|Project 92 SC - 2001 Project Log.|
History & Background (from the beginning)
Mid-2000 - I've been enjoying lapping sessions and a bit of drag racing for several years now, and both become even more enjoyable as my confidence & ability progress. I'm noticing that my technique is improving, allowing me to reach higher speeds and reduce my times. At the same time, the car is being pushed progressively harder and harder. Since I expect this wear and tear to continue to take its toll over time (and I've already broken & worn out a good number of parts), I realized that it would be in my best interest to begin looking for a second car.
I did consider buying any old beater to use as a daily driver, and using my 94 SC2 strictly as a machine for the track but I just couldn't do it. I still get a lot of enjoyment out driving the 94 every day, and I don't think I could make myself tear out the audio system that I dedicated almost two years of my life to build. Especially since it still looks and sounds great too.
I began looking for a used high-mileage 92 - 94 SC2 that would become a dedicated track car. Autotrader.com, Yahoo classifieds, and WI autos.com proved to be the best online resources, and all of them have quite a few Saturns in their listings. Since I've grown so accustomed to really using my anti-lock brakes while on the track (and really enjoying it), I decided that this car had to have ABS, in addition to having a manual transmission.
Even though my 94 has this combination of options, I found that there weren't a lot of other used cars available out there that did. Luckily, I was in no hurry to find a car and continued watch the websites for a car that fit the bill.
3/21/01 - I came across a black 92 SC about two hours from where I live. It didn't take much time for it to occupy the space in the garage next to the 94, and also put a big smile on my face.
A bit of Saturn history: This model is an SC - not an SC1 or SC2 as we are all familiar with. Coupes in 1991 & 1992 were only available with a dual cam motor, and no single cam option existed. So, the company's designation for the coupe's model is simply an SC. In my opinion, it makes these early first generation coupes even more distinctive.
The day after I brought it home.
|3/23/01 - I set
aside the whole day to do a bit of work on the car to make it more 'driveable', since I do
want to get some street driving out of it before starting to tear it apart. The
first thing that included was an exhaustive clay/polish/wax job and replacement of two
blown speakers, of course. There were a few other little things that I addressed as
well - replacing the pop fasteners on the backs of the loose door panels, vacuuming &
cleaning the interior, transferring the title, registration, plates, etc.
A few people were getting together on the upcoming weekend at Deebs' place in Chicago since he was doing some pretty heavy car work. His SC2 was stripped to the bone, with only the spaceframe and engine remaining. It was time to prep and paint the interior, so it was decided to make a small club event out of the job on very short notice (you can see photos from the weekend HERE). Making the drive down (4 hours each way) would help me get a feel for the car & its condition.
3/25/01 - While in Chicago, we headed out to our favorite Dyno shop to strap the 92 SC onto the rollers and see what kind of power it made. I did so out of curiosity since I was less than optimistic - after all, the car had more than 140,000 miles on it and sounded like it may need a timing chain in its future. (When this car does make its way onto a track, it will NOT be doing so without an engine rebuild, at the very least).
Click the thumbnails below to view a larger-sized image.
On the dyno, the car made approximately 100 hp & 102 ft. lbs. torque in its totally-stock condition. This was a bit less than many other stock dual-cams I've seen, and with 140,000 miles on the clock, the difference was understandable.
Click the photo on the left to see video of the car on the dyno. Be sure to turn up your sound. (.AVI - 570k, requires Indeo codec available HERE).
8/5/01 - Replaced the factory plug wires (which look old enough to be original) with the Accel wires I had used previously on my 94 SC2 (see them HERE). These are temporary until I decide what additional colors to use on the car. Also replace some Bosch Platinum plugs with NGKs since I had no idea how many miles were on the Bosch plugs. The wires and plugs had no impact on a hesitation I felt around 2500-3000 RPMs (as many other owners have reported as well).
8/13/01 - I took delivery of a used adjustable ride height Carrera coil-over setup. This will be a great start for a killer suspension. See all the suspension details on the suspension page.
8/25/01 - Replaced both dogbone motor mounts with SPS's stiffer models (see them HERE). Did the same with the torque-axis mount, replacing the softer OEM design with a stiffer original OEM design.
8/25/01 - Began removal of the
asphalt-backed mat from the rear of the car. This isn't fun. A plastic scraper
and gasoline seem to be working the best. See all the weight reduction details on
the weight reduction page.
8/23/01 - Received the used Injen intake I bought off eBay. The chrome model is virtually identical in weight, design, and construction as the Hotshot intake. It seems to have reduced a slight lag/hesitation at 2500-3000 RPMs that I'd felt earlier.
11/10/01 - Got the Carrera strut housings back from the machine shop and test-fitted the whole works (details on the suspension page). This area isn't yet complete - stiffer springs are still planned. Also picked up a set of Magnecor plug wires and Accel coils used for a nice price.
11/17/01 - With the interior removed and a ton of wiring left hanging from a lot of the car's power accessories, I started the task of yanking out what was no longer necessary - a pic or two is on the weight reduction page.
12/8/01 - Received a custom-ordered low-amp alternator in the mail, and finally got the Boers underdrive alternator pulley I'd ordered a while back. Yanked off the stock alternator, along with the front hubs which will receive new bearings and longer lugs.
12/22/01 - Continued working on the wiring, putting loom on everything left that goes from the firewall to the rear of the car. I'm getting close to finishing up removal of all the now-unnecessary body brackets inside the car. The spot-weld cutter I had isn't that effective on many of them since the spot-welding process must harden the steel. Bought a second 'professional-model' cutter bit from Eastwood which got wrecked on the first use. POS. So, I've resorted to using a cutting wheel on both a dremel and air die grinder.
12/27/01 - Found a 93 DOHC motor with low mileage for an excellent deal locally - and not much more than a thorough rebuild would have been. It will be swapped in before the car sees the track, and will do nicely until I've decided what the next step in the motor area will be. I'm sure the next motor build will take some time also, and the car will be able to stay mobile during that time.
I also picked up all the replacement parts that were needed from my local Saturn parts counter. Tie rod ends, control arms, hubs/bearings all around, and other misc stuff. This is an area that is easily overlooked when budgeting or planning what needs to be done to make a higher-mileage car safe & track-worthy.