How much engine movement is acceptable? - Saturn Forum - Saturn Enthusiasts Forums


Saturn S Series Sedan SL, SL1, and SL2

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Old 09-29-2013, 12:04 PM
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Default How much engine movement is acceptable?

It's a 1995 SL1 with 116,000 miles.

I can't see any cracks in the upper motor mount but when shifting between neutral and drive or neutral and reverse -- particularly the latter -- the engine will rotate a couple of inches. That's not a huge amount but when watching it sure seems like more than it should.

I can see the top mount holding the engine up, and even damping the torque-created rotation, but I can't tell if it is damaged.

I can partially see one dog bone beneath the battery mount but it looks like it is staying stationary when the engine rotates those few inches.

How much is too much?

Btw, I've read lots of threads about replacing the top mount. Most all posters really rag on the "frown" type and say you should get the solid rubber mount that GM eventually switched to. However, if you google it you'll find that just about all, if not all, are the type with the frown. If they are as bad as what folks say, why would they appear to be [just about] the only game in town?

Thanks in advance,

Last edited by sw2cam; 09-30-2013 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:32 PM
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Hi Keith. Thanks for your always well considered and detail responses. I don't worry about horsepower or wheel hop with this little guy so I'll just pick up a frown today.

Btw, I did get your joke. No, I don't have ulcers and I certainly don't mean to give them to others. Do you think I'm being to picky with this stuff? I would like for my son to have a reliable, quiet, and smooth as possible, ride and I have the time to fiddle with it.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:01 PM
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Well, that certainly didn't turn out like I thought it would.

In addition to the engine movement referenced above the car has always transmitted more of the engine vibration to the car than I thought it should.

Today I replaced the motor mount (used a frownie) -- sure enough, the old one was completely compressed and cracked -- and the tranny mount -- not cracked but completely compressed -- and both dog bone torque struts -- they were both wobbly at the front mount.

I hoisted the engine on a lift bar and replaced the engine and tranny mounts leaving the bolts a little loose until all were back in place. Then I torqued both mounts. Then I replaced the dog bone torque struts.

With visions of buttery smooth engine idle I cranked it up. Yikes. It had lots of vibrations -- way more than before. Without jacking up the car or lifting the engine I loosened the mounts and the mounting plate for the struts. Then I tightened them back down, torquing the mounts first and then the base plates.

Maybe its a placebo effect but it seems to me that the vibration is gone at idle. However it gets bad when it accelerates or slows down.

Is there a break-in period for new mounts? If so, how long? If not then I'm not sure where to look. The engine and tranny have always run quiet and smooth so I have no idea where the vibration is coming from. It is definitely related to engine speed and it definitely appeared -- or got significantly worse -- after replacing the mounts and struts.

Any ideas here?
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:11 PM
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I just put the old broken OEM mount back in and the vibrations went away immediately. Go figure.

When I first started my investigation – obviously I didn't do too good a job – I ruled out the Anchor mounts because everyone, and I mean everyone, said they were junk and instead of damping vibration, if anything, amplified it. So, no way was I gonna buy Anchor. Instead I bought Balkamp, NAPA’s brand. When it turned the little car into one of those high frequency belly jigglers that Sears & Roebuck sold back in the 50s I removed it and put the [broken] OEM one back in and the vibrations went away instantly.

I inspected the NAPA mount and besides being absolutely as hard as a rock with no movement whatsoever guess what was imprinted on the back of the rubber? Yep, Anchor.

Tomorrow I’m gonna try to get NAPA to take this chunk of cement back and then I’m gonna call the Saturn parts department over at Lee Johnson Chevrolet.

Sheesh...

Last edited by Howard_Woodard; 09-30-2013 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:40 PM
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I convinced NAPA to take the "brick" back. At first they wanted me to invoke the manufacturer's warranty but I made the case that the replacement was more than likely gonna be just as hard and unforgiving and they took it back and refunded the full purchase price.

I then went over to the Chevy place and purchased a new OEM mount -- I could have saved money by ordering online -- even after paying shipping -- but I wanted to get this finished today. So I swallowed hard and paid the full dealership price.

It only took about 20-30 minutes to remove the old one and install the new OEM one.

The car no longer has the vibrations at idle, under acceleration or deceleration. It has not been this quiet and smooth since we got it.

Others might have, or have had, different experiences but this one couldn't be clearer -- Anchor/Balkamp "frownie" mount was very hard and resulted in intense vibrations experienced mostly through the dash and steering wheel. The old broken OEM was better, and the new OEM mount was a complete success -- quieter, no vibrations and smooth shifts through all the gears.

I'm done. Thanks all for your help and advice.
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:07 PM
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Which one did you take back to NAPA, Howard? The motor mount or the transmission mount?
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:41 PM
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Sorry for not being clear. I returned the motor mount. The tranny mount seems to be just fine and the dog bones are as well. Maybe OEM versions of those three would have been a little softer too but right now everything is completely smooth, so no apparent issues.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:52 AM
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Thanks. Glad to hear you seem to have it all worked out.
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:08 PM
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Good to hear.
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