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Old 01-04-2011, 12:09 PM   #181
GOODY2SHZ
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1997 SL
2002 SL
Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

I joined this site 2 years ago and learned how to clean the throttle body, do an MMO soak, replace the ECTS and replace the thermostat on my
97 SL. Because of this site being here with such incredibly easy-to-understand instructions, we decided to get a second 97 SL2 when our second (non-Saturn) car went to the junkyard. When my husband smashed up the "new" 97 SL2, we got an 02 SL, which my husband cleverly gave to me while he took over driving the 97 SL. Right off the bat, we were able to search this site and within 5 minutes found the reason the car was intermittently idling high. Another quick search and we found Richpin's video on how to replace the TPS. That quick fix was completed and the car is now running great! We fully expect to come back to this site the next time we have a problem with either car, AND WE EXPECT YOU TO BE HERE!!! So, so long for now. But we'll be back.

97 SL - 210,000 (original owner)
02 SL - 140,000

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Old 01-04-2011, 12:44 PM   #182
Pinkcloudz
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1997 SL1
1997 SL1
Sad Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

AMEN!!! I have had up to four SL1 Saturns parked in my driveway at once and have loved everyone of them. I was heart broken when I heard that the SL line was dropped and even more so when I learned that Saturns were to be no more. When I bought my first one in August of 1999 it was the best car I ever had to drive! I laugh when the car companies brag about getting mpgs in the thirties when back in 1999 my Saturn was getting over 40mpg!! When Saturn dropped the SL model and introduced cars that mpgs were less I just shook my head in dismay.

After my son totaled that car we purchased a SL 1997 and both my sons also purchased the same year models. We had a smashed green one, and three running ones - red, blue and green. The boys have moved on but we still have the red and blue one in the driveway. I smile everytime a Saturn passes me on the road and I know there goes another happy owner. Maybe they built them too good and that's why they stopped??? I keep hoping someone will change their mind and bring back one of the best cars ever built?!

PS Watch the movie "Who killed the Electric Car" and get ready to rant and cry over the stupidity of the car company.....

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Old 01-04-2011, 12:45 PM   #183
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

First, a great thanks to Charlie for all you have done with this site, and another great thanks for all those who have contributed their knowledge and experiences here. What I learned from the information posted here helped me make the decision to purchase an SC2 for myself and later as a first car for my daughter. Since both cars were used, there have been the usual issues of parts needing to be replaced, but we have been well served by our investment thus far and continue to be.

Long Live Saturn!

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Old 01-04-2011, 01:26 PM   #184
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Thumbs Up Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

Many Thanks. Hopefully, MY ride will go on and on - because I have a 2002 SL2 with merely 36,000 care-free miles and I fully expect to hang on to this reliable transportation for many years to come.

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Old 01-04-2011, 01:59 PM   #185
JefferyC
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

Thank you Charlie for all you do for SaturnFans.
I own one Saturn, my first. Their customer service was most excellent.
I had to visit a SASP in North Charleston and they tried to treat me like an outcast. I have already told them in writing you don't win over customers treating them like dirt. I have yet to get a response, and don't expect one. I visit a local Ford dealer for service on my wifes 2010 Mariner I get greeted with a smile. I tease them that it doesn't drive like my Saturn.
I want to thank all the SaturnFans for being SaturnFans. There really is so much information on all models, if a problem occurs, someone is there to offer a resolution. With all the good people that seem to always be online to help, I say thank you for being a SaturnFan friend. People talk about the hundreds of thousands miles on there Saturn I can say it takes me 10 years to get to 90K. I wish all SaturnFans the best.

