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Old 09-24-2018, 03:08 PM   #1
cwalden
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1999 SL1
Question New Saturn SL1 Owner - Suggestions

My mother recently passed away and she had a 1999 Saturn SL1. It was given to me. Much to my surprise it only has 80,617 miles on it. It is pretty solid. She only drove it to the store and maybe a hundred mile road trip here and there.

Any suggestions, comments, ideas, tips? I have a good mechanic and I let him go over it.

First things I did was get the AC fixed. I live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and ma is it hot. It worked ok but it leaked. Needed 2 servicing valves. Serviced it and it works great.

Had two rear wheel bearings changed.

Replaced the motor mounts. I still don't understand how motor mounts make the car sound like the exhaust is bad. It's not as loud now but still more than I'm used to. I read that I was supposed to get the OEM motor mounts not off brands. True? I'm not changing them again unless I have to,.

Changed the radiator cap and the temp sensor.

Had the headliner refinished.

That's about it. I like it. Sits so low to the ground. Really different when I do from my truck to that car. lol. I plan on keeping it for awhile.

Trying to found a CD OEM CD player. It has the radio/cassette. Now I wish I hadn't thrown all my cassettes away. I found a cd player on EBay for a 2000 Saturn SL1. Wonder if that will work?

New to the forum. Look forward to learning from ya'll.

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Old 09-24-2018, 03:49 PM   #2
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2001 SL1
Default Re: New Saturn SL1 Owner - Suggestions

Welcome to the Forum.
It sounds like you are off to a great start!
If your driving habits are mostly open road, then you will appreciate that you may record upper 30's to maybe mid 40 mpg on regular 87 with a 5 speed.
Slightly lower with an automatic.

You did not indicate what transmission you have, so if it is an automatic, you should probably go ahead and have the transmission drained out (never do a flush though), replace the spin on transmission filter and refill with ONLY Dexron III compatible, never use any ATF that is even Dex IV or VI only III.

Change the automatic trans fluid and filter at least every 30,000 miles or more often.

Check your oil often to be sure it never drops below the ADD mark and just enjoy the ride.

Last edited by toggenburg; 09-24-2018 at 03:54 PM..

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Old 09-24-2018, 06:48 PM   #3
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1995 SC2
Default Re: New Saturn SL1 Owner - Suggestions

www.car-part.com to find a used radio with CD.

As far as the oil level, keep up on it, because these cars are notorious for oil consumption.

As far as the vibration, just get used to it. With the lack of internal balance shafts and a rather large stroke displacement four cylinder, these engines flop around like a dying fish out of water.

The main mount that needs to be OEM is the upper mount on your passenger side, because the OE mount is solid. The aftermarket design looks like a frowny face, which will also be the face you are making when you shell out hard earned cash every 1-2 years for a new mount, if you use that design.

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Old 09-24-2018, 07:12 PM   #4
Zeebins
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Default Re: New Saturn SL1 Owner - Suggestions

For the motor mounts, after market is okay but the top mount is best if ts OE is hard to come by now a days though so a lot is members here use the westar mount and it seems to be fine for them. Obviously it won't last as long though. Really you just need no make sure it's not the "frowny" styled mount (the one on the left in the picture) and you should be fine.

As for the radio, if you want OE, only 95-99 will fit. Like this or this. Those ones look pretty beat up though, and overpriced, so I wouldn't recommend those two specifically. They where just the only two I could find on eBay.

...
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Last edited by Zeebins; 09-24-2018 at 07:18 PM..

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Old 09-24-2018, 08:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: New Saturn SL1 Owner - Suggestions

Speaking of a genuine Saturn top motor mount, the last remaining ones that I have been touting are from this ebay seller, he has 5 remaining.
Still $149.99, if you can afford one.

Saturn S Series Top Engine motor Mount part# 21012185

https://www.ebay.com/itm/92-02-Satur...xaND7m&vxp=mtr

This Amazon link will at least show just exactly what the OEM ones look like close up, even if Amazon no longer has any to sell...

https://www.amazon.com/Genuine-GM-21.../dp/B00GTJAAVU

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Old 09-25-2018, 08:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: New Saturn SL1 Owner - Suggestions

Welcome to the forums. Sorry for your loss.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwalden View Post
Any suggestions, comments, ideas, tips? I have a good mechanic and I let him go over it.
Do you do any of your own work or are you interested in learning? That will change some of the answers

Quote:
First things I did was get the AC fixed. I live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and ma is it hot. It worked ok but it leaked. Needed 2 servicing valves. Serviced it and it works great.
^ ^ ^ this is an example. The AC valve (aka Schrader valve) cores cost around $4 for a set of two, and can be replaced by an amateur DIYer. There is a tool for removing the valves without losing any of the R134a refrigerant, around $30. Can of R134a with a gauge is probably under $10 (properly, should get a gauge set $50, or use the auto store free borrow a tool program)

Quote:
Replaced the motor mounts. I still don't understand how motor mounts make the car sound like the exhaust is bad. It's not as loud now but still more than I'm used to.
Motor mounts hold your engine in a particular position and dampen the vibrations.

