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DuctTape&Bondo
DuctTape&Bondo HalfDork
2/25/13 12:41 a.m.

Thanks to you all for making me want a Saturn. Some kind of sickness, I'm telling you.
I don't go to the track or autocross course so this will most likely be a rehab thread and maybe some budget mods.

I needed a new daily with good mpgs for work, needed to be cheap. I missed out on a MX-6 GT when the seller decided not to sell so I jumped when I saw this;

Craigslist Ad read "You Fix: 1998 Saturn SL2 4Door - $600"
No real details, other than "wheel fell off hub, you'll need to tow."
Got in touch with the seller, who sent me what looked to be a stock photo of a white Saturn.
Still no real info. Stick? Auto? Tell me something dammit.

Drove to the address, it's an apt complex, no apt number included, no number to call.
Am I going to get raped? I hope not.
Drove around back, there it is, in a garage. Car is filthy inside, surrounded by crap on the outside, can't really get under it and I really don't want to be in it.
Claimed the car has only been sitting 3 weeks.
Claimed a new (junkyard, I'm guessing) motor was put in not too long ago, as was a radiator, water pump and some kind of pulley.
"New" battery was dead. Jumped it and the engine sounded ok, some smoke though.
"New" tires, decent tread and they all match at least.
No leaks under the car but evidence of leak on the block. Ball joint wasn't broken like I'd assumed; all 4 wheel studs were sheared off.

Eh... sketchy. I still bought it. $480, got the title and the keys, told them I'd come back the next day to have it towed home.

Saturday morning and I had a busy day ahead of me before picking up the car, stopped by the home of the guy who hit me and lied to insurance to ask him to pay for my damages, that was a fun way to start my morning. Then stopped by a garage sale on the way home and picked up this gem for $1; Picture frame (so it looks like you're driving, ha!) Mark on back says 1988, Exclusive Gifts and Made in Japan, can't find anything like it online. Wish I had more info on it but it's so cool I had to share.

I got to the seller's at 12 and didn't get to my house until after 3pm.

AAA messed up, even though I spelled out the street name. 2+ hours later I had 2 trucks from 2 companies show up, with the guy who's territory it was not getting the tow and pissed off at me like it was my fault. Not to mention how long it took 5 guys and 2 jacks to get it out of the garage and lined up to the tow truck. Dammit man, I only need it towed 12 miles, why was it such an ordeal?

I probably deserve it, you know, for using AAA to tow home my non-running purchases. I doubt that's what their terms of use allow for, in fact, I know it isn't. But if it wasn't for that I'd never use my membership at all. I'm a terrible person.

After that everything went smoothly. Tow truck driver was cool and was talking about his cars, I think I made a new friend.

You can see my other non running project in the garage. Yeah, sickness.

Hey look, everything I need to change the shocks/struts on my mom's RAV4 came in.

First order of business was to get the car back on all 4 wheels. Studs banged out and new ones installed. Well, 3 of them. I forked the first one up. Might have been the lug nut I used- I use old lug nuts and sockets or something to act as spacers, then tighten the lug nuts which pull the stud into the hub, probably not the ideal way to do it but I don't have a press and it works, usually.

Here's what the inside looked like after the seller cleaned it out for me.

Wish it was stick, and a wagon, but the price was right. Swap seems doable and a great way to add to my skill set.

They had little hoarder kids too, it appeared. If they were driving around in this car 3 weeks ago like they claimed, holy hell.

How fitting, but I wouldn't trust it since it came from the car. I'm thinking that's one interior capable of making hand sanitizer turn.

That was pretty much it for Saturday. I was running out of daylight and had to install the recent craigslist roof rack buy on my IS300 so I could go pick up this guy 45 minutes away; Thule cargo box from craigslist in good condition, no key, $5. Spider webs and eggs from sitting outside, included at no charge. Threw it on as best as I could in the dark with freezing conditions (lol Cali freezing, maybe 40s with wind?) Then went to visit an old friend who lived in the area. Drinks were just what the doctor ordered after that long day.

Sunday Funday
I cleaned out the entire passenger side as much as I could reach, then removed the seat and this was what was still underneath. Yes, double gloves and a dust mask was worn.

Getting there. About 4 plastic grocery bags full of trash. Again, this was after the seller cleaned up the bulk of it.

Always learn about the previous owners by the stuff found in the car. For example, the PO of this car had kids, at least one boy and one girl, liked sunflower seeds, candy, loose change and garbage. They do visit McDonald's on occasion as well as the movies. They also like garbage. And rocks. And garbage.

