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Old 12-14-2007, 12:45 PM   #1
Miss Holly
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Question New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

Greetings fellow Saturn owners.

I recently purchased a 1994 Saturn SC2 Coupe off of craigslist. I’ve had it for almost 2 months now. The former owner told me that a mechanic screwed up something with the fuel line, causing the gas tank to appear to be full when you look at it on the dashboard. She gave me an “equation” as to how many miles she normally drove it before she had to put more gas in it.

I never got the hang of using the “equation” and am tired of constantly putting gas in the car for fear of running out (I live in Chicago, and it has been snowing lately). I pretty much only drive the car to work and home, which is a total of 13.2 miles a day, five times a week. Can a fellow Saturn owner tell me how many gallons of gas should I be routinely be putting into my car each week? I was told that my car can hold a total of 15 gallons of gas, but I don’t want to spend that kind of money each week, especially if it’s not necessary (I’m a single parent, and I’ve already had to buy a new radiator and smaller parts for this car). Any advice I receive will definitely be appreciated!
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Old 12-14-2007, 12:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

Um, Idunno how to put this without it sounding obvious, but you won't be spending any more or less on gas by putting more or less in it at any given time. The amount of gas the car uses is measured in miles per gallon, which is determined by how well-maintained the engine is, the weather, your tires, how and where you drive, things like that. Buying gas more or less often can't possibly make it burn more or less at any given time.

The only thing you really need to worry about, with a malfunctioning gas gauge, is running out of gas. The fuel tank is a little over 12 gallons (the exact number is in your owner's manual). To keep from running empty, you don't need any "equation". Unless there's something wrong with the car's performance, you should be getting 25-30, or more, MPG. So just reset the trip odometer whenever you fill up, and fill up every 250 or so miles (that's, worst case, 10 gallons, giving you a two-gallon cushion).

Last edited by madpogue; 12-14-2007 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 12-14-2007, 01:08 PM   #3
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Question Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Um, Idunno how to put this without it sounding obvious, but you won't be spending any more or less on gas by putting more or less in it at any given time. The amount of gas the car uses is measured in miles per gallon, which is determined by how well-maintained the engine is, the weather, your tires, how and where you drive, things like that. Buying gas more or less often can't possibly make it burn more or less at any given time.

The only thing you really need to worry about, with a malfunctioning gas gauge, is running out of gas. The fuel tank is a little over 12 gallons (the exact number is in your owner's manual). To keep from running empty, you don't need any "equation". Unless there's something wrong with the car's performance, you should be getting 25-30, or more, MPG. So just reset the trip odometer whenever you fill up, and fill up every 250 or so miles (that's, worst case, 10 gallons, giving you a two-gallon cushion).
Thanks so much for your response! I hate to sound stupid but this is my first car (I had one previously that my dad bought me, but it was a lemon..but at least the gas gauge worked! LOL) and even though I love my Saturn, I have been disappointed by it (as in the crappy radiator that the former owner didn't tell me about...)

I vaguely remember the former owner mentioning something about resetting the odometer..when I purchased the car, it was set at 153,000. Makes me wonder if that was the actual mileage on the car when I purchased it?
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Old 12-14-2007, 01:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

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Thanks so much for your response! I hate to sound stupid but this is my first car (I had one previously that my dad bought me, but it was a lemon..but at least the gas gauge worked! LOL) and even though I love my Saturn, I have been disappointed by it (as in the crappy radiator that the former owner didn't tell me about...)
Well, it IS a 13-year-old car. Our radiators typically last 10-12 years, and most folks here on saturnfans are DIYers, so it's a cheap/easy repair. Even if you pay someone, it's still cheaper than loan payments on a newer car.

Quote:
I vaguely remember the former owner mentioning something about resetting the odometer..when I purchased the car, it was set at 150,000. Makes me wonder if that was the actual mileage on the car when I purchased it?
I was referring to the trip odometer. You can't reset the "main" odometer (unless you tamper with it, which is illegal). Even though it's water under the bridge, you might want to get a Carfax report on the car. It's only $15, and it'll tell you whether there's any official record of the odometer not reflecting the actual mileage. If the seller provided any service records, you check the odometer numbers on those records for inconsistencies.
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Old 12-14-2007, 01:32 PM   #5
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Question Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

