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Oval_Overload 10-26-2009 01:36 PM

The Little Red Build Thread
Hello fellow Geeks!
I bring you the build thread for SCarlet, my tiny stick-shift SATURN SC1.
She came from Spring Hill already tuned to get great mileage, and I've proven she can (44 MPG!).

For the Ecomodders who are unfamiliar with me and my car, I hail from Minnesota, the tenth planet from the sun (thats why its so bloody cold here). I commute a million-billion miles to Minneapolis Tech where I attend the Cinema Division. I acquired SCarlet this past Independence day from a friend. They knew I am into Saturns, so when their shiny new G3 Prius got delivered early and they needed to unload the Saturn quick (they live in a condo, so parking space is in high demand) they called me. After the test drive, the gentleman asked if I wanted to buy it. I said 'yes!' and he asked how much I had on me. "$20"
I later donated parts and did some audio work on his daughters Taurus.

For $20, trading a stereo, and 3 or 4 hours of labor, I acquired a
street legal car (thats a big deal in my household... the doors in my old car had a habit of popping open in corners. WooHoo!).

When I get caught up on my schoolwork, I'll be laying the mods on heavy, so I thought it was high time to start a build thread.

What I've done so far:
-Cleaned the EGR system
-Replaced the gas cap (vacuum leak)
-Fixed the faulty Idle Air Control wiring (it now idles at 700 to 1100 RPM instead of 2500 RPM
-Removed the spoiler (the benefits of this are debatable)
-weight reduction... I think my shop vac weighed two pounds more after I cleaned SCarlet:p
-Installed a Kenwood that I paid too much for. I count this as an ecomod because it makes spending the extra time to drive the slow lane bearable. You haven't heard a bad stereo until you've heard a Saturn stereo. Ouch.

And now The Short List: things I plan to do in the near future...
-Move my number plate lower to improve aero and block 1/3 of the grill.
-Block heater- I have a magnetic oil pan heater. Should I use something else?
-Install my MPGunio- A new ATmega is in the mail :)
-Install a volt meter
-Switch the alternator's field coil
-Move the radio mast
-Make a more aerodynamic spoiler
-Pizza pans!
-Kill switch

The long list: way-in-teh future projects...
-Rear wheel skirts
-Deep cycle battery
-Manual steering
-LED running light conversion
-Paint the roof white to keep the car cool
-Sound and heat insulation... somewhat to lower the load on the HVAC, but mostly because this is a LOUD car
-Aeromod the headlights
-120 VAC rear defroster... so I don't have to draw on battery power

Any other suggestions boys?


P.S. Jeff, If your reading this, your kindness is greatly appreciated. I sill feel I owe you for the car.

cfg83 10-26-2009 06:13 PM

Oval_Overload -

Sounds like SCarlet is back on track. Here are a few comments on your todo list :


-Sound and heat insulation... somewhat to lower the load on the HVAC, but mostly because this is a LOUD car.
- You may have a worn out top motor mount :
Two Top Motor Mount Fixes in one day ... - SaturnFans Forums
Probably won't fix all the noise, but may put a dent in it.


-Aeromod the headlights
- In my pre-Ecomodder daze, I used to have headlight covers on my SC2. But I can't remember if they gave it the "flush" look or not.

And don't forget the side skirts! -


Oval_Overload 10-27-2009 02:50 AM

Carlos, next time i make it out to Cali, I'm buying you dinner.

As for the headlights, Lowes sells headlight-sized pieces of Lexan :)

I went to Walmart and picked up my new hubcaps after work... 16" pizza pans, made in the US of A if you can believe it. I hate Walmart, but nothing else is open when my shift ends at 11:15 pm.

Oval_Overload 11-02-2009 03:05 PM

Life works in strange ways...
I've stumbled into a side job helping the local Zap/Miles/Wheego mechanic.

