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JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
4/10/15 9:46 a.m.
ProDarwin wrote: Is this hideous wood grain a this a laminate that I can take off?

Junkyard or eBay will solve that issue if the glue remains.
The portion that is applied directly to the radio could be the trouble. If it does not come off neatly, you may just have to source another radio. But, even that is not the end of the world.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
4/10/15 12:15 p.m.
ProDarwin wrote: Speaking of timing chain tensioners... what is the build date where they changed them? Looking at an 04,05, and 07 tomorrow.

I tried searching this topic once on the Saturn forum and the best that I could come up with was that it was an '03, mid year change and that there was no record or indication of what vin number now had the newer version.
The simple wisdom was that '04 assured you that you got the newer version for sure.

It should be noted that newer is better but all years of the ecotec do not take kindly to oil change neglect. The result of this neglect is still most commonly the oil not getting to the top of the chain and then chain breakage. A couple posts above is an '04 that just recently got an engine replacement. So there is some "proof" that the "newer" will not be completely trouble free.

Do you have any web-links to the models you'll be looking at? Post them up and I'll be happy to critique.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
4/10/15 12:18 p.m.

Yeah, I'm aware that neglect will be a problem. Same issue with the S-series as well. I think all I can do is listen for any chain issues and look for sludge under the oil-cap/on the dipstick when I look at the cars. They are relatively low mileage (~100-130k), pretty clean examples, so I'm hoping that's an indicator of reasonable maintenance practices.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
4/10/15 12:24 p.m.

When I say neglect, my thought process is that if its still holding together now then it should continue to be fine since I feel that we can expect from you that you will not continue the neglect.

I'll go on record now saying that I expect 2 of the 3 will need at least one rear hub/bearing replaced.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
4/12/15 5:10 p.m.

Well:

Spent All. Damn. Day. Looking at cars and only saw the 3. Ended up going with the most expensive (#1) due to overall condition. '07, 130k miles, clean except for the driver's side seat bolster - a condition present on all of them.

#2 and #3 had what appeared to me a more significant amount of cooked oil under the oil cap. They ran fine, just an indicator.

#2 the salesman changed the oil on it right after I called and before I got there, which is a little sketchy in my book. The car had numerous cosmetic issues he told me were not present, including a huge piece of plastic busted off at the corner of the rear window and potential water getting inside as a result.

#3 had tar black oil, was dirty as hell (what car dealer doesn't at least vacuum a car?), and had an oddly loud idle. I may have taken it because of the price expecting to spend $200 on a good detail, but when I drove it it had the easiest steering in the world... but only to the right. Then to the left was very difficult. Pass.

Now for some questions: what's the best trailer hitch? I'm looking for easy to install - I see a few different types. 2" receiver if possible. I hate the types for smaller cars that just drill & bolt through the rear floorpan... I'm hoping I can get one for the vue that just bolts to the rear frame somewhere.

And is the trailer lighting harness plug and play, or do I need to splice it in?

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
4/13/15 8:14 a.m.

Hitch should be no problem. Since the V6 versions are rated to tow 3,500# there plenty available. Also, the hitch fits the other chassis-mates of Equinox, Cadillac SRX, etc.

Curt is likely a good brand to go with.
I have no insight on lighting harness.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
4/13/15 9:49 a.m.

Ok, looks like class 3 is a bolt-on hitch. Awesome. Wiring harness is plug and play. Also awesome. Will place an order for these as soon as the car is in my hands.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
4/14/15 11:43 a.m.

VUE acquired. Not a bad car to drive, although a bit squishy. I think a contributing factor is some tires with very soft sidewalls. They need to be replaced soon, so I'm open to recommendations. I would like to find a set of the 17x7 V6 wheels locally before I put new tires on if possible. I think they look better, and taking out 1/2" of extra flex would be nice. That's unlikely though.

Need tires, trailer hitch/wiring, a few interior light bulbs, and to remove some chrome trim pieces on the outside.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
4/14/15 1:10 p.m.

