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nicksta43 UltraDork
4/10/14 7:42 p.m.

'04 $800 MT with a blown engine. Let your challenge build commence.

procker Reader
4/11/14 9:42 p.m.

In reply to Javelin: How much can you drop the suspension before the rear muffler starts getting scraped? I was following one today and thought that the back end can only go so low...

JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
4/11/14 10:32 p.m.

Looking for something else, I stumbled across these and thought they may interest Jav.

CL ad said: I have a set of front/rear coil springs for a Saturn Vue. They came off a 05 Vue Redline. They have roughly 10k miles on them. They fit 02-07 Vue's. $40 OBO. Call or text Two16-Six33-Six279 if interested.

If I understand correctly, the Redline model's ride height is a little lower than the standard version.
These may be a good starting point from which to cut springs.

Javelin MegaDork
7/5/14 10:25 p.m.

I had to drop ~$600 on ALL new A/C, but now it's proper American-car cold.

Today some NGK Iridium's replaced the OE AC Delco's.


I taught 2.5 yo mini-Jav to ratchet today.

Javelin MegaDork
1/9/15 9:10 p.m.

Update: They make good rally cars...

Spinout007 UltraDork
1/9/15 9:27 p.m.

Argument in my head is for my next DD is between one of these and a Saturn wagon. Wagon gets the nod for MPG and cheaper of the two. The vue gets the nod for more towing capacity and easier to add boost which in theory might improve mpg. Though not to the wagons level.

ProDarwin UberDork
1/9/15 10:11 p.m.

Which wagon? The janky L-Series is just as easy to boost, has more room, and gets better mileage.

Good luck finding a manual wagon though.

Spinout007 UltraDork
1/10/15 11:34 a.m.

The L series is just......odd looking. For whatever reason the S series wagons, look better. The L series just use the ecotec motors right?

ProDarwin UberDork
1/10/15 12:15 p.m.
Spinout007 wrote: The L series is just......odd looking. For whatever reason the S series wagons, look better. The L series just use the ecotec motors right?

Yeah, its pretty fugly. The 4cyl Ls use the 2.2 Ecotec. The 6cyl is a demonic POS that you want to avoid. That's why they are <$1000 on CL all the time.

donalson PowerDork
1/24/15 6:09 p.m.

well income tax season is upon us once again and it's looking like it's getting close to time to replace the good old volvo wagon... I want something I can row my own gears in... my wife has a cake decorating business so I get my fair share of delivering cakes, the big flat area of the volvo makes that great and it looks like the Vue answers most of my needs... also my kids are fairly tall for their age.

so how would a fat 6'4 type guy with long legs fit? I'm seeing both the early body type (lots of '03/04/05) hovering around 3k-4k and for the high end cost of the early models I see a few '06 models that look pretty nice.

all models spoken about are 4cyl/5spd manual.

those that bought them do you wish you'd gone for something else?... I'm to the point that I don't mind a toaster but just want to row my own gears for a while... seems like a decent option here

JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
1/24/15 9:26 p.m.

I wanted to be sure to hit your topics so I created an outline of your post

A) Cakes, flat:
Previously in my life I had a Volvo 850 with manual trans. I liked it, alot. The Vue has a perfectly flat rear-most section but that is it's only flat section. To lower the back seatrest, the seat just fold forward (not a tumble and fold.) This creates both a step up as well as a angled seatback.
Said another way, the Volvo folded creates a perfectly flat surface that is smooth enough that you could sleep back there. The Vue creates a two level surface that could never be slept on.
But, the rearmost, perfectly flat floor should be great at moving cakes.

The rear seat itself has little or no bolstering/contouring of the cushions so the rear seat itself does create a mostly flat surface as well. For more, the rear seat footwell is perfectly flat.

Dimensionally, the Vue has been a wonderful replacement for the Volvo 850. The Vue has a taller cargo area and easy to egress rear seats.
I brought home a 55" TV box this Christmas. I just opened the side, rear door and slid the box across the rear bench seat.

