5th Jun 2007, 00:47

I just picked up a 96 SW2 for $200. The engine used oil which is addressed in a GM technical bulletin. I performed the procedure which involved using GM's Piston and ring cleaner chemical. You get the engine hot, remove the plugs, put 3 oz. of cleaner in each hole, put the plugs back in to prevent evaporation and let the engine sit for at least 2 hours. Remove the plugs and disable the ignition and fuel. Crank the engine to expel the chemical (cover the top of the engine with a towel to prevent a mess). I also used a suction gun to remove the leftover liquid. This is important to prevent a hydraulic lockup. I ran the motor to clear out the cylinders. It did misfire for a half a minute. I changed the oil and filter (GM recommends Mobil 1) but I used regular 10W30. Since this procedure, my oil consumption has dropped dramatically - gone 1000 miles. and still close to the full mark. The engine has 155K miles. The chemical cost me about $20 at a Chevy dealer. Worth a try.

12th Feb 2008, 22:01

Much of your "problems" with the car is your own damn fault, letting your car run out of oil then gripe at Saturn... come on!

Get a junk yard motor put it, a local mechanic will charge you about $1500 tops, no need to put in a brand new engine in a 1995 car, that's just stupid.

17th Aug 2009, 23:33

I have a 1996 Saturn SL1 with about 102,000 miles. It has been a great car for many years, but now that I am trying to sell it since I bought a new car, I am having problems because of the SES light always being on. When I take it to the Saturn dealership they always say the light means the O2 sensor needs to be replaced. Well, I just replaced the thing about a year ago (not through Saturn, I did it on my own with the help of my uncle, who used to be a mechanic), and now they are saying I need to replace it again. I had my uncle look at it again and he says it's fine. Then I took it to my mother's mechanic (a family friend), and he said it's fine too. It makes me mad that I can't sell this car due to a light being on that has no reason to be on at all and Saturn won't, or can't, get it to turn off.

21st Oct 2009, 23:05

Wow, what can I say.

I was contemplating getting a cheap 1997 SW1 wagon for $150.00, but I guess there is a reason for it being cheap.

Clutch is gone, and yup it burns oil, but then the thing does have 340,000km on it.

I know one thing, with all this oil being burned, it is causing problems with any sensors or the cat down stream from the exhaust ports. Oil burns with a higher BTU content, much like diesel fuel, and will wreck a cat in no time at all. It will also destroy those expensive O2 sensors fairly fast too.

Seems to me to be an oil ring control problem in the motors. Perhaps a design flaw or bad machining (dull tooling) allowing too many wide tolerances in the motor assembly from the get go? (The old, don't buy an American car built on a Monday or Friday comes to mind).

Also, the oil sensor can go bad and leak too, sending oil in places it shouldn't, namely on rubber and plastic parts, wires, sensors that can break down due to oil contamination.

This is where the Japanese stuff excels in that their tolerances and engineering are that much tighter with better materials, QC, etc. resulting in a vehicle that is reliable, but at the end of its life it's very expensive to repair.

It's hard to find a car that is in that happy medium of being reliable and very well or over built like a tank (Mercedes 123 diesel comes to mind), yet reasonably priced to buy and repair, yet lasts a long time.

That is where buying a truck like a pickup will probably suffice, unfortunately the fuel mileage will suck big time.

Decisions, decisions.

22nd Oct 2009, 08:42

At 340000 km, the production tolerances won't matter anymore. If you want to ride inexpensively, get a car with reasonable kilometers on the clock, nice looking interior, proof of maintenance and plenty exterior blemishes. The price will be very low, and you don't have to repair the cosmetics. If it needs an expensive repair, do the same thing over again.

"Oh my, I don't want to be seen in a banged up car!"

There is the expense of vanity!

30th Mar 2011, 01:17

The EGR valve pollutes the engine and clogs the rings (and cat) in an older car with larger clearances. A blocking plate will clean it up in about a year, with regular oil changes. Use 10w-30. All cars with OVH cams and timing CHAINS are over oiled. Add oil every fill-up, 1/2 quart is normal. Keep your cooling system working and it will run forever.