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Well, it IS a 13-year-old car. Our radiators typically last 10-12 years, and most folks here on saturnfans are DIYers, so it's a cheap/easy repair. Even if you pay someone, it's still cheaper than loan payments on a newer car.
I was referring to the trip odometer. You can't reset the "main" odometer (unless you tamper with it, which is illegal). Even though it's water under the bridge, you might want to get a Carfax report on the car. It's only $15, and it'll tell you whether there's any official record of the odometer not reflecting the actual mileage. If the seller provided any service records, you check the odometer numbers on those records for inconsistencies.
Yes, luckily my boyfriend can fix cars, and he was able to fix the radiator, and add a new water pump, air filter,serpentine belt, etc. Now we have to put in a new thermometer and power wash the engine (oil was leaking onto it and it smells kind of bad at times when I drive it). I knew that when I bought the car it would more than likely need some work as it was an old car; it's just that the seller was honest about everything else, I figured she would have told me that she wasn't driving it because the radiator was crap (the car was literally pouring antifreeze everywhere you drove it) since I knew about the other issues/replacements, etc. Oh well, lesson learned. But I have heard that Saturns are generally reliable. Any idea on when I should start to worry mileage wise as to when my baby might be ready to go to meet it's Maker? (Based simply on miles-not on anything else).
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Old 12-14-2007, 01:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

How long that car lasts is really up to you. If you do the maintenance properly and repairs, and don't let your oil get low, you might catch up with Luke. He has over 500,000. I gotta give you the saturnfans initiation. Have you replaced the ECTS (Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor).
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Old 12-14-2007, 01:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by BarnOwl View Post
How long that car lasts is really up to you. If you do the maintenance properly and repairs, and don't let your oil get low, you might catch up with Luke. He has over 500,000. I gotta give you the saturnfans initiation. Have you replaced the ECTS (Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor).
LOL a saturnfans initiation? Ok I'm game!

I've been checking my fluids every two weeks. My boyfriend says that the oil leaks a little more than it should, so while it may seem okay when you check it, you might need to add it a little more than normal. I was driving home yesterday when the oil light flashed on for a moment. Sure enough, I needed to add more oil to it.

No, the ECTS hasn't been replaced-yet. That's on my boyfriend's to-do list, along with a few other minor replacements.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

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I was driving home yesterday when the oil light flashed on for a moment. Sure enough, I needed to add more oil to it.
Letting it get low enough for the oil light to come on is a SERIOUS NO-NO!!! You're around two quarts low at that point and you are doing damage to your engine. Believe me your boyfriend does not want to do a timing chain because you've been sloppy with the oil. He doesn't want to do a timing chain for any reason. You might want to look into doing an MMO piston soak or two to alleviate some of the oil usage. Use the forum jump at the bottom of the page and go to the How-To Library. In there search for MMO and there are instructions. Your boyfriend will like doing that a lot better than the timing chain and think of the fun you can have warming him up afterwards.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

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My boyfriend says that the oil leaks a little more than it should, so while it may seem okay when you check it, you might need to add it a little more than normal.
Does your car leave an oil spot on the road or driveway?

It's probably not leaking very much oil, but rather burning it.

MY 95 SL2 leaks no oil and burns about a quart every tank of gas. So every time I fill gas I add a quart of oil and check it to make sure it's full.

My engine can run forever like this as long as I never run out of oil. You should never let it get to the point where your oil light comes on. That's very bad and can ruin your engine very quickly, so check your oil every time you fill gas. I put that in bold because it's very very important. That's also why I said it again even though BarnOwl already said it.

Also, keep an eye on your temperature gauge. Letting an engine overheat is a sure way to kill it fast. That's almost as bad as running out of oil.

As long as you keep it full of oil and water and you keep it from overheating, there's a very low probability that anything else will kill your engine. Freak accidents do happen, so there's still a chance, but it's very rare, and probably won't happen to you. 99% of all dead engines are caused by loss of oil pressure or overheating.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

I haven't had any luck with the oil burning issue doing a MMO not sure if any one else has either. Seafoam didn't make any improvements either.

You may want to try using auto-rx. I'm running it right now and while it hasn't done anything to improve my oil burning issue (yet) It has increased my cylinder compression by 10 psi. (so far) I have ways to go before I do the clean phase and expect further improvements.

I've read a bunch of threads on this stuff and ppl swear by it and I'm one of them cause I have documented proof its made improvements and a definite seat in the pants improvement.
I have a thread on this site documenting my results and on both of the below sites under "headnsouth"

btw- ARX has been know to fix oil leaks. It won't fix mechanical problems that cause leaks it does work. Enjoy your Saturn, I've got a 97 with 170K and still running.
www.auto-rx.com
www.bobistheoilguy.com
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Holly View Post
I was driving home yesterday when the oil light flashed on for a moment. Sure enough, I needed to add more oil to it.
ahhh! as Wolfman says "Old Saturns never die, people KILL them, so check your damn oil! "
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Old 12-14-2007, 04:43 PM   #12
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

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Greetings fellow Saturn owners.

