Question about Saturn L300

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2002 saturn L300 with Oil in the coolant.

The mechanic said something about an engine oil cooler under the valve cover or in the block. does anyone know what he is referring to.

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  • Expert
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First, no coolant flows through the intake on the 3.0L in the L300 and Catera. The intake is a 5 piece setup, the base of which is a phenolic spacer to isolate heat from the intake manifold.

Beneath the phenolic spacer there is an oil cooler installed between the cylinders inside the block. There is a cover with 2 oil cooler lines that run up from the right side of the engine to the cover and into the cooler via an inlet and outlet banjo bolt. If the cooler wears out there will be an exchange of coolant and oil, more oil into the coolant than coolant into the oil, although there will be some.

You might notice a small drop in performance, and later will notice that the coolant reservoir is full of oil and is spilling over.

I'd start by checking cylinder compression to make sure you don't ALSO have a blown head gasket, but the cooler is quite notorious for blowing out. If you do decide to replace it you will need:
1: a new oil cooler
2: new gaskets for the steel cooler lines, they will be metal crush gaskets. 4 as they are for the banjo bolts (2 washers for each bolt, one bolt on each line)
3: 4 new gaskets for the coolant bridge (the almost crescent shape aluminum bridge next to the oil cooler cover, aluminum with hoses attached as well as the coolant temp sensor)
4: New gaskets for the banjo bolts on the coolant bridge, they're rubber but don't just use some junk! Get the real deal ones from the dealer and save yourself the trouble of redoing it later on. They're cheap.
5: Oil, Antifreeze and a new oil filter. I'd spring for the Coolant system cleaner if it's not a big deal, less oil in the cooling system makes for a better performing engine and better heat in the winter.

Tools: 3/8" ratchet, standard set of extensions for the ratchet, set of Torx sockets and inverted Torx sockets, set of 3/8" sockets, flat head screwdriver, dikes or side cutters.

1: take off the intake manifold clamps by prying where they latch together, don't damage them unless you plan on replacing them (your call, but a tech would reuse them)

2: take off all the Torx bolts for the manifolds, there's 4 pieces to the aluminum manifolds and the ECM and Vacuum reservoir have to come off the rear manifold to get to some of the bolts. NOTE the location of all vacuum lines and coolant lines so you don't forget them later. Also note the position of the ECM on the manifold so you don't have to figure out which way it goes on later, it only plugs in one way but it's a pain if you fumble it up.

3: Take out the phenolic spacer (black thing under all the manifolds, feels like plastic). There are rubber gaskets on these, if they're damaged then it's a good time to replace them, if not they are usually reusable. Napa, Advance Auto, Auto Zone, etc. always have them. Just ask for intake manifold gaskets, even though they're really phenolic spacer gaskets.

4: Remove the banjo bolts for the oil cooler lines, note the placement of gaskets on each side of the line that the banjo bolt goes through. You'll want to remember that later to avoid a leak. Also remove the coolant bridge banjo bolts and move it out of the way, again noting the gaskets for later replacement.

5: loosen the 2 nuts where the oil cooler lines were, these are attached to the oil cooler and secure it to the cover.

6: Remove the Torx bolts for the cooler cover, lift the cover, and remove the cooler. Make sure you clean that galley out real well, saves you some headache when cleaning later on.

7: When reinstalling the oil cooler cover remember to use a 2mm bead of sealant around there. I've seen guys use Permatex Orange, but if you can swing it then get something better from the dealership. You don't want to do this again in a year if the Permatex leaks on you.

8: Reinstall coolant bridge, oil cooler lines, phenolic spacer, manifold(s) and clamps. Double check all your work! Change your oil, and flush out the cooling system.

Estimated time? For a tech.. probably 2 hours. For a Shadetree mechanic? Probably 4 to 5 hours.

Good luck!

Posted on Oct 08, 2009

  • dber19521 Sep 30, 2010

    Oil cooler has a leak in it, pull off the intake and plate, then the oil cooler is under that, there will be two lines going to it, pull them the two nuts and all the bolts and pull it out, replace with new one and your problem will go away.

