|Injen Cyborg Air Intake:
||It's great! Almost any intake performs the same...I got an excellent deal
on this one from CWC Motorsports.
The only problem I have had is after several months the bracket that holds the intake at the filter end sheared clean through, and it
caused some wear to the intake piping at the battery holddown. I sent an email to Injen Technology and they sent me a new bracket within a couple days.
|Custom 2.25" MagnaFlow Exhaust:
||I liked the side exit resonator only exhaust, but it was too loud without my planned turbo install (I am trying to buy a house
now and expensive car parts will wait until I can do my rebuild first and get a garage). The last straw was being pulled over while doing 40mph in a 40mph
zone and being harassed and given a 55mph ticket. There was a speed trap which I saw coming, but the officer insisted he could hear me coming...blah blah blah.
I went back to the same place that did my original exhaust and had a new system with a Magnaflow muffler put on it. Sound is very deep, no buzz at all. Much
quieter also at idle and cruising. There was a 4.5k resonance caused by the shop using a poly mount instead of the rubber donut to mount the pipe where it makes
the 90 degree bend after the resonator. I had them remove the polymount (pissed me off since they also had to drill a hole in the bottom of the car for it) and
restore the rubber donut. Not only is the resonance gone, but the inside of the car is quieter and smoother.
I went with a stock looking simple turned-down tip in back. I think the 96 SC2's rearend looks best without any clutter in back.
|OLD: Custom 2.5" Side Exit Exhaust:
||I got this idea from Lucas Grote and modified
it slightly using a 22" perforated resonator where he used a 18"...probably not much of a difference, but Custom Exhaust (3593 S Military Trail, Lake Worth, Florida 33463, (561)965-3900) had a 22" that would
fit (I hear some use a 36"). The pipe exits at the normal place it makes the bend to connect with the pipe over the axle...if I ever wanted to I can add a muffler pretty easily. It's loud, but not
obnoxious, you do hear it in the cabin though and it resonates a bit...all in all though I am glad I did it this way. Here are the pictures.
|SPS 16.0mm 3-way adj. Rear Sway Bar:
||Handling is much improved....I can actually induce a lot oversteer (I have it set on the shiftest setting, which
is the hole closest to the main part of the bar), I am hoping that the SPS 5mm hub spacers I am buying next month, also from SPS
will make the car more neutral.
Installation was a pain, I did not remove the brake lines, but I did drop the rear suspension assemblies. I still don't know the
pattern that worked right...the first time I ended up on the wrong side of the brake lines, and then I couldn't get it to go back the other way. Finally it
did, and I have no idea how it did :). I would recommend removing the lines per the shop manual...buy some Russell SpeedBleeders to make
the job easier. Russell's part number 639560 (or #3956) (10mm x 1.0) for front and rear discs, 639570 (or #3957) (7mm x 1.0) for rear drums.
Looking back, I sort of wish I got the 4-way. I wouldn't run it at the max setting without beefing up the sway bar brackets, but at it's
third setting I would be at the same I am now, and later if I wanted more oversteer I could knock it up one more setting.
|Eibach Pro Kit Springs/KYB's:
||Handling is very much improved....with my new alignment settings of -1 camber front and rear I still have some oversteer, the hub spacers I am doing when I do my rear disc conversion should help some
of it...I don't want to eliminate it entirely though, understeer is good only for inexperienced drivers to keep them out of more trouble. The ride is nice, I think better than stock since I actually can feel what my car
is doing now, plus less of that floating land-yacht feeling.
Some notes...the bumpstops need to be trimmed 25mm (about 1.3") to do this grab the metal top and twist the bumpstop out of it. Use a hacksaw (I used a teflon coated blade) with fine teeth to trim it down and reinstall.
