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Old 11-03-2017, 11:30 AM   #1
kevans
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Default Whoever designed where the starter is...

ought to be shot.

New guy here. Bought an 02 SC2 for my step son back in January. A good car. 5 speed. Fun to drive.

This has been the biggest pita work on a car I've ever done. I'm not a major mechanic. I can do simple things.
This should be simple. Whoever thought the starter should go where
it is is laughing at all of us who has changed it. I've been working
on my SC2 for 2 hours and can't get the top bolt out. I've done the mirror
trick to see it, got my socket on the bolt, but just can't get enough leverage
to get it off. I had to take a break to vent out my frustrations. I'm going
back out to continue my adventure.

Don't get me started on the oil filter location.

Done with rant. Back to your regular programming.

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Old 11-03-2017, 11:51 AM   #2
laser3kw
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

you wouldn't want some of the other GM products where the starter is under the intake manifold....

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Old 11-03-2017, 12:02 PM   #3
toggenburg
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

OP has probably has had very little exposure to starter changeouts and oil filter work....most everyother car is far worse.
Where would he locate it, in the glove box, under the seat, on the roof or hood?
Maybe he never had one of those Dodge's with the battery INSIDE the passenger fender.
Try to jump start or replace that battery quickly!

Errrr, hopefully the starter still worked enough to drive up on ramps, it is much easier to get leverage when you have enough ground clearance.

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Old 11-03-2017, 12:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

I know it may or may not help, but here is Richpin's video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRqE9cqnn7g

...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

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1/15

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Always
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:33 PM   #5
Waiex191
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

Does not seem bad to me. I've done it a few times. My 16 year old does both starters and oil changes on the Saturn now. His first time was the most challenging, now he is a pro.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, owned since new
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Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!

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Old 11-03-2017, 12:35 PM   #6
saturny
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

Replacing the starter is really rather easy if you just use a deep socket with an extension... and just go by feel. Then when reinstalling that top bolt, you can get it to stick in the socket with some electrical tape. You just need a general idea where the hole is because it's obviously not visible. The whole remove and reinstall shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes.

...
2000 Saturn SL1 (w/ DOHC) automatic - 257k

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Old 11-03-2017, 01:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevans View Post
Don't get me started on the oil filter location.
Beat me to it

Done the starter twice and thought it was a PITA both times. Better the 2nd time of course, and I also used tape on the top bolt.

On the oil filter, got spoiled by my '02 Caravan w 3.3L. Oil filter is right out in front, reach under the bumper and there she is. And, it sits upright (end up) so no oil spills when removing, if you can keep the filter level. My '09 Caravan with 4.0L has it moved out behind the passenger tire, horizontal. Ugh.

not my pic (from yotatech), but a comparison of the extended length PL20195 I use in the Saturn vs the PL 30001 for the van. It would be nice if it fits (never tried it, but doubt it would clear the axle)


...
I'm not worthy to grovel in the shadow of Signmaster's wisdom

11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 124k DD
7/2010 Craigslist white 1997 SC2 project
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

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Old 11-03-2017, 03:02 PM   #8
Waiex191
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

The oil filter was designed to prevent rust on the passenger side subframe. We need another one on the driver's side.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, owned since new
5 speed manual
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!

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Old 11-03-2017, 06:02 PM   #9
Saturn Night
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1995 SC2
Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevans View Post
ought to be shot.

New guy here. Bought an 02 SC2 for my step son back in January. A good car. 5 speed. Fun to drive.

This has been the biggest pita work on a car I've ever done. I'm not a major mechanic. I can do simple things.
This should be simple. Whoever thought the starter should go where
it is is laughing at all of us who has changed it. I've been working
on my SC2 for 2 hours and can't get the top bolt out. I've done the mirror
trick to see it, got my socket on the bolt, but just can't get enough leverage
to get it off. I had to take a break to vent out my frustrations. I'm going
back out to continue my adventure.

Don't get me started on the oil filter location.

Done with rant. Back to your regular programming.
When you are done ranting, that bolt is very easy to get to, with a 3/8" ratchet, a 6" extension, and a 13mm deep-well socket. It is a perfect fit to get the ratchet into the open area above the jack shaft assembly and just past the body of the starter.

The oil filter is very easy, provided you are willing to buy an oil filter wrench, and can be swapped by pulling the passenger side tire. No need to crawl under the car, to do an oil change. Simply jack the car up, on the passenger side(this is stated in the owner's manual, as well, for filter changes) and remove the plastic cover from the wheel well.

I swapped out my starter, 4 times(had a bad starter, got a bad starter, and the third time was testing the old starter, 4 try was a good starter) in less than 2 hours.

...
1991 Pontiac Grand Am @ 140k - More rust than paint & no leaks
1995 Saturn SC2 @ 181k - 17.2538 @ 77.91mph w/Stock TB
Mechanic: I can't fix stupid, but I can fix what stupid does.

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Old 11-03-2017, 06:04 PM   #10
Saturn Night
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

Quote:
Originally Posted by laser3kw View Post
you wouldn't want some of the other GM products where the starter is under the intake manifold....
Fortunately, Cadillac Northstar V8s typically have all blown their head gaskets, a very long tike ago. So, mechanics no longer have to deal with stripping the entire top end to change them.

