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Old 03-18-2018, 08:46 PM   #1
cgg17
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Default 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

Hello all,
I have read numerous threads, and it makes me more confused each time over. We have a 99 Sl2 with cali emissions. It has the pre cat and funky downpipe. There is no direct replacement. No matter what we do, there's either an exhaust leak, or a bunch of rattles from the pipe hitting the sway bar.
What can I do, that will pass emissions and all inspection standards for PA (AKA keeping precat), that will seal up this damn exhaust leak?
Will a 3rd gen exhaust manifold, precat, and downpipe fit? DOHC/ SOHC interchangeability? I really want to pull off an exhaust setup that I know will fit, and then repair it off of the car and spend a day swapping it onto mine. Also, do I gut the precat while I am there?
Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Chris

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Old 03-18-2018, 09:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

Gutting the pre-cat probably won't let it pass a sniffer test but shouldn't bother the PCM.

There's 1 company that makes the correct part for 3rd gen heads with Cali emissions; the rest just stick a 50-state-legal sticker on it and hope the consumer doesn't notice it's for a federal emission manifold not a cali emission manifold. I think it was either Eastern or Bosal but check around on this site to verify.


DOHC & SOHC exhausts are different from the head to the catalytic converter, though having a welder and a bunch of cutting tools on-hand fix's 99.9% of exhaust fitment issues.

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Old 03-18-2018, 09:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

Gutting the preCAT will impact absolutely NO emissions test of any type. By design it is ONLY active for the first 2 minutes of a cold start. Gut it and forget it. Go find a manifold from a FED emissions car and use it and many pipes now fit.

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Old 03-18-2018, 10:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

Hi Chris-
I just acquired a 2000SW2 which is very close(or same) exhaust... mine needs renewal too; I'm in market as well.

Are you in Philly, or another district with critical emissions standards?

Are you way out in rural Western PA?

Is the engine old&tired, or in decent condition?

Are you planning on buying used parts from a wrecking yard?
(In NY they don't allow that, which i think silly).

At RockAuto site, if click on "Exhaust System Kit"... you get the Walker plan only. If click on "Catalytic Converter" , they list Walker, Plus others, including Bosal and Davico 'One-piece Downpipe + CatCon combined'. ( I looked up under '99SL2)

The Bosal pipe/Catcon costs $181, the Davico, $254; both are supposedly better than standard aftermarket replacements(Walker).
I have used Walker, and been pleasantly surprised by the good performance.
Because my car is also (I think!) California... I'm considering Bosal/Davico to get close to OEM quality.

My impression is that when the Saturn is operating in Closed Cycle, it runs Very clean/efficient (even if consuming a bit of oil). So we want to avoid ops when in Open Circuit... because that can damage the catcon while wasting gasoline.

I would test/check the Air Pump system Before replacing the exhaust, to preserve the latter.

I bought a used ExMan+precat from a wrecking yard... and it seems to be in perfect condition (no clog, no melt). I will inspect the one on the car i just got, and decide whether to gut or not. I will use an intact precat if it looks good, but insure the air pump system is working properly first....

IF YOU PLAN TO RECOVER INTACT PARTS FROM A WRECKING YARD FOR YOUR 'RIG':
Please observe that two common failure modes are:
(1) corrosive downpipe hole/crack adjacent band/support clamp that holds downpipe Up before CatCon attachment.
(2) corrosive hole/crack at a welded junction anywhere between the ExMan and the CatCon (probably just before Flex, or where most exposed to roadsalt.

If the piping is clean/smooth, it can be washed, sanded smoother, washed, rinsed and painted with VHT paint (spray available from AutoZone, etc).
You Must:
(1.) use a good respirator Mask, because the Silica paint is Highly cancerous
(2.) follow baking procedure

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Old 03-19-2018, 06:50 AM   #5
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Gutting the preCAT will impact absolutely NO emissions test of any type. By design it is ONLY active for the first 2 minutes of a cold start. Gut it and forget it. Go find a manifold from a FED emissions car and use it and many pipes now fit.
Oldnuc,
I will gut the precat when it comes time to do the pipe. I need to keep the precat on there though to pass the visual inspection. Our place is hit or miss, some friends get failed for their stuff one week then when they take it back later they pass it (visual part). So I cannot do the federal route.

