Regarding what UZZY said, a search of Wikipedia shows that Saab used a variant of what we refer to as the Vauxhall engine in the 9000 starting way back in 1995. Saab also made it available in the 9-5 between 1999 and 2002. Opel also used them in the Omega model in 1994. Seems to me that (even considering heat/stress cracking issues during field use) porous/leaking block castings would likely be an issue that might be tied to a particular foundry, if not to particular batches. It seems unlikely that GM would have used them in the Caddie Catera, Saturn L-series and Vue if there were unresolved issues of such obvious magnitude.
Maybe some searches in the L-series forums on this site will add some further perspective on whether ther are problems with the 3.0L blocks.
I think the fact that the L81 has been around for so long is a plus for it as one would assume that at least the biggest issues with them should have been resolved to the extent that the basic design allows. Obviously it doesn't incorporate the newest technologies like the Honda does.
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Old 06-09-2006, 07:59 PM   #12
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uzzy
Ok I should pipe up since I gave Maestro some info that I heard, which is what led him to post here. The info about the 4-cyl, and VTi are same as I told him, but regarding the 3.0L engine, I have heard nothing but trouble. What I was told by a very good friend who is a Saturn tech, and has been working at the Saturn dealer for about 10 years that he would never buy one. He was saying the 3.0L was a SAAB sourced poweplant, and that there was a problem with a lot of the castings. He had seen some that had coolant literally seeping though the block. Not a seal, but right through the metal. That was their biggest issue, but I got the impression that they were on the whole an unreliable (or junk to use his words) engine. He loves the VUEs, but would never own a pre-'04 (his wife wants an auto, so 4-cyl 5-spd is out). He was telling me the problem was so bad the many people were given full engine replacements with 5/125(km) extended powertrain warranties, or the entire vehicle was exchanged no questions asked, or in a few cases there were full refunds handed out. This is exactly what I heard from him, and I was shocked since I had never seen any mention of it on here. I knew all about the VTi before I was on SaturnFans, but the 3.0L problems I'd never heard of, and I've noticed there is very talk of them on the board at all. wolfman, I know you were a Saturn tech, but I don't know until when, and you already put your two cents in, but have you ever heard of this happeneing? Or was it an early run issue and 2003 was not affected? Or is this all news to you, all of you?
While the 3.0 had some issues (in the "L" and Catera) with external things (oil coolers, coolant line connections) but I have not heard of ANY with porous castings. (Apparently we sent all those to Canada?) The 3.0 is a widley used engine among GM and GM subsidiaries. It is a proven, reliable, powerplant. I cannot find documnetation of a single "secret warranty" in regards to this issue. (And I have internal GM sources beyond the realm of the public internet)
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfman
While the 3.0 had some issues (in the "L" and Catera) with external things (oil coolers, coolant line connections) but I have not heard of ANY with porous castings. (Apparently we sent all those to Canada?) The 3.0 is a widley used engine among GM and GM subsidiaries. It is a proven, reliable, powerplant. I cannot find documnetation of a single "secret warranty" in regards to this issue. (And I have internal GM sources beyond the realm of the public internet)
I'll ask him to clarify, but he really hates those engines. And he did and still works on them. He did say it was the same one as the L-series. And he definately did say he saw, himself one pourous castings. Maybe GM did send them all to Canada.
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Old 06-09-2006, 09:04 PM   #14
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uzzy
I'll ask him to clarify, but he really hates those engines. And he did and still works on them. He did say it was the same one as the L-series. And he definately did say he saw, himself one pourous castings. Maybe GM did send them all to Canada.
My exposure (1st hand) to them is limited. Likewise I have found them far from fun to work on shoe-horned into the engine compartment of the "L" and I hear the VUE is not much easier (though neither is the 3.5) Give me my Ecotec and all the room in the world to work (if it ever needs it) anytime.
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Old 06-09-2006, 09:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

thats true wolfman. I was suprised they were able to fit the 3.5 and all that under the hood of our vue. When looking at the 2.2L I think you could crawl up in the engine bay and sit there on the front end and do what you wanted. I couldn't believe the room in the engine bay of an 06 2.2L I looked under, I told my wife that was another thing i liked about the 4cyl is the room to work!!! I Love My 3.5 vue but, I would still be happy if we only had gotten the 4cyl its a nice engine, easy to work on from what i know and can see. later, bue05
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:14 AM   #16
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uzzy
but regarding the 3.0L engine, I have heard nothing but trouble.
You hear ONE bad thing from ONE dude and that prompts you to say all the 3.0's are nothing but trouble?? And niether one of you even owns a VUE? Nice. There's nothing wrong with the 3.0's, I've owned one for well over three years and no issues.
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Old 06-10-2006, 03:10 AM   #17
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SLAPSHOT
You hear ONE bad thing from ONE dude and that prompts you to say all the 3.0's are nothing but trouble?? And niether one of you even owns a VUE? Nice. There's nothing wrong with the 3.0's, I've owned one for well over three years and no issues.
He is ONE DUDE that has had his hands on more of them than you've probably seen on the road.
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Old 06-10-2006, 04:07 AM   #18
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uzzy
He is ONE DUDE that has had his hands on more of them than you've probably seen on the road.
Well let's hopefully put this to rest right now...

I did mention that I have access to EVERY TSB and EVERY "bulletin" regarding EVERY model VUE for EVERY year right? (And Every SATURN for that matter)

No "Secret Warranty" or TSB exists regarding the 3.0 and "common" porous or faulty castings. Me tinks the "mystery tech" has an axe to grind because the 3.0 (and 3.5) are not fun to work on in either the VUE or (the 3.0 only) the "L". The nice thing about the 3.5L being that Honda (the engine supplier) DEMANDS that any faulty engine (even for a simple head or manifold gasket leak) be REPLACED in total. (Easier to pull/replace and entire engine than fix an issue on an installed one...when space in the engine bay is limited.)

On a side note, I (from my own observations) think that Uzzy has a real axe to grind when it comes to the VUE, though I am not sure why as he does not even own one?
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Old 06-10-2006, 04:33 AM   #19
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it tr

You may be right Wolfman. It could be that at some point early on Saab was dealt a bad batch of castings and now whenever the mystery tech sees a 3.0 with a puddle under it he visualises blocks that look like swiss cheese!
It should be noted that the version put in the 9-5 was modified to take a supercharger and the modification coupled with the higher stresses involved could have been enough to cause marginal blocks to fail.
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Old 06-10-2006, 12:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: lots of negativity 2003 saturn vue about engins,anybody clear up 4 me or is it true ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfman
Well let's hopefully put this to rest right now...

I did mention that I have access to EVERY TSB and EVERY "bulletin" regarding EVERY model VUE for EVERY year right? (And Every SATURN for that matter)

No "Secret Warranty" or TSB exists regarding the 3.0 and "common" porous or faulty castings. Me tinks the "mystery tech" has an axe to grind because the 3.0 (and 3.5) are not fun to work on in either the VUE or (the 3.0 only) the "L". The nice thing about the 3.5L being that Honda (the engine supplier) DEMANDS that any faulty engine (even for a simple head or manifold gasket leak) be REPLACED in total. (Easier to pull/replace and entire engine than fix an issue on an installed one...when space in the engine bay is limited.)

On a side note, I (from my own observations) think that Uzzy has a real axe to grind when it comes to the VUE, though I am not sure why as he does not even own one?
Now there's an educated fact-based (as opposed to 2nd hand word-of-mouth) post from someone "in the know". Good post wolfman and I agree with your side note.
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