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Old 01-18-2005, 04:26 PM   #1
illuminata02
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Default The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

I am about to purchase a used car. Though I can not afford a new car and do not expect to get a new-like car with used-car price, I still believe I can be a satisified buyer. After months of car researching based on my needs and way of life (single lady in new york city, no children, minimal to average driving on weekends only, once every 2 month 3-4 hour long distance journey, i'm not a speeder, can afford basic standard maintenance on a car but not extra luxuries) I narrowed the choices to the Mazda MX6 '95, the Mitsubishi Eclipse '95, and the Saturn SC2 '95-'97. After even more in depth research the Eclipse was bumped off the list and I'm leaning heavily towards the SC2. HOwever, after even MORE in-depth research I have found quite subtansial contradictions from peoples reviews. the biggest contradiction that I am at odds with is mechanical problems. It seems to be either the SC2 is inexpensive but will leave me going to the mechanic every other week (for the engine light that stays on, the seat belt sticking, transmission problems, and a problem with some pump that regulates the temperature) or it's a reliable car with few problems.
Since this site is extremely thorough and people actually seem to REALLY know what they're talking about, can i just get a simple, bottom line, answer on the SC2 and if it's recommened under my circumstances. and yes, i know this is a saturn FANS site, but pointing out the cons will not necessarily keep me from getting the car. thanks!
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:33 PM   #2
RalliArt16
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1995 SC2
Default Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

Seeing as how the Sc1s(which i have) and Sc2s are very similar, I'd say go for it. There are very reliable, assuming you do good maintenance. And as far as "a problem with some pump that regulates the temperature" i believe you are referring to the engine coolant sensor that is always talked about. It is a simple $10 sensor fix, as a "new" improved style was recently released in like 2000 or something.
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

The SC2 would be more suited for New York driving! The Plastic Polymer Panels are great! No Rust or Door Dings! However they are prone to get scrathed! I have never had any Major problems with my 1995 SC2! I bought mine used from a Saturn Dealer with 31,998 miles in 1996! It's still running with over 157,800 miles! In fact I've driven to New York twice from Chicago!
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

Hi welcome to the board.

I'd say the Saturn is your best bet out of the three. If you are looking at the SC"2" model, referring to the DOHC engine, then there is a 99.9% chance the car you buy will use oil. Most all DOHC engines use oil, and it's just a fact of owning a Saturn. Don't let it scare you, just check the oil before long trips, or in your case every few weeks. It's no big deal, and in no way effects the longevity (unless it is neglected). Other than that, you should have a very reliable car! My old 1993 SL2 used 1 qt every 1000 miles and that never gave me any problems while I owned it. Just be prepared to check your oil and keep it full. When you get the car, I'd chance the "PCV Valve" as preventative maintenance (a $5 part at the dealer, they will put it on for a nominal fee <$10).

Transmission: It's a good idea to change the transmission fluid every 30,000 miles, and since you're in NYC...I'd suggest do that FIRST when you get the car, just to be sure, and you'd be good to go.

Good luck with your decision!
...
2008 Honda Civic LX Atomic Blue
1992 SL2 Two Tone Medium Red/Silver
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

These are what I feel are the positives of a S-Series Saturn. Fun to drive. Very good gas mileage. Lowest insurance cost of just about anything on the road. Good safety protection history. The negatives. If not previously taken care of there will be many maintenance issues. Some of the 2 models do burn oil. Always check the VIN at a Saturn dealer for previous maintenance history before buying. I have bought three used ones, a 91SC, a 94 SW2 and recently a 98 SW2. All had very good used history and all have been fantastic cars. I keep my maintenance schedule up and probably change things before I need to but I have never, in a combined mileage of 150,000, had an Engine Service Ligth come on.
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:58 PM   #6
ScurriVision
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Thumbs Up Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

I have two saturns, one is a 1994 SL2, the other is a 1995 SL1. I and my wife are the original owners, and we still have both cars. I have approx 179,000 miles on the sl2, and about 190,000 on the sl1.
Overall, these cars run VERY well (reliable!!), as long as you keep up the maintenece.
I know these are the sedans and not the SC coupes, but I believe the SC series will be just has reliable. In fact, I'm looking for a used SC1 or SC2 for my daughter (new driver). I know how to work on these cars, and they DON'T Rust (how sweet is that?!!).

If you're gonna be parking it outdoors, I'd recommend getting a SC without the sunroof, as they will eventually rust out (this happens with all cars). If it'll be garaged, it'll last just that much longer! I talk from experience, my SL2 has a powered sunroof, and the SL1 does not.

I hope this was of some help ...
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Old 01-18-2005, 05:00 PM   #7
JDub99SL2
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Default Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

The only extremely common repair is a ECTS. Takes $10 to buy the part, 15 minutes and a 13mm deep well socket to repair. There is a how-to on this site. This will cure most of your "SES light" concerns. Maybe an O2 sensor down the road.

Other things to look out for are a leaking cam cover gasket (oil in the spark plug holes), oil pan gasket (seepage is normal, but large obvious drips aren't), valve body cover gasket, collapsed torque axis mount, warped rotors (vibration when braking), delay when shifting into reverse (valve body). Other than those things, which (minus the valve body) are not major (ie $$$) concerns... solid cars.

