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Old 02-01-2020, 09:43 AM   #1
Markham
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2003 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Saturn L200 (2003) - Sudden & random warnings and faults

My Saturn L200 has had some issues the last months. The first was the light on the shifter panel stopped coming on (P, R, N, D, etc..) and at the same time the auto-door locks did not engage when I shifted out of park. Sometimes that light would come back on while driving or idling and the door lock would engage. Some days it worked without an issue.

A few weeks later the alternator went bad and apparently the battery did too. I had both replaced and everything seemed fine. However, even after I had those replaced the issue with the shifter light/door lock was still there, but seemed to fix itself completely within a few days after getting the car back. That issue did not resurface.

I had no problems for 2 months, then as I was pulling into my parking spot after driving around town in traffic for 30 or so miles, the wrench symbol appeared. I turned the car off, started it again with some difficulty, and the wrench warning came up immediately. The next day it started, no warning lights, and I drove it 5 miles to a store through traffic with no issues. On the return trip, almost home, the wrench came back up. The airbag warning flashed for 10 seconds or so, then went away. I pulled off the road and shut the car down.

I attempted to start the car again and this time the engine light, airbag, wrench, all came on, and the engine revved up high too on its own, as if I were stepping on the gas petal. The RPM gauge was up to between 4 and 5.

I turned it off and called AAA for a tow. I sat there 15-20 mins and decided to try it again, just so I could move my car up to a better spot for the tow truck. It started fine, no trouble, no warning lights. It shifted out of park. I moved the car forward and turned it off.

I've had it in the shop all week and they tell me it has not repeated the problem. There is no error codes, no issues, starts and moves fine. I am sure they are not driving it 10-20 or miles through traffic. No shop can spend that amount of time test driving. They are still looking at it.

I am stumped. Anyone have the same or similar issues before?

I don't drive car a lot. Most of my driving is within 3-5 miles of my apartment. It does sit for days without use. Once or twice a week I do drive it 20-30 miles taking a disabled family member to do errands. Other than that, I stay within 3-5 miles of my home.

Last edited by Markham; 02-01-2020 at 09:56 AM..

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Old 02-01-2020, 10:20 AM   #2
Rj 2000 LS2
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2000 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Saturn L200 (2003) - Sudden & random warnings and faults

Sound like many unrelated problems. The wrench when driving could be the solenoids in the transmission. We get a wrench light every once and a while and the transmission will shift very hard. When it happens, we know to lift up on the gas before it shifts so we don't ***** the torque converter. If we shut off the engine for a few minutes and take the key out, not just a restart, the code will clear and it works normally. This is caused by one of several solenoids in the transmission that handle the shifting. As I understand it, the top solenoid (highest in transmission) goes bad because it is always outside the transmission fluid and therefore fails from over heating. Some have replaced these solenoids, but it's a big job.

The other symptoms could be related to a bad ignition switch. These saturn's have anti-theft circuitry which literally flows through the key. If the Security light is ON or blinking while you are trying to start the engine it will not start. You have to turn ON the ignition without starting the engine and leave it sit for 10 minutes and the security light will turn off, then you can switch to key to OFF and start the engine normally. This problem will happen if you crank on the steering wheel before starting the engine and/or if your key is getting worn or the ignition switch is getting old... which they are all getting old. There is a method to disable this security, but it requires disassembling the ignition switch to install a static resistor between two wires. The ignition switch actually measures the resistance of your key when inserted into the ignition and if it measures the wrong resistance, it will disable the starting of the engine for 10 minutes as describe above. It's GM's stupid security feature they bragged about when we bought the car!

The other lighting issues might just be burnt out bulbs or the switch to turn ON the lights is broken etc... something like that. I wouldn't really worry about these lights.

The over rev-ing could be faulty throttle sensors of maybe a vacuum leak in such lines.

I think the garage will not find anything because these issues are simply from an aging vehicle and are quite normal.