B) Tall kids, 6'4" driver:
I am 6'1" tall at 250lbs with a 32 inseam. I do not have the seat all the way back and am left with ample headroom. Keeping myself close enough to get the clutch pedal all the way down with my left leg does keep my right knee rather close to the ignition and keys but it is acceptable.
The b-pillar is close to my shoulder and the seats are very close to the door arm rest but it works. The side glass has very little curvature in it. For me, some cars have some much curvature in the side glass that you almost feel that you are sitting in the middle of the car. The fact that you sit so close to the door is one of the key reasons the back seat of the Vue is so good at seating 3 adults across the back.
Front and back doors of the Vue are wide which make egress very good. Also helping is that the floors are flat with virtually no sill to step over for egress. Seats are at the perfect height for most people so they are neither climbing up into the seat nor falling down to the seat.
The seating style is high and chair-like.
They are no Volvo seats but my base model, non-power Vue seats are very comfortable even though they have no adjustments other than fore-aft, seatback angle and height.

C) Would you buy again? Toaster:
I bought my Vue with 140k and it now has 215K. I do not feel any reason that it will not go 300K with proper maint.
Yes, I would buy again and recommend them as an overlooked bargain.
It must be repeated that the CVT automatics are junk and should be avoided at all cost but... don't underestimate how few people go looking for a Cute-Ute with no awd capability that is equipped with a manual trans. The fact that most shoppers will snub the idea of getting a Vue with a manual should make for bargain pricing.
I feel, function wise, the Vue is akin to a Gen 2 Scion xB but with more trunk.

Sure, there are some compromises over the xB but you can not buy an xB for $4k.

donalson PowerDork
1/24/15 10:00 p.m.

thanks for the post...

I do wonder if you can remove the seat bottom to get the seat backs flat, I know I've seen that in some other cars... anyway not an issue as I haven't run into the issue on the volvo (945ti btw)...

good to hear on size/fit... no surprise, I fit just fine in my bro in laws cobalt... but I guess I'll need to test drive just to be sure... when buying our family car last spring I looked at the 2nd gen prius but the lack of leg room killed it (knee bumped the shifter and required too much bending of my ankle which caused pain in my shin with a bit of driving :-/

so all this is sounding good... any big difference between the older and newer models, either way I'd be going with the 4cyl and 5sp manual, the newer models look a little nicer from pics but thats all I could tell.

thanks guys mark

donalson PowerDork
1/24/15 10:27 p.m.

er ok... did some of my own looking... seems the 02-07 are same generation with just an makeover for '06

also found it's related to the suzuki grand vitara and chevy equinox which makes me ekk a bit... then again the ones I've had experiance with are different years and obviously a very different drivetrain vs what I want...

so I guess a test drive is really the answer now lol.

ProDarwin UberDork
1/24/15 11:12 p.m.

Its related to the Grand Vitara?

donalson PowerDork
1/25/15 1:16 a.m.
ProDarwin wrote: Its related to the Grand Vitara?

apparently though the GM theta platform http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_Theta_platform

JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
1/25/15 7:20 a.m.

I have not found a good way to make the rear seat area a flat surface.
Slope up floor with seat folded.
Drop down floor to footwell with seat removed.
A custom structure could be made. I think of a piece of plywood that rests on the seatback and then spacers (blocks) added to the rear cargo floor to create a level surface.

Test drive:

Spotters guide:
'02 & '03 have black faced gauges
'04 & '05 have white faced gauges
'06 & '07 have updated dash with radio that has built in aux as well as steering wheel radio controls. Updated exterior with more monochromatic paint.

The interior fabric pattern changes a little over the years and 4 cyls get different fabric patterns than 6 cyls but overall the offerings are either really light grey or really light tan with the grey being more popular.
Being so light, may of the interiors look rather haggered.
Diligent cleaning can improve but if you are unsuccessful in cleaning then JYards are full of low mileage CVT equipped Vues with nice bits.
A real black interior was offered only on the Redline version of the Vue and these are scarce.
I have read that front seats from the Equinox/Torrent will bolt right in (shared floor pan)but.. The Vue has intergrated arm rests built into the seat and the Equi does not (rather using center console as arm rest) so this swap would mean the loss of arm rest (and non-matching fabric.) The rear seat of the Equi will not swap due to elongated floor pan.

The Vue is really just typical GM parts bin.
The front and rear suspension lived on as the Equi.
The 2.2L and 5 speed is shared with the Cobalt, HHR, Malibu, Ion, L-series, Sunfire/G5, Grand Am. Replacements are cheap and plentiful.
Everything else that is Vue specific can be sourced from JY Vues with bad CVT's or bad 3.0L V6's.