I only had to compress the lowering springs slightly, and may have been able to skip compressing the fronts---you definitely need to compress the factory springs before you try to take the strut nut off...It will come off
without compressing the springs, but don't think that is the right way to do this job: 1) that nut with go flying in a tangent, 2) the spring will unload and also go in a random direction, people have lost limbs by
attempting spring removal without a compressor! You should buy 6 new strut nuts for the front and 6 for the rear, they are different sizes and the manual calls
for them to be replaced....I didnt though. It was an easy job...just takes some time, I was done in a little over five hours with about 2 of it figuring out the first one.
The new look is excellent...not too low and much more aggressive looking, I have no shimmey as some have reported. The lack of huge fender gaps is so much better...take the time to clean your wheelwells when you do this
job as you won't be able to get your hand in after :)
|Duralast Gold Alternator:
||After breaking down in the Keys and then paying $300 to have an new alternator put in which burned out about after 7,000 miles
(I thought it was my idler pulley and didn't bring it in once I found out it wasn't until 1,000 miles after the 12k warranty expired, it was 7 months
old). I looked at AutoZone's
Duralast Gold Alternator, it carries a life-time warranty, charges slightly more at lower rpms, and has many revisions to prevent failure. Simply put the
CS-130 series alternators are poorly designed and don't take being in a hot environment well...on the Saturn the alternator sits right by
The price on a Duralast Gold is about twice the price of a normal parts-store alternator, but right at the same price of the dealer purchased one.
|Upgraded 4 gauge Negative Battery Cable:
||Saturn uses a very light gauge battery cable, it's marginal for the stock equiped vehicle, and very
underrated once high output lighting, stereo, and other equipment is added. So many ppl run 4g, 2g and even 0g wire to their
amplifiers, but leave the negative cable untouched...electricity flows in a circuit and only as well as the worst part of it.
Most people will add screw in terminals to their batteries and then ring terminals to the new negative cable. What I did was remove
the negative cable from the car. Then I removed the rubber cover over the end that attaches to the battery (it pulls off, you will have
to use a screwdriver to help it slide over the internals though). Then the rather difficult task of opening the crimped-on end...this
was hard, it's pretty heavy metal. Once apart I cut new 4g wires to the lengths of the one ones I removed, added nice ring terminals, laid
the new wires inside the now open crimp, and squeezed it shut on them...finally pounding the crap out of it for a tight fit. I then slid the
rubber cover back over and it looked like a factory made part. Make sure the wire you use has a high-temperature jacket as well as any coating
on the ring terminals (on my factory ends, there were just bare rings with no covers).
After three months, I had to disconnect the negative lead to do some work on my car...for the first time there was no corrosion at all...it was
still as shiny inside as when I assembled it. Before the negative terminal would be corroded visibly within a few months on the outside and
always on the inside.
|Hella H4 conversion:
||The stock Saturn lighting and most US vehicle lighting is terrible. The Hella H4 conversion gives you new glass enclosures
with proper aiming reflectors. Installing was easy, I don't recommend using the adapters that plug into the factory harness as many have found
they jam in the light mechanism. What you want to do is get some H4 (also known as HB2 or 9003) plugs from the autoparts store and see
for details on how to make your wiring work. The first thing I would try (although it didn't work with the two types of H4 ends I bought) is to use a small screwdriver
and slide out the wire ends (pins) from the factory plastic plug...make sure you keep track of which wire went where and then plug them into the H4 end based on the
instructions above (the wires simply change positions). If this works plug it in and your done, if not, you will have to splice into the factory harness.
Relays aren't necessary with lights in the 60W range (some say as high as 100W) though they will improve any lighting as by the time the current gets to the headlight it is only
about 75% and sometimes as low as 50% of the the battery output...adding relays gets you 100% of the battery power. They are simple to build, but add about
another $50 to the project, and perhaps an hour or two of time. Do not add high watt bulbs without relays, you will fry the electrical system through your
headlight switch....it will be more expensive and that alot longer to fix, than adding the relays. Here is a little blurb to determine if you may need
|PIAA H4 Xtreme White 60/55W bulbs (135/125W output):
||I bought these cheap from Options Auto Salon.