Carpet is in the trash can where it belongs. Tomorrow is trash day so that worked out well. No cockroaches, mice or really any critters, to my surprise. A moth, 3-4 larvae/maggots? scattered in random places and some spider webs.

This is all the loose change scattered among the garbage. I'm sure my shopvac picked up some but I'm not digging for those.

So far;
$480 purchase price
$20 tip to tow truck driver
$11 for 4 wheel studs, including tax. Messed one up installing it.

Need;
More cleaning
New battery. Tested dead. They tried to say it was new, thing is dated 2010. Trying to get the phone number to use the warranty at Oreilly's
Another wheel stud
New rotors
Pads and brake hoses
Control arms (ball joints attached, mine look bad)
Endlinks or tie rods, it's been another long day and I can't remember.
o2 sensor, PO said CEL is on and that's what the code read. Will plug up my reader once I get a battery
Carpet, seats, seat belts and seat belt receivers. No way I'm salvaging those.
Misc interior trim
Window/Mirror control panel, I pried up the mirror joystick and broke it, woops
Driver and passenger front door seals. Currently packing tape.
Arm rest cubby latch
Figure out why glove box and trunk have hard time closing
Sun visors, the ones on there had no fabric and looked to have mold
New headliner or recover the foam that's up there currently A name

I hope to have this car together and reliable for $1000 including purchase. We'll see if my gamble paid off once I get it started and road tested.

I read that earlier manifolds flow better than the later ones?
A manual swap would be nice, PickYourPart in Wilmington is having a 50% off sale soon and the prices indicated on their website look ok. Would blow my $1000 budget though, with all the deferred maintenance needed.
I like the later Saturn wheels, I think they're Ion wheels? look like 4 spokes but they might be 8 split spokes?

mdshaw
mdshaw New Reader
2/25/13 3:02 a.m.

That is thoroughly disgusting...Although I bought a 300D with an active huge ants nest under the rear carpet, only found out after I got it home.

CarKid1989
CarKid1989 SuperDork
2/25/13 6:21 a.m.

wow nice project. looks filthy though geeze.

Sounds like you have your heart set on Saturn Ion wheels. They fit, but i recall something about needing some grinding at a tab or something to get em to fit. Minor stuff really

Good luck

fasted58
fasted58 UberDork
2/25/13 6:28 a.m.

no syringes=good sign

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 PowerDork
2/25/13 8:11 a.m.

Cool stuff.
I think what you need now is a Salvage Car. Buy another that is undrivable but has a near mint interior.
Have AAA deliver another to your driveway.
Spend on good weekend pulling off it all that you need/want.
By Monday, have salvage yard come get the remaining hulk.
Your otherwise attractive neighborhood will only be disgraced by the presence of the salvage car for a couple days, maybe one weekend.
Sales of some parts and scrap value for the rest should/could result in zero net expense.
Also could serve as your source for a manual swap.

slowride
slowride New Reader
2/25/13 10:32 a.m.

Jeebus, that was a dirty car!

Mmadness
Mmadness New Reader
2/25/13 4:07 p.m.

What was your rebate for cleaning out all the spare change?

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
2/25/13 4:12 p.m.

Is that a 1st gen Celica in the garage?

nicksta43
nicksta43 Dork
2/25/13 5:55 p.m.

That was completely disgusting. How in the berkeley do people live like that. I would have been in a full on HAZMAT suit.

Travis_K
Travis_K UltraDork
2/25/13 7:59 p.m.

My friend got a free 4x4 5 speed toyota van (the only reason it was even worth going to go get it) and it had both grass and maggots growing in the carpet throughout the inside. Thats about the only one I have seen worse than that saturn though.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltraDork
2/25/13 8:14 p.m.

That looks exactly my my DD... except completely trashed inside.

Other stuff you most likely need:

-Coolant Temp Sensor. This is the result of 90% of the codes and poor running these cars ever exhibit. -Cam Cover Gasket (this is most likely the cause of any oil on the block). The aluminum cam covers seal better (91-95 cars have them), but use one less bolt on the top of the head (not a problem)

Manual swaps are pretty easy on those, but I'd deal with the auto to make sure its a worthwhile investment later. Since this is a non-performance build... find an MP2 trans (from a SOHC car), or at least the 5th gearset from one. Much better MPG.

Ion wheels aren't bad, but the hub bore is smaller than the S-Series - you need to shave about 1mm off the bore.

Which manifold are you talking about? Exhaust or intake? 91-98 Intakes swap (aluminum) 99s are oddballs, and 99.5+ swap. There are 3 exhaust manifolds : 91-92 header, 93-98manifold, 99-02. The first two swap. The 91-92 units flow better

The_Jed
The_Jed Dork
2/25/13 8:36 p.m.