Vues offered the following factory sizes:
215-70-16
235-65-16
235-60-17
Be mindfull that when you look at these sizes you will see both Passenger car tires (like All-season Touring) as well as Truck tires (like Truck/SUV All-season). Personally, I am going for ride comfort and price/value. I carry 215's in passenger tires (Kuhmo SR21's) and same size Winter tires (Artic Max)
I shy away from the Truck tires because, as you might suspect, people report they ride like a truck. Depending on the look you want, the truck thing might not be a bad thing but personally, I see the Vue as a station wagon.

For rims, the Vue shares the bolt pattern with the large GM fwds (Impala, LeSabre, Bonneville, Grand Prix) so maybe you can also source some 17"ers from one of those models as well.

Need parts? Is this far from you?
http://charlotte.craigslist.org/pts/4970641558.html
Don't buy the whole thing, just the parts you need/want.

donalson
donalson PowerDork
4/14/15 1:12 p.m.
ProDarwin wrote: Is this hideous wood grain a this a laminate that I can take off?

why do car manufactures do this? my passat has this stuff thrown around the car... soo ugly... at least the gear shift knob is actual wood... but I only know that because some of the laqure has been chipped off so I can see and touch actual wood grain

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
4/14/15 1:21 p.m.

That is not the manufacturer added but rather dealer markup or eBay sourced crap from China.
Sample:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/SATURN-VUE-02-03-04-05-DASH-TRIM-KIT-WOOD-CARBON-ALUMINUM-2002-2003-2004-2005-/371136826028?hash=item56697a8aac&vxp=mtr

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
4/14/15 1:33 p.m.

John,

We have 235/65s on it right now. I don't mind some car tires, but the suspension on the VUE is quite soft and a tire with a stiffer sidewall would be appreciated (Falken Ziex 512s on it now). 235/65 on a 6.5" wheel gets pretty squishy. A truck tire might not be bad... but I don't need or want an agressive tread pattern. This thing isn't going to see more than asphalt or the occasional trip over some grass.

The Charlotte vue is pretty close... but really the only part I'm keeping an eye out for is the nicer wheels, or a wheel/tire package (and that guy is keeping the wheels).

Yeah, the wood grain is just a crappy trim kit. Hopefully the glue comes off nice and clean and I can just toss it in the trash.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
4/14/15 2:08 p.m.
ProDarwin wrote: The Charlotte vue is pretty close... but really the only part I'm keeping an eye out for is the nicer wheels, or a wheel/tire package (and that guy is keeping the wheels).

The CL seller has a pretty poor command of punctuation.
The way I read his add is:
I bought it for parts and will keep the front bumper cover, right front door, left fender and maybe a few other parts.
Both engines, transmission, hybrid battery, rear end, wheels (so you can tow it), front end except the bumper cover, interior will remain.

What I was trying to point out is that you may be able to buy the interior trim pieces you need (if the glue remains) as well as the radio you may need (same glue.)
The purpose of keeping the wheels with the car is so that it can be towed away, but... He may be willing to swap. Say, $150 for his nicer tires/wheels and then you mount your less desirable but fully functional tires/wheels onto this Hybrid Vue so someone can still tow it away.

Actually, if it were me, I would look over his whole vehicle and then make him a combo offer such as:
Wheels/tires (swapped)
Dash trim/radio
Driver's seat with matching fabric but no bolster wear (85k miles)
Anything else...offer $200.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
4/14/15 2:16 p.m.

Fair point. Not a bad idea to see about swapping the wheels/tires. If its still up when I get back in town next week I may look into it.

The Driver's seat appears to have taken some damage in the accident though...

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
4/22/15 9:07 a.m.

Now my wife has even complained now that the car rocks/wobbles/is generally too soft. Its especially bad on the interstate when you catch the wake of a semi trailer. I think the car needs probably new shocks, but I'm going to check into some other mild upgrades. She has OK'ed a set of stiffer/lower springs - probably Megan racing as that's all I see new on the shelves.

VUE notes:

1) Apparently water/salt can be trapped in the front swaybar bushings and break the bar. This hasn't happened (I think - I'll check) on mine, and seems uncommon, just came across it on Saturnfans when looking for bar info.