The former owner told me that a mechanic screwed up something with the fuel line, causing the gas tank to appear to be full when you look at it on the dashboard. !

if that story is true why didn't the previous owner complain to the mechanic to fix it. i know i sure wouldn't have been happy knowing that a mechanic broke something and wouldn't fix it.
i think your boyfriend needs to spend some time figuring out why the gas gage doesn't work so you don't have to worry about running out.

check the oil religiously
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Old 12-14-2007, 04:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

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LOL a saturnfans initiation? Ok I'm game!
....
No, the ECTS hasn't been replaced-yet. That's on my boyfriend's to-do list
You've already passed the initiation, since you and BF know what the ECTS is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnOwl View Post
Letting it get low enough for the oil light to come on is a SERIOUS NO-NO!!! You're around two quarts low at that point and you are doing damage to your engine.
Actually, you could be three quarts low, and still not light the light. Or you could be full-up, and light it anyway. As your owner's manual states (sorry to sound like a broken record), that's an oil PRESSURE light. You can be full on oil, and still have dangerously low oil pressure. Likewise, you can have plenty of oil pressure, enough to turn off the light, and be danerously low on oil. That's why the car has an oil light and a dipstick. Neither substitutes for the other.
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:31 PM   #14
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

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Actually, you could be three quarts low, and still not light the light. Or you could be full-up, and light it anyway. As your owner's manual states (sorry to sound like a broken record), that's an oil PRESSURE light. You can be full on oil, and still have dangerously low oil pressure. Likewise, you can have plenty of oil pressure, enough to turn off the light, and be danerously low on oil. That's why the car has an oil light and a dipstick. Neither substitutes for the other.
Although this is true, most of the time (about 99%), when the light comes on, it's because the oil level is low.

The oil pressure is more important than the level.
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Old 12-28-2007, 12:31 AM   #15
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Attention Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

First off, I would like to thank EVERYONE who responded to my post. I think that is so cool that there are so many smart Saturn owners out there-and I am so glad to "know" all of you.

Instead of answering everyone's posts individually, I'm going to answer them all in this response.

The "equation" you guys gave me concerning how many mpgs (regarding my gas gauge problem) was great! And yes, I do reset the trip odometer each and every time I gas up the car. (My boyfriend claims that he told me to do that as well, but was glad that my Saturn friends told me to do so. )

My car doesn't leave oil spots on the road or my apartment parking lot (thank goodness!). I am guessing that my car simply burns up all the oil. And I definitely have to always check my oil when I gas up the car. It seems to me that I have to add oil about every other time I go to the gas station, which sucks, as my car uses an entire container of oil! I have learned to keep a good supply of oil in the trunk.

As to the "story" about my car's previous owner and the issue with the mechanic and the gas gauge, I have to assume it was a true "story". She was a 19 year old college student; who knows why the problem wasn't corrected. She only sold me the Saturn because Daddy bought her a new car.

Now, I have another question....

My boyfriend still hasn't replaced the ECTS (I know, I know, "bad" boyfriend! ) LOL. I have been experiencing issues with the car shutting off when it appears to be idle (i.e. slow turns in my job's parking lot, sitting at a stoplight)...This problem seems to be occurring moreso lately than before. Once I put the car into park and re-start the car, the car starts right up with no problem at all. Is this problem more than likely a result of the ECTS not being replaced?

And if so, do I also need to buy a connector when I purchase the ECTS? And what's the best option for my used car (mileage is now 153,892)-buy the ECTS from a Saturn dealer or an Autozone type store? Any advice will be greatly appreciated, as I love my little putt-putt Saturn, and don't want to get rid of it anytime soon (nor can I really afford to! )

PS- I don't own a user's manual (previous owner didn't give me one). Anyone know where I might get one? I bought a Chilton's from amazon.com.
...
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:01 AM   #16
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

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My car doesn't leave oil spots on the road or my apartment parking lot (thank goodness!). I am guessing that my car simply burns up all the oil. And I definitely have to always check my oil when I gas up the car. It seems to me that I have to add oil about every other time I go to the gas station, which sucks, as my car uses an entire container of oil! I have learned to keep a good supply of oil in the trunk.
That's about a quart every 600 miles. Not unusual for our cars, but you quite possibly can reduce it with the MMO soak procedure mentioned above. You may need to do two or more.

