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How long before transmission die? 95 Saturn SL1 Auto

06-09-2004, 09:11 PM
Hi all

I got 95 Saturn SL1 Automatic with 102K miles on it.

Today, I was driving my brother around when all of sudden i started to notice vibration from engine. Its kind of sounds like chug chug chug... after a few diagonses.. i think its transmission... If i am in neutral or park then engine is fine. In reverse there is a little chugging... in drive there is very noticeable chugging... for example if i am stopped at a red light its very noticeable... but at higher rpm(2000 and up) i cannot notice... I haven't taken it on highway yet cuz I am afraid... but i want to see what happen at higher speeds..

Can anyone tell me if it is transmission problem? and if it is how long before it breaks down... I don't have much cash now to get another car.. thats why... i hoping that it lasts me a month or so before my next paycheck...

well thanks alll


06-09-2004, 10:15 PM
hard to say. i would recommend taking it somewhere to have the problem diagnosed. then you will know for sure what its going to cost you.

07-06-2004, 05:15 PM
Is the chug sound the engine choking? My 94 Saturn SL1 was running a little hot. Started out OK at low speeds. WHen I crossed 35-40 MPH it started choking, chugging, sputtering where it would lose power unless I hit the gas. Then, if I had to stop and idle for a red light it really sputtered, choked, and could even stall. Dealer used to sell me expensive cleanouts. Heard a car show on radio. Guy said to check egr valve for this problem. (I had already replaced mine) . He said if that isnt it, test the exhaust back pressure. I figured if the exhaust is backing up to the engine, it would run dirtier (my oil was very black), run hotter (yes) and not get enough air so it would choke. Called GM to see how long a catalytic converter is good for. GM said 70000 miles but have the dealer test it. I didnt trust the dealer, had a muffler place replace my 100,000 mile converter. They said the old one was clogged. RIght away the engine no longer choked, the car drove cooler, oil was cleaner. ps: I had just had done a super cleanout at an oil change place. I think the black carbon smoke burning off clogged both the egr valve and the converter. On the other hand, the engine was way improved so in the end it was worth it thanks to those radio guys

07-06-2004, 05:26 PM
Thought I would add somethng I learned about this model saturn. I bought this car new. After a couple years of choking engine, expensive cleanouts that never fixed the problem, the dealer rep told me that there was a design problem in this model saturn engine. Something about not enough clearance so carbon built up. It was not a recall item but due to my many problems and complaints, and the fact I was still under warranty, the dealer rebuilt my car's engine at their cost!!! (how often does that happen). It ran like a breeze for years after that. That rep left the dealership. I always felt it was something too expensive to recall, so they sat on it unless anyone screamed. I wish I could remember the technical term something about valve stems being to short or not enough clearance..... A couple years ago a friend had bought the same year/model and had had that exact problem for years. Dealer told her she had to have the engine rebuilt. She was past 100K miles warranty so had to fork out the money. I wonder how prevalent this problem was?

07-07-2004, 09:28 AM
thanks guys for your answers... luckily for me it turned out to be a minor problem... I had my friend look at it and he immidiately said it was bad spark plugs... he replaced spark plugs... and now my car is running ok... it still shakes a little bit but i think thats normal with this saturn... once again thanks for your support!!!

07-07-2004, 10:27 PM
isn't it great when the fix doesnt cost an arm and a leg!

07-09-2004, 03:43 PM
Just a note. Were the plugs worn or coked up. I know of a 94 saturn had a bad coolant temp sensor caused rich mixture fouling plugs. $7 later it was OK.
Another 99 had bad coolant sensor car wouldn't start cold.
This may also foul a cat. -
The 94 to 96 have heads that crack allowing oil into coolant as you all should know. They had extended that warranty up to 100 k and 6 years. They did mine for free at 6 years and 115k. I had them rebuild the rest for price of parts. That's service.

07-12-2004, 09:19 AM
Just a note. Were the plugs worn or coked up.

Actually plugs were oil fouled.

07-12-2004, 04:42 PM
It sound like the problem is not solved however. The 94 Saturn I spoke of was diagnosed by a mechanic as being oil fouled. However the coolant temp sensor was bad. This caused the problem of "oil fouled" plugs. You will foul those plugs again if the root cause is not corrected. As a reference for gas mileage, I get 40+ mpg on highway (65 mph) and 32-33 mpg on my very hilly stop and go commute. This may help to see if it is running well.
My 94 SL1 saturn automatic tranny has 185,000 miles.

07-12-2004, 08:42 PM
Talking about sensors and stuff, Is there a website out there that can give you a quick reference to where these sensors are on the car? I found a few but I cant really tell which are which. Just a thought!

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