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Old 10-16-2018, 09:18 AM   #1
RedRocketZ28
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2002 SL2
Default Getting back in a Saturn - 95 SL2 M/T

My wife wrecked my 2002 SL2 a few months ago and driving my 2003 Suburban 2500 8.1L daily wasn't cutting it. I recently sold the Suburban as I don't need a 2500 any longer and have been on the hunt for another cheap daily to get me through the winter.

My buddy who just returned from deployment has a 95 SL2 M/T with 144k on it that he said he'd sell for $700. 10k ago the engine was re-ringed and new bearings installed. I guess the previous owner did the engine work and I know how some of you here feel about re-ringing these things. My buddy replaced the clutch 5k miles ago and put a new slave and master in. The A/C and heat work great. Has an aftermarket deck and speakers. The car is in very nice shape for the year.

I figured I can't go wrong for $700 though. He hasn't had any issues at all with it and he's very meticulous about his cars. He's a mechanic in the military and a mechanic as his day job.

Thoughts? I am going to look at/pick it up tomorrow.

...
2002 Saturn SL2 - "Beater"
2001 Camaro Z28 - "RedRocket" - 365", S480, 4L80E, 9", MS3Pro, E85 - 5.98 @ 119
2003 Silverado 1500HD - "Tow Rig" - Tune

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Old 10-16-2018, 10:20 AM   #2
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2002 SC2
1998 SL2
Default Re: Getting back in a Saturn - 95 SL2 M/T

Rust would be the major concern - engine cradle behind the driver wheel (may need to remove splash shield / fender liner) and rear door sills. then again, if it's just for the winter, some rust is not a deal breaker

I got nothing against a simple re-ring; sometimes you just want cheap and easy

If you do a lot of hwy driving, check into the 5th gear swap. A '95 will not lose cruise function (a '96+ will). Puts you in the 40 mpg range.

Be interested to see what comes of this. I may go for a 1st gen later, if I can find rust-free some day

...
I'm not worthy to grovel in the shadow of Signmaster's wisdom

11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 124k DD
7/2010 Craigslist white 1997 SC2 project
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

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Old 10-16-2018, 11:30 AM   #3
RedRocketZ28
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Getting back in a Saturn - 95 SL2 M/T

Thanks for the response. I've read about the 5th gear mod, and while I will be driving this 40-50 miles round trip to work, I don't think it is something I will mess with.

Anything else I should be aware of with the 5 speed?

I'm definitely going to check out the common rust areas. I know my buddy wouldn't have bought it if it did have rust issues though. However, who knows how well he actually looked it over since it was just a cheap beater for him as well.

...
2002 Saturn SL2 - "Beater"
2001 Camaro Z28 - "RedRocket" - 365", S480, 4L80E, 9", MS3Pro, E85 - 5.98 @ 119
2003 Silverado 1500HD - "Tow Rig" - Tune

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Old 10-16-2018, 11:46 AM   #4
trottida
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1999 SL2
2001 SL1
Default Re: Getting back in a Saturn - 95 SL2 M/T

Sounds like a gem to me. I'd buy it at that price...especially since the owner is known and that he is a mechanic by trade. I'd love to have a GEN1 again however the supply of used parts is getting pretty dry in this area.

...
2001 SL1 MT (423,500 km @ 10/2018)
1999 SL2 MT (267,940 km @ 10/2018)
2011 Suburban LT (116,506 km @ 10/2018)

Past Saturns
1993 SW2 AT
2001 LW200 MT
1992 SL2 MT

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Old 10-17-2018, 09:59 AM   #5
alordofchaos
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2002 SC2
1998 SL2
Default Re: Getting back in a Saturn - 95 SL2 M/T

^ ^ ^ agree, rather buy from a buddy than a rando

The only MT issue I can think of off hand are the shifter bushing (if not replaced). Haven't heard of any of the aftermarket Delrin or stainless bushings failing (I think I did see one guy with a generic Delrin one not fitting well)

Shift cable failures are rare but can happen.

Ditto hydraulics failures. New clutch and hydraulics means probably not a concern, though

Differential pin is a failure point in both auto and manuals.

Occasionally, when a pin on the shift tower under the hood gets worn, it can be hard to shift into first from standstill

One rust area doesn't get much mention and usually not a huge issue . . . front right driver seat mount. usually, just surface rust, but on my '02 SC2, it's rusted through one side. I'll take pics when I replace it . . . got a new seat bottom a few months ago, haven't had time to replace yet.