If it is in the wrong position or moves around, it may increase the size of any opening/leak in your exhaust. There shouldn't be any exhaust leaks/ holes, but if there are, moving things into the right position will minimize them.

Another way to think of it: If you hold two straws in a straight line, butted up to each other, you catch most of the liquid passing through. Hold them at a slight angle, more of the fluid will leak where the straws touch.

Quote:
I read that I was supposed to get the OEM motor mounts not off brands. True? I'm not changing them again unless I have to,.
I ran an off-brand top mount (Anchor) for 10 years, 100k miles, with no problem. As noted above, it's more of a solid vs "frownie", IMO. (I have no personal experience with a new OEM mount, others have said there is a difference)


Quote:
That's about it. I like it. Sits so low to the ground. Really different when I do from my truck to that car. lol. I plan on keeping it for awhile.
Also noted above but worth repeating - check your oil frequently, at least every fillup to start. Get an idea of how much it uses, and keep it at the full mark or slight above.

The place where rust usually starts is at the rear door sills, and on the front subframe behind the driver side front wheel (often hidden behind the plastic splash shields / fender liner). There are different ways to prevent rust, not sure if that is an issue for you

Quote:
Trying to found a CD OEM CD player. It has the radio/cassette. Now I wish I hadn't thrown all my cassettes away. I found a cd player on EBay for a 2000 Saturn SL1. Wonder if that will work?
No - the interior changed between 1995-1999 models and 2000-2002 models.

Junkyard is the best place to find an OEM one. Interested in aftermarket at all? I put about 2~3 hours of music on an old 2 or 4gb SD card . . . took a look recently and SD cards run around $10 for a 32 gb card, $4 for a 32 gb USB thumb drive. Eventually, gonna get one of those and put a lot more music, better quality, on

edit: Saturn's recommendation to change ATF at 30k is for Dex III or compatible (e.g., ATF marked Dex/Merc). If using the Saturn transmission fluid (no longer available, presumably an early synthetic ATF), Saturn said to change at 60k.

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Old 09-25-2018, 09:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: New Saturn SL1 Owner - Suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post

^ ^ ^ this is an example. The AC valve (aka Schrader valve) cores cost around $4 for a set of two, and can be replaced by an amateur DIYer. There is a tool for removing the valves without losing any of the R134a refrigerant, around $30. Can of R134a with a gauge is probably under $10 (properly, should get a gauge set $50, or use the auto store free borrow a tool
So if I read this correctly, If I am lucky and replace these two valves, there’s a chance that I might revive my AC system? I have filled it with refrigerant and got it going only to wake up the next day to it back at zero.

...
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: New Saturn SL1 Owner - Suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by dummo View Post
So if I read this correctly, If I am lucky and replace these two valves, there’s a chance that I might revive my AC system? I have filled it with refrigerant and got it going only to wake up the next day to it back at zero.
Sadly leaks does not happen at valves only...you may wish to see if you can locate the leak when you charge it...it can happen at the condenser too.

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Old 09-26-2018, 11:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: New Saturn SL1 Owner - Suggestions

^ ^ ^ yep, leaks can happen any where.

If you fill AC without finding the leaks, you will incur the wrath of fdryer

A blacklight at night over the engine compartment should reveal the tell tale glow of the OEM leak detector dye.

If you lost that much refrigerant that quickly, I'd think you could also hear it, or see it bubbling out of the valves.

I was lucky - two Saturns, both leaking at the Schrader valve cores. New cores and a R134a top up, and two Saturns with icy AC (not kidding, I usually change the temp knob up once the car cools off)

If your AC is completely empty, it is probably contaminated with outside air/humidity and you want to pull a vacuum on it to dry it out. Might be worth checking the FLAPS loan a tool program to see what they have, or you can buy a cheap one at Harbor Freight.

If you still have some pressure, there is a tool that allows you to remove the valves without opening the system to the outside
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Old 09-29-2018, 04:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: New Saturn SL1 Owner - Suggestions

If you're still looking for a CD player, this one just popped up for $40 and is priced way better than the other two and is in much better condition.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Saturn-S-Se...YAAOSw7gZa6mo6

...
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