Question about 1997 Saturn SL

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My '97 saturn is leaking coolant on the passanger carpet. I think it is the heater core what is the best solution and cheapest. thanks sarah

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There are no shortcuts for this problem. The core must be replaced. I do not have a manual for your car, but some are easier than others. In particular, some cars allow the heater core to be removed from the engine compartment. Trace your heater hoses to the firewall and look for a removable panel around where the 2 hoses attach. If you have this setup and the core can be pulled straight out into the engine compartment, you have a pretty easy job. If not, I recommend you consult a manual to get the best procedure for your car. You may be able to find a manual at your local library, or maybe another fixya guy will know where to find one.

Posted on Aug 25, 2010

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The cheapest is to try a can of radiator stop leak or disconnecting the heater hoses and loop the hose back, bypassing the heater core. Detailed directions can be viewed at the autozone.com website. become a member of autozone (free) and search heater core after you enter car information. You will see vehicle repair guides on the right side of the page. This is a do-it yourself job for the right person.

Posted on Aug 25, 2010

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I would have the heater core changed on this car. Getting an aftermarket part can be a good choice since the aftermarket ones don't leak as often as the OEM part.

Posted on Aug 25, 2010

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Well it sounds like your heater core is leaking coolant into the interior. If the carpet is slippery and stinky that is what it is. This would also explain the missing coolant in the radiator.

This is not an owner serviceable item, you will need someone familiar with removal and replacement of heater cores in general and saturns in particular. If you have an unlimited budget, try a dealer, otherwise call around to repair shops with radiator and/or airconditioner service on their sign or in their phone book ad. Also you will need to have the carpet removed, cleaned, and reinstalled when you are done. When this happened on my 01LW, I found a car radio install shop to be the cheapest for the carpet cleaning service.

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