Intake manifold gasket replacement

I need to replace a leaking intake manifold gasket on a 2002 Saturn SL1. Apparently this is a common issue with these engines, possibly even a manufacturing defect. Anyway, has anybody here done this job, and if so, does anybody have any tips or suggestions on doing it? I want to minimize the “surprises” that I encounter when I tackle this job and make sure that I have all of the tools that I need.

Do you have a basic repair manual such as a Chilton’s or Haynes? These cost about $20 at an auto parts store and will give the basic procedure including any specialty tools and the various torque specs.

Even better but for much more $$ you can get the GM repair manual - can probably find it at

Replacing an intake manifold usually is not a difficult problem.

And this is a known problem. Been a thorn in GM’s side for almost 2 decades.

I do have a Haynes or Chilton’s manual (can’t remember which), but I was wondering if anybody had done this and had any tips or pointers that are not in the manual. Sometimes things get left out of the books. This is a car that is generally easy to work on and this does not look like a terribly complicated repair, so I’m going to do it myself. Thank you for the information.

It’s just the manifold gasket that needs to be replaced. I read rumors that the problem was caused by a robotic assembler that was programmed wrong, or that they just used really cheap crappy gaskets. The general opinion is to avoid using the OEM gasket and get a Felpro, etc. to replace it with. Is this a problem with other GM engines also? I think they stopped making the 1.9L Saturn engines in 2002. Overall it’s a good little engine; the only symptoms of the manifold gasket leak are a high idle, misfire in cylinder #1, and a decrease in fuel economy. I confirmed that the gasket is the problem by spraying carb cleaner near cylinder 1 - it was obvious that it was getting sucked right in.

You are correct. Do not use the OEM gasket. Get the Felpro. Be sure to use a torque wrench and follow the tightening pattern in your manual.