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Old 10-16-2016, 12:06 AM   #1
cpy911
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Thumbs Up New to me '96 coupe and my journey

EDIT: My PDF file is too large to upload and I don't have permission to post a link. Ugh. You might be able to copy and paste this:
tinyurl.com/zskw4mv

I am a new to me Saturn owner. I just really appreciate this site and all of your amazing technical knowledge. I wanted to share some of my journey, so I made a PDF style slideshow. See link above.

I purchased the car last month (Sept. 2016) from my neighbor:
It was grandma’s 1996 SC2 Coupe from San Diego! 81K Miles! 1.9 DOHC, A/T. No rust!

The bad: The passenger door would not open due to the granddaughter hitting a stop sign. How do you T-bone a stop sign? I could see light frame damage and damage to rocker panel, but was still hanging on! Local frame shop said not worth fixing, nothing major, just drive it! Got the car for a song and its a Saturn that wants to soldier on for another day. Something special about these cars!

Done so far: Changed oil, A/T fluid and filter, brass tipped temp sensor, cooling fan switch relay, new radiator reservoir cap, cut out bad parts of headliner, cleaning, air in tires and managed to get the passenger door to open and close!

Major to do's: Need to weld a plate over a small hole in the floor pan from stop sign. Tweak the frame out some more so a new plastic rail can be riveted on. Replace TAM motor mount, cuz it vibrates! Possibly replace two tires that are kind of looking rotten.

See some pictures, would like your opinion on where to find my plastic parts...see tinyurl.com/zskw4mv

Thank you and you guys rock!

Last edited by cpy911; 10-16-2016 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

You're going to have to drive around to junk yards and pull off the parts you need. Shipping a door panel will be too expensive. If you can find a 1st gen red coupe, you won't have to repaint. OEM Saturn wheels in junkyards by me are $10 a piece so it may be worth your time to just pickup a used one that's not bent.

If you don't want to visit junkyards, you could probably locate a door panel on ebay for $100 or so.

The weld job you're doing to pull the metal straight is how I would do it. Get it as straight as you can and then use some body filler to smooth everything out.
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Old 10-16-2016, 07:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Here's the link to your file
...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
2001 SL1 MT (438,500 km 11y)
1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Like this one.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/96-97-98-99-...xUsAHA&vxp=mtr

Or this one is even cheaper!
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2002-saturn-...xXPwN9&vxp=mtr
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Wow, you must have gotten that car for a song! Post more pics!
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Old 10-16-2016, 03:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
He has a 96 coupe, you listed door panels that won't fit for his application. The only door panel that would fit would be from a 91-96 coupe.
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Old 10-16-2016, 03:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macgyver View Post
He has a 96 coupe, you listed door panels that won't fit for his application. The only door panel that would fit would be from a 91-96 coupe.
Actually it is the lower rocker panel that goes under the door.
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Old 10-16-2016, 03:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Rednecking a chassis pull to straighten it is always interesting since there's always a way do some things without expensive tools and equipment. Hope this works you.

From picture#3, is the wheel in the background showing severe camber or is it just shadows and the angle the snapshot was taken? The severe rim damage may be from skidding/sliding into a curb before the stop sign post creased the lower chassis. Any other signs of sudden impact damage transferred to suspension parts? Once the tire is removed, some hammering and filing should restore this steel rim back to full use.
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Old 10-16-2016, 03:50 PM   #9
cpy911
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1996 SC2
Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Rednecking a chassis pull to straighten it is always interesting since there's always a way do some things without expensive tools and equipment. Hope this works you.

From picture#3, is the wheel in the background showing severe camber or is it just shadows and the angle the snapshot was taken? The severe rim damage may be from skidding/sliding into a curb before the stop sign post creased the lower chassis. Any other signs of sudden impact damage transferred to suspension parts? Once the tire is removed, some hammering and filing should restore this steel rim back to full use.
Picture #3 looks bad for camber, but camera phone is at a funky angle. The tire has even wear on on, it is good to go.