The lighting is excellent, combined with the Hella conversion I went to the back of a Publix to aim my lights (the usually have a very flat area back there and a wide flat wall you can put the tape marks needed to aim to)...the beams are pinpoint accurate and with these PIAA's solid
white...some people have commented that they didn't know older cars had such white lights.
While driving I notice a big difference, I can see where the light cuts off and all in the area it doesn't is bright and not 'diffused' like
the stock headlights.
|Razo RA56 Shift Knob:
||Cool looking knob, not so cool to install. The Razo knob uses 8mm, 10mm, or 12mm inserts that are compression fit
over the stock shifter, the problem is Saturn uses something like 14mm or so. Being a real life MacGyver, I break out my dremel.
Using a drum-shaped grind stone, I grinded the 12mm insert down until light was visible clearly and evenly through the fitting's walls. Then I had to pound it on
...so far all is good, though I would have picked a set screw type knob next time.
I tightened the knob up more to the shaft with left over Honda-Bond and clear plastic tubing cut in sections. I coated the piping in the Honda-Bond and then shoved it
up into the cavity between the knob and shaft. It now feels like the knob and shifter lever are all one piece.
|CH Roller-Bearing Short Shifter:
||Click-click-click-click...is how the gears sound now :). Awesome shifter, though it is alot harder to get into
to roll through the gears as far as effort goes, you really have to put it in gear, but the upside is you can always tell what gear
you are going to select, 2nd gear seems to be the hardest one and third gear make a little more 'noise' going into it, though I think its just the
floating ball end traveling through it's motions. I had to do some modifications to the shifter boot to make it work, but again the trusty dremel came out. I also
had to make a shifter cable grommet for my passenger side cable as mine broke, I used the 10mm fitting from the Razo knob I bought, two nylon
washers and dremeled out the insides to leave a lip....then snaped it on the end of the shifter...good shifting now.
Sadly Chris Heywood (the CH in the CH short shifter), has pulled out of the shifter business...he is working with another vendor to pick this
awesome product up.
After three months or so of using it, it now shifts much more smoothly and accurately.
|Cam Cover Gasket:
||Easy job, I noticed my #1 spark plug opening was full of oil...this is the fix. The trick is line up the T section part of the grommet first and as you are inserting it, push it sort of back
onto itself, if you don't you will end up with 1/2 to 1" of extra gasket...they don't mention this at all and I originally thought my gasket was
stretched or the wrong one, but it matched up to the old one. I used Permatex Gray...Saturn uses gray silicon too. I let it set overnight before driving
it and all was well.
||I was experiencing a very high pitched whine at higher rpms, almost like a failing alternator. Turns out it was my idler pulley, this are a common
failure and were warranty repaired alot. No one told me about this as a problem, but I saw it searching USENET one day. Sure enough it solved the problem. The only trouble
with this job is I couldn't use a torque wrench on the idler, even after removing the torque axis mount....perhaps a beam type may work or a smaller than 1/2" drive ... but I had a hard
time even getting my 3/8" socket wrench in there. My old pulley was full of grease, now my car is so quiet the first red light I was at I thought I stalled.
||This is sometimes the cause of the high pitched whine I had. The idler and this pulley use the same type of bearings. In my case mine was fine. Calling around though
most places only carry the $90 tensioner assembly. I was able to locate the pulley only from King's Auto Mall, it was $16 and change. Although mine was fine, it was cheap insurance to
buy it with the idler to prevent having to do the same job twice.
|Coolant Temperature Sensor:
||My car would overheat without the a/c on, but run cool with it on...classic CTS symptom. Simple job, though remember to drain the coolant below the sensor or you will spring a leak like me :). I didn't use the called upon
blue threadlock as I had to put the new one in to stop the leak (the old sensor slid up my socket and wouldn't thread back in :( so I had to plug the leaking coolant with the new sensor sans threadlock).
|Llumar Tint in Charcoal:
||Big, big difference in looks and how cool it is in the car. All black is a statement, I notice alot more people just looking
as I pass and staring at stoplights. I could care less, but I guess when they can hear you, but can't see you it
makes a difference in perception. I would recommend painting all the 'dotted' areas in black before you get tinted, I didn't,
but hear it looks better as some lighter portions are visible. I will see how it ends up in the three days they say to wait.
