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Old 02-19-2019, 06:30 PM   #1
Silverblu02SL2
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Default 02 SL2 driving impressions

After driving this new to me 02 SL2 with 62K miles for the last few weeks accumulating around 130 miles. Here are a few observations:

- The ride is really twitchy! Each corner of the car reacts to the slightest irregularity in road surface.

- Visibility via outside and rear view mirrors is ok, not great like my other cars.

- Engine has adequate power and runs smooth and quiet, compared to my diesels.

- The horn is dangerous! If I need it to sound it immediately, I probably won't be able to! The sweet spot is less than 1" in diameter and need precision finger placement! What was Saturn engineers thinking when they designed the horn?

I have been driving with the L hand index finger on the "horn" symbol so that I can sound the horn in a pinch.

Is there a work around? I was thinking of placing a "bar" with depressors over the 2 "horn" symbols so I can activate it with my palm. That would work but pose a new danger: If the air bag deploys, it may take my eyes out.

...
1/28/2019 2002 SL2 w 62k miles

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Old 02-19-2019, 06:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

For the twitchiness.....

- What's the air pressure in the Tires?

- How are the Tires & what brand(s)?

- Different brands on the same axle? A no-no.

- Out of alignment? Uneven Tire wear?

- Condition of the front-end parts?

Let us know the findings!

...
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Old 02-19-2019, 06:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

I found my horn buttons are annoying too. It must be the compromise made when airbags were installed in the center of our steering wheels while still allowing room for horn buttons. For several years it was hit or miss when I needed horns. Less missing the horn buttons now that touch/slam memory/hand eye coordination remembers where the small spots are in my steering wheel.

Practice, practice, practice. I'm sure you'll get ample opportunity in NYC.......

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Old 02-19-2019, 08:14 PM   #4
Silverblu02SL2
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2002 SL2
Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitcher View Post
For the twitchiness.....

- What's the air pressure in the Tires?

- How are the Tires & what brand(s)?

- Different brands on the same axle? A no-no.

- Out of alignment? Uneven Tire wear?

- Condition of the front-end parts?

Let us know the findings!
The 02 SL2 should not handle like this? Maybe twitchy is not a good description of what's happening.

If the left wheel go over a small bump, I can feel the left front of the car go up, followed by the left rear of the car go up as the left rear wheel go over the bump. Instead of soaking up road irregularities like my other cars, I can feel the SL2 react to every irregularity.

Tires are Insignia SE200 185/65R 15 with less than 25k miles on them

Not out of alignment, tires not out of balance, tires wearing evenly.

Front end is fine, no unusual noises. Steering has no play and feel precise.

tires 34 psi front & rear

...
1/28/2019 2002 SL2 w 62k miles

Last edited by Silverblu02SL2; 02-19-2019 at 08:24 PM..

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Old 02-19-2019, 08:33 PM   #5
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Sounds about right, especially if you are used to driving a much heavier car. These cars don't have a lot of weight to put on the patch.

-Robert

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Old 02-19-2019, 08:46 PM   #6
Silverblu02SL2
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

I have a 92 VW Jetta Ecodiesel 5 spd, same weight, with a shorter wheelbase 97.3" vs the SL2's 102.4" It does not bobble over every bump!

Another thing I notice with the Saturn is its large turning radius. I can make U turns in NYC streets in the Jetta with so much less maneuvering compared to the Saturn.

...
1/28/2019 2002 SL2 w 62k miles

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Old 02-19-2019, 11:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

What's this about using the horn?
Man, I cannot even think the last time I needed to sound it off with any of my cars.

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Old 02-20-2019, 12:02 AM   #8
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
What's this about using the horn?
Man, I cannot even think the last time I needed to sound it off with any of my cars.
If somebody drifts into your lane, a beep will let them know. At a stop light, some driver's don't move when the light turns green... they're busy texting. A beep gets them moving.

