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Old 06-04-2009, 10:09 AM   #1
OnMy4th
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Default Considering buying an L200 2002 with 129,000miles on it

I have been reading the forums and only found 2 recalls that saturn owned up to doing. Ignition coil and tail light issue?
But it Looks like the timing chain has been a big problem in the L series. Is it common in the '02 L200 ?

Any other common issues?

It has been a one owner car, and says there have only been rotor warping issues that are a little more frequent than he thinks there should be.

If I buy it, should the timing chain issue be addressed as a precaution?


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Old 06-04-2009, 09:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: Considering buying an L200 2002 with 129,000miles on it

Well i looked it over pretty good. Original exhaust, minor body dings, interior good, one bulb out in dash.
It does take alot to brake hard and stop fast. New front brakes were put on 3 months ago.
It has 4 rotors all around. No warping but something feels like they aren't grabbing hard.
Pedal is not mushy, no air in lines. CALIPERS MAYBE?

Also, there is a noticeable "wuh wuh wuh wuh wuh" sound around 45 mph on the back right tire area. Tried swerving side to side while driving and did not change sound. Read another thread that recommends tire rotation on the backs very frequent. Did not notice high spots on the tire and it does have alloy wheels.

Comments?
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2007 ION2 193k
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2000 SC2 @ 244,000 miles R.I.P.
1995 SL2 sold it at 213,000 miles
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Old 06-05-2009, 01:31 PM   #3
cavalier
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Default Re: Considering buying an L200 2002 with 129,000miles on it

That sound off the back tire is likely a wheel bearing gone bad.

Mine sounded just like you're describing and it didn't go away, either, when I did the swerve test. Only heard at high speeds and gets only slightly louder the further up the speedometer you go.

Had mine fixed at the shop and it ended up costing around $275, but maybe you have a local garage that could do it cheaper?

As for the infamous Saturn timing chain that's a real crap shoot.

I've got 186,000 miles on my 2000 L and it hasn't been an issue.

I also drive 80 percent highway (e.g. high speeds) which I believe helps prevent the oiler that lubes the chain from clogging. Other anecdotle evidence on the boards seem to suggest timing chains likely to fail are caused by those logging mainly city/stop-and-go type driving or those who fail to follow the 3,000 mile schedule for oil changes.

Pop the hood while the car is running and believe me, if there's anything going with the timing chain you'd hear it. It kinda sounds like a loose chainsaw noise from what I've heard.

So if you do a lot of highway driving it's likely the timing chain may - but I caution MAY- never be an issue for you. No use spending $900 on the repair job as preventative maintenance.

Another known issue with the L Series is the steering racks going bad, but again this hasn't been an issue for me personally.

Known signs of detecting a rack that's shot is to cut the wheel sharp eft and listen for a noise or check for excessive steering wheel vibration, although a poor alignment job will cause wheel shake, too.

While I highly recommend an L based on my own experience, I'd be very leery of buying anything used with that amount of miles on it.

Have you gotten a Carfax report on it or does the owner have a meticulous record of all maintenance performed? If they're the original owner they should (and Carfax will confirm whether they really are).

Just curious how much they're asking for her?

Last edited by cavalier; 06-05-2009 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 06-05-2009, 01:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Considering buying an L200 2002 with 129,000miles on it

Looks like the timing chain issue would have reared its head by now if it was a problem. Seems the '02's rarely went bad.

They are the original owners and were very good about keeping up the vehicle. The owners go to our church so I know them well enough to trust them. I know the L200 went to SC, VA and NC a number of times so I guess that made for alot of the mileage.

I think they will let it go for about $3500. I just need it for my daughter to have a safe and reliable car for the next few yrs.

Her '93 SC with 152k just got rear ended last week and the $2500 repair estimate totaled it. It had at least a few more good yrs in it. Sadly, she got a $1600 check from the insurance company as a value.

Soooooo, here I am. Boy, the L200 motor and the other under-the-hood items sure are different from the S-series.
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2007 ION2 193k
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2000 SC2 @ 244,000 miles R.I.P.
1995 SL2 sold it at 213,000 miles
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Considering buying an L200 2002 with 129,000miles on it

That's not a bad price.

I'd maybe have them knock it down by around $200, though, to cover the expense of that bad bearing in the back.

The Eco-Tech engine is a champ.

