This new investigation is also posted in the NHTSA weekly watchouts, but for those that might own a Saturn in the investigation with the 2.2 liter engine timing chain problem, please report it to the NHTSA, so they can make a good decision on whether or not to expand the recall to all of the Saturn vehicles with the 2.2 liter engine and the same timing chain. If it's just a fluke confined mostly to the 2001 Saturn, fine. If the problem is consistent in every year and model that GM used this timing chain with this 2.2 liter engine, then the people with 1999, 2000, and 2002 Saturn vehicles affected should have some recourse, too!
To file a complaint with the NHTSA if you have a Saturn with a 2.2 liter engine with a past or current timing chain problem, start at this page on their website:
1999 to 2002 Saturn vehicles with 2.2 liter engine: timing chain link separation:
(small group of 20,500 vehicles already recalled for timing chain break, North Carolina Consumers Council petitioning NHTSA to expand recall to all 391,600 Saturn vehicles with the same engine and timing chain)
NHTSA Action Number : DP08002
NHTSA Recall Campaign Number : N/A
Make / Models : Model/Build Years:
SATURN / L SERIES 2000-2002
SATURN / L-SERIES 1999-2002
SATURN / L-SERIES SEDAN 2000-2002
SATURN / L-SERIES WAGON 2000-2002
SATURN / L200 2001-2002
SATURN / L300 2001-2002
SATURN / LS 2000-2002
SATURN / LS1 2000
SATURN / LS2 2000
SATURN / LS300 2001-2002
SATURN / LW300 2001-2002
SATURN / SATURN L SERIES 2000-2002
Manufacturer : GENERAL MOTORS CORP.
Component : ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING
Date Investigation Opened : June 18, 2008
Date Investigation Closed : Open
IN A NOVEMBER 7, 2007 LETTER, GENERAL MOTORS SUBMITTED A DEFECT INFORMATION REPORT TO ODI CONCERNING THE RECALL OF APPROXIMATELY 20,500 MY 2001 SATURN L-SERIES VEHICLES WITH 2.2L ENGINES THAT WERE BUILT BETWEEN NOV. 2000 AND FEB. 2001 TO CORRECT A PROBLEM WITH TIMING CHAIN LINK SEPARATION (RECALL 07V-519, ODI INVESTIGATION EA06-009). TIMING CHAIN FAILURE COULD RESULT IN ENGINE STALL WHILE DRIVING WITH NO CHANCE FOR A RESTART. THE TIMING CHAIN ASSEMBLY USED IN THE RECALLED VEHICLES WAS ALSO USED IN APPROXIMATELY 391,600 OTHER MY 1999 THROUGH 2003 SATURN L-SERIES VEHICLES WITH 2.2L ENGINES. HOWEVER, WHILE THE RECALLED VEHICLES REPRESENTED ONLY ABOUT 5% OF THE TOTAL POPULATION, THEY EXPERIENCED AN ELEVATED "SPIKE" IN TIMING CHAIN FAILURES ACCOUNTING FOR ABOUT 32% OF THE TOTAL COMPLAINTS TO ODI AND GM (384 OF 1200) AND 25% OF TOTAL TIMING CHAIN WARRANTY CLAIMS (971 OF 3,903) WHEN EA06-009 WAS CLOSED ON NOVEMBER 9, 2007. THE RESULTING INCIDENT RATES WHEN EA06-009 WAS CLOSED WERE 1.9% VS 0.2% FOR COMPLAINTS AND 4.7% VS 0.7% FOR WARRANTY CLAIMS, RESPECTIVELY, FOR THE RECALLED AND NON-RECALLED POPULATIONS. ON MAY 22, 2008, THE NORTH CAROLINA CONSUMERS COUNCIL (NCCC) SUBMITTED A DEFECT PETITION TO ODI REQUESTING THE EXPANSION OF RECALL 07V-519 TO INCLUDE ALL MY 1999 THROUGH 2003 SATURN L-SERIES VEHICLES WITH 2.2L ENGINES USING THE SAME TIMING CHAIN DESIGN AS THE RECALLED POPULATION. THE PETITION STATES THAT NCCC CONTINUES TO RECEIVE COMPLAINTS FROM CONSUMERS THAT HAVE HAD A TIMING CHAIN FAIL IN VEHICLES BUILT OUTSIDE THE PRODUCTION RANGE COVERED BY THE RECALL. THE PETITION ALSO NOTES THAT ODI HAS CONTINUED TO RECEIVE COMPLAINTS. SINCE THE CLOSING OF EA06-009 ODI HAS RECEIVED 51 NEW COMPLAINTS FROM CONSUMERS WHO HAD A TIMING CHAIN FAIL IN A MY 1999 THROUGH 2003 SATURN L-SERIES WITH THE 2.2L ENGINE THAT WERE NOT COVERED BY RECALL 07V-519, BRINGING THE CURRENT TOTAL TO 216. THE PETITIONER NOTES THAT THE VEHICLES THAT FALL OUTSIDE THE RECALLED GROUP HAVE THE SAME TIMING CHAIN AS THE VEHICLES THAT WERE RECALLED AND EXHIBIT THE SAME FAILURE MODE WHERE THE TIMING CHAIN CAN BREAK SUDDENLY AND WITHOUT WARNING, RESULTING IN ENGINE DAMAGE AND LOSS OF MOTIVE POWER. BECAUSE OF THIS, THE PETITIONER BELIEVES THAT THE ORIGINAL SCOPE OF THE RECALL SHOULD BE CHANGED TO INCLUDE ALL VEHICLES BUILT WITH THE ORIGINAL TIMING CHAIN PART. ODI WILL EVALUATE THE PETITION FOR A GRANT OR DENY DECISION.