Saturn Sub Pages

As most working adults, I commute to work. In fact, I spend more than the average amount of time commuting. According to  IndexMundi I spend more than double the average commute time for the state I live in. My average commute time to work is roughly 1 hour. And, or course, it takes about as long to get home. If I were to take the bus, I can count on about 1.5 hours of travel time to work. That is a considerable amount of time and money to be spent on getting to work.

With energy prices on the rise, I needed to find a vehicle that was economical for the long haul. In looking around town I came across a '93 Saturn SC1 that was in need of some loving care. The starter was shot, but the car ran strong. With 193,000 miles on the car, I felt it was time to have the engine pulled apart and inspected. Below is the account of my work on this '93 Saturn SC1. While this car doesn't have all the creature comforts of today's cars, it is rated to get very good gas mileage. To me, this is the most important aspect of a commuter car; gas mileage.

The 1993 Saturn SC1 engine's design is a "interference engine". Due to the high mileage and this design, I decided to trailer the car back to my place. The difference between an "interference engine" and a "non-interference" engine is in the design of the engine. With an interference engine, the space inside the cylinder that the valves take up interferes with the space the piston takes up. This is why it is crucial to ensure the Timing Chain or belt is serviced before they break. If I chose to drive the Saturn home, and the timing chain broke on the way home, the piston would hit the valves and cause serious damage to the piston, cylinder, valves and head. This would effectively make the engine a very heavy paper weight. With so many miles on the engine,I felt it was more prudent to trailer the car home instead of driving it home. This will give me an opportunity to work on the engine before any damage could occur.

After getting the car into the garage, the first order of business was to get the car up on jack-stands and start the dis-assembly process. Disassembling a vehicle is much easier than putting it back together. Although, one should be careful not to loose parts or mix up parts. You certainly don't want to have extra bolts laying around after the whole thing is put back together..... that might leave ya a little unsettled, as you stare at the car thinking, "where are these bolts supposed to go......"

The initial condition of the car was pretty good, minus the back window. Not a big deal. I was able to find a replacement window at a salvage yard for a decent price. While I was there I found a couple of nearly-new tires that fit my car...awesome, it's already coming together, and before I've really even started......So, I thought.

I have a pretty good working knowledge of how car engines work, as well as how automobiles get us down the roads. Fortunately, my tool chests are pretty well stocked with the necessary tools I need to really dig into automobiles. With an engine this old, rebuilding it was on the top of the list. Of course, with research and input from other board members, I'll address other weak points in GM design as well. I might as well take care of these issues while I have the car pulled apart. As you will see below, I took some extra steps to correct some of GM's weak design issues.

OK, so lets get into this and see how it goes:

Unfortunately, I failed to get some pictures of the car on the trailer.....but, I did get some pictures of the car just before the process started.

As you can see, the rear window had been busted out. This was not a show stopper, but did provide a bit more of a challenge to get the car back on the road. Aside from the broken window, the car did run. The Starter was toast, but that is fairly easily replaced.

Here you can see how the back window was shot out by Ralphie Parker using his Red-Ryder BB-gun. I suspect that Ralphie didn't shoot his eye out, since the window shattered. I havn't found the BB though....

Here is a picture of the replaced rear window. I was able to pick up a Salvage Yard rear window for a pretty good price. I was able to get some sealant online, warm it up, and stick the window in...... I have yet to see if the seal is waterproof.....maybe a trip to the wash-rack will be in order after getting the car on the road.


Rear Deck

One of the easier jobs was taking care of the rear deck. This deck has seen a lot of sun. Here you can see how the rear deck was eaten up by the sun.

To help with covering up the nastiness, I picked up some Dupli-Color Vinyl and Fabric spray paint. Yup, you read right, spray paint for fabric. Surprisingly, this stuff works fairly well. I sprayed the Dupli-Color Vinyl and Fabric spray over the deck to create a nice even base.

I then followed this with some spray-on adhesive that held a layer of fabric in place. Now, this isn't the greatest looking rear deck, but then again, this beater of a car is not going to be in any shows. So, as long as it functions, I'm happy.

I had some Kicker speakers laying around, so I thought I'd put them to use. Because the stock speaker's holes were smaller, some cutting tools needed to come out. Here you can see how I did some hole enlarging so the 6" x 9" speakers would fit. 

Here the rear deck is back in place, waiting for the speakers and the rear window. 

And, here the speakers are mounted and looking nice.

Frame Fixup

Cars do not have frames, they are uni-body. Here I'm speaking of what is called a sub-frame, that attaches to the body. In looking over the sub-frame, I noticed that below the battery there was a considerable amount of corrosion. I used the angle grinder with the wire wheel on it to remove the rust from the frame.

As you can see, the frame was looking pretty nasty. Again, since the engine has been pulled out, why not clean it up and throw down some paint......

After hitting it with a wirebrush.....

Good quality POR15

Wire Brush did a great job of removing the rust......

More POR15