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


Jump to: Accel Plug Wires Polished Engine Parts Kumho Race Tires
   Blizzak Snow Tires Carbotech Brake Pads Conical Filter
   Delrin Sway Bar Bushings Dyno Test #1   (more on next page)
Vitek Braided Wires

Accel logo (2k)

Accel wires (8k)
Added 11/10/98


Accel 8.8mm 300+ Race Wires

With almost 72,000 miles on the original plug wires, it was time to exercise a bit of preventative maintenance and replace them.  There are a few options for these cars when it comes to wires - OEM (naah), Magnecor, Vitek, Nology, and Accel were the companies that I'd found so far that offered direct-fit wires for Saturn cars.  Since I'm the eternal skeptic when it comes to claims of performance gains (as many of you well know), I was looking for the best buy for the money assuming that all high-performance replacement wires offered equivalent (or very similar) performance.   (Note: If you find actual DYNO-tested proof otherwise, please let me know.)   Read the section on Magnecor's site titled "Claims of Horsepower Gain" for info that supports my views.

Besides the 300+ wires, Accel also offers Armor Shield (more $$, more chance of EMI/RFI, need to be grounded) as well as Super Stock (cheaper, closer to OEM spec).  The 300+ wires are very heavy duty, with excellent quality and a perfect fit on my car.  They offer resistance of 150 ohms per foot, stainless connectors, aramid/fiberglass core, a 300% increase in current delivery, and come in red, yellow, & blue.  For less than $35 from Summit Racing (what a company), they're a hell of a buy for a set of high-performance replacement wires.


Bridgestone Blizzak WS-15 Snow Tires (195/60-15)

Since I don't really want to put my 16" Roh wheels thru a Wisconsin winter, I picked up a set of slightly-used Blizzak tires to go on my original stock wheels.  I've heard only good things about the snow and ice traction from these tires (take a look at Tire Rack's customer evaluations), and I'm looking forward to having some fun this winter trying them out.  I'll post an evaluation after we get some serious snow.  Bring it on!

UPDATE:  These are an unbelievable set of winter tires.  Previously, I've had my stock Firestones as well as Dunlop D60A2s on the car for winters.  Neither compares to the traction of the Blizzaks.  Traction on packed snow is phenomenal, slush, water, and fluffy snow is great, and ice is as good as can be expected from any tire.  I would definitely recommend these to anyone living in an area that sees a good amount of snow.


Bridgestone logo (4k)

Blizzak tire (11k)
Added 12/17/98


4/2000: I've now used these tires for two winters and there doesn't appear to be any significant wear - surprising for a tire with such a soft rubber compound.

3/2001: This is the third winter that these tires have been on the car, and tread is still at 3/4 of new.  Surprising, since I probably average about 3000 miles each winter with these tires.

6/2003: Wow, this last winter makes it 5 years that I've used these tires.  They look to be about 2/3 tread with a lot of life left in them.

12/2006: These tires look to be down to about 1/3 tread and will need to be replaced for next winter.  It is amazing that they've lasted this long and still show no signs of dry-rot or cracking.

12/2007: At the end of their useful life, I replaced these with a new set of Blizzak WS-60 (you can see my writeup on the new tires HERE).  The WS-15 tires were outstanding in every way and the only reason I replaced them with a different model is because the WS-15 is no longer made.  Nine years out of a set of tires is hard to believe.


SRW logo (6k)

Delrin sway bar bushings (9k)
Added 4/1/99

SRW Handling Delrin Sway Bar Bushings

If you're not familiar with Delrin, it looks and feels a lot like PVC plastic (although that's where all similiarity ends - read the tech info on SRW's site for details).  After having replaced both sway bars (with ICY front & SPS adjustable rear), installation of these bushings wasn't very difficult.  Each bushing is made up of two separate pieces that fit together.  The C-shaped parts of the fronts do require a jack or huge channel-lock pliers and a LOT of force to get them to snap on over the bar.  At one point, I thought that there would be bushing shrapnel flying everywhere, but they did go on.  The rears are easier, but do require disconnecting/moving the rear brake lines.  There are times when the bushings do creak slightly (which others have experienced as well) - one suggestion I've heard is to lightly sand the bar & bushings before installation to prevent any noise.  You can see pictures of the bushings after installation HERE.

I recently had a perfect opportunity to evaluate these bushings - on Gingerman Raceway's road course during the Saturn Performance Club's '99 Rally.  These bushings make a noticeable improvement in steering response and cornering feel compared to the stock rubber bushings.  Lean during cornering is also reduced.  I have decided to keep my stock springs & struts for now (I like my ride quality) and concentrate on upgrading all other suspension parts and these bushings were a very worthwhile addition.

