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Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/15 10:13 p.m.

Here's my receipts since 3/19/2014 @100K miles:

3/26/14 - $133.78 Wipers, liftgate supports, oil/air/cabin filters, Mobil 1 5W30, Haynes manual, oil filter wrench
5/15/14 - $185.06 A/C condenser, orifice, and assorted
5/17/14 - $186.00 KYB struts front and rear
6/2/14 - $92.79 A/C hose
6/10/14 - $81.96 Emissions hose, gas cap, trim piece
6/11/14 - NHTSA safety complaint about wonky ignition switch
6/23/14 - $448.23 A/C condenser install and refrigerant
6/23/14 - $31.28 NGK Iridium spark plugs
9/30/14 - $71.04 Wix oil/air/fuel filters
10/17/14 - $33.57 Bosch Icon wiper blades
11/15/14 - $34.74 RP Synchromax
11/17/14 - $177.52 Optima battery
11/24/14 - $7.57 Key
1/15/15 - $45.88 Lug nuts and washer pump
1/22/15 - $34.53 Balance wheels
2/9/15 - $212.04 KYB strut mounts, bellows, and spring seats; Mevotech F&R endlinks
2/9/15 - $145 Megan Racing lowering springs
3/9/15 - $54.00 Oil & filter, washer fluid
4/2/15 - $0.00 for recall ignition switch replacement
4/3/15 - $194.17 Build & install KYB struts and 4-wheel alignment
6/18/15 - $565.62 A/C condenser again
7/3/15 - $158.54 Power Stop Pads and Rotors
7/27/15 - $214.08 Centric calipers, OEM ICM
8/4/15 - $110.93 Timken front hub
8/13/15 - $257.91 Shift cable ends
8/18/15 - $127.13 Timken rear wheel hub, axle socket, DOT 4
8/28/15 - $299.07 Shift cables

Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
10/5/15 10:19 p.m.

In reply to Javelin:

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/15 10:27 p.m.

And looking through the original owners records...

4/10/08 - $765.90 Restore washer fluid system (hey, I also just did this!), 30K service, LF door hinge
4/12/08 - $705.27 Tires
11/7/09 - $232.09 Pads, Rotors, and Calipers
3/21/11 - $302.71 Rear brake service and serpentine belt
3/22/13 $344.06 LR wheel hub (the one I just did)
5/23/13 - $408.25 Pads, Rotors, and Calipers
12/14/13 - $765.32 Tires

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/15 10:29 p.m.

In reply to Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock:

It's not even like I went overboard! The KYB/Megan setup was actually cheaper then paying for the original struts to be rebuilt. Most of the work I did (everything but the A/C and shift cables), and all of the parts are at employee discount. With all the work I've done to it, it finally drives nice, but I can't believe the amount of money I've sunk into this POS. At least it was only $3,800 to start I guess...

Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
10/5/15 10:33 p.m.

In reply to Javelin:

I added it up but didn't want to post the total in case you hadn't.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/15 11:25 p.m.

In reply to Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock:

Go ahead, I'm too scared to add up what I spent.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/5/15 11:28 p.m.

Oh and I traded the Javelin's old Weld/BFG combo for the Motegi/Falken combo, and I paid $450 for those but 4 years ago. Figure $250 actual street value? Then I sunk $150 4.5 months later for a used set of Yokohama Avid's.

Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock
Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock PowerDork
10/5/15 11:34 p.m.
Javelin wrote: In reply to Nick (Not-Stig) Comstock: Go ahead, I'm too scared to add up what I spent.

102.44 more than your purchase price

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/6/15 8:25 a.m.

So yeah, don't buy any GM products, and especially not a Saturn Vue.

slefain
slefain UberDork
10/6/15 9:14 a.m.

If I spend $200 a year maintaining my 2002 Camry I'd be shocked.

Maybe you should have bought a Chevy Captiva

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
10/6/15 9:40 a.m.