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Old 01-04-2011, 02:24 PM   #186
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

My wife and I have owned three Saturns between us and are still driving two of them (2000 LS1 and 2006 Relay AWD3). Both cars are running great (though the AWD system in the Relay sometimes makes a small winding noise of late - cause for concern?) and we like them both. I primarily drive the LS and my wife the Relay. I will likely be the next in line for a new car purchase, but what to buy? It was so easy to go into the local Saturn dealer and just pick one out and drive it home, it was so great they are still in business and becoming an Infiniti dealer. I still get both my vehicles serviced at this location and many of the same employees I have worked with are still there after 10 years of my business. I am likely to buy an Infiniti as a replacement vehicle, but the LS only has about 112,000 miles on it and is running great and still looking good. As a 10 year old vehicle, it still does not look old and dated (well maybe just a little ). A 10 year old Chevy sure looks old to me - but not my still good to drive Saturn. I probably would have never bought another brand and now I am likely to never buy GM again.

I will miss the Saturn brand, but I am fortunate to be able to continue business with the same people who have always provided such wonderful service and care for my vehicles and family. Good bye Saturn, and apparently GM as well.

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Old 01-04-2011, 03:25 PM   #187
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

Thanks for the tons of information available on this website about my Saturn Vue. Everyone has been so helpful. I will always believe if Saturn would have retained the look of the Saturns there would not have been a problem and they would still be making cars. There was a comment made by a Saturn salesman 2 years ago, while I was waiting for my oil change, that a guy came into the showroom and thought they were selling Toyotas but they were Vues. Now that is what wrecked the Saturn image (which in my opinion was like the Volkeswagon Bug lovers - there is no other car); if I wanted a Toyota-like Vue I would have bought a Toyota. I was going to buy a new Vue when they started to change the model look and decided to keep the beauty I had and still have. Too bad for all of us dedicated Saturn owners. Maybe some day they will bring them back like they did the Beetle! We can only hope. Thanks again for all your dedication to us fans!

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Old 01-04-2011, 04:08 PM   #188
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

As a "Factory Guy", I got to see the rise and fall of Saturn first hand.

I came to Saturn as a contractor for a 4 month job, and 2 1/2 years later the plant finally turned me loose. They had managed to keep me (and quite a few others) around long after when the contract had finished.

I went back to doing startups at other car factories in and out of the country but I really missed the place and the way that they did business, so in '95 when a permanent position became available I jumped at the chance.

What you've heard about Saturn is largely true. We had a very productive working relationship with the union, and for the most part, we rarely had any serious problems. I was a Facilities Control engineer, and was attached to "C" crew Maintenance in General Assembly as their Controls Engineer. I was there to help maintenance out during breakdowns when things got tough, and to modify the equipment with new features and program changes.

(As an aside, when Saturn first started up, they cherry-picked the best production & maintenance workers from within GM. By and large, they were truly world class workers that were standouts within the industry. You could put them up against just about anyone. But as the deadline to get a third shift up and running loomed near, GM told the plant that they had to take whomever was available. Period. "C" crew was the result of that decision, and was what precipitated the need for an engineer to be attached to a crew. Without a doubt we were the "Dirty Dozen" of Saturn.)

In those days when we had a breakdown, or needed some sort of repair or modification in the "window" (the hours between the end of night shift and the beginning of day shift), we never had a problem getting someone to stay over and take care of business.

As GM started taking over the day-to-day business, you could see that attitudes changed and the guys were less willing to go the extra mile. On the management side, we started getting leaders without "Saturn" experience, which means doing things the "GM" way.

Near the end (the end for me that is), things had pretty much gone back to the old "GM" way, and with it the bad old ways that you would see in any other GM (or Ford, or Chrysler) plant. I had an opportunity to go to work in the Shreveport, LA plant as an electrician, but I didn't want anything to do with a company that treated their people the way that they did, and I told them so.

So now things were beginning to become the same way at Saturn as they were anywhere else in GM. That wasn't for me.

I had toyed around with leaving as early as 2004 - 2005, but we had such a great team that I didn't want to be the one who broke it up. I ended up leaving voluntarily in 2008 (actually I had to force my leaders to let me go).

Don't get me wrong, the entire fault does not lay at the feet of corporate or with the managers, they were plenty of abuses that came from the hourly side of the house.

