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#4760644 - 05/18/18 07:34 AM Saturn L Series
ET16 Offline


Registered: 10/28/08
Posts: 1270
Loc: MD
I see these for sale with low prices and mileage sometimes. Hoe bad is the V6 in these things?

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#4760651 - 05/18/18 07:47 AM Re: Saturn L Series [Re: ET16]
Char Baby Online   content


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 10018
Loc: ROCHESTER, NY
I don't think that the V6 in particular is a bad engine(SAAB motor) however, these vehicles overall had their share of issues.

I also think that the "L" series was the last of the plastic/composite body panels before Saturn went to the stamped steel bodies of the AURA sedan, the OUTLOOK SUV & RELAY minivan.


Edited by Char Baby (05/18/18 08:02 AM)
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#4760668 - 05/18/18 08:04 AM Re: Saturn L Series [Re: Char Baby]
IndyIan Offline


Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 9092
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Char Baby
I don't think that the V6 in particular is a bad engine(SAAB motor) however, these vehicles overall had their share of issues.

I was looking at the wagon version when I got the Focus, but it seemed to me they were not worth the trouble for the savings. The 4cyl was too slow and V6 was too thirsty IMO.
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#4760714 - 05/18/18 08:42 AM Re: Saturn L Series [Re: ET16]
spasm3 Offline


Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8646
Loc: North Carolina
They just never had the same following that the s-series did. The s-series great fuel mileage is why they were preferred. Somehow i remember some timing chain issues, but i don't remember which engine.
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13 elantra 68k 5w30 QSUD
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#4760782 - 05/18/18 09:33 AM Re: Saturn L Series [Re: ET16]
Jimzz Offline


Registered: 10/03/14
Posts: 1142
Loc: NoVA
The V6 had major timing belt system issues. I believe some dealers replaced the timing belt components at 30k as many were failing before they even hit 60k. It was not the belt but the idlers I believe that had a high failure rate. After market parts are much better now, but to little to late for that motor.

If you buy one with that motor use good aftermarket parts and replace at 60k if you want it to last.
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#4760855 - 05/18/18 10:50 AM Re: Saturn L Series [Re: ET16]
slacktide_bitog Offline


Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 6145
Loc: USA
Not a fan of transverse V6 engines. Stay away from the V6. Also, this 54-degree V6 has a timing belt.

But the 4-cylinder L-series is just fine. It has the 2.2L Ecotec and lots of room under the hood.

Here is the V6


And the I4

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#4760999 - 05/18/18 12:40 PM Re: Saturn L Series [Re: ET16]
Leo99 Offline


Registered: 03/30/14
Posts: 3040
Loc: NJ
I had an LS 4cyl. Decent car. Bought it for $9000 with 23,000 miles on it from the local Saturn dealer. It was 3 years old lease return. AC compressor went out at 130,000 miles and that was it for the Saturn with my mother's Corolla that she could no longer drive sitting in the driveway. The Saturn was a smooth highway cruiser. A very large dog crashed into the side of it and just bounced off the plastic door panels.
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#4761368 - 05/18/18 07:44 PM Re: Saturn L Series [Re: ET16]
Okapi77 Offline


Registered: 02/18/18
Posts: 18
Loc: OH
I was a Saturn mechanic from 2000 to 2007. The L series had problems. The six cylinder is a bit of a boat anchor, waterpump/oil cooler leaks causing overheating being a major problem as I recall. Body ECU would cause some goofy stuff. Excessive tire wear in the rear.

However, they did get better as time went by, with 2003 to 2005 4 cylinders being ok cars.

Not sure I would buy a 15 year old car that was just ok when new and has no dealer support (unless it was a great deal).

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#4761419 - 05/18/18 09:03 PM Re: Saturn L Series [Re: ET16]
addyguy Offline


Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 14287
Loc: Canada
You can't really beat a later Ecotec for reliability.
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#4761423 - 05/18/18 09:08 PM Re: Saturn L Series [Re: Okapi77]
dishdude Offline


Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 8733
Loc: Phoenix
Originally Posted By: Okapi77
I was a Saturn mechanic from 2000 to 2007. The L series had problems. The six cylinder is a bit of a boat anchor, waterpump/oil cooler leaks causing overheating being a major problem as I recall. Body ECU would cause some goofy stuff. Excessive tire wear in the rear.

However, they did get better as time went by, with 2003 to 2005 4 cylinders being ok cars.

Not sure I would buy a 15 year old car that was just ok when new and has no dealer support (unless it was a great deal).


Solid advice. I'd consider a 4 banger if the price was right but that 3.0 always was a dog, it was made in England - does anymore need to be said? It came over to this side of the pond in the Catera too.
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#4761688 - 05/19/18 07:13 AM Re: Saturn L Series [Re: ET16]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32632
Loc: ME
The plastic cladding was an afterthought to an existing chassis so the car was heavy.

The s-series was NOT a unibody-- neither was the fiero. Both were space-frames.

L-series was a traditional "something else" reskinned for marketing reasons.

That all said, the wagon has a nice cargo compartment-- almost volvo-sized, and good visibility. There aren't many midsize wagons out there, particularly with the transverse 4 cyl, for you misers out there. The volvo, its only competition that I can imagine right now, might be nicer but has its own share of expensive problems.

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#4780236 - 06/07/18 03:07 PM Re: Saturn L Series [Re: ET16]
DweezilAZ Offline


Registered: 12/04/16
Posts: 61
Loc: Arizona
Service shouldn't be a problem because many Chevrolet outlets are Saturn Authorized Service Providers.

I've had my ION since new and have not had a problem getting it worked on. The Chevrolet place does good work, has competitive prices but they're slow.

My brother, who owns my former 95 SL1, has had no problems with parts availability or service

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