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My 99 SC1 ... or... asthematic squirrels can still turn the cage...

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  • My 99 SC1 ... or... asthematic squirrels can still turn the cage...


    So… This post is mostly for us that have 4 asthmatic squirrels in a cage sunk in molasses cars… yup… SOHC S-Series cars… SC1/SL1’s … This post is in several parts… my car as I bought it… what I did to make it a reliable/dependable daily driver… what I have upgraded on it and what I plan to do in the near future…

    My involvement with Saturns started in 1998 when I acquired a 1997 SL2 manual… I had that car till 2015 when it left with my brother to venture cross-country to his new home… so I do have had some experience with Saturn S-Series cars and with the DOHC version… In 2017 I needed another grocery getter so I looked for another Saturn… unfortunately the only thing I found was a “well used” 1999 SC1… for a dear price of $600… a bit much for what it was but around here it was what was available… but it did run and didn’t smoke… which was better than anything else I looked at for under $1500...

    1. The car… It’s a 1999 SC1… The bad: it had a deer involved cracked right front fender, torn front driver’s seat, torn headliner… mechanically it had clutch issues, intake manifold leak, starting issues, crunchy cat, stock 14” wheels and narrow stock tires (175x70x4), , and a home installed 24” resonator at the rear on a 1 7/8’’ straight pipe… The Good: electric windows, 5-speed manual, cruise control, suspension parts still good, engine cradle good...

    2. What I did to make it a reliable/dependable daily driver… I replaced the cracked front fender (jy special in the same color fortunately), replaced the front seats with SC2 seats (from the same jy and car)… replaced stock and worn tires with 195x65x14 all season tires (I bought the car in winter and no one had 205x60x14’s)… replaced clutch and hydraulics… replaced intake manifold gasket (number one branch had a tear in the gasket next to the port)… bypassed the “keyless” lock and security module for the ignition/start circuit… replaced O2’s and cat with a high flow cat… installed a 7" tablet with TorquePro mated to a bluetooth diagnostic port dongle with all that done, the car became a decent little grocery getter…

    3. Recent Upgrades… installed an oil catch can between PCV and intake manifold… replaced botched air intake system with a modified cold air intake…

    4. Planned upgrade with tax refund money… do a full brake job… and install an upgraded cat back exhaust system… repair headliner...

    5. Some observations I’ve noticed and/or encountered… researched and talked to our local race car builder/tuner/driver (dirt track) about cat back exhaust for the car… considering that the SOHC cars have a limited rpm range and power (red line is 5500, hp tops at 100 @ 5000, torque comes on at 2400 with “usable” power from 2500 to 5000 rpms) compared to the DOHC cars, exhaust velocity is critical at the lower rpm ranges to keep from losing torque in the low to midrange rpms… the original idea was to upgrade the 1 7/8’’ exhaust to a 2 1/4’’ exhaust… but we figured that system was more fitting for a DOHC engine with the power acquired at a substantial higher rpm range… for the little SOHC, to keep the exhaust velocity up at a much lower rpm range, a smaller pipe size would work much better… so… we decided to go with a 2’’ cat back with a 18’’ resonator amidship and a Magnaflow Turbo XL at the tail… that is to be installed in about two weeks… I’ll update this report after that is done…
    Another thing I verified is that the SOHC S-Series cars do indeed have a lower top speed cutoff… my old 97 SL2 would do a bit over 110 mph before the cutoff engaged… this SC1 will cut out at exactly 108 mph… and a Camaro is faster … Hehehe… he didn’t like that I passed him but at 108 mph… stutter, stutter, stutter…


  • #2
    My '99 has crank windows - love 'em. My '98 has electric windows - hate them. I need to replace the driver's side. I'd like to upgrade the car to hand crank.
    '99 SL2, 5SP bought new
    Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
    Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
    '98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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    • #3
      my 97 SL2 had manual crank windows... things were so tight that you almost had to use two hands to roll them up and down... tried to re-grease them and adjust the linkage but to no avail...

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