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  • Saturn Master
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YOU HAVE INTAKE GASKET LEAK.COOLANT IS LEAKING FROM THE INTAKE WHERE THE COOLANT CIRCULATE THROUGH IT.WHATS HAPPEN WHERE COOLANT CIRCULATE THROUGH INTAKE.GASKET IS LEAKING LETTING COOLANT ESCAPE INTO VALVE LIFTER INTO CRANK CASE.ALSO GETTING INTO COOLANT SYSTEM.

Posted on Jul 27, 2009

  • Jonah Oneal Jul 28, 2009

    MUST BE TALKING ABOUT TRANSMISSION OIL COOLER.UNDERNEATH CAR.

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1 Answer

How to replace oil; cooler on this year


  • Service and Repair
Oil Cooler Replacement

Removal Procedure

  1. Raise and support the vehicle. Refer to Vehicle Lifting.
  2. Drain the engine oil and remove the oil filter housing.
89116492

  1. Loosen the oil cooler outlet (1) and the inlet (2) lines from the engine block.
  2. Lower the vehicle.
  3. Remove the intake plenum.
  4. Remove the intake manifold.
89116493

  1. Disconnect the following electrical connectors from the water crossover:
    • The engine coolant temperature sender (2)
    • The engine coolant temperature sensor (4)
84936658

  1. Remove the water crossover bolts (1).
  2. Remove the water crossover upper and lower seals (2).
84942881

  1. Loosen the upper heat shield bolts on the left side of the exhaust manifold.
89116496

  1. Remove the oil cooler outlet line from the engine oil cooler.
  2. Remove the oil cooler inlet line from the engine oil cooler.
84942883

  1. Note the positioning of the 4 seals.
84972057

  1. Position the oil feed and return,lines out of the way and secure with mechanic wire.
  2. Remove the engine oil cooler, inlet and outlet nuts (1).
  3. Remove the engine oil cooler cover bolts (2).
84942883

  1. Remove the engine oil cooler cover.
  2. Remove the engine oil cooler.
  3. Clean all sealing surfaces.
Installation Procedure
84972056

  1. Install the engine oil cooler.
  2. Apply a 2 mm (0.08 inch) bead of RTV silicone sealant, GM P/N 12346240, in the groove around the engine oil cooler cover.
  3. Install the engine oil cooler cover.
Notice: Refer to Fastener Notice in Service Precautions.
84972057

  1. Install the engine oil cooler cover bolts (2). Tighten the engine oil cooler cover bolts to 30 Nm (22 ft. lbs.).
  2. Install the engine oil cooler inlet and outlet nuts (1). Tighten the engine oil cooler inlet and outlet nuts to 20 Nm (15 ft. lbs.).
  3. Reposition the oil feed and return lines.
84942883

  1. Install the oil cooler outlet and install the oil cooler inlet lines to the engine oil cooler. Use 4 new seals.
Tighten the oil feed and return lines to 30 Nm (22 ft. lbs.).
84936658

  1. Install the water crossover:
    • Position the crossover.
    • Install the upper and lower seals (2).
    • Install the water crossover bolts (1). Tighten
Tighten the water crossover bolts to 30 Nm (22 ft. lbs.).
  1. Connect the electrical connectors at the following locations:
    • The engine coolant temperature sensor (4)
    • The engine coolant temperature sender (2)
  1. Install the intake manifold.
  2. Install the intake plenum.
  3. Raise the vehicle.
89116492

  1. Install the oil cooler outlet (1) line to the engine block. Tighten the oil cooler outlet (1) line to 30 Nm (22 ft. lbs.).
  2. Install the oil cooler inlet (2) line to the engine block. Tighten the oil cooler inlet (2) line to 30 Nm (22 ft. lbs.).
  3. Install the oil filter housing to the engine block. Tighten the oil filter housing to 45 Nm (33 ft. lbs.).
  4. Lower the vehicle.

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