Probably the biggest (union side) abuse came from maintenance, they simply wouldn't work on any project that didn't have overtime approved for it. So when overtime was cut back in the early 2000's, we saw a rapid decline in the uptime of our machinery. Whatever broke would be patched together and put back in service and it would just have to hold up until it broke again.

It's easy to blame the union for the failures in GM, but the production workers by and large were some of the hardest working, most conscientious people I have ever had the pleasure to work with.

Maintenance was probably made up of 20% stellar tradespeople that could work for any company in the world, 60% that try to do the right thing, and usually did, and 20% that weren't worth the powder to blow them out the door.

But the bottom line is that the final responsibility rests with management, and we failed miserably. No more so than our CEO that took GM from a $75 a share company down to a 75 cent a share company. I get told by folks that are clueless as to what went on at GM that the government should have never asked for Wagoner's resignation. Well, at least somebody had the stones to do it. The guy was a disaster, and we all knew it ages ago.


It was terrible to see what was happening to our beloved Saturn, and when my chance to go came around, I told Claude W. (our Human Resources person) "You had me at Goodbye".

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Old 01-04-2011, 04:45 PM   #189
CrunkedRL
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

Thanks Charlie for creating an invaluable resource for us Saturnfans. All of my DIY information have been sourced from this site. I plan to have my Saturns for several more years and will continue to look to 'Saturnalia' as an excellent resource for info. on my vehicles. Thanks again!

...
Current Rides

98' Saturn SL2
04' Saturn Vue RL

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Old 01-04-2011, 05:17 PM   #190
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

I owned a Saturn not for a long period but, the best thing that I remembered is how it is simple the work on the car and it is a pain in the ¤¢£ to changer the oil filter...

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Old 01-04-2011, 07:07 PM   #191
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

The ride ended for me Dec 5, 2010 in a thread I started elsewhere. Shopping for a used car in my 2001 SL1 class was a bit off effort. I wanted something with about 30K miles so it was proved out and someone else took the hit driving off the lot when it was new.

I tried finding Cobalt but I couldn't find a low mileage one with auto, remote mirror, keyless entry, electric windows, air conditioning, ect. That SL1 was rather well equipped for a econo car.

I ended up with a 2009 Ford Focus with 28K miles. After what State Farm gave me for totaling my SL1 that got the price down to 100 more than what I paid for the SL1 years ago.

The Focus is easier to get into, the trunk lid doesn't pop open when I hit the keyless button. It lays there. Old Sally Saturn would pop up about 5 inches to help with getting it open. Not a big thing but something I miss.

Sally Saturn, she knew that mid thirties is what she needed to do as far as mileage and she kept that up right to the end at 216000 miles.

The Focus is a good car but Sally was a well worn shoe, we fit each other well after years of being together. I'd have loved to see what Saturn would have built to compete with my Focus. I bet it would have been a darn good car.

So Charlie, thanks for all the help along the way, I posted at least one good troubleshooting thread to pay back.

I still miss Sally.

Szumi

...
216K miles, she kept me alive in a head on. RIP Sally.

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Old 01-04-2011, 07:47 PM   #192
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

My 97 sl2 is just about to roll over to 135,000 and I would like to thank all the people on the forum for answering my dumb questions and teaching me many things. Gonna miss saturn.

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Old 01-04-2011, 08:31 PM   #193
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Heart Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

