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Old 06-02-2011, 01:00 AM   #1
adventureoflink
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1997 SL2
Wrench New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

1. ECTS (Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor). This is one of several ďheartsĒ of the system, which helps maintain fuel economy. The original ones from 1991-mid 2001 (itís virtually impossible to tell when the changeover happened) were made of resin/plastic, which liked to crack, causing incorrect readings to the PCM. It should be noted that there are two sensors on the 1991-1995 S-series engines (the one wire sensor controls the temperature gauge; the two wire sensor is the actual ECTS), and 1996-2002 just have the two wire sensor only. The connectors also liked to leak and corrode, which also assists in telling the PCM ďliesĒ about how the engine is running. You should replace this with a brass tipped sensor. While the connector can be cleaned out with some CRC electrical cleaner, in general itís accepted to replace this connector with either a junked Saturnís IAT connector (same sensor, same wiring) or an LED connector from an old computer. Be sure to solder and heat-shrink wrap your splices!! When in doubt, replace the ECTS anyway. Itís only $10 or so, and just because itís brass, doesnít necessarily mean itís bulletproof.
ECTS/connector R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cucm7QGlsYs
Using a PC motherboard connector for the ECTS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ageV7g6eyw

2. Thermostat. This is another ďheartĒ to maintaining good fuel economy. It can also help with having good, toasty heat in the winter. Old thermostats like to fail in one of two positions: Open, which doesnít allow the engine to reach normal operating temperature (at best the gauge will peg at ľ line or ~160 degrees F or LOWER Ė BAD NEWS for your engine and heat!), or closed, which will allow for the kick-butt fuel economy AND heating, but has one downside: it can cause your engine to overheat. More often than not it will fail open though. It is recommended to replace this with a STANT 14279 188/195 degrees F thermostat.
Thermostat R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEoLFrg8IUI

3. Front Oxygen Sensor (on the exhaust manifold). Whilst not a common issue, itís worth mentioning, as itís the third ďheartĒ to maintaining good fuel economy and emissions, as this also controls the open/closed loop operation. It is the last to warm up as part of the carís normal operation. If it goes into open loop when it should be closed, you can experience rich running; if it goes closed loop when it should be open, it will run lean.

To test your exhaust manifold O2 sensor, you'll need a propane torch and a voltmeter. If you don't have a torch, one is here:

http://www.harborfreight.com/electri...rch-91061.html

The propane cans it takes are 1.02#, usually found in the camping department of Walmart* and/or K-Mart, no more than $5. You also have to remove the black plastic thing off the torch head (where the electrode is) and press the red button to check for a hairline spark to make sure it'll light. No propane is required or recommended for this quick Q/A test. And YES, the cap has to be off, or else it won't even light. Its instruction manual doesn't even mention this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdn4Dk5PSwc -- this'll put everything into prespective for you. Basically the sensor voltage needs to hit .9v within a minute and stay consistent (eg: little to no fluctuation), and upon removal of the sensor from the flame, it needs to go back to .1 and then 0v within three seconds. Make sure to get the sensor head as close as possible to the base of the torch flame.

WARNING: The O2 sensor will be piping hot after this test. Be sure to have some decent heat resistant gloves on hand before attempting this, and let the sensor cool down some before re-installing it into the manifold.

Oh yeah, if you need an O2 sensor, recommended brands are Denso and NGK/NTK.

*Credits go to OldNuc*

Exhaust manifold O2 sensor R&R here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju7Znf3Z01A

3.5. Recommended times to test your front O2 sensor. It should ideally be done if an advanced code reader (scan gauge, tech-2, the expensive stuff Snap-On and such provide, etc) finds a LOOP IS OPEN condition in the freeze frame data or in real time (especially with the engine temperature at or around 195 degrees F), and/or whenever you get one (or more) of the following SES codes set:

P0030 HO2S Heater Control Circuit (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
P0031 HO2S Heater Control Circuit Low (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
P0032 HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
P0053 HO2S Heater Resistance (Bank 1, Sensor 1)
P0130 02 Sensor Circuit Malfunction (Bank I Sensor 1)
P0131 02 Sensor Circuit Low Voltage (Bank I Sensor I)
P0132 02 Sensor Circuit High Voltage (Bank I Sensor 1)
P0133 02 Sensor Circuit Slow Response (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
P0134 02 Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected (Bank I Sensor 1)
P0135 02 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
P0170 Fuel Trim Malfunction (Bank 1)
P0171 System too Lean (Bank 1)
P0172 System too Rich (Bank 1)
P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)
P0421 Warm Up Catalyst Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)

