Enhancements / Modifications -
|Jump to:||Corbeau Seat Brackets||SPS 4-Way Rear Sway Bar||Hot Lap In-Car Timing System|
|Crow Cam-Lock Harnesses||Energy Suspension Bushings||Twistec Motor Mounts|
|SPS Billet Strut Tower Brace||SPS Braided Brake Lines||(more on next page)|
Corbeau / Wedge Engineering Seat Brackets
I first attempted to mount a Corbeau Forza seat by scavenging the rail set up from the a stock seat. This was not an easy job and didn't turn out as well as I would have expected. It probably could have been made to work, but I scrapped the idea and just bought new brackets from Corbeau.
These brackets are made specifically for a Saturn and not widely available as an "in-stock" part from Corbeau suppliers. It seems that the factory only make a bunch of these every so often, and then it is a while before the next production run. These took a very long time for me to receive after they were ordered.
The brackets are seriously high-quality and quite heavy. The top photo at the right shows what they look like from the factory. They have the ability to slide the seat forward and back, and a mechanism is built in for height adjustment. Even at their lowest height setting, there was virtually no clearance between a helmet and the roof / roll cage for a person of average height. Looks like some modification will be necessary...
1/2003 - Since I didn't
want or need height adjustability anyway, it was all cut out and the
brackets were re-welded (see bottom photo at the right). This provided
more helmet room, and allowed the seat to sit more than an inch lower.
It also made each one of them about 4 lbs lighter.
Before (larger pic HERE)
Crow Cam-Lock Harnesses
I purchased these from Monte at Livermore Performance. They've got great prices and ship quickly, and I've ordered from them several times. It's not easy finding mail order vendors with consistently great service, and I will be ordering from them again in the future.
The harnesses are 3" wide and a 5-point design, with belts fastened to solid points on the floor, as well as to the rollcage itself. The camlock makes it very easy to get in or out quickly, if the need should arise.
Update: If you're going to use the
crotch belt, keep it loose or it's gonna ring your bells. This I've
Update: The SFI tag shows that
the harnesses have reached their expiration date. Tech inspections at most
of the events I attend aren't very picky in this regard - in fact, they
usually never check. But my local dragstrip does (and for test and tune,
even!), so I'll have to replace them in the spring. I'm really going to
dislike having to pay for these again every few years.
SPS Billet Strut Tower Brace
This brace is one of the most beautiful parts I've seen made for a Saturn. It's machined from aluminum and is extremely hefty, with excellent quality and craftsmanship. I've got an adjustable brace on my '94 (see it HERE) which doesn't even compare to this one.
A strut brace should be considered a 'must-have' part. It's easy to install, doesn't cost a lot, and does its part in stiffening things up.
SPS 4-way Adjustable Rear Sway Bar
I've had the 3-way bar on my 94 SC2 for years, and it's effects on the car make it well worth the money. Body roll and understeer are greatly reduced. You can read more about my thoughts on the 3-way bar HERE.
The 92 SC received the stiffer bar, with the adjustability of
4 settings. This car will have a more potent suspension than my 94, and I'm sure
I'll need every bit of adjustability that I can get.
Update - Even wiith the bar set on the
full soft setting, it makes the car a little on the tail-happy side -
especially if the tires aren't up to temperature. Part of it may come
from the coilover spring rates I run and the stiffness I have the shocks set
at, along with a lot less weight in the rear. I don't mind the very
slight bit of oversteer and have gotten accustomed to how the car handles
with this bar. Because of this effect though, this is another piece I
would be VERY hesitant to use on a street-driven car.
I bought this full poly
bushing kit from SPS, and I was amazed at how well it was packaged and how
complete the instructions were. Replacing the stock rubber pieces with these
stiffer poly bushings will remove some of the compliance from the
suspension, and allow it to do its job better. It is hard to believe how
many bushings there really are in this kit. Most are relatively easy to
swap, but some are incredibly difficult. A shop press is required though so
make sure you have access to one if you're going to attempt this project.
