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Old 05-26-2022, 08:14 AM   #1
Bigshankhank
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1999 SW1
Default Just Picked up a 99 SW1

Never had a Saturn before, never been much of a GM fan (with the exception of the G30 van-based RV my daughter & I have been working on) but in general I am a tinkerer and fixer of all things and managed to win this cheap in a government auction.
Battery is 4 years old based on the sticker and doesn't appear to hold a charge so we dollied it home yesterday from the auction lot. We did get it to take a jump and drove it up onto the dolly, idle is smooth and throttle response is good, too.
AC doesn't work
Manual windows and locks
No dash lights in the brief time I spent driving it
Radio works but appears the digital lens is smashed
Interior is in good shape, cleaner than most 23 year old cars I've had although its missing the forward section of the center console (the section ahead of the shifter beneath the dash)
Tires, according to the seller, are only 2 years old and have a lot of tread
Going to swap the battery with a spare from the RV since its another front post w/ 800CCA and is only 1 year old
Oil change
Check trans fluids & change
Replace timing belt which I learned via hard luck on a few old VWs to just do every 75k on any interference engine no matter what
Probably change plugs & wires
Check brakes, didn't get to do any driving but I find brake work satisfying
I have a good local shop that I have farmed out AC work on other cars in the past but I think I might get the tools I need and finally figure out how to do it myself with this one.

Anyway, I posted an intro thread as per usual forum etiquette, just touching base in here as the relevant area for my car.
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Old 05-26-2022, 09:28 AM   #2
97sw2guy
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

Your SW1 has a timing chain, and they usually last a long time. Both of my 1997 Saturns have 227,000 miles on their original timing chains. If it is making a lot of noise, you may need to replace it.
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Old 05-26-2022, 09:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigshankhank View Post
Replace timing belt which I learned via hard luck on a few old VWs to just do every 75k on any interference engine no matter what
There's no timing belt. They use a timing chain and it is pretty hardy. It'll rattle on the case if it is loose and signal it's demise well before actually breaking.

Welcome to SaturnFans!
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2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

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Old 05-26-2022, 01:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

Oh nice, I have a timing chain on the 4-Runner and those are reportedly good for 500,000k+.
Also I charged up the battery and was driving it around the neighborhood (no tag yet) and even dumped half a can of R134a and the air blows cold now. From here I'll let it sit overnight and see if the battery loses its charge and whether or not the refrigerant leaks out. Alternator works well, at idle the voltage is 13.63-13.68v so one less thing to worry about.
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Old 05-27-2022, 02:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigshankhank View Post
dumped half a can of R134a and the air blows cold now. From here I'll let it sit overnight and see if the battery loses its charge and whether or not the refrigerant leaks out.
Give the AC valve stems just a little twist to make sure they are tight. You can use needle nose pliers or a valve tool for bike tires to do this.

On my current Saturn, similar situation. Added some R134a and AC came back to life, tightened the valve stems and it's been fine for several years now.

On my previous Saturn, I replaced the AC valve stems with R134a still in the system. There's a neat tool for doing that without losing any refrigerant or requiring evacuation. And, just found out richpin now has a video for that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLocjJt-NxE

If you listen to music a lot, I'd just replace the radio. I like the mechless units where you can use an SD card or USB stick. Last I checked, I had around 500~600 songs on my USB stick, which beats the heck out of flipping a cassette or changing a CD every so often.

First thread I found about radio replacement for a 2nd gen S seriies like yours http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=125892

Quote:
I have a timing chain on the 4-Runner and those are reportedly good for 500,000k+.
The key is to check your oil level frequently and keep it topped off and clean. These cars tend to burn oil but otherwise run fine. I was adding 3~60z of oil every week (about 250 miles)

Check out the sticky thread at the top of the forum, someone put together a pretty comprehensive list of stuff to check out.
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Old 05-28-2022, 07:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

I read through that thread already Chaos, lots of good notes in there. Stuff like that is why I utilize forums like this for just about everything I own.

Got up yesterday and today and the engine cranks right up and the AC is still cold so I'm going to call that a win or at least an excuse to delay any additional costs on those two items.