7/99:  The delrin bushings on my rear anti-sway bar have started to groan and creak, but mostly when the temperature is higher than 80 degrees or when there is weight in the back seat.
9/99:  The front bushings started squeaking very loudly on medium to hard bumps.
10/99:  Not being able to stand it any longer, I removed all four sway bar bushings and sanded them with 120 grit.  I also cleaned the brackets and mounting area well.  All noise was now gone - we'll just have to see for how long.
11/99:  The front bushings are now squeaking louder than I've ever heard before.  I put the stock rubber bushings back on for now.  When spring comes, I may try to lube the delrins and try them again.  This is really starting to piss me off.
12/99:  The rears started creaking badly now that the temp is below 40 degrees.  I hope it goes away in the spring or I'm going to have to try something else.
3/2000:  As the temperature gets above 40, the rears magically stop groaning.  I've reinstalled the fronts, but this time I lubricated them first with 'SylGlide' purchased from Napa (at Wally's suggestion).  Ah, all bushing noise has stopped (for now)!  A note - don't lubricate the rears, as it may allow the rear bar to move laterally and actually damage stuff.
Mid-2000:  SRW Handling's website no longer appears to exist, so it is doubtful that they are still in business.
3/2001:  I can now hear a loud knocking sound from the right rear when driving over any rough roads.  I removed the rear delrin bushings and found that they had significantly worn and may no longer be fitting around the bar snugly.  I put the rubber bushings back on the car and the noise seems to be gone.
10/2001:  Now that it's starting to get colder in the fall (around 40 degrees), the only remaining bushings on the front sway bar are starting to creak.  I could lube them again, but I'm getting tired of doing it twice a year.   I removed them and put back the stock rubber bushings, and the last of the noise is gone for good.  The bushings are all now in the trash, but if it's really quiet, I swear I can still hear a faint squeaking sound coming from somewhere around the trash can...


Polished Engine Parts
Added 5/17/99

It's been a while since I've added any appearance items.  Since I do attend quite a few car audio shows & competitions, these pieces will really be noticed and appreciated.

I had Sierra Performance handle the polishing of the intake manifold, throttle body, and cam cover.   These pieces are aluminum from the factory and a good polishing job will really make them shine.  Swapping the cam cover & throttle body are very easy, but swapping the intake manifold is VERY time consuming if you're typical driveway mechanic like myself (and don't have access to a lift).  I won't even attempt to describe the steps - you'll need to refer to a Haynes or Chilton manual for this one and plan for the better part of a day.


Larger image 31kLarger image 46kLarger image 53kLarger image 54kLarger image 33k
  Click on any of the thumbnails for a larger image.

2/2001:  It has been reported by several Saturn owners that Sierra Performance no longer carries aftermarket performance parts.

6/2003:  The bare aluminum finish has gotten hazy over the years, and corrodes easily if winter road salt stays on it for a while.  It also scratches very easily.  I pulled the valve cover and gave it a touch-up on the buffer, and it was greatly improved.  But all the parts don't quite look as good as when they were freshly buffed.  A clearcoat or clear powdercoat to seal the finish might make it last a whole lot longer.  Next time around, I would probably have the intake and valve cover chromed so they may hold their shine longer with less maintenance.


Carbotech Brake Pads

For the past few years, I've had basic 'lifetime' NAPA brake pads on my car.   They've been excellent for normal everyday driving, with virtually no brake dust, minimal wear, and good performance.  In fact, switching from OEM rotors & pads to NAPA took care of recurring rotor warpage that I'd had previously.

When these pads were pushed beyond what would be considered normal braking (on Gingerman Raceway during the '99 SPC Rally) the pads weren't doing a very good job.  I could feel quite a bit of brake fade and it took increasingly more pedal pressure to slow down the car for the turns as the brakes got hot.  I came in after my first thirty-minute track session and bought a set of Carbotech Super Street F-Compound pads from the BEST Racing/RacePartners guys that had set up shop during our day at the track.

Carbotech logo (3k)

Carbotech pads (5k)
Added 6/1/99

After twenty minutes to swap the front pads, I was back out on the track.   Break-in was fast, and these pads tremendously outperformed the NAPA pads.   Brake fade was gone and they had much better grab.  After our day on the track, I left these pads on for a week of daily driving.  They are very civilized (no squealing, grinding, or warm-up time needed) and could comfortably be used in day-to-day driving, although I don't know how they would perform in colder winter temperatures.  Be prepared to clean your pretty wheels frequently since they do give off a lot of brown dust.


Dyno Test #1

6/99:  Dyno testing was done during the 1999 Saturn Performance Club Rally.  Modifications to the car included all items listed prior to this date (you can follow my chronological list HERE): HS Intake w/ foam filter, HS header, Borla cat-back exhaust, Random Technology catalytic converter, Centerforce 1 clutch, and Accel plug wires.

