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Discussion Starter #1
If you haven't seen me post before, I have had alot of problems with my RL! I had asked to exchange my car within those first 30 days/1500 miles of ownership, but the dealer refused due to it being a leftover 2004 and Saturn Customer Service stood by this decision. Now after the startings of a law suit, along with filing of the FL Lemon Law, they are finally offering me a return of the car for reduced credit. They haven't given me a figure yet, but they're telling me that it will be quite a bit less than what I still owe for the car. If you plan on buying a 2004 RL from this company, make sure you really want to deal with their Bull! This is my eigth new GM car since 2000 (I have three drivers in the family and like the newest technology), but the first (and last) Saturn!!!

By the way, Saturn has now informed me that they are aware of the clutch overheating and brake stopping issues as inherent design problems, but are not sure of a fix. They even caught the service department in a lie, having authorized and been told they completed a rotor and brake pad change all the way around, when in fact they had not. They flew a Saturn service engineer in and after discussing the issues with me, he shared that there are test engineers driving these vehicles as daily drivers (primarily in Texas and Tennessee) and they are experiencing similar issues as I and others have had.

Sorry if I appear like a whiner, but hopefully my efforts will help some of you when the issues start effecting your ride :mad:
 

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jfelser said:
If you haven't seen me post before, I have had alot of problems with my RL! I had asked to exchange my car within those first 30 days/1500 miles of ownership, but the dealer refused due to it being a leftover 2004 and Saturn Customer Service stood by this decision. Now after the startings of a law suit, along with filing of the FL Lemon Law, they are finally offering me a return of the car for reduced credit. They haven't given me a figure yet, but they're telling me that it will be quite a bit less than what I still owe for the car. If you plan on buying a 2004 RL from this company, make sure you really want to deal with their Bull! This is my eigth new GM car since 2000 (I have three drivers in the family and like the newest technology), but the first (and last) Saturn!!!

By the way, Saturn has now informed me that they are aware of the clutch overheating and brake stopping issues as inherent design problems, but are not sure of a fix. They even caught the service department in a lie, having authorized and been told they completed a rotor and brake pad change all the way around, when in fact they had not. They flew a Saturn service engineer in and after discussing the issues with me, he shared that there are test engineers driving these vehicles as daily drivers (primarily in Texas and Tennessee) and they are experiencing similar issues as I and others have had.

Sorry if I appear like a whiner, but hopefully my efforts will help some of you when the issues start effecting your ride :mad:
Ummm.. .I think you're the only one having any of these issues. I've never had anything overheat and I drive through Chicago traffic twice a day during rushhour. That sucks that you're having problems, I can't see how overheating of the brakes/clutch is 'an inherient desgin flaw', or what would make that happen. Short of the clutch, brakes or your foot draging, there isn't anything to overheat them.

Has anyone else had any issues like this? First I've heard of em, and the people on here are quite loud with problems. Why are the test engineers just finding these issues over a year after the car came out? I would think that if it's such a big issue, there would be reports of it everywhere. Upon searching the internet though, all I can find is the posts here about it. I'm not calling you a liar or anything, just find it strange that you're the only one I've heard of with this issue, yet you call it very widespread.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Maybe mine is the only one posting with a negative report. I have noted someone posting recently who had a clutch not fully engaging in normal traffic (similar to mine) and took it to the dealer without any success. I suppose my brakes are also make believe? Yet I see posts from people having to replace their pads already and countless threads of rotors wearing out. I attempted to pass on what I was told (by Gene Byrd, their rep who was flown in) to help me in an effort to help you. Let's hope you never have problems with your RL. I wish you the best.
 

