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Old 04-29-2008, 09:03 PM   #1
2NDSOUT
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Question Considering a Wagon...

Hey all,

My saturn family may be expanding. As many of you know; I got the 94 SL2 running again after sitting in my driveway, after it was in my driveway for 7 months.

My wife wants me to look at a Saturn Wagon (SW1 or SW2). Most of the ones that I have found are reasonable by private sellers on Craigslist, but they are far and few in between.

There is one that I am interested in, but it's in Wisconsin (I'm in Cincinnati). I was able to talk to the guy that owns it tonight on the phone, he seemed pretty friendly and knowledgable on the phone. He has done alot of the work on the car himself. Here are the details:

94 SW2 $1200 or best offer (I'm probably going to give him $1000)

Auto
PW, PS, PL, Cruise, Air,
122,000 Miles

He mentioned that he had put a new flex pipe on to it, and it doesn't have a Cat Converter (is that possible?) He said it runs pretty good but is a little on the loud side. He said it was in a small accident on the back passenger side from the previous owner. He repaired it himself with some matching panels from a junkyard. He has owned the car for a year and a member of his family is selling him a toyota carolla, so this Saturn he is selling because he doesn't need it anymore.

I asked him about the obvious issues with the Saturn engine, and he told me that it's been a reliable car. He drives it 7 miles a day to and from work, but alot of the previous owner mileage was a fair mix of highway and city driving.
He did mention that he took it on a 200 mile trip after he bought it with no issues.

The car is a dark blue with grey interior. It sounds like a decent deal, and my wife mainly wants the wagon to haul her and our son around in, as the interior of the Sedan (94 SL2 that I got running for her), is a bit too small.

We test drove a 95 SW2 on Sunday, but it didn't fit the bill for us as it was a bit beat up from the previous owner and was a little rough around the edges, so to speak.

So...my question to those of you who have been loyal Saturn S-Series Wagon owners, or those that have owned the wagons before....are they as good as the Sedans and Coupes?

Also, to those that have bought cars from other states and drove the car back home....what should I be looking out for, and does all of the necessary paperwork need to be done before I drive it home, or is that something that can be done online, or through the mail? or ?

Looking for some help on this.
...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

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1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
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Old 04-29-2008, 11:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

As a previous wagon driver hauling around my VIPs, nieces and nephews, its the best thing for the extra room needed. The way gas prices are going, it will definitely keep gas costs down as long as the engine is sound and still reliable. I was originally going for the Ford Escort wagon, new, when I spotted a Mercury Sable wagon at my brother-in-law's collision shop for sale by his cousin. It served me well as it fit my needs and allowed safe hauling of precious cargo when they were all babies. Its better than the average gas hungry suv unless you find one with a 4-cylinder in your price range. As to the catcon, Wisconsin may be one of the emissions-free states and if your state requires a catcon then you'll have to figure out if a replacement catcon will work without emissions related problems in order to pass inspection. And there's the additional cost to buy and install it without knowing in advance whether or not problems will pop up with the emissions hardware. Something to consider unless your state also is an emissions free state. At the minimum you'll probably have to replace the gutted catcon with a resonator or something to cut the noise level otherwise your wife may give you grief over it.
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Old 04-30-2008, 12:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

You will have to transfer the title into your name, get a temporary license plate and add the car to your insurance policy before you can legally drive it home.
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Old 04-30-2008, 12:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

Isn't there some electrical gizmo that plugs into the cat? Would lack of a cat mess up the computer.

$1000 for a wagon, sounds reasonable. Nice little cars.
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Old 04-30-2008, 01:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
So...my question to those of you who have been loyal Saturn S-Series Wagon owners, or those that have owned the wagons before....are they as good as the Sedans and Coupes?
Idunno -- the sedans and coupes are almost as good as the wagons, but they have their limits. Those pesky trunk lids always getting in the way....

Seriously, mechanically they're the same. You'll be amazed at the additional space. But wrt. purchasing, it's the very same things to look for, and to look out for. I personally would not get a '93-'94 SW1, since they're only 85 hp, and the whole point of a wagon is to haul stuff. That SW2 is evidently a good deal, providing there's no surprises. Where in WI is it? Right now on madison.craigslist.org there are two or three wagons, and there's sure to be one on milwaukee.craigslist.org . Seems like you could find one closer, though. Nothing in Lexington, Louisville, Columbus, Dayton, WVa? Shoot, I think you're closer to Nashville than Milwaukee, aren't you? Hint: don't search for "SW1" or "SW2"; most of the Saturns I see on craigslist, the seller doesn't know what model s/he has, so it's just "Saturn Coupe....".

