1993 Saturn SL SL2 from North America - Comments

1st Dec 2008, 11:17

A '93 Saturn S-series has two coolant temps sensors. One is for the gauge (one wire connector) and wire for the PCM (two wire connector).

The gauge in '91-'93 is calibrated HIGH. Normal operating temps is 1/2, and fan turns on 1-2mm Before the RED. This is NORMAL FROM THE FACTORY.

They re calibrated the gauge in '96. Most of you do NOT have over heating engines. Its just your gauge is calibrated differently than other cars youve driven.

1st Dec 2008, 11:23

Bought car with 189K miles, heater didn't work well. Changed thermostat, not it'll overheat and coolant boils over. Replaced lower radiator hose, and reservior cap and still leaks just not as bad. I will fix it though. Still undecided on this car. My grandfather has the same one I do just less miles and it works fine.

1st Dec 2008, 22:54

I've got a 96 SL2, the temp gauge in my car usually sits at the 1/4 mark or very slightly above. The t-stat probably needs to be replaced but at 30 some bucks, maybe I can hold off by using some cardboard to block off part of the radiator or something.

3rd Dec 2008, 20:54

For what it's worth, I knew someone who had a '93 Saturn (just to be clear, the model with that peculiar wide vent on the bottom front) and I still see a lot of that model here on Long Island (NY), which leads me to think that they seems to have been pretty well made to start with...

11th Dec 2008, 20:20

Hello everyone!!! I would just like to let you all know that I am the proud owner of a 93 Saturn SL2. It just hit 219,000 miles and still is running like a charm.

I have had to replace the tires, clutch, and fix a leak in the sun roof. That is it. This thing runs forever.

The car uses oil, but not too much. Every 4-5000 miles I find it getting close to the low line.

This car is amazing, and I will definitely buy Saturns in my future. Thanks Saturn!

5th Jan 2009, 11:04

I believe some of these comments that say "this car is great" are bogus and fake.

This car is a total piece of crap. My tranny leaks like no other; I think it's like a quart or two every 3 weeks not even.. maybe like 2 1/2 weeks. The motor oil isn't that bad.

It stalls all the time when it's humid out; recently it just stalled when I stopped on the road.

The electrical system blows.

I have to go by mileage for my gas consumption. The gas gauge doesn't work.

Now since a couple days ago my trunk won't latch on... and shortly after that, from trying to fix that problem... the lever that unlocks the trunk has broke.

The interior blows in this car.

The alignment is bad on mine.

This car is the worst piece of crap you could own. If you are wondering or debating if you should buy one... Run, run like hell. Unless you have a few grand you want to just burn in a month or two for no reason.

Also, whenever I stop at a red light, I have to keep my foot on both the brakes and gas so it doesn't stall...

I went through a windshield; they're expensive and the rust builds up beneath the top of the windshield, so it will break shortly again.. by then I'd be surprised if this thing is still running.

Well if you can help me with my problems, please do!!!

Frank (New York)

9th Jan 2009, 02:44

I bought my 1992 Saturn SL1 (SOHC) from my cousin in June 08. The car had 115k miles on it. The car has been family owned (I'm the 5th member) since it was bought new.

It had several small issues, including jerky gear shifts (fixed with transmission stabilizer fluid), and a pretty extensive coolant leak. The vacuum hoses were shot (Las Vegas heat will do that to a car). The AC didn't work.

For a little over $100, I fixed all the vacuum lines, changed the AC to conform to new specs, and it ran great. I created a problem however. The coolant system runs a pressurized reservoir. The reservoir was cracked, and leaked with pressure. I figured, I'll let it go low, and watch the dummy gauge, to see if it stayed on constantly. It didn't, it went on and off and on and off and BAM! It overheated on me on the freeway going 75. The head gasket blew!

With my handy dandy repair manual, and about $100 parts and fluids, I changed the head gasket myself. This is when I noticed a small hairline crack on my head. I also purchased a new reservoir for $60 at the dealer (has a special electronic sensor for low coolant). I patched it up, hoped for the best. about 1,000 miles later, BAM head gasket blows again. Or so I thought...

After pulling the head off, I didn't see any further cracking, nor was the head gasket blown. I found the healthy mix of oil and coolant, known to me as chocolate mousse. The oil seemed fine, mostly gone from my system. But the coolant had plenty of it!

I got a replacement head from a junkyard, a car with 132k miles (mine has 126k) for $50 (self pull) looked fantabulous. I replaced it, and will see in a few days how it holds up. What I don't get is, without a huge crack in my head, or a blown gasket, how could my oil and coolant mix so extensively?

Key notes: This car was a cheapo car to begin with, bought for $500. I have paid about $500 towards fixing it over 7 months, which about $200 was to fix existing problems. So my monthly car payment has been less than $100!!! And my GF wants me to get rid of it! Paying double the insurance, and $300 a month car payment will not make me any happier than I am now.

Buy or not: If you are handy with tools, and know engines, check this car out before buying it. Drive it around, get a feel for what is to come. I have heard of people having this car over 600,000 miles. I plan on matching that one day, because I can fix what I need to, and save THOU$AND$

:P.

9th Jan 2009, 22:46

One of my friends bought a Saturn brand new back in 1992. Right from the start the water temperature indicator on the dashboard showed the needle close to H (hot). She complained to the dealer, they told her it was normal. She kept complaining and complaining. After a few weeks they took out the thermostat and tested it in hot water. Sure enough, the wrong part had been installed and it was opening about 20 degrees hotter than it was supposed to. They put in the correct thermostat and everything was fine. She kept the car about 8 years and was generally happy with it and the dealership. I've often wondered if others had long terms problems that arose from getting the wrong thermostat.

22nd Apr 2009, 03:45

Yeah Saturn's do have frequent overheating issues that cause many other issues to arise, starting with but not limited to oil leaks, cracked heads, blown radiators, faulty thermostats, and damaged hoses.

The biggest problem is the electronic fans. If you ask me, they should have never started relying so much on electronic parts for cars; they are faulty more than they work, and when they break they're hard to fix. However, since the engine is turned sideways, there is really no way of hooking up a pulley driven fan option, which is what works best.

Best advice to people experiencing overheating issues with their Saturn; catch the problem early and do some "preventative maintenance". Put in a new high quality radiator made with double layered walls, replace both hoses, and when you buy a new thermostat, buy the one that is set to open up at the lowest temp. It definitely helps with cars that run hot. If the car still has some over heating issues, I would suggest turning on the A/C or heater; this helps lower the temp and the overheating. And if your car is equipped with over drive, do not use it, this also helps the engine not work overtime, which helps with overheating.

Replace the oil every 3,000 miles and place injector cleaner in the gas tank once every other tank. Remember, I said preventative maintenance, it goes and does wonders.