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Old 12-06-2016, 12:50 AM   #1
Bilonix
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Idea 1993 Saturn SL2 Reliability?

I got a 93 saturn sl2.
120,000kms on the engine, it's solid. It's got the full stock DOHC 1.9 L I4 LL0 twin cam 16 valve.
Anyone know much about this engine? I'm not to sure what it can handle.
I want to run this car hard, it seems like a solid building block.

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Old 12-06-2016, 08:53 AM   #2
Saturn Night
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Default Re: 1993 Saturn SL2 Reliability?

Turbocharged LL0 engines can take up to a short run of 20psi boost pressure without failing, though I wouldn't recommend doing that often.

In terms of reliability, the LL0 is a rugged, but noisy rattle trap engine. Just keep a very close watch on your oil level. The oil control rings eventually fail, and even though you won't have smoke, your oil level will get low. Running in the crosshatched areas of you dipstick will cause premature wear on the timing chain, and getting below the crosshatched area will tear up the valve guide, further worsening the oil consumption problem.

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Old 12-06-2016, 11:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1993 Saturn SL2 Reliability?

I like the earlier ones and it will take a beating, which is what it needs to get up the speed limit.

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Old 12-06-2016, 11:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1993 Saturn SL2 Reliability?

Wait, do you want it to be reliable, or are you wanting to run it hard?

You may want to tell us more about yourself (skills and budget) and the car (your plans for it - daily driver, drag car, circle track, etc?)

Cheap, reliable, powerful - pick any two.

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Old 12-06-2016, 12:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1993 Saturn SL2 Reliability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn Night View Post
Turbocharged LL0 engines can take up to a short run of 20psi boost pressure without failing, though I wouldn't recommend doing that often.
I wouldn't test that theory on a stock engine.

So your car only has 74,564 miles then? Keep oil in it, and keep ahead of under frame rust and enjoy your next cheap 10-20 years of driving.

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Old 12-06-2016, 04:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1993 Saturn SL2 Reliability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn Night View Post
Turbocharged LL0 engines can take up to a short run of 20psi boost pressure without failing, though I wouldn't recommend doing that often.

In terms of reliability, the LL0 is a rugged, but noisy rattle trap engine. Just keep a very close watch on your oil level. The oil control rings eventually fail, and even though you won't have smoke, your oil level will get low. Running in the crosshatched areas of you dipstick will cause premature wear on the timing chain, and getting below the crosshatched area will tear up the valve guide, further worsening the oil consumption problem.
Good to know, thank you! When I bought it, the oil level was so low and dirty i was shocked, I had an auto shop do a full flush. I'll always keep it at the top of the hashed markings though, thank you!
Sounds like this is a solid little engine

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Old 12-06-2016, 05:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1993 Saturn SL2 Reliability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
Wait, do you want it to be reliable, or are you wanting to run it hard?

You may want to tell us more about yourself (skills and budget) and the car (your plans for it - daily driver, drag car, circle track, etc?)

Cheap, reliable, powerful - pick any two.
I guess I used the wrong word for the title hahaha. I want to run it hard, because i almost need to floor it to get up to speed sometimes hhahahaaha.
I do autocross in my little civic and I have been driving for a good few years... legally.... lol. I greew up on a farm so tons of unlicensed experience haha
I want this car as a daily, not a track car, I don't plan to turbo it, I just want to do what I can to it so that I know it's solid enough to handle being floored at least a few times a day haha.
So far it seems like a solid little engine. I've replaces spark plugs and coils and air filter and PCV Valve and have given it brand new fluids for every single fluid it has.
Thanks for everything

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Old 12-06-2016, 09:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1993 Saturn SL2 Reliability?

If you plan on beating it with WOT hole shots, you may want to switch to synthetic oil, as well.

While I am not a fan of the "synthetic hype"(mainly due to my very limited budget), synthetic oils DO make an engine operate at slightly lower temps and keep your bearings a little cleaner. They resist heat much better than conventional oil. If you are burning oil, switching to synthetic can reduce your oil consumption as well.

I prefer the OBD-I era of cars, because you can remove the cat without getting into the issues of having to put a spark plug fouler where the cat used to be. It is a $10 part, but unless you want to deal with stainless steel under your car, I can't justify it as "easy" as a hacksaw, some U-Clamps, and an 18" piece of straight pipe.

Plus, older cars seem to have less issues, than newer cars. 2nd Gen (96-99) were a good run for the S-Series, 3rd Gens seem to be the worst because GM switched to plastic intake manifolds(that like to crack the coolant tube on DOHC engines, with SOHC engines having issues with intake gasket failure).

...
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1995 Saturn SC2 @ 183k - DOHC w/auto 1qt/100mi

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Old 12-06-2016, 09:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1993 Saturn SL2 Reliability?

And keep your oil level ABOVE THE LINE, by at least 3/16" of an inch. Oil consumption gets much worse once you are at, or under, the line. This is die to internal oil temperatures getting above 190F.

There are external oil cooling kits available for the S-Series, as well as Transmission cooler kits.

I plan on getting both, at some point, especially for the transmission because I have an automatic MP7

...
1991 Pontiac Grand Am @ 142k - Iron Duke w/auto
1995 Saturn SC2 @ 183k - DOHC w/auto 1qt/100mi

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Old 12-07-2016, 04:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1993 Saturn SL2 Reliability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilonix View Post
I
I want this car as a daily, not a track car, I don't plan to turbo it, I just want to do what I can to it so that I know it's solid enough to handle being floored at least a few times a day haha.
Oh, yeah, the engine should be able to handle that with no problem. Engine feels pretty weak until you hit around 3500 rpms.

Best to keep the engine oil above the hash-marks, as mentioned, but below the 2nd "L" in the word "Full"

I'd think the weak spots would be the differential pin (not a problem if you are already moving and have traction when you floor it), and - if your passenger side half-axle shaft has the rubber damper - the passenger side axle.

...
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12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

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