2003 Saturn Vue troubleshooting

  #1  
Old 10-15-2017, 05:02 PM
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Default 2003 Saturn Vue troubleshooting

Hey good people of Saturnforum,
I'm new to the forum and tinkering with Saturn vehicles so I'm hoping to find some good advise and knowledge.

So my niece fell in love with a 2003 Saturn Vue and against my advise purchased it without checking it out thoroughly. She thought it was cute and the guy was only asking $400 so she purchased it and came to my place the same day asking me about the various noises and shakes and rattles. In typical knee jerk teenage actions, when the guy told her there was another couple coming to look at it later she gave him the cash and came home with a mess. So I somehow am designated as the family repair guy. The first major concern was a lot of shaking and noise while braking. That would explain the front right rotor being in bad shape. So I started with new rotors and pads on the front followed by a used caliper that was not stuck. Bleeding the brakes I found some moisture in the lines going the front right brake.

Now on to the engine noises and sputters. My thoughts of a typical tune up went to the wayside when I realized where the plugs were located. So I listened to it and drove it for a bit. It idles fast and runs rough so I put the code reader on it even though there was no check engine light on. Got a general misfire P0300 and 2 specific misfire codes. P0302 and P0304. Of course the gas gauge was very near empty and a quick sniff in the tank told me it was in need of some fresh gas. I added a 5 gallon can of fresh gas and considered changing the fuel filter but can't seem to find it. A Google search and a few sites makes it seem like a quick fuel filter change is not possible. Is it located and accessible when pulling the fuel pump from the tank?

The fuel filter change needs to happen but I don't believe that is going to solve the misfire problem. No idea as to past history and maintenance but I would imagine spark plugs should be replaced or at least checked. How deep does one have to go to get to the plugs?

Normally when I purchase a vehicle for myself I grab a repair manual for it as well. My niece decided to buy a different vehicle and just wants to try to sell this and get her money back. I don't have the heart to do that to anyone at this point. I prefer having all 6 cylinders firing before trying to sell it to anyone.

Ok this is getting to be a long question so I'll sum it up.

Where is the fuel filter?
How many hours should I plan on spending on a spark plug change?
Any other suggestions as to the misfire codes?

Any advise or assistance will be greatly appreciated.
Smokie T
 
  #2  
Old 10-16-2017, 06:19 AM
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Welcome.

Sorry to hear of your woes. Neglected Saturns just **** me off. $400 ? How many miles on the puppy?

If I remember correctly from the 1 Vue i have ever worked on, Cyls 1,3, and 5 are in the front and 2 4 6 are in bank 2 in the back, neatly buried behind /under all kinds of stuff,
I think I managed to get 2 of the 3 with a wobble fitting as part of a chain of extensions and u joints where I had to thread the TOP of the chain under all the crap and feed it up through the mess, get the bottom end far enough above to attach the spark plug socket, drop it over and onto the plug, seat the whole thing, then manipulate the string to be able to attach a ratchet at the top, then wear half the skin off the back of my hand getting the ratchet head far enough backward to be able to generate any torque down at the plug due to the 14 jointed contraption I was trying to turn.

You can certainly find a proper description of how to access the rear plugs online. I believe the intake manifold needs to come off, making it more or less child's play.
Before you do that---does this Vue have a manual, traditional automatic, of a CVT tranny?

If it is a CVT and has more than 120K ish on it it should be dead. Don't touch the fluid. If it;s a CVT with > 150K it shouldn't be working at all.
Basically, if it is a CVT, assess its health FIRST before you spend another dime on this thing. You cannot fix it, and the only ones available are 100K used ones that are also destined to fail. People do conversions to other trannys but that is not your goal so enough about that. If the car shifts well enough to sell it, I'd do what it took to get the engine running smoothly, open up the dash and put the CHeck engine bulb back in or replace it. The previous owner either removed it so h didn't have to look at it, or it was continuously on for so long the bulb actually went. Prob the latter since the guy wasn't much for maintenance.

The P0300 often sets prior to the cyl specific P0302 and P0304 when the PCM sees misfires on multiple cyls but can't determine right away which ones are involved
And based on the maintenance history and the CEL, there's no telling how long those codes have been set (there is, but likely not w your reader)
 
  #3  
Old 10-16-2017, 11:33 AM
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I agree with derf. I'd do the plugs and wires, clean the throttle body, make sure the air filter and PCV valve are okay and then put a bottle of Techron Fuel System Cleaner through the tank and see how it runs. The fuel filter, sock or screen, whatever you want to call it, is attached to the bottom of the fuel pump and isn't worth fooling with on that vehicle. The CVT transmissions are notorious pieces of crap, so, like derf said, don't touch it. And I sure hope your niece is at least buying the parts to go along with your free labor.
 
  #4  
Old 11-02-2017, 12:05 PM
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Hey guys. Thanks for the replies and info. Sorry for not getting back sooner. I had some PC issues to deal with.

I got lucky on this one as far as the transmission goes. It has the traditional automatic.

This project got pushed to the back burner for a while but it's time to pull it back in the shop and start tinkering.
 
  #5  
Old 11-03-2017, 10:14 AM
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Let us know if we can attempt to help. I'm about as useful as ***** on a boar, but at least I'll try.
 

Last edited by derf; 11-04-2017 at 01:34 PM. Reason: Language, rube, Language!
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