Discontinued parts (AKA, why I want to sue GM)

saturn
vue

#1

I have a 2003 Saturn Vue V6 that needs new vacuum chamber springs (P/N 93175463). The problem is, because it’s a Saturn, GM has discontinued the part, which seems odd. I can find other parts for my Saturn cars (yes, I bought two of them right before GM pulled the plug), but not this.

Now, I’ve already asked my mechanic, and the local GM dealer, and I’ve called GM parts direct, and I’ve checked eBay, but I can’t find this part anywhere. I’ve tried junkyards too, but the problem is that this is a little spring inside the top part of the engine, and no one wants to sell me just the spring, because it would make the rest of that assembly useless. So I have to buy the whole assembly for a few hundred dollars, or a whole used engine for a few grand.

Normally at this point I would just forget about it. The Vue still runs. The problem, however, is that this keeps on tripping the check engine light. I could keep driving and ignore that light, of course, but eventually something else is going to go wrong. And then I won’t get it fixed because I’m ignoring the check engine light.

Like I said, I’ve called GM, but they shrugged and gave me some BS about the car simply being too old to keep parts in stock. Which sounds like BS to me. The car is barely 15 years old. It only has 130k miles. It runs great otherwise.

So does anyone know where to find discontinued parts? Or is there another car with a similar enough engine that I could swap something in?


#2

Car makers pledge to supply parts for 10 years, period. If there are other parts still available for your Saturn, it is simply because they were used on other, newer GM cars. Or it is because the aftermarket is making them. Older cars, especially ones orphaned by their makers, can easily fall into this box. I own a 2001 Saab, so I have similar problems.

Heck, its just a simple spring, right? Just open up a McMaster Carr catalog and see if you can find one that will fit. Search Saturn owners group forums. Maybe someone has found a source for the spring, aftermarket or generic. The internet is your friend here and if the part is available, that’s where you’ll likely find it.

As for replacing the engine, no. It will cost you far more than just trading this in for a newer, non-orphaned car.

Sorry, you can sue but you will lose.


#3

The reason you can find other parts is because those parts are shared on other vehicles in different divisions (aka. Chevy). The part you can’t find is probably specific to Saturn’s.

There are no aftermarket parts?


#4

You can sue and all you do is cost yourself money. 10 years is all that parts have to be made for discontinued vehicles. See if there is a place that sells springs near you . I needed one for a recliner chair and Ace hardware had one that worked.


#5

we have had 3 identical vues. just had intake off last week. not sure what the vacuum chamber is? the motor is built by opel in germany and you might find some parts on the vauxhall website. i think there are 2 3.0 motors in my local yard right now. take one apart?


#6

+1
I have no doubt that the OP can find an ambulance-chaser who is willing to sue GM on his behalf, but I really hope that the OP’s chosen attorney is willing to work on a contingent-fee basis.

Because the existing regulations only require manufacturers to provide parts support for 10 years, and the OP’s vehicle is now 15 years old, on what legal basis would the OP expect to prevail in this type of lawsuit?
:thinking:


#7

The vacuum chamber springs appear to be a spring clip. If your mechanic wanted you to continue driving this vehicle he might fabricate the needed springs for you. I don’t know if they are really critical. They are # 19 in the diagram.


#8

In your post you say you can buy the entire assembly, not just a tiny part inside. Bite the bullet get the assmebly and move on. There are lots of parts like that, a 3cent part inside is busted, but you have to buy a bigger assembly. That really bugs me because I can frequently trouble shoot to the tiny part but can’t buy it. Many manufacturers do not want to sell the trivial parts for several reasons. One is inventory control, to set up a part for a consumer they need to establish a saleable part number, generate instructions and packaging. The other is they have determined that too many folks do not have the tools or skill set to replace the part. If they did sell it they get all kinds of complaints, warranty claims and other problems. Be glad you can still get the assembly.