...
I'm not worthy to grovel in the shadow of Signmaster's wisdom

11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 124k DD
7/2010 Craigslist white 1997 SC2 project
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

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Old 10-17-2018, 12:08 PM   #6
cgg17
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1995 SL2
1999 SL2
Default Re: Getting back in a Saturn - 95 SL2 M/T

I had (its totaled) a mint 1994 Sl2 MT with 56k on it, and now have a 1995 Sl2 MT with 155k on it.
The second gen dash and center console is nicer and easier to work with. The normal seat belts are also nice. Just be ready, they are rattleboxes. A tip for you is to remove the inner door panels and replace all of the little christmas tree style retainers. They break then flop and that is one of the reasons why the doors crack. Also be careful when removing trim and stuff as it breaks tabs and is almost unobtainable. Mechanical parts are easy to find, as they are the same for most 1993-1997 Sl2's, but cosmetics, forget about it. As they age they are increasingly noisy, as my low mile 94 was silent, but my high mile 1995 is rattly. New motor mounts all around do help a good amount.
But anyways, for $700, I would grab it. I got lucky and got mine as an auto for $400 but had to swap it and get an alignment and do a bunch of other odds and ends to make it right. Just check the shifter bushing.

...
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 10-17-2018, 01:27 PM   #7
RedRocketZ28
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Getting back in a Saturn - 95 SL2 M/T

Thanks again. I am going to take a look at it this evening. I have seen it in person a few times but haven't driven it or anything.

My 2002 had 155k on it and rattled pretty good. That won't bother me at all. As long as it runs well and has no major rust issues I don't think I can go wrong. It will serve its purpose as a winter beater.

...
2002 Saturn SL2 - "Beater"
2001 Camaro Z28 - "RedRocket" - 365", S480, 4L80E, 9", MS3Pro, E85 - 5.98 @ 119
2003 Silverado 1500HD - "Tow Rig" - Tune

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Old 10-18-2018, 09:58 AM   #8
RedRocketZ28
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Getting back in a Saturn - 95 SL2 M/T

Went and checked it out last night and overall, it's in nice shape for a 95. It does have some rust on the rear door sills but it's not too bad. The e-brake doesn't work, but I usually don't park on inclines and will avoid them until I can look at it. The power steering whines a bit but works as it should. Clutch feels good, steering feels tight, and the brakes work. I don't think I can go wrong for $700.

...
2002 Saturn SL2 - "Beater"
2001 Camaro Z28 - "RedRocket" - 365", S480, 4L80E, 9", MS3Pro, E85 - 5.98 @ 119
2003 Silverado 1500HD - "Tow Rig" - Tune

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Old 10-18-2018, 10:15 AM   #9
cgg17
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1995 SL2
1999 SL2
Default Re: Getting back in a Saturn - 95 SL2 M/T

Send some pictures of the old girl if you can! Not too many people are picking up first gens anymore

...
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 10-18-2018, 10:57 AM   #10
RedRocketZ28
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Default Re: Getting back in a Saturn - 95 SL2 M/T

I will when I actually bring it home. Should be tomorrow afternoon.

It's weird to see the differences in the generations. The layout for the cruise control, HVAC, defrost, etc. threw me off a bit.

One other minor thing wrong is the windshield wipers won't go all the way down. Is this something common and easy to fix? Not a huge deal because they still work, but it would it be nice to fix it eventually.

...
2002 Saturn SL2 - "Beater"
2001 Camaro Z28 - "RedRocket" - 365", S480, 4L80E, 9", MS3Pro, E85 - 5.98 @ 119
2003 Silverado 1500HD - "Tow Rig" - Tune

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Old 10-18-2018, 11:06 AM   #11
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Default Re: Getting back in a Saturn - 95 SL2 M/T

Sometimes the nut gets a tad loose and lets the wiper arm slide around, if the wiper's look like they move too far to the driver side then I'd let them park remove the nut and reset their location to the right spot. Otherwise I believe you'll have to remove the cowl under the arms to see what's going on.

Wish I could find a 1st gen 5spd for $700, can't find any S-Series worth buying up here anymore (if they're in decent shape they've skyrocketed from $1000 or less to over $2000!).

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Old 10-18-2018, 11:17 AM   #12
RedRocketZ28
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Getting back in a Saturn - 95 SL2 M/T

Thanks, I'll check that out.

This one isn't perfect by any means but the main functions work as they should and it drives well. If it wasn't for the slightly rusty rear door sills I'd be tempted to hold onto it after I am done with it. I will probably drive it for 6 months and sell it once I get another SUV/Truck this spring.

...
2002 Saturn SL2 - "Beater"
2001 Camaro Z28 - "RedRocket" - 365", S480, 4L80E, 9", MS3Pro, E85 - 5.98 @ 119
2003 Silverado 1500HD - "Tow Rig" - Tune

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