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Old 03-05-2018, 12:13 AM   #1
seabeebrian
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Default Buying tips?

Hi,

I am getting ready to buy a 1999 SC2 with 94k miles on it, it has a sunroof and 3rd door but is an automatic instead of the manual that I really would prefer and it has cruise control. I am only paying $1,500 for it so I don't mind if I have to put a little bit of money into it. I have driven it around and the only think I notice other than a little exhaust is an oil smell with a little temporary smoke coming from the engine. The car has been at a small dealer for at least a year that I have noticed it. This doesn't bother me too much since I have owned three SL's over the years. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to look for?

Brian

My Saturn history...
My first one was a 97 SL2 that I bought in 1999 with 34k miles, traded it in 2004 with 195k miles. I wish I never got rid of it, it was a manual transmission with everything like cruise control and sunroof. My second was a 99 SL1 that i put 66k miles on in a year and a half before it died in a flood on base in Tennessee in 2007. Nice car but no cruise control which is vital when driving cross country. My last was a 02 SL1 that I put 53k miles on it before i traded it for another car in 2013. This time I am going to hold on to my Saturn as I seem to regret not having one.
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Old 03-05-2018, 08:02 AM   #2
onlinebiker
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Default Re: Buying tips?

Get a mirror and flashlight and inspect the underbody.

Rust is enemy #1. Flood damage. #2.


Ultimately - any drive train problem is fixable - if not expensive.


A rotted out underbody? Not so much. Any through holes in the body are an indicator that the unit is more ready for the junkyard than the freeway.
...
Currently owned
93 SC2 M(anual)
96 SC2 M
98 SL2 A(uto)
99 SC2 A
01 SC2 A
01 SC2 M
02 SC2 M
02 SL2 A
02 SL2 M
parts
2 94 SC2 parted out
2 96 SC2
98 SC2 - rusty frame minus engine.
98 SL2
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Old 03-05-2018, 09:16 AM   #3
2NDSOUT
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1994 SL2
1999 SL
Default Re: Buying tips?

Aside from checking and changing the usual fluids (Oil, Coolant, etc.)

I would check the driver's side top of the Radiator. Most likely this car- with the small amount of miles on it, probably still has the original Radiator.

The original design- if you don't know, was prone to developing a pinhole leak in the driver's side top of the Radiator. Well documented here too.

You mention some smoke coming from the engine? May need the cam cover gasket replaced... but I would also swap out the Plugs and Wires too.

You also mention that it's been at a small dealer for a year? I would be asking if they have taken the car out and driven it around. If you have maintenance records, that is a plus as well. But I would anticipate changing tires, brakes and rotors out right away- especially if it's been sitting on a used car dealer lot- Lot Rot is the name given to when cars sit for a long period of time.

I would see if you can talk the dealer down to $1200, or even $1000- based on the fact that you are going to be putting $150-$200 in for tires, from it sitting for so long.

Just my thoughts.

Here are some pointers, based on if you are buying a New Car... but these apply to used cars as well...

https://axleaddict.com/auto-sales/Ho...ying-a-New-Car
...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

Always
94SC1 340,501 Miles
Org. Engine/Auto Trans
2/97-10/08
Gone 3/12

92SL1
05VUE
91SC
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Old 03-05-2018, 01:28 PM   #4
alordofchaos
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2002 SC2
1998 SL2
Default Re: Buying tips?

Check for rust on the box frame at the bottom of the 3rd door, near the loop / latch thing. Seen it on several SC2s, including mine

Sunroofs are almost always broken, and often the guides(? $200 or so?) rather than an inexpensive motor replacement.

Never had an auto trans Saturn, so not sure if you would notice early stages of trans slam while it is cold. Richpin06a has a youtube video on checking the diff pin via the VSS hole, might be something you'd want to do.

Go through the doors and instrument panel, and press all buttons to make sure everything works both when car is cold and hot. I only drove my car briefly at the dealer before buying

Found out my car had no heat first time I tried using defrost, and that the high beams did not work on the first really dark night on the highway
Found out the car had an electrical drain first morning I tried starting it, after I got it home. I suspect at the dealership, they put it on a charger every night.
...
I'm not worthy to grovel in the shadow of Signmaster's wisdom

11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 151k DD
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles
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