4. Spark Plugs and Wires. You should change these every two years or 30k miles; wires I personally would let go until every 60k miles or if you get any kind of P0340/P0341 or misfire codes. ALWAYS USE NGK COPPER SPARK PLUGS, and any mid-priced wire set. I personally prefer AC-Delco wires.
As a note, if you DO get a P0340 and/or P0341 code, itís time to change the spark plugs and wires, and even clean/inspect the ignition coils/module. If ignition coils/module have to be replaced, itís always best to find them from any junked Saturn, 1991-2002. ALWAYS use NGK coppers, as the platinum plugs can screw with the G.M. waste spark system, causing misfires, running rough, etc.
Spark plug R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqB2nq0V07c
Spark plug wire R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq5hRTjll3E (donít worry about the retainer; thatís on 3rd gen engines IIRC)
Ignition coil/module R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XgHM1i5jK8

5. Fuel Filters. 1991-1997, it really doesnít matter what brand you use, for the most part. 1998-2002, however, does. It matters in those years due to the pressure regulator being built into the filter. If the regulator isnít working properly, it can cause lean running mixtures sent to the engine, causing burnt valves and other costly headaches. For this reason, itís best to replace with either an OEM, WIX, or NAPA fuel filter.
Fuel Filter R&R of a 1998-2002 S-series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVeyA6B2afU

6. Water Pump. At 10-12 years (or 100-120k miles) these like to leak coolant ALL OVER the backside of your front passengerís side tire, usually mandating a tow truck to come rescue you. When in doubt, or if itís past any multiple of 100k-120k miles, REPLACE ASAP as a preventative maintenance measure.
Water Pump R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRbUjGLviMY
Also check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRpG1BIVRcc

7. Radiator. At 10-12 years, these like to pop at the driverís side endtank, usually around the transaxle cooling line input. At first these can start off as steam leaks, but can evolve to something worse, REALLY fast, to where youíd need a tow truck to bail you out. Trust me, it has happened to me once. Recommended brands of replacement are Silla and Delphi.
Radiator R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nUyGjeLpVs

8. Radiator cooling fan. At unknown intervals (this happens more often in the ďSun BeltĒ than other places), the fan motors like to go out, also aiding in overheating, poor running air conditioning, etc. If you suspect any of these conditions, hot-wire the fan motor to the battery. If it doesnít scream while running, itís time to replace it.
Cooling fan R&R and testing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnFFEFrlXlo

9. Coolant. This should be flushed every five years or 100k miles (or if using the green stuff, two years or 30k miles). When in doubt, or when itís past any year/mileage flush interval, DO SO, especially after doing any kind of cooling system maintenance (replacing hoses, water pump, radiator, thermostat, etc). Flushing at regular intervals can help keep your water pump in check and can help maintain a good, solid inside part of your engine where everything flows as it should, as the additives in coolant will deplete over time, making it dirty and sludgy. Most board members prefer using the green coolant as opposed to the OEM Dex-cool; this horse has been beat to death MANY times in the past.
Flushing instructions: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...89&postcount=1

9.5. Coolant light making itself known, full reservoir of coolant, and you. Chances are the float is stuck in your coolant reservoir, causing it to erratically turn on. The cure for this is that it needs to be cleaned out.
Reservoir cleaning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5814yr2p_Y

10. Stop-leak products of ANY kind. Ah yes, the legendary fix in a can, which can instantaneously repair ANY kind of leak, ANYWHERE on your carís system (coolant, engine oil, transaxle, air conditioner, etc). It should be noted that these products simply DO NOT WORK, and when they do, they either donít hold out for very long, or simply make your problems worse. Itís ALWAYS best to repair ANY kind of leak, the CORRECT way, even if itíll initially lead into a big repair bill (because hey, using the stop leak will accelerate that bill faster and youíll have to pay up at some point anyway, right..? or maybe that stop leak will accelerate that bill in other, unknown ways, like clogging the heater core or A/C compressor...?).
It should be noted that the ONLY exception to this is the Barís Leaks ginger root seal, or about 30-50 grams of ginger root, put into the cooling system. This will help stop MINOR head gasket leaks and prevent them. It was used from the factory, from day one.

