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Old 09-04-2012, 01:47 PM   #1
lightwing1
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Default In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

Hello Everyone:

My husband took more pics and more are coming sometime in September. We moved to the woods and so the pics have alot of reflections. We are going to try to get to an open area to take more photos very soon.
http://www.dave-anderson-photo.com/M...838082&k=kAv8q

To see the list of all of the things that we did to the car to restore it, visit here: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...4&postcount=22

In addition to this list there is more to the story now. I crunched the front end in an accident in April of this year - the only major accident I've ever been in in my entire life. It was soul shattering after all of the work we put into this car. Everyone told me I was crazy to fix her and that I should have taken the $300 from the junk man. However, I opted to salvage the car - literally. She is fixed (thanks to C & C auto body in Mountain View, CA) and is by California law, a salvaged vehicle. Ironically, she is in pristine condition and running better than alot of non-salvaged vehicles.

One bright spot - I had to get a chemical flush for the engine because she wouldn't pass smog. Ever since then, the gas mileage has greatly improved. However, the engine running poorly blew out the cat and I will have to replace it sometime before I am due for another smog test (two years).

One other note - living in the woods without a garage requires some measures to be taken to prevent rodent invasions. Unfortunately I killed a mother mouse and her two babies who decided to nest in my interior fan housing. I was crushed and it was very stinky in the car for a few days. I don't mind if an animal dies because something eats it - then it is a useful death. But senseless death that served no purpose - not so great.

We are building a garage but have to save up for it first. Buying the house was hit enough for now.

Anyway, stay tuned for more pics and Happy Anniversary, Saturn! I will miss the innovative American spirit that engendered your creation. Since my car is a first year model, I am celebrating a 21 year old car with 190k miles on her. Still running great and looking good.
...
1991 SL2 (Red, turning Blue)
1992 SL 5-speed (Parts Car)
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:55 PM   #2
AlainMDavos
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

That's one beautiful car. Looks great with the blue paint.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:00 PM   #3
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

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That's one beautiful car. Looks great with the blue paint.
Thank you! It's Chrysler Marathon Blue Pearl.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

Hanging on to it for that long, and doing whatever it takes to keep it really nice, that is admirable. Thanks, these are really great cars that will (hopefully) be around for a long time.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

Very nice!
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

I do agree with your assessment that visibility in modern cars sucks due to all the safety crap they are integrating. Hello, if you can't see anything around you, you can't safely maneuver your car! No wonder people cut me off so often.

However, the only real modern car I've actually driven is a 2009 Pontiac G5 (Chev Cobalt). Very firm, agile and nimble, hugs the road just as good, if not better than my SL2. BUT, it's a very small car by today's standards. I'm sure anything larger would certainly feel much larger.

In other news, did the new headlights make a considerable difference over the old ones? I put HIDs in my stock headlights, because light output from the halogens was so poor my wife refused to drive the car at night (and I didn't blame her). I loathe people that do this (as HIDs often scatter output from reflector housings), but it was my only option to get some light on the road as there aren't any aftermarket housings available. Surprisingly, the beam didn't seem to get scattered much at all, and I haven't been flashed out on the highway. However if some shiny clear new housings would help considerably, I'll gladly replace mine.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

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Originally Posted by aaron95sl2 View Post
However, the only real modern car I've actually driven is a 2009 Pontiac G5 (Chev Cobalt). Very firm, agile and nimble, hugs the road just as good, if not better than my SL2. BUT, it's a very small car by today's standards.
Not really, look up the Ford Fiesta or Chevy Spark. The Cobalt/G5 is on the large end of small cars.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

Nice job!
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

Ahhhhhhh..... So nice.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

Now that is a thing of Beauty.
...
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

Very clean little car, nicely done!
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:24 PM   #12
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

Yes! Very nice. ....and there are still new 1991 MP3 transmissions out there on parts locator com

Her story on the mice:
I'm a softy for destructive vermin too. I'd much rather trick them into a live trap and launch them out the cage door in the middle of a big short-cut grass field in a park.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaron95sl2 View Post
I do agree with your assessment that visibility in modern cars sucks due to all the safety crap they are integrating. Hello, if you can't see anything around you, you can't safely maneuver your car! No wonder people cut me off so often.

