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Old 02-08-2009, 12:13 AM   #1
velleguy73
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Default SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

My 180k mile '01 SOHC is on her last leg and I plan to keep this car for a long time. I commute 80 miles a day out of the country and back so I need a reliable car.

I figure I would pickup a salvage yard engine and swap it out. Sending it out to a machine shop for a refresh prior may be a good idea. I figure on a fresh set of rings and valve seals but I was thinking about upgrades. Would stronger internals make sense in a a commuter or just an exercise in overkill? Don't get me wrong, there are no delusions of grandure or crazy horse power, just a commuter.

My goal here is to have a reliable powerplant that wouldn't need to have the oil topped off every fill-up.

Thanks for the input. Much appreciated.

Eric

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Old 02-08-2009, 12:20 AM   #2
saturnsl293
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

from what I've gathered if your going to invest any money beyond a rebuild consider swapping to a duel cam head as the single cam head tends to crack more often. if your just going to use the car as a commuter you really don't need to do anything special with it other then cosider having the bottom end balanced.

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Old 02-08-2009, 12:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

First, choose: fuel economy or power

If you want more power, do a DOHC swap. If all you will ever possibly do to the engine is bolt-ons, there is no reason to get stronger internals. The stock internals can handle over 200hp (when set up properly).

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Old 02-08-2009, 01:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

Choice already made, groceries to get. Let's steer this away from power, remember SOHC, just durability.

Besides the usual service items and religous oil changes, should there be anything to be done at the machine shop that can increase durability?

Thanks, Eric.

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Old 02-08-2009, 09:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

New pistons(SDA-Sealed power)these have the oil drainback holes in them already.
Rings,bearings,timing chain kit, valve guide seals, misc gaskets

This should keep you going for another 200k miles

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Old 02-08-2009, 09:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by velleguy73 View Post
My 180k mile '01 SOHC is on her last leg and I plan to keep this car for a long time. I commute 80 miles a day out of the country and back so I need a reliable car.

I figure I would pickup a salvage yard engine and swap it out. Sending it out to a machine shop for a refresh prior may be a good idea. I figure on a fresh set of rings and valve seals but I was thinking about upgrades. Would stronger internals make sense in a a commuter or just an exercise in overkill? Don't get me wrong, there are no delusions of grandure or crazy horse power, just a commuter.
swap it for a DOHC and you'll gain 24-39 hp compared to the SOHC depending on model year.

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Old 02-08-2009, 02:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

[QUOTE=johnny95sl2;1396136]New pistons(SDA-Sealed power)these have the oil drainback holes in them already.
Rings,bearings,timing chain kit, valve guide seals, misc gaskets

Good input. SDA, is that a brand? Since a good number of these burn oil with age <which I expect is more 1st-owners than motor> is there any consideration that should be taken to with lubrication?

I am definatly going to keep with the SOHC head. This car is a white base SL with 3 options: Painted bumpers, AC, and a tape/cd player. Gotta love our cars, nothing to break. I get 40mph on the highway and 33mpg on it's worst day. Since it is a stick, 100hp or in my case, much less, moves her along just fine on the highway and around town.

Thanks for the help.

Eric

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Old 02-08-2009, 09:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

Real nice people here.

http://www.streetdesignauto.com/

You will need to hone your block before you install the new rings.

JOhn

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Old 02-10-2009, 09:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

Thanks for the website. These guys have some nice products. Considering this is my commuter car, would it make any sense to get a SOHC ported head? Before I was married with children I restored a couple of Chevelles. The 1st thing you always do is get them breathing better.

Would a ported head and an aftermarket full length header make any sense? I figure you can't go wrong with better efficiency and it could bump my mileage. Less work for the air pump is always a good thing. The stock manifold casting does have small passageways.

Any thoughts?

Thanks for the great input, it really underlines the value of this site and these discusson threads! Likely helpful to more than just me.

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Old 02-11-2009, 07:16 AM   #10
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

Our cars don't necessarily burn oil because of bad owners. As stated they don't have oil drain back holes on the pistons. Which causes the oil to get stuck and burned, caking the rings, then allowing more burning.

#1 Race parts in a SOHC is a joke.

#2 If its your commuter car and you don't care about power. Then why would you port it? The car gets like 40mpg anyways if a manual. There are guys here getting over 60mpg with their SOHC 5 speeds.

