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Old 12-02-2006, 07:08 AM   #1
brat
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Default 80 mile commute abuse

I have a unique problem, that I'll admit that I'm causing.

Car: 2002 SC2 DOHC - no major upgrades.

I have a 80 mile commute on the Autobahn here in Germany. Since I don't like to get up earlier than 5 in the morning, my commute hovers around 80mph most of the time, with extended 110+mph sprints (5+ minutes at a time) and when I get that fast my RPM's hover around 4300-4400 in 5th gear. I'm known to rev into red line when accelerating and rev high when I down shift to engine brake to avoid warping my breaks anymore than I have to. (Its really annoying when someone going 60mph jumps in front of you at that speed even though its illegal here.) The high revs are mainly to stay out of the way of the faster Porches, BMW's and Mercedes since they pass me like I'm standing still even when I'm going 110mph.

Now, I plan on replacing my breaks with better disks (slotted?) and pads and I plan on upgrading the rear to disks. I also plan on upgrading tires and such, but my issue is that I want to make sure that my engine can handle what I'm doing to it... I really don't need more speed, although I think I'm going to upgrade to an aluminum flywheel, but I just want to ensure that the components can handle the abuse.

I'm thinking about purchasing the SPS stage 2 Cylinder Head since it contains alloy and titanium shtuff for the top side. Anything else that would help?

I'm also a little concerned about underneath the engine since it appears I'm purging oil out of the oil pan gasket. While I'm replacing the pan gasket, is there anything else I should do down there?

While I'd love to do a 4 to 6 engine swap, my father-in-law isn't over here (he's agreed to help if I ever want to attempt it), but I think it'd be hard to locate an engine and swap it out with minimum downtime since theres a lot more than just dropping it in and reconnecting everything.

A quick note: If it isn't already apparent to some, I know enough about engines to be dangerous (ie: killing it by means other than driving it), but I do have professional help available in the form of an MWR Auto hobby shop. So, either I can learn with someone over my shoulder or I can pay them to help me learn by me helping them do the work. I also plan on keeping the car for as long as possible since it's a decent little commuter car and not some big SUV, although, after the upgrades, gas mileage will be about the same.

I plan on taking video some time this week of my average commute and posting it on my site to give a good example of how I drive - I'll update the thread when I do.

Thanks for any assistance you all can offer.

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Old 12-02-2006, 07:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: 80 mile commute abuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by brat
I'm known to rev into red line when accelerating and rev high when I down shift to engine brake to avoid warping my breaks anymore than I have to.
Quit doing that, you have to ask yourself, what cost more? Engine/tranmissoin or brake pads/rotors?


Keep up the oil in your engine and it'll be fine. I would still change the oil every 3000k. Use synthetic if you can.

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Old 12-02-2006, 08:18 AM   #3
brat
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Default Re: 80 mile commute abuse

Quit doing that, you have to ask yourself, what cost more? Engine/transmission or brake pads/rotors?

This is why I'm buying new pads and disks with my next paycheck as well as the required winter tires.

The main problem right now is that when some idiot jumps in front of me, my breaks go to crap pretty fast, so to help the breaking, I downshift. Trust me, I want knew breaks pretty badly right now.

I know upgrades will help me stay away from red line when accelerating as well. My problem on that side is that the Germans are well known for tailgating. I absolutely can't stand it when someone sits within 10 feet of my butt going 90mph+ and they're well known for doing it here. Hitting the breaks on them can cause a wreck so the best thing to do is get out of their way as fast as possible. Don't like doing it but its a necessary evil.

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Old 12-02-2006, 03:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: 80 mile commute abuse

you need something like an L300 with a V6.

There is no reason to redline your engine, esp downshifting. If you are going to play with the Beamers and Porches on the AB, you need to anticipate the traffic better and find your space on the road, or stay in the right lane.

Ive been told they dont sell Saturns in Europe - its a shame that you are destroying yours.

We have a similar problem here in the states, kids buy 4 cylinder hondas and redline the Kwrap out of them, and ruin the car in about 3 months, thinking they are racers and 'tuners'.

Red means red. No means no! Stop it! :^)

If you really wanna put some guts in your 4 cylinder Saturn the only solid path would be to add a turbo, but since you have already beaten you engine up so much already, I dont thing it would take the additional stress now.