|Custom Stainless Grille:
||Nice improvement to the looks of my car. The material is stainless-steel gutter guard from any
hardware store. It's like $10 and you get 5 sheets. I cut a piece about 3x34 inches for the main opening and smaller ones for my
foglights. I primed and painted them in blue rustoleum and mounted each foglight piece with 4 black 1/8" zip ties in an 'X' configuration,
and the main grille with two on center, and the rest at about 4-6" intervals with two extra at the corners. The hardest part is feeding the
ties through the holes you have to drill in the bumper. A trick is to feed fishing line (I used heavy test as you really have to pull them
through) through the holes and then tie it to the end of the zip tie...then clip off any extra plastic from the zip tie in front of the tight
knots you made and pull it through...then the next trick is feeding it back through itself, which for the foglights was a pain...pull them tight
clip off all excess (probably optional, but I would know the extra zip tie was there :) ). Viola, nice grille. I noticed some chipping in my
drivers foglight opening...wierd (probably because that sits a little lower than the rest of the car with the driver inside), it touches up ok...just save some extra paint. Powercoated would probably be a good idea, but most powercoaters
have a minimum you will have to do...good time to have brackets, and other parts done to all the same color.
|Painted Calipers in VHT Blue:
||This is an easy project with the calipers off the car, I had bought new ones and painted them while
waiting on the rest on my parts to arrive. I used two cans of paint, the larger front calipers used up a full can, the rears
about 3/4. I did about 4-5 coats 20 mins apart and waited 60 mins before flipping them over to do the tops last. I masked off
the pistons, the rubber boots, all screw holes, and the emergency brake portion on the rear calipers. If you can try to get
all calipers with the 'etching' on the tops...only one of mine has them on the face, I didn't notice until I was done. The smooth
faces look nicer I think. Also I did them disassembled with the caliper brackets and calipers as separate parts. Figure about 4 hours
per set...I did mine in two days of four hours each, only because my one rear caliper had to be exchanged when I discovered it had
a split in one of the pin boots.
|OBX Blue Spec-S AR715 Pedals:
||I bought new factory pedal covers before doing this, since they show through the holes
and I wanted them to look black. The accelerator pedal comes as an assembly, I simply removed the pedal from it
as it looked to be not worth jacking the car up and trying to fit a wrench up there to get the two nuts off.
They give you little chrome rings for the bottom two holes in each pedal, they are a tight fit...using a block of
wood to set the face of the pedal on and a 2x2x4 piece of wood on the back I pounded them in lightly with a mallet.
The accelerator pedal went on easy, and fits well. To get the clutch and brake on I had to remove the bottom two
screws completely, lay the pedal cover on top and wrap the top clips around it, press it down and screw the bottom
screws in and into the clips. It's a good fit and they are sturdy...surprisingly these mount nicer than the MOMO
Corse pedals I had in my VR6 at twice the cost.
I like the way they look. They are a little slippery if your shoes are wet, but that is rare.
|Blue Vitek Wires, #4049B:
||My wires had 75k+ miles on them, were slightly cracked, and when my cam cover gasket leaked
became oil soaked. These wires made a big difference in that aspect, but probably no different than just going with
a factory set...when I go MSD DIS/2 it may make a noticible difference over stock wires.
They use stainless steel which is a plus and positive 'click-on' terminals. CWC Motorsports
set me up with a good deal on these...as always...I highly recommend those guys.
|Hotshot Ceramic-coated Header and High Flow Cat:
||This job is a simple job that turned into a real pain in the ass. The A/C compressor bracket
is held on by almost a dozen 10mm bolts. The problem is the loctite they used is actually too strong and even with
a 6 point socket rounded off the heads of the bolts. I tried slotting one of them and using a screwdriver...it actually
twisted the whole shaft of the screwdriver. After about two hours and no progess I took it to a pro. He said I would be out of there in
30 minutes. He tried the same things I did plus a couple others...it ended up taking him about 5 hours for the 7 hard
bolts. He ended up charging me only 1 hour due to his misjudging the job time :)...I was happy. He also used 12mm headed bolts (why saturn didn't I don't know,
because the 12mm head is a standard size for that sized thread). I was able to quickly unbolt it when I got home!