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Old 02-11-2009, 12:09 PM   #11
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

Maybe put DOHC pistons in for higher compression, might help gas milage. both SOHC and DOHC changed pistons and connecting rods in 99, so you would have to get matching pistons and rods year to year. Either way get it balanced, it will run smoother and keep the bearings in better shape. If you decide to reuse your stock pistons, you could drill drain holes in the oil ring to keep it from burning oil later down the road.

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Old 02-11-2009, 09:51 PM   #12
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

Good info, I never knew about the drain holes. That will definatly be on the top of the parts list. Sounds like I have something to march to.

I am a bit shellshocked as I contaced my 1st machine shop today. It was a pretty big company. I got quoted 2k for a complete remanufacutred long block and about a 1K to redo a DOHC block and rotating assembly I have laying around. That included pistons ring, oilpump, barings, timing chain, head gasket and all machining work. Up to me to buy a complete head and slap it together. This shop isn't setup for race work so they said they would have to send it out to be balanced for an additional cost. Pretty shiney penny.

As you can imagine, I am going to get several more quotes. Can anybody refer a good machine shop around Detroit that could do the complete job? I am prepared to spend some real money here but I would prefer to spend it with somebody who could do the whole job including the balancing.

Yep, Detroit, home of the NFL pre-season champion Detroit Lions. Perfect season baby, Go Lions!

Thanks for the great input.

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Old 02-12-2009, 12:42 PM   #13
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by velleguy73 View Post
My 180k mile '01 SOHC is on her last leg
Other than burning oil, why is this car on its last legs?

Have you tried some of the other things, like Marvel Mystery Oil soak, that are supposed to help with oil consumption? I've not tried this myself, but it seems like it's easy, and cheap

Since your car is running now, and you plan on buying a jy engine to rebuild - why not DIY at home? Get a good manual, work on it when weather/ time/ kids allow. You'll know it was done right, and when you drop it in your Saturn, you'll alreay have a spare. Given the price you've been quoted, it would justify buying some time-saving tools...

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Old 02-12-2009, 10:24 PM   #14
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
Other than burning oil, why is this car on its last legs?
The engne is on her last legs, certainly not the car.
145-150-120-115 dry
155-165-155-125 wet

This roughly a 20psi drop across the board from last summer 20k miles ago. The PCV and that emissions hose that vents air back into the intake is accumulating a weak chocolate milk colored sludge. IT takes about 1500 miles for the coolant to get about a pint low. Also, the valve train on the driver's side looks steam cleaned where the rest of the head is the usual oiley. I am sure the previous owner overheated it due to a odd warped intake manifold gasket I replaced and the receipt I found for a new waterpump a few months before I bought it. She consumes about 100ml oil per 100 miles.

Surprizingly, it runs great! I'll run her 80 on the highway and she is just fine. Idle gets a bit lumpey sometimes but I believe that is because of the un-even pressure in the cylinders. I used to be able to use 5th gear at 30mph without and grumbling but the line is now 35mph.

The car itself is outstanding. As mentioned before, I commute out of the country and back so I did a ton of pre-emptive maintenance. All front and rear suspention items as well as the wheelbarings and driveshafts have been replaced. The only thing I haven't touched is the engine internals, tranny, and original clutch.

I have been reading more threads on the forum and am finding the write-ups regarding engine overhauls. This is definatly something I could assemble on my own but I will still have to sent an engine out for the machine work. I am working on finding a used engine to give the once over so I can do the swap over a day or so. I think the current engine is too far gone to machine cost effectively. Especially with a likely cracked head. I am hoping for a couple months more out of this engine to get me time to get it's replacement ready.

I think I have a bit more reading to do regarding what I can do and what I have to ship out. I don't know enough about tolerancing for barings and cylinders. I have swapped a saturn engine on my own before but I have never done much with intenals. That's kind of why I am putting this out to the group for input. I must admit, if you read the above thread, everything suggested has been constructive and helpful. This site is turning out to be a great spot to do your homework before a project like this.

I want to do this project once and just continue to drive the heck out of it. I am taking everybody's advice here especially things like the oil ring holes and balancing. When this is all done, she will be nearly a brand new car.

Anybody have a good Detroit Machine shop referral?

Thanks again for the input!

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Old 02-22-2009, 10:06 PM   #15
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Default Re: SOHC Engine rebuild - stock or race parts?

I found a shop near me that does remaufactured saturn long blocks. I already picked up a complete clutch kit, a 2nd engine stand, cherry picker, and a creeper. The how-to section of the forum jumped out at me and I have been reading like a madman. This is an off work week for me so I will be tearing into it on monday. Kind of all came together at the right time.

Thanks everybody for the great input. I think everyone learned from the thread. I certainly did.

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