Nasty!!

I'm loving the idea of a formerly cast off vehicle being pressed back into service as a DD!

DuctTape&Bondo
DuctTape&Bondo HalfDork
2/26/13 12:53 a.m.

Yeah, it was pretty gnarly with the filth. Thankful it was all dried crusty crud. I doubt I would have been able to stomach it if it was wet and rancid. There was something packed into the seatbelt buckle cutouts in the rear seats, whatever it was it was some gross off gray color like a bunch of somethings got cemented together. It came out in big chunks. Ewww.

No syringes, no swamp, not many creatures, no pet hair cocktail = good thing.

ProDarwin wrote: That looks exactly my my DD... except completely trashed inside. Other stuff you most likely need: -Coolant Temp Sensor. This is the result of 90% of the codes and poor running these cars ever exhibit. -Cam Cover Gasket (this is most likely the cause of any oil on the block). The aluminum cam covers seal better (91-95 cars have them), but use one less bolt on the top of the head (not a problem) Manual swaps are pretty easy on those, but I'd deal with the auto to make sure its a worthwhile investment later. Since this is a non-performance build... find an MP2 trans (from a SOHC car), or at least the 5th gearset from one. Much better MPG. Ion wheels aren't bad, but the hub bore is smaller than the S-Series - you need to shave about 1mm off the bore. Which manifold are you talking about? Exhaust or intake? 91-98 Intakes swap (aluminum) 99s are oddballs, and 99.5+ swap. There are 3 exhaust manifolds : 91-92 header, 93-98manifold, 99-02. The first two swap. The 91-92 units flow better

Filthy twin lol
I'd like a spoiler and trying to get a cheap Thule roof rack for it as well so it'll bear even closer resemblance if that happens.

Good stuff, thanks for the info. I think I'm going to keep the current rims, they're really light and tires are still meaty.
I was talking about the 91-92 exhaust manifolds. Didn't know about the aluminum cam cover or the coolant temp sensor, will have to look into that.
It smoked a bit when we jumped it, I didn't think much of it then but after reading around I'm a little worried. I'll do a seafoam/marvel mystery soak and cross my fingers.
Is there any benefit to the intake manifold swap? or the rear disc conversion? I haven't read on the former and wikipedia said Saturn/GM claims nay on the latter.
I've been going back and reading the Saturn threads I could find here and there's a lot of good info and leads. I vaguely recall reading about someone doing the 5th gear swap here and then undoing it for some reason?

Mmadness wrote: What was your rebate for cleaning out all the spare change?

Not sure, it's sitting in a bucket of purple power

CarKid1989 wrote: wow nice project. looks filthy though geeze. Sounds like you have your heart set on Saturn Ion wheels. They fit, but i recall something about needing some grinding at a tab or something to get em to fit. Minor stuff really Good luck

Thanks, I've read your SW2 thread more than a few times. You rocked that lil wagon. This won't be anywhere near your level of completion.

Swank Force One wrote: Is that a 1st gen Celica in the garage?

Yeah I got it from the classifieds from a member here two years ago, slowly collecting parts.

JohnRW1621 wrote: Cool stuff. I think what you need now is a Salvage Car. Buy another that is undrivable but has a near mint interior.

Probably the best and most cost effective way, but I don't plan on doing the 5 speed swap that soon and I have the Celica to attend to so I'm trying to keep this car as low cost and effort as possible. Plus HOA and neighbors think I work on cars too much as is.

Not much progress to report today. I only had about 20 minutes to fiddle with the car. The seller acknowledged my email asking if he had the phone number to warranty the battery at O'reilly's but hasn't emailed me back with anything to try. I tried to install the door cards on the passenger front and rear but didn't mess with it too much, the front handle assembly isn't lining up for some reason. Door card was loosely/improperly installed when I got it.

Also, I fail at following rules for build thread and can't edit my own title to appease the GRM tikki.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku UltraDork
2/26/13 9:04 a.m.

The '98 has the better intake and head, I'd leave it alone. Yes the 91-92 exh is better but for a DD it can wait.

Rear discs only came on ABS cars. I've got drums on my coupe and it stops fine.

Holy berkley that thing was nasty inside.

RPSadler
RPSadler New Reader
2/26/13 10:52 a.m.

Now that interior is awful! Couldn't salvage it with the pressure washer and bleach? WOO, I can image the smell now

It is always fun to watch a car come back from 'the brink', kudos my friend.

Richard

ProDarwin
ProDarwin SuperDork
2/26/13 11:38 a.m.

