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Old 09-08-2009, 10:03 PM   #1
Solreaver
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Default 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

Hey folks!
Long time lurker here. As you can see by the thread title I have a 95 SL1 SOHC. Before any of you laugh, let me tell you that this car has been nothing but good to me. I got it for a song ages ago and she has never let me down. Great mileage, dependability, and the AC never fails....That is the good news.

As is customary for a 1.9 engine, she consumes oil. Ok, by "consumes"
I really mean that she used to hit a quart here and there on the weekends. Being the dutiful owner and willing to cater to her needs, I humored her and kept her topped off religiously. Once she hit 180K or so a while back the drinking got worse. I buy oil by the case. If I drive hard with the AC on I can pull down a quart in less than 200 miles. If I take it easy I can get as much as 400 miles per quart. I have been reading here for a while and of course i have tried the PCV, MMO soak, waving chicken bones, etc. These didn't work, so...It looks like I will be doing some engine work. I am OK with it. Like I said this car is worth the effort.

I was originally thinking of putting a 00-02 SOHC motor in there. However, after reading several threads I might be better off rebuilding the engine that is in there and drilling the pistons. Is it possible to drop the crank with the engine in the car and just do the re ring without popping the head? I am pretty sure that the timing components will need to come off and the more I look at it the more I am thinking that the engine will need to come out.

Also, what contribution do the valve guide seals make as far as oil consumption? Is it likely that just the re ring will cure my consumption ills? Is there even a quick and dirty way to re ring without removing the crank? Don't get me wrong. I am fine with doing a full pull and rebuild. It is just that I don't know how long I can have my best daily driver out of action. I can rebuild the head as a later chapter.

Oh, and WIAIT, should I replace the stock pistons and rods with 00-02 pistons and rods? I was going to Pguage the mains and rod bearings, but for the cost, I should prob just replace em. It DOES have 180K+ after all. Do timing chains go on these motors? Tchain tensioners? The engine is a little knocky, but that could be the crappy cheap serpentine belt tensioner (on the short list).

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think.

Last edited by Solreaver; 09-08-2009 at 10:12 PM..

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Old 09-08-2009, 10:07 PM   #2
1995sl1sohc
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1993 SL1
Default Re: 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

Youcan pull the crank in the car if you pull the transmission. You can re ring by pulling the head off and undoing the rods from the crank and pushing them out the top. Easiest to pull the motor though. Have new valve guides and seals put in the head, and have the valves ground.
New timing kit is a must.

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Old 09-08-2009, 10:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

OK, timing kit is a must. Actually I am impressed the timing components have made it this far. Hec, I am impressed anything made it this far. Head off, Pan off, pistons up. yea... It is looking like an engine pull. I was hoping that there was enough room after dropping the pan to unbolt the rod and pull the piston down. Of course, since I have never had to do much under the car, I wasn't sure if that was possible. BTW the compression is "low but even" across the cylinders. Lets see... I will need...

Engine hoist?

Timing kit, Good rings (hopefully pistons are good)
Head rebuilt, Beer, New head bolts, Gasket set (upper and lower?) Oil pump,
Beer, main and rod bearings, Serpentine tensioner and idler, oil and filter, Coolant, Beer,Band aids, WD-40, rags, and hand cleaner. About 40 hrs? Am i forgetting anything?

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Old 09-08-2009, 10:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solreaver View Post
Engine hoist?yes

Timing kit, Good rings (hopefully pistons are good)
Head rebuilt, Beer, New head bolts, Gasket set (upper and lower Yes. Lower consists of RTV) Oil pump,
Beer, main and rod bearingsWait until you get the crank inspected, Serpentine tensioner and idler, oil and filterenough for at least two changes, Coolant, Beer,Band aids, WD-40 PB Blaster is better, rags alot, and hand cleaner. About 40 hrs? Am i forgetting anything?
Ring compressor
Flex hone
RTV
I would get New pistons, Keep the current rods
Carb Cleaner
Brake Cleaner
Clutch kit if Manual
Assembly Lube
Mallet
Camera to take pictures
CHilton manual
Engine stand
Engine Paint
Tools including 30mm for the Axles and 21mm? for the crankshaft bolt.
Razor blade

Look at my Engine build DeBrief for tips. Expect to pay around 1K for the rebuild.

...
Current: 95 SC2 Man 97 SL2 Auto 98 SL1 Auto 01 SL1 Man 02 SL1 Man
Past: 94 SL2 Man 95 SL2 Man 95 SL2 Man 96 SL2 Auto 97 SL2 Man 98 SL2 Auto 99 SL2 Auto
2010 SCCA Mohud Street Championship-2nd Place

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Old 09-08-2009, 11:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

PB blaster: yes I know about "weasel piss" Another item I purchase by the case. A grand huh? erf. Well, the hoist is coming in for another job anyway. Rats, I saw a 30 mm at a pawn shop just a few days ago. I hope it is still there. 21 mm? Dunno If I have that one either, I will havta check.

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Old 09-09-2009, 09:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

Possibly a little less since your doing this as a preventive thing. I did mine because of a spun bearing which then forced me to get a new crank. Its the little things that really add up such as towels, oil, RTV etc. I sold my flex hone to another saturn owner but I can give you his contact info and you may be able to buy it off him.

