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autodoc_2000, Auto Service Technician
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Experience:  ASE Master Tech w/ Advance Engine Performance
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Saturn: last week the check engine light came on..my mechanic..coolant

Resolved Question:

My Saturn 1995 SC2 has been intermittently exhibiting an engine surge and last week the check engine light came on. When I took it to my mechanic, he ran diagnostic and came up with trouble codes 11(cylinder lock), 53(coolant), 83(loss of electrical power) and 27(transmission). He says he is 95% sure that this is caused by defective ignition switch which needs to be replaced. He gave an estimate of $300 for it. Then I need to take it to dealership to get the switch recoded... another $65 expense. So I'm looking at ~$400 expense and there is a 5% chance per him that even after all this, the transmission may be bad (due to code 27) which will a real big expense ($2000) in which case I'd likely junk the car. Can you provide an assessment of the situation, likelyhood of a transmission failure and analyis of the trouble codes. Another data point is that the gear also gets stuck in park after parking overnight and its quite a struggle every day to engage the gear. Mechanic says this is also caused by defective ignition switch.

Optional Information:
1995 Saturn SC2






Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Car
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
Expert:  autodoc_2000 replied 8 years ago.

According to my repair information the:


11- Transmission code present


53- Knock Sensor Circuit


83- Low Coolant


27- Quad Driver Module Failure


The 27 could be the code that is setting the 11 trans code present. The driver module is integrated into the pcm. This controls some of the outputs an could be the one for the transmission output. The 53 is for the knock sensor which may have picked up noise from the coolant being low. This may cause you engine to make noises such as knock, ticks etc. The knock sensors job is to let the computer know when the the engine may be running lean from the pinging in the engine. Is the coolant low? From the code 27 it sounds like the pcm will need replaced. Saturn has not released alot of information on this code or a diagnostic stratagy for it. I would chewck the coolant level to see if it is full if not find the leak and have it fixed. I would then reset the codes and see if any come back. If any come back right away then you have a hard fault code. This means the problem is happening all of the time. If they do not come back you should be ok.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to autodoc_2000's Post: Thanks! So I take it that this has nothing to do with ignition switch as suggested by my mechanic.
1. What is pcm? How much should I expect to pay to replace it?
2. From the codes above, what is the probability of transmission itself being bad.
Expert:  autodoc_2000 replied 8 years ago.

From the codes you posted and the repair information I have I don't see any problem with the transmission. I cannot say for sure since I am not there to road test the vehicle to see if it is shifting correctly or if it has any other noticable problems. The PCM is the powertrain control module or the engine computer. It just depends on who you talk to will call it different things. Either way it is the engine and transmission controller. I also am not saying that there is not a problem with your ignition switch , but the codes above indicate nothing about an ignition switch. There isnt even a code for ignition switches.


Automatic transmission you are looking at around $425 for a pcm from the Saturn dealer. You may be able to find one aftermarket or possibly used. Labor time is about 1/2 hr. This will either need to be done at a Saturn Dealer or a garage that has access to the Tech II scan equipment by GM. The new module will need to be programmed to the vehicle in order for it to run.

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Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 2563
Experience: ASE Master Tech w/ Advance Engine Performance
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