However, the only real modern car I've actually driven is a 2009 Pontiac G5 (Chev Cobalt). Very firm, agile and nimble, hugs the road just as good, if not better than my SL2. BUT, it's a very small car by today's standards. I'm sure anything larger would certainly feel much larger.

In other news, did the new headlights make a considerable difference over the old ones? I put HIDs in my stock headlights, because light output from the halogens was so poor my wife refused to drive the car at night (and I didn't blame her). I loathe people that do this (as HIDs often scatter output from reflector housings), but it was my only option to get some light on the road as there aren't any aftermarket housings available. Surprisingly, the beam didn't seem to get scattered much at all, and I haven't been flashed out on the highway. However if some shiny clear new housings would help considerably, I'll gladly replace mine.
Sorry never got back to you. I got busy during the holidays last year.

Not really a fan of HIDs. I find they blind other drivers. And the new headlights did not improve luminence over the OEMs. The new ones, of course, were made in China and came with the lights bent. We had to tweak to get them working properly. Your wife is correct, however, the halogens aren't quite bright enough compared to newer headlight tech. However, I just deal with it.

Good luck!
...
1991 SL2 (Red, turning Blue)
1992 SL 5-speed (Parts Car)
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: More repairs on my blue (moon) Saturn

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Originally Posted by bumpdraft View Post
Yes! Very nice. ....and there are still new 1991 MP3 transmissions out there on parts locator com

Her story on the mice:
I'm a softy for destructive vermin too. I'd much rather trick them into a live trap and launch them out the cage door in the middle of a big short-cut grass field in a park.
Yeah, still makes me sad sometimes. What I did to avert this in the future was I took some aluminum window screen and cut it and siliconed it over the oval cutouts in the frame just above the rear firewall on each side of the car near the hood pivot. I used waxed paper and bricks to weight it while it cured. This seems to be working just fine although it doesn't keep redwood needles out!

More UPDATES:

I had to rebuild the tranny and had many adventures on that one. I had it rebuilt back in '97 under warrantly and unbeknownst to me they replaced it with a 1994 tranny and valve body. So, we ordered '91 parts (valve body and input/output shaft nuts) which obviously didn't work. We did get a '94 valve body put in but didn't replace the shaft nuts and so it still wouldn't go into reverse. So we decided to just get a shop to do it and that has been completed and all good there.

Except for an annoying Service Engine Soon light that comes on about halfway up the hill (I live in the mountains). We used the paperclip method to check the codes and came up with 11, then 25 which says "No TCC." (Torque Converter) Anyway, turns out I need to drive in 3 up the hill to avoid this. Turns out this is the proper way to drive up a hill - who knew? Probably all of you, but I didn't so you CAN teach an old b**ch new tricks!

Helpful links: http://www.differentracing.com/tech_...diag_info.html
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44420

This issue cannot be repaired, btw. The reason is because the car is so old, the tolerances have changed and the computer can't handle the wider tolerances easily so it throws the light when the car shifts too much like going up a hill where the grade is constantly changing.

So, that is fixed.

Next, my igniter blew up last Friday and the engine was shake, rattle and rolling like crazy. An emergency tune-up outside an OReilly's parts didn't fix it (I thought it might be blown wires or plugs because I left the oil cap off a few weeks ago and sprayed oil all over everything - fun times!) so I had her towed to my mechanic. I just replaced this part less than 2 years ago. I kept the OE part just in case (it wasn't blown - we were just replacing the EGR valve and some other items and were in there and decided to do it). My mechanic slapped the OE igniter back in and it ran fine. He complains that aftermarket parts are not what they used to be - and - you can't get this part from the dealer anymore. However, they are available through some channels - TG!

Will be picking her up tomorrow. We could have replaced it ourselves but I didn't want to screw my mechanic out of the job after he pinpointed the issue.

