Saturn S-Series

The first series of Saturn cars, the Saturn S-Series was part of a compact car family produced between 1991 and 2002. It was available in sports coupe, sedan level and sedan wagon variants, with either 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmissions.

4,499 Questions
Auto Parts and Repairs
Saturn (car)
Saturn S-Series

Where is ac dryer located on a 2001 Saturn sl1?

If you follow the hoses from the compressor, one will lead to the dryer. One side of the dryer connects to the condenser, so look around it and the radiator.

On my '99 SL2, it sits beneath the battery on the driver's side of the engine compartment. Hope this helps a little.

Auto Parts and Repairs
GMC Sierra
Saturn S-Series
Crankshaft Sensors

How do you replace a crank sensor?

remove the plug unscrew the bolts and put back the way you remove it .

Depending on what car you have, the crank angle sensor is normally located behind your harmonic balancer, or somewhere close to the crank. To remove the harmonic balancer you'll first need to remove the drive belt then remove the bolts holding on the harmonic balancer. It won't usually come off easily so it'll need some persuasion with a few light taps from a hammer, or in severe cases a bearing puller. Once the balancer is removed access to the crank angle sensor is very easy. All you need to do is interchange the busted sensor for a new one.

Saturn S-Series

How do you replace a coolant temperature sensor on a '96 Saturn SL1?

Hey Brian==it is in the fromt of the intake manifold. Drain the rakiator then remove it and install the new one. GoodluckJoe

That would acually be the fan sensor. There is a coolant temperature sensor on the right hand end (looking from the front) of the engine. When it fails, the idle speed goes a bit goofy and the engine tends to ide fast. The gauge will also do some interesting things as well.

This is best done with a cold engine but can be done hot, just be very very careful and make sure the pressure is off the cooling system but once you have released it, put the cap back on tight.

The sensor has 2 wires, yellow and black, and is clipped onto the sensor with a snap connector. Be careful not to pull the wires but to pull the sensor off with the plastic holder. Once the wires are free, then you can remove the old sensor.

Make sure to prepare the new one by wrapping teflon tape on the threads to seal it. That works best. Remove the old sensor and quickly put the new one into place and finger tighten. Once it snuggs up, then finish tightening it into place.

Make sure you replace the wires otherwise it will at least set an error code or 2.

Good luck.

Starters and Ignition Systems
Saturn L-Series
Saturn S-Series

How do you change the starter on a 1996 Saturn SL?

In my experience with your hand anda few craftsman sockets and lowring the engine (there is no space for a tool to remove it so losen the engine mounts and transmounts takes about 3 to 6 hours to remove&instal plus a can of beer for me and your famiy (babies tooo)

I recently replaced the entire motor on an SL2 97 and the starter wasn't really a big deal.

It is behind the engine so you will need to first disconnect the positive battery cable.

Raise the vehicle.

The area you will be working in will be a bit tight but workable.

I found that removing the mounting bolts, lowering it gave me easier access to removing the wiring from it.

Reverse for installation.

#2 is an improvement over the first, but here's some additional info:

Two bolts. One is almost inaccessible. I used a 13mm deep well socket and a couple of different length extensions (one 4" and one 2") to reach the two different bolts and remove them.

While it helps to get as much room under the car as possible (I was only able to achieve a little under a foot working height with the ramps and jackstands I had), I also used a socket wrench (Stanley part #89-962-- that allowed me to _twist_ the handle in addition to using a normal ratcheting action. Without it, I seriously doubt I would have removed the old starter and installed a new one in the time I did, since the working area is very, very constricted.

In addition to the two bolts, there are also the two nuts (referred to in answer 2) attaching the electrical leads. Frankly, I found them to be little trouble to remove before removing the mounting bolts, and my Mitchell's and Haynes books suggest removing them first to acoid damaging them.

Quick tip: working under the car in constricted spaces, keep track of nuts and bolts by attaching a STRONG magnet to the oil pan. Simply drop the nuts, bolts, sockets (and even extensions!) UP *heh* onto the magnet for handy retrieval later.

Still, if you are able to rent bay space and use a lift, the removal/installation would be much easier. Still constricted (and the Stanley tool or its equivalent still HIGHLY recommended!), but standing to work would make this a much, much easier task.

Saturn S-Series

How do you change the O2 sensor on a 1994 Saturn SC2?

the o2 sensor is located right in the front of the engine on the exhaust manifold. it's that big rusty lookin thing. the o2 sensor is the bolt lookin thing coming out of it with the wire attached. unclip the wire and loosen it with an appropriate sized wrench. you may need some liquid wrench for this to penetrate the rust. once it's out ( it will take some muscle) toss it and simply screw the new one in and tighten it with a wrench. clip the wire back up and you're ready to go.

