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Old 10-31-2014, 10:00 PM   #21
Chris Arnold
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Just wanted to follow up.

Did a couple more things to the saturn.

- fixed the horn issue
- refixed the squeaking accessory belt (idler pulley)
- replaced the tensioner (a mechanic thought it was the squeaking issue)
- bought snow tires and mounted them the steelies
- got some junkyard Saturn S-series alloy wheels and mounted my summer tires to them.

The horn issue was a tough nut to crack! I replaced the horn switch/airbag, the fuse, the relay, and the horn itself and couldn't get the damned thing to work. I took it to a mechanic who tracked down the problem. It turns out that the fuse box corroded so badly it wasn't sending the signal. Fortunately, the dealer was able to send a replacement box to me for free.

Really, A & S Auto Sales LLC in Toledo did a fantastic job supporting me after the sale. It's a great car and it came with excellent customer service to boot. They specialize in Saturns and helped me out after the sale by sending the used parts I needed to get the car working right. I'm so happy I did business with them. So, I couldn't more highly recommend them.

I bought some alloy wheels from a junkyard for $30/wheel, and a couple of matching tires that had some life left in them. I was hoping for more of a weight difference, but after measuring them when I got back home, they were 4 lbs lighter per wheel than the steelies. The alloys were $20/wheel more than the steelies. In hindsight, I don't think the 4 lbs difference per wheel will increase fuel economy by enough to cover the higher cost of each wheel. It's ok though. Aside from the very slight increase in fuel economy, I should get better overall performance from them in handling and braking, too. I'd be surprised if the difference was even discernible, but I still feel good about it . Two of my old tires were completely worn on the inside but not on the outside. The car tracks very straight, but I think it may have an alignment issue. I put the summers back on the car, and I plan to swap the winters on later this month when we start getting snow that sticks.

I'm frustrated at my mechanic a little. I'm glad he found the pesky fuse box issue, but he failed to fix the squeaking accessory belt. He diagnosed it as a loose tensioner, and charged me $230 to replace it. However, it didn't fix the problem, as the car still squeaked in the cold. When I called him, he tried to shift the blame to me saying that he originally recommended changing the belt, because he didn't like the Dayco brand belt I replaced the last one with. I almost did that, but I decided to pull the idler pulley. The bearing felt gritty to me. I ended up replacing it in the Autozone parking lot in about 15 minutes for $17.99 + tax, and now the squeak is really gone. I feel like I wasted that $230, and I'm thinking about asking him for a free alignment to make up for it. Is that reasonable?

So, now that the car has the minor mechanical issues sorted, I plan to get an alignment, and I also want to put some double-sided tape under the dash panel to eliminate a slightly annoying rattle that happens occasionally when I hit a bump or get vibration from the road surface.
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Old 10-31-2014, 10:28 PM   #22
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One other thing. I fabricated a dash cell phone mount using a phone belt clip and some velcro strips. I love the setup. It makes it easy to charge the phone and use it for navigation, make calls, or whatever set up here. You can see it, and the other electronics (top-left Radar detector, top-right GPS, Bluetooth enabled stereo, ipod, and cell phone) in one of the attached pics.

I also attached a couple pics that show the corroded fuse box and the fuse connectors that are under the top cover of the new fuse box. The chevy dealership parts department said that the S-series cars had the same fuse box from '00-'02 regardless of options. This was untrue. For lack of a better term, the "fuse-pin-connectors" for the ABS were absent in the fuse box that was pulled from another '02 S-series. So, if any of you ends up doing this, make sure you get a box with ABS if you have one, or be willing to disassemble the box to add the connectors, as I did.
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Old 11-01-2014, 12:13 AM   #23
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Oh, and I just wanted to throw in there, too, that I have been getting in the 35mpg +/- 1mpg range with each full tank. I'm keeping a close eye on the mileage and oil levels during every fuel fill.

Most of my driving is on the highway, and I rarely feel the need to push the car harder than about 60mph. I'm usually not in a hurry to get anywhere. Still, I'd imagine if I went for broke, I could probably pull 40mpg from the car.

Driving the car really economically is kinda tough. On flat ground, the car should be in 5th at about 35 mph. That's probably right around peak fuel efficiency, too, which is a bit too slow for highways. So, it feels a bit out of its most efficient RPM at 60+ on the highway to me. I think a 6th gear would make it an easy 40mpg highway car at a comfortable speed. Nevertheless, I have no problem setting the cruise and running at any reasonable highway speed.