Oh, the driver's side of the radiator (where the transmission cooler lines plug in) is very prone to cracking. As the post mentioned above, don't get the sunroof.

One thing to consider (now that you are between the mazda and saturn) is the price of parts. Mazda is (I'm almost 100% positive) much more expensive. As will be the cost of insurance. Plus you can park wherever you want without worrying about damage from a stray shopping cart, etc. :-D

Whatever you do, stay away from the Mitsubishi. Yikes.
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Old 01-18-2005, 05:07 PM   #8
illuminata02
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Thumbs Up Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!
you guys are like Saturn geniuses! (no wonder the site was recommended on two car survey sites I was reseraching the sc2 on).
I really appreciate it considering I am a female (a used car salesman's easy target) , a car idiot, and have to go at this alone, so I have to be that much more careful, which is why I very much appreciate the feedback and will have all these suggestions listed for when I go to buy the car...yes, it seems now that the SC2 is beating out the mazda mx6.
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Old 01-18-2005, 05:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

Hi,
Bottom line?...these cars are hard to beat dollar for mile. My girl friend has a 96 SC2 which never goes to the mechanic...I do all the wrenching
Seriously...the car rarely needs repair...and it has 100k miles on it...just the usual stuff. The car as mentioned does use oil however. Later Saturns...after '99 or so don't due to a piston ring redesign. Its ALL about condition and preventive maintenance so buy cautiously. I have a '01 SC2 5 speed with only 27.8k miles on it which is mint and drives as good as it gets for what it is. Compared to the other cars you mentioned, you would be much further ahead cash flow wise to purchase a Saturn. Find the nicest one you can afford.
Best of Luck,
George
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Old 01-18-2005, 05:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

take a boyfriend with you or other male co-worker if you're afraid of the salesman.

I've got a '94 SL2 that never needed anything more than an alternator, at 226,000 miles!!. I've got 229,000 now and no sign of stopping.

I'd suggest you get the DOHC, or SC2 over the SC1. The SOHC engine in the "1" series cars are prone to head cracking problems ($$$) in the '95 and '96 model years.
...
1996 Dodge Avenger ES: 2.5L V6
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Old 01-18-2005, 06:51 PM   #11
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Default Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

The S-series has been relatively problem-free. Older models were subject to oil burning, but that problem was generally fixed around the '99 model year. Saturns are some of the easiest cars to service (when they need it). I bet your insurance will be MUCH cheaper on a Saturn. Watch out for very high repair repair costs on the Mitsubishi. Also, you can probably find a newer Saturn with fewer miles for the same price as many other cars.
...
Past Saturns: 97 SL2, 01 SC2, 04 VUE, 08 Astra, 02 L200.
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Old 01-18-2005, 07:34 PM   #12
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Default Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

Good advice Spencer. Incidentally, nice new wheels. You have any more pics?...only one pic with new wheels in your gallery.
Best Regards,
George...we have very similar cars
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Old 01-18-2005, 11:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

As others have said, the SC2 is a reliable car. Make sure you get the VIN before buying and get a repair history at a Saturn retailer (using the VIN, they should be able to provide you a complete history of all work done at any retailer). As with any car, have it checked by a mechanic before buying. These are reliable cars overall, but even a reliable car can cause a new owner headaches if it has been severely neglected by the previous owner.
Keep in mind older Saturns tend to burn oil, but not all. My '94 SC2 doesn't burn any 5w30. It also has had rust on the sunroof arms since I got it (nearly 4 years ago) but I've never had any problems with the sunroof.
If you're looking at 95-97 SC2 models, keep in mind the '97 lost the pop-up headlights and went to a longer wheelbase. Good luck searching, and let us know what you get!
...
Craig
Saturn owner no longer as of 12/21/05, sold my SC2.
www.insidetrackmagazine.com
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Old 05-09-2005, 11:08 PM   #14
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Default Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

hi illuminata, here's my 2cents. i have a '92 SL1, 204,000 mi. and a '95 SL1, 120,000 mi. the head cracked on the '95 (a common prob for that year single cams only) and i replaced it. i love my '92 so much i just bought a '94 SC2, a little more horsepower=fun. i do maintain the cars, but no more than any other car i've ever owned. i think it's a great car, espcially the '95s and earlier, very good mpg's good handling, etc etc. that being said i think the mazda is a good car also but i can't say from experience how one that old holds up. good luck! by the way do you have any pics? not the car, hehe
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Old 05-10-2005, 12:08 AM   #15
Derwood3285
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Default Re: The Bottom Line, final opinion on buying an SC2

Being as I am a proponent of both the DSM (Eclipse) community and a newly founded Saturn Fan I can say you will have a ball with either car. If you go for the Naturally Aspirated Eclipse (GS or RS) or Talon (Base or Esi) you can expect dependability, reliability, and enjoyment. I had a 1996 Talon with the 420a engine in it and it went until well over 185 before it needed a rebuild. The transmissions on them are fantastic, parts are easily obtainable (considering it's a Neon motor! lol).

I also currently have a 1993 SC2 with over 150k on it. The engine runs like a dream, and the only problems I'm having with it are the standard leaking sunroof and creaking interior and fixing all the stuff the previous owner broke.

The only real detractors I can find from the SC2 so far is that the ride isn't nearly as "spirited" as the Eclipse, the seats can be a little uncomfortable, and the thing is LOUD AS HELL to drive on expressways....
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