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
Isn't there some electrical gizmo that plugs into the cat? Would lack of a cat mess up the computer.
Yes (kind of) and no. There's an O2 sensor immediately downstream of the cat, in its outlet pipe, starting in '96. If there's no cat, that sensor will narc on you to the PCM and throw a code. But there is no such sensor in the '94 in question.
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Old 04-30-2008, 07:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Idunno -- the sedans and coupes are almost as good as the wagons, but they have their limits. Those pesky trunk lids always getting in the way....

Seriously, mechanically they're the same. You'll be amazed at the additional space. But wrt. purchasing, it's the very same things to look for, and to look out for. I personally would not get a '93-'94 SW1, since they're only 85 hp, and the whole point of a wagon is to haul stuff. That SW2 is evidently a good deal, providing there's no surprises. Where in WI is it? Right now on madison.craigslist.org there are two or three wagons, and there's sure to be one on milwaukee.craigslist.org . Seems like you could find one closer, though. Nothing in Lexington, Louisville, Columbus, Dayton, WVa? Shoot, I think you're closer to Nashville than Milwaukee, aren't you? Hint: don't search for "SW1" or "SW2"; most of the Saturns I see on craigslist, the seller doesn't know what model s/he has, so it's just "Saturn Coupe....".

Yes (kind of) and no. There's an O2 sensor immediately downstream of the cat, in its outlet pipe, starting in '96. If there's no cat, that sensor will narc on you to the PCM and throw a code. But there is no such sensor in the '94 in question.
Madpogue,

Trust me; I've been looking now for a Wagon since the beginning of April here in Cincinnati. Cinti is bone dry when it comes to Saturn Wagons...Seriously. The one that we test drove on Sunday (95 SW2) was a decent car (and the only one that I have found in Cincinnati so far after searching for 3 weeks), but the owner of it now; seriously abused it (He is a musician); and the car was missing pieces, engine was a bit rough, even though he had some of the maintenance records, just didn't feel safe driving that thing, and the clutch was really tight to move from Reverse to 1st Gear..

I've been looking on Craigslist and Ebay; and I've literally exhausted looking in Michigan, Columbus, Lexington, Louisville, West Virginia, Tennessee....among other states.

In my own opinion...Either the majority of the Wagons have gone to Car Heaven, or people are hanging onto them as there were less of them made then the standard Coupes and Sedans...

The guy selling the Wisconsin Wagon had mentioned that he put a Flex Pipe in the car? I don't even know what that is....and it doesn't have a Cat Converter, so I don't know if he completely scrapped the Cat that was on there or not. He did mention that it runs a bit loud.

Let's say hypothetically; that he sends me pictures, they look good, and I make the trek to Wisconsin (500 Miles) and decide to purchase the car...putting a Cat Converter on in Wisconsin and driving it back with a new Cat Converter...would that cost me an arm and a leg? I'm guessing it would probably be $300 at least to have something like that installed...but can someone fill me in?

Haven't installed a Cat Converter before. So someone explain to me what a Flex Pipe is, and how it relates to the exhaust system.

Thank you
...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

Always
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Org. Engine/Auto Trans
2/97-10/08
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Old 04-30-2008, 07:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
Haven't installed a Cat Converter before. So someone explain to me what a Flex Pipe is, and how it relates to the exhaust system.

Thank you
The flex pipe is a part of the exhaust. It's the pipe that looks like a basket weave. It allows the engine to move and not break the exhaust tubing every time it does. Every car I can think of has one. The cat is usually somewhere in it's vacinity.
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

You can buy a complete welded assembly, consisting of the downpipe (the first thing after the manifold), the flexpipe and the catalytic, for less than $150, and it's all bolt-on. But since this car has a new flex-pipe, and presumably a good downpipe, you could simply have a "generic" catalytic welded in (it welds in just aft/downstream of the flexpipe); which would be cheaper would depend on welding labor rates. Wow, it s@cks you have to come this far for a 14-year-old daily driver. 500 miles gets you StL, Detroit, Pittsburgh; hey Uzzy, any waggins available in the Sun Parlour?

