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Old 08-01-2008, 09:38 AM   #1
MadMax 95 SL1
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1995 SL1
Question tricks to improve gas mileage

Hi, I am new here. Just bought a 95 SL1 SOHC with 130,000 miles on it. It has had a recent valve job, spark plugs, wires.
Anyone know a way to improve gas mileage?
I am getting about 28 MPG overall now.
Any advantage to removing the catalytic converter?
Where I live (Illinois) they do not do emissions test on anything older than 96.
Will that make the Service Engine Soon light come on?
Any other ideas?
Thanks,
Tim

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Old 08-01-2008, 10:29 AM   #2
dorisSL
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1995 SL
Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

change your ECTS, if you haven't already. i did mine and i've gone from 30(ish) to 35(ish), and it's only $20 and about 20 minutes of work.

reduce weight. take out any crap you don't need, out little engines and little cars are really sensitive to wieght.

clean the throttle bode & EGR valve, keep up on oil changes.

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Old 08-01-2008, 10:37 AM   #3
FASTC14
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1993 SL2
Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

you probably wont benefit from removing the cat you will lose back pressure that is needed for scavanging which is what they call the vacume efect the flow of the exhaust pulling in fresh air to help clear out the cyl of leftover from combution when the intake and exhaust valves are open at the same time (valve overlap)
i would say just keep up with maintnance and maintain proper tire presure to help reduce rolling resistance

*chicago*

...
*chicago*
1993 saturn sl2 5speed 181000miles
1994 saturn sl1 automatic 109500miles
might get a 95 next

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Old 08-01-2008, 11:06 AM   #4
MadMax 95 SL1
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Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

Thanks Doris and FASTC14,

I bought the car from a mechanic who quit his job at a shop, and now supports himself by buying Saturns with the SOHC, doing a valve job and replacing one sensor (I don't know which one) and reselling them.
He said they blow smoke, so he buys then cheap, but the valve job fixes that, and usually nothing else is wrong.

I wonder if the one sensor is the ECTS. Um, what is an ECTS?

FASTC14, it makes sense what you said about the car needing back pressure. I am in another car club for old Chevys where everyone thinks running full headers with 3" pipes and no mufflers is the way to go, even with a stock motor. Then they wonder why their cars are so hard to start.

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Old 08-01-2008, 11:18 AM   #5
FASTC14
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1993 SL2
Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

i have head that on older biger motors can benifit more than smaller displacment motors

...
*chicago*
1993 saturn sl2 5speed 181000miles
1994 saturn sl1 automatic 109500miles
might get a 95 next

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Old 08-01-2008, 11:42 AM   #6
dorisSL
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Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

ECTS is the engine coolant temp sensor.
when it's malfunctioning, the engine can run to rich because it thinks it needs to warm up.

changed mine and went from 1100 rpm at idle to 600

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Old 08-01-2008, 11:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

Leave that cat in place.

Make sure your plugs are in good shape, same with the plug wires, air cleaner, etc...

Yes, the sensor that is prone to messing with the car's efficiency, and other things, is the ECTS. The earlier ones with the plastic tip should be replaced with the ones with a metal tip. If your ECTS is jacked up, replacing it will likely improve gas mileage.

Also, just be light on the throttle; try to anticipate stop lights, start coasting sooner up to stop signs, accelerate smoothly and without flooring it, etc... Just doing these things, I've been able to maintain around 35mpg average. This last tank I squeezed out better than 38mpg. Not too bad for a 10 year old SL1 with 140,000+ miles on it.

Also, read some of the threads about the hot air intake mods some people are doing. Cheapybob has lots of info; as good a place to start as any.

Good luck.

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Old 08-01-2008, 06:22 PM   #8
westwind999
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Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

You might want to change the thermostat if the temperature is a bit low. I've found several that start to open early so the car runs too cool.

Auto-rx is a pretty good product that often improves fuel economy as well as keeping your engine clean inside. Do a google search

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Old 08-01-2008, 07:47 PM   #9
TwinRevver
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1995 SL1
Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

www.lcdinc.com works too but not exactly cheap.

...
now with problems and getting a newer car but not a saturn :(
My 95 SL2 white top of the line car Priceless..

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Old 08-02-2008, 08:00 AM   #10
MadMax 95 SL1
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Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

Here's probably a stupid question or three.
Do I have to drain the coolant before I change the ECTS?
Does the ECTS plug in on the top of the engine on the drivers side?
Do I have to drain the coolant before I change the thermostat?

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Old 08-02-2008, 08:21 AM   #11
angelaw
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2002 SL2
Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

Look in the how-to library. No you do not need to drain for the ects. I opened the overflow tank, reclosed, jacked car up on driver side and put a wad of paper towels below it. That was sufficient to catch what came out.

As for the thermostat, might be in the how-to library. I haven't done that one yet.

Angela

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Old 08-02-2008, 08:55 AM   #12
rickystarshine
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Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

Yes, you will want to drain the coolant to do the thermostat, do this when the engine is COLD.

Good luck!
Rick

...
2005 ION 2 5 spd 194,548 miles
2001 SL1 Auto 298,252 miles
1997 Sl1 Auto 152,266 miles

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Old 08-02-2008, 11:54 AM   #13
CoreyB105
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Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

i just changed mine today(ects). its about 5 min of work. i have a 01 sl1 sohc its right on the drivers side and the only pain in the ass part of it was getting the sensor off and after that it was screw off, screw the other one in (make sure you have thread lock on it if you dont already) and screw it in, make sure its not in to tight or it can mess w/ the sensor. the plug the cable back in and your all set. I waited around 16-18 hrs before doing this and on a road that was slight slanted down and lost very little coolant (drivers side higher). this is a very easy job you should be able to do it no problem

...
2001 Saturn SL1 "Bessy" 1.9l sohc (pre-named before i got the car but suits her well)

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Old 08-02-2008, 12:26 PM   #14
rickystarshine
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Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

Oh yeah, another way to improve mileage is to inflate all four tires to 37-38 psi.
I have done this now for over a year, my tires are rated for 30,000 miles & now have that or more on them & they are barely worn. Of course rotate & balance them on a regular basis & make sure the alignment is correct.

I noticed the biggest jump in mileage after I had both front wheel bearings changed @ 120,000 miles. It went from 35mpg to 42 or more. less resistance.


Rick

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2005 ION 2 5 spd 194,548 miles
2001 SL1 Auto 298,252 miles
1997 Sl1 Auto 152,266 miles

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Old 08-02-2008, 03:35 PM   #15
MadMax 95 SL1
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1995 SL1
Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

Am I correct that the sensor with only one wire, directly beneath the radiator hose only goes to the guage? And the sensor further back and lower that has two wires is the one that goes to the computer?
That's my guess based on
http://saturnseries.net/DIY%20Guides...eries-ECTS.htm

If so, I almost replaced the wrong one.

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Old 08-02-2008, 03:42 PM   #16
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Default Re: tricks to improve gas mileage

Yes, on the '95 it's the lower one that is the ECTS. The upper one sends only to the temp gauge.

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