-   EcoModding Central (
-   -   97 Saturn Sc2 (

mazdamx640 03-27-2015 02:12 PM

97 Saturn Sc2
I'm starting this thread to keep track of everything I do to my newer ish car. I haven even seen it in person yet I'm going to get it tonight. Its a 97 Saturn sc2 with a 5 speed manual and twin cam 1.9 so it should be allot more efficient than my 96 lesabre to start with.

It's not perfect but for $600 its a great deal!
To start with I'm replacing the coils wires and spark plugs.

Current mods
51 psi in tires. Free
Antenna delete. Free
License plate mount delete. Free
80% grill block. $2 Tape
Ultra gauge. Already had

Future mods
Stant 195 thermostat
Cat delete
Rear belly pan
Dark tint
5Th gear swap
Synthetic transmission fluid

Fat Charlie 03-27-2015 03:00 PM

Sweet! I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Daox 03-27-2015 03:12 PM

I almost went with an SC1 before I got the Metro. Its a very capable car from what others have gotten here. Looking forward to seeing your mods.

spacemanspif 03-27-2015 04:06 PM

Don't forget the scangauge! You are OBDII so it's simpe plug and play. 5th gear swap will kill cruise control of you have it. Do a full grill block and get a factory air dam if you don't have it already for bottom cooling. If/when you need to do the valve cover gasket, get an aluminum one with all the bolts off a 95 and older car. The plastic ones tend to warp and all the valve cover gaskets in the world can't keep them from leaking. Coils dont usually go bad on those cars and aftermarket can be questionable. has a lot of info on testing resistance of the coils to tell if they are bad. There is also the arc test when it's dark out. I tried the 5th gear swap and destroyed my trans from over tightening the nuts, swapped in an MP2 SOHC trans and loved it! All I had was trans swap, vacuum gauge and slow driving and was getting 45mpg.

Can't wait to see what you do to yours :)

mazdamx640 03-27-2015 04:58 PM

I went to look at a sc1 a couple years ago with my dad and he said that if I didn't buy it he would and I've been regretting it ever since. It's funny that you mention the valve cover because I need that too and I just put metal valve covers on my Buick. Thanks for the advice I can't wait to get started ecomodding it

mazdamx640 03-27-2015 05:03 PM

The first thing I need to do is get rid of the rice

Daox 03-27-2015 05:12 PM

How will you know when to shift if you don't have a huge light telling you when to? My Metro has one haha (stock OEM).

mazdamx640 03-27-2015 06:07 PM

It has a stock tachometer in it but u can't see that in the over the hood action shots lol

spacemanspif 03-27-2015 09:01 PM

Haha the stock tach is almost the same size...but lacks the "wow" factor of a white faced, no-name tach with shift light lol. Use the holes for a vacuum gauge.

ninetynineSC2 03-27-2015 10:00 PM

It will definitely be a lot more efficient if the lesabre gets anything like my roommates park avenue. Keep an eye on the oil, almost all S series use some.

mazdamx640 03-28-2015 02:00 PM

Well I drove it to Omaha and I really like it. The only problem is an occasional misfire on cylinder 3. I would really like the engine spinning slower than 2500 at 60 going to have to track down a sc1 transmission

mazdamx640 03-29-2015 05:13 PM

Well I got my fist tank in and it returned 33 mpgs that's not bad considering the rear tires only had 11 and 20. So time to start ecomodding I removed the antenna and license plate bracket. I changed the oil to mobile 1 5w30 and aired the to 51 psi. The next problem I need to take car of is the thermostat because the hottest it ever gets is 175 and I can't find a replacement over 185 degrees

BabyDiesel 03-30-2015 01:17 AM


Originally Posted by mazdamx640 (Post 473491)
Well I got my fist tank in and it returned 33 mpgs that's not bad considering the rear tires only had 11 and 20. So time to start ecomodding I removed the antenna and license plate bracket. I changed the oil to mobile 1 5w30 and aired the to 51 psi. The next problem I need to take car of is the thermostat because the hottest it ever gets is 175 and I can't find a replacement over 185 degrees

33 mpg with 2 near flat tires is a great start!

