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Old 08-13-2011, 09:22 AM   #1
born again
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2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
2000 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
Default WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

I have a problem with corrosion at the right front corner of the engine cradle/front subframe on both of my 2000 L-Series cars. The wagon has perforation in the bottom surface just behind the body mount and deterioration of the body mount. The sedan has corroded about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through the ~2mm thickness of the metal in exactly the same spot. Inspection shows that the corrosion is from the outside. The cause appears to be from the plastic shroud that is fastened to the underside of the cradle around the frame mounting. This can hold dirt, leaves, slush/salt, etc. against the subframe. The remainder of the cradle has some rusty spots near where the brackets are welded on, but these are all just on the surface, no penetration.

Saturn says these cannot be repaired and must be replaced by a new factory part. I have located and purchased a good used engine cradle that I intend to install in the wagon. BTW, on www.saturnparts.net the cradle for the automatic is listed as "discontinued". My Saturn dealer (yes, still open and doing service), confirms this. The cradle for the manual and automatic TX models are listed as different parts, with the manual being available for ~US$800 at saturnparts.net. My dealer would want ~C$1500 for the cradle if it were available. Such is the pricing of auto parts in Canada, hello internet.

I recommend that all L-Series owners remove the shroud from the right front wheel well that covers the bottom part of the engine accessory drive belts and inspect the engine cradle/subframe for corrosion. DO NOT reinstall the cover, as this is what causes the corrosive environment.

I also approached one of my regular repair shops about this. They offered to obtain a "reconditioned" cradle. I assume that this is a used one, weld repaired, sandblasted and painted. This would come with a warranty.

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Old 08-15-2011, 02:05 PM   #2
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2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
2004 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

Good info. Can you post some pictures?

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Old 08-20-2011, 08:57 PM   #3
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2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
2000 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

So I cleaned up the used subframe I found and purchased. Unfortunately, it isn't much better than the one I need to replace. I also had a crawl under my '99 Saab 9-5 Wagon, which has an almost identical frame. It is relatively spotless. This could be from the oil that leaks from the oil cooler or it could be different steel. See the pix. I need to get it patched/welded.
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Old 08-21-2011, 05:54 AM   #4
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2001 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

ouch, a good shop can do a decent reinforcement if they want the money and have the time. I'm glad I ripped that plastic off when I got the car. make sure the replacement isn't tweaked from being weakened.

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Old 08-21-2011, 03:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

I definetley have similar corrosion, possibly worse. Is it that dangerous just to leave it?

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Old 08-22-2011, 10:20 AM   #6
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Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnyferrari View Post
I definetley have similar corrosion, possibly worse. Is it that dangerous just to leave it?
YES! that will weaken the sub frame and your front end will go to shhhht.

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Old 08-22-2011, 09:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

That could explain some of the noises...lol. Well I can't afford to fix my car and since I am not on welfare, and don't want to become a leach, I guess I'll drive it till it dies.

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Old 08-23-2011, 02:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnyferrari View Post
That could explain some of the noises...lol. Well I can't afford to fix my car and since I am not on welfare, and don't want to become a leach, I guess I'll drive it till it dies.
Bloody hell! Our 2001 LW200 just started making weird noises and the steering went wonky and the flippin' cradle is rusted out. As you say, there aren't any around. I thought GM was supposed to support their ended car lines for a while as part of their gov't rescues...

With it being such a systemic problem GM should pay for it. The dealer has offered us $300 to buy the plastic panels off it! Or I can take it to a place where a guy can try to custom weld something, not guaranteed, over $1000.

Such a great car for over 10 years, now suddenly it is dead. They can't even find a good one at a wrecker. Every one they check has the same systemic problem.

Anything that can be done???

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Old 08-24-2011, 10:45 AM   #9
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Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

start looking at cars from the South.

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Old 08-30-2011, 07:49 PM   #10
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Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry View Post
Bloody hell! Our 2001 LW200 just started making weird noises and the steering went wonky and the flippin' cradle is rusted out. As you say, there aren't any around. I thought GM was supposed to support their ended car lines for a while as part of their gov't rescues...

With it being such a systemic problem GM should pay for it. The dealer has offered us $300 to buy the plastic panels off it! Or I can take it to a place where a guy can try to custom weld something, not guaranteed, over $1000.

Such a great car for over 10 years, now suddenly it is dead. They can't even find a good one at a wrecker. Every one they check has the same systemic problem.

Anything that can be done???
GM was no help but the welding shop that the local Chevy dealer recommended says he can fix it so I told him to go away. He's going to remove all the rust, fix the engine cradle and the exhaust, give it an undercoating. Hopefully it lasts a few years at least... will keep everyone posted on how it goes.

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Old 09-03-2011, 08:04 PM   #11
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Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry View Post
GM was no help but the welding shop that the local Chevy dealer recommended says he can fix it so I told him to go away. He's going to remove all the rust, fix the engine cradle and the exhaust, give it an undercoating. Hopefully it lasts a few years at least... will keep everyone posted on how it goes.
Frank Dube welding in Kitchener did a great job! Good to have the LW200 on the road again, hopefully for a long time. 519-589-6637 if anyone else needs their cradle welded.

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Old 09-03-2011, 10:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

Thanks for posting, will have to investigate mine and see how it looks. Didn't see anything bad when I bought it last year.

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Old 11-12-2011, 01:58 AM   #13
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Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

I just had my subframe rust out also. It seems that everyone who has their subframe rust through has it rust in the same area on the passenger side. My mechanic was able to find a nice used subframe in Wisconsin. It cost me about $1000 for all the work.

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Old 04-02-2012, 10:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

I have access to a completely rust free sub-frame out of a 2000 with a 3.0 auto. Not sure where this car came from, but it is in pristine condition. Kind of out of the ordinary for this part of the country (South Dakota). Let me know.

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Old 04-04-2012, 07:13 PM   #15
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Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

I have made many trips to Pull A Part in Mobile AL, there are usually several S-series there (I snagged an S- series subframe already) but have seen only one L-car on the lot. I wish I could figure out a cost-effective way to harvest southern car parts and transport them to the north.

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Old 06-19-2012, 11:23 PM   #16
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1997 SL1
Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

I have a 1997 Saturn SL1 sedan 1.9L. 105,000 miles
Just discovered out that the cradle (mounting bracket that holds the control arm) busted while I was on the road. I limped it home and took a good look at it. I attached a picture, but you can see where the bracket (part of the cradle) is busted, which caused my front driver side tire to go at an angle.
"WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion" can't be more right on. If you want or own a Saturn, that's a "must check" before you buy. I had mine for only 7 months and luckly only paid $1,000 for it.
Also the Crank Position Sensor went out while at work and a day off of work and several trips to the parts store got that up and running again.
Sold my car to the scrap yard.
Good luck all you Saturn owners.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:57 PM   #17
Jonnyferrari
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Default Re: WARNING - Engine Cradle Corrosion

So my frame is worse than this. I don't know how to put this other than: Should I be worried?

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