Be sure and put some anti-sieze on the threads before you install it.

As long as you are not reusing the old sensor you can cut off the wires at the sensor and use a 7/8' deep socket to remove the old one.

Fuel and Engines
Pontiac Sunbird
Saturn S-Series

Why would there be water in the engine block?


If your oil looks watery and milky, you more than likely have a blown head.

Get it checked -- you actually could do more damage to your car engine. Some cars also get a mositure build up in the oil that might be white or yellowish color if you don't get the engine warmed up all the way in the morning causing condensation to build up on the underside of the oil cap.

More than likely it is a head gasket, the type of vehicle and mileage would be helpful, however, some times to keep an older vehicle running for a short while, would be to loosen the radiator cap, lets the pressure off, but u definitly have a cracked head, block or blown headgasket.

Clutches and Flywheels
Saturn (car)
Saturn S-Series

Why is the gear shift cable on the 2000 Saturn SL a two cable system and should it cost 300 to fix it at an auto shop?

It uses two cables because one cable is used to pull the gear selector toward Low and the other cable is to pull the gear selector toward Park. If one is bad, you should always replace both.

It's expensive because they are somewhat annoying and time consuming to get to, and each cable costs typically over $40.

You really shouldn't expect to get out of a shop for under $200 labor, so it's about right.

Serpentine Belts
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo
Saturn S-Series

How do you tighten the serpentine belt on a 96 Windstar?

Windstar 3.8 serpentine belt is tensioned by a belt tensioner. This is a pulley about 4" in diameter toward the back of the engine with a built in spring that pivots the pulley toward the back of the engine keeping the belt tight. there is no adjustment. Put a long rod into the gap just to the right of the pulley and rotate the pulley upwards by pushing down. You will be pushing against the spring. This also allows removal of the belt.

Oil and Oil Filters
Saturn (car)
Saturn S-Series

Can you slow oil burning using heavier motor oil 99 SATURN?

Heavier oil will move slower and maintain higher oil pressure. The heavier oil will be slower to get past the piston rings and the valve stem seals, resulting in less oil burning.

Heavier oil is generally better for worn engines, but if the engine isn't worn, you should use the thinner grades of oil, as originally recommended.

Saturn S-Series

How do you replace freon in AC System for 2000 SL1 Saturn?

First, never add refrigerant if the system isn't truly low. You'll need BOTH gauges (high and low) to know where the system is. A worn compressor will fail to build sufficient pressure to keep your vehicle cool.

Never add refrigerant if you don't know the condition of the system. It may not have needed refrigerant and adding too much could have shut the system down. The 2000 Saturns have a shutoff switch that prevents the compressor from operating if the pressure is too high.

There is no need to purge the system unless it has been completely evacuated and air was allowed in.

Sometimes an AC system will not work when the vehicle is not moving, especially if the radiator fan is not functioning properly or if either the radiator or condenser coil are blocked, preventing air from blowing across.

For future reference, your 2000 Saturn does no use "Freon", it uses 134-A refrigerant.

Steering and Suspension
Power Steering
Saturn S-Series

Does the 1998 Saturn sl2 have power steering?

assuming your vehicle is equipped with powersteering, yes. to find out for sure you will need to open your hood and look in engine compartment. there should be, in the upper left corner of the engine, a small black cap that says... Power Steering on it. it will be sitting ontop of a white colored fluid container. This would be your power steering pump. Twist the black cap and pull upwards. the cap will have a stick fastened to the bottom of it with a fluid level indicator mark. be sure the fluid is up to that mark, or very close to it. if not, you may need to purchase some power steering fluid.

Car Shaking Problems
Seat Belts and Safety Systems
Saturn S-Series

Why would a car jerk during deceleration?

Well if its an automatic, that's easy... I have this too. first answer this...

how fast are you going?

does it have overdrive (auto only)?

if manual what gear you get up to when this happens?

well if its auto, and your going fairly fast and suddenly let go of the gas... its going to change down quite quick due to gearbox design. This would give the sensation of the car braking...

if its a manual car, then you are most likely in too low a gear to start with, this is why we change down when we loose our brakes, speed reduction is effective immedeatly without slows you down to save emergency speed...1 min or so.

AnswerI am having a similar problem with my grand am! I have been told that it could be a motor mount AnswerMy 1993 Buick Skylark had the same problem last year-- if I took it above about 40mph after the engine was warmed up, every deceleration thereafter caused the car to shudder. After researching it a bit, I decided it was probably the Torque Converter Clutch Solenoid in the automatic transmission, so I had it replaced and the problem disappeared. I've read that this is a somewhat common problem with Overdrive, which my car does not have, so apparently the problem doesn't play favorites.
Clutches and Flywheels
Saturn S-Series

How do you bleed the hydraulic clutch on a 2000 Saturn SL2?

unfortunately Saturn went out on a limb to produce easy swappable parts in their cars. the clutch hydraulic system can not be bleed. it was intended on being replaced as an entire unit, filled with fluid and bleed at the factory. I've made many trips the salvage yards to obtain a entire assembly.