***continued in the second post, due to the 10,000 character limit***

...
97 SL2
DOB: 3/19/97
Date Obtained: 5/30/07
Status: Alive, 1/2 exhaust

2004 Merc G.Marquis GS
DOB: 2/4/04
Date Obtained: 7/6/12
Status: Alive, no heat

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Old 06-02-2011, 01:04 AM   #2
adventureoflink
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1997 SL2
Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

***continued from post #1***

11. Oil and filters. Iím not going to get into a big argument here about oil and filters (itís been beaten like a dead horse too many times to count), though most board members claim success with various diesel oils, and ESPECIALLY Mobil-1 full synthetic oil. Most filters are good; many members claim success with Ford Motocraft, AC-Delco, Purolator, K&N, and WIX Oil filters, long or short. Be sure to use 5w-30 oil whenever possible, but you can use 10w-30 in the summer months (or all year round if you live in the ďSun BeltĒ). Be sure to also replace with about four quarts of oil; you may need a little more if youíre using a long filter.
Oil/filter R&R here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_AtxXKU1h4 (though it IS possible to get at it from underneath using ramps/jackstands)

11.5. Old Saturns NEVER die, People KILL Ďem, SO CHECK YOUR DAMN OIL!! Ė Wolfman
Do so, as these Saturns LOVE to go through oil. Check your oil especially during the first few fillups to get an idea on how much oil you're using. Usually 1 quart per 1,000 miles isn't too bad. If your oil burning is bad/severe, people have had hit and miss luck by doing piston soaks with additives such as MMO, Auto-Rx, and SeaFoam. The only tried and true way to curb the burning is to re-ring the pistons and drill drain holes in them.
If, however, you also have a leak, first thing to do is check the spark plugs for oil soaks, as well as anywhere around the valve cover (AKA that thing that says OHV/EFI for SOHC engines and TWIN CAM 16 VALVE for DOHC engines). If you see it leaking out of there (and/or in the spark plug holes, usually #1), chances are you need a new valve cover gasket, and probably a new valve cover itself due to warpage. Many board members have had success yanking a valve cover off a gen-1 engine (due to the aluminum design) and swapping it. BE SURE TO ALSO GRAB THE BOLTS FOR THAT COVER.

12. Motor Mount. Put it this way: If you get all kinds of vibrations, AND you can fit your fingers between the metal and rubber part of the mount, itís time to just replace it. Be sure to replace with a SOLID mount only, preferably OEM. Although most board members claim success with parts store SOLID mounts (when and if they find them), sometimes itís for the better to go OEM with this one. DO NOT use frowny style mounts, as these can make your problems MUCH worse, AND can even take the studs and timing cover along with it. When going to the parts store, do inspect the mounts they offer, as every once in awhile they will unwillingly stock a solid mount (even though 8 times out of 10 itís the crap-o frowny ones).
Upper motor mount R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaugUfILmGE
Mount testing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWN3tplXr8U

13. AAA membership. For ANY S-series 1991-2002 (and any used car made over five years ago, let alone something already paid for), itís best to carry one of these on you. When possible, just ignore the fact that you have roadside assistance through your insurance company, as it either:
* may not cover everything
* it can count against you as part of your claims history AND can be grounds for termination through your insurance
* you may have to pay first and then get reimbursed later
So in the long run, just purchase a AAA membership. Itís not all that expensive, AND can be REALLY handy if you get in a pinch.

