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Old 10-01-2020, 07:12 PM   #1
POK7734
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2003 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default 2003 L200 Engine Oil Change

A few years ago I tried draining the engine oil myself, but the last person who tightened it (the dealer) must have really been a gorilla, because I could not budge it. Fearful of damaging threads in the pan, which appears to be aluminum, I took it back to the dealer and had them change the oil, figuring if the threads were damaged, it would have been their fault, so the repair would theirs to absorb, not me.

I have since moved away from that city and where I am now no one has a clue about Saturns. I would appreciate any feedback, tips, wisdom from anyone who has changed their own engine oil, especially any tips for avoiding damaging the threads in the pan. Thanking in advance...
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Old 10-01-2020, 08:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2003 L200 Engine Oil Change

Yes, unfortunately there are gorilla mechanics that are unskilled at dealers and repair shops. One would assume a simple oil change would be less than rocket science but gorillas don't know the difference so we inherit the ills of a few gorilla mechanics.

The best way to deal with this, presuming a better way isn't suggested, is to use a socket that fits to reduce/eliminates rounding off the oil drain plug. With it being very tight, there's supposed to be a plastic crush washer (white or black) that deforms to seal instantly when the bolt is hand tightened to less than gorilla foot pounds of torque. The hard plastic washer requires little effort to maximize sealing and may need to be replaced from time to time if necessary. Whether you have a socket (metric) or use and adjustable wrench, if its so tight that you can't loosen it by hand then resort to a quick hammer blow on the end of a socket wrench or adjustable wrench. The adjustable wrench should be finger tight against The flats of the bolt to minimize it from slipping off and rounding two edges of the bolt. The quick moderate blow would be the equivalent of those handy pneumatic wrenches to loosen or tighten wheel lug nuts and bolts. The sudden shock with one or two blows to a wrench should break the over tightened bolt.
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:41 PM   #3
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2000 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2003 L200 Engine Oil Change

The drain plug wasn't too bad for me the last/First time I ever changed our oil on our 2000 L300 Saturn. Much to my surprise the oil filter had never been changed! It was so tight I had to use a 1/2" breaker bar to remove it. The oil filter was so incredibly heavy... it must have been the original oil filter! I will never get my oil changed by a third party again!

Only advice, make damn certain you are loosening the drain plug and then give her. It will come out.
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Old 10-02-2020, 02:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2003 L200 Engine Oil Change

One other thing to consider is that most shops will now follow factory specs. for tightening even oil drain plugs - and with our L-Series, the oil filter cap. My 2000 Saturn FSM rates both at 18 ft. lbs. Frankly, that doesn't sound like much, but it can feel like there's quite a bit of resistance at both locations using that torque spec.. I have also used it and when I went to do the next oil change found it to require more "muscle" than I'd expected. Nevertheless, the drain plug and oil filter cap were, and have been, removed without damaging either of them.

After about 15 years I replaced my original drain plug as the gasket that was embedded in it finally cracked resulting in a leak there. That type of drain plug was no longer available. The replacement type - whether aftermarket or OEM - featured a recessed space in the flange where a replaceable gasket is seated. If you have a drain plug of that type then the gasket should be replaced at every oil change to ensure a leak proof seal there.

To avoid damaging the hex on the drain plug, first tightening it slightly - very slightly. This will break the seal of the drain plug so that when you immediately go to removing it (counter-clockwise), the plug will break free more easily. Yes, it's counter-intuitive, but it works. I would heartily recommend purchasing the special socket for removing and reinstalling the oil filter cap. The one I have is a LISLE brand, p/n 14700 (32 mm hex and found at Autozone [of course, there are other brands out there]), for use with a 3/8" drive ratchet. (I also prefer to use both the short and long extensions from that tool set to elevate the ratchet above contacting other parts nearby.)
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Last edited by pierrot; 10-02-2020 at 02:59 AM.
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Old 10-04-2020, 10:45 AM   #5
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2000 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: 2003 L200 Engine Oil Change

Deleted post.

Decided that tips that work with the 3.0L didn't apply to the 2.2L.

Last edited by ernesto rex; 10-04-2020 at 10:49 AM. Reason: Deleted The Post
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