2nd Apr 2007, 17:33

This is the follow-up to the comment posted on March 31. I called the Saturn dealership, and they told me that it would cost me about $2600 CDN. I said no, they went on the internet and bought a used motor on eBay for $300 US. I then called the service department manager, and I told him very firmly, but politely how I felt about a $2600 bill. He said he would consult the Saturn rep and get back to me.

This morning I went into the garage and he told me that they would pay for the parts and I would pay for the labour, resulting in a bill of $1200 CDN. At that point, I let him know about the following points:

-I knew about the existence of the 2 NHTSA investigations into the Saturn timing chain failures. (DP05-008 is still open)

-I knew about the existence of the Saturn’s Technical Service Bulletin # 03-06-01-017 which informs dealers about the changes to the timing chain oiling mechanism and how this relates to my problem.

-I told him about the NHTSA statistics and thereby proved that mine was not the isolated incident that he claimed.

Doing all of this rebutted every claim that he had; he did try to tell me that it was faulty maintenance, that it was the inevitable result of wear and tear, all of that drivel.

One exchange was particularly funny:

Him: It is inevitable that with time things break in an engine, and yours has 138,000 kilometers on it.

Me: That is funny, because I remember that when I bought this car, one of its strengths was the fact that it has a timing chain, and I would never have to get it changed. Well, here I am, and you are telling me that I have to pay the labour to fix something that I should never have broken.

Him: Well, sir, I understand, and that is why we are offering you all the parts for free. After all, you know, you would be better to fixing in our garage rather than taking the chance of installing one from a scrapyard. It really is a good engine.

Me: Oh yeah, well why don't you go and try to start mine!

Him:... Well, I will talk to the Saturn rep again.

He did and he got back to me, and now, they have decided to swallow some of the labour and charge me $500 CDN. It's better than $1200, and I will take the deal, but all in all, it is still a kick in the pants.

If you are going in to negotiate a repair bill, be well prepared, bring all of the statistics you can find, and make sure that they know that you know. then, they cannot deny the problem or weasel out of it, and they may give you a better deal.

Good luck.


Oh and by the way, if you want an engine recovered from a wrecked L-200 with about 60,000 miles on it, e-mail me at dwill@aei.ca. We'll talk!

3rd Apr 2007, 06:32

Great job on talking the dealer down to C$500. That's really not too bad. Certainly, the problem shouldn't have happened, but the dealer at least took some responsibility for it. You've made out a lot better than most with this situation.

14th Apr 2007, 12:11

April 14, 2007

This will be short. Read any of the aforementioned horror stories and it would be the same as mine. My 2001 L200 Saturn with 54,000 miles had its timing chain go yesterday and I have no idea of the cost of repairs as of yet. It went out at 40 MPH while driving in heavy traffic on Hwy 101 in Washington State. So far $116.00 tow bill. I will get on the phone on Monday April 16,2007 to start my round of complaints.

27th Apr 2007, 11:18

Ditto on another timing chain problem: 2000 Saturn LS1 @ 80,000 miles. In the shop with $1400 repair estimate and no help from Saturn.

13th May 2007, 14:49

My timing chain broke driving down a two lane highway May 11, 2007. There was no warning. The dealership has told me it will be $2300.00 to fix. Out of warranty. I definitely feel it is a safety issue. GM needs to warn and recall. My 2002 L series has less than 40, 000 miles. It looks like I am the latest in a long line of owners who have had this problem I will be contacting NHTSA this week.

13th Jun 2007, 16:07

I am yet another Saturn 2000 L Series owner with a failed timing chain at 46322 miles. It is very sad to see how GM's Saturn Division has turned their backs on an obvious design flaw that they created. We all bought their products based upon their track record of being honest and responsible. This is why my company car is a Nissan. GM, wake up, do the right thing and compete rather then complain. I don't have much faith that they will, but I wonder if they care?

22nd Jun 2007, 09:06

What august company I find myself in - we had a failure while in operation at 84,700 while in Richmond on April 17, 2007 on our 2001 L200, bought new from Saturn of Fairfax in June 2001. It was the 2nd of what would become four Saturn purchases between 1999 and 2004. I was pulling out of a stop sign, when poof! Was told on April 19, 2007 by Saturn of Manassas that the chain is to be replaced at the 90,000 mile scheduled service, an interval not yet reached. The vehicle had a 60000 mile car-care/extended warranty plan on it - and it seems certain that Saturn knew of the problem well before that period expired.

Saturn, aside from being inept in the customer assistance center in Tennessee, has taken to offering a pittance of 15% off of a warranty price, still totalling some $3000. Their "area managers" won't give a last name and claim they have no supervisor. When pressed, they give up the name of the General Manager of Saturn Corporation. I had 9 pages of email thread on my case with them - they pretend to be a liaison between customer and local facility, yet they did a very poor job at that.

Their General Manager (Jill Lajdziak) will not answer letters, nor will the higher-ups at GM whom it was copied to - G. Richard Wagoner, Jr., Troy A. Clarke and Mark R. LaNeve. It has been four weeks since my four-page letter to Ms. Lajdziak was received by Fedex - nothing. I was so annoyed at the lack of response that I sent a fresh letter just to Mr. LaNeve yesterday by FedEx, and then heard him on the Sean Hannity show yesterday afternoon. (My only contact since then? A postcard from Saturn of Manassas on June 12, 2007 advertising new car lease rates!)

I have taken to blogging about my poor experience at http://dontbuysaturn.blogspot.com/, as I feel it is important that the story be told of how GM will not stand behind their product. I filed my own NHTSA complaint on May 18, 2007 after Saturn made its insulting offer.

I fear for the safety of my family in our remaining Saturn, a 2004 VUE AWD V6, for I have lost faith in Saturn and GM. I suppose the only upside is the 2004 year had a Honda engine and transmission. The whole situation, now 66 days and running, has put additional miles on the VUE, as well as the inconvenience of being down to one vehicle.

Rob McKeever, Manassas VA. robmckii@aol.com.