This job took more time than the engine swap I'd done on this car. This was mainly due to the bushings between the rear lateral links and the hub/knuckle. There are some very long bolts holding the assembly together that were rusted solidly in place. The amount of penetrant applied and the size of the hammer made no difference when attempting to slide these bolts out once their nuts were removed. I was forced to remove the entire rear crossmember (pic HERE) and take it to a machine shop. They had to heat it with torch while it was in a huge press in order to get those bolts out. I made sure to use a lot of anti-seize when sliding the new bolts into place in case they ever need to come out again.
Fit on all of the pieces was perfect, and my compliments go to Team scR and SPS who developed the bushings in conjunction with Energy Suspension. I do wish they would have included more silicone grease with the kit as it ran out before I was finished. Others have asked me if any difference can be felt in these compared to stock, or if they squeak at all, etc. I really can't say. I installed these at the same time as the entire suspension and a ton of other parts. And the exhaust and engine sound at speed is loud enough that I would never hear any squeaking.
8/2003 - During
a track event at Blackhawk Farms Raceway, I experienced the failure of one
of the lower control arm bushings. It is a 2-piece bushing between the LCA
and the end of the front sway bar. After a brief off-track excursion into
some rough gravel, I heard a loud banging noise coming from the front left.
Disassembly and inspection showed that the bushing was completely gone.
Where the heck did it go? Was it just squeezed out past the big washer and
nut on the end of the sway bar? Did the very high temperatures of the front
brakes play a part in softening it? I have no idea. A call to
SPS was all it took to get a
replacement set shipped at no charge (thanks John). Apparently other
track-driven Saturns have also had this problem, and I've been told that
Energy has since redesigned this particular bushing to address it.
SPS Braided Brake Lines
These lines replace the rubber OEM lines, providing better
durability and less flex during braking. Along with upgraded brake fluid,
these lines will play a part in getting the best performance I can from my
braking system. I've also had these lines on my '94 for quite a few years
(details HERE). Installation proved
to be just as difficult on this car. The old rusted fittings were nearly
impossible to remove without breaking the hard lines. I found that a whole
can of penetrant applied over several days, along with two pair of
V-jawed ViseGrips (made specifically for nuts, with no grooves on the
jaws) finally got them loose.
Using a torch to gently heat the fittings also helps,
although a Craftsman Professional Series set of flare nut/tubing wrenches
was worthless. The clips provided with the new kit needed some adjustment to
fit properly as well, just as they did on my '94. I also found out that it
takes forever to bleed a braking system once it has been nearly emptied.
Hot Lap In-Car Timing System
This system is made by Longacre Racing and consists of a stationary infrared transmitter, car-mounted receiver, and car-mounted time display.
Road course lapping sessions are mainly geared toward instruction and driver improvement. You are not racing against other drivers, and lap times are not kept.
After participating in a good number of lapping
sessions/driving schools, I reached the point where I wanted an indicator of
my progress as time went by. It is also easier to work toward
consistency and improve technique with the feeback that this system gives.
I originally purchased this quite some time ago and used it in my '94 SC2
for several years. Since my '94 has been retired from track duties,
the system was moved to my '92 SC.
Twistec Motor Mounts
TIG-welded stainless steel motor mounts can be had for a very good price.
When I first received these, I wondered how it was possible for the very
small welds to hold up under severe abuse. We'll have to see. The
polyurethane inserts are very stiff and snapping the throttle at idle shows
how effective these mounts are at limiting movement from the motor in its
bay. While I may not know it as a fact, I've always suspected that
compliance in the motor mounts and front suspension bushings contributes to
wheel hop during a hard launch. I hope these mounts will do their part in
seriously wailing on the car with burnouts and high-RPM launches at my local
dragstrip, I can report that these mounts pass the durability test.
7/2004: A fellow club member has
installed these on his daily-driver and reports that there is a huge
increase in noise and vibration. It is serious enough that he's considering
removing them and switching back to the stock mounts.