While I still think that's an unfortunate crap-load of $ spent on the car... couple questions:

1) Were some of the components used garbage? I see things like calipers (3x!) and AC compressor (2x) replaced multiple times. Did the shop (or you) not know the source of the problem and just throw parts at it? Or maybe convince the previous owner to buy parts when not needed? Unfortunately in the case of the A/C, I feel like many shops do this :(

2) Did you do any of the work yourself? Some of those prices seem crazy high.

most of what has been posted is work I'd do myself, would probably cost a fraction of those prices, and wouldn't bother me too much. A lot is also maintenance - what car won't need oil changes, fuel filter, spark plugs, tires & a suspension refresh after 100k? But yeah, some of that stuff is definitely not acceptable.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/6/15 9:48 a.m.
ProDarwin wrote:
Javelin wrote: I can heartily recommend the Megan Racing springs. KYB is also doing the buy 3/get 4 promo right now for the struts/shocks. Those two parts will absolutely transform the car (as will the 17's, the 16's w/ 65's just ride terrible).
How would you rate the ride? How much drop? This is #wifecar, so I want to make sure its nothing abusive. Where did you buy the KYBs from? Did you do strut mounts at the same time? I hear they are problematic.

Sorry, I just realized I never responded to this. It rides nicely. It's not overly stiff, I wouldn't even call it "sporty" for the most part. There's still a TON of suspension travel and wheelwell gap. I did the strut mounts, struts, bellows, and springs all at once since buying all new and building them was cheaper than paying someone to take the old garbage apart. You don't need a strut tamer to build them new with the drop springs. The ride is "tight" like a newer car, and yes car not SUV.

The wheel/tire package was actually a bigger transformation. I went from crappy all season 235/65/16 to a summer 225/60/18 setup which really woke up the crispness of the handling. A custom alignment (-1.5 camber, 1/4" total toe OUT) made it actually sporting to drive finally. I would autocross mine now and probably embarrass some sporty cars.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/6/15 9:59 a.m.
ProDarwin wrote: While I still think that's an unfortunate crap-load of $ spent on the car... couple questions: 1) Were some of the components used garbage? I see things like calipers (3x!) and AC compressor (2x) replaced multiple times. Did the shop (or you) not know the source of the problem and just throw parts at it? Or maybe convince the previous owner to buy parts when not needed? Unfortunately in the case of the A/C, I feel like many shops do this :(

The 2 previous brake caliper jobs were the PO getting swindled by Les Schwab Tires for unnecessary work. Both times they used garbage Raybestos rebuilt calipers, which is why I put quality Centric ones on it now. The A/C compressor is original, it's the condenser that failed twice. The first one I replaced because it was looking borderline and the hose from it to the drier broke for no apparent reason, so we suspected there was something bad about it. I bought an Ultima Premium unit direct which failed 1 week out of it's 1 year warranty as they riveted the hold-down brackets on instead of welding/brazing, so the rivet failed, the bracket came off, and it tore the side tank up. I had my local radiator & A/C shop custom make one for the replacement. The previous LR wheel hub that the PO had done was a cheeapo unit from O'Reilly's. I replaced the howler with a Timken unit.

ProDarwin wrote: 2) Did you do any of the work yourself? Some of those prices seem crazy high. *most* of what has been posted is work I'd do myself, would probably cost a fraction of those prices, and wouldn't bother me too much. A lot is also maintenance - what car won't need oil changes, fuel filter, spark plugs, tires & a suspension refresh after 100k? But yeah, some of that stuff is definitely not acceptable.

I did all of the work myself except the A/C repairs and the shift cable repairs. All of the other receipts are parts only. I don't have an A/C machine (and they call them suicide cans for a reason) and the shift cables were a nightmare job. None of the maintenance I did was out of schedule except for the brakes, because the garbage the PO had put on was warped and sticking.

The scary part is that it still needs more. I'm getting some PS rack issues where it won't re-center, the radio is wonky as all get out, and the clutch is getting worn. I'm sure the LF and RR wheel hubs are coming, and the interior is absolutely thrashed. There's also a ton of repairs that were labor only, like completely removing and redoing the whole power moonroof assembly because it basically falls apart, removing and cleaning the whole windshield washer system because it likes to sludge, and taking the inner door latch assemblies apart to try and tighten them up because the pull doesn't work until the end of the throw.