Although, the Catera/Vue/L-Series boat anchor V6 wasn't much better. Thank God most of those have all went to the wrecking yards with bad timing belt tensioners and blown head gaskets as well.

...
1991 Pontiac Grand Am @ 140k - More rust than paint & no leaks
1995 Saturn SC2 @ 181k - 17.2538 @ 77.91mph w/Stock TB
Mechanic: I can't fix stupid, but I can fix what stupid does.

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Old 11-03-2017, 06:10 PM   #11
hoosierrun
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

Quote:
Originally Posted by laser3kw View Post
you wouldn't want some of the other GM products where the starter is under the intake manifold....

The worst starters to change out on any car I worked on were the early Chrysler K car front WD, 4 cylinder econoboxes. The starter was under the exhaust manifold and almost up against the firewall. The early 80's carb models had AIR tubes, valves, and an air pump (emission stuff) that had to be removed to get to one of the bolts. Those steel tubes were always rusted on solid. It was just a nightmare.

Just trying to get the battery cable off was tough because the steering rack and CV axles made it nearly impossible to get any working room. You couldn't do it from the top because the engine was almost up to the firewall and steel brake lines insured you were not going to get a wrench or ratchet in there.

...
John.... 2006 Saturn Vue, 2.2, 186,000 miles Recently junked out - (threw a rod)

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Old 11-04-2017, 08:20 AM   #12
onlinebiker
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

I' ve got nerve problems in my hands , so " by feel" can be tough...

I take off the passenger's side wheel off, and remove the liner.

You can then see everything -- and if you use a long extension, you can even get full turns on your ratchet...

It's almost a sit down job with the car on a lift...

...
driveable

92 SC2
93 SC2
95 SC2
96 SC2
97 SL2
97 SC2
02 SC2
02 SL2

parts
2 94 SC2 parted out
2 96 SC2
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Old 11-04-2017, 10:00 AM   #13
Waiex191
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1999 SL2
Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

Also, I'll second saturny's input.
Quote:
Replacing the starter is really rather easy if you just use a deep socket with an extension... and just go by feel.
With an extension you can swing the ratchet and get all the leverage you need. When removing, take out the hidden bolt first. When replacing, hidden bolt goes in last.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, owned since new
5 speed manual
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!

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Old 11-04-2017, 11:47 AM   #14
magician22773
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

I will say, I do know how the OP feels. Took me forever to change the starter the first time. Especially if you are a guy with bigger forearms, it really can be a PITA to get that top bolt.

Using a mirror, and good lighting makes it easier, and using the EXACT tools listed above it the KEY.

When reinstalling, putting in a stud and using a nut in place of the top bolt will help ... and it is somewhat common to get bad replacement starters for S-Series, so I would recommend this. (Although, the second time around is always much easier.

As for the oil filter, as mentioned, you can get to it pretty easily through the wheel well, or with the correct filter wrench. And yes, its going to be messy since its horizontal.

...
1994 SC2 Retired
1996 SL "FrankenSaturn"
1998 SL2 FrankenSaturn's Body Donor
2004 Vue "What was I thinking?"
2001 SL1 100k Mile Baby Blue Beauty
1999 SL2 Thank You Tiger!

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Old 11-07-2017, 10:55 PM   #15
ratwhisperer
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

The first time I had to change the starter on one of my Saturns; I felt exactly the same way, so I do get how he feels. Really. But seriously; after doing it once, it made more sense and wasn't so bad the next time.

...
Past:
1995 SW2 - Cynthia - sold 246K
2000 SW2 - Ruby - sold 165k
2004 Vue - Jade - traded in
1996 SL2 - Ursula - sold 223K

Current:
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Old 11-12-2017, 12:19 PM   #16
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
Maybe he never had one of those Dodge's with the battery INSIDE the passenger fender.
Try to jump start or replace that battery quickly!

Errrr, hopefully the starter still worked enough to drive up on ramps, it is much easier to get leverage when you have enough ground clearance.
Oh god...I had to change the battery in a late 90's Chrysler 300M. I was a little irritated when I had to remove the tire, but then all the fender clips/screws were seized and snapped off when trying to access the battery cover. What a garbage design...you can clearly tell the battery location was an afterthought.

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Old 11-12-2017, 05:03 PM   #17
MikeNW
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Default Re: Whoever designed where the starter is...

I hear ya.
Years ago, I had a VW Rabbit 1.6, the starter was RIGHT IN FRONT and the oil filter was RIGHT IN FRONT of you. And the alternator was RIGHT IN FRONT. (Good thing, because they failed often )

The Saturn 1.9 starter is easier to get at, from below the car.
The oil filter is easier to change, if you remove the rt. front wheel, and 2 splash panels (2 push pins total).

Overall, the Saturn is not that bad to repair. I can do a clutch R&R in a day (an amateur) without pulling the engine. Battery is convenient.

Good luck, take a break, ya need the right state of mind.

...
97 SL. Born 6/5/97, bought 7/7/97
08 Burgman 400
02 Haro MTB- can't kill it, still trying though

The Schofield Kid: Yeah, well, I guess they had it coming.
Will Munny: We all got it coming, kid.

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