What goes wrong:
In mid '03 the Chain tensioner was redesigned including improved chain guides. The '02 and early '03 models can be proactively updated but sourcing an '04 or newer model will assure you of the better tensioner.
All years do not take kindly to oil change neglect. They are equipped with an oil life monitor but reliance on this seems to be the route to downfall. I personally pay no attention to the monitor and change every 5k with semi-syn.
If chain gives way then interference engine - - replace.
Replacements are cheap with good units running $500 - $700. Though still known as Ecotec 2.2L's I read that engines of '08 and newer have some different electronics making the swap difficult. Best replacement engines would be '04 - '07

The manual trans has cable linkage. These cables are known to get stiff and hard to move. If they get real hard and are forced, the plastic (yeah, plastic) ends of the cables will break. Now you have no ability to shift gears. A set of replacement cables will run about $200.
If you can find a Vue advertised as having a bad manual trans, it likely just needs cables. Buy cheap, add cables!

In general, the suspension is weak.
Noise from the front like clunking or rattle will be sway bar links. Be sure to buy the replacement units with lifetime guarantee because you will replace them again. $25-$35 each. It will take longer to get the tire off than it will to replace the link. Easy.
Other than that, typical end link and ball joint stuff should be looked at.

In the rear, the rear hubs are weak. Also buy the lifetime unit for about $130 because it too may be changed multiple times.
To check at test drive, elevate rear wheel and spin by hand listening for grind. If really bad, you will hear it in road noise.
90% of all used Vues will have at least 1 bad rear hub.
Simple job to replace. Getting the rear brake drum off is the hardest part.

I get 26.5 mpg combined. The secret seems to be 3,000 rpms.
I shift at 3k rpms and when the car is traveling at 68 mph in 5th gear it is turning 3k rpms. Exceeding this by a lot will drop the over mpg rather quick. I tend to set the cruise at 70 mph and stay there.

This is a pretty basic motoring. The Vue is buzzy and somewhat brash. It does not have the solidity or feel of a Volvo. Sound deadening is minimal but I think it is a good value in manual trans form.

JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
1/25/15 7:37 a.m.

Related to this short lived version of the Suzuki:

No relation to the more popular Suzuki:

Curmudgeon MegaDork
1/25/15 9:42 a.m.

Vues with puked CVT's are pretty common, M/T versions are pretty rare. Swapping the 5 speed automatic from an Ion or etc has been done but it does require modification of the front subframe. The cool thing is, once the 5 speed auto is in place it's pretty well bulletproof.

ScreaminE HalfDork
3/20/15 10:06 a.m.


This one looks tempting...

ProDarwin UberDork
4/7/15 2:20 p.m.

Any knowledge of the GreenLine VUE? I know the specs on it, just curious about serviceability and reliability.

LE5 is a welcome improvement over the 2.2. So is better mileage.

JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
4/7/15 4:29 p.m.

I have no insight on the Green Line Hybrid. SaturnFans does have a section dedicated to Hybrid but I have not visited it.

Ha ha. I was just writing this when I see that you have a thread over there.

Some issues that concern me about The Green Line are:

The Gen1 Vue was only offered as a hybrid for 1 year. The following year, the Hybrid drivetrain continued to be offered but was a different body. My concern is that "uniqueness" could increase parts prices and limit availability.

On www.fueleconomy.gov, when comparing a '07 Vue with manual to a Hybrid the results are:
20/22/27 Manual trans
23/26/29 Hybrid
Using the fueleconomy.gov price comparison, it says the average person, driving 15k miles per year will save $250 annually.
Not much saving when you consider increased purchase price and added complexity.
Actually, I see 26 mpg, combined in my manual trans Vue. Maybe real Hybrid Vue drivers see more than the reported 26 combined rating?

This same early Hybrid drivetrain was offered in the Saturn Aura and Chevy Malibu but you rarely hear anything about them.

ProDarwin UberDork
4/7/15 6:26 p.m.

Thanks. Yeah, the mpg difference is very small. The power difference is larger although not gigantic. Really the LE5 + electric motor probably have more power than the L81 V6, and can be had with a manual.

Regardless, I'm not really hunting for power... I was just coming across these in my search and trying to decide if I should consider them equally with the 2.2/manual/4spd-auto or just avoid them all together. Hybrids in general don't scare me, but GMs 'mild' hybrids have a very small track record.

old_ Reader
4/9/15 7:29 p.m.


this seems alright

ProDarwin UberDork
4/10/15 8:22 a.m.

Speaking of timing chain tensioners... what is the build date where they changed them?

Looking at an 04,05, and 07 tomorrow.

ProDarwin UberDork
4/10/15 8:29 a.m.

Is this hideous wood grain a this a laminate that I can take off?

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