Saturn S-Series extended drain Timing Chain problems?

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488
Location
Theodore Al
Ive been reading alot over at saturnfans that the timing chain will last well over 200k miles if the oil is changed every 3k miles. Ive also read an article on the internet that says this also. If you dont change the oil that frequently you need to get it done around 100k and it runs about $700-$800 for the job. This is completely ludicrous if you ask me that they would design something this way. I'm wondering if anyone here has any input and if I should just go back to running a good dino and changing it at 3000k miles religiously. I would like to keep the car(will be paid off in 1 year) for a long time to use a third car for work(get dirty and do alot of driving) but it bothers me know that if I keep running syn for 4-5k miles then I might need to trade it at 100k and get rid of the potential problem. Any suggestions or input. Car is a 2001 1.9L sohc 5 spd 45000 miles. Had dino first 10k or so changed every 3k miles and syn ever since changed every 4k miles.
 
Messages
302
Location
Chicago
quote:
Originally posted by elwaylite: Ive been reading alot over at saturnfans that the timing chain will last well over 200k miles if the oil is changed every 3k miles. Ive also read an article on the internet that says this also. If you dont change the oil that frequently you need to get it done around 100k and it runs about $700-$800 for the job. This is completely ludicrous if you ask me that they would design something this way. I'm wondering if anyone here has any input and if I should just go back to running a good dino and changing it at 3000k miles religiously. I would like to keep the car(will be paid off in 1 year) for a long time to use a third car for work(get dirty and do alot of driving) but it bothers me know that if I keep running syn for 4-5k miles then I might need to trade it at 100k and get rid of the potential problem. Any suggestions or input. Car is a 2001 1.9L sohc 5 spd 45000 miles. Had dino first 10k or so changed every 3k miles and syn ever since changed every 4k miles.
Well, no offense, but they tell you that it's designed that way, and that you should change the oil every 3000 miles. If you don't want to do that, it's your perogative, but you can't fault them if you don't follow their recommendations.
 
Messages
555
Location
south texas border
I don't buy it. 1000 extra miles using a synthetic will cause enough extra wear to cut the timing chain's life in half???? [Eek!] That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me [I dont know] Those 1.9s are built pretty stout. Its hard to believe anyone doing half decent maintenance would have problems at 100k.
 
Messages
243
Location
NY
Doesnt make sense. Synthetic at 5k is in better shape then Dino at 3k, so how will that cause any damage? my 03 ecotec 2.2L has a timing chain, does this apply to the 2.2L ecotec as well??
 

elwaylite

Thread starter
Messages
488
Location
Theodore Al
I cant remember the article but it stated that the the chain was lubed and run hydralicly or something with oil, and running oil over 3k miles or low was detrimental. It might not be such a bad thing if the motor was non interference like my yota and the timing chain replacement wasnt' worth more than the car will be when it breaks. [Bang Head]
 

elwaylite

Thread starter
Messages
488
Location
Theodore Al
found the article, heres a quote: "The 3000 Mile Fact There are still vehicles that need 3K oil changes, but it's not because the oil goes bad after 3K miles. One example is the Saturn S series. These vehicles have a timing chain system that is very sensitive to clean oil because oil pressure is used as hydraulic fluid to ratchet up the timing chain tensioner. If varnish forms in the timing chain tensioner bore then this system can fail and the chain will become loose and eventually break. Dealers have gone as far as tearing out the normal service schedule (6000 miles) and leaving only the severe service schedule. If your engine is destroyed (under warranty) by a failed timing chain then the dealer will legitimately request evidence of oil changes. Unfortunately this problem usually won't manifest itself during the warranty period." link : http://www.nordicgroup.us/oil.htm
 
Messages
2,841
Location
St. Louis
This is news to me. I have a 99 SL2 with 81,000 on it. Bought it last year. I am using Mobil 1 5w-30. That is what all the Saturn techs recommended. Previous owner missed some changes, and the car uses a quart per 3,000. Have a feeling that it was run low on oil. Motor was a little dirty when I got it. However, the Mobil 1 seems to be cleaning it up. If the issue is varnish, then I would rather use Mobil 1 for 5,000 miles instead of dino for 3,000. The engine is not having deposits like before. According to the article it is the varnish that kills the chain, etc. [Wink]
 
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3,094
Location
Metro Detroit
I completely agree with Monkeyman. Mobil 1 will keep your engine clean and eliminate any varnish concerns. Looking through the oil fill hole in my 3800, it is completely clean after 78k miles. I've always used Mobil 1 in this car. I wouldn't fret over the 3k changes, but, given this article, I would lean toward 5k changes instead of letting it go for longer.
 
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9,365
Location
USA
does this apply to the 2.2 L engine in Chevy cavalier/pontiac sunfires? it has a timing chain as well. I know with the General, they like to use the same setup in several of their product lines.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,128
Location
New Jersey
Well, I know this is a COMPLETELY different engine series, but mercedes-benz has done studies that have noted SIGNIFICANTLY increased engine wear in their diesels when soot increased past 2% Is this because HDEO oils can only carry 2% soot, or something else? I can't say, but I would bet there are threshholds of certain waste/wear products, beyond which much greater wear occurs. Using an el-cheapo oil (which does really need changing every 3000 miles), might not be able to handle such components put in the oil at usage levels much beyond 3000 miles worth of engine operation. FYI also, it has been noted that MB diesels show half the tining chain stretch using synthetic oils, as compared to HDEO dino oils. So all Im saying is, maybe these engines take care of emissions, etc by puting something or other into the oil, and everyday lousy oils cant handle it that well. Put in a better oil or a synthetic and it becomes less of an issue. Remember, the general public doesnt know oils the way that we at BITOG like to think we do [Smile] JMH
 
Messages
2,768
Location
Tn
quote:
Originally posted by Cutehumor: does this apply to the 2.2 L engine in Chevy cavalier/pontiac sunfires? it has a timing chain as well. I know with the General, they like to use the same setup in several of their product lines.
I'm pretty sure it does not apply. I think this was mainly a viscosity related issue as well as tackiness and cling. Even a good syn like M1 can't be expected to function as a perfect hydraulic fluid after prolonged use in an engine.
 
Messages
4,872
Location
MN
quote:
Originally posted by elwaylite: found the article, "These vehicles have a timing chain system that is very sensitive to clean oil because oil pressure is used as hydraulic fluid to ratchet up the timing chain tensioner. If varnish forms in the timing chain tensioner bore then this system can fail and the chain will become loose and eventually break. "
Wouldn't a true synthetic be less likely to form varnish, even with extended drains? -T
 
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