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Old 11-05-2007, 10:46 PM   #1
kknobl
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Default Dash Rattle

I'm currently looking for a commuter car, and the S-series cars are at the top of the list to look at.

I looked at a 97 SC2 the other day. The car ran well, but there is a horrible rattle coming from the the center of the dashboard when idling, say, at a traffic light. Any ideas on what could be causing this?

Thanks,
Kevin
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Old 11-05-2007, 10:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

Quite possibly an upper engine mount.

$63 at the dealer and 10 minutes of your time will have it fixed.

To determine if this is the problem, open the hood. On the left side of the engine but just to the right of the coolant resevior tank there is the mount. It's the rectangle metal piece that attaches to the engine. Look at the rubber and try to stick your finger between the metal and the rubber. If your finger can get in between them then it's time to change it.
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Old 11-05-2007, 10:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Special Forces View Post
Quite possibly an upper engine mount.

$63 at the dealer and 10 minutes of your time will have it fixed.
meaning buy the part at the dealer and spend a few minutes installing it yourself

Was this car you were looking at a private sell or at a dealer?
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Old 11-05-2007, 10:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

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Originally Posted by Phredawgy View Post
meaning buy the part at the dealer and spend a few minutes installing it yourself
Right. I realized my statement was a bit ambigous.
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Old 11-06-2007, 02:37 AM   #5
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Wrench Re: Dash Rattle

I have chased many, many rattles on my 97 SC2. Special Forces makes a very good suggesion, but occasionally they come from far away from where they sound like they are coming from, seem to make no sense and are hard to track down.

For example-

A flute-like whistling noise varying with speed and load. Seemed like a really bad vacuum leak and seemed like it was coming from the middle of the hood while driving. Real cause- idler pulleys just about to grind themselves off their hubs. Instant relief when replaced.

Rumbling noise when accelerating. Sounded like something terribly loose near the steering column. Real cause- lower tranny mount, driver's side, rubber completely separated from metal shell.

Rattling that only happens on certain road surfaces (VERY loud), again near steering column. Real cause- a loose plate inside the frame rail near the front stabilizer bar attachment (purpose unknown). Ran a bolt through it, rattle gone.

Clicking noise with road vibration, appeared to be inside the driver's side "A" pillar. Real cause- Loose electrical cable running along inside of driver's side fender well near top of fender. Padded with foam tape.

Clicking noise from right side of dashboard, seemed like the top cover creaking. Real cause- passenger side door panel creaking against the door frame near the interior mirror trim. More foam tape.

My 2 cents worth? I love my 97 SC2. I drive it while my 740 BMW sits idly in the garage. It is fun to drive. So is the BMW, but I don't watch the gas gauge in the Saturn like I do in the BMW, and I'm not afraid to park it almost anywhere. Of course the Bimmer goes 0-60 in 6 seconds and corners like a Corvette (actually better, I used to own one and it was not all it was cracked up to be). Oh well......can't have everything.

Check the motor mounts, check the idler pulleys, etc. It could also be a hose near the throttle body just rattling against the firewall, or it could be the firewall sound padding making sticky noises as it flexes, or it could be the plastic trim valence under the windshield wipers (I removed mine and padded it with foam tape).

Drive one and be happy. Check things to see what may be loose, fix as necessary. Be prepared to add oil at regular intervals though.
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Old 11-06-2007, 04:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

In everyone of the saturns ive had, the first rattle i heard was from the headlight assembly. In park or neutral it could be heard, or in D (for autos) at a standstill. Id check that out
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phredawgy View Post
meaning buy the part at the dealer and spend a few minutes installing it yourself

Was this car you were looking at a private sell or at a dealer?
Thanks for all the suggestions. The SC2 is a private sell, but I'm also looking at a couple on EBay.

Anyone have any experience with buying a car on EBay? Good, bad, indifferent?

Kevin
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Old 11-06-2007, 10:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by kknobl View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions. The SC2 is a private sell, but I'm also looking at a couple on EBay.

Anyone have any experience with buying a car on EBay? Good, bad, indifferent?

Kevin
first time I ever bought anything on EBAY I was nervous about it, I don't know that I could buy an automobile on there.

the rattle the SC2 has, is this something you can physically feel or is it more a noise? There wasn't an empty soda can sitting on some coins in the cupholder or anything right? Sorry, anyway keep us posted, and good luck in your quest.
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Old 11-06-2007, 11:12 AM   #9
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by rc1488 View Post
In everyone of the saturns ive had, the first rattle i heard was from the headlight assembly.
Rattles in the S-Series were standard factory equipment.

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Old 11-06-2007, 10:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phredawgy View Post
first time I ever bought anything on EBAY I was nervous about it, I don't know that I could buy an automobile on there.

the rattle the SC2 has, is this something you can physically feel or is it more a noise? There wasn't an empty soda can sitting on some coins in the cupholder or anything right? Sorry, anyway keep us posted, and good luck in your quest.
It was nothing that I could physically feel, more of a noise and the car was pretty clean - no soda cans in the cupholders or anything.