So where in WI is it? I'm busier than a one-legged man in an @$$-kicking contest until next week, but if it's not too far from Madison, I might be able to go give it a once-over sometime next week. (Don't worry, I'm not gonna snatch it up; I wouldn't want a mouse-belt car...).

Last edited by madpogue; 04-30-2008 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

Bet'cha can't do this with a s-series wagon:
Quote:
And in the “I’m glad I didn’t bet money on this” department, on the Fridge Door this week is a picture (unaltered) proving that you really can move a queen size sleeper sofa by wedging it into the back of an ‘89 Saab 9000. My parents couldn’t even get a 19-inch TV (yes, they still make those and even the Sonys sell for as litte as $250 now) into the back of their Acura this summer so they had to leave the box at Best Buy. Why again are Americans so enamored with sedans & trunks over hatchbacks?
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

Our entry into the Saturn world was a 96 SW1. I watched ebay a couple of months in 2005 and noticed they had a bit of demand. I snagged one that had (still has) a cracked fender at a dealer who didn't want to put any effort into it. Ebay is a matter of patience. The reason for the wagon was so my wife could transport the dog in the back. Never has happened, she uses the seats, too much trouble and too much stuff in the back. The only advantage is the ablility to carry a few things higher in the back and we have. For Gen 1wagons there probably is less distortion out the back window.
The wagons are nice and I casually look for a 95 (perfer the square body), but an SL is just as good unless you plan on carrying those slightly oversized items. I'd say locate a good example SL that has the mechanicals you want and when you find a wagon just switch them over.
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:40 AM   #11
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
You can buy a complete welded assembly, consisting of the downpipe (the first thing after the manifold), the flexpipe and the catalytic, for less than $150, and it's all bolt-on. But since this car has a new flex-pipe, and presumably a good downpipe, you could simply have a "generic" catalytic welded in (it welds in just aft/downstream of the flexpipe); which would be cheaper would depend on welding labor rates. Wow, it s@cks you have to come this far for a 14-year-old daily driver. 500 miles gets you StL, Detroit, Pittsburgh; hey Uzzy, any waggins available in the Sun Parlour?

So where in WI is it? I'm busier than a one-legged man in an @$$-kicking contest until next week, but if it's not too far from Madison, I might be able to go give it a once-over sometime next week. (Don't worry, I'm not gonna snatch it up; I wouldn't want a mouse-belt car...).
I sent you a PM. Thank you for helping me out on this
...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

Always
94SC1 340,501 Miles
Org. Engine/Auto Trans
2/97-10/08
Gone 3/12

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Old 04-30-2008, 11:42 AM   #12
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaekl View Post
Our entry into the Saturn world was a 96 SW1. I watched ebay a couple of months in 2005 and noticed they had a bit of demand. I snagged one that had (still has) a cracked fender at a dealer who didn't want to put any effort into it. Ebay is a matter of patience. The reason for the wagon was so my wife could transport the dog in the back. Never has happened, she uses the seats, too much trouble and too much stuff in the back. The only advantage is the ablility to carry a few things higher in the back and we have. For Gen 1wagons there probably is less distortion out the back window.
The wagons are nice and I casually look for a 95 (perfer the square body), but an SL is just as good unless you plan on carrying those slightly oversized items. I'd say locate a good example SL that has the mechanicals you want and when you find a wagon just switch them over.
I have a 94 SL2 as well, but my wife prefers the larger area that the SW provides.

If this deal goes through I'll have one of each of the Models from the 94 Model Year (SC1, SL2, and SW2)
...
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94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:08 PM   #13
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Sad Re: Considering a Wagon...

Update:

I don't know now if the Wisconsin Wagon is going to be a good idea. Here's Why:

The guy I spoke to on the phone the other night had told me he was going to email me pictures today. Which he did. The car is VERY nice looking. It's Black Sapphire with Alloy Wheels.

He also included the VIN with his emails. I ran the VIN thru Carfax and the car came back with a listing of Odometer Fraud, BEFORE the guy who owns it now..owned it...meaning a previous owner apparently had done something in the odometer to make it show up that the mileage was faulty.

It's listed as being a vehicle that as "Exceeded Odometer" issues now on the carfax....

I'm kind of bummed because the guy was friendly and worked on the car and whatnot...and this car has odometer fraud that he probably doesn't even know about that happened before HE owned it!

I talked to my wife about this wagon, and she says that she doesn't want to get involved with a vehicle that has an odometer fraud listing on the carfax.

