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Old 07-22-2008, 04:26 PM   #1
04SilverVue
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2004 VUE 3.5L
Default 1997 SL2 - Free...

Manage to get a 1997 Saturn SL2 1.9L DOHC 5-Speed (Tan-ish/ Gold Color) for FREE from a family member. They car has been in my family since day 1. My father used it for 8 years and gave it to my youngest brother. Then after my youngest brother got a decent job he bought a new car and gave the SL2 to my younger middle brother and now he got a new car so it comes to me as the wife and I need a second car. We have a 04 Vue and were looking into getting a second car but now we can wait for awhile.

The car is a completely manual SL2. No power anything (ie windows, lock). It only has 100,225 miles on it. The clutch was replaced about a year ago. When I got it last week the radiator had a big leak and the reverse lights did not work. I immediately changed the oil/filter, air filter, windshield wipers, and filled all the fluids. I found a bad tranny reverse sensor which was easy to replace and then sent it to a local shop to have the radiator replaced ($310). Now all seems be be running good.

After reading around on here I wanted to replace the ECTS and clean the EGR valve. Does anyone recommend anything else? Brakes seem good and AC blows OK but not as cool as I would like but livable.

...
04SilverVue
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:46 PM   #2
MikeNW
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1997 SL
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

Mine is a 97 SL, "tan gold" color too!

I would change the ECTS, check the serp belt (easy), check the tensioner and idler pulleys (both failed about 95,000 miles), check or just replace spark plugs and wires, clean throttle body (take it off- easy job- to clean both sides), clean connections at the coil pack, check motor mounts. Clean PCV valve. Check the 3 rubber "donut" exhaust hangers, easy to replace.

In DFW, it's humid, consider changing brake fluid.

Check your shifter bushing(s), one of them is prone to breakage on these cars.

Check the diff pin, to make sure it's seated, for peace of mind.

Change tranny fluid, if there is no record of that. Easy. I would recommend synthetic fluid. It's only 3 qts. after all.

Sounds like a decent car. Good luck!

...
97 SL. Born 6/5/97, bought 7/7/97
08 Burgman 400
02 Haro MTB- can't kill it, still trying though

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Old 07-22-2008, 06:40 PM   #3
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1994 SL2
1999 SL
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

Congrats on the car, although you could have fixed the radiator yourself for alot cheaper than $310...I did mine in 2005 on my 94SC1 for the total cost of $85. Be as it may, sounds like a good deal.

Good luck.

...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

Always
94SC1 340,501 Miles
Org. Engine/Auto Trans
2/97-10/08
Gone 3/12

92SL1
05VUE
91SC

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Old 07-22-2008, 06:44 PM   #4
04SilverVue
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2004 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

Thanks guys! As for doing the radiator myself... I priced the parts at Autozone and after everything I really only paid $70 more to have the shop do it. Well worth $70 in this 100+ degree Texas heat! lol

...
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:51 PM   #5
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2004 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
Mine is a 97 SL, "tan gold" color too!

I would change the ECTS, check the serp belt (easy), check the tensioner and idler pulleys (both failed about 95,000 miles), check or just replace spark plugs and wires, clean throttle body (take it off- easy job- to clean both sides), clean connections at the coil pack, check motor mounts. Clean PCV valve. Check the 3 rubber "donut" exhaust hangers, easy to replace.

In DFW, it's humid, consider changing brake fluid.

Check your shifter bushing(s), one of them is prone to breakage on these cars.

Check the diff pin, to make sure it's seated, for peace of mind.

Change tranny fluid, if there is no record of that. Easy. I would recommend synthetic fluid. It's only 3 qts. after all.

Sounds like a decent car. Good luck!
Nice list... Thanks...

Serp Belt just replaced before I got it.
Tranny has clutch replaced but not sure about the fluid. I will definitely check it. Good catch.
Tensioner and Idler pulley? Anyone got photo's? You talking about the Serp Tensioner?
Plugs and wires are new (right before I got it).
Where is the PCV at?
As for brake fluid does it ever have to be changed? Never had to do that on a car before (but never had one with over 100K miles either).

