Question about 1997 Saturn SL

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97 Saturn SL1 leaking antifreeze, high RPMs, uses excessive gas

I own a 1997 Saturn SL1, 173,000 miles, and it has been having problems for the past year.
1) When idling, very high RPMs around 2500 - 3000.
2) When idling for too long (think excessive traffic) my car will start to steam/smoke from under the hood on the passenger side. Once I pull over or reach my destination, I see that all of the antifreeze is rapidly leaking onto the ground until the tank is empty and needs refilled. Unfortunately my temperature gauge does not work, so I cannot monitor when my car will overheat.
3) My car uses an excessive amount of gas. A few months ago, one tank of gas was only good for approximately 160 miles. Now one full tank will only last 120 miles until empty. I typically drive 40 miles a day, so I have to fill up every 3-4 days.
4) I am unable to start my car without giving it a little gas first. Without pumping the gas pedal first, the engine will just keep turning over without starting.

If anyone can help, I would truly appreciate it. Thanks, Sara.

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  • sara_brethau Feb 23, 2009

    Thank you. The exhaust smoke is very dark and there is a lot of it when I am starting up the car.

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Two places to check.... the water pump or one of the frost plugs has failed. what colour is the exhaust smoke ?

the other problems could be from the engine overheating so much

Posted on Feb 23, 2009

  • Roberta Smith
    Roberta Smith Feb 23, 2009

    I suspect that motor is going to fail soon from overheating

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Wow it sounds like you have a few problems going on. One, your idle speed is set too high and needs to be lowered. Two, i would replace your temperature sensor so that you can monitor your overheating. As well as try and see where the leaking is coming from (i.e. the radiator cap, on the radiator itself, or where the hoses run into the engine-could be engine temperature sensor). Three, if you have to prime your engine at first to get it to run then more than likely fuel pump is going bad.

Posted on Feb 23, 2009

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