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Old 02-01-2020, 10:52 AM   #3
floridasl22002
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Saturn L200 (2003) - Sudden & random warnings and faults

Just my 2 cents worth. You have TWO main Warning Lights on your Saturn; one is the Check Engine Light (CEL) and that illuminates when you have Emission related problems. The other light is the Wrench Light. This comes on for NON Emission related issues. This can range from a burnt out bulb to more costly items like transmission issues.

The Solenoid issue that the other poster refers to does affect some L series. My son had this issue which I fixed by replacing the Pressure Solenoid and the Shift Solenoids at the same time. It's a PITA job, so that's why I replaced 3 at the same time. I did not want to repeat the exercise. If you are not having hard shifting issues then you don't have this problem and the Wrench Light is telling you to get it checked.

As a general rule, the Wrench light codes may well be Saturn specific. The code readers at the Autostores and some garages may not be able to read these codes. The coder reader that WILL read them is a Tech11 reader. A GM garage will have them. A tranny shop will likely have them. A regular garage may not.

So when you talk the garage looking at the car now, make sure they are using a Tech11 reader. Otherwise they are wasting your and their time.

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Old 02-01-2020, 12:08 PM   #4
lrbraner
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2002 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
2003 L-Series 3.0L Wagon
Default Re: Saturn L200 (2003) - Sudden & random warnings and faults

Just an FYI. My Actron CP9680 will read Transmission codes as well as "U" codes. Also ABS, Airbag codes.

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Old 02-03-2020, 01:24 PM   #5
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Saturn L200 (2003) - Sudden & random warnings and faults

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markham View Post
My Saturn L200 has had some issues the last months......I don't drive car a lot. Most of my driving is within 3-5 miles of my apartment. It does sit for days without use. Once or twice a week I do drive it 20-30 miles taking a disabled family member to do errands. Other than that, I stay within 3-5 miles of my home.
You may be describing symptoms of a discharged battery based on your driving routine. Regular short trips under 10 miles a day drains the battery on every start but never allows the battery time (>15 miles) to recharge. Cat batteries drain on every startup from starter use while driving recharges them. Short trips like yours simply doesn't recharge the battery.

20-30 miles once per week should recharge the battery but if you skip this longer drive....

Perhaps plugging in a trickle charger, the type with no more than 2 amps output, will provide a gentle charge overnight to fully recharge the battery. Inexpensive trickle chargers allows connections to car batteries and forgetting it for everyday use, occasional or months at a time without overcharging issues, keeping a battery fully charged without boiling out battery fluids.

...
VCX NANO

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Old 02-03-2020, 10:24 PM   #6
focusofheart
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Default Re: Saturn L200 (2003) - Sudden & random warnings and faults

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
...Regular short trips under 10 miles a day drains the battery on every start but never allows the battery time (>15 miles) to recharge. Cat batteries drain on every startup from starter use while driving recharges them. Short trips like yours simply doesn't recharge the battery.

20-30 miles once per week should recharge the battery but if you skip this longer drive....
Thank you for mentioning the needed time to recharge the battery. I had been wondering about that since I normally drive about 15-18 miles round trip twice a day. I will drive the car at least 25 miles once per week by taking the long way back home.

...
Saturn 1998 - SL2 automatic
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:38 PM   #7
Markham
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2003 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Saturn L200 (2003) - Sudden & random warnings and faults

The problem was, apparently, that the alternator that was replaced in December was faulty. Low voltage, etc.. The shop replaced it. It seems to be running fine again and the issue with the shifter/auto door locks isn't there this time around. *fingers crossed*

Thank you for the advice and suggestions. I appreciate it!

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Old 02-06-2020, 04:27 PM   #8
Rj 2000 LS2
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Default Re: Saturn L200 (2003) - Sudden & random warnings and faults

What we found is if you press slow on the gas and accelerate at a constant slow rate, the Wrench light is more likely to go on.

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