I followed the standard R&R of the old exhaust manifold and cut off the old downpipe about an inch or so ahead of the
cat. Removing the downpipe to engine bracket broke my 6point deep socket so you may want to have a spare handy and a
big breaker bar/pipe. I live in florida and can only imagine what this nut would be like with road salt on it a few
seasons. Installed the primary pipe to the head, and test fit the downpipe....the so-called 'slip-fit' was actually
not as both the down pipe and the old exhaust were the exact same diameter! I had to take a mallet and beat the very
end of the downpipe down to get it to at least mate with the old exhaust and clamp it. The union was crappy and it
actually popped out on the way to the muffler shop two days later. In order to tighten the downpipe to primary bolts
I used a socket and universal joint from under the car after wedging a box wrench on the nut from above...the way the
flange is set-up you have a spot to anchor a wrench for each nut.
Once the exhaust was welded along with my high-flow cat by Crossfire, everything was perfect. This is a very noticable
mod. The whole powerband was improved. There is a slightly louder metallic noise from the engine compartment and the
high flow cat made my exhaust a little louder, but I am running a resonator only with no muffler so this noise wasn't
really noticable unless listening for it, however, those of you running mufflers :) will probably have a overall quite
louder car. At about 3,500 RPM's and above, you will notice a droaning sound.
|JG Throttle Body, Polished:
||I had the XRC unit, but it cracked, I don't think it was any fault of the late XRC, but rather
just a bad core that finally decided to let go. I was getting strange idling surges and thought it was the throttle
sensors. After replacing both of them, one night the idle shot up to 4000 rpms and would not drop...disassembly showed
that the upper portion that the bolt to the manifold goes through completely sheared off.
This happened on a Friday night....no one was open Saturday except StreetDesignAuto,
Sarah answered the phone right away and got my part expedited for quick delivery. Unfortunately the shipper shipped it ground instead
of the two day Sarah arranged for me. My phone rang while I was at the mall and she explained everything. It was not any fault of hers,
but she actually called and risked getting flamed for someone else's mistake....other vendors have just had me wait and gave no explaination...this
is GREAT customer service!
The JG unit seems to have a nicer throttle plate and better internal polishing. They did leave a small lip on the bottom 1/4 that was easily
knocked off with some 600 grit sandpaper. I then polished the whole unit with 600, 800, 1500, 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper and finished it off
with metal polish. I could have gone for a 'real' mirror finish, but decided to stop at 'nice and shiny' :).
|Rear Disc Brake conversion:
||Much better looking if not anything else...very easy conversion. I bought Russell Speedbleeders
which I really recommend, however, one of my rear calipers must have had a stripped bleeder and when they were rebuilt
they put in a threaded insert and a smaller bleeder :(...tell your parts shop you do not want a caliper like that, they
should dispose of it or discount it if the threads got screwed. I had already painted them so I figured I could live
with it as bleeding the brakes is still pretty easy, just a two man deal now.
With rear discs, pad choices are almost endless and a lot easier to do and inspect. I really recommend disc brakes to
anyone serious about braking performance...the main danger with a drum is under repeated braking or if water or snow
enters them you can get fade...if it is bad enough you actually will have no rear brakes. Disc brakes squeeze down on
rotor as opposed to having shoes that expand to rub against a drum....a disc brake will always offer better repeated
stopping power. Choose a good fluid too, I am using ATE Super Blue...when I change the fluid out at that mileage
interval I will use ATE Super Gold so I can see when new brake fluid is bleeding...makes it simple.