Quote:
My boyfriend still hasn't replaced the ECTS (I know, I know, "bad" boyfriend! ) LOL. I have been experiencing issues with the car shutting off when it appears to be idle (i.e. slow turns in my job's parking lot, sitting at a stoplight)...This problem seems to be occurring moreso lately than before. Once I put the car into park and re-start the car, the car starts right up with no problem at all. Is this problem more than likely a result of the ECTS not being replaced?
No, NOT bad boyfriend, bad Holly. Women shouldn't be so depenent on men for their car maintenance; why reinforce the stereotype? Anyway, yes, a bad ECTS _MIGHT_ explain your experience, but it might be something else. But rather than speculate, just replace the d@mn thing and eliminate it as a possible variable.

Quote:
And if so, do I also need to buy a connector when I purchase the ECTS? And what's the best option for my used car (mileage is now 153,892)-buy the ECTS from a Saturn dealer or an Autozone type store?
Connector is a maybe. Unplug it now and have a look inside. If you see any "copper oxide green", it probably needs to be replaced. I'm probably the exception in that I _did_ see some green corrosion in mine, but was able to scrape it clean enough to get a good signal. There are reports of "infant mortality" with aftermarket ECTS's. Dealer is only a few dollars more; it probably comes down more to which is less hassle to get to.

Quote:
PS- I don't own a user's manual (previous owner didn't give me one). Anyone know where I might get one? I bought a Chilton's from amazon.com.
eBay. Or visit a salvage yard and rummage through the glove boxes (or maybe they stash 'em and don't just burn 'em up in their space heater). Good on you for asking about one; our site is choked with questions from people who could easily have gotten the answers from their owner's manual, but just never thought to try to get one.
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:06 AM   #17
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

http://search.ebay.com/search/search...ual&category0=

Here's a link to some on Ebay.
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:07 AM   #18
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Default Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

Make sure you buy the brass tipped ECTS and a new wire connector.
I would get them at the Saturn dealer. There is a How-to in the How-to library on how to do this. Your driveability issues will be improved with a new ECTS and wire connector.

I don't remember if you mentioned if your boyfriend put in new plugs and spark plug wires or not but for $30 you can have him tune the car up.
Tell him to clean the coil tower tips on the coilpacks (remove green corosion off the tips by gently sanding with steel wool pad or light grit sandpaper) and put a dab of dialectric grease on the tips. This improves electrical contact and helps prevent engine misfire and improves cold starting.

These cars are easy to work on. Keep them full of oil--top it off, check it every day and at fill ups. Buy some walmart oil 5w-30w, I'm glad to read you are keeping a couple of quarts in the trunk. Final word on oil: change it every 3,000 miles.

As for your gas gauge--check the how to library--a member named Wolfman has a fix in there posted somewhere.

You keep up on the service as everyone before has said and that car will be reliable and last a long time.

Happy motoring....
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Old 01-02-2008, 04:06 PM   #19
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Cool Re: New User Here-Help with Fuel Line Issue

A big THANK YOU again to everyone who has posted a response to my questions.

My car shut off on me about five additional times since my question regarding the ECTS and it was pretty scary (nothing like having your car shut off 5 times on a major street in downtown Chicago in rush hour traffic! )

So luckily my best friend's brother is a mechanic, and I told him what I thought the car's problems were. Strangely enough, he asked me why I thought the ECTS, spark plugs, etc. were the problems. I told him that the members of the Saturn forum made the suggestions, and that they had been right about everything else; so he just gave me the "fish eye" LOL . Sure enough, he checked the car out, just to tell me "yeah, they were right. You gotta change the ECTS, the spark plugs, etc. etc." Just about everything that you guys mentioned, he said had to be changed. I knew you guys knew what you were talking about!!

So today is the big day and he's going to take care of the ECTS, the spark plugs & wires and an oil change. Next week he's going to take care of the thermostat and the idle sensor, and see about doing an MMO soak to take care of the oil issue. Oh yeah-he's going to look at the gas gauge and see if he can fix that too.

There was no way I'd be able to fix that ECTS by myself. I hate to say it, but I am not mechanically inclined. I'd probably have blown up the car, let alone my apartment parking lot. But I am glad to know about the how-to library, as there are a few (and I do mean a few LOL!) things that I can change myself, but more importantly, it helps that I can educate myself about my car so that mechanics won't be able to take advantage of me just because I'm a female.

Thanks again everyone!!
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