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Old 09-28-2019, 07:16 PM   #21
PrestonIII
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1994 SL2
1994 SL2
Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

LOL, this obviously isn't a popular opinion, but I prefer the first generation cars, specifically the 1994.

I love the outer body style looks of the 1st gen. And I much prefer the 91-94 dash style over the 1995 style dash. (that square front radio means any GM radio can be plugged in too - I have a late 90's Pontiac CD player in my car).

I chose 1994, because one hopes that they've gotten all the glitches out that a new model starts up with (as in the '91's).

I've had a '94 SL1 stick, a '93 SL2 auto, and my current '94 SL2 HCE auto.

The front end looks a little like the 80's model Camaro's, and the side view has the wedge shape with a slight kick-up at the rear with the spoiler. And the rear end looks good too.

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Old 09-28-2019, 09:44 PM   #22
onlinebiker
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Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

And the 94 doesn't have the $!*&$@ automatic shoulder belts the earlier ones did.

Hate those.

...
92 SC2
93 SC2
96 SC2
97 SL2
97 SC2
99 SC2
01 SC2
02 SC2
02 SL2
parts
2 94 SC2 parted out
2 96 SC2
98 SC2 - rusty frame minus engine.

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Old 09-28-2019, 09:50 PM   #23
Saturn Night
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1995 SC2
Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

1995 SC2/SL2

The majority of super-high mileage Saturns are 1995 model years.

They have first-gen styling and 2nd Gen interiors.

Least amount of "problem items"(ex. Plastic valve covers).

Simplicity of OBD-I and no Death-Kill orange coolant.

...
"What does a Saturn owner do, at the gas station?"

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

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Old 09-29-2019, 10:01 AM   #24
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1995 SL2
1999 SL2
Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn Night View Post
1995 SC2/SL2

The majority of super-high mileage Saturns are 1995 model years.

They have first-gen styling and 2nd Gen interiors.

Least amount of "problem items"(ex. Plastic valve covers).

Simplicity of OBD-I and no Death-Kill orange coolant.
My 1995 has death kill in it, had zero issues so far and its been about 100k miles and at least 8 years according to the PO's records. I just change it every year or so.

...
1994 Sl2 5spd: 56,576 (Totaled 1/10/2018)
1995 Sl2 5spd Manual Swap: 150,062
1999 Sl2 4spd: 98,8xx

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Old 09-30-2019, 07:49 AM   #25
trottida
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1999 SL2
2001 SL1
Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 454cid View Post
Why do you have an air pump? I don't have one on my 2000 SL2. Is your car California emissions instead of Federal?
You'll find air pumps in a limited number of 99 models and in most 2000 model year S Series. There were a small number of 2000 model year S Series that came without them and yours is likely one of those.

The auto manufactures were mandated to achieve certain levels of emissions standards on all cars built after January 1, 2000. Air pumps helped achieve those levels so any S Series manufactured after that date were equipped with air pumps.

The 99s with air pumps were mostly destined for California where the emission standards were put in place earlier.

...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
2001 SL1 MT (438,500 km 11y)
1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
1992 SL2 MT (5y)

:canada:

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Old 09-30-2019, 07:52 AM   #26
trottida
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1999 SL2
2001 SL1
Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

Quote:
Originally Posted by onlinebiker View Post
And the 94 doesn't have the $!*&$@ automatic shoulder belts the earlier ones did.

Hate those.
All the 94's were equipped with mouse belts. They were eliminated with the 95 model year. You could however retrofit 94 and earlier models with the 95 model seat belts. They bolted right in an you also needed to get certain trim pieces to complete the modification.

...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
2001 SL1 MT (438,500 km 11y)
1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
1992 SL2 MT (5y)

:canada:

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Old 09-30-2019, 11:13 AM   #27
onlinebiker
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Mad Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

I must be getting senile... I parted out 2 94's and for yhe life of me don't remember the automatics... And - i could almost swear at least one had pass side airbag....

Well hell... My knees did go first... I guess it' inevitable...

...
92 SC2
93 SC2
96 SC2
97 SL2
97 SC2
99 SC2
01 SC2
02 SC2
02 SL2
parts
2 94 SC2 parted out
2 96 SC2
98 SC2 - rusty frame minus engine.

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Old 09-30-2019, 12:36 PM   #28
S-forever
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1997 SL2
1991 SL2
Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

I believe the first generation cars were the lightest and yes, I do prefer the original body style. The 94 was probably the most reliable of these. I think the 91-92 SL-2 engine was the most powerful, though it's a bit of an oddity.

The most reliable car I've owned is my 97 SL-2. It's at 340K miles so far with only a starter as an emergent repair. Original engine and tranny. I'm working on a couple of 3rd gen cars and they seem as though GM beancounters got their hands into the design. They have the best paint jobs though - sun in the southwest really damages it.

It always amazes me that the twin cam is more reliable long term even though it's the more complex design.

