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Old 04-22-2014, 12:59 AM   #1
hooked2u
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2001 SC2
1999 SC2
Default Any negative comments on 2001 SC2 5 speed manual?

My 99 SC2 4 speed automatic has been giving me problems for the past 6 months. Money is tight; I'm a pensioner. Its difficult to get car into my mechanic. I've been watching richpin06 and perusing this forum, before the recent problems cropped up, to learn about making repairs on my car. I've never been the auto mechanic type, but current problems, shortage of money, and difficulty getting into repair shop have made me re-think this situation. This past winter my mechanic had my vehicle for 32 days trying to trace an electrical problem, leaving me stranded with no transportation. I really like the S-series Saturn but my Son and friends have tried to encourage me to buy new. That's not going to happen. I can't afford a new car priced at home mortgage prices.

So, I began searching for a used Saturn. I've found a couple prospects and I'm leaning toward a manual shift 2001 SC2. The other car is a 1998 SC2. Both SC2's have 126K+ miles, half the mileage of my 99 SC2. I know there are youtube video reviews but I've always preferred reviews from owners that have driven the car I'm considering purchasing because they're in that car more than a professional reviewer.

Please comment, positive or negative, mileage that a problem began, etc.

Thanks.

...
<<1999 Saturn SC2 4 speed automatic. 262,658 (as of: 2014AUG29), low comp cyl#3, parked, use emergency trans. only; 2001 Saturn SC2 5 gear manual. < 127K mi, purch May 2014. Great MPG!>>

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Old 04-22-2014, 01:16 AM   #2
el diablo viejo
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Default Re: Any negative comments on 2001 SC2 5 speed manual?

If all things are equal between the two, the 1998 will have less electronic controls that in the 2001 would require dealer Tech 2 software to program. The 1998 also does not have the troublesome secondary air system. Check the front subframe on the driver's side for excessive rust, and the spark plug wells for oil. If you can get service history, that is a big plus. If you are not mechanically inclined, it is worth paying your mechanic to check the car over on a lift, rather than end up with another big money pit.

...
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1989 GMC 3500 454 129 K, 1969 442 455 rat rod

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Old 04-22-2014, 01:17 AM   #3
Mandun
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Default Re: Any negative comments on 2001 SC2 5 speed manual?

You can get all sorts of Saturn's, old and new, for great prices. I'll be picking up an '08 Vue XR 3.6L V6 6-speed Auto for $8,000, and I'll be paying around $200 a month.
I'd say it's worth a shot. Just take a look at the engine, and test drive it before any final decisions. Any grinding, excessive vibrations, etc, keep looking.

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Old 04-22-2014, 01:47 AM   #4
hooked2u
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Default Re: Any negative comments on 2001 SC2 5 speed manual?

Thanks for the comments el diablo viejo and mandun. I've seen your comments in other threads.

I would never buy a used vehicle without a test drive, but I wouldn't have thought to climb under the car to check the struts. Not sure about the oil around the the spark plug holes as I have oil around mine from spills. I should carry a funnel in my trunk but then I never think I'm going to spill the oil until after I've lost balance and dribbled some into that plug channel. I notice that the driver end is open. I should probably squirt dish soap and apply warm water and scrub with a bristle brush to remove the oil on my 99 SC2.

I'm not totally non-mechanical. I became more hesitant about working on cars when computers began to appear in them. The last car I did any significant work on was a 1970 VW Beetle after my warranty expired.

...
<<1999 Saturn SC2 4 speed automatic. 262,658 (as of: 2014AUG29), low comp cyl#3, parked, use emergency trans. only; 2001 Saturn SC2 5 gear manual. < 127K mi, purch May 2014. Great MPG!>>

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Old 04-22-2014, 02:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Any negative comments on 2001 SC2 5 speed manual?

When owning a Saturn, or any car for that matter, I find it's always useful to carry a Jack, Jackstands, A quart of each fluid (Brake, Power Steering, Oil, Transmission) and of course, Coolant and Wiper Fluid. You never know when you'll need to pull over and top something off. It never hurts to be prepared.

I also recommend spraying some Liquid Wrench on the suspension (Anything that connects to the wheel from the body). Saturn's have "Lube-for-life" suspensions, but I looked at mine earlier, and it was dry as a bone. After spraying it down, turns and bumps are smoother and quieter.

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Old 04-22-2014, 06:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: Any negative comments on 2001 SC2 5 speed manual?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandun View Post
When owning a Saturn, or any car for that matter, I find it's always useful to carry a Jack, Jackstands, A quart of each fluid (Brake, Power Steering, Oil, Transmission) and of course, Coolant and Wiper Fluid. You never know when you'll need to pull over and top something off. It never hurts to be prepared.

I also recommend spraying some Liquid Wrench on the suspension (Anything that connects to the wheel from the body). Saturn's have "Lube-for-life" suspensions, but I looked at mine earlier, and it was dry as a bone. After spraying it down, turns and bumps are smoother and quieter.
Liquid wrench is a thin oil and will just run out...try some sort of white lithium grease in a spray can...just a helpful hint. I always spray my suspension too! Liquid wrench is better for squeaky door hinges and stuck bolts.

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Old 04-22-2014, 11:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Any negative comments on 2001 SC2 5 speed manual?

Honestly if it was me I would most likely go for the 2001

It has a better drivetrain for your situation. It is slightly more efficient and designed better. The head is a smoother design along with the block. The rods are longer whith shorter pistons, it has a more balanced crank and the 00+ stronger tie plate.

Now I definitely recommend a test drive, and like everybody else is saying, look underneath and check out
A.) engine cradle tranny side(notorious for rust)
B.) check out the suspension and chassis
C.) if you can do a compression check, that would assure you have a sound motor
D.) check the oil level when you are there(this should be your first step) if it's low then the previous owner obviously didn't care enough to top it off for a potential buyer, I doubt they did it throughout the life of the car

Just my opinion
The 98 still has a nice motor. Ur instead of roller lifters it has bucket lifters(more friction)...shorter rods and longer pistons(more stress on motor) , lighter crank but less balanced( quicker windup but less reliable), less durable tie-plate
It's also 3 years older which gives more time for that to set in, if your in the rust belt

...
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:34 AM   #8
el diablo viejo
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Default Re: Any negative comments on 2001 SC2 5 speed manual?

As ddeuces describes, the 2001 is definitely a smoother running engine, but the tradeoff is potentially more expensive repair scenarios. The 2001 also has a very handy 3rd door.
To check for oil in the wells, you have to pull the plug wires and look down in holes where the plugs sit. A 1998, if not maintained, is more likely to have a leaky valve cover gasket leading to oil in the wells, which is also a good bargaining chip.
A compression check and code scan are also very good ideas.

...
97 sl2 a/t 104 K
1989 GMC 3500 454 129 K, 1969 442 455 rat rod

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Old 04-22-2014, 12:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Any negative comments on 2001 SC2 5 speed manual?

Some more opinion:

Stay away from the auto trans unless using a clutch is real pain because of congested traffic or your physical limitations. I prefer the '93-'95 cars. They can be a bit more trouble to diagnose, being OBD1, but less emissions equipment and no BCM to fuss with, and you start out with an aluminum valve cover.

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