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Old 04-17-2008, 09:45 PM   #1
dtl
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Dizzy a broad question

I know that this question leaves much room for answers and avenues but I wanted to ask if there is anything you more experienced Saturn owners/techs can warn me about.

I have my first Saturn, a 97 sc1 that I have done a lot of work on. I have done the following:

Head and gaskets (oil change and coollant flush/change included)
ECTS
Backup switch
plugs
PCV valve
Exhaust
Tie rod

Next on list are wires and engine cradle as the car had sat for a while before I aquired it through my brother.

The one my brother bought it from told him that the car had the engine rebuilt about 40k miles ago but the tech never machined the head so it needed machining and a new head gasket. It ended up needing a new head so a got one that was checked and milled. Went to put it on the road yesterday and noticed the engine cradle was rusted through so now I'm back in my Pontiac until I can fix that. Anything else to be aware of before I try to drive it again?

It is a beautiful car and the motor runs real well now. I have put my heart and soul into it over the past month and dont need anymore suprises.
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: a broad question

If the engine cradle is rusted, are there other areas that are also rusted and which would be harder or impossible to fix? After all, the cradle is heavy steel compared to the thin unibody.

I don't know where you are, but rust sounds like a problem, how about the brakes? Rusty brake lines? Emerg. cables rusty?

You got the ECTS already.

Change tranny fluid? If A/T, does it need the "slam" fix described in other posts?
If M/T, change fluid?
For either, check differential pin?

Good luck! I liked the early coupes, is yours a 2-door? I am a cheap old b@stard so I bought the cheaper 4-door.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: a broad question

"Change tranny fluid? If A/T, does it need the "slam" fix described in other posts?
If M/T, change fluid?
For either, check differential pin?"

Where is the differential pin?

Brakes seem to be good as is the emergency cable. I will check the body real close next before investing in a cradle.

Yeah, mine is a 2 door, purple, cute. Im cheap too, that is why I am fighting this car on my own with little help from others until now. Its a good looking car that will get better gas mileage than my grand am-so in the long run it wil be worth it. Thanks.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: a broad question

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
If the engine cradle is rusted, are there other areas that are also rusted and which would be harder or impossible to fix? After all, the cradle is heavy steel compared to the thin unibody.

I don't know where you are, but rust sounds like a problem,
Says right under her username: Rochester, NY. The entire underside of the car is also undercoated from the factory(up to 2000), the engine cradle is not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
Good luck! I liked the early coupes, is yours a 2-door? I am a cheap old b@stard so I bought the cheaper 4-door.
All coupes are 2 doors. It's what the word coupe means.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: a broad question

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
If the engine cradle is rusted, are there other areas that are also rusted and which would be harder or impossible to fix? After all, the cradle is heavy steel compared to the thin unibody.

I don't know where you are, but rust sounds like a problem,
Says right under her username: Rochester, NY. The entire underside of the car is also undercoated from the factory(up to 2000), the engine cradle is not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
Good luck! I liked the early coupes, is yours a 2-door? I am a cheap old b@stard so I bought the cheaper 4-door.
All coupes are 2 doors. It's what the word coupe means.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dtl View Post
Where is the differential pin?
The differential pin is what holds the differential together, and is internal to the transmission. Do a search for differential pin in the forums, you'll have plenty of reading to keep you busy. You can inspect it by removing the VSS from the tranny and looking at it through the hole. Don't spin the tires, you'll be fine.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: a broad question

Thanks Squareback, good to know the underside is coated. Anything you can add to the awareness list?

BTW-I dont think I will be doing much tire spinning with a SOHC. Just me, but I dont want to ruin an engine I worked on so hard. I'm the only girl I know who has done this and I am proud-heck I'm grateful it started without seld destructing!
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: a broad question

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtl View Post
Thanks Squareback, good to know the underside is coated. Anything you can add to the awareness list?

BTW-I dont think I will be doing much tire spinning with a SOHC. Just me, but I dont want to ruin an engine I worked on so hard. I'm the only girl I know who has done this and I am proud-heck I'm grateful it started without seld destructing!
I'm very imprssed that you're doing this yourself, very cool. I know how you girls re when you get 85 or so raging horses under your foot. The obstacle will be wintertime--prime time for shooting the diff pin through the case. You get stuck in the snow, tires spin like crazy to get out, you gain traction, and the diff. pin shoots through the case and leaves a lovely hole in its wake. The pick n pulls near me occasionally have a sale on transmissions for $49.99. Might not be an awful idea to save some cash and pick one up and take it apart and have the diff. pin welded before you even have the problem. Having a spare you can just bolt in is a nice thing to have.

As far as your list, it looks like you've got it pretty well covered. Just pay attention when you put it on the road and watch out for anything abnormal. If you get stuck, drop me a line. If need be I can always give you a hand, though you sound like you've got it under control just fine on your own. Gimmie a shout if you can't find a cradle out your way. Wilbert's has let me down quite a few times on basic GM stuff. Surprising, since that's all they do. You can also check on www.car-part.com and sort the junkyards by distance from you--try and find one local for a decent price.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: a broad question

Thanks again, I will look into the dif pin. I was disappointed with Wilberts, and car-part.com is looking pretty costly. My brother is going to check a couple resources and I may have to bite my tounge and call Action Auto Parts to check. But I was less an happy with their business practices when I bought the head.
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Old 04-17-2008, 11:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: a broad question

"All coupes are 2 doors. It's what the word coupe means."

I know what "coupe" means. Some Sat coupes were 2-doors. Some were 3-doors. I just didn't know which years were which.

To dtl, they are good little cars. I am still happy with mine after 11 years! Even though I can't get the clutch problem sorted out right now- it will be back on the road soon enough, getting 40 or more MPG.
All of the little nicks in the body, through the last 11 years, would have been rust holes by now if it was a steel body.
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Old 04-18-2008, 12:55 AM   #10
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Default Re: a broad question

thanks for everyone's help-much needed
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Old 04-19-2008, 06:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: a broad question

Is a buck, buck and a quarter good for a cradle I dont have to pull myself? I have been quoted anywhere from $100 to $250 for a cradle from arround here. I think it would cost too much to ship one in from a snow free state.
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Old 04-19-2008, 06:57 PM   #12
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1997 SL
Default Re: a broad question

Yeah, sounds reasonable, it's a PITA to get off the car, especially in a boneyard.

(Maybe I should get a Saturn used parts business going... "Sun Belt Saturn Parts")
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Old 04-20-2008, 11:14 AM   #13
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Default Re: a broad question

Sunbelt Saturn Parts-there ya go, thats an idea...

I dont think I want to roll around a yard harvesting a cradle though.
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