The SL1 was having problems with low idle, so I did the test of spraying carb cleaner near the intake manifold gasket in order to see if there was a leak. If there is a leak, the carb cleaner will be sucked into the intake gasket crack, and change the idle of the car – and it DID. The SL1 was also throwing off ODBII codes, a.k.a. SES light. Some of the codes were P0301, P0405, and P0507.

Apparently this gasket problem is rampant in the 3rd generation SOHC (Single Over Head Cam) engines, because 99% of the time the robot that assembled the intakes at the factory “wrinkled” the gasket. At first, you would have no problems. But 60,000kms to 100,000kms down the road, the gasket would crack and start leaking coolant into the cylinder :S

So this needed to be changed ASAP.

Very simple do-it-yourself job in the driveway, however it is a MASSIVE pain in the arse to remove the intake. All the bolts are over/underneath things in the engine bay. You’ll spend half the time taking things off, or unbolting other components just to get to the intake bolts. However, it is still easy, just time consuming. Take a look at the old gasket compared to the new below – a world of difference. If you can, try to get the FELPRO gasket – much better quality.

I also replaced the ECTS (Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor) while I was doing this. You can see below that the old one was made of crappy plastic (the tip) and was beginning to crack – once that happens, your Saturn will start acting funny, throwing random codes, running rough, etc. etc. This may have been the cause of the rough idle, however I still needed to change the intake gasket because of the leak.

Overall, about 5 hours of work :S A long time, but worth it in the end. Cost me around $60 for all the parts – I don’t want to even know how much that would cost at a local shop, ….or dare I say it, ….a DEALERSHIP. OMG!

After all this, …MAN OH MAN, …it is like I put a new engine in the Satty. It ran smooth, idled around 550rpm. Didn’t “buck” anymore while in drive with the brake applied. I’m HAPPY!

Now, I’ll probably have to do this ALL OVER AGAIN with the SW1. Even though it runs good, preventative maintenance is cheaper that “reactive maintenance”. LOL

Saturn Intake Manifold Gasket replacement Saturn Intake Manifold Gasket replacement Cracked ECTS Cracked ECTS