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Old 05-16-2018, 09:27 PM   #1
Keblar
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Default Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

I've resurrected our 02 SL2 after sitting in mothballs for a year: CarSaturn Intake repair; New front brakes; New struts; Fluid Flushes and transfusions, etc...

The Michelins are dry rotted with belts about to catastrophically separate and are in need of replacement, but before replacing with some boring old General Altimax, it got me thinking...

As a back up car, we're thinking of turning it into something of an adventure mobile. Not a true off road, or crawler, or any nonsense like that, but something that can approach some less developed roads leading out to trails, or fire breaks where we wouldn't dream of taking our newer car. I know, the SL2 is no Subaru, but it's what I have to work with.

I'm not talking about MAJOR mods, but what are some ideas you've thought about, or maybe even TRIED, to get a little ruggedness out of an S series?

Tires are the 1st place to start, and that's REALLY where I'm seeking input for now. I've parsed some old threads regarding larger aspects, but the ones I've found are geared toward either donking or performance. All-terrain SUV style tires are hard to find in the sizes that would fit the SL2 without mod. The stock aluminum are 185/65 15, but it seems like even sticking with a snow leaning all season in something like a 205/60 15 should get a little extra ground clearance, and the old threads suggest they won't rub (much?) even that sized up. Thinking of even ditching the alloys for some steel if that saves weight and adds flex (haven't calculated that). Are hub spacers even something I should begin to think about to add larger wheels or does that just present stress points with no tangible benefit?

Down the road I'm thinking - Add the roof rack and cargo basket that are just hanging around. Fabricate a basic skidplate. Maybe even add spacers to the strut towers - just 3/4" or so, hopefully not enough to stress the shaft- to get a little more clearance.

I don't have the funds for trial and error, but if you think you have some tweaks, fire away! Maybe someone knows that the S wagons had more clearance or that the Vue had some carryover shared parts. Who knows. Maybe I'll get lucky.

Thanks! Keb

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Old 05-16-2018, 09:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

Trails, Fire break roads? Forget it, no easy way to gain the ground clearance needed.

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Old 05-17-2018, 08:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

Jack up each corner, shove in spring spacers. Could be good for 1-1.5" of lift. Maybe metal zip-ties to secure in place.

Decent actual snow tires do great in most everything off-road except deep mud (deeper than a 1-wheel-peel can handle anyway).

About .5 miles off the main road you'll find out you only have 1 wheel drive and wish you bought something worthy of taking off-road and have to call someone with 4x4/AWD to pull you out...lol

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Old 05-17-2018, 09:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

Who has the link to the Saturn welded to an S10 frame?

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Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2



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Old 05-17-2018, 10:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

These cars don't do to bad in rugged terrain as long as it is dry and/or firm terrain and you take it slow and methodical. We take our S Series on un-maintained forest access roads pretty frequently to get to our camp and the deer camp. I wouldn't try driving through a mud hole or across a beach or sand pit. Keep two wheels on the high side so you don't bottom out in the middle. It's a good idea to have supplies and plan too in case you do get stuck. Use common sense.

...
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
Trails, Fire break roads? Forget it, no easy way to gain the ground clearance needed.
Not trails, chunky gravel roads leading to trail heads. There's one in the Adirondacks that we've taken the Saturn down many times in stock config, but would never take our Hyundai down.

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Old 05-17-2018, 10:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by 00_SL1 View Post

LOL! Yeah, that's not the direction I'm thinking.

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Old 05-17-2018, 11:51 AM   #9
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

Found it:
https://jalopnik.com/is-this-saturn-...ius-1783620553

...
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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 05-17-2018, 05:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

All kidding aside, it sounds like the Saturn is the wrong car for you. You need something with more ground clearance and genuine off-road capability. Like this:

Took that picture at my FLAPS. I've seen it around town since.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20180516_215104_01.jpg (137.1 KB, 43 views)

...
Bryan Cotton
'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 05-17-2018, 07:25 PM   #11
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

I've run altimax tires for years now and they're surprisingly competent in mud and snow, and proved remarkably durable. I live in seattle and like backpacking in remote areas, so I've taken my car up some pretty bad roads. the worst one was FR 4220 in oregon, up to the breitenbush lake campground. saturns have 5.7 inches of ground clearence at the lowest point and 7 inches at the highest, which really isn't much, and you'll damage your underbody before you reach the limits of a set of generals.

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Old 05-17-2018, 08:04 PM   #12
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

Keblar, those two examples of Saturns with over size wheels and grafting a Saturn body to another chassis are from minds with imagination. If you noticed, the wheels are over sized for some more ground clearance. Suspension does the rest.

Some people with a little money go big. A Tesla modelX fitted with new wheels; https://electrek.co/2018/05/17/tesla...mud-tires/amp/

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Old 05-18-2018, 10:08 AM   #13
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
All kidding aside, it sounds like the Saturn is the wrong car for you. You need something with more ground clearance and genuine off-road capability. Like this:

Took that picture at my FLAPS. I've seen it around town since.
Opening he fenders has crossed my mind, but I'm not there yet.

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Old 05-18-2018, 10:18 AM   #14
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Commeatus View Post
I've run altimax tires for years now and they're surprisingly competent in mud and snow, and proved remarkably durable.
That's good to hear. I know the tread is already pretty deep in spot for winter performance, and I wouldn't intentionally get into any serious mud. Just the same, come along straps and some traction mats would be on board as precaution.

I really don't see any viable options in AT tires without mods, and while deep winter tires would do the trick, they'd see so much asphalt during the summer that mileage becomes an issue.

Stepping up to 195\65 15's would add .5" with (allegedly) minimal well rubbing. Add the possibility of 1" strut spacers and I theoretically have an extra 1.5" of clearance. Then I just have to clean up underbody rust, and read up on DIY skidplate fabrication. That might be more than enough to keep me happy and still within spitting distance of stock.

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Old 05-18-2018, 10:20 AM   #15
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Question Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

Incidentally it occurred to me that this should maybe have been posted in Mods. Is anyone going to complain about it not being there?

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Old 05-18-2018, 10:55 PM   #16
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Default Re: Tires & Ideas Rugged/Adventure/OffRoad 02 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keblar View Post
Stepping up to 195\65 15's would add .5" with (allegedly) minimal well rubbing.

Crap, I just realized, it's an extra .5" in DIAMETER, which is only .25" in clearance.

Well, it's SOMETHING.

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