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Old 05-10-2019, 07:13 PM   #1
TomKam
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1999 SL2
Default 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Hi all!

First off, I want to say how awesome it is to have a bunch of knowledge in one place, Iíve read through lots of threads (especially as of late) and I think this is the place I need to be right now.

Now to the good stuff...

Iíve had my 99 SL2 for at least 10 years and love it. Bought it with 90k and now has 284k. Been a solid runner, although I have noticed the lack of power and the constant oil consumption (roughly 1 quart every 800-1000 miles) of a tired engine. A few weeks ago I was driving home. While driving up a decent hill I started to get a misfire with the SES flashing. I limped it home the 50 miles and started troubleshooting. I got a misfire in cylinder 4, so I replaced the plugs, wires and the coil with no change. Compression test revealed 150psi in cylinders 1,2&3, and zero compression in cylinder 4. I read through Cboss, ehunter and Rich Brownís rebuild thread, and Iím guessing I have completely blown rings or a burnt valve (or both?!?)...regardless, with the number of miles on the engine if I do anything to it at all I would go all out and attempt the rebuild.

I put together a list of parts Iím going to need after reading the threads above, and I wanted to run it by you all and see if I missed anything or if anyone knows where to get any of these parts for less, or if I should go with a different brand. I donít know what Iím going to find when I get in there, so Iím kind of going with the worst case scenario...

PRICE/PART/BRAND/COMPANY

$335 Remanufactured head from Clearwater Cylinder
$20 Head bolts- Fel-pro...Rock auto
$90 Clutch kit- LUK...Rock auto
$170/$190 reman crank with rods/bearings- CS supply/engine tech-rock auto
(I will ask machine shop to check to see if original can be reused)
$20 oil pump repair kit - sealed power...rock auto
$18 timing cover gasket set -Mahle...Rock auto
$115 Timing set - Sealed power...Rock auto
$52 Lower gasket set...fel-pro...Rock auto

I will ask the machine shop on their recommendations on pistons/rings/bearings. Sealed power are my first choice, with oil holes and matching rings.

What are the chances Iíll be able to reuse the piston rods?

Iím sure Iím missing some stuff on the list, especially some gaskets and whatnot, but I want to be sure Iíve got the major stuff covered. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 05-10-2019, 10:32 PM   #2
Waiex191
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Tom,
Welcome to the forum! I'll add my thread in as well.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=230898

I found a great local machine shop. They ordered all the parts, rebuilt the head, bored the cylinders, cleaned all the parts, and it was $1400 all done. I put about $3K into the car total. It runs great.

There is no reason you can't reuse your crank or rods. The machine shop can go through all of that and order the right bearings as well.

For a '99 you need new conrod bolts as they are torque to yield and that won't come in your engine parts kit. There is a reference in my thread.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 05-11-2019, 05:11 AM   #3
TomKam
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Thanks for the reply Waiex!

After reading the first couple posts on your thread I remember reading through yours as well, Iím glad the engine is holding up!!... I understand itís probably easiest for me to just have the shop do everything, but then I wouldnít learn much in the process. Iíve done all of the work on this car since the day I bought it, except for the alignment it needed after replacing the steering rack. Iím good at following directions, Iím a stickler for details, I have space to work and a decent set of tools, so I feel confident I can do this.

Great to hear I should be able to reuse the rods, and Iíve got my fingers crossed on the crank 🤞

Assuming the head is in good shape, can I rebuild it for less than the $335 for the remanned one?

I priced out these parts for worst case scenario, and Iím not really on a time crunch, so if I can save some bucks and gain some knowledge at the same time then Iím all about that.

I think my first order of business is printing out these threads and re-reading them with a highlighter. Thereís so much info itís hard to keep it all straight!

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Old 05-11-2019, 02:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

I didn't have the shop do everything, but I did have them do the machine work and head rebuild. Pretty much the same as you are planning, I think. The good thing about rebuilding your head and turning your crank, rather than someone else's, is you know if yours have any issues or not.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 05-11-2019, 03:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Do not buy any supposed rebuilt head, rebuild the one you have now.

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Old 05-11-2019, 03:30 PM   #6
TomKam
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Gotcha...I will find a good machine shop and get their recommendation, would be great if I can reuse it!

Thanks for the input OldNuc! I remember you recommending that in the other threads, and donít have it machined unless absolutely necessary as well, right? Honestly when I started researching this project the head seemed a little overwhelming to me, which is why I considered the rebuilt head. But after reading up the past week or so on here I feel better about it for sure.

Another quick question:
Shortly after buying my car I had the infamous diff-pin problem in the transmission. At the time I bought a junkyard transmission and upon dismantling realized that the JY one had the same problem, just not nearly as bad as the grove was very small in the housing. So I swapped the bell housing and replaced the shear pin with a nail that fit snug. That was probably 150k ago...since I will have the engine and transmission out of the car do you think it would be wise to just go ahead and weld the diff pin in to be sure I donít have that problem again? When I bought it I was living in northern Wisconsin, lots of snow and spinning tires in the winter, which I assume contributed a lot to the pin failing in the first place. I live on the west coast now and donít deal too much with snow or ice. Thoughts??

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Old 05-11-2019, 03:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

I would replace the nail with a roll pin like in the Hunt4Steve transmission rebuild thread. I did, and I have peace of mind that it is good.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 05-11-2019, 03:50 PM   #8
TomKam
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Sweet, that sounds like a good plan. The last thing I want to do is have to tear it apart to fix something dumb like that lol

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Old 05-11-2019, 04:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
I didn't have the shop do everything, but I did have them do the machine work and head rebuild. Pretty much the same as you are planning, I think. The good thing about rebuilding your head and turning your crank, rather than someone else's, is you know if yours have any issues or not.
Should I just count on the machine shop being able to order everything Iíll need then? Iíll keep my list as a pricing guide and maybe do some negotiating if/when the need arises?