...
1/28/2019 2002 SL2 w 62k miles

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Old 02-20-2019, 11:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverblu02SL2 View Post

Front end is fine, no unusual noises. Steering has no play and feel precise.

tires 34 psi front & rear
Get a shop to check out the front end; just cause it don't make noise doesn't mean it's fine.

Try the tire pressure at 30 front & 26 back & report back.

...
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Old 02-20-2019, 12:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverblu02SL2 View Post
- The horn is dangerous! If I need it to sound it immediately, I probably won't be able to! The sweet spot is less than 1" in diameter and need precision finger placement! What was Saturn engineers thinking when they designed the horn? . . .

Is there a work around? I was thinking of placing a "bar" with depressors over the 2 "horn" symbols so I can activate it with my palm. That would work but pose a new danger: If the air bag deploys, it may take my eyes out.
The early days of airbags

It could be worse . . . on the 2nd gens, the horn buttons were on the two spokes of the steering wheel. If your hands were anywhere other than 10-2, those buttons were hard to find. I think this thread has a pic
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=145738

I haven't looked at a deployed airbag in a while, but IIRC, the plastic cover splits like a very wide "H" when the airbag deploys

If the bar is securely glued to the top flap of the airbag cover, should be safe for your eyes

all you need is to close the electric contact for the horn to work, so you could wire up something external. For example, a metal base plate say, 2" tall by 3" wide (or match it to the size and shape of the top airbag cover flap). Connect this to one horn contact.

Wire the other horn contact to a slightly smaller metal plate and glue thin, foam, spacers (say, 1/8"). The foam spacers act as a spring. Glue the foam spacers to the base plate. cover side facing driver with tape or plastic.

Any time you push the top plate, it will contact the bottom and sound the horn.

...
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Or install a voice activated relay and mic so all you have to do is shout a bloody curse word to sound the horn.
https://www.amazon.com/Bogen-25462-B...tronics&sr=1-3

https://m.dhgate.com/product/new-min...nsh|2100530362

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Old 02-20-2019, 03:57 PM   #12
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverblu02SL2 View Post
If somebody drifts into your lane, a beep will let them know. At a stop light, some driver's don't move when the light turns green... they're busy texting. A beep gets them moving.
My brother lives in nyc. This is certainly a nyc thing. Been a long time since Iíve heard anyone use a horn in California. I think the fines are pretty strict here.

-Robert

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Old 02-20-2019, 04:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Horn use is quite rare here as well and it is not illegal to use one either.

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Old 02-20-2019, 04:44 PM   #14
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Wolo Bad Boy Max or Stebel Truck Horn...

Sounds like a loud lovesick moose...

120+ decibels...

http://wolo-usa.com/619.MP3

...
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Old 02-20-2019, 06:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverblu02SL2 View Post
If somebody drifts into your lane, a beep will let them know. At a stop light, some driver's don't move when the light turns green... they're busy texting. A beep gets them moving.
I can attest to NYC driving attitudes and the necessity of horn use. I grew up in the BIg Apple. When my parents bought their home, we had one car in a two car driveway, two car garage. Now three cars occupy the same space. Multiply this scenario a hundred thousand times and anyone not familiar with traffic congestion that didn't exist 60 years ago may not understand preset congestion in NYC. Add the fact that NYC has some of the largest immigrant populations in America with varied driving skills and a recipe for road rage is unavoidable with extremely poor driver etiquette. A higher accident rate occurs. Anyone remember the days when a driver forgets to turn on headlights with the opposing driver cycling low beams several times to signal the errant driver? I think that's called courtesy as a friendly way to signal without stopping or waving. Simple courtesy. Unfortunately, as the immigrant population cycles thru and driving courtesy dies, one particular group seems oblivious to turning on their driving lights altogether at night. I think this is more about ignorance from lack of responsibility in acquiring their driving license than assimilating into America. I verified this group by simply looking at who's driving. Local police may be cracking down on this safety issue. We'll see as time passes.