At the shop, we've got a collection of old Discover batteries lying around that I could get for next to nothing, which got my grey matter a-turnin'

I've already talked about deleting the alternator on SCarlett and EV batteries would work great for that, but last week I got trained on eGo scooter repair...

...The eGo is a fairly punchy little vehicle powered by a 2 HP DC motor the size of a coffee can. It runs on two 12v deep-cycle batteries in series, and the controller is capable of regenerative braking

Regen! Woo!

If I were to fit the motor to the bracket the PS pump used (provided the proper pulley could be adapted) I would have a very powerful 24 volt alternator/starter combo (BAS anyone? Anyone? Bueller?).

My first-draft control scheme for this monstrosity goes like this:
~In-gear braking already shuts the engine off, so I'd leave that alone (DFCO) and engage regen
~Shift to neutral with the hybrid system active, and the engine shuts down
~Put it in gear and slowly let out the clutch and the motor spins the engine up, activating the injection while the clutch grabs
~While cruising the 24v system does nothing. No regen, no boost

Let the scheming begin!

Oval_Overload 11-08-2009 05:12 AM

*yawn* What do YOU do at midnight on a Saturday?

I bolt cookware to my car.

I give you my aerodisc prototype:

After much deliberation (because its sooo important o.0 ) David The Hardware Store Guy and I settled on screwing three bolts through my hubcaps and bolting the pizza pan down with wingnuts and lockwashers.

For comparison's sake, here is the unaltered wheel

cfg83 11-08-2009 02:22 PM

Oval_Overload -

Good job. You definitely need the bolts on an S-Series. On the snap-ins I used to have, I'd always lose the front passenger cover. My theory was that the "assymetry" of the driveline led to some wierd torque thingy on the front passenger wheel when you ran over potholes.

I am guessing the pizza pans do not "bow out" like the racing disks. If they did, you'd need to be careful at car washes where the wheel is "grabbed" by the conveyor belt.


Oval_Overload 11-08-2009 02:40 PM

The bolts hold pan pretty flat and solid. I'm thinking of switching to hex nuts because the wing nuts look ridiculous. It would be less convenient, but I always keep a toolbox in the trunk.

Oval_Overload 11-09-2009 02:28 AM

So far so good with my pizza pan mod. Its solid as a rock. I got into an argument with the burrito-making guy at work over the proper way to attach housewares to a vehicle. By the end, he was ranting in Spanish, so I'm gonna assume I won :P

In other news, my number plate mod is gonna take some work... the fugly black bracket is screwed on from the inside of the bumper.
AND... Its time for *dramatic pause* a brake job!
I think I'm going to try to pilfer a four wheel disk system from the JY. These drummies are useless.

Oval_Overload 11-12-2009 03:32 AM

Ceramic pads are sexy. My left caliper was jammed creating massive brake drag... that explains why my last two tanks only netted me 33 mpg. In other news, I finally found the brackets that hold the spare tire. Its so nice to not hear that bouncing around all day long.

While under the car, I discovered the muffler wasn't really attached to the body, so when I do my motor mounts I'll fix that.

I just picked up a pair of Deka Dominator batteries from work. They had been used for 6 months in a Zap Xebra. EV batteries! Yay! Now to disconnect that alternator...

Today I drove a Wheego Whip. Its a fabulous car. I passed a Hyundai. On the freeway. Oh my 0.o


PS if anyone needs Deka Dominators, we've got 4 more used ones for sale cheap. They are in Minneapolis

Oval_Overload 11-14-2009 02:40 AM

My milage is creeping back up again! woo!

I spent far too long fighting with the auto-parts store people for a muffler bracket (they sold me one for a J body) so I went to the hardware store and bought 3 feet of galvanized cable to hang my muffler from. Saved myself $15, and the mysterious clunk is gone :) Tomorrow will be motor mount day.

I stopped to help a lady who's Prizm bit the dust on the freeway. She never checked the oil which probably caused some sort of pressure problem in the already weak oil pump. Spun itself apart... CHECK YOUR DAMN OIL, people.

Have an interesting night,

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