I've gone more than 1600 miles since I filled the oil. It's stayed between the "F" and the "U" since I changed the oil. So, it doesn't seem to be burning a drop.
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Old 11-01-2014, 01:22 AM   #24
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Weclome and congratulations on your super-clean low mileage SL2!

I'm assuming that since you said the car came from NY that you are there also? For future threads, you might edit your profile to put your location and your car so that others immediately know where you are and what year/model you're talking about.




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Old 12-14-2014, 03:38 PM   #25
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So, I got a check engine light last week. Went to Autozone and had them run the codes. They got 5.

1.
U1000: Their tool said something about ABS, but my googling led me to believe that this might be a BCM communications issue.

2.
P0128: According to their print out, "Coolant temp is always low." So, I ordered a new temp sensor and thermostat and swapped them, today. On my test drive, the gauge read a little higher than before at right around 3/8s. Idling in my driveway, the temps came up slightly over 1/2 way. I think there may still be a bubble or two in the system that need to be worked out, though. Not overly concerned there.

3 & 4.
Two of them were RPM condition codes, but I only got one of the receipts: P1599: "over-rev condition has been detected"

I don't know what the code number was for the other one, but it was an under rev condition. I suspect it's probably from stalling it, which has happened once or twice over the last couple of weeks. The over rev condition surely came from me running it out in a few gears over the last couple of weeks, too. So, I'm not overly concerned there.

5. Can't remember, at the moment. I don't think it was significant, though, and they didn't give a print out.

Can anyone help me with the first condition: U1000? I have no idea what that means and what troubleshooting to do.

Thanks,

Chris
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Old 12-15-2014, 03:50 PM   #26
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Can anyone help me with the first condition: U1000?
I think you're on the right track, probably communications issue. Start with cleaning grounds

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...ighlight=U1000

At the top of your web page is a bunch of links that look like this:

SaturnFans.com Forums > Models > Saturn S-Series > S-Series General

For codes, a quick way to search this site but limit the search to this model Saturn, click the link labeled "Saturn S-Series" in the "trail" at the top of the page. That will show all 3 S-series specific forums (general, technical, and mods). In the search, pop in your code, U1000.

It will search all three model-specific forums for that term.
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:36 AM   #27
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Thanks for your feedback, again.

I think I'm going to leave U1000 alone. It looks like a tremendous PITA to diagnose properly. More importantly, I haven't noticed any symptom associated with the code, aside from the code itself. I took your recommendation and cleaned up the grounds, anyway.

I'm going to keep this thread going to keep track of my work on the car. I love the car, so far!

The SES is off, again. I think it was related to the low coolant temps.

Other work:
- Swapped the front lower control arms on both sides. The ball-joint on the front left wheel had excessive play and prohibited a proper alignment. Now that they're swapped, I hope to get the alignment in, today.

- Cleaned and added dialectric grease to the grounds next to the fuse box (EBTCS ground?) and to the PCM ground on both sides (PCM and strut tower).

The other code that I couldn't remember was some weird cruise control fault. Something about it being on for too long, which makes absolutely no sense to me. I do recall having an issue where the cruise control failed, but after restarting the car, it worked properly again.

Current issues with the car:
- out of alignment
- a very slightly noticeable vibration that may be a front wheel bearing at 62-65 mph. I'm not sure I'm going to do anything for now.
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Old 01-10-2015, 05:02 AM   #28
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Just before christmas, in my last post, I replaced both control arms. I headed over to Firestone and got the lifetime alignment deal for $185 after my military discount. The alignment was close enough, but the camber on the front on both sides was +0.7 degrees, which is outside of tolerance (-1.2 to .2). It was close enough, though. Plus, the mechanic said that he'd maxed out the available adjustment slot. So, I left it alone, and the car drove nicely.

Then, embarrassingly, I hit a curb that I didn't see so badly that I blew out the front right tire, and bent the lower control arm, which was brand new. The alignment was completely jacked up. What a PITA after just replacing the LCA and aligning the car! I just didn't see the curb because the snow on the road was fresh, and it was coming down like a blizzard.

Well, tonight I re-replaced the passenger front LCA, and I also bought some eccentric strut "cam" bolts. I've read a lot of posts saying that they may shear because they're thinner than stock. So, I'm keeping the stock bolts, but I wanted to give these things a try.

Tomorrow, I'll get the car re-aligned. Hopefully, it'll be good as it was a week ago.
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Old 01-10-2015, 08:17 AM   #29
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- a very slightly noticeable vibration that may be a front wheel bearing at 62-65 mph. I'm not sure I'm going to do anything for now.
Thanks for the updates.....