14. Battery. Every five years (or when itís close to its out of warranty period, whatever comes first) replace it as part of preventative maintenance. If itís let go, it can cause your starting to be slower than usual, wonít charge all the way, the heater wonít work as it should, automatic transaxles can slam/slip, ABS lights will come and go as they please, etc. And if you let it go too long, it can even take out your alternator, causing an expensive (and usually avoidable and unnecessary) repair. While R&Ríing the battery, itís best to also check the terminals for corrosion and clean/replace as necessary.
Battery mount R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MUUY2EE38c

15. Starts up, runs for ~10 minutes, once it reaches operating temperature, itíll die and wonít restart until itís cooled down. This is the end result of a crankshaft position sensor headache. This is THE heart and soul of an EFI system, as it senses the crank, when to send spark, etc. On Saturns, itís usually above and behind the starter, and you need a 10mm head socket to remove the one bolt it supports itself to. 99% of the time, you will NOT get a crankshaft position sensor code (although there are codes designated for it and people HAVE tripped one in the past) due to it being the heart and soul of the EFI system. No CPS = no spark or crank sensing = dead engine.
CPS R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVTFFOwqNZM (word of warning, be sure to have good speakers and turn this video up louder than normal, itís kinda quiet)


16. Towing/hauling. Keep in mind that these are small cars, NOT trucks or old muscle cars. These Saturns were meant to compete with other compacts, domestic and import. That being said, the weight limit is 1,000#s. Hint: U-haul hitches and trailers will usually eat up ~250-700#s of this weight limit. Going over this limit might result in unneeded wear/tear on your drivetrain, if not the load ripping off of the vehicle. For better results with towing/hauling heavy loads, you might want to use a higher octane fuel (and the ownerís manual DOES recommends this).

17. Fuel octanes. Whenever possible, just use 87, preferably from a source that does NOT use ethanol. Not only is it the cheapest, but using a higher octane usually doesnít help with fuel economy. The only times I would suggest using a higher octane fuel would be:
* in the sun/humid belt regions, when itís over 100 degrees F
* to help diagnose/troubleshoot knocking/pinging
* towing/hauling heavy loads
(note: these tips also come from the ownerís manual as well, for all the anti-higher-than-87-octane people out there.)

18. Intake Manifold (Gaskets).

* 2000-2002 SOHC engines: P0301 + P0507 = a nice recipe for a soured intake manifold gasket. Due to a defect from the factory (either miscalibrated robots or a bad IM gasket), these things like to leak vaccuum and set these two SES codes usually right around... NOW. These two codes, as well as spraying brake cleaner around the cyl #1 area will confirm this.
* 1999.5-2001/2002 DOHC engines: these liked to leak coolant, and there is a TSB out there for it.

19. SOHC engines, oil in the coolant, and you. 1995-2002 SOHC engines from time to time will pop the head (usually around the #5 can journal), causing a hairline crack to leak oil into the coolant.

20. Throttle Body. I'm sure you've noticed a sticking accelerator (NOT like the Toyotas mind you), slightly less gas mileage, harder to push in the accelerator, idle being funky especially when stopping at stop lights/signs, right? If so, these are the classic signs of needing to give your throttle body and IAC (Idle Air Control) Valve a good scrubdown. Oh yeah, if you start the car, the idle pegs at ~2,000 RPM, and you shut the car down and it goes away, it's time to replace the TPS (Throttle Position Sensor). Don't worry, it's also right on the Throttle Body as well.
Throttle Body/IAC Valve Cleaning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc5qCuQLmFE

21. Power losses. If you notice one as well as a code P0404, and slightly lower fuel economy, it's time to clean or replace your EGR valve. You can verify the power loss by blocking the EGR valve with a temporary gasket; some people like to use a soda pop can, others like to use two quarters. For long-term testing I'd recommend two quarters, as the heat can melt the aluminum on the pop can.
EGR R&R and cleaning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bt5lRTt6BsU

If the EGR doesn't help the loss of power, you may have an exhaust restriction (usually the cataclyctic converter melting on you internally and blocking it). Verify this by removing the front O2 sensor (it's right on the exhaust manifold, AKA that big red thing on the front of the engine) and go for a drive. It will be loud, but if you regain power, then there ya go. Also, finding a red hot cataclyctic converter and/or banging on it to listen for loose cat guts will verify this as well.

22. Doing a compression test: BARE MINIMUM compression is 180-185 PSI across all four cylinders. Any less than that and you're looking at surgery. To see what you're in for, fill the offending cylinder(s) with a tablespoon of engine oil, make sure the engine is warm and full of oil and try again. If the oil helps, it's your piston rings; if it doesn't help, you have a bad valve (bent, burnt, etc). If you get a similar low reading from two adjacent cylinders (eg: 190-100-100-190), chances are you have a bad head (gasket).
Compression test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdZHPa6fxjE

23. Rust issues. Despite these being plastic cars, there IS metal and steel underneath. The two worst locations are the left side of the front sub-frame around the lower control arm mount and under the step plates in the rear door sill area. Both of these can be repaired, but usually indicate there's more rust in the future (credits go to Spencerforhire). In addition, check around the engine cradle for rust (credits go to VUEmaniac).

