Six Interesting Facts about the Saturn LS1
- The Saturn LS1 was part of the series that launched Saturn's entry to the middle-size sedan market. Before the launch of the L-Series in 2000, General Motors only ever manufactured and sold compact cars under the Saturn marque. The LS1 received generally good reviews from auto enthusiasts and was even said to be comparable to the reigning midsize sedans during that time: the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.
- The Saturn LS1 badge was uniquely assigned to the 2000 midsize sedan that was wedged between the LS and the LS2 in terms of features and options. The LS1 and the two other sedans in the L-series were rebadged as the L100, L200, and L300 for the next model year and they retained the new naming system until the final vehicle concluded the production of all models in the L-series in 2004.
- With a nomination for Motor Trend's 2000 Car of the Year and Car and Driver's Ten Best List for 2000, the Saturn LS1 joined the market with hopes of a bright future ahead. However, stiff competition from Ford, Honda, Audi, BMW, Porsche, Lexus, and Chrysler stopped the LS1 from getting either award.
- Although the Saturn LS1 was said to have been based on the Opel Vectra, Saturn was quick to point out that the LS1 actually shared less similarities to the Vectra than expected. In fact, an engineer for Saturn once unloaded 132 parts from a laundry basket during a press preview for the Saturn L-series and noted that those were the only exactly identical parts that the L-series cars shared with the Opel Vectra.
- The engine that powered the Saturn LS1, a 2.2 liter DOHC 16V 4-cylinder engine, served as an introduction the new Powertrain division of General Motors during that time. This particular engine, along with the 3.0 liter DOHC 24V V6 that powered the other vehicles in the 2000 L-series, jumpstarted the onslaught of newer, better engines that General Motors will put into their vehicles in the succeeding years.
- With a whopping eight color options, the Saturn LS1 definitely gave its consumers the ultimate design choice. The most popular colors among the choices are blackberry pearl, bright white, and medium gold.
Common Problems Owners are Likely to Experience with Saturn LS1
The LS1 is Saturn's official entry in one of the industry's most competitive segment-the mid-size sedan. Jumping into this market is no easy task for the company for it has to face at least 10 competitors, including the country's two best selling vehicles-Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. However, Saturn folks have managed to build a vehicle that fared well in the crowded market-the L-series, which includes the LS1. Performance-wise, the LS1 does not disappoint. But like other vehicles, Saturn LS1 also has its own share of shortcomings. If you own an LS1, here are the common problems you are likely to encounter:
Saturn LS1 models equipped with 2.2L L4 engines may experience poor idle quality and engine power after a while. The vehicle can also be difficult to start. These problems can be caused by ignition control module failure. It's easy to pinpoint such condition because operating your LS1 with faulty ignition control module will result in flashing service engine soon light.
The NHTSA has issued a recall for affected vehicles in July 2003. But for those who failed to bring their Saturn to the dealer, the problem can be remedied by replacing the ignition control module and the spark plugs and updating the powertrain control module, depending on the extent of the damage.
The NHTSA issued another recall for 2000-model year Saturn LS1 due to seat belt malfunction. In the event of collision, the vehicle occupant may not be restrained properly. According to the details of the recall, the buckle base of TRW seat belt buckle assemblies is not heat treated, so these assemblies failed to comply with pass-the-load bearing requirement of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 209. As a remedy, dealers will inspect the date codes of the safety belt buckle assembly and will replace the assembly if necessary.
There are also Saturn LS1 owners who complained that their check engine light keeps on flashing even after replacing some parts and having the engine checked. Some also reported serious problems with their timing chain and their engine's zero tolerance. Other minor issues raised by LS1 drivers are car doors that fail to lock, leaking air conditioning, and sticky pedal.
The Check Engine light of my Saturn LS1 illuminated when I was driving my car to work. I had to pull over, and park my vehicle on the shoulder. I tried to turn on my vehicle, but it kept on misfiring. I've never experienced this before. What should I check first?
Your ignition module or coil must have failed. The module is responsible for controlling the timing of the spark plugs by opening or closing the ignition coil ground circuit. This part has a great effect on the overall performance of your vehicle that's why it should always be in good condition. If you recently experienced frequent overheating, then the module is indeed damaged. However, it is better to bring your vehicle to the technician for expert advice before you rule out that the module is causing the problem. They would need to run a few tests to diagnose that the module has failed. Have it replaced immediately when it is confirmed.