Did you rotate & balance the tires yet?? I had that same thing even after a rotate & balance, so I had them do a "Road Force" balance & it went away.
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:30 AM   #30
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Thanks for the updates.....

Did you rotate & balance the tires yet?? I had that same thing even after a rotate & balance, so I had them do a "Road Force" balance & it went away.
No rotations, but I balanced both the summers and the winters. In the 8k miles I've driven since I bought it in September, I switched from the old summers to a better set of summers I found in the JY. I switched again from the summers to brand new winters that I bought in November. Also, I have a tread depth gauge and I checked the tread on all of my tires. 3 of the 4 winters are at 8/32nds across the tread, and the brand new replacement for the passenger front had just less than 10/32nds.

I haven't felt the vibration since I got the new front right tire on. I'm wondering if your suspicion of a tire balance issue was the culprit. Still, to feel the vibration, I have to be on a very smooth road and cruising in the speed range. So, I'll have to wait for my next long drive to check it out again.

I can say one thing with certainty: I will not be replacing a wheel bearing until the situation is much worse and I'm confident that it is the problem. I've looked at what it takes to swap the WB out, and it is not as easy as cars I've done in the past. The jobs I've done had the WB as part of the spindle and connected to the brake rotor. It was fairly easy to get them off using the weight of the brake rotor against the Hub nut. On the Saturn, WB removal looks like a big PITA by comparison. I'm pretty sure that when it comes time, I'd rather go the route of replacing the Hub assembly instead.

Another update: I just changed the oil again today with 5W-30. The 0W-40 I went with in September was fine with the warm weather. In November-ish, I went back to 5W-30 due to the cold and noticed less valvetrain noise at startup. So, I'll stay with 5-30 through the winter, and when it warms up again, I'll go back to the 0W-40 again. I've decided to swap oil every 4k. I just can't bring myself to swap synthetic every 3. The car is at 80,400 miles now. It's hard to believe that I put 8k miles on it in just 4 months. Needless to say, I'm extremely satisfied with it. It's a great car. My mother and her fiance told me 2 weeks ago that they like it so much they'd like me to help them find another one just like it for them.
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:41 AM   #31
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Yes, have the balancing & rotating done at a reputable place, and make sure you talk with them about exactly what your feeling. Have them do the "Road Force" balancing, ensuring the inside of the rims are clean of attached tar, debris, etc before they do it. After I did all of that, the vibration went away.

If not that, check the ball joints well.
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:37 PM   #32
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That was an fair deal where I am from. But even if you were to have paid a little more than average it looks like it would have been worth it It's a great looking, unmolsted car!
The only thing I would worry about is the Macco paint job. Keep an eye on the edges of all the steel panels. Macco is notorious for poor prep work. If the edges let loose on the plastic, no biggie unless it gets ugly but on the steel panels you could possibly open yourself up to rust.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:28 PM   #33
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Sucks about the curb, but it's great not to have to pay for an alignment with the Firestone deal. Been at least 5 years since I paid for an alignment, definitely got my money's worth.
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Old 01-16-2015, 05:34 PM   #34
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That was an fair deal where I am from. But even if you were to have paid a little more than average it looks like it would have been worth it It's a great looking, unmolsted car!
The only thing I would worry about is the Macco paint job. Keep an eye on the edges of all the steel panels. Macco is notorious for poor prep work. If the edges let loose on the plastic, no biggie unless it gets ugly but on the steel panels you could possibly open yourself up to rust.
Thanks for the heads up. I'll take a close look at them the next time the car is lifted.

On a similar note, I've noticed some minor/expected rust on the subframe, and what I'd like to do is something that will probably get me into some trouble with environmentalists. I've been told that coating the bottom of the car with used engine oil does wonders in preventing rust and the spread of rust. The stuff I read recommended getting a garden sprayer and lightly coating the areas of concern.

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Sucks about the curb, but it's great not to have to pay for an alignment with the Firestone deal. Been at least 5 years since I paid for an alignment, definitely got my money's worth.
Yes, it's almost paid itself off with this incident alone.

I wanted to follow up about the camber bolts, in case anyone decides to do the same thing. I needed camber bolts because of the results of my first alignment. The mechanic who did the work said he'd maxed out the bottom bolt's adjustment slot and the front camber was still at +0.7 degrees. The book says preferred camber is -0.5 degrees with an acceptable range of -1.2 to +0.2 degrees. I was going to leave it alone and drive it, but after I bent the passenger LCA and had to go get another alignment anyway, I figured I might as well get it right, this time.