**PLEASE NOTE: These rust checks should be done if youíre buying a car from the rust belt areas, where places actually see snow and/or have beaches near them.**

***continued in the third post, due to the 10,000 character limit***

...
97 SL2
DOB: 3/19/97
Date Obtained: 5/30/07
Status: Alive, 1/2 exhaust

2004 Merc G.Marquis GS
DOB: 2/4/04
Date Obtained: 7/6/12
Status: Alive, no heat

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Old 06-02-2011, 01:06 AM   #3
adventureoflink
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1997 SL2
Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

***continued from post #2***

24. Automatic Transaxle Fluid/filter. This should be changed RELIGIOUSLY every two years or 30k miles. These Saturn transaxles can slip and/or slam easy, causing damage to the transaxle, warranting a costly repair and at some point, a possible towing bill. The fluid should be pink/red and free of metal parts before changing. If itís black/brown/burning/has metal parts (except during initial break-in)/etc, itís best to leave it as/is, since changing it might turn your car into a 2300# paperweight. Most people drain about 5-7 quarts of fluid out of the transaxle, and you replace by putting a funnel in the dipstick hole and pour five fresh quarts in (or until you get it in the hash marks). Be sure to use an OEM or WIX filter and any synthetic Dexron-III compatible fluid (though most board members claim success using Mobil-1 or Amsol fluid meant for Allison transmissions). Whatever you do, DO NOT buy into a sales pitch at the repair shop for a transaxle flush, as this can cause your problems to get worse or start to develop, even if you started out with good, pink fluid.
Automatic Transaxle fluid/filter R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfh9HGU3NXM

24.5. Transaxle issues.

Automatic: Slamming/slipping is a common problem on these automatics. You should first check battery voltages and the fuses. Battery voltage should be 12.5v engine/accessories off, 14.4v engine/accessories on. If it's not there, this is the first place to look at: your charging system (up to and including the alternator and belt).
Alternator/Belt R&R here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iogtiYraHCg
And of course, if you have to replace the blown fuses, please do so (but you may also want to find out why the fuse blew in the first place).

If this doesn't work, and/or it's reverse slam, try Wolfman's fix here: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23670

If, however, the Wolfman fix doesn't work, battery voltage is within spec, and/or you're getting FORWARD gear slip/slam, then you'll have to do some minor surgery, first the valve body. Special Forces is VERY GOOD at rebuilding s-series valve bodies and diagnosing transaxle issues in general. If the VB doesn't work, chances are it's the input/output shaft nuts. USE NEW NUTS and put some thread lock on it. Torque all at once, and torque to 111 ft-#s for both nuts.

VB and I/O nut R&R here: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98659

Manual: shifter feels loose and won't go into gear. this is either your shifting cables or the shifter bushing. To be sure, open your console to get to the shifter bushing. If the shifter isn't connected, there ya go. Use some zipties and careful shifting until you can get a new bushing. Use the stainless steel bushing (IIRC that would be saturnbushingman on e-bay).

Console R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4wbyiSwSBQ
Shifter Bushing R&R: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi6kOQg8xI8 (it's not a Richpin video, but it'll do)

25. Historical/Vintage Plates. Since this discussion keeps popping up every once in awhile, here's some general tips to keep in mind when considering historical/vintage plates:

* you usually have set maximum amount of miles per year you can drive the vehicle (anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 miles) -- some states require you keep a log of how many miles driven per year
* you can take it to a repair shop up to 100 miles away from home (not a problem with S-series, for the most part, but is worth mentioning)
* you usually can only use it for car shows, tours, expos, parades, etc -- usually, that means NO DAILY DRIVING!! (IIRC Missouri and Kentucky do grant a certain amount of miles for personal use; check your state's DMV/BMV/RMV/Transportation Cabinet/etc to be sure)
* you may need special insurance when it comes to historical plates -- check your insurer; sometimes I've heard you can get a killer deal on insurance. Also, check for any specific wording that a state checks for on the insurance ID for the insurance to be valid.
* The vehicle usually must be at or older than 25 years old before historic plates can be considered. Some states CAN set exceptions to this (like if the car has unique characteristics, etc, but your local DMV/etc will make the final ruling on if your vehicle can be historic)

