Wrench (1k)  94 SC2 (4k)Enhancements / Modifications -
94 SC2


Jump to: 16" Roh Wheels White Gauge Faces Adjustable Rear Sway Bar
   Nitto NT450 Tires Fuel System Checkup Centerforce 1 Clutch
   Prothane Bushings ICY Front Sway Bar   (more on next page)

Roh logo (2k)

Reflex wheel (7k)

Added 5/3/98

Roh Reflex Wheels (16" x 7", 38mm offset, 15.5 lbs)

I finally decided that it was time to step up to a better looking set of wheels.  The clearcoat on my factory wheels was foggy and starting to peel, and the aluminum under it had spots of oxidation appearing.  I wanted a set that wasn't too flashy (no chrome) and didn't cost an arm and a leg.  The weight of each Roh wheel is equal to the stock alloys and the offset gives the car a bit wider stance (7mm over the stock alloy wheels) which looks much better.  The gap between the tire and wheelwell seems a bit more noticeable than it used to be so I guess it's time to start thinking about lowering springs.  UPDATE:  You can take a look at some research I did on springs HERE.

The stock lugnuts and plastic nut covers would have fit on these wheels, but it would have been a shame to slap those back on.  Good quality McGard lugnuts as well as locks ran about $30 from the local auto parts store.  Locking lugnuts should be a necessity on any set of aftermarket wheels.  I purchased this tire and wheel combo from Discount Tire Direct who had a significantly lower price than all of their web competitors.


Nitto Tires (NT-450, 205/50-16, V-Rated)

I bought these in combination with the Roh wheels above, from Discount Tire Direct.  This is an all-season V-Rated tire with a treadwear rating very close to the stock Firestone tires that originally came on my car.  This size is a 'plus one' - wider, larger rim diameter, but a shorter sidewall allows approximately the same tire circumference (no speedo error or wheelwell/suspension clearance problems).  Here are several useful tire size calculators: #1, #2, #3, #4.  Even though these tires are considered all-season, I plan on putting the stock wheels with my other set of Dunlop tires on for the winter until I buy a set of winter tires.

These are directional tires because of the wild tread pattern and can only be rotated to the same side of the car unless they are removed from the rim.  There was quite an improvement (even over my Dunlop D60A2s) in cornering and wet traction.  There was no noticeable increase in tire noise or ride harshness (even though I went from a 15" to 16").  After testing on my favorite hairpin-shaped offramp, I can say that these tires stick well and it is now much easier to notice the car's body roll in hard cornering.  So on to the next upgrade below...

Nitto logo (3k)

Nitto tire (10k)
Added 5/3/98

  After 23,000 miles on these tires, they're at about half tread and are wearing very well.   Dry performance remains very good for a tire this cheap, but you will have to put up with the tires squealing like a stuck pig as their cornering limit is reached.   I've also noticed that there is considerably more tread noise than the stock Firestones, or the Dunlops I had previously.  Wet traction is quite good, but these tires are NOT suited to snow or slush.

3/2001:  I removed these tires from the car since they're at about quarter-tread and pretty much used up at 36,000 miles.  Road noise from the tires has been quite loud recently and the grip on dry pavement is now about the same as my Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires (and not even near what it used to be).

In addition to normal day-to-day driving, I have used these on the drag strip, for autocross, and out on the road course once or twice.  They were a relatively inexpensive tire when I bought them, but since the Kumho Ecsta 712 has recently become available for about the same money, I'd probably buy a set of those instead if I were looking for a tire in that price range.


Prothane logo (3k)

Bushings (4k)


Prothane Polyurethane Sway Bar Bushings

I just ordered two sets of bushings (with brackets) through JC Whitney - the price of $10 per set was worth trying them out.  JCW only lists universal sizes so I had to crawl under the car with a caliper and measure the sway bar diameters and the distance between stock bushing mounting holes.  Prothane makes an exact match bracket & bushing that will bolt right up to the stock mounting holes for the front sway bar, but the rear will require me to drill two new holes for a more heavy-duty bracket than the stock unit.

UPDATE: After a bit of test-fitting, I've decided to return the bushings for a refund.  The flat part of the bushings that mounts against the car was significantly shorter than the stock rubber bushing.  This would have moved the sway bars a bit out of stock position and negatively effected the clearance between the bars and other parts of the car.  I could have fabricated some spacer blocks but I wasn't too keen on the idea of cutting 1/4" to 1/8" thick   pieces of steel to make them.  The stock front brackets were also quite a bit sturdier than the replacements that I received.


White Gauge Faces

Of course, these don't do squat for performance (just like tail light covers) but they really look nice.  After a great deal of looking, I wasn't able to find any companies that make white gauge faces for Saturns.  I decided to undertake the job myself - and create something for my car that is truly unique that I haven't already seen in a first generation Saturn.

WARNING: Don't attempt a job like this unless you have a lot of patience and a steady hand.   Swearing will be required.

UPDATE: Sierra Auto Products, NR Auto, & SPS now sell gauge faces for Saturns.  But remember, you saw them here first!


White gauges (14k)



Before proceeding with any more modifications, I decided to find out a bit more about the state of my fuel system.   I've read that with an intake, header, and exhaust, fuel delivery may need an upgrade to avoid a lean condition.