Like I said I've got 186,000 miles and the car still has the power/pickup it did when I got it new and doesn't burn a drop of oil to this day (although I use synthetic oil). A bottle of Techron in the fuel tank every 3,000 miles also helps clean up the internals of the engine.

The key is getting a good set of tires on the car (I HIGHLY recommend a tire by National called the Ovation....check their Web site for a dealer near you..as I've had bad experiences with four other brands of tires on this thing until I found the Ovations) and make sure you get a four-wheel alignment done.
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Old 06-07-2009, 03:03 PM   #6
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Thumbs Up Re: Considering buying an L200 2002 with 129,000miles on it

Ive got an 01 L200 with 220,000. I bought it in 02 w/36000. I put a battery in when I first bought it, and recently a fuel pump ($400 part only(OUCH!!). Not too shabby I'd say. Thing runs excellent!!
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Old 06-07-2009, 03:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Considering buying an L200 2002 with 129,000miles on it

The braking effort is likely due to aftermarket pads. The OEM ones do a very good job with low pedal effort. I am able to pick out aftermarklet ones as they do take extra effort.

The noise you are hearing may be due to cupped/cupping tires. Know issue on the L-series. The cupping happens more on the inside of the tread and can happen so that it is not very visible but can be felt if you run your hands over the tire.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Considering buying an L200 2002 with 129,000miles on it

Read some of the other discussions highly recommending a full brake line bleed every 30k. Seems the L series gets more moisture in the brake fluid somehow?
Moisture -equals- hard breaking and potential ruined calipers -equals- big bucks for repairs.
Talked with the owner Sunday and he is having his mechanic check it out since the brakes front brakes were new 3 months ago and it has braking hard since.
I wonder if the power booster is bad?

What ya think?
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2007 ION2 193k
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2000 SC2 @ 244,000 miles R.I.P.
1995 SL2 sold it at 213,000 miles
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Old 11-15-2009, 02:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Considering buying an L200 2002 with 129,000miles on it

Good info. to know as there are a couple L-series for sale around here.
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Old 11-19-2009, 11:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: Considering buying an L200 2002 with 129,000miles on it

I've had NO problems with any of the mentioned above. I bought my 2001
L200 new and now it has 211,000 miles on it. It may consume about 1 quart of oil every 2,000 miles, and sometimes the sway bar links need repair, but thats about it. I'm going to keep it till it gives up. But I'm not giving up on it.
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:04 PM   #11
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Default Re: Considering buying an L200 2002 with 129,000miles on it

I have a 2002 L 200 with 86,000 on it. The timing chain is going to be ok untill you hear it one day make rattling only when you start it cold. SHUT IT DOWN AND TOW IT. Crank it only when you have a door open and the radio/fan turned down so you can hear it.

With insufficient oil which is the problem, the chain gets gunky and tends to glue it self in the shape it was when you shut it down-- so cranking it cold causes some unusual loop shapes around the cam and you hear it hitting the case like metal hitting aluminum a few times a second till it stretches out.

Some have 200,000 miles on the original chain. I have seen most in the junk yard at 140,000 to 160,000 miles on the odometer. The 2001 L200 that was the only year recalled, would toss the chain about 70,000 so you are good for a while. Run an oil change for 2,000 miles with a half quart of Marvel Mystery oil to clean up what it can in the crankcase and change it to Synthetic. Valvoline guarantees 300,000 miles if you get it in by 50,000 miles but that says something about it.

If an elderly family owned it they probably never saw the high side of 4,000 RPM in normal driving but it will buzz to 5,000 without any hesitation if you press enough to drop it to first like I did by accident once.

I have a bad rear wheel bearing and it is loud enough to hear but not loud enough to change. It is just a nuisance till it gets loud.

My only real complaint is that it does not blow cold enough air in Southern Louisiana in the Summer when I visit there. The Honda blows 35 degree air and this one blows 45 degree air when it gets up to driving speed, 65 to 70 degrees at a stoplight in stop and go driving. The Fan in front of the radiator does not run at anything but slow. I am going to fix that this year.

Let me know if you purchase it please. I Would like to trade notes. I am a good diagnostician but my work was mainly in the days of carburetors. I am now getting into the electronics of these cars. That is easy but finding what symptoms fit what sensor takes some high time mechanics.

I purchased the Shop Manual. All 5 ten pound books. Not the Hayes manual which is a good investment for the easy things.

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