Although you should Google your state's DMV/BMV/RMV/TC/etc for the rules/regulations on your state for historic plates, here's several sites for the common areas that our Saturn Fans reside in:

http://www.dmv.org (this site has general information on historic plates and other rules for each state's vehicle registration; when possible, ALWAYS look up your state's DMV on Google for the most current and up-to-date information)
http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/cpl8faqs.htm#Historical (New York)
http://www.bmv.ohio.gov/sp_historical.stm (Ohio)
http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/plates/specialplates.htm (California; look under historical plates)
http://mvl.ky.gov/MVLWeb/PIServlet?P...izeIndicator=Y (Kentucky)
http://www.hqusareur.army.mil/rmv/stateside_dmvs.htm (another general DMV site)

26. Saturn FSM link: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=U91G8H74 (it is 191.8 MB, so be sure to have a good internet connection, and it is for a '98)

27. Richpinís videos on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/richpin06a

28. Low Saturn's website, which has good info there too: http://www.differentracing.com

...
97 SL2
DOB: 3/19/97
Date Obtained: 5/30/07
Status: Alive, 1/2 exhaust

2004 Merc G.Marquis GS
DOB: 2/4/04
Date Obtained: 7/6/12
Status: Alive, no heat

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Old 06-26-2011, 03:11 PM   #4
adventureoflink
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1997 SL2
Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

Idea courtesy of cityhawk01LW30093SW2: a list of common acronyms for various parts on our (and other) cars. Some of these were described in the first few posts, others were typed out without an acronym, but whatever, here it is:

ECTS: Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor

IAC Valve: Idle Air Control Valve

TPS: Throttle Position Sensor

VSS: Vehicle Speed Sensor

O2: Oxygen Sensor

CPS: Crankshaft Position Sensor (or Camshaft Position Sensor)

EGR Valve: Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve

IAT: Intake Air Temperature Sensor

IM: Intake Manifold (or Ignition Module)

VB: Valve Body

I/O: Input/Output

MC: Master Cylinder

MAF: Mass Air Flow Sensor

MAP: Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor

EFI: Electronic Fuel Injection

TBI: Throttle Body Injection

MPFI: Multi-Point Fuel Injection

SES: Service Engine Soon

CEL: Check Engine Light

PCV: Positive Crankcase Ventilation Valve

TB: Throttle Body

PW: Power Windows

PL: Power Locks

PS: Power Steering

A/C (sometimes called AC): Air Conditioning

AT: Automatic Trans

MT: Manual Trans

...
97 SL2
DOB: 3/19/97
Date Obtained: 5/30/07
Status: Alive, 1/2 exhaust

2004 Merc G.Marquis GS
DOB: 2/4/04
Date Obtained: 7/6/12
Status: Alive, no heat

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Old 06-28-2011, 09:36 AM   #5
hit_n_run
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Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

The "E" in "ECTS" stands for "Engine", not "Electronic".

Otherwise, great checklist!

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Old 06-28-2011, 11:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by hit_n_run View Post
The "E" in "ECTS" stands for "Engine", not "Electronic".

Otherwise, great checklist!
I keep mixing those up...

*sets up the Charlie symbol...*

...
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DOB: 3/19/97
Date Obtained: 5/30/07
Status: Alive, 1/2 exhaust

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Old 06-28-2011, 11:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

Compact spare tire - check the spare in your trunk; they are all past their original intended life spans. It may still be usable in a pinch, but you need to check it and check the pressure.

If you do have a flat, only place the compact spare on the rear. This means that if one of your front tires needs to be replaced, pull one of the good rear (full size) tires and put it on the front, and put the compact on the rear. Several people have reported their front end hitting the ground when the compact is on the front.

...
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Old 07-01-2011, 06:52 PM   #8
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Default Manual Transmission Fluid

Gm originally said Dexron VI was a replacement for Dexron III in both automatics and manuals.

