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Old 10-05-2010, 03:31 AM   #1
lightwing1
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Default 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

Hi all, a quick introduction here. My name is Dave Anderson, my wife is Robin. Robin bought a 1991 SL2 in the mid-90s, and it has been well maintained since then. We met in 1999 and subsequently married, since then I have done much of the maintenance on the car like brakes, valve body gasket, valve cover gasket, etc. though she does oil changes and has taken on many other projects like upgrading the stereo, replacing cracked interior trim around the front doors, etc.

She loves the car. I like it a lot too, for what it is. We were considering getting a newer used car this year, but neither of us care for the way newer cars are built so we decided to restore this one. It already has relatively fresh alternator, PS pump, and many other regular maintenance items. The seating position, visibility and handling are all major reasons to keep this car. Since we made that decision, we have replaced all four struts(KYB gas struts) and top bearings and all suspension bushings with poly from energy suspension. New pan gasket.

We bought a parts car to replace several unobtanium antelope colored interior parts, a warped top bumper cover and a cracked rocker panel. The car has a perfect console, dash cap, two of the door panels that we need, trim around the doors, clean wheelwell liners(two of ours are cracked), and lots of little parts. Also, we used the wheels from the parts car to take it to the paint shop, we are taking the 15" alloy wheels to be refinished separately at the same time.

Starting late Saturday morning we had the car stripped to the state you see in the first two pics below. The third pic was after spending about 4 more hours prepping on Sunday. I even managed to completely disassemble both mirrors without damaging anything.

Part of the reason we are going to such lengths with the prep is we are going for a color change. She has chosen late model Chrysler Marathon Blue for the color and we want the job to be thorough with no red showing anywhere. On the mirrors for example, there is no way to properly prep the inside of the bucket with the mechanism in place. The door skins are easier to paint thoroughly off the car. We had to replace a rocker panel anyway, so I pulled both off so the new color will go up under the seams at each end.

We're replacing the pitted windshield at the same time. No better time to replace a windshield than when painting, and no better time to paint than when replacing a windshield. I only wish we could have found a pristine rear window with a soft, pliable gasket to replace ours with the iffy gasket and heating element problems. Seems those are about as common as unicorns. Oh well.

We also disassembled the trunk lid to get all of the pieces painted properly. We left each headlight and taillight hanging by one screw and I drove it as you see it in the third pic, about 4 miles across town to the paint shop. I had a mild pucker moment as I passed through the radar beam of a cycle cop looking for donut funds, but apparently the car didn't look questionable enough for him to investigate further.

Anyway, I'll post updates as I get them. Don't feel bad for the SL1, it's giving its life for the sake of the breed.

Note to admin: The third pic was already posted in another thread here, so I was not allowed to attach it to this thread -- I had to upload a dupe at my site. When I tried to link to the original attachment(link below, edited to get past the warnings) I received a warning that I can't link to other sites until I've made 15 posts. Huh? the link is not on some "other" site...
www saturnfans com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=21097&d=1286260587

Anyway, once I can use external links I'll circle back around, delete the attachments in all of my posts and from the saturnfans server and link the photos directly.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

Very nice. Those Geartooth Alloys are hard to come by now, and they look to be in really good shape.

Looks like you have a good project on your hands. Always nice to see restoration projects.
...
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

A couple suggestions.

Have the body shop paint the unaccessable areas of the removable plastic panels, trunk and hood off the car. Then reinstall them on the donor to be painted. Overspray wont be an issue and no added time or labor to mask off the black spaceframe. Then once everything it dry and buffed, swap everything back to the other car.

Obviously you'll have to get the roof painted while its still on the car. Its actually removable like the rest of the body, just not as easily.

What shop are you having the paint work done? I live in San Jose.

We've also painted a 1991 SL2. But we did it ourselves:

http://www.differentracing.com/multi...rep/index.html

http://www.differentracing.com/multi...ing/index.html

http://www.differentracing.com/multi...tom/index.html
...
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
Very nice. Those Geartooth Alloys are hard to come by now, and they look to be in really good shape.

Looks like you have a good project on your hands. Always nice to see restoration projects.
Yeah, one wheel is lightly curbed but very fixable. The original finish is toast though. They are going to a wheel refinisher who will powdercoat the rims and can provide a matching finish for the plastic centers.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

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Yeah, one wheel is lightly curbed but very fixable. The original finish is toast though. They are going to a wheel refinisher who will powdercoat the rims and can provide a matching finish for the plastic centers.
Might want to cruise the local pick-n-pulls first. I've seen that style wheel out there on many occasions. Many in very good if not perfect condition. And I think they're around $10.
...
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Low Saturn View Post
A couple suggestions.