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jfelser said:
Maybe mine is the only one posting with a negative report. I have noted someone posting recently who had a clutch not fully engaging in normal traffic (similar to mine) and took it to the dealer without any success. I suppose my brakes are also make believe? Yet I see posts from people having to replace their pads already and countless threads of rotors wearing out. I attempted to pass on what I was told (by Gene Byrd, their rep who was flown in) to help me in an effort to help you. Let's hope you never have problems with your RL. I wish you the best.
There are like 3 threads, hardly countless. One, two, three. I can't even find one on the clutch, other than yours, but I'll take your word for it.

People have reported rough spots on the rotors, I don't remember anyone's clutch not working in traffic, other than yours. No one's rotors 'wore out', and the pads were replaced in order to fix the rough spots on the rotors. Theres a brand new BMW in the lot here at work with the same problem, BMW told him it's normal wear. What I translate to mean "Stop hitting the brakes that hard".

I'm curious as to what they've done to fix the issue, and what they think it is, and then why that dosen't work. Since there has been little information posted about it. I can tell you right now, that you are either dragging a brake, or the clutch. Since it's the same fluid system. What is causing it to drag? Not sure. There's very little else that could be doing it. The only way for everything to get soft like that is for the common link to be involved. What's the common link? The hydraulic fluid of the systems. What overheats hydraulic fluid and keeps it overheated? Constant friction. Where does constant friction come from in the brakes or clutch? Constant contact with either the brakes or the clutch. I could be wrong, but who knows...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I appreciate your input, but I can attest that once moving, I keep my foot well away from the clutch pedal except when shifting. Unfortunately, I sit in 45-50 minutes of stop & go, 1st gear traffic (Ft. Lauderdale), each morning and each night and there is nothing that can be done about it. Additionally, I traded in a 02 Z28 Camaro with 6 speed, to get this car. I never experienced any clutch or brake issues with that car and only traded it in because it was running out of warranty (2 years, 8 months) and it got only 14-15 mpg. Any ideas of presently available GM cars (the only they'll let me trade for) offering near equal performance and gas mileage and a similar pricing? Thanks.
 

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You are still under warranty arent you?So saturn should fix the problem.I have seen people riding the clutch and wear one out in a few months the same could be said for brakes.I believe that some people are not doing normal driving with there redline and that adds to the demise of brakes and tires among other parts of the car.My jeep had gouged rotors also had to replace them at 11,000 miles so it does happen.The good news is you are still under warranty.
 

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jfelser said:
I appreciate your input, but I can attest that once moving, I keep my foot well away from the clutch pedal except when shifting. Unfortunately, I sit in 45-50 minutes of stop & go, 1st gear traffic (Ft. Lauderdale), each morning and each night and there is nothing that can be done about it. Additionally, I traded in a 02 Z28 Camaro with 6 speed, to get this car. I never experienced any clutch or brake issues with that car and only traded it in because it was running out of warranty (2 years, 8 months) and it got only 14-15 mpg. Any ideas of presently available GM cars (the only they'll let me trade for) offering near equal performance and gas mileage and a similar pricing? Thanks.
That is garbage. What did they check on your car, and what were the results. Give us facts. I'm calling BS until such time. You're sitting here responding as we post, why can't you tell us what they did? That's right, I'm an ass. You've told us several times what it does, nothing about what they've done. Nothing about checking the brakes, nothing. I posted to you before about the brakes, brake lines, etc. All it takes is one little crimp in a brake line, or some dirt in the system. You want to help us? Then give us real details here. Are the brakes warped? Have the replaced the clutch? Clutch hydraulics? How did you get an 8 year warranty on a Camaro?

I sit in an hour of stop and go traffic in Chicago every day, both directions.

Edited: So what, they lied to you as well about changing the brakes? You told us they already changed the pads and rotors! So you want us to believe that you took it to Saturn, said it's doing ______. They kept your car for DAYS, and they did nothing to it. They flew service people out, but they did't change your pads or rotors?
 

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And you traded in an 02 Z28 that only got 14-15mpg?!!! :eek: I have every bolt-on on my 01 SS, run 12.5's @ the track, and drive w/heavy foot always, and still get 20 round town and 25 on trips.
*EDIT* comments removed after I read what I wrote and realized how rude and uncalled for they were. :eek: SORRY! GOOD LUCK with it.
 