If you want a Saturn, give serious consideration to an L300 V6 manual, I think you would be much happier with a car designed more for the way you want to drive.

BTW, over here, an 80 mile commute is nothing!

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Old 12-02-2006, 03:58 PM   #5
wrenchtnr
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Default Re: 80 mile commute abuse

Well I'm not trying to get flamed, but you're living in the land of Euro-touring cars and your're driving a Saturn? Can't you pick up a used Bmw for what you've planning to spend on upgrades to your car?
I admire you for your Buy American spirit but I think someday you will look back and say "Why didn't I just get my YA-YAs out on the Autobaun in a 911?"

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Old 12-02-2006, 05:47 PM   #6
brat
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Default Re: 80 mile commute abuse

Boy you all are mean ;-)

I can take constructive feedback... I'll slow it down (a little unless I'm running late) and wake up a tad earlier. (Note: This abuse has only been going on since Monday morning - all of 5 days, so I haven't killed the car yet.) Although, I'm still upgrading the breaking system - I've seen way too many close calls with other people to not do so. I almost got hit on Friday from a guy not paying attention in the left lane and riding too close to someone he wanted to pass. Luckily, I was able to dive right when he dove into my lane...

As for buying a used BMW, there are plenty around here. They're known as "Hoopties" and get bought and sold every three years by idiots like me or worse. They're known to fall apart at any minute - seriously... So, that option is out.

The oil pan issue is probably from 3 years of occasional trips over the 100mph point. We all have to have fun sometimes.

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Old 12-02-2006, 05:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: 80 mile commute abuse

I dont follow you on the oil pan. The oil pump is an internal fluid closed loop system, it does not pressurize the engine at all, so going 100mph+ should have nothing to do with your oil pan leaking (unless maybe your PVC valve is shot).

If its leaking the gasket just needs to be replaced.

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Old 12-02-2006, 07:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: 80 mile commute abuse

Dude, your story brings back memories for me (I was in the Army north of Frankfurt in the '80s). Just a couple observations, I'm assuming perhaps incorrectly that you're new in Germany, so:
- if you have U.S. armed forces plates, the locals will recognize that hey, this guy didn't grow up doing this, and although they may seem obnoxious in the way they tailgate, they should be mentally cutting you some slack (and they'll be a tad more alert around you)
- 80 mile commutes at high speed while paying European rates for gasoline has got to be painful. Are you sure you can't move closer to work?
- Germany gets some serious fog, so 80 miles at high speeds can be a tad nerve-wracking. So I'd really look at getting closer to work.
- I remember reading that housing has been tight even for ordinary Germans, since you have a small country with a lot of people, and they have to be very careful in deciding what land to build upon. So it might be you're stuck with what quarters or accommodations you have. If I were in your shoes, based on what I'm imagining, I'd probably look at trying to sleep over one night or two a week at work, just with a sleeping bag and air mattress. That would help reduce the wear and tear on yourself and your car, and ease the pain at the pump. Good luck!

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Old 12-03-2006, 12:06 AM   #9
eljefino
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Default Re: 80 mile commute abuse

A flywheel will do nothing for you. It helps people reach the higher revs quickly in first gear due to less inertia but your speed is limited by aero drag and horsepower. Only real HP boost that's worth anything is forced induction... IDK how that'll fly with the strict inspections you (might) have over there.

Really the chassis and cheezy american brakes aren't as well tuned for 100+ mph either. I agree with the "get a BMW" crowd... if not a beemer something with a few hundred horsepower and the support to go with it... shoot, even a camaro if you can find those over there. Then you can get all sorts of adjustable struts and suspension workups that just aren't supportive of the saturn platform.

But I look forward to this video.

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Old 12-03-2006, 01:17 AM   #10
KCW
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Default Re: 80 mile commute abuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by eljefino
...But I look forward to this video.
would that be when he downshifts at 110mph, and the engine detonates, locking up one of the front wheels?

That video?

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Old 12-04-2006, 02:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: 80 mile commute abuse

Clean and degrease the pan well, it may not actually be leaking, it may just be accumulated gunk, or a leak somewhere else. These cars "seep", and over the years, it builds up. I just went under the car with a pressure washer and simple green, and scrubbed and washed the entire underside of the engine. Now I can tell if its leaking from somewhere.

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