I went in to Advance auto parts and they had 2 different camber bolt kits. Both were Moog. Here are the Links and part#s:
K90474, and
K5330.

After looking at both in person, I decided on the K90474, because they are all metal components, whereas the other set used some little plastic bits that I thought might eventually get brittle and break after some abuse. I installed them with the "+" straight up (neutral) in the top bolt hole on all 4 struts, in accordance with the directions that came with the bolts. I've kept the OE bolts in case they don't keep their setting well.

Anyway, I went back to Firestone with the new bolts and passenger-side LCA. This is what they came back with after their alignment:



Obviously, I was not happy. The camber bolt kit managed to subtract just half a degree on the left front and only 3-tenths on the right. The mechanic said he'd maxed the cam bolts on top and the slots on the bottom, but when I asked if he'd pointed the "+" at 90* inwards, he didn't know what I meant. So, I got under the car when I got home and looked. Turns out that on the passenger side, he'd pointed the "+" about 75-80* inwards, instead of the full adjustment. So, there's probably another .1-.3 degrees left in the adjustment. The driver's side had plenty of adjustability left, but I assume that was done to keep cross camber correct.

Still, this is a far cry from the 1.75* adjustability that the bolts claim.

Also, it doesn't look like they touched the camber on the rear. I think with these settings, there won't be any noticeable tire wear. So, there's not going to be any hell-raising this time around. However, in a couple oil changes, and/or after the switch back to my summer wheels/tires, I'm going to max out the camber adjustments up front myself and on the left rear myself before I head back there. That way, the "before" measurements will clearly show what the max adjustment really is.

I guess my advice to anyone thinking about the camber bolts is to try a different set, or go the extra step and just drill out the slots on the struts' bottom bolt holes. Hope it helps someone...
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Old 01-16-2015, 05:50 PM   #35
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Another update: I just changed the oil again today with 5W-30. The 0W-40 I went with in September was fine with the warm weather. In November-ish, I went back to 5W-30 due to the cold and noticed less valvetrain noise at startup. So, I'll stay with 5-30 through the winter, and when it warms up again, I'll go back to the 0W-40 again. I've decided to swap oil every 4k. I just can't bring myself to swap synthetic every 3. The car is at 80,400 miles now. It's hard to believe that I put 8k miles on it in just 4 months. Needless to say, I'm extremely satisfied with it. It's a great car. My mother and her fiance told me 2 weeks ago that they like it so much they'd like me to help them find another one just like it for them.
You should stay away from the 0w-anything oil as this is for subzero weather or newer car spec for fuel economy. Stick with the 5w-30 year round, or 10w-30 in summer
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:43 PM   #36
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You should stay away from the 0w-anything oil as this is for subzero weather or newer car spec for fuel economy. Stick with the 5w-30 year round, or 10w-30 in summer
No. I've done a lot of research on oils in my time. This correction will come across as arrogant... but there's no way around it:

0W implies nothing about the oil's performance at operating temperature. So, it has nothing at all to do with fuel economy. 0W-40, for example, will actually yield worse fuel economy than 5W-30 or 10W-30, because it is actually a thicker oil at operating temperature than the 30-grade "weight" oils. Therefore, fuel-economy will suffer with the 40-weight oil.

0W only gives you an idea of the rate at which viscosity changes in response to temperature. Therefore, 0W-30 would remain thinner than 5W-30 at start-up in cold weather. It would also remain thicker than the 5W at temperatures higher than normal engine operating temps. That's a good thing... better than 5W. I don't know of any 0W-30, however, so that specific comparison is moot. Still, there's no advantage, for example to running 10W-30 vs. 5W-30 in the summer, unless you can get it cheaper. At operating temperature, both oils will be 30-weight viscosity.

Now 40-weight has a couple of benefits. 40-weight oil has higher viscosity and shear strength SAE minimums at operating and high pressure/temp extremes. Mobil 1 0W-40 oil also remains thicker than M1 5W-30 down to ~-31*F.

Those are the facts, and here's where it becomes a mix of facts + my opinion:

- At cold start in the summer, 0W-40 flows & pressurizes quickly enough. This follows from the fact that if your summers are 10-18*F warmer than your winters, 0W-40 will crank more easily in summer than 5W-30 cranks in winter.

