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Old 11-04-2019, 07:20 PM   #1
tomlct
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Default Your thoughts - is this too much preventive maintenance?

My car is a 2003 LW200, I bought it used in 2004, now at 215K miles, still in pretty good condition. This is not the oldest car I have driven (that would be my 88 Dodge Aries wagon), but at 215K miles, it is the highest mileage I have ever taken a car to. So this year, I decided to replace some things that are relatively easy to do, to prevent a problem. That has included a brake system fluid flush and power steering fluid flush (at the local Midas shop), and some stuff that I have done myself - the crank position sensor (ACDelco, around $25 from Amazon), and today, the complete ignition control module & coil pack (this one is NGK, around $ 95 from Amazon), and soon, the original thermostat (ACDelco).
So I am wondering what your thoughts are? I guess if I had a V6, I might be less willing to buy some of this and take the time to install parts like this.

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Old 11-04-2019, 10:00 PM   #2
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1998 SL2
Default Re: Your thoughts - is this too much preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is a matter of peace of mind to me. YOU, need to be comfortable with the way your vehicle is being maintained, no one else.

This is also a great place to browse for information and read about the experiences of others with their Saturns.

Pssttt!
Although I am able to handle little problems as they arise, I take my '98 SL2 with 219,000 into the mechanic every 3 months, whether she wants to go or not. He lifts her skirt, opens her hood and looks for possible problems, for MY peace of mind, each time he does an oil change, and handles them accordingly.

...
Saturn 1998 - SL2
Singer 1952 - 301A

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Old 11-05-2019, 02:32 PM   #3
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Your thoughts - is this too much preventive maintenance?

Other L200 owners with personal experience may add their thoughts. Keep those parts for spares in case the new ones decide to fail. The ignition control module seems to be more failure prone than the coil pack if you search threads within these forums. GM using the 2.2L engine in many other models are additional forums to find issues. Being proactive with brake fluid replacement is very wise. Same for power steering fluid.

Some things to look out for as mileage accumulates; water pump, xmission fluid (drain and refill?), maybe a general cleaning of the throttle body, etc. Platinum tipped spark plugs every 100k miles or whatever is recommended? Coolant replacement? Suspension wear and tear may announce themselves with worn rubber bushings, shocks, struts, ball joints, tie rods.

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Old 11-05-2019, 05:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Your thoughts - is this too much preventive maintenance?

The local Chevy dealer did a transmission fluid flush when it was around 120K miles. I have replaced the spark plugs with ACDelco 41-105 platinum plugs around 50-60K miles. The interval is 100K miles, but I like to do this more often, so that the plugs won't get stuck in the threads. I replaced the rad & heater hoses around 3 years ago, and most of the DexCool was replaced with fresh DexCool at that time. Some links & bushings have been replaced through the years. If things get noisy, I would bring the car to a shop.
I have not cleaned the throttle body yet, but that sounds like a good thing to do.
The water pump & timing chain are original. The coolant level has never dropped, and I sometimes look under the car at the water pump, for evidence of leaks. I use full synthetic oil (and ACDelco/Hengst oil filter) and change it 3 or 4 times per year. Now being retired, the car goes maybe 5K-7K miles per year, way less than when I was working. I want to keep the timing chain well lubricated, thus keeping good oil in the engine.
The fuel filter has been changed around every 2-3 years, usually ACDelco, since it's an easy task.

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Old 11-05-2019, 07:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Your thoughts - is this too much preventive maintenance?

All aluminum heads using either plain or exotic spark plugs are nickel plated to prevent steel and aluminum threads reacting to create the equivalent of Loctite. Galvanic reaction from dissimilar metals, aluminum and steel bodied plugs. Older engines with aluminum heads and cast iron block had issues inadvertently using black oxide coated spark plugs that seized in cylinder heads. The black oxide coating was a way to prevent rust but didn't prevent aluminum and steel reacting to plugs seized. Nickel plating is a barrier to separate the two metals and acts as a lubricant. Some manuals stress using anti seize compound on plated (shiny) plugs while others stress not using it because they lower friction with over torquing plugs resulting in stripped threads. Platinum spark plugs are the ultimate in having all the best things; plating to prevent seizing in aluminum heads, exotic tipped electrodes to prolong plug use over and above plain plugs and costs. At one time someone owning a Porsche (used only on weekends in dry weather) told me a set of six platinum spark plugs cost him $35 each. This was around the '80's. Today, platinum plugs are around $2-$3 each. I replaced mine at 100k miles and they looked clean and free of any carbon and could have run another 100k miles but not recommended. Several hundred thousand thermal cycles can weaken plugs when its wiser to replace them at recommended intervals.

If I'm not mistaken, your water pump is timing chain driven and requires a gear holding tool to replace the water pump while holding the timing or counter balance chain chain in check. Search past threads for snapshots and guides from members replacing their pump. Once past new car warranty, water pumps fail at any time with bearings wearing out where coolant leaks. In your case, a leaking pump fills the oil pan. Check engine oil for water droplets on the dipstick. Water and oil don't mix.

