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Old 04-14-2010, 11:01 AM   #1
zsmith
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Default help with a 225,000mile engine

Hello,

Ive had my saturn 97 sl1 for nearly 12 years. It has 225,000 miles on it. A few weeks ago i would have said that it was still running strong(ive always had regurlar oil changes and matinence done on it), it has never let me down as a daily driver or on the many vacations it has been on. The check engine light came on a few weeks back and i took it to the shop to find out what was wrong and fix it. After a day the shop owner called and said that cylinder 2 was at 50# and 1,3,and 4 were at 175#. He said this is what is causing something to set off a code, but that further testing would be needed. He also stated that due to the milage of the car it was not worth fixing. The only thing he could recomend was an engine replacement. The fact that insurance on the car is under 40$ a month and the car really seems to still run preety strong makes me want to keep on driving it for vacations only, and retire it as a daily driver. Since im not going to replace the engine, what matinence can be done that may help prolong my saturns life? I dont mind spending some money on it to give it a helping hand rather than just driving it into the ground. Thanks for any responses.

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Old 04-14-2010, 11:26 AM   #2
Low Saturn
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Default Re: help with a 225,000mile engine

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The only thing he could recomend was an engine replacement.
Thats what I'd recommend. Or at the very least a rebuild.

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Originally Posted by zsmith View Post
.....want to keep on driving it for vacations only, and retire it as a daily driver.
I'd reverse that.

Quote:
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....what matinence can be done that may help prolong my saturns life?
Find the cause of the low compression and make the necessary repairs.

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Old 04-15-2010, 10:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: help with a 225,000mile engine

could just be a sticky ring. Do a search on Marvel Mystery Oil soak or MMO soak and give that a try.

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Old 04-15-2010, 10:42 AM   #4
RadiatorsGalore
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Default Re: help with a 225,000mile engine

I would recommend a rebuild. I also sell used engines in another of my businesses, and there is just nothing that is available worth installing (price to value to true mile wise) in that year - and my company is one of the top two sellers of used engines in the nation.

Sorry for the bad news, but I'd hate to see you throw away good money.

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Old 04-17-2010, 06:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: help with a 225,000mile engine

There's still hope. Find out what the code is. I'm assuming it's a misfire code.
The compression numbers you posted would normally indicate a leaky valve but you said it runs OK so It's possible you have an issue that took us months to figure out when I worked for Saturn Powertrain Engineering. Deposits building up on the intake valve stems.
I can't remember when we made the change but when the oil companies reformulated the fuel in the late 90s I believe, it caused a build up of deposits on the intake valves that caused a check engine light on SL engines.
The problem was the bottom of the valve guides had a chamfer that allowed deposits to pack the lower part of the guides causing the valves to stick just enough to cause a misfire code. The chamfer was there to aid assembly.
We removed the chamfer after the problem was understood. The fix for the dealers involved a cleaning process using a cleaner containing Techron. Try some injector or fuel system cleaner using the highest amount of techron you can find. The actual cleaner we released to the dealers may still be available at any GM dealer. It had a Saturn part number at one time.
There's a service bulletin out there for it.

Good luck.

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Old 04-18-2010, 06:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: help with a 225,000mile engine

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could just be a sticky ring. Do a search on Marvel Mystery Oil soak or MMO soak and give that a try.
I would DEFINITELY try this before throwing in the towel. As a matter of fact, on a 1.9L with those miles, I'd do it 3-4 times.

The 1.9L is a nice little economy workhorse, but it does have its shortcomings. Sticky rings and oil burning are a couple of them, and I recall the earlier ones used to beat the crap out of the timing chains when the tensioner would get fouled up with sludge. A steady diet of quality synthetic oil would go a long way towards keeping those problems at bay.

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Old 04-18-2010, 10:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: help with a 225,000mile engine

Sorry, but a "sticky ring" is not going to lower compression numbers that far. More likely a burned valve. 225K? You think it was going to last forever? Rebuild the engine. The savings per mile over replacing the car will pay for that easily within a year or two.

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Old 04-19-2010, 06:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: help with a 225,000mile engine

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Sorry, but a "sticky ring" is not going to lower compression numbers that far. More likely a burned valve. 225K? You think it was going to last forever? Rebuild the engine. The savings per mile over replacing the car will pay for that easily within a year or two.
Upon further reflection, Wolfman is probably right. A bad valve makes more sense.

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Old 04-20-2010, 10:27 AM   #9
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Default Re: help with a 225,000mile engine

First, Get A Second Opinion. If it truly runs good, no shake at idle, no shudder on take off, get a second opinion, one 40# cylinder against 3 175# cylinders should have some rough running at some point. Do you hear a puff, puff, out of the exhaust or a pop, pop out of the intake, if not get a second opinion. A burned valve that is bad enough to cause compression to be at 40# is either going to pop through the intake or puff out the exhaust. I am not going to say the shop is bad and just want to sell you an engine, I do say get a second opinion. Go to an autoparts store, see if they will read the codes, check engine light means some electronic component, usually a sensor, is not performing properly, it is possible that a mechanical problem is causing this but normally it is just a sensor, especially if the engine does still run good. All of this is imho.

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