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Old 09-30-2009, 09:36 AM   #1
emmaandleesmom
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1997 Saturn SL2-codes and what they mean

I have a 1997 Saturn SL2 that I purchased just 3 weeks ago. It seems to run fine but the service light stays on. As of yesterday the Service Engine soon light also came on. I took it to Auto Zone and they scanned it and the code was P0711. They said something to do with a trans temp sensor. I then took it to the garage where they done a more thorough scan and it had six codes stored. They are P0341, P1640, P0711, P1641, P1620, and P0605. I do know that the sensor that plugs into the bottom of my coolant tank is bad so that's probably where the P1620 is coming from. All the others I know nothing about and need some input. If anyone can tell me where to start, what to do, etc I would appreciate it. A little back ground info on the car. It was a one owner and I have all the original maintenace records and it's been maintained very well. It has 152000 miles on it. Seems to run just fine, shift fine, a little bit of a vibration at low speeds. Also occasionally the oil light will flicker and then disappear. Any info would be helpful as I'm working on a very limited budget and need to start from the bottom. Thanks.
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:24 AM   #2
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Re: 1997 Saturn SL2-codes and what they mean

I would have them cleared and see which ones come back. I would bet the P0341 would as well as the P0711. I think saturn has a bulletin for the P0341 (cam posistion sensor). Is this the code that they have you remove the module and clean the trans with a scotchbrite pad and replace the mounting bolts?
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:36 AM   #3
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Re: 1997 Saturn SL2-codes and what they mean

Can I just unhook the battery terminal to get rid of the codes? Everything was cleared about a week ago (it had a couple codes on there) then these are the ones that showed up yesterday when the service engine soon light popped on.
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Old 09-30-2009, 05:25 PM   #4
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Re: 1997 Saturn SL2-codes and what they mean

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Originally Posted by emmaandleesmom View Post
Can I just unhook the battery terminal to get rid of the codes? Everything was cleared about a week ago (it had a couple codes on there) then these are the ones that showed up yesterday when the service engine soon light popped on.
Yes, it will clear the codes, but obviously any problems you may have will persist.

The code I would pursue first is the P0341. Check the spark plugs & wires - ONLY use standard copper plugs in this car. The two bottom bolts that hold the ignition module & coils on have ground straps (integrated into the coils but visible on the outside) that go to them. Make sure the contacts are clean where the bolt heads meet this strap. Cleaning up the contacts where it mounts to the transmission does no good because the ignition system has a dedicated ground feed and doesn't ground out through there.
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:28 PM   #5
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Re: 1997 Saturn SL2-codes and what they mean

Quote:
Originally Posted by emmaandleesmom View Post
I have a 1997 Saturn SL2 that I purchased just 3 weeks ago. It seems to run fine but the service light stays on. As of yesterday the Service Engine soon light also came on. I took it to Auto Zone and they scanned it and the code was P0711. They said something to do with a trans temp sensor. I then took it to the garage where they done a more thorough scan and it had six codes stored. They are P0341, P1640, P0711, P1641, P1620, and P0605. I do know that the sensor that plugs into the bottom of my coolant tank is bad so that's probably where the P1620 is coming from. All the others I know nothing about and need some input. If anyone can tell me where to start, what to do, etc I would appreciate it. A little back ground info on the car. It was a one owner and I have all the original maintenace records and it's been maintained very well. It has 152000 miles on it. Seems to run just fine, shift fine, a little bit of a vibration at low speeds. Also occasionally the oil light will flicker and then disappear. Any info would be helpful as I'm working on a very limited budget and need to start from the bottom. Thanks.

