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  1. #1

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    New Saturn Owner!

    I recently bought what is not just my first manual transmission car, but also my first Saturn! I had grown to rather like how the S-series wagons looked, and when I happened across a 2001 SW2 within my price range and with a stick, something I had been looking for, I had to jump on it. Being I got it rather inexpensive there's some fixing that needs to be done, but overall it appears to be in great shape and runs well.

    What really sold me on getting a Saturn though, back when I first was considering the option, was the great mpg and reliability. I'm glad I was able to find a DOHC loaded model, as I was wanting something quicker than my previous daily, a 1999.5 Nissan Pathfinder. Overall, I plan to keep my SW2 overall fairly stock looking, though maybe a little sportier. I'd like to, after fixing what needs fixing, lower it slightly on some stiffer suspension, see if I can't fabricate a fairly subtle lip kit, and get a decent set of 16" alloys, as I'm currently on factory 15" steelies.



  2. #2
    6S Moderator S.Bretz's Avatar
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    I would go ahead and get the entire prothane suspension bushing set too. They help stiffen up the ride back to like new and last a long ass time. You don't realize how bad the bushings get over time because the wear out so slowly that you don't notice how bad they were until you replace all that shit.

    A 1.8in drop with 16's will make it stand a lot nicer.
    -6S Resident Mechanical Forensics member #001.
    1995 SC2 Turbo 3.6L DOHC, 6sp manual, Ford 8.8 rearend running on MS3x.
    1998 F-250 5.4L triton...stock.

  3. #3

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    Yeah, that's pretty much what I was thinking. Thanks for the input! Do you think it would be a better investment, assuming I can't afford one of the expensive Saturn specific coilover kits, to go with lowering springs and stiffer coilovers, or one of the cheap Subaru WRX coilover mods? From what I've seen in forums, it sounds like the WRX Racelands might be rather stiff for a daily (and I drive over an hour to work...).

  4. #4
    6S Moderator S.Bretz's Avatar
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    If you plan on driving it around and want some comfort just get some lowering springs and some kyb gr-2' struts on the front. The gr2's dampen a little better for the fronts The gr2 rear struts are the same dampening rate as the OEM strut.
    I would not drop it more than 2in on lowering springs. They tended to get bouncy if you go more than 2 inches.
    -6S Resident Mechanical Forensics member #001.
    1995 SC2 Turbo 3.6L DOHC, 6sp manual, Ford 8.8 rearend running on MS3x.
    1998 F-250 5.4L triton...stock.

  5. #5

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    Thank you, I really appreciate the advice! Yeah, I'm definitely not wanting to drop it too far. I'm not after that #stancenation or #hellaflush thing. After all, I have speed bumps in my work's parking lot to clear, rail road tracks to cross, etc, etc.

  6. #6

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    Congrats!

    Is that the one that was posted on the Orlando Craigslist?

  7. #7

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    Indeed it is. Currently trying to diagnose the AC issue he had listed on it. When I texted he said it had a leak, though I haven't found a leak /yet/. I'm probably going to take it to a shop to have it drained and recharged, but I tried putting some refrigerant with dye in it with one of those low-side-only gauge things, and while it looked like the pressure got high enough, it never turned on. HOWEVER, whenever I shorted the pressure switch, it did turn the AC on, though it never got cold. This may be because there's air in the system, or maybe the compressor isn't doing its job, etc.

  8. #8

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    Just saw the post you were asking about the same SW2. I will say I got it a few hundred cheaper, but there also were a /couple/ issues that weren't listed. Honestly though, they are easier to fix than the AC problem, so I'm tackling those with no problem. The only real concern about it being highway worthy is that when we were driving it home, the stop and go heated up the coolant to the point that it leaked out near the top of the surge tank. Either the lid was faulty, or the seam between the different bits of plastic split. I've replaced the cap and going to see if it leaks any more, but since I've been driving it around my neighborhood to learn the stick, I haven't gotten the engine nearly hot enough to get the coolant pressure high enough to leak again. Even when I drive to work I'm not sure I will, BUT if the tank leaks, it's a pretty cheap/easy fix.

  9. #9

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    Congrats! I was really interested in getting down to Orlando, but I just couldn't break away from work, and by the time I could--well, you bought it the day before.

    How are the door sills and the undercarriage? I never got him to send me pictures, but I know from the VIN history that the car was in New England.

  10. #10
    6S Moderator S.Bretz's Avatar
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    If the a/c was really low then it may take a lot form the can to get it going. With the compressor not running it should be about 90-100psi. Once the compressor kicks on the low side will drop to the 30-35 range that you see on the gauge on the side of that can.
    -6S Resident Mechanical Forensics member #001.
    1995 SC2 Turbo 3.6L DOHC, 6sp manual, Ford 8.8 rearend running on MS3x.
    1998 F-250 5.4L triton...stock.

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  12. #11

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    Yeah, I don't currently have a manifold gauge so didn't want to go too far with it, and probably stopped short, but it never came on by itself at the pressure I put in... shorted the pressure sensor connector (which needs replacement due to the clip part of it being broken), and we confirmed the compressor clutch works. That said, with it running and what pressure I did put in, the AC did not get cold, and after we reconnected the sensor, it would not turn on by itself.

    Next weekend a friend is going to help me work on the car, and I may see about grabbing a manifold gauge set to see if I can put more pressure into it or not. If I put more pressure in, and it DOES kick on, and I find no leaks or anything, I'll have it professionally drained and refilled. Otherwise, I'll hopefully have an idea of what needs replacement, and then have it drained before pulling it apart.

  13. #12
    6S Moderator S.Bretz's Avatar
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    ON these older systems, once they loose pressure, the thermal expansion valve tends to go bad. You will see that the system is filled and the compressor kicks on but the high side does not go up too much and the low side does not suck down too much.
    When I worked at saturn we made it a common practice that if a system was low for a long amount of time we would try to sell the customer an expansion valve along with the normal repair because they usually got stuck and would not regulate the refrigerant.
    -6S Resident Mechanical Forensics member #001.
    1995 SC2 Turbo 3.6L DOHC, 6sp manual, Ford 8.8 rearend running on MS3x.
    1998 F-250 5.4L triton...stock.

  14. #13

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    Hmmm, ok, I'll keep that in mind. I'm not certain as to whether or not that's an issue on this vehicle, as I do know that the low-side pressure did lower to about 30 from what I had filled it to after we forced it to run by shorting the pressure switch connector.

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