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Old 09-24-2018, 10:54 PM   #1
cgg17
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1999 SL2
Default Vehicle Was Towed Behind RV Mystery

Hello all,
I have been pondering this mystery for a while after seeing many of these S-Series being towed. The mileage does not go up when towing, UNLESS I have found the key to be in the RUN position. If you are in a safe and large parking lot, get some speed (15-20), put the car in neutral, turn the key to ACC, then when the engine dies, back to RUN. Notice the speedometer and odometer still count! But, if you go to ACC, all cluster functions are off. I tried this and it worked for both my 95, and my dad's 99.

So, when people tow these, it depends if they put them on ACC or RUN, as ACC will not count miles, but RUN will! What are you supposed to do when towing? I would assume keep it in RUN but I have no clue...

I think this may contribute to solving part of the issue of people claiming it was towed around and gained the mileage that way. It may actually be true instead of just another saying to sell the car with a million miles on it.

(I AM IN NO WAY CONDONING THE USE OF A SATURN WITH THE ENGINE OFF ON PUBLIC ROADWAYS, UNLESS BEING TOWED OR TRAILERED)

...
1994 Sl2 5spd: 56,576 (Totaled 1/10/2018)
1995 Sl2 5spd Manual Swap: 150,062
1999 Sl2 4spd: 98,8xx

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Old 09-25-2018, 12:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: Vehicle Was Towed Behind RV Mystery

My experience with mileage is that low miles = rusted out POS and medium/high miles means it was either taken care of and will go forever or it's a rusted out POS lol

I kinda remember this being talked about in the owners manual...one position keeps the transmission cooler than the other IIRC.

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Old 09-25-2018, 01:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: Vehicle Was Towed Behind RV Mystery

Two service bulletins about towing. The first one is for early Saturns.

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Old 09-25-2018, 01:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: Vehicle Was Towed Behind RV Mystery

The second bulletin covers all S-series from '91-'02.

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Old 09-25-2018, 09:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Vehicle Was Towed Behind RV Mystery

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
My experience with mileage is that low miles = rusted out POS
My first thought is always, "low miles = I swapped the instrument cluster on a 1st or 2nd gen with a cluster I bought from a JY 15 years ago and has been sitting on a shelf"

Not applicable to Saturns, but some cars, you could literally wind the odometer backwards with an electric drill

...
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Old 09-25-2018, 09:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: Vehicle Was Towed Behind RV Mystery

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
My first thought is always, "low miles = I swapped the instrument cluster on a 1st or 2nd gen with a cluster I bought from a JY 15 years ago and has been sitting on a shelf"

Not applicable to Saturns, but some cars, you could literally wind the odometer backwards with an electric drill


My experience - in having title to 17 S series - ( and one without) - there is no substitute for thorough inspection.

If a seller objects to your inspection - you are probably looking at a car you don't want.

Miles can mean something - or mean nothing at all.

You have to look, and listen.

...
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Old 09-29-2018, 09:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Vehicle Was Towed Behind RV Mystery

The cluster is electronic, so in "RUN" it has power and when the drive wheels are rotating, the VSS is active to the PCM, so the speedometer reads the vehicle speed. Most GM vehicles operate like this, from about 1982-2000, where they started switching to the BCM/digital clusters so the vehicle speed could be detected by the VSS, BUT the odometers would be transitioning into reading from the TC/ASM/ABS wheel speed sensors.

When the key is in the "ACC" position, only the radio and Accessory items have power, which does NOT include the PCM or the instrument cluster, so no VSS signal to the PCM and no movement of the motor for the odometer gears.

Towing on four wheels should be counted as mileage for two reasons:
A: Towing with all four wheels on the ground without the transmission's front pump being driven by the engine's flywheel is BAD for the transmission due to the output shaft and differential turning but without any fluid to keep them lubricated.

B: The car is moving across road surfaces, in manner that is similar to being driven, because all four wheels are touching the ground. This still causes wear on the tires, the wheel bearings, suspension, CV axles, and transmission(especially the transmission!!!!).

Not that mileage means anything.

I paid $900 for a 1992 Honda Accord, that had 175,000 miles on it, in 2005. I drove that car until 2010, and sold it with 225,000 miles on it. The only major repairs I ever did were the fuel pump(rusted lines) and the clutch(wear n tear item).

My very first car was a 1989 Ford Escort Hatchback 4dr, LX trim, with 19,000 original miles on it.(It would be the LAST Ford I would ever own....)

Blew the engine, had a bad throttle body injector when I got it, body had rust, exhaust fell out and tripped the auto-cutoff to the fuel pump.

The only parts I caused to break were the rear struts and wheel bearings from jumping the car off a bridge @ 60-70mph, everyday after school. This was in 1997, when I was 17.

So, an 8-year old car with 19,000 original miles had more major issues than a 13-year old car with 175,000 miles on it.

Mileage is irrelevant. Maintenance/Manufacturer are everything.

Built "Ford Tough" means built "Ford Tough-To-Keep-It-Running".....

...
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"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."

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Old 09-30-2018, 01:06 AM   #8
1996SW2
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Default Re: Vehicle Was Towed Behind RV Mystery

Pretty sure I know the answer but can you flat tow a Saturn Auto Transmission?

NM...didn't see the service bulletin posted. Reading up in flat towing an Auto. Share your exp if you have.

Last edited by 1996SW2; 09-30-2018 at 01:17 AM..

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