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Sp00ner said:
That is garbage. What did they check on your car, and what were the results. Give us facts. I'm calling BS until such time. You're sitting here responding as we post, why can't you tell us what they did? That's right, I'm an ass. You've told us several times what it does, nothing about what they've done. Nothing about checking the brakes, nothing. I posted to you before about the brakes, brake lines, etc. All it takes is one little crimp in a brake line, or some dirt in the system. You want to help us? Then give us real details here. Are the brakes warped? Have the replaced the clutch? Clutch hydraulics? How did you get an 8 year warranty on a Camaro?

I sit in an hour of stop and go traffic in Chicago every day, both directions.

Edited: So what, they lied to you as well about changing the brakes? You told us they already changed the pads and rotors! So you want us to believe that you took it to Saturn, said it's doing ______. They kept your car for DAYS, and they did nothing to it. They flew service people out, but they did't change your pads or rotors?
sorry spoon I cant give exacts, but he has had several concerns with brakes and clutch. hes the only one ive seen and may be causing some of the problems, but hes telling the truth.about the concerns anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Spooner,

First, where did you get an 8 year warranty? Maybe I wrote something wrong. I had a 2002 Camaro owned til late 2004 = 3yrs/36000 miles (No warranty left).

As for the RL, I'll post only the items that the mechanic wrote down verbatim, concerning only the brakes and clutch. No other items such as rattles and cold start issues will be noted. The following is what the tech wrote he did to cure my two continuing problems; extreme pulsation in the brakes (wheel jerks violently) and clutch begins to slip in continued stop and go driving, pedal pressure increases excessively and clutch is often not fully engaging.

Brakes:

1/26-29 - Tech test drove car, brake pedal pulsating. Found lateral run out on both rotors at .008. Resurfaced both front rotors, and retest drove. Pulsation still present, rechecked rotors. Found rotors after resurfacing below safety specs. Ordered new rotors. (They sent me out with the car without telling me about the unsafe rotors)

2/4 - Rotor Assembly, R&R or replace front, both. (I could not leave the car (Friday) and they ran out of time and couldn't address the clutch issue this time)

2/28-3/9 - Brakes feel grabby. Tech found front rotorswarped and grooved (the same ones he replaced on 2/4 visit). Called TAC. Per TAC tech resurfaced both front rotors and replaced front brake pads. After driving car brakes had slight pulsation. removed rear wheels and inspected rear brakes. Found rear rotors grooved. Resurfaced rear rotors lateral run out at 0.4. Cleaned rear pads and retest drove car. Condition solved at this time. (I was informed they lied on their billing of Saturn claiming they replaced the rear rotors with new units due to excessive run out)

Clutch:

1/26-29 - Clutch pedal squeeking. Tech found clutch pedal bushing dry and causing squeekingnoise and locking. Lubricated bushing, condition solved at this time. (I took the car home and parked it because the front end shook violently when braking)

2/28-3/9 - Clutch will not release. Tech test drove car a total of 60 mile in an effort to duplicate concern. Due to traffic and road conditions tech was unable to duplicate condition. tech did inspect clutch fluid. Found fluid discolored from overheating. Clutch is a high performance clutch and becomes harder to oeprate of fluid is compromised. Tech was unable to duplicate concern (still squeeking pedal), possibly related to line 2 (item above). Lubricated bushing, condition solved at this time.

3/11 - Clutch hard to opperate after prolonged use. Tech found clutch fluid getting overheated. Flushed clutch lines and replaced fluid.

