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2000 Saturn SL1 Head Gasket Leaking

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New User

Feb 18, 2013, 10:36 AM

Post #1 of 3 (2153 views)
post icon 2000 Saturn SL1 Head Gasket Leaking Sign In

Hey guys!

Total newbie here. First off:

2000 Saturn SL1
4 Cyl/1.9 L Engine, 168,000 Miles

For about 3 years now my head gasket was leaking up top but not enough to justify a full on repair (I was only about 1/4 quart low when changed at 3000 miles).

Finally 3 months ago my coolant light went off and I noticed it was a tad low so I refilled it. 3 days later, the light went on again and now the tank was empty. I panicked and hunted for a well rated body shop. I found someone near my house and this is what I was told:

My coolant was mixing with my oil and my head cylinder (?) was cracked.

After a very costly repair, I was told that they replaced the cylinder, the head gasket, did an oil change (obviously), and they did a "quick flush" of the coolant. They did tell me after that I should probably flush it again in a bit to get out any residule oil that makes its way out of the engine over time. I figured this was all done and now I wouldn't have the leak anymore, right?

So this weekend, 3 months later, I stop to get my oil changed. The mechanic there says there is a "good amount" of oil still in the coolant resevoir (goo is coating the cap). My head gasket it also leaking majorly and I was down a quart.

My issue is this: I am not a car person. I know that. I am very ignorant on the workings of my engine but I am trying. How do I get them to fix this problem? What if they say this wasn't their fault and it will cost me another $1700 to fix? I don't know enough to refute anything they say...

How do I handle this? I do my own minor repair work but this is far from minor.

Please help. Frown


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Feb 18, 2013, 5:35 PM

Post #2 of 3 (2129 views)
Re: 2000 Saturn SL1 Head Gasket Leaking Sign In

Go back to the shop that did the head gasket job if there's still time under their warranty of their work. In general try not to nurse problems along till they become much harder and more expensive up to hopeless sometimes. It's near impossible to know every possible problem that might have been caused by the original loss of coolant into the oil,


Veteran / Moderator
nickwarner profile image

Feb 18, 2013, 10:43 PM

Post #3 of 3 (2113 views)
Re: 2000 Saturn SL1 Head Gasket Leaking Sign In

Did they replace the head? If not did the original head get tested for cracks? These were terrible engines for cracking heads.

As Tom said, you shouldn't have left that original issue be for 3 weeks, let alone 3 years. They tend to be like a fine wine, they get way more expensive with age.

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