I worked on some of the initial Detroit area introduction advertising footage back in 1989 on the film crew. I found myself paying so much attention to the cars as they were zipping around the picturesque curves out in the Michigan countryside, I didn't always pay enough attention to my particular job which caused the need for a number of re-takes. It felt so good seeing those stylish American made cars from a new venture preparing to hit the streets of America.
As the years passed I was sure Saturn had matured into a division of substance within General Motors able to compete with any car maker out there. I felt that this American auto maker was was here to stay and with the advantages in engineering that I felt particularly important to me living in the upper mid-west with all it's winter weather (and corrosives!) I was determined to become a Saturn guy for life. My 2000 LS2 just turned over 100,000 miles a week ago and looks and drives like it did 10 years ago. My wife added a 2006 Vue V6 to the drive way and we love that one too. I pray now that after-market manufacturers will pick-up where the GM parts network drops off because I hope to drive both these cars long into the future. With any luck I can find a Sky under a tarp in someone's barn sale down the road! I was deeply saddened that the Penske deal fell through. I could've easily seen Roger taking the brand to new and higher levels than the corporate at G.M. would ever have allowed. This car brand I fear will be the last "new" car brand this country will ever welcome to it's collection from concept to distribution. Are we destined to just hang on by the skin of our teeth to what we have now while Asia and other developing countries brave the fight and start new brands to sell world-wide? I sincerely hope we as a nation through determination and learning from past mistakes one day find ourselves anticipating a new American brand as much as we did when the first Saturn 2-door coupe buzzed around that corner in that commercial and into our hearts and driveways. I look forward to that day but until then, God willing.... I will continue to drive my wonderful Saturns.

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Old 01-04-2011, 09:19 PM   #194
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

Saturn failed for a reason.

Call it poor marketing. Call it lack of budget. Call it whatever you want.

It was a nice concept. Compete with the imports with a "higher quality" product and some touchy feely dealer experience. The latter garnered a lot of press. However, over time, it was clear that the quality part was the same ol' GM koolaid. As anyone with an S-Series will tell you, the oil burning tells the tale. Or the original VUE owners with VTi transmissions will tell you...please.

GM wound up in bankruptcy for a reason. They just didn't deliver the goods. I feel bad that American jobs were lost as a result, but you can't shovel poo at the buying public for a couple of decades and then act surprised when it comes back to haunt you.

...
All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts, but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. -Frank Herbert-

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Old 01-04-2011, 09:49 PM   #195
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

The wife and I bought our 1993 SL2, in late 1992 from the Saturn dealership in Fairfield CA. She brought us to Washington State and was a dependable ride until we traded her in for a 2002 Subaru. I had installed a SPS ceramic-coated intake installed and Borla exhaust. Removing the factory “CA” intake duct really made a difference in performance! The only issue I ever had was replacing the alternator at about 60K.

I only joined the Saturn forum after selling our SL2. I had a complete set of new OEM gray mats and sold them to a member for 10 bucks. Once I got his address, I sent him the mats before receiving payment. Why not trust him, was a Saturn owner right?

Our SL2 was a great little car and I am proud to say I was a Saturn owner. Thank you to Charlie for this forum!

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Old 01-04-2011, 10:15 PM   #196
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

*sniffle* *sniffle* goodbye saturn had you when i got my license and i still drive it and enjoy it today, truly a different kind of car

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Old 01-04-2011, 10:24 PM   #197
FredM
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

I never owned a new Saturn, but did buy 3 used ones over the last several years.

I have to admit, my interest in owning one came about due to my love of the Mazda Miata.

Yeah, that might sound a little odd, but I read somewhere that the SLs had roughly the same power-to-weight ratio as a Miata and they might be just as much fun. Don't know who wrote it or where I read it, but that's when I started looking a used Saturns! Damned if it wasn't true, too!!!

We got a lot of good use out of our little used SLs here, but, sorry to say, we're down to just the one. My daughter now drives my '02 SL2 (124k miles and running quite nicely).

Thanks to Charlie and everyone here. I have made very good use of this site over those years, too.

-Fred

...
Neither a borrower nor a lender be... -- William Shakespeare

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Old 01-04-2011, 10:46 PM   #198
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

I remember being in college and having my '72 Monte Carlo die on me. I took out a loan for a 94 SC2 and worried that I wouldn't know how to work on it. Thank god I found this site, because the first couple of years the water pump, starter and alternator went out. I spun a bearing and thought the engine was toast. After that it was cake. Over 240k hard miles on that awesome car and I was ready for a change.

My whole family and a few friends are now addicted to Saturns and I tell them, "go to saturnfans.com" any time they have an issue.

Thanks Charlie.