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Old 11-05-2019, 08:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Your thoughts - is this too much preventive maintenance?

Thanks for the feedback. I will keep an eye on the oil level. For now, I can say that the oil level goes down with hard driving (like extended expressway driving). Not so much, but it is using some oil. If the level rose & it looked like coolant had mixed, I think I would take it to a GM dealer (a Chevy dealer is around 1 1/2 miles from me) rather than an indy shop. If it goes in for something like that, I would ask if the timing chain tensioner should be replaced with the updated part.

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Old 11-06-2019, 03:12 AM   #7
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Default Re: Your thoughts - is this too much preventive maintenance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomlct View Post
My car is a 2003 LW200, I bought it used in 2004, now at 215K miles, still in pretty good condition. This is not the oldest car I have driven (that would be my 88 Dodge Aries wagon), but at 215K miles, it is the highest mileage I have ever taken a car to. So this year, I decided to replace some things that are relatively easy to do, to prevent a problem. That has included a brake system fluid flush and power steering fluid flush (at the local Midas shop), and some stuff that I have done myself - the crank position sensor (ACDelco, around $25 from Amazon), and today, the complete ignition control module & coil pack (this one is NGK, around $ 95 from Amazon), and soon, the original thermostat (ACDelco).
So I am wondering what your thoughts are? I guess if I had a V6, I might be less willing to buy some of this and take the time to install parts like this.
When I look at the mileage you have on the LW200 I think to myself, "it's finally broken in!"

Of course, no one knows when a significant part failure may occur so taking precautions to mitigate some possibilities is reasonable. For comparison's sake here are things that are still original from the factory on my car (in no order of importance):
1) coil pack (the ICM was replaced under warranty in late 2001 or in 2002)
2) crankshaft position sensor (CPK sensor so labeled in the FSM)
3) front engine mount at right inner fender
4) rear transmission mount under battery tray (near left inner fender)
5) three wheel bearing assemblies (R/F, R/R, and L/R)
6) starter
7) alternator
8) drive belt tensioner
9) front control arm bushings (all)
10) front trailing arm bushings (both)
11) rear sway bar bushings and links
12) flexible brake hoses
13) power steering pump and hoses
14) brake master cylinder
15) power brake vacuum booster
16) all exhaust system parts
17) all emission sensors except upstream O2 sensor
18) all a/c components and hoses

Cooling system hoses are replaced at each 100K mile interval. I follow a 50K mile interval for transmission drain services (no transmission flushes after the very first servicing), 6.9 quarts drained, but I put in 7 because it's really not worth the trouble to withhold 3.2 ounces of ATF Dexron III from the transmission. I've never done a power steering flush nor brake fluid flush. The fluid has been drained and replaced once on the power steering after replacing the rack and pinion gear assembly in the Winter of 2017. Similarly, the brake fluid was first drained and replaced when swapping the rear drums for rear disc brakes in May of 2016.

...
322,000 miles - Holy canolli!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 11-06-2019, 03:43 AM   #8
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2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Your thoughts - is this too much preventive maintenance?

Additional information to above post: cooling system hose replacement at 100K miles also includes:

1) thermostat replacement;
2) a system flush and drain using distilled water to clear all old antifreeze and flush chemical;
3) and fresh antifreeze with distilled water.

...
322,000 miles - Holy canolli!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 11-06-2019, 10:35 AM   #9
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Your thoughts - is this too much preventive maintenance?

I have replaced water pumps on several 2.2L Ecotec engines. The coolant leaks to the outside of the engine on the ground not into the crankcase. There is a weep hole between the coolant section and the drive end. Yes they are time consuming and require a tool to retain balance shaft chain timing.

...
2002 L200/5 loaded, loving my stick shift car now with KYB struts and adjustable rear control arms.

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Old 11-07-2019, 11:56 AM   #10
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
2002 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Your thoughts - is this too much preventive maintenance?

No amount of preventive maintenance is never enough consider the age of Saturns on the road. What makes a differences is if you have to fix the Tranx or timing belt or chain or valves to much then your throwing good $$ away for nothing. Changing oil and PS fluid and cogs and A/C hardware or pipes and brakes or pads there could be more but these are the basic maintenance as the Saturns get older and older. Parts and Car wear out that basic Auto 101 but if you do maintenance on it and check fluids and parts that wear and tear you insure it last far beyond it's lifespan.

My Saturn L300 '03 gets 25-30 mpg and more mpg if only hwy close to 30-32 sometimes that is something most nowdays claim they can do. My last repair was the filler pipe that rusted out and sending the emission to overtime but once I did that the "idiot" light is off and now what I watch for is Oil Change light or any other lights for problematic issues that would pop up. Remember to keep your Saturn going long after you requires Love/Care and also loosing $$$ but that is far cheaper then paying monthly payments.

Last edited by Russet; 11-07-2019 at 11:56 AM.. Reason: revise

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