Bye, bye Saturn?

The '01 lw300 has almost 203K miles on it. Last few weeks, something was clunking when I started it up though it went away after a second or two. Was
thinking possibly time to use a heavier oil. Now, at 3K to 4K RPMs, the sound comes back. I'm leaning toward a main rod bearing that is failing....
If this were not my only car and I could take time to try rebuilding it. Alas, Saturn is no more and parts are becoming scarce as is my available cash reserve. So, it is inevitable that I'll have to say goodbye to my beloved Saturn. I had an offer of a 2004 Subaru wagon in so-so condition that needs a cylinder head gasket. If that's all it needs, it's a days work. I can drive the Saturn while making the repairs. My dad had a subaru in the days that they rusted out, looked horrible but kept on going and more importantly, kept their value. Guy wants $4K for this but I'll offer 3. Looked it up and for perfect condition, goes for $8K.
~Oppie~
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Looks like it's not bye bye for Saturn but just for the LW300. We spent the day looking all over the county and were willing to settle for several ones we saw from all different manufacturers. At the end of the day, we went to GM and wound up driving a very nice 2009 Saturn Vue, 2.4L. A little under powered but fits our needs nicely. Averaged 25 mpg on our test drive, has a roof rack and a decent amount of space. First question I asked was to make sure it didn't have the CVT.

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Oppie wrote:

Sorry to hear about your LW300. :-(
Congratulations on your new Vue though. I have a 2004 with the 2.2L and its been great to me. I'm not sure if the 2.4L LE5 is that close to the 2.2L L61, but on the L61 the oil filter is a cartridge element near the top of the front of the block, making oil changes a breeze!
Regards, Ryan
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Thanks for the condolences on the LW. It's still running but I want to take it out of service before it self-immolates on a deserted stretch of road. I'll look what it takes to rebuild the engine and if it's too far gone, will sell it for parts. Body and frame are in great shape.
The Vue is an XE model. I saw so many different cars that it's a blur. I believe that this had the oil filter mounted vertically. I believe that it has the base model auto transmission. Would have liked the up-level one but such as it is.
Already dropped a hint that for Father's day, the family can chip in for the factory service manual. Then again, I just checked HELMinc.com for the service manual and it is not listed. They only have listings for the '09 owner's manual. Helm is where I got the service manual for the LW300. It was $140 then. Saw the shop manual for the 2008 listed ($200) but not for the 2009. Will have to check at GM parts department on Monday.
Looked up the manual with google and found the saturn website is back again and the owner's manual is on it. There are a few sites that will sell a service manual for under $30 and will look into it. I did a LOT of work over the years with the LW and expect to be able to do likewise on the Vue.
Oppie
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Oppie wrote:

Hopefully the LW can live again with a rebuild or salvage motor! Did yours have the 2.2L L61 I4 or the 3.0L L81 V6? I can't imagine either of those would be a difficult or expensive salvage yard find.
For what its worth, I have AllData (AllDataDIY.com) on my cars. Its mildly annoying that you pay yearly for the information but I've found the quality of the information (on my Vue) quite good. I used AllData step-by-step to drop the subframe and remove the transmission from my 2004 Vue when I changed the clutch. The AllData also provides access to the TSBs which can come in handy.
I have both the Factory Service Manual and AllData for a different vehicle (my 1990 Ford Escort) and I've found that, at least for that car, there are some things that the FSM covers in more detail. For instance, the FSM in the Oil Pan Installation procedure notes there are four points on the bottom of the block that should be dabbed with RTV while the rest of the gasket remains dry. AllData goes into good detail about the replacement, including the things you have to remove in order to remove/install the pan, but does not include the rather important bit about RTV, nor does it include the bolt tightening order.
There's a set of 2008 FSMs for the 2008 Vue on eBay right now. Paste 350623731555 into the search field. It's $280 + shipping for four volumes of service manual. Looks like its nearly a foot high.
That brings me back around to one other thing: why I have AllData on the Ford when I already have the FSM. I needed some information about the emissions system on the car, and found that that isn't in any of the two books (main service manual and electrical/vacuum diagrams) I already had. It was, rather, available as a separate publication. Pretty frustrating....
So if you're going to lay out the cash for the factory books, make sure you get your hands on all four volumes. You never know which you might need.
Regards, Ryan
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The 300 in the LW300 was for the 3.0 Liter V6 DOHC, 24 valve engine. A REAL piece of work and a virtual rocketship to drive! Only a few times I had the nerve to leave it floored and get up to 110mph. Alas, it's been such a battle to get the thing past inspection for emission/MIL reasons I just have to let it go.
I'm still checking on the availability of the 09 Vue factory manuals. AllData is an option though I'd rather have the manuals in hand. I have a buddy with a repair shop that can get me TSBs and the like as needed.
I was a bit disappointed in the L series FSM in that it was difficult to find anything. One of the benefits of having an electronic/online version that is searchable. The other thing was that the engine manual did NOT have a really good overview of the entire engine. I remember with past cars (Ford and Chrysler) that the FSM had a REALLY good cut-away diagram of the motor in such detail that it was almost possible to do r&r just from that picture. The saturn manual had close-ups of most of the components but left it to you to figure out where they were buried in that maze. I never did figure out how the crankcase ventillation worked.
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Oppie wrote:

It's much more likely something like a worn timing chain, a water pump, or a tensioner pulley than a main rod bearing, unless you've run it for extended periods of time with very low oil or used a very low quality oil or something like that. Also, something like a timing chain problem develops suddenly versus a main bearing that will be much more gradual in presenting itself.
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Thanks for your take on it. Appreciate the comments.
It's got a timing belt. It IS due for its second replacement but looks in good shape right now. Changed the water pump 20K miles ago. Get the knock on cold start until the oil pressure comes up. Oil warning light goes out by the time engine starts and stays off when engine is warm and at low idle. The knock returns when engine is revved to 3-4K RPM. Could be valves but more likely a crankshaft main bearing. Drive by wire throttles are a pain when you try to check these things out when only one person is available...
We are most likely getting rid of the '01, having bought a 2009 Saturn Vue. So, I'll be here for some time to come. Oppie - White Plains, NY
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