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Old 05-11-2019, 04:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

That is what I did, except I had to source my own OEM rod bolts.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 05-11-2019, 04:16 PM   #11
TomKam
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
That is what I did, except I had to source my own OEM rod bolts.
Awesome. Thank you!

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Old 05-11-2019, 04:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
That is what I did, except I had to source my own OEM rod bolts.


I found some at GM parts giant online, they are about 2 bucks a piece, does that sound right?? Part number 21008005...Iíd post a link but apparently I havenít posted enough to get that permission yet lol

Last edited by TomKam; 05-11-2019 at 04:51 PM..

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Old 05-11-2019, 05:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

That sounds right.
https://www.wholesalegmpartsonline.c.../21008005.html
I discovered that '99 and later have TTY rod bolts. '98 and earlier have reusable studs and nuts.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 05-11-2019, 07:08 PM   #14
TomKam
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Valuable info right there. Itís the little details that make all the difference and the reason why I posted here.

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Old 05-11-2019, 09:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

The questions you are asking have all been previously answered.

Complete overhaul
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=170045 ehunter
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=145250 cboss
3rd gen
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=230898

All the 1st &2nd gen info is pertinent.

Do not buy a mail order or eBay rebuilt head, you will not be happy. Why is in the treads above.

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Old 05-11-2019, 10:41 PM   #16
TomKam
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The questions you are asking have all been previously answered.

All the 1st &2nd gen info is pertinent.

Do not buy a mail order or eBay rebuilt head, you will not be happy. Why is in the treads above.
Iím going to re-read these threads again and take notes before jumping into this project, I appreciate the links. As a few of the threads are somewhat old I wasnít sure if part/repair options were the same or if there was anything new I should know about?

And the remanned head is scratched off the list, Iíll rebuild it myself!

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Old 05-12-2019, 08:41 AM   #17
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Unless you have overhead cam engine hands on rebuilding experience just let a good shop rebuild the head. It is best to just bore the block instead of trying to just hone it. You can disassemble and clean(98 and older) or replace the hydraulic adjusters and if this is a 99 or newer it is worth the money to replace them as it is a generic GM part. They have been upgraded multiple times since 99.

Saturn is a dead car and there is little that is new in the last 10 years.

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Old 05-12-2019, 06:36 PM   #18
TomKam
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Unless you have overhead cam engine hands on rebuilding experience just let a good shop rebuild the head. It is best to just bore the block instead of trying to just hone it. You can disassemble and clean(98 and older) or replace the hydraulic adjusters and if this is a 99 or newer it is worth the money to replace them as it is a generic GM part. They have been upgraded multiple times since 99.

Saturn is a dead car and there is little that is new in the last 10 years.
I have zero head rebuilding experience so Iíll have the shop do that work for sure. Iíve got a good recommendation on a shop and Iím going to swing in there this week to have a talk with them and check out their shop. Thanks again for the info, Iím excited to get this going!

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Old 05-12-2019, 07:43 PM   #19
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Take your time as mistakes are very expensive. There are people who know exactly how to do this correctly so if in doubt always ask.

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Old 08-15-2019, 10:38 AM   #20
TomKam
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Default Re: 99 SL2 DOHC rebuild?

Just an update to this thread...thanks to the wealth of knowledge on this site I completely tore down and rebuilt my SL2! Started it up last Sunday the 11th, and have about 70 miles on it. So far no leaks that I can see!...I ran into plenty of hiccups along the way, including taking nearly 6 weeks to get my parts back from the machine shop, but thatís a lesson learned and I wonít be going back to that shop in the future...I didnít keep an exact price list, but I was right around the $2,000 dollar mark, and that included:

Bored oversized .50mm
Rebuilt head with all exhaust valves replaced (they were only going to replace 1)
Crank only needed polishing! (Double checked with plastigauge when I put it together)
Resurfaced flywheel
New rod and main bearings, with new con-rod bolts
New clutch, pressure plate and throwout bearing
New idler pulley
New tensioner pulley
New water pump
New battery (fried it when I hooked the alternator up wrong 🤦*♂️)
New front and rear seals
New oil pump and pressure relief valve
New timing kit
About 1/2 pallet of brake kleen lol
Iím sure Iím missing a few other things...


I do have a question that Iím hoping one of you can help me with. The car runs really smooth at startup both when cold and while driving, but once warm, the car idles a little rough. It idles right around the 900 rpm range but just sounds like itís being Ďchoked offí a bit. Once I step on the gas, itís responsive, doesnít stumble at all and runs great. Iím also not throwing any codes, unless I havenít driven far enough yet? I replaced the ECTS, IAT (was still factory, replaced it with a brass tipped ects) and checked the plugs and wiring harnesses for each. New oxygen sensor (OE) and map sensor. EGR valve is a few years old, but did my best to clean it out...I havenít done much with the exhaust, could a leak somewhere make the car idle rough, but still not throw a code? The front flex pipe has definitely seen better days, and as far as I know Iíve had the same catalytic converter for nearly 200k, and I limped the car home at least 60 miles when I burnt the exhaust valve.

Again, this site is awesome and it was the best feeling jumping into my car and driving it back down the road. Many thanks!!

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