They have changed their minds, as of 2008-09

The correct fluid to use in older GM manual transmissions is-

GM part # 88861800 Manual Transmission and Transfer Case Fluid.

If your tranny required Dexron VI, use VI however...

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Old 07-01-2011, 06:57 PM   #9
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Default Compact Spare

Easy way to make sure your compact spare stays inflated is to put 8 oz of Slime (not fix a flat or the aerosol stuff) in a small, and 16 oz in a good sized spare.

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Old 07-07-2011, 03:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
If you do have a flat, only place the compact spare on the rear. This means that if one of your front tires needs to be replaced, pull one of the good rear (full size) tires and put it on the front, and put the compact on the rear. Several people have reported their front end hitting the ground when the compact is on the front.
That and it's generally not a good idea to put those spares on an axle that drives the car. Those spares are pretty much engineered only to support the weight of the car, not propel it as well.

...
Overkill is underrated

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Old 07-16-2011, 09:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

To extend on the tranny issues section of this checklist, here's the sources and part numbers for all needed nuts and gaskets for the Saturn Transaxles:

Transmission gasket and nuts part numbers
21003202 is the valve body cover gasket. This fits 96-02
21001684 is the end cover gasket. This fits 91-02
21001679 is the output shaft nut. This fits 91-02
21001680 is the input shaft nut. this fits 91-02

Saturn OEM Parts Source
GM Parts Giant- http://www.gmpartsgiant.com/
GM Parts Direct- http://www.gmpartsdirect.com/
Get Saturn Parts- http://www.trademotion.com/splash/in...?siteid=214643
Your local dealers - http://www.partsvoice.com/

Here are some skinny sockets with OD specs. Need socket end OD of 1.200" (30.48mm) or smaller.
* Snap-On FM23, 3/8" drive 23mm 12-pt std: 29.9mm
* NAPA 23mm 12-pt thin-wall, special order: sorry no part#
* Armstrong 3/8" drive 23mm 12-pt, std #38-123: 30.2mm
* Armstrong 3/8" drive 23mm 12-pt deep, #38-323: 30.2mm
* Armstrong 1/2" drive 23mm 12-pt deep, #39-323: 30.2mm
* NOT Snap-on 1/2" drive 23mm 12-pt #SWM231: 31.2mm
* NOT Armstrong 1/2" drive 23mm std #39-123: 30.9mm
Snap-on FM23 or NAPA is the 23mm thin wall socket winner.

WARNING: Be sure NOT to bend the tubes on the end cover (that thing you have to take off in order to get to the I/O nuts), unless you want a loss of gears.

...
97 SL2
DOB: 3/19/97
Date Obtained: 5/30/07
Status: Alive, 1/2 exhaust

2004 Merc G.Marquis GS
DOB: 2/4/04
Date Obtained: 7/6/12
Status: Alive, no heat

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Old 07-16-2011, 11:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
Compact spare tire - check the spare in your trunk; they are all past their original intended life spans. It may still be usable in a pinch, but you need to check it and check the pressure.

If you do have a flat, only place the compact spare on the rear. This means that if one of your front tires needs to be replaced, pull one of the good rear (full size) tires and put it on the front, and put the compact on the rear. Several people have reported their front end hitting the ground when the compact is on the front.
Please do this, everyone. We got stranded in the ghetto part of the greater New Orleans area and had to be towed across the lake because my boyfriend never thought in a million years that his spare would dry rot. There was no hope at all for that thing, there were CHUNKS missing from it. Needless to say, I was upset. I put the spare from my Ion on his SC the next day. We did it on the front end, and after we had already driven it 10+ miles for a new tire I read that we should have switched it to the rear. I didn't have any problems with it on the front, but that certainly doesn't mean that anyone else won't.

...
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:59 AM   #13
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Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warshark73 View Post
That and it's generally not a good idea to put those spares on an axle that drives the car. Those spares are pretty much engineered only to support the weight of the car, not propel it as well.
LMAO then you guys don't want to know what I did. I used to work at a warehouse that was roughly 30 miles from home. Had a flat one weekend and put the donut spare on the front (because that's where the flat was). Drove that way to and from work (at 60+ mph) for a week and a half until I got paid and could afford two new front tires.

Good times :-)

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Old 07-27-2011, 04:42 AM   #14
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Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

I keep mixing those up...