Have the body shop paint the unaccessable areas of the removable plastic panels, trunk and hood off the car. Then reinstall them on the donor to be painted. Overspray wont be an issue and no added time or labor to mask off the black spaceframe. Then once everything it dry and buffed, swap everything back to the other car.

Obviously you'll have to get the roof painted while its still on the car. Its actually removable like the rest of the body, just not as easily.

What shop are you having the paint work done? I live in San Jose.

We've also painted a 1991 SL2. But we did it ourselves:
We were trying to get the car off to the paint shop -- the approach you describe would only make sense if we didn't care about the interior parts on the donor, or if we had the time to strip all of that out. Anyway, with the panels hanging on the doors it's really hard to get around all of the edges. This way they can paint around the edges and even close inspection won't show any red. The only place where the black spaceframe needs careful masking attention is around the rear quarters at the trunk and rear doors.

Another factor is it's starting to look like rain around here, we didn't want the SL2 hanging around outdoors and naked. There is too much going on in the small garage to consider painting a car in there -- besides I'm not giving up my parking spot. The car will be in the paint shop for a couple of weeks, during that time we are going to carefully remove the carpet and all of the interior plastic that we want from the SL1, possibly the disk brakes too.

We're taking it to Maaco in Sunnyvale. A few guys at work have had great results from this place, one on a 1st-gen Camaro SS, a 66 Chevelle SS, and a Mustang GT500 and they have done fantastic work. The trick is to not settle for their default paint job -- their low prices are based on basically scuffing the old paint with scotchbrite, masking and spaying. We're going for the full monty since we want this car to go another 170K and it would suck to have the paint blowing off like a 90's Chevy truck.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

Quote:
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Might want to cruise the local pick-n-pulls first. I've seen that style wheel out there on many occasions. Many in very good if not perfect condition. And I think they're around $10.
It's not curbed bad enough to need fill, it's just the outer edge where the wheel weights clip on and only needs to be sanded a bit. Robin went out and scoured all of the junkyards - not looking for wheels - but all of the cars we saw had interiors that were trashed compared to hers. She said she looked at maybe 50 SLs altogether to find replacements for the little "grab" insert on the door handles. She was looking for the bigger parts but no dice.
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project - updates

Just checking in...

The car is painted, wheels refinished and on, front windshield replaced - awaiting reupholstered bucket seats. Currently working on trim items - interior and exterior.

Photos of completely restored SL2 in about 2 weeks. Will also include complete list of repairs/upgrades. Stay tuned...
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Old 11-03-2010, 02:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

Awesome.
I have this plan for a Satty in my future too.
Glad to see I'm not alone
...
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

How did you take care of the rear door sill rot? Weld in or rivet in sheet metal with filler and paint?
...
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:22 AM   #11
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

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How did you take care of the rear door sill rot? Weld in or rivet in sheet metal with filler and paint?
Aside from a few scuffs and scratches from loading bulky items, the sills are perfect. Nothing to warrant repair. No sign of rust, bubbled paint, etc. -- maybe I should take a pic so you can all see what that looks like. I think the parts car is good too, but I haven't looked.
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Old 11-04-2010, 04:33 AM   #12
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How did you take care of the rear door sill rot? Weld in or rivet in sheet metal with filler and paint?
That's not an issue out here in California. You can disassemble a Saturn, wipe off the dust and dirt and it'll look almost as good as it did the day it rolled off the assembly line.
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:16 AM   #13
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

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That's not an issue out here in California. You can disassemble a Saturn, wipe off the dust and dirt and it'll look almost as good as it did the day it rolled off the assembly line.
Hate you so much right now.
...
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:28 AM   #14
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

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Hate you so much right now.
There's first gen Saturns at the junkyard that are in better/safer physcial shape than the ones some of the east coasters here drive on a daily basis.
...
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-1991 Turbo SL2.
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:21 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1991 SL2 restoration/repaint project

Quote:
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There's first gen Saturns at the junkyard that are in better/safer physcial shape than the ones some of the east coasters here drive on a daily basis.
Truth.
I'm looking at a 96 SC2 tomorrow which I plan on buying and I'm betting I have to put a subframe in it. Good times.
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