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Old 05-30-2021, 08:03 PM   #1
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2000 SL1
Default From Old To New

"She may not be the youngest girl at the ball, but she'll turn a head or two." - Lt. Cmdr. Tom Dodge, 'Down Periscope'

Thought I'd finally post some pics of things I've done with the car. It's been a fun couple of months messing around with it. It's also been nice that I can make a car look good that isn't already a heap of rust and sadness.

I originally picked it up when the fuel pump in my truck started acting up, I couldn't trust it to go any significant distance (it's good for taking trash to the dumpster right now). I frantically searched online for a cheap car that I could just buy on the spot. I came across this 2000 SL1 with 159K miles and it was in decent shape. When I did call the dealer, they said they had a sale pending, I had missed it by ONE DAY. The associate I was talking to said she'd call if anything changed, but I had a feeling that at $2000, there was no way no one couldn't afford it.

Boy, was I wrong...

She called me back the next day and said the buyer's bank didn't approve their loan (left me scratching my head too) and she got me in touch with the dealer that had the car. A quick talk and a $100 hold for the next day and we were on our way to pick it up. I had $2000 with $100 down and they sold it to me for that (would have cost me almost $2300 with taxes).

I currently have a total of $425 into the car, ironically I have more into the cosmetic things than the actual repairs, so while I did have to put money into it, it's not like I had to dump a new engine or tranny into it and most of the work was tune-up/routine maintenance items anyway.

The first pic is the day after I brought it home. Still good looking for a 21 year old car, but you instantly begin to notice all the little cosmetic things wrong with it. Paint was definitely a bit faded and dull too, even in the cloudy sunlight you can tell.

Mirror was ripped off, pin stripes were faded/gone (both sides too, very weird), the plastic grill faded to a very light gray. The interior hadn't fared much better as you can see in the headliner pics. Smoker's gonna smoke and this is the result.

All the tune up work I've done has really made the car run much better and really boosted the MPG. The first month-ish of driving, from a full tank I got 300 miles, roughly 27 MPG. Not bad, but I knew it could be better. After doing all the work, my next full tank got me 360 miles for around 33MPG in . I had used almost exactly 11gal. of gas both times (verified when I filled up, just subtracted the amount the tank can hold by what I actually filled up), so I could have gone even longer... but I don't want to screw up the fuel pump.

It also got the car idling down from 900-1000RPM under load to right around 650RPM, makes sitting at stop lights much more bearable. Though, I do still feel a slight wiggle when it's sitting still, I have a tranny mount to replace yet and the way the exhaust looks isn't sitting well with me either. Looks like a "I know a friend that does it cheaper" kind of job.

The front and rear bumper need some attention yet. The rear bumper I think I'm ok with, but after taking the front plate holder off the bumper, I think I might have to take it in and done professionally as the entire bumper will need a good once over with someone more knowledgeable than me. Thankfully the faded pillars above the doors are an easy fix.

One of the downsides is that because it was a smoker's car, it has cigarette burns in the driver's seat and on the floor. Nothing that can be helped, it is what it is. Also, not sure if they had really dirty kids or animals (or both), but both rear seat belts are VERY heavily stained and the stains aren't coming out.

And what's the one thing I love most about the car right now? It has a freakin' working E-brake! Like, not even kidding. I have never had a car with a working E-brake because of where we live, they rust out and fall apart. I know it's a weird thing, but it's just one of those options that I never have because they NEVER WORK. Well, aside from my first car, a '90 Cavalier, but while it did work, when you released the handle, the passenger side wouldn't release and you would have to drive it a bit until it finally did.

Everything I've done thus far (in no particular order):

-Cosmetic/Body-

Driver side mirror
Headliner
Sun visors
Floormats
Passenger side dome light switch
"Silenced" the trunk lid. Lots of plastic slappin' around back there.
Upgraded stereo to a Pioneer media deck (no CD) and Pioneer speakers
Replaced gauge cluster bulbs
Replaced a missing passenger side bumper bracket
AVS Ventvisors
Vinyl graphics and new pin stripes
Air dam reinstalled
Painted rims
Painted Air dam
Hub caps (why I painted the rims, also only cost me $7 for closeout. And yes, I know they're 5-lug caps)
Partial headlight restoration
Clay bar body
Remove some scratches (still working on that)
Waxed
Ceramic coated plastic/rubber parts all over the outside (seriously, if you want to make your tired plastic and rubber look new, get some ceramic coating, 9H Mr. Fix is a great price for what it does, but if you're doing paint protection, I would spend more on better stuff).
Arm rest repair
Interior cleaned (over and over and over again)
Upgraded dome and trunk lights to LED (still deciding if I want to do the whole car)


-Tune Up-

Plugs and wires
Thermostat
Coolant flush/refill
PCV valve
Gas cap (rubber gasket all cracked, might have been causing me the P0402 EVAP problem)
Driver motor mount
Passenger Upper/Lower motor mounts
Inspected A/C (still working on that)

Things To Do:

Clear coat pillars
Clear coat rear bumper
Strip down headlights, clear coat (always clear coat with a 2K clear, never something you buy off the shelf, it won't last)
Front bumper (possible repair, repaint) clear coat
Brakes, rotors, drums
Have tie rods and ball joints inspected (light clunk on driver side, steering wheel off by about five degrees)
Repair A/C
Possibly replace TPS
Exhaust inspected (it looks like a hack job under there)
Possibly replace down-pipe o2 sensor (voltage fluctuates wildly when car is running)
Repair a small paint chip from trying to remove old pin stripes on passenger door (and then put new pin stripes on)
Fix loose door panel on rear passenger door (not falling off, but it moves a bit if you touch it)

So, that's my short/long tale of my SL1
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Before.jpg (186.1 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg after.jpg (203.5 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg Headliner before.jpg (135.1 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg Headliner after.jpg (156.4 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg Mirror.jpg (200.5 KB, 26 views)
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Old 05-30-2021, 08:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: From Old To New

Very nice! You will be able to get a lot of miles out of that car.
...
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'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018
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Old 05-30-2021, 09:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: From Old To New

Looking good! I like the red color and the dark headliner.
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Old 05-31-2021, 02:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: From Old To New

The easiest and most beneficial way to deal with the cigarette burnt seats is to upgrade to good condition SL2 seats from a donor car. This will give you height and lumbar adjustments and freshen up your interior. Front and rear seats are compatible between SL1 and SL2. You can also use wagon or coupe but there are some variances.
...
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2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
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Old 05-31-2021, 02:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: From Old To New

I'd look into doing that, but whole new seats are going to cost me waaaay more than what I really want to put into the car and there are literally no salvage yards within 200 miles of where I live that have any Saturn parts, let alone very specific like seats.

So far the smell isn't that bad, I've been scrubbing and cleaning everything I can and the only time I really notice it is on really hot days. Replacing the headliner and visors really made a difference.

I'm thinking it might be in the carpet mostly because I can smell the carpet cleaner I used. I'm thinking of investing in a spot cleaner, one with a hose that I can get into the hard to reach places. The canned cleaners are nice, but you can't actually vacuum it out once you're done. I need something that can spray the carpet, clean it and actually suck out all the nasty crap
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Old 05-31-2021, 05:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: From Old To New

wow, looks like a completely different car! Nice job on cleaning it up.

I flipped back and forth between the before and first after pic, even the color looks different (maybe the lighting played a part)

You could try https://row52.com/Search or car-part.com. Looks like they run $45-$100 for cloth seats, but they aren't specified as to whether they are SL2 or SL1 seats. The local yard that I usually use, Mason, MI, has not had an S series in quite a while.

I was planning on renting a carpet cleaner from Walmart or Meijers, with the upholstery tool to clean my Elantra and minivan seats, once it gets hotter. I figure I can clean the seats in the morning, leave the windows cracked and the cars out in the sun, and in July or August, should be hot and dry enough for the seats to dry by evening.

I know some folks have pulled the carpet out of the car to clean it, drove it down to the car wash and used the pressure wand.

Also, pull the seat belts out and buckle them, and clean those as well. On one of cars had a lingering smoke smell, ended up being the belts.

Either way, I suggest taking the front seats out when cleaning the carpet.

This pic is after I vacuumed out my SC2 - stuck the nozzle under the seats and in the crack between the seat and center console, shone a flashlight under the seat and ran my hand under there.

Then I removed the seat and these fell out.

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Old 05-31-2021, 06:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: From Old To New

Ha! Car-part.com is usually my first stop when needing parts. Can't even remember how long ago it was when I found it. I've probably looked up a 100 different cars through them! I shall look at the other one, though, I'm always open for more options.

The lighting between the two pics definitely does make a difference too. The first one shot around almost sunset and cloudy while the other was about 2 in the afternoon and sunny. Though, honestly, I don't think taking the pics at the same time would have made the first one any better since I'm sure the car has NEVER seen a clay bar or wax since it rolled off the line.

I haven't gotten as far as taking the seats out yet, but I'm keeping it in mind and might end up doing it anyway, it would make it much easier to get around some bits that I otherwise can't even fit a hand under
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Old 06-01-2021, 02:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: From Old To New

You probably already know this, but it's just 4 x E10 head bolts, one at each corner, to remove the seats. The are horizontal at front, vertical at back.

Driver side has that little plug that clips on the right side of the seat rail for the seat belt sensor.

I got all the cigarette smell out of my car, but there is still small/short dog hairs lodged into the carpet fibers (mostly on the rear shelf panel behind the rear seats). Not sure I'll ever get those all out.
...
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Old 06-01-2021, 02:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: From Old To New

The seats are E10? Ugh... why can't they just use regular bolts like everyone else?

That's a big help, though
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Old 06-01-2021, 09:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: From Old To New

Looking good!
...
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Old 06-01-2021, 09:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: From Old To New

Re: '...and these fell out.'Are those french fries or yellowed cigarettes?
...
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Old 06-02-2021, 03:37 PM   #12
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Default Re: From Old To New

There might have been one or two fries, but over a dozen cigarettes or butts fell down, trapped between the seat and console.

I also found the PO's house key and a job app with her name, address, phone number, and SSN on it.
...
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