2003 Saturn ION Sludge

Messages
871
Location
virginia
does this use dexacool coolaint. if so it looks just like my wifes 00 chevy malibu. we had the intake manifld gasket replaced. and your cap looks just like hers with that reddish color. after I had the gasket replaced. the color is going away. so I would look for a coolaint leak somewhere.
 

vad

Messages
1,856
Location
So Cal
quote:
Originally posted by jazisded: I haven't read that the Ecotec 2.2 is a sludge prone engine - is it? Wouldn't you think that the dealer would see this condition and say something about it (or were they just waiting for the warranty to expire)?
[Welcome!] The Ecotec is not a sludge prone engine. The Stealership's lube techs couldn't care less how your engine looks, especially while it's still under warranty.
 
Messages
23,882
Location
CA
[Welcome!] 1) The Ecotec is NOT a sludge-prone engine. It's one of the few 4-cyl engines having a 5 qt sump. It is quite easy on oil. 2) Not all dealership service records are on a "national" database. Recalls yes, but service records, not necessairly. 3) I'd check for a PCV valve problem or coolant leak. 4) Does this ION have the AW 5-spd transmission or the infamous VTi unit? (I suspect it's the latter. [Wink] )
 
Messages
6,902
Location
Louisiana
Yeah, my 9-5 (aka Per Sludghannsen) had all dealer services and the records on the computer only have cryptic one line description of things replaced under warranty ie "replaced valve." Which valve? That was beyond the capability of the database.... This would happen as I think about an Ion as a commuter car for when the 9-5 self-destructs....
 
Messages
260
Location
Newtown, PA
quote:
Originally posted by The Critic: 1) The Ecotec is NOT a sludge-prone engine. It's one of the few 4-cyl engines having a 5 qt sump. It is quite easy on oil.
What does a 5 quart sump have to do with sludge?
 
Messages
2,858
Location
DELAWARE
My wife has a 03 Saturn ION also. Has 39,000+ on the OD with no problems like yours on the oil cap. That is 5K OCI using SuperTech 5W-30. AS far as getting the dealer to do something, you are way out of the initial 36K warranty and will be on your dime no matter what. I have had no real problems other than the factory Firestone tire not lasting even 20K but this seems to be a known issue. Has your tires had cupping problems? Also, seems the Saturn IONS have issue with the sway bar bushings and control arm bushings causing the clunking sound. Hear the control arm bushings are a pain. Luckily I have not had those issues as of yet. Hootbro
 
Messages
6,902
Location
Louisiana
quote:
Originally posted by Raven18940:
quote:
Originally posted by The Critic: 1) The Ecotec is NOT a sludge-prone engine. It's one of the few 4-cyl engines having a 5 qt sump. It is quite easy on oil.
What does a 5 quart sump have to do with sludge?

Raven, you should know this! Cars w/ more oil volume usually go easier on the oil.
 
Messages
8
Location
CT
The other day, I did a quick inspection of my girlfriend's 03 Saturn ION (38000 miles) the other day. When I pulled the dipstick, I was treated to a reddish colored oil. Stunned, I pull the oil fill cap and saw sludge on the bottom of it and in the valve cover. This engine has had the oil changed every 3000 miles by the Stealer and I am bracing for a fight. My plan is to first make sure we have all of the oil change receipts with no gaps (she swears she does), head down to the dealer, have them take an oil sample and ship it off to blackstone for analysis. I will ask them to seal the remaining oil and store it in case we need to reference it later. I have never seen reddish oil before - is there a common symptom that causes this problem? I haven't read that the Ecotec 2.2 is a sludge prone engine - is it? Wouldn't you think that the dealer would see this condition and say something about it (or were they just waiting for the warranty to expire)? I do not want to play with any additives until I get the oil analysis back from Blackstone, but if she decides to keep the car, this will be a good ARX test case. I will likely pull the valve cover and really find out what it looks like under there. This car has been to the dealer with transmission trouble, starter replacements, and ignition switch replacements. I replaced the front brakes at 30k, and now the suspension is hitting hard and knocking. Here are a couple of photos. Any advice appreciated. I'm not a happy camper.  -  -
 
Messages
8,937
Location
SC
If this engine has had routine oil changes every 3000 miles, something is wrong with it mechnically. The PCV valve is not functioning properly or possibly a coolant leak. But something is not right.
 
Messages
10,898
Location
Nokesville, VA
The Ecotec doesn't have a PCV valve. It has an orifice built into the valve cover which serves that purpose. I'm 99.99% sure that the intake manifold on this engine has no coolant going through it.
 
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