Be careful airing up the tires if they have dry rot cracks. I learned a lesson the hard way... 58 psi in 44 max psi tires with dry rot equalled tread seperation while driving :eek:

If you can't find a higher temp thermostat, block off your grill to raise the coolant temperatures :thumbup: go full block and trim some out if your coolant temps need it.

Fyi, Saturns seem to like warm air, so a WAI should help based on some other results in the past. Use the search bar to find out the exact parameters.

2000mc 03-30-2015 02:35 AM

You can put the antenna back on. Take off the trim along the front/top of the passenger door opening, take out the rear bolt of the antenna base, loosen the front bolt, and tilt the base rearward. You will then be able to screw the antenna back into the base and cover it under the door opening trim, then tighten the front base bolt

I ran a 94 h body on the same commute as the sc1. The sc1 could get 37mpg as easy as my olds 88 could get 25

CAPTAIN CHAOS 04-01-2015 09:22 AM

Ahhh, it does my heart good to see another Saturn guy out there. I’ve been driving an S-series (02’ SL2) for several years now. They’re about as boring as transportation gets but they will knock down some impressive mileage and are probably the cheapest and easiest thing on 4 wheels to keep going. :turtle:

Some tips:

-Definitely keep an eye on oil levels. I’ve personally seen anywhere from almost zero oil use to 2+qts between changes on a variety of different S-series. It seems to vary a decent amount so it’s REALLY important that you watch yours until you can establish just how much it uses.

-Go ahead and change the coolant temp sensor now (located on the cyl head; driver’s side; towards the bottom). Their well known for going bad and they’ll cost you a not-insignificant amount of mileage (2-3mpg EASY). As a perk, the part is generally around $10 (parts for these cars are INSANELY cheap! :thumbup: ) and it’s easy to change. Be careful with the wire and connector though as they’re a bit brittle. Also, you mostly likely won’t need any coolant (the sensor is in the water jacket) as you’ll probably only spill a few tablespoons if you have the new one in hand and screw it in immediately after removing the old one. It’s an easy 15min. job and, like I said, very cheap.

-Trans swap is an absolute must-do (though 40+mpg is easily do-able with the stock tranny). Get one from a single cam car; they bolt right up 100% (no fab work or changes of any kind required). The later ones (1998+) had a slightly taller 5th than the early ones, though the difference isn’t drastic (maybe 100rpm less at 60 w/ the newer one). Check to see if you have a Pull-A-Part local to you. My last Saturn trans swap came from there costing a whopping total of $80. Because of their oil usage issue it’s not hard to find S-Series that have been burnt-up by inattentive owners so their easy to find. As far as the actual swap; easy as pie. I removed my Pull-A-Part tranny, by myself, with nothing more than common hand tools, in less than 2hrs; easiest FWD you’ll ever pull. :thumbup: The trick is to remove 2 bolts from the subframe and loosen the other 2 to allow it to drop, and pull it out through the wheel-well. Though it looks like it would fit, I’ve not been able to pull one from the top. A complete trans swap can be done in an afternoon. As far as results, I saw about +2mpg ave. from the swap on my old SL2 (haven’t done it yet on my current one).
I’ll save you a MAJOR headache though and warn you to fill the clutch reservoir ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP before removing the slave cyl. from the trans. If it sucks air as it extends out when you remove it you will play heck getting it bled as they are, technically, sealed units with no bleeder provisions.

-Warm air does a little but I’ve never gotten spectacular results from it. Honestly, I’d put this in the ‘do it if you can find time’ category.