...
Current: 95 SC2 Man 97 SL2 Auto 98 SL1 Auto 01 SL1 Man 02 SL1 Man
Past: 94 SL2 Man 95 SL2 Man 95 SL2 Man 96 SL2 Auto 97 SL2 Man 98 SL2 Auto 99 SL2 Auto
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solreaver View Post
Do timing chains go on these motors? Tchain tensioners?
Yes, but rarely unless the engine oil has been neglected. Yours is probably good and can go another couple hundred k miles, but since you have to take it off and put it back on anyway, it really makes sense to replace it and not worry about it ever again (esp since you are adding holes to the pistons for oil draining0 I've read that the chain & stuff should last the life of the car - if the oil is kept topped and fresh.
Quote:
The engine is a little knocky, but that could be the crappy cheap serpentine belt tensioner (on the short list).
Usual method is to run the engine without the belt for 30 seconds or so... you'll be able to tell whether or not it's the tensioner or belt. Some of the aftermarket tensioners required a shorter than stock belt, don't recall what it was for the SOHC off hand.
Quote:
Am i forgetting anything?
you'll need more beer

...
...Wait, what, I actually won that eBay auction? Guess I now (12/2008) own a 1998 SL2, silver, 5 spd :p 102k @ purchase, now 169k
And now (7/2010), a Craigslist 1997 SC2, white, 5 spd

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Old 09-09-2009, 10:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

you guys keep the special tools circulating? That is so cool. Yea, I will prob want a hone eventually. A grand is several times what I paid for the car way back when. I am hoping I can bring it under for less. I learned my lesson with cheap rings decades ago and strangely enough, this will not be the first time I have drilled itty bitty holes in pistons for a ring job. if a faulty design is to blame, GM should have known better. Of course, I am not totally sold on what the failure point is. If you rebuild the head and re ring the pistons you take care of both possible suspects. My pet theory was that the valve guides are leaking. Hec at a quart every 200 or so, I think everything is leaking. It would be nice to reuse the current pistons, but I would really havta see what they look like. The only thing I can be sure of right now is that they are well lubricated.

Okey dokey. dumb questions: IF I have to replace the pistons...what would be the advantages of upgrading to 00-02 rods and pistons? Or Being SOHC, does it matter? Next, I would like a little more umph to the pedal. Is there something that I can do with the engine out that will increase performance without sacrificing (too much) mileage or dependability?

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Old 09-09-2009, 11:06 AM   #9
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Default Re: 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solreaver View Post
Okey dokey. dumb questions: IF I have to replace the pistons...what would be the advantages of upgrading to 00-02 rods and pistons?
The pistons are the same IIRC, however the rods are beefier. But on a SOHC bending a rod bc of to much power is not really a huge issue

Or Being SOHC, does it matter? Next, I would like a little more umph to the pedal. Is there something that I can do with the engine out that will increase performance without sacrificing (too much) mileage or dependability?
Yes. CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN. Clean the intake and head especially well. Depending on your budget, bring it to a shop to have done. With a new engine you'll feel the difference right away (I believe you know this already) and with everything super clean with no carbon buildup you'll notice even more of a difference.

...
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Past: 94 SL2 Man 95 SL2 Man 95 SL2 Man 96 SL2 Auto 97 SL2 Man 98 SL2 Auto 99 SL2 Auto
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Old 09-09-2009, 01:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

Thanks all for the info so far. i am getting a good feel for what needs to be done. Probably a small point rc, however, according to the guide, the pistons are not the same. the beefier stronger 99-02 rods need 99-02 pistons. Quote from swap guide:
1999 - 2002 Rods are longer than the 91-98 rods, and have to be used with the 99-02 pistons which have the wrist pin moved up.

The 99-02 rods are 5.863" long vs 5.712" for the 91-98 rods.


Moot point anyway, I am not building a race motor, but good to know. My preference is to have the head sent out to a pro and focus instead on cleaning the surfaces with some porting and relieving as needed. An 8v Saturn head should be within the abilities of most competent machinists. If I can bring back compression and stop the oil consumption I don't see why this car can't last another 100k or more. Do I have hydraulic lifters that can be serviced? or, replaced? Possibly upgraded? Anyhow, bone stock is fine as long as it works. Besides, the numbers will all match so this way the value as a collector car will be maintained.

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Old 09-09-2009, 02:37 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

I'm doing my SOHC rebuild right now. Just buy a brand new head IMO. I got mine from clearwater heads, and it came fully assembled with valves, cam, everything for $335. The SOHC tend to crack once they get old.

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Old 09-09-2009, 09:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

Good idea. My initial plan is to try and rebuild the current head, but if it turns out to have a crack on a valve seal then...well. The closer i get to doing the job the better a swap out head is looking. I used to be a machinist and so, I try not to rush them. I figure a few days to a week to do the head, depending upon his backlog.The fastest route ( I guess) would be a swap out engine. I will hunt out rebuildables in my area (Houston) and see if i can get one for a reasonable price. a rebuild will take a lot longer than a swap. Not sure to take the motor out from below or above, with transmission or without. I will lurk about some more and try to figure it out. Any larger sump oil pans out there? I find engines last longer when they have more oil. Of course, it is a SOHC, so I may be over doing things.

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Old 09-10-2009, 02:04 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1995 SL1 SOHC rebuild?

I Priced engines in my area. A boneyard mill goes for 425. Not bad if it works out for another 100k. Now I am faced with the devil you know vs. the devil you don't know. Junkyard motors are suspect in my book. Before installing I might want to do a refresh of some sort. OK so here is the question....

IF I were to get a motor to go in the 95 SL1...Would I be better off to get a 99-02 motor or stick with a 95 motor? What would YOU do to inspect a motor and what work would you do to "refresh" it before putting it in? I was thinking of timing chain and possibly new rings and bearings. Pretty much the same thing that I would do to the motor that is in there. Just wondering if a later engine would be worth it in the long run. I am aware that there may be some "fitment" issues as to what parts of the later engine will fit the earlier car. If someone has done this, please let me know if it is a good idea. I am measuring twice before cutting once. Proper planning and all that...

Thanks a bunch folks, take care.
AL

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