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Old 06-10-2022, 10:53 PM   #1
csmolen
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Default I'm in need of some direction.

Currently, I have a 2002 SL1 Automatic. I'm a highschooler, so of course I want to make my old Saturn rip lol. I'm completely new to cars in general, so that could be my issue, but I just don't know keywords and places to look up to find parts. Currently I was looking into a new intake, and I looked up "Saturn S-Series intake" and had very few results that looked promising come up. Thankfully though, that's what the forum is for, asking questions. Do you have any sites you go to to look for mod parts, and are there mod parts not specifically made for Saturns, that will work with said car? Also, any advice is welcomed just in general, too. Thanks
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Old 06-11-2022, 12:00 PM   #2
supernad
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Default Re: I'm in need of some direction.

The best, and fastest, way to make your car "Rip" would be to go find a Twin Cam engine (anything from a 2000+ SC/SL/SW2) and a manual transmission to swap into your car.

An engine is only as powerful as the amount of air that can pass though it. Better intake, better exhaust system, more aggressive cam shafts, ported head, ECT will make it better.

That being said, with just basic bolt on upgrades these engines don't get that much faster.

If you want to build your saturn, you'll (more than likely) want to buy a second motor to build so you can drive your car while working on it. Plus you'll have a back up if/when something does go wrong with it.
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Old 06-12-2022, 12:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: I'm in need of some direction.

Also keep in mind that the transmissions are geared for economy, so that's going to slow you down too.

Parts are going to be hard to come by, Saturn's weren't exactly known for their high-end tuning capabilities. Not saying they don't exist, but from what I've seen here in the forums, it's a lot of work to make things work, but it is possible to do.

Honestly, I'd save the money and buy something that can be modded fairly easy to get you started. Keep the Saturn for your backup should something go wrong.

Fiero's are a great modding kind of car. You can always swap out the old 4cyl Iron Dukes and 2.8's for a more modern 3800 with a super charger (just stay away from the '84's, they aren't as friendly to modding, '85-'87 is the sweet spot). It takes some work, but it's probably a lot easier to do than trying to tune a Saturn.

Hell, they've been dropping big block Chevy's and Northstar V8's in them (but that's getting into some really high end territory, lots of money too).
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Old 06-12-2022, 06:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: I'm in need of some direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cujoe_da_man View Post
Also keep in mind that the transmissions are geared for economy, so that's going to slow you down too.

Parts are going to be hard to come by, Saturn's weren't exactly known for their high-end tuning capabilities. Not saying they don't exist, but from what I've seen here in the forums, it's a lot of work to make things work, but it is possible to do.

Honestly, I'd save the money and buy something that can be modded fairly easy to get you started. Keep the Saturn for your backup should something go wrong.

Fiero's are a great modding kind of car. You can always swap out the old 4cyl Iron Dukes and 2.8's for a more modern 3800 with a super charger (just stay away from the '84's, they aren't as friendly to modding, '85-'87 is the sweet spot). It takes some work, but it's probably a lot easier to do than trying to tune a Saturn.

Hell, they've been dropping big block Chevy's and Northstar V8's in them (but that's getting into some really high end territory, lots of money too).
I might should specify what I mean, I dont really care about performance a whole ton to be honest. i want it to run well, of course, but to be entirely honest, my main goal is just for it to sound good, and be comfortable to drive. hell I dont even want it to be super loud. Thats why I was looking into an intake, its a nice place to start to check off the 'sound good' part of the list, while still keeping the volume reasonable.
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Old 06-12-2022, 08:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: I'm in need of some direction.

If you want a reasonably priced intake, get a 10ft piece of 3in OD PVC from the hardware store, a 90, a 45 and PVC pipe glue plus a 3" round air filter like Spectre. If you don't want it bright white, add in self-etching primer + color. AEM wanted over $300 for their intake, the hardware store was about $60 including a FLAPS cone air filter.

The S-Series aftermarket was never very large but what we did have was gone by 2012. Even when there was an aftermarket pretty much all the SOHC cars got were direct swaps from the better DOHC cars.
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Old 06-13-2022, 03:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: I'm in need of some direction.

I found out recently that the OEM (and probably aftermarket) parts market for Saturn S-Series is almost completely gone in Canada.

I have a modified 2001 Saturn SC2 manual coupe (AEM Cold Air Intake, Thermal R&D cat-back exhaust, SPS front strut tower bar, Goodyear Eagle Sport A/S tires), owned since new – it is fun to drive, but I may have to junk it if I can't find a replacement for its failing transmission.

The aftermarket performance parts manufacturers have long since discontinued parts availability for the S-Series cars, so your only bet would be scouring used parts places and junkyards.

At this point in the car's life cycle, it's not worth putting the money into performance parts and modifications. There are almost no new parts and even the used junkyard parts have been salvaged for the few S-Series cars that are still running.

If you're a purely handy mechanic that doesn't need the car to be in driving condition all the time as you tinker on it and fabricate/3D print/modify parts, that's fine, but it isn't a good idea for a high schooler due to the high parts costs and lack of any aftermarket support.

The Honda Civics, Acura RSX, Mazda MX-5, etc. are better platforms for modification because they still have OEM and aftermarket support.

Last edited by HiWire; 06-13-2022 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 06-14-2022, 12:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: I'm in need of some direction.

If you want my advice, just drive the car and learn how to do basic maintenance before anything else.

Get acquainted with fluid changes, sensor replacements, and regular service intervals. Learn about how the car works and what keeps it working; this is fundamental knowledge that you will be thankful you learned.

Modifying S-Series is not a simple task, there is very little aftermarket support, and the performance resources are scattered across a few websites/ archives.

I have 3 S-Series: 1 not stock, and 2 stock. The not stock one is pretty quick for what it is, but it was a long road to get there, and I did need to purchase a second S-Series since the modified one was unreliable (common occurrence).

My best advice is to just drive the Sl1 and get it into tip-top shape. If you really want to modify an S-Series, buy a 1993-1998 SL2, SW2, or SC2, and go from there. Anything DOHC (Sl2, SW2, SC2) from 1999-2002 and any SOHC (SL, SL1, SW1, SC1) in general is not a suitable platform for more power.

Enjoy the Sl1 and it's fuel economy in times like this. That car was designed for economy and it is best suited for that purpose.
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1994 Sl2 5spd: First Car, Stock: 56,576 (Totaled 1/10/2018)
1994 Sl1 5spd: Inherited, Stock: 494,500
1995 Sl2 5spd: Retired Daily, Not Stock: 196,000
1995 Sw2 5spd: Daily, Stock: 105,000
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Old 06-14-2022, 07:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: I'm in need of some direction.

Honestly I'd focus on basic maintenance. Let the car save you money and buy the hot rod you want. Just don't get it until you can pay cash for it. Credit debt is bad!
...
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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