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Old 12-12-2004, 12:12 PM   #1
coolgreany
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2002 SL2
2002 VUE 3.0L
Default Rust colored on outside of plug and plug boot

Just passed my 3-year warranty date this week and have 27K on the 2002 SL2.

I was checking the plugs last week and noticed the passenger side cylinder (# 1?) had what seemd to be a rust colored coating on the outside of the plug boot and the base of the plug nut. What could this be and the possible cause? The only thing I can think of is that water got down there somehow but from rain or engine wash or coolant?

...
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02 SL2 Manual -76K, Germany
00 SL2 Auto-90K-failed emissions, Portland, OR
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Old 12-12-2004, 01:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rust colored on outside of plug and plug boot

I may be reading into what you're saying >>the porcelain part of the plug << is showing "rust" coloration, suggests evidence of oil getting into the plug well. When one removes their plugs, that is one of the first things which should be checked. For that is one of the primary visual results. With this in mind, your valve (cam) cover gasket is leaking oil into the plug well. As has been considerably commented, this is a common issue with Saturns.

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Old 12-12-2004, 03:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rust colored on outside of plug and plug boot

Yes, the outside part of plug but around the metal nut base that the plug socket turns. If it's the cam cover would the consistency be oily? This was pretty dry which made be think it was more a rust.

...
02 VUE Auto AWD-63k-Florida
02 SL2 Manual -76K, Germany
00 SL2 Auto-90K-failed emissions, Portland, OR
99 SL2 Auto-115K-aging, Portland, OR

91 SL1-Stolen 03, 113K
96 SL1-Totaled 02, 86K

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Old 12-12-2004, 04:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rust colored on outside of plug and plug boot

Quote:
If it's the cam cover would the consistency be oily?
Yes ! The consistency would be oily, not on the plug, but at the base, in the well. Doesn't mean to be much; could even be crusty

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> 95 SL 2 = 653,369 Miles 40.4 MPG, as of 5/20/11. My manual Radiator Fan Switch, courtesy of Wolfman's patient installation guidance, continues to be.......invaluable < The car was retired

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Old 12-12-2004, 05:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rust colored on outside of plug and plug boot

If it is rusty, but not oily, most likely it's water in the plug wells.

The only time I've had this happen was when somebody (mis)used a pressure washer to clean the engine and engine bay. That's not to say water could get in there via other means.

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Old 12-12-2004, 06:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rust colored on outside of plug and plug boot

I do think it's a water origin. I'll check it in a week or two to see if it returns.

...
02 VUE Auto AWD-63k-Florida
02 SL2 Manual -76K, Germany
00 SL2 Auto-90K-failed emissions, Portland, OR
99 SL2 Auto-115K-aging, Portland, OR

91 SL1-Stolen 03, 113K
96 SL1-Totaled 02, 86K

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Old 12-14-2004, 03:26 AM   #7
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Default Re: Rust colored on outside of plug and plug boot

FWIW, I had similar symptoms when I bought one of our Saturns from Carmax several years back. Turned out they had pressure cleaned the engine and water got around the plug boot. I was changing plug wires anyhow and decided to just put in a fresh set of plugs, too. Never had any problem.

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