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Old 12-11-2009, 03:51 AM   #1
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Information Please Help, Need Transmission Parts Knowledge.


I am a hopefully soon to be a new to me Saturn Vue owner. It's an 03 with only a few kms on the second rebuilt engine now. Odometer shows 135,000kms. 2.2L Ecotec with the 5Speed Manual. At 90k kms apparently Canadian Tire forgot to tighten an oil plug and ended up having to replace the engine. My buddy just bought if for his wife at 130,000kms who doesn't like it for several reasons. Now he just got it back from a shop after having had to replace two dropped cylinders. WowWWW!

I really love this vehicle and I like all the room inside the front a back seats.
I did a search on some of my questions, however, I don't have the best back and can't sit for long, so I apologize for those who get upset with newbies looking for answers they can find in a simple search.

Do they make bad pistons in these things or what?
I've been doing some reading and have come across lots of nasty info on tranny replacements, although the 5M is supposed to be the best.

I don't mind having to repair things and can do the work myself.
So, My questions are this.
If my tranny goes, what is it that usually does go, how much are the parts, and are they usually available(especially now that GM has dropped Saturn in Canada)
If it did go is there anything I can fix it with to make sure I don't have to repeat the fix again in the near future or the next 100K kms

Is there anything else on these vehicles that is prone to premature failure?
Does it have a timing belt or is it a chain which doesn't need as much maintanence

What are the standard inexpensive go-fast goodies I can install?
What are the standard inexpensive go-around a corner goodies I can install?

Anything else I missed?
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:42 AM   #2
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Please Help, Need Transmission Parts Knowledge.

The 5 speed manual gear box is a good transmission. One weak spot is the clutch hydrualics. When it goes out, the process to replace them involves something like pulling the engine and transmission to be able to separate the transmission from the engine. Figure out $1200 USD to get this fixed- including the price of a new clutch.

I've noticed what seems to be a connection between ICM failure (ignition control module) and not replacing the spark plugs until 100,000 miles or so. Saturn claims that the spark plugs are 100,000 mile plugs but when I changed mine out at around 50,000 miles, 3 of the 4 were worn out of spec. My theory is that as the gap continues to wear and open up, the resistance in the ICM increases and eventually leads to failure. Just a theory though. Even still, a new ICM is only about $120 USD and is a DIY kind of fix.

As far as engine problems, they are really pretty rare. My guess is that the 2 dropped cylinders was a result of the first engine rebuild not getting everything rebuilt properly. There was a timing chain oiler issue on the first few years of the 2.2L. It was fixed sometime around 2004. I believe a TSB was issued to update older 2.2L motors with the new oiler.

Engine go-fast goodies. Since this engine is shared with several other GM tuner friendly cars- like the Cobalt, Cavelier, Sunfire...... it does appear to have the possibility to have lots of parts available for it. However, from my brief looking around, I think the VUE's 2.2L is just different enough to not really work. But then again, I don't know of anyone who has really tried.

Corner go-fast goodies. Tires of course make the biggest difference in cornering and those are pretty universal. I think Sprint makes lowering springs. Swapping the Red Line VUE's suspension would yeild a firmer ride that controlled body roll yet didn't lower the VUE too much (personally, I'm not a fan of lowered SUVs).
Not a Saturn.
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: Please Help, Need Transmission Parts Knowledge.

Thanks very much Tom,

That indeed what I wanted to know. So basically it's just the clutch that goes on the 5M. nastly parts cost for a clutch for sure, the last clutch I had to rebuild the parts were only $200. The bearing on the Vue is almost 600 for crying out loud, is it made of friggen gold? HOLY CRAP! I've always owned mostly foreign cars myself and this venture certainly isn't making a good case for buying domestic.

I was doing some reading last night and did come across the bad oiler issue as well, thanks very much. I'm looking to see whether or not it was indeed changed with the last $2800 service.

Thanks again.

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