Car Shaking Problems
Saturn S-Series
Ford Explorer XLS

What causes a car to shake at low speeds?

In many cases the issue is with an out of balance tire, you can have them all balanced fairly cheaply and a rotation is probably in order, I believe it's all in the same price, after that the alignment could be the cause, if the wheels are not straight forward they will shake, and newer cars need 4 wheel alignment, after that it could be your engine timing or a bad engine support.,

It could be your bushings.

Saturn S-Series
Picture and Image Searches

How do you fix a fan belt tensioner on a 95 Saturn SL1?

First raise the hood.Removing the top engine mount gives easier access.Jack the car up on the right side,remove the right front tire,remove the inter fender at the quick release fasteners.The original tensioner can be rolled back with a 9/16" wrench,then remove the belt.Take the top bolt for the tensioner from under the hood with a 10mm boxed end wrench,then you can remove the bottom bolt threw the wheel opening with the same tool or you can use a ratchet and socket.Then replace the parts you have removed Replacing the belt can be done by you self, but having help makes it a lot easier.

1979 Saturn SL2, alternator, replace, these directions apply for getting to the alternator on the 1979 SL2.


accutally you can remove the top engine mount without supporting the engine because the motor will only drop 2 inches before the lower engine support cradle sits on the subframe. will putting a jack under the engine help you to line it all back up when your done... yes, but not necessary

that a good way to put nonsense strain on your other mounts, keep in mind that most of them are dog bone style and also putting strain on eletrical .... smarter not harder

yes, dogbone mounts that will swing,and if any extra strain is put on them its only for at most 10 min. no harm is done to the electrical being that there is really no electrical on the pully side of the engine. a 2" drop on the pully side isn't going to harm any electrical on the trans side of the motor. i do 4-5 of these tensioners a week this way and have never had a problem

Car Starting Problems
Saturn S-Series
Honda CRX

Why won't my car downshift?

If it is a 5 speed the shift fork may be bent of the cable may be stretched or broken. If it is a automatic the passing gear cable may be unhooked or in need or adjustment.

Saturn S-Series
Timing Belts and Chains

If long belts on a 1999 Saturn SC coupe are breaking does the 'time it' cover need to replaced?

A timing cover and belt are not really related. However if you confused the timing cover with a time-it cover, I would guess there is more info that you aren't following. But asking questions will get you to a better understanding. Sounds like a water pump or other pulley seized, I would guess. That is why it (the belt) broke the first time. Maybe, when it broke it also broke the cover.

what belts are you talking about the ones you can see on the side of the engine? because I don't think you are talking about a timing belt because I am pretty sure Saturn uses timing chains and if you can see the belt breaking then it is most likely a drive belt (serpentine) and not the timing belt (chain) as it is covered. So is you mean the big long serpentine belt you only have to replace it but if you replace it and it keeps breaking then check your pulleys and water pump to make sure they aren bent or damaged

Saturn S-Series

How do you replace the thermostat located on a 1994 Saturn SL?

The thermostat can be located by following the top radiator hose to where it meets the engine. Drain the fluid first below at the radiator drain valve (remove the cap to speed the draining process, you won't need to drain very much.)

Remove the upper radiator hose at the engine, I believe it is a spring loaded locking clip.

Remove the hose. What the hose plugged into will be the thermostat housing. Remove the bolts carefully. Remove the cover and thermostat.

Clean all surfaces on both before reinstalling. Clean the bolts and use some never seize on them. Don't over tighten them.

Clutches and Flywheels
Saturn S-Series
How To

How to adjust the clutch on 1996 Saturn SL1?

To the best of my knowledge, the clutch on this vehicle is hydraulic and does not need to be adjusted manually. If you are having trouble engaging the clutch or shifting you should have your clutch checked to see if it needs to be replaced. I had, what sounds like, the same problem with my clutch. I own a 1995 Saturn SL2 with a hydraulic clutch. I COULD NOT put car into gear, whether the car was running or turned off. It turned out that the hyrdaulic clutch was out of hydraulic fluid. I took it to my mechanic, (I hadn't the slightest clue what could be causing this). He took a look and filled the clutch with hydraulic fluid and said it works just fine now. He said he didn't see a leak, or any indications of a leak. So we will see. But the short of it is, your (hydraulic) clutch may just need hydraulic fluid.

Saturn S-Series
Saturn (car)
Heater Cores and Blower Fans

Where is the blower motor location in 2000 Saturn?

