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Old 02-08-2012, 04:45 PM   #1
JewFro297
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Default First Engine Rebuild

Hey, I have an 02 saturn sl1 with a rod knock. I know it's probably easier and cheaper to do an engine swap, but for sake of experience I would like to rebuild it.

So, is there any way to do it without taking the engine out?

Also, what are the general steps to rebuilding?

And as a bonus question, how hard is it to match a DOHC head to an SOHC block, and is it worth it?
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

ill answer the bonus your gonna build a frnkenstein trying to do that
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

You can do it with the engine in the car, but you shouldn't. It's a lot more difficult, and if things progressed to the point of rod knock, your cylinders are almost certainly going to be out of spec and will need machine work (you need to take the block to a machine shop to have it over-bored, and get matching oversize pistons).

If you're just talking the bare SOHC block with a DOHC head, that's not hard, and there's no mechanical reason not to do it (see note later on). I'm 98% sure it's exactly the same as the DOHC block and there are no compatibility issues. However, the things that go in it are different. Pistons are different, for example, and the DOHC blocks have a windage tray (pre '00) or tie-plate ('00 and on) to make the block stronger.

As long as you take internals from a DOHC, you can use the SOHC block (you'll probably need new pistons, anyway, so that's not a concern--just get DOHC pistons).

Note: You will definitely need the DOHC PCM with it. If it's an automatic, you'll also need the matching DOHC transmission to go with the PCM.

Refer to the swap guide sticky for what year parts you can mix and match.

There have been several very detailed in-car rebuild threads with pictures, etc. You should be able to find them by searching.

It is a fraction of the price and work to swap in a good junkyard motor, but I understand your desire to rebuild it (and if it's done right, you can have a better than new engine). Before you do anything, do lots of reading. The aforementioned threads are a very good start.

Oh, and it will be referenced in the other threads, but be sure to drill oil drain-back holes in the pistons if you reuse the OE ones. Some of the new ones (including Sealed Power) already have them, but some other brands may not.

Last edited by PlasticCarsRock; 02-08-2012 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

Depends on the level of rebuild you want to acheive. If you are just replacing pistons, rods and rings. Then it is possible, if it's not your first rebuild. This is a very difficult task to acheive and you need alot of experience. Also expect increased rebuild times as well. Best bet is to cradle drop the motor so you can inspect every componet and replace easily as necessary. With rod knock, depending on the type of damaged cause. It would be a complete waste of time and money. Machine shops will refuse to perform the work if the damage exceeds safe servicability standards of machining. Your best course of action is to find a good used motor, rebuild it, install it and then inspected the original one. If it can be rebuilt do it and then sell it to get your profits back.


Alot of useful information can be found here:
Google Saturn Swap guide, my low post count will not allow postings of URL's.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synter View Post
Best bet is to cradle drop the motor
It's a lot easier to pull it out the top. If you don't have an engine hoist, you can rent one (or buy a cheap one from harbor freight, if you think you'll get more than one use out of it).
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

Thanks guys, I appreciate the help. If I do rebuild, I will probably just take the engine out. Hey another question, what would happen if I put a DOHC block in with an SOHC head? Just out of curiousity.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

Quote:
Originally Posted by JewFro297 View Post
Hey, I have an 02 saturn sl1 with a rod knock. I know it's probably easier and cheaper to do an engine swap, but for sake of experience I would like to rebuild it.

So, is there any way to do it without taking the engine out?

Also, what are the general steps to rebuilding?

And as a bonus question, how hard is it to match a DOHC head to an SOHC block, and is it worth it?
Don't even try a DOHC swap into a gen-3, fix your engine and sell the car and go buy a DOHC as it will be much cheaper.

These are DOHC rebuild but everything is identical except the head.
Complete overhaul 96 DOHC
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=170045
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=145250

Photos from Canyon
SOHC (1999)
https://picasaweb.google.com/1159762...M-sgqDt-K26-gE
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticCarsRock View Post
It's a lot easier to pull it out the top. If you don't have an engine hoist, you can rent one (or buy a cheap one from harbor freight, if you think you'll get more than one use out of it).
Easier how?

In my personal opinion pulling from top requires engine hoist, drain fluids, making a mess, floor jack/stands, load leveler, semi level hard concrete/gravel to work on and a strong back.