I am planning on doing TAM engine mount and T-stat next. Then it looks like junkyard for the rocker panel and rail (rivets to frame for mounting of rocker panel)

I found this, but kind of pricey...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/121540755039...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
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Old 10-16-2016, 03:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpy911 View Post
EDIT: My PDF file is too large to upload and I don't have permission to post a link. Ugh. You might be able to copy and paste this:
tinyurl.com/zskw4mv

I am a new to me Saturn owner. I just really appreciate this site and all of your amazing technical knowledge. I wanted to share some of my journey, so I made a PDF style slideshow. See link above.

I purchased the car last month (Sept. 2016) from my neighbor:
It was grandma’s 1996 SC2 Coupe from San Diego! 81K Miles! 1.9 DOHC, A/T. No rust!

The bad: The passenger door would not open due to the granddaughter hitting a stop sign. How do you T-bone a stop sign? I could see light frame damage and damage to rocker panel, but was still hanging on! Local frame shop said not worth fixing, nothing major, just drive it! Got the car for a song and its a Saturn that wants to soldier on for another day. Something special about these cars!

Done so far: Changed oil, A/T fluid and filter, brass tipped temp sensor, cooling fan switch relay, new radiator reservoir cap, cut out bad parts of headliner, cleaning, air in tires and managed to get the passenger door to open and close!

Major to do's: Need to weld a plate over a small hole in the floor pan from stop sign. Tweak the frame out some more so a new plastic rail can be riveted on. Replace TAM motor mount, cuz it vibrates! Possibly replace two tires that are kind of looking rotten.

See some pictures, would like your opinion on where to find my plastic parts...see tinyurl.com/zskw4mv

Thank you and you guys rock!
Let me take a stab in the dark, here:

The section of rusted floor pan is underneath the rear seats, where the parking brake cables are routed inside the car, right?
...
"What does a Saturn owner do, at the gas station?"

"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."
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Old 10-16-2016, 03:53 PM   #11
cpy911
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1996 SC2
Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn Night View Post
Let me take a stab in the dark, here:

The section of rusted floor pan is underneath the rear seats, where the parking brake cables are routed inside the car, right?
No rust, it was a California car!
It does have a hole in the floor pan due to the grand daughter hitting a stop sign.
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:10 PM   #12
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Ahh, ok. You were not real clear on that statement. You just said weld hole in floor pan from stop sign. To which I would be using the stop sign to patch the floor pan.

Hitting a stop sign, now, that is a little different.

Body panels will fit 1991-1996 on SC. Interior can be either 1995-1996 SC and/or 1996-1998 SL models. Basically, you have the first gen exterior and the second gen interior.

Get rid of that orange Death-Cool.....,err I mean Dex-Cool, when you do the thermostat, and refill with universal/green 50/50 mix of full strength and distilled water, unless you want to pay for a costly head gasket replacement later on(among the many other gaskets that Death-Cool liles to eat).

Stock Thermostat is 190°. You may find variants in the parts stores. I had only 2 choices, when I went to Advance Auto/Autozone/O'Reilly's: 188° and 185°

The housing is part of the assembly, and it uses a reusable rubber O-ring gasket. Very easy to change, from underneath. Make sure you flush your block with distilled water after the thermostat has been removed, via the upper radiator hose. My 1995 had some hidden corrosion from the intake/heater core, that did not drain out from the plug at the radiator.

Just use a gallon milk jug, as it is the sam diameter as the upper hose, and leave the hose connected to the cylinder head. Gravity will take care of adding pressure since the jug will be sealed by the hose. Flush until the water coming out of your block is completely clear. This will help remove the gelled up Death-Cool that is likely hidden in your engine as well
...
"What does a Saturn owner do, at the gas station?"

"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:46 PM   #13
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Oops, SC door skin instead:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/91-92-93-94-...9Slj3C&vxp=mtr

Or:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/91-92-93-94-...hUS-Of&vxp=mtr
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:18 PM   #14
cpy911
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1996 SC2
Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn Night View Post
Ahh, ok. You were not real clear on that statement. You just said weld hole in floor pan from stop sign. To which I would be using the stop sign to patch the floor pan.