...
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 03-19-2018, 07:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomM96 View Post
Hi Chris-
I just acquired a 2000SW2 which is very close(or same) exhaust... mine needs renewal too; I'm in market as well.

Are you in Philly, or another district with critical emissions standards?

Are you way out in rural Western PA?

Is the engine old&tired, or in decent condition?

Are you planning on buying used parts from a wrecking yard?
(In NY they don't allow that, which i think silly).

At RockAuto site, if click on "Exhaust System Kit"... you get the Walker plan only. If click on "Catalytic Converter" , they list Walker, Plus others, including Bosal and Davico 'One-piece Downpipe + CatCon combined'. ( I looked up under '99SL2)

The Bosal pipe/Catcon costs $181, the Davico, $254; both are supposedly better than standard aftermarket replacements(Walker).
I have used Walker, and been pleasantly surprised by the good performance.
Because my car is also (I think!) California... I'm considering Bosal/Davico to get close to OEM quality.

My impression is that when the Saturn is operating in Closed Cycle, it runs Very clean/efficient (even if consuming a bit of oil). So we want to avoid ops when in Open Circuit... because that can damage the catcon while wasting gasoline.

I would test/check the Air Pump system Before replacing the exhaust, to preserve the latter.

I bought a used ExMan+precat from a wrecking yard... and it seems to be in perfect condition (no clog, no melt). I will inspect the one on the car i just got, and decide whether to gut or not. I will use an intact precat if it looks good, but insure the air pump system is working properly first....

IF YOU PLAN TO RECOVER INTACT PARTS FROM A WRECKING YARD FOR YOUR 'RIG':
Please observe that two common failure modes are:
(1) corrosive downpipe hole/crack adjacent band/support clamp that holds downpipe Up before CatCon attachment.
(2) corrosive hole/crack at a welded junction anywhere between the ExMan and the CatCon (probably just before Flex, or where most exposed to roadsalt.

If the piping is clean/smooth, it can be washed, sanded smoother, washed, rinsed and painted with VHT paint (spray available from AutoZone, etc).
You Must:
(1.) use a good respirator Mask, because the Silica paint is Highly cancerous
(2.) follow baking procedure
I am in between rural and urban, in Quakertown actually. I think the engine is decent, consumes some oil but no smoke. Still has get up and go but not as much as my old 5 speed. I am going to try to find a matching used manifold and down pipe, then repair it off of the car so o can just get it swapped out. I cannot weld, and the person that welds for us takes some time to get it done. And I really do not want to run open manifold in the mean time.

...
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 03-19-2018, 07:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

www.car-part.com

Use to source a Claifornia-Emissions manifold.

Most yards will leave the engines in the car, so if the manifold is listed, there is a good chance the exhaust is still intact.

Now, be prepared. Most yards leave the cars sitting on flat tires or no tires at all, depends on what all has been sold off the car. Selling used emission control devices(including pre-converters/EGR valves/EVAP systems/AIR pumps/catalytic converters) WITHOUT having them tested is a federal offense. Most yards do not test these things, but will usually still sell them.

If you have to pull it yourself, have a spare jack assembly a breaker bar and either a small cutting torch or saws-all to cut the pipe. The down pipe is welded to the cat con on factory-installed exhaust systems.

Nuts to the manifold studs should be 13mm, and you will need a 15mm and a 10mm to remove the A/C compressor and brackets for the manifold to be fully accessible.

I recommend, though it wouldn't say it is required, to have an E7 Inverted Torx socket for removal of the manifold studs as well.

Most of the time, the nuts seize on the stud, and the studs pull out of the head. When you reinstall, you will want the studs to be torqued in the head. Put your gasket in place, slide the manifold against the gasket, and then torque the nuts down in sequence and evenly across the manifold.

I don't know the exact sequence or torque rating. When I did my engine swap, I started with my center stud, and alternated left-top, right-top, left-bottom, right-bottom. So, I went from the center, and worked my way out.

Stage one I just snugged them down, where the ratchet just began to tighten. Stage two was I think ¼-turns on all of them. And my final torque stage I tightened them down to where the ratchet felt like the threads were just about to strip.

Been driving for 200+ miles, and so far no leaks.

Make sure the manifold does NOT leak, or you will eventually wind up with a burnt exhaust valve.

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

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Old 03-19-2018, 08:18 AM   #8
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn Night View Post
www.car-part.com

Use to source a Claifornia-Emissions manifold.