What are your thoughts?

I have two other Wagons that I am considering...one is in Florida (clean carfax but has had 4 owners) and one in Delaware...


Has anyone encountered a vehicle that had odometer fraud, and did you purchase it or did you pass? As I mentioned...nice looking car, aside from the odometer fraud listing and the typical rust in the back door sills.....I may have to pass on this one....

Ideas?
Thoughts?
...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

Always
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Org. Engine/Auto Trans
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Gone 3/12

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Old 04-30-2008, 08:21 PM   #14
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

If you plan on buying the car and driving it to the scrap yard when you are done with it then the Carfax Odometer Fraud is of no real consequence. That notation can be caused by a typographical error in the DMV. Every time the car changes hands th mileage is recorded and any regression id listed as Odometer Fraud. You can get a listing of all of these title/owner changes and probably spot the error.

I would want to see the actual numbers before getting excited.
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
hey Uzzy, any waggins available in the Sun Parlour?
I haven't noticed any, but I wouldn't be looking for no wagon. They are few and far between in my area. I've only ever seen a handful. Every mechanic at Saturn of Windsor wants one and so far only one has succeeded in snatching one up.

2NDSOUT, if it's just odometer fraud, I wouldn't worry too much, as long as the car seems otherwise fine. It is a bit suspicious, but you as well as anyone if these cars are maintained they'll run for a looong time. There might even be a logical explanation, like somebody mis-wrote the milage at some point, or the odometer gear just broke.
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Old 04-30-2008, 09:28 PM   #16
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Default The wagon search continues....

Just found a few more Wagons:

1. On the East Coast. 1994, $1000. Looks to be in good shape. Older couple owned it since 1999/2000 bought from the Saturn Dealership. I'm thinking I may lean towards this one, as it "just feels right"....know what I mean? The lady that I spoke with had told me that she used it to haul around her Dog in (Shepard); and it was driven on a couple of long road trips (to Oklahoma and New Hampshire). She is a school teacher and had a 35 mile commute one way. So it's been driven pretty good, everything looks to be in good shape; a few minor things to be replaced (but that is standard on these anyway)...so nothing out of the ordinary. Her husband has done alot of the maintenance work on the car and it has been a good car to them.

Going to talk to the wife tonight about #1, and hopefully within the next week or two...#1 Wagon will be in my driveway

2. In Florida, 1995 for $1000; but the guy doesn't have any pictures of it and no camera to take any. Double . Sounds good on paper, but without any pictures....don't know if I want to go for this one.

The odometer on the previously mentioned Wisconsin Wagon, just has me kind of yucked out...I don't know why..I know that it may be a blatant mistake on the part of a hapless BMV clerk somewhere, but when you have a glaring mistake like that on a carfax....the red flags go up.... one has to wonder.
...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

Always
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Gone 3/12

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Old 04-30-2008, 11:05 PM   #17
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Default Re: The wagon search continues....

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
2. In Florida, 1995 for $1000; but the guy doesn't have any pictures of it and no camera to take any. Double . Sounds good on paper, but without any pictures....don't know if I want to go for this one.
I wouldn't even consider it without a lot of detailed pictures. Not in Florida, unless you want to go there anyway for vacation. Or unless it were late January/early February and you'd take any excuse to trek down to Florida. As it is, it's the beginning of May and although we're have a bit of a cold snap right now, I'm in no rush to head to Florida myself.
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:32 PM   #18
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

Where is #1 located on the east coast? Some places use a lot of salt and sand mix. The sub frame could be shot on that one.
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:28 AM   #19
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Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

The Carfax info would explain the low miles (122K on a 14 yo car?). I can still go down and look at it next week or so, just for S&G.

FL car sounds promising; the 1995 is a better car in many ways (newer dash, no mouse belts). See if the guy can get a friend to take some pics. Geez, how do people expect to sell a car, nationally, without some visuals?

The kind of driving the East Coast car has had is better than the WI car. Those 7-mile trips don't always get the engine fully warmed up (not here in WI, anyway), and it probably means more city driving, whereas 35 miles a day probably means more cruising at speed. Interior will probably need some alternating vinegar and baking soda, combined with sunshine, and/or those enzyme products you get at the pet supply, to de-doggy-fy it.
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Old 05-01-2008, 08:19 AM   #20
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Far Southwestern Iowa
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Considering a Wagon...

Or, buy a dog...
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