Horns are needed to remind drivers lacking lane discipline when leaning on the left side either due to poor eyesight or lazy habit of hugging the left side. There are drivers oblivious or ignoring traffic making lane changes regardless of looking thru their side mirrors or turning their head sideways to check for clearance before lane changing. Its now customary to cut off anyone without signaling. Texting is a serious distraction in NYC traffic and horns are needed to interrupt the idiot intent on texting instead of paying attention to the main task of driving, D-R-I-V-I-N-G. There are more undisciplined drivers in NYC than anywhere else, mainly due to the immigrant population in their need to assimilate into America as well as lazy, ignorant drivers without a care. All in and around NYC.

When I traveled outside NYC to the midwest or south, I'm reminded of how courtesy still prevails around the country.

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Old 02-20-2019, 11:55 PM   #16
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverblu02SL2 View Post
Another thing I notice with the Saturn is its large turning radius. I can make U turns in NYC streets in the Jetta with so much less maneuvering compared to the Saturn.

The horn is dangerous! If I need it to sound it immediately, I probably won't be able to! The sweet spot is less than 1" in diameter and need precision finger placement.
Both of these are very valid points. I have reached for a horn button several times and never hit it when I needed it. The turning radius is insanely bad. I've owned 70's muscle cars with a smaller turning radius.

...
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:07 AM   #17
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
When I traveled outside NYC to the midwest or south, I'm reminded of how courtesy still prevails around the country.
I'm finding more and more that the new culture of "just let everyone do whatever they want and accept it for fear of offending" applies to driving as well. I've seen people sit through an entire green light texting and the drivers behind still won't hit the horn.

...
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Old 02-21-2019, 01:59 PM   #18
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverblu02SL2 View Post
I have a 92 VW Jetta Ecodiesel 5 spd, same weight, with a shorter wheelbase 97.3" vs the SL2's 102.4" It does not bobble over every bump!

Another thing I notice with the Saturn is its large turning radius. I can make U turns in NYC streets in the Jetta with so much less maneuvering compared to the Saturn.
These cars are responsive over bumps, due to the design of the chassis. The Saturn S-Series is designed and built, in a similar fashion, to the way NASCAR chassis designs are. The result is a very lightweight, stiff chassis, which means you sacrifice your ride quality and smoothness.

You can remove the exterior panels, and still drive the chassis around. Plus, being a sedan makes the chassis more rigid than the coupe chassis. This is due to the center door pillars. They act, similar to that of a strut tower bar, on the front struts.

Unibody chassis are not as responsive, which is part of why the VW had a slightly less-responsive ride.

...
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"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."

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Old 02-22-2019, 11:05 AM   #19
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverblu02SL2 View Post
I have a 92 VW Jetta Ecodiesel 5 spd, same weight, with a shorter wheelbase 97.3" vs the SL2's 102.4" It does not bobble over every bump!

Another thing I notice with the Saturn is its large turning radius. I can make U turns in NYC streets in the Jetta with so much less maneuvering compared to the Saturn.
Agreed, the S series does not have a good turning radius! I have an Ion Redline which is about 2 ft longer than my SL2 but it'll turn a much tighter circle.

As for ride comfort, as others have said SL's are quite light. I found that with new struts (KYB) the rebound improved and the ride became more controlled.
Sounds like you may have some tired struts.

...
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Old 02-22-2019, 12:56 PM   #20
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Default Re: 02 SL2 driving impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by SLfun View Post
Agreed, the S series does not have a good turning radius! I have an Ion Redline which is about 2 ft longer than my SL2 but it'll turn a much tighter circle.

As for ride comfort, as others have said SL's are quite light. I found that with new struts (KYB) the rebound improved and the ride became more controlled.
Sounds like you may have some tired struts.
At 62K miles, what's the likelyhood the original struts has lost its effectiveness? I have been a passenger in the car since it was new and as far as I can remember, it always rode that way. Who makes the original struts?

Did you put KYB's in the front only or all four?

...
1/28/2019 2002 SL2 w 62k miles

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