I got the Hayes Manual on order so that should help as I am relatively mechanically inclined. How about the Timing Chain? The shop said to not worry about that because on "these little 4 bangers they never go bad". I know you to do Timing Belts but what about chains?

Anyway thanks again for the great suggestions.

...
04SilverVue
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:51 PM   #6
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1997 SL2
1995 SC2
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

PVC valve is located on the cam over. Use the search button for pictures

Also you must have a SL1 as the DOHC IIRC comes with power steering. I suggest finding which model you have as there are some issues that are related to each model for each year. Use the VIN and differentracing.com to find precisely what you own.

Brake fluid sometimes get moisture in it and can effect pedal travel. However if you feel the pedal is firm and hold pressure than this may be able to wait.

Timing chain: The timing chains usually will last the life of the car IF and ONLY IF the oil has been maintained. If it hasnt then this is what happens:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=X21Z3j6T7Uw Oil should be changed every 3K, and untill you learn your car check the oil at every gas fill up as the s-series love to burn oil

Search for pictures from Wolfman as he has a few outlining all the pulleys on the s-series engines.

Mobil 1 ATF Synthetic has had good results mainly smoother shifts.

NGK Copper plugs are best. No iridium or fancy plugs like that.

Refer to one of my thread for a complete tune up list. Its important to have a good starting point as we will ask when certain things were replaced if you car has any issues.

100k....Your saturn is a teenager

...
Current: 95 SC2 Man 97 SL2 Auto 98 SL1 Auto 01 SL1 Man 02 SL1 Man
Past: 94 SL2 Man 95 SL2 Man 95 SL2 Man 96 SL2 Auto 97 SL2 Man 98 SL2 Auto 99 SL2 Auto
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:56 PM   #7
04SilverVue
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2004 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rc1488 View Post
PVC valve is located on the cam over. Use the search button for pictures

Also you must have a SL1 as the DOHC IIRC comes with power steering. I suggest finding which model you have as there are some issues that are related to each model for each year. Use the VIN and differentracing.com to find precisely what you own.

Brake fluid sometimes get moisture in it and can effect pedal travel. However if you feel the pedal is firm and hold pressure than this may be able to wait.

Timing chain: The timing chains usually will last the life of the car IF and ONLY IF the oil has been maintained. If it hasnt then this is what happens:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=X21Z3j6T7Uw Oil should be changed every 3K, and untill you learn your car check the oil at every gas fill up as the s-series love to burn oil

Search for pictures from Wolfman as he has a few outlining all the pulleys on the s-series engines.

Mobil 1 ATF Synthetic has had good results mainly smoother shifts.

NGK Copper plugs are best. No iridium or fancy plugs like that.

Refer to one of my thread for a complete tune up list. Its important to have a good starting point as we will ask when certain things were replaced if you car has any issues.

100k....Your saturn is a teenager
Definitely an SL2 5 Speed as I just registered the VIN for the title change. But thanks for all the great suggestions. I have been keeping all my repair records so I know what I have done to the car.

...
04SilverVue
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:05 PM   #8
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1997 SL2
1995 SC2
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

So your car is a 2nd gen DOHC with no power anything but a/c? Interestingg....

Learn new things everyday!

...
Current: 95 SC2 Man 97 SL2 Auto 98 SL1 Auto 01 SL1 Man 02 SL1 Man
Past: 94 SL2 Man 95 SL2 Man 95 SL2 Man 96 SL2 Auto 97 SL2 Man 98 SL2 Auto 99 SL2 Auto
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:08 PM   #9
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2004 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rc1488 View Post
So your car is a 2nd gen DOHC with no power anything but a/c? Interestingg....

Learn new things everyday!
I would almost guarantee that it does have power steering... Just no power locks, windows, ect... Does have AC and an AM/FM radio with no tape or CD player...? What am I not getting?

...
04SilverVue
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:34 PM   #10
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1997 SL
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

Regarding the previous post, I guess we're surprised that it is an "upscale" Saturn, with few options.