I would check to see if oil pressure was in specs. CPS, trans fluid temp, low eng coolant circuit codes will not matter so much if oil pressure is bad. Hope its just a bad oil pressure sensor.LOL
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Old 10-01-2009, 01:33 AM   #6
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Re: 1997 Saturn SL2-codes and what they mean

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I would check to see if oil pressure was in specs. CPS, trans fluid temp, low eng coolant circuit codes will not matter so much if oil pressure is bad. Hope its just a bad oil pressure sensor.LOL
Yeah good point with the oil pressure. I misread the original post. I thought the OP said he/she was the original owner. I now see that they've only had the car for 3 weeks. A Saturn could easily burn enough oil in that time to drop the oil pressure enough to prompt the oil light. It's probably just low on oil but nonetheless engine damage is already occurring when that light comes on.
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:50 AM   #7
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Re: 1997 Saturn SL2-codes and what they mean

I know you all are going to think I'm nuts, but how do I go about checking the oil pressure as my car does not have a guage but a dummy light? I did have a complete oil change about a week ago...oil was black and very thin. Replaced with 4 quarts of Castrol GTX 5w30 and Fram Filter. Keep the advice coming as I'm going down the list as you all post them...if you haven't figured it out yet I'm a woman (single mother) and need all the help I can get at this point. lol


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Old 10-01-2009, 02:28 PM   #8
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Re: 1997 Saturn SL2-codes and what they mean

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Originally Posted by emmaandleesmom View Post
I know you all are going to think I'm nuts, but how do I go about checking the oil pressure as my car does not have a guage but a dummy light? I did have a complete oil change about a week ago...oil was black and very thin. Replaced with 4 quarts of Castrol GTX 5w30 and Fram Filter. Keep the advice coming as I'm going down the list as you all post them...if you haven't figured it out yet I'm a woman (single mother) and need all the help I can get at this point. lol


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I wouldn't bother trying to check the oil pressure. You could install an oil pressure gauge, which isn't a bad idea, but IMO isn't worthwhile. Just make sure the you check the oil often and religiously. As long as the oil light doesn't continue to occasionally come on I wouldn't worry about it. I've only had the oil light come one once (in 3 years) while driving in town. I pulled over and discovered that the oil was really low. Opinions of horsepower/performance aside, the 1.9L's only major downfall is that they burn oil - some times more than 3 quarts between 3,000 mile change intervals. The harder you push the engine the more it burns. I would easily place this engine in the same realm as the venerable Buick 3800 V6 with regard to reliability, with good maintenance of course.

A oil filter is better than no oil filter, but I would strongly suggest not using a Fram. From there it's a matter of preference, but most car guys certainly cringe when they see or hear "Fram" anywhere in the picture of an oil change. I've never had an issue with Fram filters personally, but I've heard numerous horror stories about them and I don't want to be on the telling side of one of those anytime soon. I personally prefer to use a Motorcraft FL-400S. It is a really good quality filter, and it is longer so more filter media makes contact with the oil. I will say that getting it on/off is a bit tight though because of the plastic shield residing behind the oil filter housing.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:49 PM   #9
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Re: 1997 Saturn SL2-codes and what they mean

If you can turn a wrench and are capable of understanding mechanics your gender is not relevant. If you cannot turn a wrench let us know because then you need mechanic.

As far as oil pressure I believe it is very important to know if oil pump is on its way out or if its just a bad pressure switch. This will cost you a few $$ but not that much and peace of mind I believe priceless. When you go to parts store to purchase oil pressure switch have them set you up with a oil pressure gage that has the same tread even if a few adapter connectors need to be applied see if they can give you one on a hose so if in restricted area you can do easy. Then screw in place of oil sending unit. Your pressure at idle and at operating temp is 13 psi min at 2000 rpm(hot) 36 psi min at 2000 rpm (cold)80 psi max. If you are at those specs remove gage screw in oil pressure switch and know you can now spend the time and money to continue. If your pressure is below those min specs you need to make decision.A man had posted on his I believe girl friends saturn over 3,000 miles away but it was to late after a few days of posts the eng blew, so I would make sure pressure is not an issue.LOL
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:53 AM   #10
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Re: 1997 Saturn SL2-codes and what they mean

Replace your ECTS.

the oil pressure light comes on at 3 psi. idle psi is 20.

The oil pump is mechanical connected to the crank directly. If it fails you have bigger issues on your hands
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