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Old 02-20-2005, 09:13 PM   #1
dennis marshall
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Default I need an opinion....................

I would like some feedback.My 1997 SL1 automatic w/97,974 miles is in bad shape.Nearly five years after I bought it , nearly 50,000 miles of relatively carefree driving my well maintained SL 1 is sitting at the dealership with a blown head gasket and a possble cracked head.My beautiful SL was going great till w/o warning last Thursday night as I was pulling into my parking spot. The temp gauge shot up near the red zone, the fan came on and screaming like a banshee did not turn off even with the engine shut off.Eventually the fan did stop.I am always aware of my Saturn's condition and when I was pulling in to park is when I noticed that the dash lights seemed "off".My eyes scanned the dash and that is when I saw the temp gauge needle.The next morning I found out that my oil mixed with the antifreeze.There was no warning.Last Sunday I took a 200 mile round trip to Allentown PA. My SL 1 ran great.I really do not have the $$$ to buy a new car.My dealer is trying to help me out with the repairs.I know that if they do it the job will be done right.I am just two payments away being free of car payments till 2007.That is when I planned to look for a replacement.The only expenses before this happened were to be the eventual replacement of the original rear brakes and maybe the spark plug wires.They are also original.A 2005 ION 1 automatic w/ A/c, floor mats and CD will lease for $150.00 per month 15,000 miles per year, 48 months. .This is a lease based on what figures that I plugged in at the Saturn web site.Suggestions anyone? I have to say that I am stunned by the failure of my Saturn.I thought that I would get at least 150,000 miles or so out of it.I would also like to know what is involved in rebuilding the engine.I know that the cooling system will have to be completely cleaned out.I am told that the procedure is like a quad bypass.I really would like to hear from S series owners who have had similiar problems.I would like to also hear from ION owners, the good, bad & the ugly.I could maybe swing a lease for an ION 1.I will have no power accessories but I will have the A/C. I decided to stay w/ an automatic.Unfortunately only four colors are available.If I do go w/an ION I will have to choose between black or red.I am really stunned.I spent two hours about two weeks ago detailing my SL sedan.It still looks showroom new.Incidently the Nada book value in excellent condition-high retail-$ 3950.00 Kelly Blue Book trade in is $ 2075.00

Last edited by dennis marshall; 02-20-2005 at 09:16 PM.. Reason: spelling mistakes

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Old 02-20-2005, 09:22 PM   #2
KevinF
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Default Re: I need an opinion....................

My opinion is that you should consider using paragraphs if you want people to read that.

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Old 02-21-2005, 12:29 AM   #3
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Information Re: I need an opinion....................

Dennis,

Looks like you ended up with the same boat I occupied a space in nearly 16 months ago. I owned a 1996 SL2 with about 125,000 on it when, in Sept. or Oct. of 2003, I started seeing spots of green where I park at night. I figured it was a radiator hose or something simple like that. After a visit to my local mechanic (car was far out of warranty so I had ceased visiting the retailer's service department for quite some time), they said not only was my plastic radiator leaking but that I'd blown the head gasket too.

Like you, I was stunned. I had not planned on purchasing a new car until at least 2005. I wanted to see how the Ion changed after the first model year or two before I committed to buying one. I also really loved my SL2. I had just spent $500 on completely replacing the exhaust system from the straight pipe back, minus the catalytic converter, which was ok. I had replaced the brakes and other things. It still looked great, ran great, handled well, etc.

I think my SL2 problems can all be traced back to not changing the coolant when I was supposed to. I believe the 96's were the last year of the old non-100,000 mile coolant and I left mine in at least a year too long before getting it flushed and refilled. The shop wanted ~$3000 to do the work. I said, thanks but no thanks and limped off to Saturn. By mid-November I had a new Ion and a car note again.

As for Ions, the good, bad and the ugly, just view the two threads Ion - please list your problems and Who's not had problems with their Ion?, I think are the thread names, or something similar. Good luck to ya and I hope this helped at least a lil' bit. I really miss my ol' Gokart.

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Old 02-21-2005, 08:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: I need an opinion....................

Fixing the car will be cheaper than a new one. Car payments are much higher than repairs!

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Old 02-21-2005, 09:16 AM   #5
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Default Re: I need an opinion....................

Why would you want to spend 3000 dollars on a car that will have very litle more value when repaired,by all means get a new ION 1 and have everthing new wirh 5 year of warranty.
Maybe a used motor 1st that will let you have trade in value of a running car
Talk your dealer 1st he may be able to figure the best deal for you togivr you the most vale.

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Old 02-21-2005, 10:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: I need an opinion....................

Quote:
Originally Posted by spencerb
Fixing the car will be cheaper than a new one. Car payments are much higher than repairs!
Yes, but you need cash on hand to make the repairs. To buy a new car you only need a small down payment.

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Old 02-21-2005, 11:35 AM   #7
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Information Re: I need an opinion....................

Also, folks, keep in mind that simply because my mechanic's shop wanted to charge around 3Gs for a new head (a new engine would be at least double that most likely), that price included a new radiator, which I don't think Dennis listed as a problem on his car. More importantly, who's to say $3000 is the ballpark figure for this work? Maybe my mechanic inflated the price, either intentionally or accidentally. Others I spoke to after I bought the Ion, informed me the SL2's repair work could have been done cheaper. Dennis, you said your Saturn retailer's working with you on the repairs, best of luck to you! I wish I had tried that route...I never even considered it.

...
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5 - 2006 Ion 3 Sedan, Manual, Storm Grey
4 - 2004 Ion 2 Sedan, Manual, Electric Blue
3 - 1996 SL2 Manual, Medium Red
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Old 02-21-2005, 12:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: I need an opinion....................

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsky
Yes, but you need cash on hand to make the repairs. To buy a new car you only need a small down payment.
Tough situation. But spending $12,000+ versus $3,000 sure won't help the problem of being poor.

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Old 02-21-2005, 12:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: I need an opinion....................

Quote:
Originally Posted by hickeb215
Why would you want to spend 3000 dollars on a car that will have very litle more value when repaired...
Then why would you spend $12,000+ on a car that will have a LOT less value when you simply drive it off the lot?

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Old 02-21-2005, 01:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: I need an opinion....................

I had a 95 Cavalier that had a cracked head at about the same mileage. I took it to my local mechanic (**NOT THE DEALER!**) and had the head replaced for $900. At the time, the one time $900 was better than a monthly new car payment. I drove that car for another two years before trading for my ION. I'd get the head fixed if it were me.

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Old 02-21-2005, 02:43 PM   #11
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Default Re: I need an opinion....................

Sat of Fort Collins says head replacement approx $2200.

Head gasket only: $1800

New radiator if you need it approx $400.

If you can afford it I would go with a new basic Ion 1 (buy not lease).

And (if you can afford it) the extended warranty. Maby you can find a super discounted left over 04 ... I would probably stay away from the Vti transmission as many folks have reported problems with that.

I like the 04 Ion 1 much better than the SL's... lots more pep, about the same gas mileage.

Make sure you like the steering wheel... they are a bit smaller, espc on the 04...

Another option for you might be to get a used Ion with low mileage and the extended warranty (if they will sell it to you, or if it comes with a transferrable one bought by the first owner). You might be able to get some deals.

Best wishes!

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Old 02-21-2005, 04:22 PM   #12
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Default Re: I need an opinion....................

If oil mixed with the coolant, bottom end may fail soon after head is fixed.

Unless you can get a low mileage used engine swapped in cheap, go with the ION since at 94K other parts may soon follow the engine downhill.

Dealer might buy car to fix since they don't charge themselves retail rates.

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