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pinballlooking 02-24-17 07:59 AM

I bought a project 96 Saturn SC2 car.
3 Attachment(s)
My son turns 15 in June so I bought a project car. It has a bad head gasket and some other issues.
The tires are not very old and the wheels look good. I bought it for $325.

At some point they had the interior redone.

The trunk had some water in trunk so I took the carpet out to dry out.

We live in the south or this car would be rusted away.

natethebrown 02-24-17 10:08 AM

Cool, working on cars can be a lot of fun and a good learning experience. Are you planning on trying to replace the head gasket or just do a full engine swap?

pinballlooking 02-24-17 10:26 AM

I have been thinking about rebuilding the motor. I have rebuilt a few motors. My sons have never been able to help me before. I really think it would be a good learning experience. I would love one of them take an interest it saves so much money over the years being able do your own repairs.

The 96 Saturn did not have holes drilled behind the oil wiper rings. They have a oil use issue.
Some have to fill up the oil and check the gas. There is a Saturn out there with 600K miles and lots with 200-300 miles crazy.

I will drill the pistons or just get new pistons in a rebuild kit.

Daox 02-24-17 03:47 PM

Sounds like a fun project. :) I always like tinkering and fixing up cars. I have an 04 Civic in the garage right now that needed a new input shaft bearing, and timing belt along with a few other things.

pinballlooking 02-24-17 03:53 PM

The motor only has 124 HP but gets 35-37 mpg so it should be a good first car.

Enough power to get on the interstate but not to much to get into trouble. :)

Saturn's have plastic body panels on all the sides so it has no door dings at all.

I just checked and the battery is an interstate battery and it was bought new 2/16 not to bad.

I have a car lift in my garage but my DIY supercharged Miata was too low for the lift. My Tahoe is too heavy for the lift so hopefully this car will work on it. My brother gave it to me years ago he has a much bigger lift now.

where2 02-24-17 10:07 PM

Yes, I can attest that putting some sweat equity into one's first car can lessen the temptation to do anything screwy that may require reinvesting loads of sweat equity. I've owned two cars in my lifetime that came into my ownership in that price range... The last received an '85 GTI engine transplant and still didn't have the 124hp the Saturn has. However, I was running a rolling chassis with a base curb weight of ~1800lbs.

stevehull 02-25-17 08:03 AM

I would suggest an engine swap - and then later rebuild the "old" engine. Lots to do with a swap as lots of parts come off "old" engine as replacement engine likely doesn't have alternator, starter, belts top fuel injection parts, AC, etc, etc. Lots of room/time for education.

Realistically, an engine "rebuild" almost always get into other things. Like: we have the head off, lets do a valve job . . . . Maybe we should replace injectors . . . The list can easily go on and on.

Swapping an engine means calling around to see what is available and what will fit in. Perhaps you can get an engine that does not have the inherent problems the existing one has.

I realize that a used engine (not rebuilt) may cost you close to what you paid for this car, but it gets things going faster and still allows for the "learning experience".

Other things may also need attention such as brakes. Glad tires and battery are OK. Is the AC working?

Good luck with this and regardless it will be fun!


pinballlooking 02-25-17 09:19 AM

A junk yard motor is a lot of times the best way to go.

I called around yesterday and I looked on this car is so old that the replacements motors all have more miles than this one. The junk yards here want a core charge when selling a motor.

Saturn had such an oil burning issue any motor I bought would need rebuilt.
Good news it once rebuilt they are know for lasting another 200k miles.

We are in no rush to get the car restored he gets a learning permit at 15 and can only drive alone at 16.

We will be thrifty buying parts but even with that I will have more in it that I paid for it. Since it was not running I could not test the AC but he said the compressor worked but needed recharged for whatever that is worth.
It had new front brakes a couple months ago.
New water pump, thermostat new belts new valve cover and gasket.
I will go over the tie rods and brakes very well and get all these system working top notch. Those parts are cheap for this car.

I did a project car as my first car it was a 72 Nova with a 6 cylinder powerglide auto.
I put a 350 in it that I rebuilt 4 bolt mains 10-1 compression. I changed the front brakes to disk and put new springs in it. I added quick Camaro power steering gear box. I replaced the rear end with posi trac rear end 3.73 gears.

My dad knew nothing about cars I read books now the internet is a amazing source.
I wish I had it as a kid on top of that I had money that I saved up and worked for.
This made it even more special it showed how to work on a car with a tight budget.
There was a junk yard guy that would quiz me to see what I really knew and if I got the right answers he would give me better prices I really liked him.

stevehull 02-25-17 05:24 PM


Bet the "JC Whitney" catalog was virtually memorized by you - it was for me at about that time '69-'71.

I used to add up all the mileage improvements they "guaranteed". If so, the car I rebuilt should have gotten 200+ mpg.



pinballlooking 02-26-17 11:01 AM

2 Attachment(s)
I was into power so summit racing was my friend.
The previous owner painted all the lenses black. I was able to save the tail lights with lacquer thinner and Novus 2 polish.

I won’t keep posting the car fix up here because this is not a car site but I was happy how these turned out.

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