5th Jan 2008, 21:25

Saturn has issued a recall of certain 2000 and 2001 L-series cars, and will replace the timing chain free of charge, or will reimburse repair expenses already paid. We had the same issue about a year ago, and Saturn paid it in full (because we kept hassling them). Now it seems they are fixing the problem for others. They sent us a letter a few weeks ago with information about the recall. The recall was not listed on the website, and the person I contacted via their live chat did not have information about the recall. The affected cars were manufactured between November, 2000 and February, 2001 (you can find the date of manufacture on your car on the inside of the driver's side door). Call Saturn at 1-800-972-8876 or at 1-800-553-6000.

Good luck and God bless.

12th Jan 2008, 21:24

My 2001 LW200 timing chain failed at 61,500 miles in Mar 2006. Because I could not show oil-change maintenance records, I paid $2990 to Saturn of Sterling VA for installation of a used engine. Late in 2007, the same dealer informed me I needed new water-pump $850, L/S Axel seal leaking -$600, Trans pan and Gasket $300, and Drive Belt $210, along with recommendations for and additional $880 of service. To inform my decision, I asked about the engine they installed to determine the age, mileage and condition. It wasn't until after the recall was announced 6 weeks later that Saturn finally came forward with the information. They had installed a 2000 engine with 78,000 miles into the car (older engine with higher miles than the car had originally- these facts were not disclosed at time of installation). Now the warranty recall will cover the engine replacement repair, but the 2000 engine is does not fall under the recall coverage. Shame on me for discovering the severity of timing chain failures of Saturn vehicles only this week.

22nd Feb 2008, 20:23

I don't understand why the 2000 LS series is not included in the recall. Many, maybe even most of the timing chain failures I have read about (including mine) have occurred in the 2000 LS models. It seems the 2000 version would be the same or even worse than the later model. They need to include the LS 2000 and we should be reimbursed for having the timing chain replaced if it has already been done. The Saturn dealer told me to save my receipt in case there is a recall. Most of these have already been junked and they know it simply because of the timing chain. I see so many fewer on the road. Mine cost $2400 to repair, but that's a lot cheaper than a new car which I absolutely cannot afford! Please email me at SusanMarie2@msn.com and maybe we can get this class action lawsuit going to include the 2000 LS if you have a 2000 LS model that has broken also.

24th Mar 2008, 10:04

Ref: 2001 Saturn L200 4-Door Sedan with 2.2L Dual Overhead Cam Engine

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) : 1G8JU52FX1Y562315

Purchase Date: July 15, 2004 (used)


My wife was driving our 2001 Saturn L200 with automatic transmission. This vehicle was purchased by us used with 27,309 miles on the odometer. My wife had driven approx 10 miles and had just pulled into the driveway at her workplace, The Navigators, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

As she was driving, the vehicle died. She called me and I drove to the location to attempt to diagnose the problem, and see if I could get it started. Unfortunately, the vehicle died in the travel lane of the street and was at risk of being hit by another vehicle. When I arrived, I parked my vehicle approx 30 feet to the rear of the Saturn and activated my emergency flashers. After checking the vehicle, I was unable to fix the problem. I arranged to have it towed to Pep Boys Auto 135 N. Academy Blvd. Colo Springs, Co. 80909. I work at this Pep Boys location as a Technical Service Adviser, and fortunately, I have excellent technical resources including Saturn Corp. technical personnel, from which I have what I believe is honest and accurate information as follows.

After the vehicle was towed ($68.00 expense) to the Pep Boys location, the vehicle was jointly diagnosed by two of the master technicians. They determined that the timing chain had broken, which I observed myself. Also, the 4 cylinders had no compression due to apparent valve damage, since this engine design is an "interference engine". I am now in the process of waiting for the final estimate for repairs, which has ranged from $1150.00 to $7,200.00 depending upon extent of damage. The $7,200.00 is Saturn's quote to replace the whole engine and they have asked that I pay half of this amount!! I WILL NOT pay SATURN anything to fix something that they own... this is a no-brainer!!

The fact is that Saturn has a problem with the timing chain oiler nozzle, such that at engine idle, there is insufficient lubrication to the chain, resulting in eventual failure. Saturn Corp. has a new design timing chain and oiler, which INCREASES OIL FLOW TO THE TIMING CHAIN AT IDLE. See Saturn Technical Bulletin "Timing Chain Design Change and Revised Service Procedures #03-06-01-017 - (Jun 9, 2003). NOTE: I've changed the oil and filter every 3-4k miles, using only specified oil from Saturn's maintenance manual. The maintenance schedule has been followed precisely.

From the data I've compiled, it is obviously a design defect for which Saturn Corp. should be fully responsible for reimbursement for parts, labor and temporary transportation. I'm pursuing this matter through all avenues including Corporate Saturn, Colorado Springs Better Business Bureau, Colorado Attorney Generals Office complaint department, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, CAR Survey, and Consumer Affairs. I have also added my complaint to many others to a class action suit now in process. NOTE: there were no symptoms, neither performance-related, nor any noise coming from the engine immediately prior to the timing chain failure.

I find it hard to believe that Saturn is willing to dig their feet into the ground with all the negative publicity (loss of sales...??!) surrounding this issue. I know I'll do my part to make sure they learn a tough lesson!!

I would appreciate any advice or direction from carsurvey.org regarding this matter.

Best Regards.

William Major.

27th Mar 2008, 11:42

I have a 2000 Saturn L Series Wagon that just had a timing chain failure. I went out to start my car and it stalled and would not start. I had it towed to our mechanic and he told me the timing chain failed. I looked at the part and found the sprockets pulled apart. My mechanic said that it is strange for a timing chain to fail like that. I called my dad and uncle (both mechanics) and they also said that that was strange.

After looking up the problem online and finding this site, I called Saturn. After three days a Customer Area Manager named "Dave" called me back. He told me the car is not covered under the recall and that I was not the original owner, hence Saturn would not cover the work. "Dave" would not give me his last name. Dave also told me that all Saturns need the timing chain replaced at 100,000 miles and that it specifies that need in the manual. I told him it did not. He said he could copy his manual and send me the section that specified this need. He told me the car was too old and that it has high miles. My car has 94,000 miles. The service manager at my local dealership said this was strange and that he would look into it.

Two weeks later he had an answer. Saturn would not budge because I was not the original owner of the car and it had too many miles. At this point the repairs are $2200. I still owe 4300 on the car. At this point I have contacted the NHTSA, the BBB, and my State Attorney General. I have read that there is an ongoing investigation into this problem. If we all yell loud enough, maybe they will be forced to do the right thing and cover this problem. I will give further information as it is made available to me.