-Keep your shift points below 2000rpm. I’ve tried shifting at a variety of points and I’ve gotten my best, consistent-not one-time peak, mileage by shifting between 1800-2000rpm. These cars seem to thrive on high load-low rpm conditions. :turtle:

Really though, just getting it in prime running order (plugs, wires, O2, etc) and driving like you want mileage will have you at 40+. I average right between 40-42mpg from my twin cam, 5sp sedan (SL2) during the 8-9 decent months here (above freezing). Wintertime has me in the 36-38 range depending on how severe the weather.

mazdamx640 04-04-2015 02:18 PM

Thanks for the great advice! I'll have to get that sensor replace asap. Currently I'm trying to go 6 months without driving it because I got snapshot from progressive and I'm trying to get the full thirty percent. But while I'm not driving it I'll get a chance to swap the transmission, get 1.75" lowering springs and Aerocaps

California98Civic 04-04-2015 02:36 PM

Subscribed. I have always loved the look of these cars. Great platform for ecomods too. But I hope you don't delete the CAT. You don't need to do that to get great mileage. Lots of cars on here, including mine, testify to that. And deleting it really increases your car's pollution profile. I know you live in NE and it's nothing like CA, but still... you realkydon't need to delete it to get great FE, I swear.

Good luck!

mazdamx640 04-12-2015 11:06 AM

I finally put it on a lift Friday and judging by the welds on the cat I'd say it's already been knocked out so I'll probably cut the whole section out add a cherry bomb and remove the annoying ricer muffler. another problem I found while I was under there is the rear bumper it curves forward and is supposed to be bolted to the car but it's just hanging down like a parachute so I'll have to get that fixed before I leave town. I need to get a decent camera before I start modding this thing

mazdamx640 04-13-2015 01:49 PM

Update I finally ordered new rear tires since mine are in bad condition and I want less drag. I'm going from the stock 195/60R15 to bfg t/a 155/80R15

mazdamx640 04-29-2015 08:21 PM

!Got the 155 bgfs installed on the rear there only rated for 35 psi but I've got 42 in em. I replace the coolant temperature sensor,thermostat and 02 sensor and it finally reads about half way on the temp gauge from just under a quarter. With these skinny tires on the back it looks like I've got lots of room for wheel skirts. I'm also planning on using a 2 way switch and a couple resistors to replace the air intake temp sensor with a economy mode at 197 degrees and a performance mode at 50 degrees
Sorry about the quality of the pics my phones lense is scratched

Daox 04-30-2015 09:32 AM

Those are some good repairs. They should help bump up that 33 mpg average ya got!

austingsx 04-30-2015 11:28 AM

I'd pull the spark plugs and check them for coolant leaking into the cylinders... Between the low coolant light in the 1'st set of pics and the coolant cap being off in the second set of pics and the misfire, I'd bet it has a warped head from being overheated at some point.

mazdamx640 04-30-2015 02:17 PM

It no longer has a misfire it's been running great I think the misfire was from sitting for a couple years. The cap was off because I was adding coolant from having replaced the thermostat. But it couldn't to check I'll pry get to it this weekend

mazdamx640 05-03-2015 01:40 PM

I replace the ricer muffler and resonator with a cherry bomb, new fuel filter, replaced lower motor mount and replaced the ait sensor with a 220 ohm resistor.

mazdamx640 05-14-2015 06:36 PM

My camera sucks but rain gutter sideskirts!

BabyDiesel 05-18-2015 10:30 PM

Looks good! Have you seen any improvements with your modifications?

mazdamx640 05-19-2015 12:27 AM

Thanks and I couldn't say for sure because I try to drive it as little as possible till my 6 month progressive snapshot is over with on October 11Th
So far I'm at a 21% discount but hope to have it closer to 30% by then. I made the side skirts easily removable so I'll be able to do some aba testing when I can plug my ultragauge back in

mazdamx640 05-19-2015 12:34 AM

On a side note I removed the intake resistor it made the car undriveable between 1000 and 2000 rpm it stuttered and jerked without any power at all requiring full throttle to accelerate then hits 2000rpm and takes off

