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Old 02-12-2007, 05:34 PM   #1
VDubGuy41
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Default Mom's car died...help.

So I was in the midst of working on my 85 Jetta coupe VR6 swap a couple months ago and needed to run to a friends house to get some stuff. My 95 Jetta was blocked in, so I just took my mom's car. Being the 1.9 16valve dohc, i love revving it up, but since its an auto its not quite as fun.

Well i went to my friends house, and on the way back i heard a ticking rattling sort of sound. I didnt think it was lifter tick, more of a metal on metal, i was thinking the exhaust manifold came undone and was rattling on the downpipe. (I don't know much about this car, im a volkswagen guy). Since it was dark i decided to just keep driving. the rattling got worse/louder and it started smelling bad...out of oil? Then i heard something break, like a loud snap, but the car kept going...then the battery died and the car just coasted. i was just down the road from my house, so i tried starting it up, wasnt very happy, and it sorta kept going. I got to within a quarter mile from my house, and the car just wouldnt keep going. I pulled over and me and my friend opened the hood, a huge ploom of smoke came out. closed the hood, called friend for ride. next morning called a tow and when he got it to my house, he asked "if you got it that far, why didnt you just go home?"

That being said, my mom is driviing my sister's car since she is at college, so the saturn has been sitting for a couple months. Any ideas? My mom told me to look into it as much as possible and try working on it, but with my vw project, havent had time. Thanks for any input. I'm gonna work on the saturn this weekend, so i want a few ideas of what to do. TIA. (and dont just say "you shouldnt have kept driving it", i know, it was dumb)

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Old 02-12-2007, 05:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

forgot to mention...the car still starts, but when its on it rattles like a tractor and after a minute or so the battery dies.

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Old 02-12-2007, 06:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

So now that the smoke has cleared, have you looked under the hood? Checked the oil? Coolant in the reservoir is the color it is suppose to be?

The Saturn is what year, model and how many miles on it? Is it a SOHC or DOHC?

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Old 02-12-2007, 06:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

OK.. I see it is a 1998 SW2... over to the left... Is the serpentine belt still on that drives the alternator and water pump over on the passenger side?

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Old 02-12-2007, 06:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

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Originally Posted by yazhere View Post
OK.. I see it is a 1998 SW2... over to the left... Is the serpentine belt still on that drives the alternator and water pump over on the passenger side?
I'll check that tomorrow when i go over to check te car quick. I'll look at the serpentine belt. The oil was low, but was still noticable and didnt seem low enough to cause a meltdown; according to the dipstick as well as taking the cap off and feeling inside on the cam. I didnt think to check the coolant, will do that as well. thanks for the input, tomorrow i'll post up and we'll go from there.

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Old 02-12-2007, 06:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

Sounds like the timing chain. But... like the lottery... you never know..

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Old 02-12-2007, 06:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

The battery died? How were you able to start the engine again? How on earth do you determine a battery dying while driving the car (since it's running on the alternator)?

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Old 02-12-2007, 06:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing... what do you mean the battery died?

I know you said not to tell you this, but I can't resist... metal on metal = turn off the engine and call for a tow

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Old 02-12-2007, 07:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

i thought the battery died because while i was driving the car "shut off" and when i pulled over the lights wouldnt turn on, the starter did nothing for a couple mins. a couple minutes later it started. i dont know...

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Old 02-12-2007, 11:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VDubGuy41 View Post
Being the 1.9 16valve dohc, i love revving it up, but since its an auto its not quite as fun.
Sounds like a blown diff pin to me. Did you check the transmission fluid?

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Old 02-12-2007, 11:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

Could be lots of things. Thrown rod, busted valve, rocker arm shaft came loose.......Need more info. Pics might help. Is there oil all over the place? Any holes in the engine that shouldn't be there?

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Old 02-13-2007, 10:47 AM   #12
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VDubGuy41 View Post
i thought the battery died because while i was driving the car "shut off" and when i pulled over the lights wouldnt turn on, the starter did nothing for a couple mins. a couple minutes later it started. i dont know...
That it affected the engine running specifically excludes the battery, since the engine doesn't use the battery. You do have some electrical problem (which could become vexing), separate from your noise episode, but it's not, directly, the battery. Batteries don't die and come back to life by themselves. It could, however, be the connections _to_ the battery. But I'd concentrate on whatever episode happened first, and then see what's up electrically.