Anyway, last repair on the docket is replacing the Rear Engine Transmission Mount (Part #21011572). BTW, forget replacing this with a new part. I called all over the US and could not find one. They are officially unobtainium. So, custom rebuild in the future. We are going to do what a Honda Ricer owner did. He was breaking engine mounts monthly because the engine was so over-torqued. So, he tried filling the mount (around the rubber) with poly. It worked! 4 years later he still has not had to replace the mount. http://www.cb7tuner.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=118013

Since I do not want to replace my belt, timing chain cover, etc. we are doing this down and dirty fix. I will post pics here and also post a follow-up with notes on how it impacts engine shake. I am waiting to connect with someone from the classifieds on sourcing a used mount. If he doesn't get back to me soon, it will be junkyard diving for fun and profit!

Anyway, please don't judge too much on the bone-head moves. I am an amateur mechanic and always in a hurry because I own my own biz and don't have alot of time to work on my car. I will say I have learned a ****load about cars rebuilding this one.

Was it worth it?

I don't know. I love my car but it has really been a huge PITA going through this process. At the time I chose to restore her, I had no clue that Saturn was going to bite it. Had I known that, I probably wouldn't have done it. But, what the hey - you live, you learn. If I can keep her running for 5 more years, I'll be happy and will recoup alot of the costs I've sunk into this restoration.

To everyone who has given me kudos over the past year or so, Thanks so much. You are the only people who understand what the Saturn meant. It was American ingenuity at work and I bought it for that reason. Even the guys at the local Cadillac dealership (the only dealership left in my area for parts/service) sneer at me openly for restoring the car. I've learned alot about car culture snobbery over the past 3 years along with car mechanics.

That said, I do enjoy running her around these curvy mountain roads. She handles really well with the dual sway bars and 15" tires. One of the reasons I kept her is because after upgrading the struts to KYB gas, she drove so well! And I detest how modern cars handle - like frikkin' marshmallows if you ask me. You can't even feel the road! Plus, way too much electronica in newer cars.

Likely my next vehicle will be a Jeep Wrangler of some sort. I refuse to buy a non-American car. I grew up in the rust belt and watched the whole area go down the tubes when the steel industry tanked in the '70s. Just FYI.

Anyway, thanks for playing, all. Back at you later with the mount repairs and hopefully, some better glamour shots later this year. Take care and happy driving!
...
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1992 SL 5-speed (Parts Car)
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:42 PM   #15
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1991 SL2
Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

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Originally Posted by RckyMtnSL2 View Post
Very clean little car, nicely done!
Thanks!
...
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:27 AM   #16
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

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One bright spot - I had to get a chemical flush for the engine because she wouldn't pass smog. Ever since then, the gas mileage has greatly improved.
Do you remember what kind of chemical flush this was?

Nice job, that is pretty hard core saturn fan
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:48 PM   #17
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

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Do you remember what kind of chemical flush this was?

Nice job, that is pretty hard core saturn fan
Thanks! On the dealership paperwork it says "Top Piston Decarb". That's all I know. I can give you the dealer's phone number if you want to call them. Let me know.
...
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:57 PM   #18
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

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Thanks! On the dealership paperwork it says "Top Piston Decarb". That's all I know. I can give you the dealer's phone number if you want to call them. Let me know.
Ah, thanks! It's OK, I'm postitive that this is GM's top end cleaner. The original formula is no longer available; there is a substitute GM product which is more environmentally friendly but less effective. I appreciate it, though - got excited for a second
...
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:07 PM   #19
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

Awesome - that car is the nicest Saturn I've seen in a long time - I'm talking '1992 long'. A real collector's car.

... and very nice photography too.
...
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:13 PM   #20
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Default Re: In honor of the reunion - more pics of my 100% restored 1991 Saturn SL2

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Awesome - that car is the nicest Saturn I've seen in a long time - I'm talking '1992 long'. A real collector's car.

... and very nice photography too.
Thanks! Hubbie gets the credit for the photography.
...
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