- As S-series owners, we're concerned about oil-burning. 40-weight oil should resist flowing past the oil rings more so than 30-weight oil, so that alone will at least slightly reduce oil consumption. M1 0W-40 is also less likely to shear at higher temps than M1 5W-30. My theory is that this will better protect the rings/cylinder walls and leave fewer deposits, which should help to prevent or delay the "sticking" oil control rings that members here have attributed the oil burning problem to.

I will, therefore, continue to use 5W-30 in winter and 0W-40 in the Summer.
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:06 PM   #37
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Final points about oil:

- I am not hasty to recommend a specific oil for an engine across its entire life. I believe that as engine mileage increases, oil passages widen. The OEM recommendation typically applies to new engines driven in normal conditions. It's perfectly fine, and probably appropriate at some point to switch to a thicker oil at higher mileage. At 80k miles, it might be a bit early for this argument, but given the other points, I believe it is appropriate to do so.

- I'd stick with 0W-40 year-round if I didn't hear the extra valve-train clatter in the 15*F and below range.
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Old 02-12-2015, 01:22 AM   #38
Chris Arnold
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Fort Knox, KY
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2002 SL2
Default Re: New to Saturn

Slept in the car while idling with the heater on at a gas station on a long trip back from Fort Knox, yesterday -- spare me the carbon monoxide lesson :-). I woke up to steam coming from under the hood. A whistling sound was coming from the overflow reservoir cap, and I glanced down to see the temp gauge maxed. I shut the car down, replaced the lost 1/2 gallon of coolant, restarted the car to let it circulate which brought temps out of the red, but were still above 3/4, and then I noticed that the fan was not on. Fortunately, the engine seems fine, and while moving temps came back down to normal. I was able to drive the car for the rest of my trip without noticing anything abnormal.

Today, I found the culprit, a blown fuse for the fan. I replaced it, let her idle for a while in my driveway, and the fan began to work at slightly over 1/2 on the temp gauge.

My concern now is what caused the fuse to blow. I'm thinking that this might be an early sign that the fan motor is going bad and possibly drawing too much current. Any thoughts?
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Old 03-11-2015, 08:47 AM   #39
Chris Arnold
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Fort Knox, KY
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2002 SL2
Default Re: New to Saturn

Just wanted to report in. I took the car on a hellaciously long trip from Dayton, Ohio --> NYC-->Atlantic City --> D.C. --> several places along the east coast --> Daytona Beach --> Fort Lauderdale --> Bahia Honda island --> Key West --> Miami --> Orlando --> Atlanta --> Augusta --> back to Dayton. Altogether, the trip was right around 4,000 miles.

It was a trip with 3 of my younger German friends who wanted to see the east coast, and then I wanted to see a few people I know after they flew out of Miami.

The car was fantastic! I slept in it overnight at least 5 times at various campgrounds and rest areas. It was cold enough once, and hot enough a couple times that I let it run most of the night to regulate the temperature. Even when I left it running all night, once, it only used about 1/4 tank. My worries about the electric fan never came to anything. The fan ran all night and for many hours while driving around in the florida sun without ever blowing the fuse again.

I actually failed to measure the best fuel mileage I attained for part of the trip, which is unlike me. However, I made part of the trip from Augusta-->Dayton alternating between cruising at 55mph up hills or on flat roads, and drifting down hills that would maintain or increase speed. My best "recorded" average was 42.5 mpg. I think my best actual average was significantly better, because I got to 3/4 of a tank at 180 miles, which corresponds to about 3.5 gallons and somewhere closer to 50mpg. I think the way I drive in the mountains is similar to the hypermilers' pulse-and-glide techniques.

The right rear tail light went out at one point, but I tapped the outer light fixture and it came back on. I guess that's a short, and I'll hit it up with some electrical grease and a good clean if it happens again. Other than that, one of my winter tires has a small bubble in the sidewall that should be covered by tire rack's warranty. There were no mechanical faults or concerns about the old Saturn, and the car has 86,500 miles on her, now. That's 14,500 miles since I bought her on 01 September, about 6 months ago, and I'm happier with that car every day.
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Old 03-11-2015, 03:29 PM   #40
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1998 SL2
Default Re: New to Saturn

Nice!

No clue on the fan... maybe take a look at the owner's manual (or search saturnfans for a schematic) and see what else is on that fuse?

If sleeping in the car a lot and leaving it running, with the fan being a worry, there is probably some way to rig up a buzzer or alarm to go off when the temp gets high
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