The more I think about it, it's likely the motor mount. The rattle is only present when the car is idle in gear and stops under once the car starts moving.

Also may go take a look at a maroon 92 SL2 (always was a sucker for that color) on Saturday, but the guy says the starter is shot. Just out of curiousity, anyone know what a starter typically costs to replace?

Kevin
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Old 11-06-2007, 10:57 PM   #11
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by kknobl View Post
It was nothing that I could physically feel, more of a noise and the car was pretty clean - no soda cans in the cupholders or anything.

The more I think about it, it's likely the motor mount. The rattle is only present when the car is idle in gear and stops under once the car starts moving.

Also may go take a look at a maroon 92 SL2 (always was a sucker for that color) on Saturday, but the guy says the starter is shot. Just out of curiousity, anyone know what a starter typically costs to replace?

Kevin
cheapest I've seen is one for 92bucks after a 45 dollar core at RockAuto
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Old 11-07-2007, 04:44 AM   #12
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

All the rattling in my 95 SL2 went away and it sounded like a brand new engine when I replaced my upper engine mount. Both of the far corners of my dash board were vibrating as well as all the plastic around my radio whenever I'd stop at a red light. It was very annoying.

How many miles are on these cars?

I think I'd go with the 97 SC2 rather than the 92 SL2 just because of the 5 years difference in age. Even if both had the same miles on them (unless the prices were different.)
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Old 11-07-2007, 09:21 AM   #13
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

Mine had rattling issues when I bought it. The whole stereo area would shake like crazy at redlights, etc. Replacing the upper engine mount did the trick. Now I notice a slight shaking in gear at redlights and such, so I'm probably going to invest in a new lower tranny mount too at some point.
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Old 11-07-2007, 01:49 PM   #14
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by kknobl View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions. The SC2 is a private sell, but I'm also looking at a couple on EBay.

Anyone have any experience with buying a car on EBay? Good, bad, indifferent?

Kevin
I've bought two cars on ebay and I'm generally satisfied. If there's an optional item that you really want and it says it has it but, you don't see it in the pics, be sure to ask. One of my cars was supposed to have cruise control and didn't. I wanted the car anyway for the price and added cruise later. If you're worried about rattles, be sure to ask about that. It's best if you can see the car first but, I bought both my cars sight unseen. For items like cars, I'll recommend using www.auctionsniper.com to get a bid in right at the end. I suspect that sight would have saved me a couple hundred on the first car I bought.
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:32 PM   #15
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by oseberg View Post
All the rattling in my 95 SL2 went away and it sounded like a brand new engine when I replaced my upper engine mount. Both of the far corners of my dash board were vibrating as well as all the plastic around my radio whenever I'd stop at a red light. It was very annoying.

How many miles are on these cars?

I think I'd go with the 97 SC2 rather than the 92 SL2 just because of the 5 years difference in age. Even if both had the same miles on them (unless the prices were different.)
I am actually leaning towards the SC2 if I can get the guy to come down in price a slight bit. It has about the same amount of miles as the SL2 (around 130K), but it did seem like a fun car to drive...

Hopefully I will have made a decision by this weekend...Will keep you all posted.

Kevin
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:38 PM   #16
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

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Originally Posted by kknobl View Post
miles as the SL2 (around 130K)
Wow, has this thing been sitting in someones garage for 10 years? My 95 SL2 has 180k on it.

I would guess that the 97 SC2 would have more freeway miles while the 92 SL2 has more around town miles due to the 5 years difference in their age.
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:54 PM   #17
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

Here's two ways to spot a bad upper engine mount:

1) Place your index finger between the rubber and the metal part on the mount, if your finger fits, time for replacement, the rubber is supposed to be all the way touching the metal when it's new. The upper engine mount is located near the coolant reservoir.

2) This one requires two people, have one person stand in front of the car with the hood open and watch the engine for movement. Have the other person switch gears (while keeping the foot on the brake pedal), from park to drive and park to reverse. If the engine rocks or moves, it's time for replacement. Not sure if this would work with switching from neutral to a gear on a manual, simply because I've never had to test a motor mount on a manual.

These are both definite tests, the reason I use both, is because sometimes the motor mount might not feel worn, but it is worn.

My motor mount was completely shot, as a matter of fact when I removed it, it was it two pieces! It's supposed to be in one piece.

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Old 11-11-2007, 11:24 AM   #18
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Default Re: Dash Rattle

Well, yesterday I made my decision and ended up getting a 93 SL2 with about 130K on the clock. Drove it home 60 miles and its a fun little car. Plenty of pep (moreso than the 1996 SL1 I owned years ago), transmission shifts nicely, probably a little bit of an oil burner according to the previous owner but not sure how much or how fast yet.

The only minor thing with it is that the plastic trim around the automatic seatbelts on the A and B pillars is loose. Tried to snap it back into place, but no luck. Any suggestions?

Other than that, I'm very happy with it. Of course I can't really drive it too much yet until I get it properly registered and inspected but will hopefully have the tags and inspection done by the end of the week.

Kevin
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