1993 Saturn SL SL2 from North America - Comments

17th Jul 2005, 10:31

I do not mean to slam the guy from Detroit who posted the detailed comment about the PCV valve "vacuum" line, but I am afraid he is partially mistaken. He is correct that the oil is indeed getting into the throttle body through the PCV valve line, but that line is not under vacuum pressure. It is a vent line (PCV stands for Positive Crackcase Ventilation) that is actually under pressure from compression blow-by into the crank case. It is connected before the throttle plate, which without is at atmospheric pressure.

Again, I am not trying to critique what the man said, but I do not want to see you all inadvertently steered in the wrong direction. I had a '93 SL2, which was a major disaster, and I dealt with all these problems. The oil is in fact coming through PCV line, but it is happening because of bad piston rings. The bad rings cause excessive blow-by, and that is what forces the oil through the PCV line. I had three bad cylinders on my DOHC SL2 at 77,000 miles, causing it to lose so much power, that it would buck when I was driving down the road at a constant speed.

I do not mean to be the bearer of bad news, but a compression check on all your engines that are having the oil consumption problem will reveal this. Amazingly though, it did not smoke (to the best of my knowledge), and as one commenter mentioned, it also passed emissions testing. Bad rings on 1.9 L Saturn engines are a known problem.

Where the man from Detroit's solution can help you, is that it will prevent the oil from getting into and clogging up your throttle body. I had this problem on my '93, and the throttle used to stick in the closed position, until it finally broke free and gave me too much gas all at once. This used to drive me crazy, because it was horrible on the clutch. I ended up having to clean the throttle body every few months to prevent it.

Finally, I implemented a solution very similar to the one recommended by the guy from Detroit, which stopped the throttle body from getting contaminated, but did not stop the oil consumption. The underlying reason for that is the rings, and there is nothing that can be done about it except to rebuild the engine.

I do not know if there are improved rings available now or not. I sold my SL2 instead of rebuilding it, and not being able to sell a car like that to somebody without telling them about the problem, ended up taking a several thousand dollar loss on the car, at a time when I needed to lose money like I needed a hole in my head. The sad part is, I really liked the car otherwise, but this problem was absolutely unacceptable!! The bottom line is that all Saturn S series's at least up to the late 1990's are complete crap.

GM lost a lot of customers with these cars. It is too bad, because having learned from their mistakes, they are highly committed to quality now, but it is hard to change the perceptions people have from these types of distastrous experiences.

8th Nov 2005, 00:58

I currently own a 1993 Saturn SL2. I bought it at 178000 miles and it now has 193000. For the mileage it has, I'm amazed at how well it has performed, except for some minor problems, mainly cosmetic. The automatic seatbelt on the drivers side quit functioning. It still tries to work, but gets stuck halfway, and then goes back down to the secured position. (At least it is stuck in the right spot.) Also, the driver's side lock is somehow damaged. I'm unable to insert the key in the lock. The passenger side door lock works fine though. Does anyone know where I can find a replacement lock? Also, the air conditioning will run for only 15 minutes or so and then gets warm. It could just be low on freon, I haven't had it checked out yet, and I'm no mechanic.

23rd Jan 2006, 18:52

I totally agree with the above comment! Replace the temp sensor and everything seems to work fine, I had the exact same problem that everyone else was complaining about with the overheating and the fan not turning on. Saturn told me to turn the A/C on, but it was bypassed cause the compressor locked up. I had also cracked the radiator, replaced the temp sensor and haven't had a problem with it since. That was about 40,000 miles ago. I have now sold the vehicle to one of my friends. The only problem I've noticed since was bad sending units for the fuel and oil pressure gauge.

31st Mar 2006, 20:01

I have also had overheating issues- it doesn't do it when I idle too long, but when I punch it too hard in first gear. Seems when it is low on oi it has this problem. My Saturn SL is at 199,500 miles and the issue goes away for me when it's driven like an economy car, not a revving sports car. It's been super-reliable, more so than my mom's transportation that she had to use it for a while while her 94 Chevy Lumina was in the shop. I have a problem with engine gasket leaks and it shouldn't be to expensive to fix, since that's all that appears to be wrong.

I plan on rebuilding it and turning it into something like a Japanese drifter when I get out of college. Great car.

20th Oct 2007, 10:47

1993 saturn 1.9 changed the motor runs good, but when I am driving down the the road and let off the gas, it acts like cruise control. I have been over everything twice; possibly a computer problem, but no codes. Idle will come down very slowly when stopped, and no vaccuum leaks.

10th Nov 2007, 14:14

I have a 1993 SL2 I bought about 4 months ago and currently have 70,000 miles on it. The car drives fantastic, but its true it goes through oil like no other. I bring it in every 3 months to have changed and they always tell me I am at least a quart low. Anyway recently warning lights on the dash have started blinking from time to time indicating low coolant. Checked the coolant level and it is full. The temperature gage never goes above a quarter of the way up so I am wondering if this is even a problem. Any suggestions or similar experiences?

PS. To anyone complaining that the car shakes when idled, switch your spark plugs and don't cheap out, get the best ones you can find and the problem will stop immediately.

11th Feb 2008, 20:30

I have a 93Saturn SC-2, I bought the car with about 136K miles on it with a smashed frt. end. I proceeded to replace nose piece r. fender & r. head light. Radiator leaked, so r&r'd. Car ran great. Summer came, and I had all the other previous mentioned problems, but there are two temp. sensors. One for fan/comp. one for the gauge. Fixed fan problems, sort of.Gauge was reading low temp..That's what I get for not listening to my own adv.. COLD weather hit & my car would not have heat only when very cold in the morning. It would not come on the whole drive. If I stopped to eat (20min. or so) the heat would work. I r&r'd the t-stat & still happens, but gauge reads good now. Otherwise after chain set was r&r'd it runs fast & strong. But still have heat issue... did I mention I bought car for $75.00? Love car, but don't have answer for heat issue & I'm a mechanic... except to back-flush heater core.