Most yards will leave the engines in the car, so if the manifold is listed, there is a good chance the exhaust is still intact.

Now, be prepared. Most yards leave the cars sitting on flat tires or no tires at all, depends on what all has been sold off the car. Selling used emission control devices(including pre-converters/EGR valves/EVAP systems/AIR pumps/catalytic converters) WITHOUT having them tested is a federal offense. Most yards do not test these things, but will usually still sell them.

If you have to pull it yourself, have a spare jack assembly a breaker bar and either a small cutting torch or saws-all to cut the pipe. The down pipe is welded to the cat con on factory-installed exhaust systems.

Nuts to the manifold studs should be 13mm, and you will need a 15mm and a 10mm to remove the A/C compressor and brackets for the manifold to be fully accessible.

I recommend, though it wouldn't say it is required, to have an E7 Inverted Torx socket for removal of the manifold studs as well.

Most of the time, the nuts seize on the stud, and the studs pull out of the head. When you reinstall, you will want the studs to be torqued in the head. Put your gasket in place, slide the manifold against the gasket, and then torque the nuts down in sequence and evenly across the manifold.

I don't know the exact sequence or torque rating. When I did my engine swap, I started with my center stud, and alternated left-top, right-top, left-bottom, right-bottom. So, I went from the center, and worked my way out.

Stage one I just snugged them down, where the ratchet just began to tighten. Stage two was I think ¼-turns on all of them. And my final torque stage I tightened them down to where the ratchet felt like the threads were just about to strip.

Been driving for 200+ miles, and so far no leaks.

Make sure the manifold does NOT leak, or you will eventually wind up with a burnt exhaust valve.
Will an '00 and up fit? If so I know of a good one locally up on wheels still

...
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 03-19-2018, 08:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

If you gut your precat nobody​ can tell by visual inspection.

...
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Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
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'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 03-19-2018, 08:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
If you gut your precat nobody​ can tell by visual inspection.
That is the plan, but I need to keep the canister itself there, and therefore cannot get a federal emissions manifold. I would love to do it but its not worth risking failing inspection over not having the proper manifold.

...
1994 Sl2 5spd: 56,576 (Totaled 1/10/2018)
1995 Sl2 5spd Manual Swap: 150,062
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

You can go to the JY and get a 02 exhaust manifold IF your car also has air injection. You might find a 00 with a 99 build date without air injection as that exhaust is easier to find.

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Old 03-20-2018, 06:44 AM   #12
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

I may have lost the plot here. This is my manifold:

My precat accidentally fell into the trash. The can is still there. The only way to detect it is to disassemble the exhaust.

...
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'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 03-20-2018, 07:31 AM   #13
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Roll Eyes Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
I may have lost the plot here. This is my manifold:

My precat accidentally fell into the trash. The can is still there. The only way to detect it is to disassemble the exhaust.
My plan is to get a decent fitting down pipe and maniffold that I can repair off of the car and just swap on. I need the can, but do not need it internally intact. I just want it to look like it did from factory.

...
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 03-20-2018, 07:57 AM   #14
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

The difference between the various CA emissions exhaust manifolds for the 99-00 model Saturns is the orientation and the angle of the flange. A half competent muffler shop can correct this in a mater of minutes. A decent NON-chain muffler shop can build one from scratch from stainless steel pipe as cheap as you can order one.

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Old 03-20-2018, 09:27 AM   #15
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

I don't know if 2000 will work, as the cylinder head design was again changed from 1999 to 2000-2002 DOHC(so they could put the cheap, constantly cracked plastic intake manifold on it, because they felt the warping, cheap, plastic valve covers leaking oil wasn't driving enough new car sales when the engines finally blew up)

The best way to tell is to check Hollander Interchange or look up on car-part and see if the 2000-2002 is listed as an interchange for 1999.

Waiex has the right idea with them stupid cat cons and pre cats, though. Let them "accidently" fall in the trash can and leave them there.

I know you can't do that, in PA, though.

And Nuc is right about NON-CHAIN muffler shops. I use a locally-owned, family business muffler shop. They fabricate exhaust systems for dirt cheap compared to what Pep Boys or Firestone would charge. They do better work, and the pipes last just as long as other shops.

