Question about 1997 Saturn SL

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Replacement for 97 Saturn SL2

I have the valve cover gasket for a 1997 Saturn SL2. Where does it go? I have a pretty good idea, but I am not entirely sure. Also, what is the best way to replace it, and are there any tips or tricks that I should know about? As much help as possible would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

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  • Aiden Goodwin
    Aiden Goodwin Apr 27, 2010

    1.9 Twin Cam

  • James Milzheimer
    James Milzheimer May 11, 2010

    1.9 DOHC (dual overhead cam), or 1.9 SOHC (single overhead cam)?

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  • Master
  • 2,317 Answers

The valve cover is on top of the motor. There are about 10-12 Torx bit bolts that need to be removed. Also remove the spark plug wires, good idea to label them. It will be a little tough to get the valve cover off, because from the factory they only use silicone as a gasket. A puddy knife might be helpful in seperating the cover from the head. Once the valve cover is off you'll need to clean the old silicone off. Install the new gasket, and reinstall the valve cover.

Posted on Apr 27, 2010

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1996 saturn sl2 low compresion


You could do a leak test where you put compressed air into the cylinder to check for a valve problem. You have to take the valve cover off to make sure the valves are closed.
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The head gasket needs replaced. This particular Saturn is known for having this exact problem, and 9 out of 10 times, replacing the head gasket fixes it. I just did it myself for $35.

Go to checker/autozone and get a head gasket (should just need the gasket and not the entire kit) and a tube of RTV silicon grease to help make the seal.

Unhook everything from the engine (plugs, wires, etc, and unscrew the head. There should be about 10 or so screws surrounding the black plastic head cover. You'll find things a mess in here, but clean it up best you can. Remove the old gasket and clean the entire gasket area completely and make sure its dry. Put down your RTV grease, the new gasket, some more RTV, and screw the head back on. MAKE SURE YOU DON'T SCREW IT TOO TIGHT. The screws only need to be snug. Tighten it like you would a spark plug. Put everything back together and you should be good to go. Might run like **** the first half mile or so.

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I have a '97 Saturn SL2 and just had the tranny rebuilt, but it still has the typical slam into reverse. It also has a tendency to downshift into 1st or 2nd and stay there revving the engine up to high...


I would take the car back. You paid too much to still have problems like this. If they offered you a valve body replacement and you turned down the offer. They should still repair or replace with out too much hassle. If you have to, and you can, park the car out front with a sign saying not a good repair and they will work with you quickly.

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I would look at the egr system. First pull the valve and clean it. If you have a vacuum tester this would be a good time to test the valve itself as well. When under load you should be able to see the diaphragm engage and hold and then release as you release the vacuum. If that doesn't work check and/or replace the egr solenoid. It's located on the driver's side of the valve cover and usually runs about 60$.

Yours is a common complaint and the above is the most common remedy. Outside of that you might want to check and clean the idle air control valve and the port where it's housed. If it is extremely dirty or something managed to get stuck in there that could affect you vehicle running at idle as well.

Another thing, even though you just changed the plugs, pull one back out and look at it. If is fouled with oil you might need a new valve cover gasket which if it's leaking badly enough will impede spark.

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you have a ROD knock,,,,the oil level can be good and compression can be good,but the bearing on the rod to crank is shot and now has too much play and is causing excessive play and noise,soon the rod will come out the block and seize the engine,,if its knocking that loud then its too late to fix it,,your gonna have to replace the engine really soon,,,sorry but its normal of the dohc engine to do this usually between 90 to 130k miles they let loose but the single cam dont have this issue

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