Above the passengers feet. 3 8mm screws hold it in

Car Sounds
Saturn S-Series
Chevy Trailblazer
Ford Escort ZX2

What would cause a loud whining noise in a 2001 Saturn SC1?

timing belt

AnswerI wouldn't think it would be the timing belt. In fact I thought (although I might be wrong) that most Saturns have steel timing chains.

I would suspect the noise is either the power steering pump or one of the serpentine belt tensioners.

In fact I had a loud whining in my 2000 Saturn and it was the bearing in the serpentine belt tensioner. We replaced it ourselves, it was not too bad of a job.

AnswerIf the noise sounds like a jet engine turbine, it's probably the alternator getting ready to self-destruct. Check it by running the car and turning accessories (headlights,radio,wipers,etc.)on in sucession. If the noise gets louder with each accessory you add, think alternator. Answer(Former Saturn Service technician) I would say that if it't a high pitched whine that varies with engine speed, it is most likely the alternator. A lower pitched "whine" or "growling" might be the serp. belt Idler Pulley. In my experience, I never saw or heard of the tensioner pulley bearing faliing so most likely rule that out. A bad tensioner usually makes a "rattling" type sound and is accompanied with belt "squeal" AnswerMy loud whining noise in my 97 Saturn SL2 WAS my Idler Pulley! I replaced it for around $23 at O'Reilly Auto Parts, but the original owner said that it was making that noise when she bought it brand new from Memphis Saturn, so apparently this was a defect from the factory. Anyhow, it is now fixed and I can drive around without going crazy!


I have a 96 sc2 it wined like it was a power steering pump but it was the idler pulley. To find out if that is the issue is to grab all the pulleys one at a time and see if they are tight or not. Good luck it only cost $20 dollars for the idler puolly and that fixed my problem.

Saturn (car)
Saturn S-Series

How do you unlock Saturn's engine?

A locked up enguine cannot be unlocked

Antifreeze and Engine Coolant
Saturn S-Series

Why would a 2000 Saturn SL-2 with a new thermostat still overheat?

check to see if your cooling fan is working if so look at your radiator cap and make sure the cap gasket is not broken.

AnswerThe easiest way to see if your fan motor it still working is to run the A/C in the car, this triggers the relay for the fan. If the fan works and the car still overheats you will most likely new a new Coolant Temperature Sensor. There are two of these sensors. One controls the temperature gauge on the dashboard. The other takes a direct temp. reading of coolant. It is in the front right side of your engine just below the valve cover, you will see two small wires leading to it underneath the air filter. Answersometimes when you loose some coolent like when you changed the thermostat you get an air pocket trapped inside the engine witch will cause the engine to have to bleed the air out. AnswerThe most likely cause is the coolant sensor located in the cyl haed on the back of the engine It has a small 2 wire connector attached to it. Unplug the connector and see if there is any corrosion on it If there is you will need a ssensor and harness. If not change the sensor It's only 18$ Canadian from Saturn Stay away from aftermarket on this as they never work properly
Auto Parts and Repairs
Saturn S-Series

What is the cause of P0300 misfire code in 2000 saturn sl1?

P0300 Diagnostic Code - Random Misfire

Engine may stumble or miss
Engine may be hard to start
you may notice no issues

Failing spark plugs or spark plug wires
Bad coil or coil pack
Failing oxygen sensor(s)
Bad fuel injector or more than one
Stuck exhaust valve
Bad catalytic converter
EGR valve or valve passage clogging
Bad camshaft position sensor
Bad PCM or ECM

The Fix
Best first action is a tune up, new plugs, wires, inspect all hoses and wire connections then reset the code. If it returns you will need to narrow it down to a system, coils and coil packs should be tested, catalytic converters for function ( do you smell rotten eggs?). A misfire that jumps cylinders could indicate a lean condition, do you have any other codes along with the 300? this will help clue you in to the source, check valve function to make sure they are opening and closing fully.
This is probably pone of the most difficult codes to troubleshoot, so start with the basics and work your way into the more expensive options, in many cases a good old tune up solves the problem, back it up with a fuel system cleaning and see where you stand.

Car Starting Problems
Saturn S-Series
Ford F-150

Why will a 93 Saturn Sl2 not start and does not even make a clicking noise when the key is turned?

Probably dirty battery cables.

I have a 1994 SC2 that had the same problem, I checked the battery conditon, battery cable condition and had the starter tested and all were fine. It turns out that is was the ingnition wiring in the steering column. One of the wires was not making good connection, I found this out while trying to take the ingnition out to replace it. You will need a 5.5mm nut driver to take apart the steering column covers, and make sure you get the one behind the tilt lever.

It could be that but it can also be your starter. I also have a 93 Saturn sl2 that did the same thing to me. I replaced the starter with the the updated one that they have out and car started up afterwards. also.


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