You know the transmission fluid for MANUAL transmissions is Dexron III or synthetic equivalent, not gear oil, right? (Yes, the thin red stuff)

I would still change the brake fluid if you have no history. I changed mine about 80,000 miles (6 years) and what came out was ugly-looking, and my car lived most of its life in the southwest. The brake pedal felt OK though.

The timing chain will last a long time IF THE OIL WAS CHANGED OFTEN and kept full. I understand that they rattle for a while before failing. So don't worry about it.

Concentrate on keeping the oil full and clean. These are good cars. They just ask for a little TLC.

...
97 SL. Born 6/5/97, bought 7/7/97
08 Burgman 400
02 Haro MTB- can't kill it, still trying though

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Will Munny: We all got it coming, kid.

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Old 07-22-2008, 09:45 PM   #11
04SilverVue
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2004 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
Regarding the previous post, I guess we're surprised that it is an "upscale" Saturn, with few options.

You know the transmission fluid for MANUAL transmissions is Dexron III or synthetic equivalent, not gear oil, right? (Yes, the thin red stuff)

I would still change the brake fluid if you have no history. I changed mine about 80,000 miles (6 years) and what came out was ugly-looking, and my car lived most of its life in the southwest. The brake pedal felt OK though.

The timing chain will last a long time IF THE OIL WAS CHANGED OFTEN and kept full. I understand that they rattle for a while before failing. So don't worry about it.

Concentrate on keeping the oil full and clean. These are good cars. They just ask for a little TLC.
Yea my dad had to special request this car when he got it new back in 97. I still have the window sticker and the only option is the AC. Car cost alittle over 14 new.
But I just went and check the Tranny fluid. My brother had the clutch replaced last year and it looks like the fluid is really good. They must have changed it when they did the clutch.

...
04SilverVue
DFW, Texas

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Old 07-22-2008, 09:47 PM   #12
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1997 SL2
1995 SC2
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 04SilverVue View Post
I would almost guarantee that it does have power steering... Just no power locks, windows, ect...
Ah ha! This is the piece that didnt seem to fit. In your original post you said no power anything with example being locks and windows. That was why i was like and surprised it was an SL2 as some SL's do NOT have power anything from steering to locks and windows. I suppose after reading so many posts the littlest details such as this make the difference

...
Current: 95 SC2 Man 97 SL2 Auto 98 SL1 Auto 01 SL1 Man 02 SL1 Man
Past: 94 SL2 Man 95 SL2 Man 95 SL2 Man 96 SL2 Auto 97 SL2 Man 98 SL2 Auto 99 SL2 Auto
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:20 PM   #13
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2004 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rc1488 View Post
Ah ha! This is the piece that didnt seem to fit. In your original post you said no power anything with example being locks and windows. That was why i was like and surprised it was an SL2 as some SL's do NOT have power anything from steering to locks and windows. I suppose after reading so many posts the littlest details such as this make the difference
Ahhh... Sorry for the confusion.

...
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:55 AM   #14
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1996 SW2
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

A/C should not have been listed as an option. It was standard on the DOHC cars. So was power steering. But none of the "interior power" options were standard on any S-Series car, so it should be no surprise not to see them, even on an SC2/SL2/SW2.

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Old 07-23-2008, 08:06 AM   #15
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1994 SL2
1999 SL
Default Re: 1997 SL2 - Free...

Talking about the options...

The 97SW2 that I bought from the original owner is similar to this....

I have manual windows, power door locks; A/C, Alloy Wheels, Custom Floormats, and had a regular AM/FM Radio (No Cass or CD.)

After asking the original owner about the options; it came to a money decision more than anything else when they purchased the car new.

I have since then, installed an OEM Single Disc CD Player w/6 Band EQ/AM/FM Radio. It's plug n play and works great.

As soon as I get the Rear O2 sensor fixed, I'm going to start working on installing factory Fog Lights. I have all of the necessary hardware, just trying to find the time to do this install.

...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

Always
94SC1 340,501 Miles
Org. Engine/Auto Trans
2/97-10/08
Gone 3/12

92SL1
05VUE
91SC

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