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Old 02-13-2007, 11:24 AM   #13
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

Seems to me you lost the alternator, the belt idler/pulleys, or the belt itself came apart. Probably a minor fix.

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Old 02-13-2007, 02:46 PM   #14
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

Quote:
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Seems to me you lost the alternator, the belt idler/pulleys, or the belt itself came apart. Probably a minor fix.
Now that I read your description again, I second that... but, I should add, it's not necessarily your alternator. If any of the pulleys seized (power steering pump, alternator, compressor, etc), the belt could have slipped and snapped off (the smoke would have been the burning rubber). With no belt, you have no alt, and the engine will run off the battery until it dies (which won't be long). Quick check... see if you have a belt. If not, you've probably found your problem, and you just have to figure out which accessory it is. It may also be that the tensioner failed or wasn't holding the belt tight enough.

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Old 02-13-2007, 03:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erick295 View Post
Now that I read your description again, I second that... but, I should add, it's not necessarily your alternator. If any of the pulleys seized (power steering pump, alternator, compressor, etc), the belt could have slipped and snapped off (the smoke would have been the burning rubber). With no belt, you have no alt, and the engine will run off the battery until it dies (which won't be long). Quick check... see if you have a belt. If not, you've probably found your problem, and you just have to figure out which accessory it is. It may also be that the tensioner failed or wasn't holding the belt tight enough.
I agree with that or the tensioner causing the belt to slip, which it might be possible for it to slip to the point where the car would run for a while but shut off when it gets bad enough and kills the alternator...and the water pump is also on the accessory belt, so that could cause the car to overheat. And sometimes when those tensioners and such go out they make strange noises.

I wouldn't go to assuming the worst at this point, because if it were a diff pin or something major, I don't think it would be described as a "ticking rattling".

The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear a noise described as ticking or ticking rattling, I think serpentine belt and anything on that belt.

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Old 02-21-2007, 02:35 AM   #16
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

well i had a little spare time today to check out her car. all belts were present and had good tension. there was obviously an oil leak at some point, since i put in about 4 quarts just to get it to a normal level. when i tried starting it, the starter sputtered a few times then it would start to run for a second at 500rpm then die and just have the starter sputter. In order to see what was moving, i had my mom try to start it while i looked under the hood. i could see that on the bottom of the left side of the engine block there was oil leaking, and occasionally a fire; yes, flames. Cracked block somehow? also, i noticed that about halfway down the exhaust there was some sort of breakage and smoke was coming out of that part of the exhaust. Ideas?

BTW, my mom found an '00 Saturn SL for $4g at a local place. Junk the 98 and go for that?

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Old 02-21-2007, 07:45 AM   #17
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

lol i was in a GTO that burst into flames. My exp is that fire starts, I by a new ride lol.

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Old 02-21-2007, 12:22 PM   #18
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

rattle, smoke, oil, flames, 4 quarts low on oil? my guess is you probably threw a rod, and as for scrapping the car, no! go to your local salvage yard and buy a used engine for a few hundred bucks and just swap them. and in the future, CHECK THE OIL EVERY WEEK!!

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Old 02-21-2007, 01:20 PM   #19
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

alright. being that no one in my family has the knowledge or time to swap an engine, how much would it cost to have done, on top of the few hundred it would cost to buy it? I'm working on a volkswagen engine swap, but being 17 do not know that much about cars yet, would I have the ability to do it?

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Old 02-21-2007, 01:41 PM   #20
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Default Re: Mom's car died...help.

First, verify that the engine is actually junk. If it threw a rod through the side of the block, it's junk. Ask the salvage yard you get the replacement from if they will give you anything for the old engine.

As for the skill it requires, if you can swap a VW engine, you can definetly swap a Saturn engine. They're less difficult than a VW I would imagine. As for your little "project," I suggest putting that on hold until you get your mother's car running again. That should be your first priority.

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