I stopped by my local Saturn, and they drove it inside and hooked up the PDT (Portable Diagnostic Terminal?) with the engine running to view many of the engine's parameters.  All sensors were functioning OK, but we did find that I needed a new EGR solenoid (a whole $14).  As far as the fuel system was concerned, I was interested in the mixture (lean or rich) and the long-term fuel trim (how close to their max the fuel injectors are operating).  Keep in mind that this interpretation is based upon my limited PCM knowledge.


Long-term fuel trim 128 normal
150 max (lean cond)
115 - 128, very good
Air/fuel ratio 14.7:1 14.7:1, dead on

Read about my 1999 SC2 test drive experience (and comparison to my 1994) HERE.


ICY Front Sway Bar & SPS Adjustable Rear Sway Bar

Rear: Of all the parts that I've installed, this was the most difficult job so far lasting almost 5 hours.  When installing one of these, the rear brake lines need to be disconnected and moved, or the lower ends of the struts need to be unbolted (necessitating an alignment).  If I had the job to do again, I'd take it to my local Saturn mechanic.  On the upside, the bar is an excellent addition for the money.

  Added 9/13/98
Bars (5k)
Both bars depicted here are SPS parts.  Pic courtesy SPS (thanks!).

I installed the rear adjustable bar about 2 weeks before installing the front in order to better evaluate each.   I started out on the 'medium' stiffness setting (out of 3) and drove it that way for about a week.  I then adjusted the bar's end links to the 'mighty stiff' setting and that's when I noticed considerable improvement.  Normally, my car feels front-heavy when pushed hard into corners - it tends to understeer, with the front wheels sliding and losing grip far before the rear.  With the addition of the rear bar, sudden body roll is now noticeably reduced when the car is thrown into a corner.  All four wheels now begin to lose lateral grip at about the same time, giving a more 'balanced' feeling at the limits thru the corners.  The more predictable handling is greatly appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed when pushing the car into a high-speed 4-wheel drift. Can you say "Wwwwweeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!" boys and girls? 
  This piece went on a bit easier than the rear, but it was still a pain in the ass.  Be prepared to remove one of the lower control arms in order to get the ends of the stock bar free and the new ends in place.  With the control arm removed, I was afraid that the weight of the strut & brake assembly would pull the half-shaft completely off of the trans so be very careful.  Since the new bar is stiffer than the stock piece, it was necessary to put a lot of strength into getting the lower control arm back into place.

With this piece, the body lean in corners seems reduced and the steering feels a bit more responsive.  It feels as though tire grip is also improved.  I'll post more of an evaluation as I get more driving time in.

3/2000:  After a great deal of consideration, I've decided to remove the front bar.  Team scR & SPS's experience has found minimal (if any) positive effects of the front sway bar and several negative effects.  Stiffness over stock is only increased 6%, it weighs at least 20 lbs. more than the stock bar, and negates part of the rear bar's effect.  After a week of driving with the old stock bar reinstalled, I can't say that I notice much (if any) difference.  I may post more thoughts after I get the car out on the track again.

4/2000:  Since removing the front bar, I've driven on the road course at Putnam Park and Gingerman.  With race tires, it's tough to notice any difference.  With street tires, the difference is quite noticeable.  Understeer seems reduced in tight cornering (and this can be felt in normal street driving as well).  And with my rear adjustable bar on full hard, oversteer can now be induced (although the car has to be pushed pretty far to do it).


Centerforce 1 Clutch

This is an upgrade that that you should only proceed with (IMO) if: a) you really need a new clutch, b) you've added a turbo/nitrous/supercharger and/or have done some internal motor work, or c) you'll be doing the job yourself.  I say this because this is a job that will take your local Saturn mechanic 6 - 8 hours, making the labor charge at least twice what the new clutch costs.  My car's mileage and the fact that it's all city driving made me decide that a new clutch would be a good upgrade (plus, I was starting to feel a bit of slippage just after start-up in the winter.  Wisconsin's extreme-cold winters tend to show all the weak points in your car).  Truthfully, I could have probably waited another year before this job was actually necessary.  Since a trans fluid change needed to be done at this point as well, I used Castrol Syntec synthetic fluid in hopes that it would take away some of the shifter's stiffness right after startup in extremely cold winter weather.

Added 10/3/98
Centerforce logo (3k)

Clutch (13k)
Pic courtesy SPS (thanks!).

Clutch pedal throw and engagement feels about the same as stock, but the pedal pressure required is a bit less.  There is no point in the pedal travel that is stiffer than the rest - motion feels smooth and even all the way to the floor.  Centerforce's instructions ask that the driver 'not apply the car's full power for the first 500 miles after the clutch is installed.'  Damn, I'll have to try to remember that while driving.

UPDATE: After about 2000 miles of driving with this new clutch, I can easily tell that it engages much more strongly than the OEM unit.  This is quite evident by the amazing wheel bark when shifting from first to second gear above 5k RPM.  (Since I'd rather not replace the clutch anytime soon, it's not too often that I do shift this way.)

2/18/2001 - I replaced this clutch with the Centerforce dual friction at the same time that the Quaife limited slip differential was installed.  The Centerforce 1 clutch performed well during the 2.5 years and 30k miles that it was used.   It saw more than 500 miles on road courses, and a good number of quarter mile runs as well.  The only time that I could feel it slip was after several runs down the dragstrip on a hot day - and even then, there was only slight slippage during super hard fast upshifts.  On removal, it was easy to see that there was quite a bit of life still left in it too.



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