Once they were available I swapped bluetooth-compatible had units into a couple of cars & Jeeps my family had and will likely do teh same. My wife's current TJ Wrangler has a Kenwood unit with BT as well as a 3.5mm audio port and a USB port on the front and its so nice to have that flexibility.
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Old 05-28-2022, 04:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

Welcome to the Saturnfans community. I love my 97 wagon with 215,500 miles on it. I bought it for $1,500.00 with 124,000 miles on it 10 1/2 years ago and it has yet to let me down. You'll find the wagon to be very versatile compared to the sedans or coupes when you need to make a dump run or haul around something substantial. I have a good feeling you are going to be happy with your new SW1.
Q1) What is the mileage?
Q2) What did you pay for it?
...
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Old 05-29-2022, 08:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

Quote:
Originally Posted by dummo View Post
Welcome to the Saturnfans community. I love my 97 wagon with 215,500 miles on it. I bought it for $1,500.00 with 124,000 miles on it 10 1/2 years ago and it has yet to let me down. You'll find the wagon to be very versatile compared to the sedans or coupes when you need to make a dump run or haul around something substantial. I have a good feeling you are going to be happy with your new SW1.
Q1) What is the mileage?
Q2) What did you pay for it?
Q1) 120,000 miles
Q2) $700 from a govt auction site. Actual bid price was like $610 but came to just over 700 with auction fees.
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Old 05-29-2022, 09:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

Sounds like a score! Congrats!
...
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'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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Old 05-29-2022, 10:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

Awesome deal - and 120,000 is really just broken in - If its an automatic transmission the first thing to do is change the fluid which is as easy as an oil change thanks to the Saturn engineers using a spin-on filter. Reason one being that the recommended change interval is a mere 30,000 miles and you must assume it has yet to be changed by the previous owner. Also use inly the recommended/required fluid and nothing else (usually labeled 'Dex/Merc' OR actually Dexron-III which refers to compatibility with GM's specifications while Mercon refers to compatability with Ford's specifications) and don't trust any higher numbered Dex-es that claim to be backward compatible because you will eventually find the Saturn exception in the fine print online and not necessarily on the bottle.
...
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2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
1994 SL1 new traded
1992 SL2 new traded for above
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Old 06-01-2022, 01:53 PM   #11
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

Finally got it tagged, driving it around yesterday it seems to idle a little high, 1300-1500rpms at idle. No CELs or other lights on the dash so I gotta figure that out.
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Old 06-01-2022, 02:18 PM   #12
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

Vacuum leak, ECT sensor/connector, TPS, thermostat would be the likely culprits. I'd probably check them in that order although trottida has a nifty set of pics that show what the temperature gauge should look like.
...
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Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
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Old 06-02-2022, 10:28 AM   #13
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
I'd probably check them in that order although trottida has a nifty set of pics that show what the temperature gauge should look like.
They are in this thread at post 6 >>>Coolant Temp
...
1999 SL2 MT (299,400 km @ 11/2021)
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)
1992 SL2 MT (5y)

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Old 06-05-2022, 04:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

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They are in this thread at post 6 >>>Coolant Temp
Interesting read, thank you. I was actually remarking to the wife that it seems to hold a rather low coolant temp.
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Old 06-05-2022, 06:35 PM   #15
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Default Re: Just Picked up a 99 SW1

I had a high idle on mine, it would do it randomly, changing the TPS fixed that!

There's a huge thread of maintenance checks you might want to read: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=177672

Other things that I have learned since getting mine last year to check out:

Motor/tranny mounts. One big upper mount (two models, an OEM 'non frowny' one and a non-OEM that looks like a frowny face. You want the OEM if you can find it, but it's almost impossible now), two lower "dog bone" mounts and one tranny mount. The automatic makes it harder to change the tranny mount, but I was able to wedge it in there without cutting anything.

Check all your suspension all the way around, including all your struts, control arms (those also double as your ball joints since they're built in), front sway bar bushings, and make sure the rear trailing arms are firm. They are known for rusting out and causing lateral movement of the rear tires, not something you want to have happen.

Have your rear brake lines checked out. For some reason they always seem to fail, my car included, but others I have talked to and some other threads I have read always seem to mention this. Might as well have both replaced if one needs to be just to save a headache later.

Clean all the under-hood braided cable ground points.

Look for the HVAC inlet just under the hood on the passenger side. You'll either see a mesh (looks like screen material) surrounded in pieces of foam or a gaping hole. If it's not there, bugs, leaves, anything that can fit in the hole will get in there and plug your heater core and condenser. Also helps keep water out. I will never understand why some engineer said "yeah, that should be good enough" and they went with it.
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http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=268456
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