It's also slow and doesn't get that great of gas mileage. Get out while you still can.

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
10/9/15 5:47 p.m.

JohnRW1621:

Followed your thread, been looking for awhile, and got this. 2.2 Ecotec with 5 speed 143K. Hopefully I will have as good a luck as you have, and not like some of the others. Have had 4 or 5 Saturns, and have had great luck with them. My 1994 White Saturn wagon will be going up for sale shortly.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
11/22/15 6:38 p.m.

More complaints. So... center vents.

The driver's side center vent can only be pointed toward the driver or to the center. Can't point it to the passenger side, and there is no off/closed position. The same is true for the passenger side but mirrored.

This makes life suck for the driver if the passenger is cold and is his wife.

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
11/29/15 10:06 a.m.

I have put about 5,000 on my 2004 2.2 5 speed no problems to date. Getting about 23.5mpg-but 90% of my driving is in town-so I am pleased. Rides better than my 1994 SW2, but doesn't get quite the mileage. Ton of room, 5 people are not a problem on short trips. 2004 Vue photo IMG_3626_zpsi3ftx967.jpg2004 Vue GRM sticker photo IMG_3628_zps0uddeoi3.jpg

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/29/15 11:20 a.m.

I rolled over 125K miles last week. No new mechanical maladies, but the sunroof has started to leak inside.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
11/29/15 2:57 p.m.
Javelin wrote: I rolled over 125K miles last week. No new mechanical maladies, but the sunroof has started to leak inside.

Clogged drains?

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/29/15 3:37 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin:

I blew them out with the airgun, but it's still leaking. Actually looks like the seal between the sunroof tray and roof has dry-rotted. It leaks all the way across the front.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
11/29/15 8:03 p.m.

Now about 240k miles on my Vue. That's about 100k more than when I bought it 2 yrs and 4 months ago.
I see no reason that it won't make it to 300k under my ownership.

It has been very good at what I wanted it for but I have not made any attempt to make it "sporty".
This is basic, simplistic transportation.

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
11/30/15 2:47 p.m.
JohnRW1621 wrote: Now about 240k miles on my Vue. That's about 100k more than when I bought it 2 yrs and 4 months ago. I see no reason that it won't make it to 300k under my ownership. It has been very good at what I wanted it for but I have not made any attempt to make it "sporty". This is basic, simplistic transportation.

I am hoping I do as well as you have on this one. No plans for any upgrades, it is just an appliance. Thanks for such a detailed post and follow up during the time you have owned it, you made my decision really easy with all your research.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/13/15 7:37 p.m.

UPDATE:

The sunroof leak turned out to be that the vent tube came off of the tray, which allowed the entire headliner to fill up with water before it overflowed down the a-pillar. Pretty easy to take off the a-pillar cover and visor so I could drop the headliner and spend hours wiping up water and drying it out. There's no positive connection on the drain tube, so when it gets old and hard it just pops off. I zippy-tied it up, so hopefully that side is fixed. FYI - Disconnect the battery because the side airbag is up there!

Way more worrying though is that it randomly went into limp mode (idle only, WTF!!!) with a CEL for P2138, which is the accelerator position sensor. The whole honking pedal has to be replaced (to the tune of $70) and I can't drive to work. I took the old one out, it's all plastic and not water-tight. Really?!? The sub-par engineering in this POS makes it no wonder why GM went bankrupt. Never again!

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
4/25/16 12:53 p.m.

Yay, bad passenger side lock switch. Apparently a common issue. And you have to take the whole door apart to replace it it. berkeley.

Really debating throwing in the towel and buying a Mazda 5, which I wish I had purchased in the first place. Not sure I'll get the $ back out of the VUE though :(

Also Mazda 5 = no towing :(

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
1/4/17 7:38 p.m.

Sometimes I think Javelin is just me posting in the future.

Our VUE rear ended someone yesterday and was totaled. The damage was almost purely cosmetic, except for the radiator. Everything structural was rock solid. Oh well, good excuse to get rid of the thing. All said, it wasn't terrible. It functioned as required for ~25k miles (130k-155k). Only issues were the "bad ground" (BCM?) and bad lock switch. Only other parts I threw at it were front rotors & pads. It depreciated about $1000 in that timeframe.