  1st dyno run (5k)

Max horsepower was 119.3 at 6200 rpm, and max torque was 111.3 ft/lbs at 5100 rpm.  You can see the dyno write-up HERE, or take a look at the chart HERE.

"Why is your dyno horsepower less than what the car is rated at stock?"


Added 8/1/99
Vitek logo (5k)

Vitek wires (5k)
Pic courtesy Sierra (thanks!).

Vitek Braided Plug Wires

Ok, I know you're already asking, "Why another set of plug wires?" when the Accels went on less than 8000 miles ago.  Two main reasons: I got these for free in a drawing, and the color that I got really complements the car.  The colored 1200 degree fiberglass braid is very attractive on these wires.  They also feature a kevlar core and stainless steel wire & terminals.  Is there any noticeable performance difference between the Vitek/Accel/stock?  Nope, on the typical naturally-aspirated Saturn, wires are wires.  They certainly do look good though.

6/2003 - The braid material has started to fray where one of the wires on top of the motor very slightly touches the hoodliner.   I'm surprised that this would cause the damage to the braid that it has.  If you're going to go with a set of these wires, make sure they don't rub or touch anything.

12/2006 - The fraying of the braid material has gotten worse.  This is occurring where the wires just barely touch the hoodliner.  You can see a photo HERE.

Kumho Race Tires (Victoracer V700, 205/50-15)

I picked up a set of these tires from The Tire Rack mainly to avoid shredding my street tires and for the absolute ultimate in grip when I'm out on the track (these will be my track-only tires while my Nittos remain my daily-driving street tires), since they're ideally suited for autocross and road racing.  These are classified as competition tires (DOT legal), and perform best when heat-cycled and shaved (even though there is barely any tread on them).  I was surprised that they even had a treadwear rating stamped on the tire (50) since the rubber compound is so soft.  After a drive where the tires heat up, looking at them you'll be able to see a lot of little rocks embedded in the rubber!

Right after putting these on a set of stock alloys and driving these around town long enough to heat up, every corner encountered becomes much more enjoyable. The stick from these tires is nothing short of unbelievable.  It almost makes me want to throw away my street tires and drive these every day, although they wouldn't be too much fun in the rain and they probably wouldn't last long either.  The sidewall is extremely stiff and steering response is excellent.  I'll be sure post more of an evaluation after putting some hard miles on them during my next track session.

Kumho logo (4k)

Kumho tire (7k)
Added 8/20/99


8/99:  You can see a picture of what these tires look like after 120 miles on a road course HERE.

5/28/2001:  These tires have come to the end of their life after 600+ hard track miles and 10 events over almost 2 years.  That amounts to about 50 heat cycles, and was a surprisingly long life.  (You can see a picture of new vs. old HERE, and a look under the rubber HERE.)  Traction didn't fall off all that much as the tires aged or became more worn.  I'll continue to use these tires on the track, as they are a great value for a whole lot of traction.

5/2003:  I put these tires on my '92 SC track car for a few runs at the dragstrip.  After a very short burnout to clean them off, and a lot of wheelspin through most of first gear, a handful of runs caused the rubber to start chunking.  These are NOT a good tire to use on the dragstrip, in my opinion.  I had also tried them on my '94 SC2 at the dragstrip in the past, directly comparing them to my Toyo T1-S street tires.  The times were so similiar, it either means that the Toyos are damn good on the strip, or the Kumhos just don't perform at the level that they always do on the road course.  I'll be using some dedicated drag slicks in the future.

Update:  From here on out, these will be used on my '92 SC track car on the road course.  You can read all future updates on them in the modifications section for the '92, HERE.


Added 9/1/99
Filter (7k)
Pic courtesy SPS (thanks!).

Conical Air Filter

Having talked to James of Team scR about his engine dyno testing for the race car, he mentioned that the engine produced an extra horse-and-a-half with this filter (vs. the powerstack's K&N filter).  It's a bit larger than the K&N with more surface area as well.  It's a mighty good looking piece, and everyone knows how I like shiny stuff.  Strangely, this 'SPS' filter is a dead-ringer for a Chikara (and not to mention a handful of others) which can commonly be seen advertised in import/compact car magazines.

12/2006:  When tinkering around in the engine compartment recently, I noticed that the silver metal end cap of the filter is missing.  It looks to have been hot-glued over the epoxy which holds the end of the filter together.  Also, the filter appears to be separating from its end, on the end that attaches to the intake tube.  You can see a picture HERE.  I have no idea what the actual brand of this filter was, but the quality of it leaves a lot to be desired.


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