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Old 01-04-2011, 11:49 PM   #199
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

Saturn's death was guaranteed in the 90s when GM starved their development and then forced them, as the decade closed (and they had essentially a warmed over, decontented product that was nearly a decade old in 3 flavors as showroom bait) to use a poorly suited European platform as a base for their mid-size offering, a platform too small for a US midsize that had to be stretched, widened and hastily re-engineered at, ironically, a cost that was close to what a clean-sheet Saturn product would have cost anyhow. This was but the first step in the destruction of Saturn, as the resulting product was simply NOT a Saturn. Saturn was originally a separate company, owned by GM but sharing essentially NOTHING of any significance with other GM makes - hence, they managed a good product, competitive with the Japanese, due to it being insulated from the cancer that was GM. I bought a 2000 L Series, against my better instincts, since I needed something bigger and more comfortable for rear seat passengers than my SC and SC2, my first two (and only REAL) Saturns. I should have listened to my better instincts. The L Series car was a GM product through and through, and suffered from the typical GM ailments - half-baked engineering, discount-bin parts, and sloppy assembly. In the 60k miles of ownership I suffered through with that car, I replaced 2 O2 sensors, a MAF sensor, an alternator, a water pump, a timing belt, a tail light, and had the stupid oil cooler buried in the "V" of the engine block resealed at LEAST 3 times. From about 10k on, the car also exhibited incurable steering vibration, one of the half-baked engineering related defects. It was the worst $24k I have ever spent. From that point forward, the real Saturns were replaced with GM "platform mates," NOT Saturns, and "Saturn" was reduced to a new kind of...badge for "Oldsmobile." Saturn in its early years proudly bragged about how 70% of their buyers wouldn't even CONSIDER another GM make, and then GM promptly turned Saturn into...exactly what 70% of their customer base DIDN'T want. I predicted it's slow death a decade ago.

As you included in your post, Charlie, GM, sadly, didn't know what to do with the success of Saturn. The comments of the magazine reviewer in 1992 recognized the peril early on; almost prophetic, wasn't it?! If Saturn was still REALLY Saturn, producing products with the type of features and quality that they did in the early '90s, I'd be sad to see it go; with the current state of affairs, it seems more like a mercy killing.

Fondest memory: Taking my brand new Aquamarine 1992 SC Coupe (which happened to be my first brand new car) on its first long-distance trip, and, just as I was passing through Binghamton, NY, on the bridge where I-81 and NY Route 17 split, looking in my rear view mirror to see my spitting image right behind me - same color and everything. I think the only difference was that he had a sunroof. The guy pulled up next to me, we both gave each other a thumbs up, and then I headed West and he North.

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Old 01-05-2011, 01:30 AM   #200
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Default Re: Goodbye Saturn: Thanks for the Ride (1985-2010)

My dealership was Kearny Mesa in San Diego, CA. Great place, great staff. I ordered a new SC2 on the east coast before I moved west, and had it delivered to San Diego... great little car, averaged 32 mpg and after putting 134,000 miles on it without a serious mechanical problem, gave it to my parents. They still drive it.

I then got a 2004 L300. Wish I could say the same about its mechanical reliability as the SC2, but what do you expect from 'German engineering?' (ha ha .. those commercials make me laugh). I also gave it to my parents, a few years ago, and drive a Jeep Patriot now.

The owner of all six Saturn dealerships in the San Diego area converted most of them to different brands like Kia and Subaru, but the Kearny Mesa spot shut down. It's sort of odd driving by it today, especially on a Saturday when it used to be so crowded, and now deserted.

But, as they say, things change. GM's doing better now that they wiped their debt clean and don't have to make interest payments on that anymore. And Saturn lost $ most of its years. It's just so hard for U.S. auto manufacturers to make a profit on small cars, even though the foreign plants here do it ... GM's labor costs and retiree health care expenses worked against them, forcing them to cut corners and use inferior materials (remember those ION interiors?). Then nobody buys their cars, compounding the problem and starting a pretty vicious circle.

But that SC2 was a SWEAT little car.

G

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