My Grand Am has been on its replacement exhaust for nearly 5 years, in Ohio road salt, winter, and overall moisture, with only my stock muffler having needed replaced, so far.

The Saturn exhaust is solid, after two years, now.

As a last ditch effort, you could always get an Ohio address and register the car here in Ohio. That would save you from inspections. It would seriously mess up your state income taxes, though, which would probably hurt you financially overall and give you more headaches.

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Old 03-20-2018, 09:37 AM   #16
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

The exhaust manifold is the same, 9 bolts 99-02. There are multiple flange orientations.

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Old 03-20-2018, 01:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

cgg17, here's the drawing for two exhaust systems. Edited to show your precat and without it. If the exhaust manifold is not cracked, leaking exhaust then you can gut the precat (on or off the car after removing the downpipe). The three exhaust studs may need to be replaced. You have several options for repairs if you have a good local muffler shop able to weld up parts (if necessary). As you know, the exhaust manifold has the main O2 sensor with the downpipe catcon having the post cat O2 sensor. Everything in between can be replaced as one piece or customized if reusing the original catcon. There's no wrong way compared to California's severely restricted regulations governing emissions repairs. Unless Pennsylvania has exactly the same severe regulations on replacing the exhaust system with Penn state approved exhaust parts, you have every option available to make repairs to meet Penn emissions. Perhaps reviewing Penn state DMV vehicle exhaust system/emissions regulations and speaking with local muffler and emissions inspection stations will give you more info to make repair decisions.

Your exhaust system appears to be easier to repair and if Penn isn't severely restrictive on exhaust repairs that still allows emissions checking to federal (not California) emissions then you can make repairs without too much fuss.
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Old 03-20-2018, 08:10 PM   #18
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

http://www.drivecleanpa.state.pa.us/info_se.htm

He has to perform a visual inspection, which requires the original exhaust and pollution controls that were required by the manufacturer.

In addition to the Visual Anti-Tampering Check, he has to under go a Gas Cap check and the OBD-II checks.

http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/aq_apps/emissions/test.aspx

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Old 03-25-2018, 11:43 AM   #19
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

I am posting in Opposition to OldNuc(!):

> "Gutting the preCAT will impact absolutely NO emissions test of any type. By design it is ONLY active for the first 2 minutes of a cold start. Gut it and forget it. Go find a manifold from a FED emissions car and use it and many pipes now fit."

It may be true that the air pump is only active for two minutes after start.
That would be to counteract the "rich mixture" of the starting circuit, while engine is dead cold.
The precat (if well-designed, and in operable condition) Will act to complete the combustion process in the exhaust flow from the time it heats until shutoff, (other things equal).

I mention this, following some guidance received in a small independent service shop a bit over 20 years ago. The proprietor was in process renewing
a catcon on a U.S.-made car which had a single catcon behind the engine, beneath the floor, as mounted on my '97SW.
He said, "Toyota does this the right way-- they mount the catcon right at the ExMan outlet, where the exhaust is very hot. If a V-8 or V-6, they have twin cats, at each manifold outlet. On a Toyota, the catcons last almost forever."

This is sensible, and consistent with the positioning of the turbochargers.

It may be the case that many of the ceramic-type cats Fail over time.
But the One 1999 ExMan-mounted precat which i bought used from a wrecking yard, had the metallic honeycomb , which was apparently intact.
Also, the metallic honeycomb in the catcon from my '95Chevy 6.5L diesel, with 175kMi, was also beautifully intact... not clogged.

Thus, i expect to inspect the ExManPrecat on my 2000SW... and if intact, i expect to use it as designed.
I also note that my '99 has a crack (actually a linear corrosion-caused void) which is Much larger than would trigger a SES on my '97... but generally allows closed circuit operation, evidently a testament to the efficacy of the precat.

* * *
That said, the following is Excellent advice from OldNuc:

" Go find a manifold from a FED emissions car and use it and many pipes now fit."

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Old 03-25-2018, 02:22 PM   #20
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Far Southwestern Iowa
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 99 SL2 Cali Emissions Garbage

You have been opposing for a long time with this general theory. Does not pertain to the S-Series pre cat. It is an O2 sensor heater only and is only active in high HC conditions. The reason it melts when due to a lack of maintenance the engine runs rich is it is only supposed to be active during that initial start period until the sensor is >600F. Excessive run time results in center melt. The purpose is buried in the FSM.

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