Question about 1997 Saturn SL

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Oil in water

I also had the same experience, I ignored it for a while, then one day, oil no longer seeped in, it poured in. I replaced the head with one used at a salvage yard. After installing with new gasket and head bolts, it still did the same thing. I then was thinking well it must be a crack in the block somewhere. I called a Saturn Dealer and managed to get to speak with a mechanic there, he told me that yrs 96-99 have a common defect where the head gets a crack just under the cam journals, and the only way for oil to get into the coolant but not vice versa would be the head. Therefore the head I purchased from the salvage yard had the same problem. I am in the middle of locating another head to try, but am just about at the end of my rope with this car.

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Get a remanufactured head. They've been tested and rebuilt. Many owners from several online forums had had good luck with a company that has an eBay store. I think they're called clearwater heads or something like that.

Also its not just 96-99 SOHC's, its 1991-2002 SOHC's. I'd personally swap in a DOHC.

Posted on Jul 08, 2009

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