Cradle dropping only requires pully/chain style engine hoist, sufficent height clearance(raising car 4 feet) and a strong hoisting point. IE. Celing I beam, A frame, Tree if your the shade type. It's more time and cost effective. Although it's alot more risky, but if your take safety precautions you should be fine.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

DIY cradle drop also depends on having those 4 cradle bolts come out without spinning the captive nuts. They are no fun to cut off when it happens and if you are not in the desert southwest they tend to be spinners on older cars.

Lifting the car off the engine is a high risk task and absolute idiocy without a solid level base to work from. And will leave you working under the front weight of the car hanging from whatever you are using as a hoist. This is something that an OSHA inspector would have a field day with at a business.
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Don't even try a DOHC swap into a gen-3, fix your engine and sell the car and go buy a DOHC as it will be much cheaper.

These are DOHC rebuild but everything is identical except the head.
Complete overhaul 96 DOHC
(URL)(URL)

Photos from Canyon
SOHC (1999)
(URL)
Assuming money isn't a problem, why shouldn't I do a DOHC swap into a gen-3?
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Old 02-09-2012, 12:51 PM   #11
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

Because you will have serious fuel delivery and resultant mixture issues at >75% throttle and the fix is to reflash the PCM and this is fast becoming both expensive and hard to get done right. Further it is the type of project where you really need to have done all of your homework before you reach for tools. Finding someone who has made it work and is also willing to explain in detail how to do it is difficult. It is not hard on the OBD-1 cars but the odd difficulty goes up with OBD-2 and the addition of the BCM made it even more difficult.
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:03 PM   #12
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Because you will have serious fuel delivery and resultant mixture issues at >75% throttle and the fix is to reflash the PCM and this is fast becoming both expensive and hard to get done right. Further it is the type of project where you really need to have done all of your homework before you reach for tools. Finding someone who has made it work and is also willing to explain in detail how to do it is difficult. It is not hard on the OBD-1 cars but the odd difficulty goes up with OBD-2 and the addition of the BCM made it even more difficult.
So replacing the PCM with a DOHC PCM isn't good enough?
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

Quote:
Originally Posted by JewFro297 View Post
So replacing the PCM with a DOHC PCM isn't good enough?
I didn't realize it was a gen 3. If you swap in the DOHC PCM, it will disagree with the BCM, etc. I believe it can be re-flashed to work, or could swap in a matching BCM (perhaps?) but as the others have suggested, it's far more work than it's worth. It would be better just to buy a DOHC car, if that's what you want (perhaps find a cheap used engine to drop into this one, sell it, and that money would go most of the way towards a DOHC). A junkyard engine swap and then selling the SOHC to buy a DOHC would probably result in less money spent than a full/proper engine rebuild on the SOHC. If you're interested in rebuilding an engine, you might be able to find a DOHC with a blown engine really cheap (a lot less than the SOHC with a junkyard engine would be worth).

If you buy a proper DOHC, you also get the stiffer sway bar setup they came with (and often, more options).
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Old 02-09-2012, 02:20 PM   #14
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

Quote:
Originally Posted by JewFro297 View Post
So replacing the PCM with a DOHC PCM isn't good enough?
No, see above for the more expansive answer. More importantly this is not electronics work that can be done with an ECU swap, ever. It requires a reflash. This is a GM dealer process and they are either ignorant of the process or just not interested in taking your 100.00. Yes you can DIY it. You will need to buy access to the GM database, a tech-2--the real one, and the appropriate pass through cables. You are talking more money right there than a new DOHC will cost you including the cost of rebuilding the DOHC engine. Life is simpler with a 98 or older, still not easy. Every OBD-2 PCM/ECU is vehicle-engine-transmission specific and swaps may and do fail.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:26 PM   #15
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

Well, looks like I'm stuck with SOHC. Maybe I'll try to sell it after I fix it, but I don't think I would buy another saturn just for a DOHC, since it's really not all that much faster to begin with. Anyway, any estimates on how much it would cost me to rebuild it myself in comparison to swapping the engine?
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:35 PM   #16
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

At least twice as much and maybe even more. Use this to scout out the price of local used engines. http://car-part.com

If you can get it running good there are going to be many people looking for low cost economy cars. It is a valuable commodity.
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:16 AM   #17
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Default Re: First Engine Rebuild

if you're looking to turbo it, the low compression (8.5:1) single cam engine (dished pistons I believe, the twincammers got flat tops and I think they had 9.5:1 compression. Cylinder heads play a role, too.) and wide ratio manual are ideal. The close ratio (twin cam) engine will have a useless (got traction?) first gear.

I have a OEM 91-92 header for twincam engines if you're interested.

But yea, whatever you do, you'll have fun with S-cars.
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