If you have got constructive ideas, I'll listen. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
01SS05RL said:
And you traded in an 02 Z28 that only got 14-15mpg?!!! :eek: I have every bolt-on on my 01 SS, run 12.5's @ the track, and drive w/heavy foot always, and still get 20 round town and 25 on trips.
Sounds like a loose nut behind the wheel to me. don't mean to jump all over you, but, again, the common thread between both vehicles is...YOU.
Thanks for the encouraging words. Sorry for wasting your valuable web surfing time. I daily drive in heavy traffic (1.5 hours each way 6 days per week, 45 minutes of which is in stop & go 1st gear driving) getting pretty crappy mileage (14-15 mpg average). As for the Saturn, I had hoped the mileage improvement would be worth the slight loss in straight line performance.
 

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I have a feeling that the techs initial solution to your brakes problem is what began this whole mess. With them resurfacing the rotor under the spec level may have caused the warping. This warping might have caused the overheating of the fluid, which will be causing your clutch problems. If they look at their chain of events and fixes logically, they might be able to figure out that they may have caused all of these problems. I'm not a mechanic, but I'm just saying that the brake resurfacing might have caused all these problems. I don't know if this is a possible cause, so hopefully some of you other guys could better link these.
 

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jfelser said:
Spooner,

First, where did you get an 8 year warranty? Maybe I wrote something wrong. I had a 2002 Camaro owned til late 2004 = 3yrs/36000 miles (No warranty left).

As for the RL, I'll post only the items that the mechanic wrote down verbatim, concerning only the brakes and clutch. No other items such as rattles and cold start issues will be noted. The following is what the tech wrote he did to cure my two continuing problems; extreme pulsation in the brakes (wheel jerks violently) and clutch begins to slip in continued stop and go driving, pedal pressure increases excessively and clutch is often not fully engaging.

Brakes:

1/26-29 - Tech test drove car, brake pedal pulsating. Found lateral run out on both rotors at .008. Resurfaced both front rotors, and retest drove. Pulsation still present, rechecked rotors. Found rotors after resurfacing below safety specs. Ordered new rotors. (They sent me out with the car without telling me about the unsafe rotors)

2/4 - Rotor Assembly, R&R or replace front, both. (I could not leave the car (Friday) and they ran out of time and couldn't address the clutch issue this time)

2/28-3/9 - Brakes feel grabby. Tech found front rotorswarped and grooved (the same ones he replaced on 2/4 visit). Called TAC. Per TAC tech resurfaced both front rotors and replaced front brake pads. After driving car brakes had slight pulsation. removed rear wheels and inspected rear brakes. Found rear rotors grooved. Resurfaced rear rotors lateral run out at 0.4. Cleaned rear pads and retest drove car. Condition solved at this time. (I was informed they lied on their billing of Saturn claiming they replaced the rear rotors with new units due to excessive run out)

Clutch:

1/26-29 - Clutch pedal squeeking. Tech found clutch pedal bushing dry and causing squeekingnoise and locking. Lubricated bushing, condition solved at this time. (I took the car home and parked it because the front end shook violently when braking)

2/28-3/9 - Clutch will not release. Tech test drove car a total of 60 mile in an effort to duplicate concern. Due to traffic and road conditions tech was unable to duplicate condition. tech did inspect clutch fluid. Found fluid discolored from overheating. Clutch is a high performance clutch and becomes harder to oeprate of fluid is compromised. Tech was unable to duplicate concern (still squeeking pedal), possibly related to line 2 (item above). Lubricated bushing, condition solved at this time.

3/11 - Clutch hard to opperate after prolonged use. Tech found clutch fluid getting overheated. Flushed clutch lines and replaced fluid.

If you have got constructive ideas, I'll listen. Thanks.
THAT is what I was looking for!

Ok, has ANYONE checked your brake lines for damage? I live in Chicago, and lemme tell ya, the stop and go that I go through is MUCH worse that where you live. I lived in Florida for over 10 years. It sounds to me, like you're dragging a brake.

