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Old 07-07-2010, 08:36 PM   #1
DWB
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Default New member - 1996 1.9 replacement engine questions

Hey guys and gals - I'm new here and have some questions about replacing an engine. My good friend drove her very nice 1996 SC1 into water today and bent a rod or two. Fortunately she didn't open the door so interior damage was minimal and has been cleaned fairly well already but it will take a few weeks to really dry out I suppose.

I have located a used 1.9 engine from a manual trans car that I would like to go get tomorrow and put into my friend's auto equipped car. Is there anything more complicated than just replacing the flywheel with the flex plate? I'm thinking of balance issues. In the old days it was common to change the harmonic balancer as well when doing the auto/manual swap.

Second question - should I be considering changing the timing belt and water pump before the replacement engine goes in? I've maintained this car for years but never done any major work on it so I'm not well informed.

Third question - it looks like the engine should come out the top fairly easily as long as I can get the torque converter bolts/studs out. Is this the way to go? Same question if I have to remove the transaxle with the engine, out the top or out the bottom?

Fourth question - anything obvious I'm missing? I'm fairly experienced at this stuff just not with a Saturn.

Thanks for your input!

Dennis

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Old 07-07-2010, 08:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: New member - 1996 1.9 replacement engine questions

Hey Dennis, I am in a similar situation. I am an experienced mechanic, that is just starting to learn about saturns. I think I may just be a couple of days ahead of you, so I will share the small bits I have picked up so far.

1) There are lots of swapping issues between the years on the 1.9 sohc and dohc engines. Double check all your interchange info and then check again. The swap guide in the s-tech section seems pretty good, but is missing some info on my years of interest and i have found at least one error. ie: not all sohc manifolds will interchange.

2) Sticking with a 96 motor will eliminate the swapping issues but the 96 head seems to be the worst of the litter from a cracking perspective. This seems to mostely be related to air pocket not being purged from the coolant passages in the heads, but there it is!

3) Engine should come out from the top. Tranny also, but can come out through the wheel well if you are determined not to remove the engine. General opinion seems to be to pull the motor and tranny together (from the top). This is my plan, but I am dealing with a manual tranny car which should be harder to line up in the engine bay. Everyone seems to highly recommend an equalizer bar to help in balancing the engin. No brainer. Who would NOT reconmmend this??

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Old 07-07-2010, 09:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: New member - 1996 1.9 replacement engine questions

Dennis -
I'm the opposite of you. I know nothing about cars, but with the help of this site I've replaced 7 engines, a few trannys and everything in between.

Your engine has a timing chain which never needs servicing as long as you keep the oil level good.

I would go ahead and change the water pump, thermostat, possibly intake manifold gasket, engine coolant temp sensor, serp belt, and any suspension parts you see that need it.

You'll want to leave the engine and tranny together. I just pulled one today and I've been leaving the fan, radiator, all pulleys on, and removing the driver subframe bolts (2 18mm) to loosen it up. Then you use your engine load leveler to angle the engine and it will have plenty of room to come out.

Important - if you run into a problem just post it up here and you'll have a solution within minutes!

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Old 07-07-2010, 09:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: New member - 1996 1.9 replacement engine questions

Thanks for the quick reply. I'll make sure it is a 96 before making the purchase. Otherwise I'll need to spend more time in the swap guide (haven't seen that yet). The bad thing is the car she has already had the head replaced about 40k ago. The car has around 130k on it now and has been super reliable for the 7 years she has owned it. What a waste of a great running engine.

Is the air pocket a burping issue with a coolant fill/change or is it inherent in the design of the water jacket cores? The new head on the busted engine was put on probably sometime around 2000 or 2001. Would this be a better head? I hate open too big of a can of worms but would keep the busted engine around as a donor if needed.

Price on the replacement engine is $800 and supposedly it only has 55k on it. Seems odd to me but I'm not in a position to be too choosey.

...
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: New member - 1996 1.9 replacement engine questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnV View Post
Dennis -
I'm the opposite of you. I know nothing about cars, but with the help of this site I've replaced 7 engines, a few trannys and everything in between.

Your engine has a timing chain which never needs servicing as long as you keep the oil level good.

I would go ahead and change the water pump, thermostat, possibly intake manifold gasket, engine coolant temp sensor, serp belt, and any suspension parts you see that need it.

You'll want to leave the engine and tranny together. I just pulled one today and I've been leaving the fan, radiator, all pulleys on, and removing the driver subframe bolts (2 18mm) to loosen it up. Then you use your engine load leveler to angle the engine and it will have plenty of room to come out.

Important - if you run into a problem just post it up here and you'll have a solution within minutes!
Just saw your reply - great feedback.

I saw mention of a timing chain elsewhere, glad to know I don't have to crack it open.

So I'll pull the trans and reasssemble on the floor before reinsertion. Not sure what the subframe bolts are that you refer to - possibly motor mount bolts? I suppose it should be obvious. Angle the engine? Again I suppose it will be obvious once I start the operation.

Honestly I have a load leveler but it is a Chinese made piece of junk and I've always found it easier to not use it. This may be the exception but typically I'm working on V8 Mustangs.

Fan and radiator stay in the car, engine comes out fully loaded the way I read your post.

This looks like a job that could be done in a day once a person is experienced at it. Maybe we can do it in two days.

...
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: New member - 1996 1.9 replacement engine questions

IIRC, all 1995-2002 S-series SOHCs are prone to cracking their heads (usually around the #5 cam journal; hairline crack). Not even the Saturn people have an explanation as to why they ALWAYS crack there, even on aftermarket heads.

I've heard of keeping the anti-freeze around 60/40 or better, it'll help with the cracked heads.

Also, $800 for that engine is a bit much, imo.

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Old 07-07-2010, 09:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: New member - 1996 1.9 replacement engine questions

I am not too sure about exactly why they are so prone to the head cracking. Just keep reading here and you will see how often it comes up.

There are several years of heads that would swap, so you would have to check the casting #s to know what year you have. If it was a smallblock ford, I could get you there real fast!

$800 seems a bit pricy for a used motor. 55k is a good fresh engine if you are sure of the #s. It seems areound here all the parts yards want $700 and Claim 90k miles or less. I don't tend to believe the advertised mileage unless I can see the odo. Around here there seems to be deals to be had is you can be patient. I am determined not to spend more than $300 on a used motor. Wish me luck!

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Old 07-07-2010, 09:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: New member - 1996 1.9 replacement engine questions

Yea, I hear ya on the $800 but it is her only transportation other than borrowing or begging a ride so we'll want to get it going as soon as possible. We just can't wait around for a cheap engine. I could only hope the replacement "55k mile" engine will run as well as her 130k engine. Figuring a total of $1000 to get it going there really is nothing else out there at that price that will be as good a car. She earns very, very little money taking care of people with disabilities so an economical car is essential and this thing fits the bill perfectly.

...
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: New member - 1996 1.9 replacement engine questions

While you have the engine out, unless you have already replaced the starter, replace the starter bolts with studs (they are the same ones used for the intake manifold to the head). Low Saturn's tip If you have to replace the starter later, you will be happy you did as you will be fitting the top bolt blind

And do a quick cleaning - video; hopefully that will put off the day that the starter fails

make sure the new engine has a brass ECTS and the connector is clean, too. And don't let them talk you into fine-wire (e.g., platinum) spark plugs.

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