All said, I would only recommend one of these if someone is shopping in the <$2500 price range. They provide a LOT of family utility for the money there, but once you get up to ~$5K or so, its worth the extra coin to get a Honda/Toyota or a Mazda5 - if that meets your needs.

Onto the Mazda 5.

Guess the hitch on my DD got bumped up in priority.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
1/5/17 9:27 a.m.

Since this thread has come back up to the top, I think I should update this thread that I started.

In post #1, sentence #1, I stated/asked the following:

My specific goals are that I am looking for an inexpensive and presentable vehicle of model year '00 or newer. Budget is under $3k and closer to $2k is best for a car with 100k to 125k miles. I would like it to be able to reach 200k miles relatively easy with proper maint. Needs to be able to seat real adults in the back, up to 3, for short trips. Would like to get 25 mpg in mixed driving.

In the summer of 2013 I bought an '03 Vue with 140k but only 40k on a replaced motor for $2500.
The seller/flipper told me that he had not changed the clutch but it looked good.

Fast forward 3 years later to the summer of 2016. The odometer now read 265k miles. While headed west on I-90 into Cleveland at W44th St, morning rush hour traffic began to slow. My driver put in the clutch and nothing happened. He limped it to the side of the road. I had it towed in and the answer was a blown Clutch Slave Cylinder which had dropped all its fluid.

I was unsure if I wanted to re-invest into the vehicle. Now the clutch itself had never been changed and had 125k more miles than when I bought it so there was anywhere from 125k - 265k on the clutch. All 4 tires were wearing properly but they were in need of replacement ($400) and all 4 shocks had never been replaced by me so these too had 125k - 265k miles on them.

I figured i could be in need of dropping a couple thousand into the Vue.
Simultaneously, PatGizz was offering a fully running '00 Impala for $1k which I promptly snapped up.
The Vue then sat off to the side of my drive until I decided what to do.
Next thing you know, it is no longer summer but now heading into winter. Where the Vue was parked was going to be a problem since that is where the plow needs to pile the snow we might get for winter.

I decided to offload the Vue and put it up on CL. I wanted a fast resolution so on a Saturday night about 9pm my posting went up where I detailed the history and the problem. I asked only $400.
One guy quickly replied and said he would travel 45 minutes and be there at 7am Sunday. Fine. I'll be here. He never showed.
Also that night another local guy said he would be there at 8am. He did show.
In CL fashion he tried to move me on price. He then commented that he wasn't sure when he could get it towed. What he did not realize was that he was misunderstanding my motivation. I more wanted it gone than I wanted dollars. I countered to his price drop with, "$400 and I'll call my AAA and the car will be at your house in 30 minutes!" Done.

There she goes. Still looking as good as when i got it. Much love for the plastic body panels in a rusty climate!

Three years and 125k miles.
For me, the car was economical. The weak spots are:
Rear hub bearings. One was bad when I bought it and then since that I had changed each side twice more. I was buying the "lifetime" warranty version so the replacements were "free". Use lots of anti cease because these baby's can really rust into place. If not rusty, a quick and painless job.
I hear that the expensive Timkin brand is the right answer. Though not "lifetime" they are more likely to last a lifetime.

Front sway bar links. Also "lifetime" and changed often. The hardest part of this job is just removing the front tire and the part is less than $25.

Both front CVs were replaced also but they looked to be factory items so hard to complain at 200+k.

I had only one odd repair and that was the airbag clock spring in the steering wheel. First the airbag light came on. Then months later the steering wheel cruise buttons stopped working and the finally the horn stopped beeping. A changed clock spring fixed it all.

Of the 3 winters I had the Vue, one was exceptionally bad, heavy snow. The Vue running on General Artic tires was fantastic. A great combination of low torque, good grip and high ground clearance.

I would highly recommend a Vue but only to someone who is very GRM and very capable of "listening to a car" and some self repair.

I considered buying another but I currently have no other driver's who can drive stick and for myself, I've "been there and done that" so I didn't really want another for myslef.

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