One morning I noticed that there is a puddle of water underneath the passenger side of my Saturn LS1. I haven't driven my car in a week, and upon checking, the reservoir bottle is empty. What could be broken or damaged in my vehicle? I hope it's not the head gasket.
If there is no white smoke coming from your tailpipe, then it's not the head gasket. The leak is caused by a cracked or loose hose or water pump. When this happens, it is important that you figure out where exactly the leak is coming from. Check your radiator for leaks or signs of damage. Have it fixed if you found any holes or cracks. Over time, corrosion eats up the internal components of your vehicle, causing these leaks. Make sure to conduct a visual inspection of your vehicle as often as you can.
Last night, I was driving my car, and then suddenly, it loses its power and shakes. I got really scared; good thing I was able to drive it towards the emergency bay. The next thing I know, the codes P0300 and P0420 showed up. What's going on with my vehicle?
The P0300 is a generic code for misfiring, while the P0420 is for exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). This is an emission device that cuts down nitrogen oxide (NOx) to minimize air pollution. A failed EGR can cause drivability problems, such as detonation, stalling, hard starting, and worse, elevated NOx emissions. When this happens, it is important to have your car towed to the nearest repair shop and have it checked.
My vehicle would crank, but it won't turn over. I replaced the ignition coil, and even changed the spark plug boots. Should I also change my crankshaft position sensor?
Check the engine control module (ECM) if it has signs of damage or wear and tear. Your battery might also be weak. If all else fails, then you should change your sensor. This is usually the cause of failure to turn over in Saturn vehicles.
Saturn LS1: L-Series Vehicle in the Mid-size Car Segment
Saturn used to focus on the small car segment of the automotive market. After spending many years in this segment, this General Motor’s marque plunged into a new territory—the mid-size sedan circle dominated by the likes of Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Competition in this vehicle class is stiff, and Saturn’s venture into this segment wasn’t easy. To compete in a crowded vehicle class segment, Saturn came out with the L-series, which brought a good number of models and variants including the Saturn LS1. This was meant to be inexpensive yet reliable. Like all L-series vehicles, it was designed to be a comfortable mid-size ride.
2000: The birth of the Saturn LS1 from the L-Series
Mid-size sedans and station wagons from Saturn’s L-Series were initially launched as 2000 models. These L-Series vehicles were based on the Opel Vectra B. They were powered by straight-4 and V6 engines and designed with a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic transmission.
For the year 2000, the L-Series came out with five models: the 4-cylinder LS and LS1/LW1 and the V6-powered LS2/LW2. The base LS was only available as a sedan; there was no station wagon alternative for this model. The LS sedan came with 5-speed manual transmission. Its basic features included manual windows and locks, AM/FM stereo, and air-conditioning. The LS1 and LW1, on the other hand, were equipped with power windows, heated mirrors, and locks with keyless entry, among other convenient features. Meanwhile, the LS2 and LW2 came with fog lights and a more powerful V6 engine. They were designed with a 4-speed automatic transmission, which later became an option for 4-cylinder models. Anti-lock brakes with traction control were available to all L-Series models as an option.
2001: New model designations for the Saturn LS1 and other L-Series vehicles
In 2001, L-Series vehicles got new model designations. The LS1 became known as the L200. The base LS was called the L100, and the LS2 became L300. LW1 became known as LW200 and LW2 as LW300. All these L-Series models had a larger fuel tank around this time. The tank could accommodate 15.7 US gal. Shoulder belts for the center rear seat position also became a standard. Later on, head curtain side airbags were added.
2005: The final year of the Saturn LS1 and other L-Series models
Unfortunately, the L-Series didn’t stay long in the market. The line was cancelled by General Motors for 2005. This became the final model year for the LS1 and other L-Series models. Low sales prompted the cancellation of this line. Saturn’s L-Series was replaced by the Saturn Aura, which was unveiled in 2006 as a 2007 model. This was based on the Epsilon platform, a platform that was also used by the Pontiac G6 and the Opel Vectra C.