Here's what I would think if the car was in front of me with those conditions and the list of 'repairs' from Saturn. Think about the rotors for a second. They're warping, fast and hard. The only way to do that to your rotors is some pretty hard driving or REAL large amounts of heat. The most likely culprit to me, is a brake, or brakes, that are constantly dragging. I may not be an expert on car technology, but I was fixing brakes with a sledge hammer, a flat head screwdriver, and a pair of vice grips when I was 15. I have a TON of broken car knowledge.

You HAVE to be dragging a brake, from the description there, it seems like your entire brake system is dragging either all the time, or during certain conditions. If anyone else sees another more likely scenario, please correct me! It takes alot of heat to warp rotors, and if your back brakes are warping too, it's the only thing I can see. Since the two hydraulic systems are connected, any ill-effects are going to go both ways. Since you must not have a warped clutch, I'm assuming, then your point of entry for the heat has to be through the brake system. If the heat is coming from there, the only way that the brakes will heat up the fluid is by engaging the rotors, and then staying there.

Neither you or the Saturn techs have to listen here, but I'm telling you: Check EVERY single component of the brake system, look for pinched lines, leaking fluid, ANYTHING. Maybe the master cyl or booster is bad and it's allowing your brakes to slowly engage as you drive. When I got mine at first, the brake pedal bushing assembly was so stiff that the pedal would't return all the way and the brake lights would stay on. I will paypal you $5 if I'm wrong! I know I spew off at the mouth alot, but I'm soooo sure of this. If it's not this exactly, it has to be something similar...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Spooner,

I'm happy you had the guts to speak your mind, but were also willing to offer some sound advice. I really would like them to fix this thing as I bought a bunch of new oil filters from Saturn (I know they fit other Ecotechs) and the center console, along with a bunch of Mobile 1. Additionally, there's no new decent car I want to climb into in this price range. I'll check with the engineer tomorrow as he's going to hang out here until Thusday when he flys back out. I'll let you know what he says.
 

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My buddy had a problem similar to this and his proportioning valve was clogged with dirt, maybe a problem with yours??
 

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If he stared his car while it was up in the air, and physically tried to turn each individual wheel by hand to see if one (or all) had a noticable brake engagement, by listening to the pads contact the rotor, Hell even have someone in the car to apply the brake, maybe after you let off there is some residual pressure in the linies, maybe somthing messed up with the master cyl, or the assist, not allowing it to disengage or "slowly bleeding" pressure.
I drive stop and go as well in San Diego every day. Don't have the issuses (except for the gouging). I think you should try this out, if you have a lift great, if not some jack stands, 2 tires up at a time . . .
 

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jfelser said:
Thanks Spooner,

I'm happy you had the guts to speak your mind, but were also willing to offer some sound advice. I really would like them to fix this thing as I bought a bunch of new oil filters from Saturn (I know they fit other Ecotechs) and the center console, along with a bunch of Mobile 1. Additionally, there's no new decent car I want to climb into in this price range. I'll check with the engineer tomorrow as he's going to hang out here until Thusday when he flys back out. I'll let you know what he says.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to jump on ya earlier. The post above me has some good info, look into the brakes! It's the common thread between them.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
unknownsuperhero said:
If he stared his car while it was up in the air, and physically tried to turn each individual wheel by hand to see if one (or all) had a noticable brake engagement, by listening to the pads contact the rotor, Hell even have someone in the car to apply the brake, maybe after you let off there is some residual pressure in the linies, maybe somthing messed up with the master cyl, or the assist, not allowing it to disengage or "slowly bleeding" pressure.
I drive stop and go as well in San Diego every day. Don't have the issuses (except for the gouging). I think you should try this out, if you have a lift great, if not some jack stands, 2 tires up at a time . . .
Great idea! I'm supposed to meet with this guy later this afternoon. I have a feeling they just want this episode over and don't even want to touch the car. Just take the car back and pass the loss onto me to roll into my next car loan. I'm not willing to take such a large loss after only four months of ownership, most of it with the car in Saturn's possession. I'll let you know how it turns out.
 
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