Hitting a stop sign, now, that is a little different.

Body panels will fit 1991-1996 on SC. Interior can be either 1995-1996 SC and/or 1996-1998 SL models. Basically, you have the first gen exterior and the second gen interior.

Get rid of that orange Death-Cool.....,err I mean Dex-Cool, when you do the thermostat, and refill with universal/green 50/50 mix of full strength and distilled water, unless you want to pay for a costly head gasket replacement later on(among the many other gaskets that Death-Cool liles to eat).

Stock Thermostat is 190°. You may find variants in the parts stores. I had only 2 choices, when I went to Advance Auto/Autozone/O'Reilly's: 188° and 185°

The housing is part of the assembly, and it uses a reusable rubber O-ring gasket. Very easy to change, from underneath. Make sure you flush your block with distilled water after the thermostat has been removed, via the upper radiator hose. My 1995 had some hidden corrosion from the intake/heater core, that did not drain out from the plug at the radiator.

Just use a gallon milk jug, as it is the sam diameter as the upper hose, and leave the hose connected to the cylinder head. Gravity will take care of adding pressure since the jug will be sealed by the hose. Flush until the water coming out of your block is completely clear. This will help remove the gelled up Death-Cool that is likely hidden in your engine as well
The car has green stuff in it. I will flush it and put more quality green back in. The T-stat I am looking at is Stant 14279 Thermostat - 195 Degrees Fahrenheit. That is what folks on this forum seem to be recommending.
The car seems to run at 1/4 needle all the time. Could mean the T-stat is done for and stuck open. I figure not too hard to install one and it is relatively cheap.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:24 PM   #15
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Yeah, if it is sticking around the 1/4 line and the ECTS has been replaced, then the Thermostat is shot. It already has green? Looks like somebody did a good job fixing that problem, before you got the car.
...
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"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:34 PM   #16
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn Night View Post
Yeah, if it is sticking around the 1/4 line and the ECTS has been replaced, then the Thermostat is shot. It already has green? Looks like somebody did a good job fixing that problem, before you got the car.
I replaced the ECTS with a brass tipped. When I pulled out the old one, it was plastic and cracked. Probably OEM and shot.
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Old 10-17-2016, 03:07 AM   #17
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Yep. It was definitely the factory ECTS, and every single one of them cracked.

Overall, even the major components of these cars are not hard to repair. Troubleshooting the automatic transmission can be time consuming, but there are plenty of great guys over in the tech forums for our S-Series that can help with that.

And then, of course, there is always to possibility of electrical issues that can occur as the vehicle ages.

Despite the simplicity of design, these cars are extremely rugged and dependable. One user, supposedly(they were before my time here), got over 883,000 miles on their ORIGINAL DRIVETRAIN.

Many other posters, and even the people I have met over the years with a Saturn, typically get well over 300,000 miles on them before they either scrap them or trade them in.
...
"What does a Saturn owner do, at the gas station?"

"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."
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Old 10-29-2016, 09:35 PM   #18
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Folks. I replaced the thermostat today. OMG. What a difference. Before, the temp gauge would only go to 1/4 and the car ran rough. I thought the TAM motor mount was bad and bought one to replace it.
The temp is now at like 3/8 (a little less than half) and the car runs soooo smooth. I am sure the bad temp gauge and the failed open thermostat caused such rough running.

On to body work....

Thanks for your help!
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Old 10-30-2016, 03:31 AM   #19
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Congrats on the one-two punch of replacing the coolant sensor and t-stat. With less than 90k miles on the car and running much better, this may be a keeper.
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Old 10-30-2016, 04:27 AM   #20
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Default Re: New to me '96 coupe and my journey

Glad to hear you made progress. Keep us updated. My 1995 SC2 goes for its salvage inspection on Monday. Keeping my fingers crossed. 3 months worth of repairs, busted knuckles, time and money invested in my restoration. Still needs a paint job and some decent speakers. Since I am getting into the colder winter months, the paint job will be placed on hold until next year.
...
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"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."
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