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Old 10-12-2011, 04:29 PM   #1
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ivkowalenko is on a distinguished road
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Location: Minnesota Metro Area
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1994 SC1
Question Winterizing and restoring my car

I rather like my SC1, and given that it has brought a lot of convenience and freedom to my life, I'd like to keep it running for as long as possible. But I live in Minnesota, where two ingredients conspire to keep the lifespan of cars shorter than people would like: snow (lots of it! They're predicting a very snowy winter this year, which eventually becomes or contributes to ice, which requires...) and salt (typically halite, from what I understand).

So getting the car to survive the winter without corroding all to hell would be preferable (and feasible, given that the car has a lot of plastic body work, and little rust!). But I don't want to just winterize the thing. I want to winterize it right, rather than just blow my money on snake oil and cockamamie theories. I'd also like to try and spruce up the appearance of the car, if at all possible. I don't think I can afford to restore the whole thing professionally, but anything that wil make it look a little nicer in a parking lot, or to anyone traveling inside it would be nice. I know how to clean a car really well (I've been cleaning cars as my job for over a year now), but restoring one is something I have little experience with.

My initial idea was to clay bar the body, then wax it. The paint is rather faded, and lacks luster. I'm not a huge fan of the color, but whatever I can get would be nice. Will this actually help protect the body, or am I wasting money on either of these steps?

I've also got another concern, as far as body work goes. It seems this car has at some point had a run-in with... something. It doesn't look like any kind of lateral collision, since most of the body work seems fine, but rather more like something fell on the hood (like a big branch). As a result, the hood is dented in one corner, the headlight assembly is pushed in (probably destroyed in the impact, since it's an after-market assembly in there now) and part of the body is cracked. Attached is a picture of the damage and the other side of the car, for comparison. My primary concern is the rust and the crack in the body work. The headlight works just fine, and I'll probably need to pick up a new mounting bracket for the assembly from a junk yard. I don't think I'll be able to feasibly bend the hood back, and replacing it would be optimal, but right now I don't know if I have the time/money/expertise to do that, and I just want to try and contain/arrest the spread of the rust. And while I'm not concerned about the crack in the body rusting, I am concerned with contaminants getting into the body, and possibly the crack getting larger from snow getting inside, melting, then re-freezing. Should I just Bondo that over?

Then there's the inside. This is purely aesthetic, but does anyone know a good way for de-salinating the carpet? Right now it's one gigantic salt field in there (for the record, the picture was taken in somewhat dim conditions, without a flash, and that's what it actually looks like. That isn't overexposure) and I'd like to try and clean some of it up. Parts of my ceiling are starting to sag too, and I don't know if it's possible to "repair" that. Is my only option to replace it? It's also pretty obvious I'll need to replace some of the panels in the car: there are cracks on the door panels along the top, and I doubt I can just super glue them back together.

As a side benefit, secondary to all else, I'm intrigued with the idea of restoring the car to look a little more like new. Right now I'm cleaning all the gunk out of it, but things like the dashboard are quite faded. Any recommendations on that? I'd also like to remove the Dealer's badge from the back of the trunk hatch, but I have no idea how to do that without risking damage to the paint. And an out-right aftermarket enhancement I'd like to make to the car is adding some cup holders. It blows my mind that Saturn would design a car with no cup holders for the front seat! I'm an avid coffee drinker, and I like to sip on my tasty beverage on my ride to work, but with the rear cup holders being the only ones in existence, it's down right dangerous for me to try and grab my drink, enjoy it, and shift gears at the same time. I have no clue where I would add one without cutting the center console apart, so I'm looking to see if anyone else has done anything like this. Function over form on this one, though.

Thanks for any advice you can give me on this one.
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:08 PM   #2
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2007 AURA XE
1994 SL2
Default Re: Winterizing and restoring my car

I have a 92 and 94 SL2. I use the spots between the E-brake for cup holders. Heard from some its not a good idea...but seeing as we've been doing it for the past 15 or so years and nothing horrible happened...i continue too. lol

To clean the carpet, i would take the seats and trim out, hose and shampoo the carpet, let it dry and put it back in.

Headliner i would wait until it falls a little more, and take it out and redo it. Cost me around $30 to do it in my 97' Sc1. And $5 in the 94'. (I found a nicely redone headliner at the junkyard)

Oh and the door panels...good luck. Both driver side ones on the 92 and 94 are almost in half. Been to the junkyard few times and 99.9% are broke, or have manual windows and wrong color. lol (power windows in both 92 and 94)

As for the body...the most i know about it the car to a body shop and pay them. :P
~My Running Saturns~
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00' SL2 280,000 miles
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Old 10-13-2011, 02:58 PM   #3
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2002 SC2
1998 SL2
Default Re: Winterizing and restoring my car

As for the hood... the one on my SC2 was all rusty. I had orginally planned on sanding and repainting it myself, figuring about $50 for the job.

Went to the junkyard for something else, found a perfect hood the right color.

Turns out the hood can be removed with 4 bolts and lifted/ carried by one person. I did have to return with the minivan to pick it up, though, and it was only $50 at the pick n pull

+1 on removing the carpet. The interior is surprisingly easy to remove. There are richpin videos showing most of the parts.

Walmart and other places sell a cupholder designed to wedge in between the seat (passenger side) and console. Here's a photo where someone attached it to their shifter or something
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12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles
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Old 10-13-2011, 04:31 PM   #4
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1995 SL2
Default Re: Winterizing and restoring my car

Seems kind of odd that you want to give the car some nice touches BEFORE winter. If I were you I'd be on the look out for a good hood on the cheap that you could put on next April - let the salt and fender benders do their best on the old hood and then get a good summer worth of driving with your new one. Body panel should be easy to get in a junk yard too - and I wouldn't worry about the color matching since in the very cold temps you will be dealing with the plastic will shatter if you look at it wrong. You could also pop the panel off and glue/tape from the inside to seal the crack from the elements.

Agree on taking out the front seats and trim and giving the carpet a good scrub on the driveway. Take the carpet out anyway and see what condition your floor pans are in, if there is that much salt in the carpet, there might be that much rust under it, if not, you might want to give it a new coat of paint or something to protect it even more (excuse my paranoia about floor pans, I'm used to my 87 Monte Carlo and older cars that have Swiss cheese floor pans).

Not sure if a clay bar works on plastic but it can't hurt. I don't think waxing actually does anything to protect the car but certainly does make it look better.

For a cup holder, go to wal-mart or a parts store and look around, there are a lot of different cup holder designs for vehicles and one might work well for you.

Check your sub frames for rust, all this work might not be worth it if your wheels are about to fall off. Sedans also have a rear door sill problem with rusting, not sure if the coupes have a similar problem.

1995 SL2 5spd - Stock/MP2 trans swap - 258,XXX miles - 38mpg @ 65mph
1987 Monte Carlo SS - 5.3/4L80E swap - 13.92@103mph - 19mpg @65mph - needs POSI
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body repair, cup holders, restore, rust, winterize

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