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Old 07-27-2011, 10:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

I will have creaking power steering that will be checked. Is there any preventative maintenance besides steering fluid that should be done like changing seals etc. car has over 200k miles and original power steering stuff still in it. The power steering likely needs to have air bled out of it.

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Old 08-10-2011, 12:36 PM   #16
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Location: Pacifica by San Francisco Ė 5sp Ė Engine rebuild with the help of people here at 177K due to 500mi/qt oil consumption. After 2yrs I am back to 40mpg+ after discovering the refirb head I used was bad. Car runs better than a top. Now at 214k.
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Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

One last comment regarding item#10, the Bars Leak topic to consider for future list updates:

Intentional ďover applicationĒ of the Bars Leak product for the more desperate owner can still eventually cause problems so heed the dosage instructions printed on the packaging instructions. Bars Leak Product# G12BP (powdered) or HDC (tablets)

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Old 11-08-2011, 05:53 AM   #17
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1996 SL2
Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

Excellent job adventureoflink in creating this thread. I'll just add a couple things.

There is a stop-leak product that does work, incredibly well. It's called Trans-X (for automatic transmissions and power steering pumps). Their motto is Mechanic In A Can. Napa, Auto Zone and others carry it.

I first used it in my 93 SL2 back in the late 90's. I had a power steering leak and my cousin who was a fork-lift mechanic told me to give it a shot. Sure enough it worked. I never had a leak or problem with the power steering pump even after 380,000 miles (sold the car).

With all the S-Series Saturns I've owned and repaired (friends/relatives), I've always done a Trans-X treatment to the power steering pump (preventative). Never once has one leaked or failed.

Also, anyone with an automatic transmission, I highly recommend you install a transmission cooler and use Mobil 1 synthetic fluid. Amazon carries the B&M brand which is highly regarded.
Attached Images
File Type: jpeg Trans-X.jpeg (19.5 KB, 48 views)

...
Purchased new - 1993 SL2 380,000 sold - still on the road with over 420,000
1995 SL2 244,000 sold (upgraded to SW)
Friends don't let friends use FRAM!!!

Last edited by STRNFAN93SL2; 11-08-2011 at 06:01 AM..

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Old 01-08-2012, 04:07 PM   #18
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Wrench Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

As you see in #2 of the 1st post, the Thermostat is very important to these cars.

Here is a picture of the Temperature Gauge with the Thermostat stuck in the "open position", pegging it at the 1/4 mark when warmed up & running. This is the positon you DO NOT want it in. If it is, change your defective Thermostat to a new Stant 14279.



Below is a picture of the Temperature Gauge with the needle in the correct position, ie a good Thermostat. This is the position you want to see it in fully warmed up and running.


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Old 01-09-2012, 12:44 PM   #19
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1998 SL2
Default Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

Nice pics, wanted to clarify the second pic is for 1996 to 2002 S-series. When the needle hits about the 1/2 mark for these years, fan should come on.

For 1991-1995, should run at 1/2~3/4. At around the 3/4 mark for these years, fan should come on

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc
Saturn 96 model year and newer temperature gauge reading vs. actual temperature as read from the ECTS.

GAUGE Reading..........ECTS Temperature..........Event
.....1/4.................................150 įF
.....3/8.................................192 įF...........T-stat cracks open
.....3/8+................................195 įF
.....1/2.................... .............212 įF
.....9/16................................221 įF............Fan ON
.....7/16................................210 įF............Fan OFF coast to 205 įF

...
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:55 PM   #20
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Dizzy Re: New or returning owner's S-series checklist Version 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
Nice pics, wanted to clarify the second pic is for 1996 to 2002 S-series. When the needle hits about the 1/2 mark for these years, fan should come on.
huh? I thought 1996-2002, the fan comes on at the 3/4 mark..

never had a fan turn on at the 1/2 mark, unless the ECTS was disconnected or fouled that badly, and/or if I happened to start running the air conditioner with the gauge at 1/2...

...
97 SL2
DOB: 3/19/97
Date Obtained: 5/30/07
Status: Alive, 1/2 exhaust

2004 Merc G.Marquis GS
DOB: 2/4/04
Date Obtained: 7/6/12
Status: Alive, no heat

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