arcosine 05-22-2015 11:01 AM

I have a boat tail that will fit the back of that Saturn. It has had extensive testing. (no pun intended)

mazdamx640 05-22-2015 03:05 PM

I like the idea of a boat tail but I'm not a fan of the way they look. I've been thinking about a kamback but that's the farthest I'm willing to go aero wise

spacemanspif 05-22-2015 07:26 PM

The resonator cured the problem between 1 and 2k RPM? I never had any problem with mine on the 95...oh wait I deleted that on day 1 along with the wheel covers lol. While the car is sitting take some time to clean the throttlebody and EGR do some other basic maintence things that will help get better MPG when it comes time to start driving.

mazdamx640 07-02-2015 02:23 PM

I finally got in my second tank of fuel and got 37.75 allot better than my first tank but short of my 45 mpg goal. I should start doing even better in October when I can take out my snapshot device and plug my ultra gauge. My next project is probably going to be replacing my harmonic balancer because it has a bit of wobble to it I'm just not sure if I want a direct replacement or a obx under drive pulley. I want to find out if these engines can handle no balancer. I'm also going to get a shorter belt to delete the a/c and p/s while I'm at it

mazdamx640 07-02-2015 02:28 PM


Originally Posted by spacemanspif (Post 480573)
The resonator cured the problem between 1 and 2k RPM? I never had any problem with mine on the 95...oh wait I deleted that on day 1 along with the wheel covers lol. While the car is sitting take some time to clean the throttlebody and EGR do some other basic maintence things that will help get better MPG when it comes time to start driving.

I fixed the not running right 1-2k by removing the resistor and replacing it with the original ait sensor.I'm always on top of maintenance but will have to get around to cleaning the throttle body and egr I'll pry order the gaskets first tho

mazdamx640 12-07-2015 10:40 PM

The Saturn is in need of a alternator rebuild and I would like to improve fuel economy while I'm at it I'm going to upgrade the alternator by replacing the stator I have 3 options 140 180 or 220 amps the stock only being 96. Is there anything I can do to for better mpgs while I'm at it? Also I'm going to delete the ac and ps

austingsx 12-07-2015 11:29 PM

I have a 1-wire converted alternator off my 97 SC2 if you are interested. It is date stamped 5-10 from the conversion and full rebuild. It is in excellent shape and has about 1 year of normal street use on it, boxed and sitting in my garage since.

Also have an SDS standalone engine management system up for grabs.

mazdamx640 12-10-2015 02:22 PM

Thanks but I think a 1 wire would be a step in the wrong direction because I might want to add a switch to disable it at times. I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to get a cheap dc to dc converter for the coils to run on 16 volts and increase the gap on the plugs?

BabyDiesel 12-10-2015 02:33 PM

I'd go with the 220, or the one with the best warranty. Then have a disable switch. The higher amp alternator should recharge quicker than the measly stock 96 amp. I think Balto has mentioned that a bigger alternator is better for mpgs due to it having to "work" less to charge.

I would see how much of a gap you can go before there is misfires. I have 0.070" gap on my ZX2, stock is 0.048". I do know that with a Coil-On-Plug conversionm I could run 0.15" if I wanted. You may be surprised what the stock coil is capable of.

Also, I think Daox tried the Dc-to-DC converter thingy recently, and it failed.

Daox 12-10-2015 02:35 PM

I wired it incorrectly. It can be done if you know what you're doing. :D

mazdamx640 01-29-2016 07:33 PM

Finally getting around to my alternator I got it pulled today and found out it's a cs121d not a cs130. I ordered brushes rectifier and a adjustable voltage regulator but it's for a cs130 so I got a standard regulator in case it doesn't fit. For bearing I ordered micro blue ceramic bearings. While I had the belt off I spun the water pump by hand and it made a sound best described as a whales mating call so that's getting replaced too.

mazdamx640 01-30-2016 06:14 PM

Old vs new

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:03 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.5.2
All content copyright