3rd Sep 2010, 20:58

We bought our 98 SC2 3 months ago, it had 83,500k on it. We now have 85,655k.

About 3 weeks ago it "clunked" into reverse and has done it a couple of times since. We now give it time to shift with a foot on the brake. Seems to help. Now "service engine soon" light came on. Took it to a mechanic, he pulled the codes, said looks like trans problem. Recommended a trans. shop where we took it for them to check it out. They said trans needs to be rebuilt. It's close to going. They can do it for $2,600.00.

Called another mechanic friend who said, "drain trans., put in fresh fluid, change the filter and run it. See what happens". The comments you show above seem to indicate that in many cases, just changing the valve body, can correct the problem. So we're going to try the service first, then if necessary, change the valve body. We did find a used trans. with 81,000k on it for $750.00, but sounds like we could be buying the same problem, so let's fix what we have!!

25th Oct 2010, 00:59

I'm on my 3rd Saturn SL2 and would go for number 4 without a question! I drive between 3 states all week long making deliveries for work and have chosen to buy the 5 speed SL2s because they are so cheap to keep on the road.

My first Saturn was my 92 SL2, and I drove and enjoyed it till I rolled it in black ice. The roof barely budged and I didn't get a scratch, in fact, I pulled it out with an Explorer, flipped it back onto it wheels and drove it another 5 miles home! Only thing I ever had to do that car the ever was tires, brakes, air filters, fuel filter, spark plugs and wires, and one radiator, not bad at all for 184,000!

My second SL2 was a 94. Drove it to 235,000 and sold it to my friend who is still driving it with 286,000 miles on it 5 years later! The only things I replaced on it was the first clutch at 211,000, 3 alternators, bad for 94s for some reason and a radiator. Was a GREAT car!

My 3rd and current SL2 is a 98 and I enjoy it as well! This is my first one with traction control and I already was able to go everywhere with my last 2 but this made it even easier! I have had to replace a few more things on this one (all 4 window clips, $8 ea, one window motor, idle air control valve, oxygen sensor, catalytic converter). The light that illuminates the mileage in the dark has also burned out as of about 5,000 miles ago. It just hit 200,000 this week.

They may have no re-sale value, but that means you can pick them up cheap! I say they're fun, affordable, reliable, quick and safe. I have had tons of newer cars as I drive 70,000 miles a year and I would recommend this car to anyone looking for a economical car!

31st Dec 2010, 06:50

I bought our 1998 SL2 from a dealer back in 98 with 5,000 miles on it. The car has had common problems like the headliner, water pump, reverse clunk and overheating, but I couldn't agree more that if you maintain the car regularly, you will reap the benefits. We have not had a car payment on this car since 2002, and if you don't mind the stiff suspension (rides like a sled), you will have a reliable car.

I do all the maintenance myself, and the car has 164,500 miles on it. I just replaced the catalytic converter assembly, and since it is equipped with California emissions, it cost $400. The service engine soon light has stayed off, and the car is running well. Both my daughters learned to drive on this car, and I refuse to get rid of it.

One of the issues that was tricky to deal with, was the wires to the back doors had broken. They broke inside the rubber boot between the center post the door is hinged to, and the door itself. Soldering in some new wires solved the lock and window opening problems.

Now that gas is going up rapidly, I will drive this car to work instead of my 4X4 Chevy Pick up. I will see if we can reach the 200,000 mile mark.

30th Jul 2011, 08:52

Thank you. 1998 SL2, 240,000 + daily driver, and a few long hauls across country. Read the manual, follow the plan, and you will be surprised what happens. You cannot just gas it up and drive it like you stole it.

28th Mar 2012, 23:36

I have a 1998 SL2 that has 35,600 miles on it, and am the original owner.

I had a short drive to work before retiring.

I have replaced two batteries, an ignition module, drive train sensor that prevented it from starting, interior headliner with sunshades, and a clutch on the 5 speed manual, the second year under warranty.

Rear airfoil just needs a new paint job, and it's on the 3rd set of tires, since earlier I lived in Florida, and the rubber deteriorated from dry rot very fast.

The sunroof works, BUT must go have the drains blown out, as water collects and drips a little, after a heavy rain. I would really like to kick the behind of the engineer that designed a sunroof that needs a DRAIN!? Duhh.

The engine runs great, and the oil is changed at each 3-4000 miles max. I made them install FULL leather seating - front and back, at purchase, when new.

I may trade or sell, and get a new car next year, but I love not having to pay monthly payments, so may wait until I can buy a decent compact at approximately $17,000, and sell this one.

NEVER will I buy a car with a sunroof again, as I NEVER thought a DRAIN would be part of that design scenario.

15th Sep 2013, 18:13

Everyone that has this slamming noise in a Saturn, no matter what year, 99% of the time it's the VALVE BODY. I just replaced mine after dealing with it for 2 years, and it shifts like new. It used to slam into every gear and reverse. Did it myself. Never did work on a car before. Cost me 110$ on eBay and about 3 hours total. There are YouTube videos on how to do it. It sat for a year because I didn't know what to do. Riding a bike for a year sucked big time.

20th Oct 2015, 14:28

I also have a 98 Saturn; my grandfather and I just replaced the valve body and it stopped clunking, until the car warmed up, then it started clunking again but only in reverse. Same as when we had the old valve body in it. It would only clunk in reverse after the car warmed up. But now we have a brand new valve body in the Saturn and it is still clunking... Any ideas of what else it could be?