The advantage to discs is they are easy to work on. You could do the conversion with junkyard parts for pennies. IMO it's worth it once the drums fail.

No intake swap benefits.

The smoking... Pretty much any Saturn over 100k is going to burn some oil, one neglected like this will burn a lot. A few piston soaks and some synthetic will help things out, but you may just have to deal with it. It's an easy fix if you feel like opening up the motor though.

atli126
atli126 New Reader
2/28/13 8:40 a.m.

Are you driving it yet?

DuctTape&Bondo
DuctTape&Bondo HalfDork
3/1/13 1:04 a.m.

No smells other than a cheap air freshener, since all the trash is gone we'll see if there are any odors that need to be addressed.

Didn't bother trying to save the carpet, I'll try my luck at the junkyards thank you.

Not driving it yet, the previous owners didn't come up with a phone number to warranty the battery so I'm going to hit up Costco this weekend and pick one up. Still have to register it with the DMV, order from rockauto and address whatever it needs to smog. Mom's Rav4 shocks/struts and sister's C230 complete front and rear bushings take priority this weekend, too :(

Speaking of filthy, THIS THREAD makes me feel slightly less ornery about the mess I had.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse Reader
3/1/13 7:39 a.m.

I have two words for you on the floor covering:

Rhino Liner.

gamby
gamby UltimaDork
3/1/13 2:53 p.m.
DuctTape&Bondo wrote: Speaking of filthy, THIS THREAD makes me feel slightly less ornery about the mess I had.

The question of WHY/HOW that car got so moldy was never answered in that thread. Hoarder mentality in a car. Repugnant.

Transforming the exterior of a car is far less disgusting, but I think transforming the interior is a bit more rewarding. Looking forward to the final product on the Saturn.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin SuperDork
3/1/13 7:17 p.m.
volvoclearinghouse wrote: I have two words for you on the floor covering: Rhino Liner.

Not a bad idea..., but quite messy.

The interior should be easily found in the junkyard. I picked up my old 95SW2 with a trashed interior (not as bad as this car, but still bad) and just swapped it out. I layed the carpet out in the garage, scrubbed it with soap and water and vacuumed it good before installing though.

DuctTape&Bondo
DuctTape&Bondo HalfDork
3/4/13 1:10 a.m.

Got a little time to mess around with the Saturn today, can't do much without a battery and still waiting on parts so I put the door panels back on, vacuumed the trunk out, washed the car and spent some time with denatured alcohol removing the tree sap and colored pencil marks all over the car. Also taking note of what I need to pick up at the junkyard.

Still could use a proper detail but we're looking less like an eyesore, which is good since this neighborhood has HOA nazis. Red scratch and other scuffs came off with denatured alcohol as well.

This is what the overflow tank looks like.

First spark plug was full of oil, explains the smoke when it was started. Evidence of leakage all around the valve cover. Added an early valve cover gasket kit to the shopping list and an earlier valve cover will be sourced from the Junkyard in the next couple weeks.

This explains the growing puddle in my driveway. What is this part called on rockauto? It's not the rack and pinion bellow, would it be ACDELCO Part # 46A7055A BOOT KIT,S/GR under "Steering gear?"

CLNSC3
CLNSC3 HalfDork
3/4/13 1:50 a.m.

I nearly vomited while looking at the condition of that poor cars interior! How does that even happen? lol Looking forward to seeing that thing brought back to life, although it probably should have been condemned! Nice IS300 btw

ProDarwin
ProDarwin SuperDork
3/4/13 11:55 a.m.

That seems like the right part number. What is the source of the leakage?

Shame you're on the opposite coast - I'd trade my spoiler trunk for a non-spoiler one for sure.

DuctTape&Bondo
DuctTape&Bondo HalfDork
3/4/13 3:10 p.m.

In reply to CLNSC3:

Thanks. Yeah I have no clue, but it's almost acceptable now.

ProDarwin wrote: That seems like the right part number. What is the source of the leakage? Shame you're on the opposite coast - I'd trade my spoiler trunk for a non-spoiler one for sure.

From what I can see looking down; the boot where the pinion meets the steering shaft is torn and has evidence of fluid around it and under it. Or maybe it's where the pinion meets the rack? Right above the two hardlines going into the rack.

Bummer about the distance. My trunk closes better now but it's not aligned still. One corner sticks up in the back (closest to the rear window) and it doesn't seem to match the body lines either. The bolt holes on the hinges seem to indicate someone has adjusted it, will have to see if it can be adjusted correctly.

Junkyard has half off day March 29th weekend, I'm excited. Might have to go sooner so I can get the car running and registered at least.

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