At 76,000 miles my brake fluid looked like hell...it was contaminated with rust? and water and was probably not stopping
me so well...once I changed the system (rear only so far) braking was very much improved.
|Stillen Cross-drilled Rotors:
||Awesome looking and though I can't say much improved braking by themselves as I changed
my pads at the same time...my stopping power is greatly improved and I only have the rear's upgraded so far.
(I am waiting for the proper front stainless-steel brake hoses to arrive).
|Stillen Metal Matrix Pads:
||I think these are a great street pad, good grip and not much dust. I am sure
other pads with stop better, but be prepared to clean your wheels and possibly the sides of your car
|SPS 5mm hub spacers:
||Not so much noticible in handling, but makes the rear of the car look a lot more
balanced to the front...got rid of the narrow looking rear wheel track.
|HondaBond HT-enhanced Dogbones:
||HondaBond HT is a high-temperature silicon. It's a little pricey from the dealer, but it
seems to be popular with people reinforcing motor mounts. I cleaned the two dogbones very well (I bought an
extra set for this purpose) and injected them with about 3/4 of a tube of the HondaBond (each). I smoothed it out nicely
and let it dry for two weeks.
Upon removing my lower mounts I found one was toast (passenger side). Regardless, I don't think my car ever had
the response to throttle that is does now...it's not a huge difference, but I noticed it. I can't tell if there is
any vibration more than the stock units as it is still pretty smooth.
|Fuba/MDX Roof Antenna:
||I bought this from www.locustom.com through one
of their ebay auctions. It arrived quickly and it actually an AntennaWorks part (I forgot the part number though).
The install would be pretty hard for the average person. First you have to remove the headliner. You now need to find
out how far from the back glass you will need to drill (I marked about 6 1/2" from the square section about the defroster).
You then have to find the center of the roof...I used a cloth tape and ran it between the rear quarter windows at the same
distance I measured. It's one of those things you really want to make sure of before boring the hole in your roof :). I
used a 1/2" drill bit for the final hole (it calls for a 9/16" or 14mm) and bored the hole out slightly (most drill sets
go to 1/2", not 9/16"). I started with small bits (1/4" first) and worked up to the 1/2" bit. There is a total of 4 layers
of metal the hole goes through...and in order to get the nut on the end of the antenna base you must cut away the first
three layers from inside the car. I used a dremel with cutoff wheels (about 20 or so) on the flexshaft (I am pretty sure
you have to have the flexshaft if using a dremel as the cutoff wheels are only about 1" across and you won't have the
clearance on the 2nd and 3rd level holes) and started with a 3"x3" hole approximately and then slightly smaller on each of
the next two layers. The antenna then drops in (I had to cut off the larger plastic plug and reattach it once it was in
the hole. I used some silicon sealant to guarantee a seal. You will need two people to do this job as you have to hold it
straight while you tighten it.
I wrapped the cable in felt and then ran it along the roof bracing and down the passenger side windshield pillar and then
across the firewall and up the center hump to the radio location.
|Accel DIS/2 Coil Packs, #140017:
||I bought this from www.summitracing.com as my old coils
were dying it seemed. Installation was simple. Disconnect the negative battery cable (coils amplify the voltage to over
20,000 volts), the four plug wires (note their orientation) and then undo the connector below the coil packs (the release
is under it and unable to be seen from the top).
Once the connector is off, undo the 4 bolts and remove the two coils, be careful when you undo the last bolt as they will fall off
the engine block. Place the unit on a good surface and gently pry up the bottom of each coil until it's loose and remove. Inspect
the coil plate and then install the Accel coil packs (I removed the stickers first, they come off easy and it looks better to me).
The manual calls for using new bolts (mostly because the old ones corrode and have blue threadlock on them) and cleaning out the engine block
bolt holes with a 6.0 mm x 1 tap. The new bolt will come with threadlock on them, I had to use one old bolt so I cleaned it up and used some
blue threadlock. Torque to 7 newton-meters (about 5 ft-lbs I think). Reattach the coil connector and the spark plug wires.
If you purchase the Delphi coil wire locks, they replace two of the coil mounting bolts.