#9

Discontinuing parts is not BS and it’s not logical to think that GM will stock parts for a 15 year old sled. In most cases they won’t stock parts for a 10 year old car. And it’s not just GM. They all do it.

With a little footwork and ingenuity I’m sure something could be fabricated.


#10

Sorry, but GM discontinued the part, the car, and the company.
Sadly, Saturn is an orphan vehicle.


#11

You might check with your Honda dealer. Some Vue’s came with Honda 3.5L engines.


#12

Yours is a common problem with 15 year old vehicles, especially when that make is no longer sold and that model wasn’t a huge seller. But you should still be able to come up with a solution. Either find it at your local junkyard, pick-a-part, etc, or have it fabricated either by your mechanic or your local metals shop. Hopefully you have an example to show the metal shop what it looks like. I make my own springs from spring-wire/metal from time to time when I don’t want to bother with finding the part elsewhere. One time I used a spring from a clothes pin as the source of the spring wire … lol …

If you want to minimize this problem on your next car, buy a make/model that sells in large volumes.


#13

You need a “guy”, as in “I know a guy who can …” I have a guy with whom I go to church who’d could probably dig around and find a part like that. Or he’d look at the spring and could probably find a reasonable replacement. And I’d pay him $50 or $100 or more to find (although he’d try to do it for nothing - he’s that kind of guy).

I wouldn’t be surprised if you had your “guy” in your circle of friends or acquaintances right now.

Sounds like you’ve tried the other things I would have tried in your situation. I commend you for pursuing this as far as you have - I probably would have quit by now!


#14

I agree with your advice but…

Sadly that “guy” is getting fewer and farther between. It is very hard to find someone with the skills to fabricate those types of small parts and to rebuild things only sold as assemblies. It has been decades since shop class was offered in every high school. Now you need to go to vocation tech centers IF your county has such a thing.

College is not appropriate for everyone nor do we ever want that. We still need fabricators, machinists, welders and folks who can build things. My “Mike Rowe” rant has ended. If you don’t understand the reference, Google mikeroweWORKS Foundation.


#15

they only offered the 3.0 motor for 2 yrs. 02-03. than they went to the honda v6 in 04. the 3.0 is an opel motor. i think very few people have ever worked on a saturn and that number is than cut way down for saturn 3.0 motors. much info says to remove top panel on intake to access bolts underneath. but that is not required to remove the entire plenum. there are 6 other bolts that can easily be reached to remove plenum as 1 piece and it seems to get lost in instructions. the illustration shown does not show the actual shape of spring. it could be a “spring” clip and not be cylindrical in shape. there, thats way more info on the 3.0 than most people need


#16

If Nevada’s right about the clips, those would be nearly impossible to fabricate as a DIY.
I am curious what could go wrong with them?
Did they just fail on their own or get bent/broken on removal?
How do those clips affect emissions such that their failure sets a MIL?

If I couldn’t find replacements, I would find another way to retain the assembly. Likely, there is some other way to do the job but perhaps not as elegant or easy to R&R in the future…


#17

So what you’re saying is that you have the opportunity to buy an assembly for a few hundred, take the one part you need off of it, and then part the rest out to people in similar situations to you.

Suing GM would, honestly, be stupid. You’re lucky you got parts as long as you did. GM declared bankruptcy in 2009 and reorganized, which means past obligations didn’t count. new-GM is entirely separate from old-GM, which means they don’t have to make parts for cars that “they” didn’t make.

Basic lesson here: Don’t buy cars from failing car companies if you’re worried about finding parts for them 15 years down the road.


#18

Well put.

In addition, it bothers me that you want to sue someone for a part that’s no longer made from a car that’s no longer made that was built by a company that no longer exists. That ain’t healthy. You need to get on with life as it is. Suing won’t reverse time.


#19

Now THAT is a great thought captured in a concise statement!


#20

I completely agree with this. I’m so glad my dad (music educator by day, handy man by night!) and father-in-law have passed on and taught me so much about varying handyman traits (and both have an excellent collection of power tools that I can borrow any time I need them for something)