2) As far as I can tell, the 3.5L V6 models use a 26.4mm front bar, the 4 cyl use a 24.2mm front bar. I need to look at some pictures to see if the routing is generally the same (exhaust is in different places), but if it is, its a cheap upgrade and a significant difference in roll rate assuming the same wall thickness. Equinox/Torrent use the smaller bars I understand.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
4/22/15 3:06 p.m.

I can heartily recommend the Megan Racing springs. KYB is also doing the buy 3/get 4 promo right now for the struts/shocks. Those two parts will absolutely transform the car (as will the 17's, the 16's w/ 65's just ride terrible).

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
4/22/15 3:27 p.m.
Javelin wrote: I can heartily recommend the Megan Racing springs. KYB is also doing the buy 3/get 4 promo right now for the struts/shocks. Those two parts will absolutely transform the car (as will the 17's, the 16's w/ 65's just ride terrible).

How would you rate the ride? How much drop? This is #wifecar, so I want to make sure its nothing abusive.

Where did you buy the KYBs from? Did you do strut mounts at the same time? I hear they are problematic.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
4/23/15 4:54 p.m.

Two more questions for Javelin: Did dropping it impact the thrust angle/rear toe? Hoping to be able to accomplish this without paying for an alignment. Front is simple enough to do myself.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
8/17/15 7:25 a.m.

I'm pretty sure I have a BCM going bad, or a bad BCM ground. I feel like I'm driving a f*cking VW.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
10/5/15 3:35 p.m.
ProDarwin wrote: I'm pretty sure I have a BCM going bad, or a bad BCM ground. I feel like I'm driving a f*cking VW.

The drama continues. At this point I don't think I would recommend a VUE to a GRMer. Lots of little things that are broken that are not justified on a car this new (07). The underlying chassis/powertrain/etc. is pretty good, especially for the money, but I've had enough of the little crap.

Dealer fixed "bad wiring" once, to the tune of $400. Resolved some apparent BCM issues.

Radio would turn off after a high electrical load (window up or down) and come back on off a voltage surge from idle (rev engine to increase alt. output). Also, A/C is charged properly and checks out, but still exhibits weird almost-overcharged symptoms (cuts out when not moving fast/high heat) and also cuts out other times. I think this has been fixed or mostly-fixed, but its pretty hard to tell until it gets to 90+ degrees out again and I have to sit in traffic. It failed the first time bringing our newborn son home from the hospital in June. If it screws up again at this point, my wife will murder me and/or burn the car to the ground and suggest we go buy a new car (do not want).

Now its starting to do some weird E36 M3 again. Passenger door lock switch does not work. But the door locks do. BCM is locking them when you start moving, they unlock with driver's switch and keyfob. Not sure if wiring or BCM. Seem to be a LOT of BCM related complaints on SaturnFans, but also some reports of wire chafing. Either way, its annoying as hell.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
10/5/15 3:48 p.m.

I also cannot recommend a Vue. See my for sale thread for the extensive list of parts I've had to replace already.

petegossett
petegossett PowerDork
10/5/15 5:54 p.m.

In reply to Javelin:

Oh joy...my daughter is inheriting her late-grandmother's '04 Vue as her fist car. Hopefully since it only has 38k on it she'll at least get a couple years use out of it before it falls apart.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
10/5/15 6:12 p.m.

If it is an '04 4cyl automatic it will be a CVT and the trans will fail before 70k miles.

If it is an' 04 V6, it is the Honda 3.5L and it is recommended to replace the trans fluid every 25k with synthetic. If not, you will get shuddering befbefore shifts.

If is is a manual trans you're good to go. My 4 cylinder manual has 230+k and I expect 300k. It is used daily to make deliveries and saw 48k miles last year with low operating costs which is more important to me than a dynamic driving.

petegossett
petegossett PowerDork
10/5/15 7:40 p.m.

In reply to JohnRW1621:

4-cyl/CVT/AWD. Well, that should at least get her through high school.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
10/5/15 7:44 p.m.

Good luck.

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