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Old 09-30-2019, 01:57 PM   #29
trottida
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1999 SL2
2001 SL1
Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

Quote:
Originally Posted by onlinebiker View Post
I must be getting senile... I parted out 2 94's and for yhe life of me don't remember the automatics... And - i could almost swear at least one had pass side airbag....

Well hell... My knees did go first... I guess it' inevitable...
Yes, airbags became standard on the drivers side for the 93 model year. The steering wheel changed from the iconic 3 spoke to a 4 spoke that actually was also used on the Lotus Esprit! It originated in the 91/92 Pontiac TransAm.

Pictures below....











...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
2001 SL1 MT (438,500 km 11y)
1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
1992 SL2 MT (5y)

:canada:

Last edited by trottida; 09-30-2019 at 02:05 PM..

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Old 09-30-2019, 02:48 PM   #30
onlinebiker
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Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S-forever View Post
I believe the first generation cars were the lightest and yes, I do prefer the original body style. The 94 was probably the most reliable of these. I think the 91-92 SL-2 engine was the most powerful, though it's a bit of an oddity.

The most reliable car I've owned is my 97 SL-2. It's at 340K miles so far with only a starter as an emergent repair. Original engine and tranny. I'm working on a couple of 3rd gen cars and they seem as though GM beancounters got their hands into the design. They have the best paint jobs though - sun in the southwest really damages it.

It always amazes me that the twin cam is more reliable long term even though it's the more complex design.
I believe there are actually less parts in a twin cam.

2 cams - but no rocker arms or pivot bar..

...
92 SC2
93 SC2
96 SC2
97 SL2
97 SC2
99 SC2
01 SC2
02 SC2
02 SL2
parts
2 94 SC2 parted out
2 96 SC2
98 SC2 - rusty frame minus engine.

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Old 09-30-2019, 03:39 PM   #31
TwoFistedJustic
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2002 SC2
2001 SC2
Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

I'm a fan of the the gen1 SC2. I like the graceful swoop of the side panels. On the other hand, they have pop-up headlights which are prone to breaking.

I own both a 2001 and 2002 SC2. These are my favorite as far as body style. But this is also the gen3 which is the beginning of the GMing of Saturn and it shows in some of the shortcuts they took in manufacturing. They changed the clutch in the gen3 to a much bouncier clutch. Fortunately, the gen2 clutch is interchangeable...

I have also owned a 99 SL which was probably the best car I've ever owned. It was reliable, easy to work on, and got phenomenal gas mileage. It could also hold a ton of stuff with the rear seats down. It was killed in a death match with a horse on a back country highway in Arizona.

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Old 10-01-2019, 09:54 AM   #32
454cid
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Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

Quote:
Originally Posted by trottida View Post

The auto manufactures were mandated to achieve certain levels of emissions standards on all cars built after January 1, 2000. Air pumps helped achieve those levels so any S Series manufactured after that date were equipped with air pumps.
That'd odd. I associate air pumps with early emissions systems and California. That makes me think the 1.9L Saturn is dirtier than most engines... must be all the oil

Quote:
The 99s with air pumps were mostly destined for California where the emission standards were put in place earlier.
It's a different standard.... "California Emissions" rather than "Federal Emissions"... sometimes called "49 State Emissions". The engine in my truck is Federal, so it doesn't have the air pump the CA Emissions trucks got.

...
2000 SL2 Automatic (back on the road) 17X,XXX miles.
1999 Chevy K3500

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Old 10-01-2019, 10:33 AM   #33
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1999 SL2
1998 SC2
Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

My '99 was bought in Connecticut. I wanted a base model SL2 with a manual. They had to import it from Massachusetts. It has an air pump but is clearly an East coast car. The system still works after 20 years and 222,000 miles. We did have to clear out the carbon in the exhaust manifold passage during the rebuild.

...
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 10-02-2019, 08:27 PM   #34
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1997 SL2
Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
My '99 was bought in Connecticut. I wanted a base model SL2 with a manual. They had to import it from Massachusetts. It has an air pump but is clearly an East coast car. The system still works after 20 years and 222,000 miles. We did have to clear out the carbon in the exhaust manifold passage during the rebuild.
Massachusetts is a state that uses California emissions so it probably would have one. Thy're defiantly not as strict as California though so I'm not totally sure how it works.

...
97 SL2, auto, 116K miles
Powered by Plastic

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Old 10-03-2019, 12:09 AM   #35
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2001 SC2
Default Re: What's the " best" year S-series?

Kinda depends on what you want. If you want pure performance then a 1st gen SL2 is best with a 1st gen SC2 a close second (SC2 has better turning radius but "stock" options means it's often heavier than SL2); if you want creature comforts and the smoothest running engine than a 3rd gen of whatever body style tickles your funny bone.

Personally I'd go with either a late '93-'94 SC2 or '96 SC2; with a manual transmission. If I had to choose a single year...I'd go with '96 because I don't care for the mini 1st gen gauge cluster and it has the updated "high flow" front bumper.

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