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Old 03-13-2017, 11:44 AM   #1
boomerbarry
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default 2003 3.0 vue needs some tough love

I am having so much trouble navigating this board, the idea is creeping into my head to push my 2003 Saturn Vue 3.0 with 255,000 miles on it over a convenient cliff. I am looking for intel to make the right choices when I do a major overhaul of the following; change spark plugs, install new thermostat, change out all OS sensors (P0171B, P0174B, ) and any other stuff found after pulling the top off. Next I want to change out the A/C Compressor and all the hoses. I am going to try to do all on one weekend. Before I invest in all the parts and any gasket replacement purchases I need to know if there is anything else to think about after going online and finding OEM parts hopefully. I have found a few youtube videos to school me and aside from the amount of dismantling it takes I feel confidant. Am I on the right track?

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Old 03-13-2017, 12:08 PM   #2
Badmotorfinger
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: 2003 3.0 vue needs some tough love

You are on the right track. Removing the intake to change the plugs, thermostat and the O2 sensors will probably take you the better part of a day if you've never taken the intake off yourself. Some of the video how to's online are very good for reference. Take pics as you remove things to aid in reassembly.

I would plan on replacing your cam cover gaskets too unless you're sure they aren't leaking a drop.

I source all my Vue parts from Rock Auto.

Holler if you need any additional advice or get stuck

...
2003 Saturn Vue V6 3.0L

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Old 03-13-2017, 01:22 PM   #3
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2003 3.0 vue needs some tough love

255k miles is excellent for long term ownership. May you have another hundred thousand miles+ before retiring it. Before throwing parts on your VUE, did you try connecting a reader for live info? The two items you're deciding on may not be needed if a reader displays correct coolant temps and O2 sensor outputs.

I drive an L300 with the same 3.0L V6 engine in yours and P0128 popped up a few years ago. Coolant temps below operating parameters. Operating temps for your Vue (and presumably mine) is around 189F (give or take five degrees). Below 180F and the t-stat is suspect. I don't remember what the coolant temps were with mine when P0128 popped up but I did reset it several times, added a radiator blocking board in winter (still more than adequate heat without the radiator block) and waited till spring weather to replace the t-stat. No more P0128. Running temps with a personal reader shows between 188F-200F. The t-stat was a two day ordeal. An extension tube from my t-stat housing needed new O-rings and neglected to buy them (recommended), lubing them with WD40 to make them slide on and maybe expand them a little.

A reader can give you valuable O2 sensor info. Some things that may cause P0171/P0174 lean fuel mixtures;
  • A skewed mass air flow (MAF) sensor may set this DTC. Refer to DTC P0101 .
  • The system will go lean if an injector is not suppling enough fuel.
  • A skewed engine coolant temperature (ECT) may set this DTC.
  • The system will go lean during high fuel demand.

I would clean the maf sensor as a preventative measure. New air filter as needed. Injectors, unless proven dirty/sticking/worn may be helped with injector cleaner applied directly to the fuel test valve with procedures accompanying commercial injector cleaners. Adding some chemical injector cleaner in a tank may do the same but a direct application on the fuel rail may show an immediate difference but may also be a placebo effect. I have no information whether or not these things work (I have less than 100k miles on my L300).

The upstream O2 sensors should be outputting between 200-800 millivolts, 0.200-0.800 volts depending on how a reader displays info.

With very high mileage, I would be concerned about the three catalytic converters, if one or more are disintegrating internally and randomly/partially blocking exhaust flow. Some here experienced issues and found one or both precats, pup converters blocking exhaust flow. The usual home testing method is removing the upstream O2 sensor(s) and driving (a soup can diverter can help direct hot exhaust gases away from plastics that melt in high heat). A brief drive can either reveal renewed engine power or nothing. Metallic rattling is another hint of converter damage - all catcons are rigid with ceramic honeycomb substrates. Loose cat guts can be heard when hand banging catcons. Google images of damaged catcons. Exhaust shops may charge a fee to diagnose exhaust system problems.

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Old 03-13-2017, 04:43 PM   #4
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: 2003 3.0 vue needs some tough love

Thanks to both posters who were very helpful. I did get a free read from a handheld. The numbers were read and the results were P0171B, BANK 1 SYSTEM TOO LEAN, P0174B, BANK 2 SYSTEM TOO LEAN, and P0128 THERMOSTAT and finally p03058 cylindere #5 misfiring. When I bought the car it was leaking at the valve covers. I went in that far to replace the gaskets. I had spark plugs but since I had no indicators I didn't replace. I did replace the air cleaner though. This time I am going to replace every seal, gasket and anything that may go wrong that isn't expensive to do. I have decided to wait on the A/C system for another time due to the costs here.

I have decided to use my canon sure shot to record my dismantle. I'll put it on a tripod and see how that goes. So thank you for the quick replies. I will stay posted(I have the site pinned with chrome) and see if there is some other help that is on the way.

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Old 03-15-2017, 01:39 PM   #5
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: 2003 3.0 vue needs some tough love

how old is timing belt? i am unsure on my vue. just got it.

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