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Old 03-08-2010, 06:40 AM   #1
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Finally getting an SL1

Well, after having this '96 SL2 (the 2 designates DOHC) and boosting it's highway mileage to a number I never thought possible, I've come to grips with the reality that it needs a re-ringing.

I'm picking up an '01 SL1 auto this coming weekend from its original owner. Car has 98K on it and reports no mechanical issues and no oil useage.

The original window sticker shows a highway mileage rating of 37mpg... fueleconomy.gov says 34mpg. I'm hoping with a HAI and some 55-60mph cruising, I'll bust the 50mpg mark I've always wanted to hit in my old SL2 that is rated at 31.

One thing I noticed during the test drive is that at 70mph (I don't travel at this speed, just wanted to flog the car a little) the SL1 is spinning at 2,500 RPM while my SL2 turns at 3,000 RPM at that speed. Lots of potential here!

I'm just guessing on this math but (guessing on theory actually), at 500 RPM less, that's 2,000 less squirts of the injectors (4 injectors firing at 500rpm = 2000 squirts). So at 55-60mph, if it's still 500rpm less, it should translate into really good mileage!

Pics coming next weekend! Wish me luck!
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'09 Saturn Aura 2.4L
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:25 AM   #2
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I don't get it, why didn't you get a M/T Saturn? You'd sure as hell get a much larger boost in fuel economy AND you'd be able to safely do all those hypermiling techniques that one really shouldn't do in an automatic unless you hate your transmission.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:34 AM   #3
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I'm cheap. I like waiting until I find great deals. Sure I could buy a M/T SOHC S-series if I don't mind paying average value, but I've been holding out for a good deal and I found it. Also, I only drive 8k miles per year, so mileage isn't THAT important to me, just a hobby really.

Plus, s-series are very easy to work on, and parts are plentifull in junkyards.

I don't do any hypermiling techniques other than mild drafting and no cruise control useage. I don't shift into neutral, no EOC, nothing like that... I know better. 2mpg increase isn't worth a $1,500 transmission swap.

I got this car because I'm getting a great deal on it and I needed to replace my SL2 anyway.

It's a 2001, silver, $1,200 w/ a clean title, 98k miles, 5k miles on new tires, 10k on new shocks, and from the original female owner. It's kept up well, drove 10x smoother than my '96 SL2 w/ 155k, she says it uses no oil, and never been wrecked.

Oil change sticker in the windshield said it needs oil change in 1100 miles, I checked the dipstick and the oil is crystal clean... my SL2's oil is jet black within 500 miles of a change.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:21 AM   #4
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Best wishes, hope the car turns out to be all you wish for. Keep us posted on your experiences. Ironic how GM discontinued the Saturn line, the best thing it had going for it in a long, long time.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:30 AM   #5
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My thoughts exactly.

When GM started the L-series and the Ion and began using the cavalier engine in all it's Saturn products, the writing was on the wall. Same thing they did with the Firebird in the 80's; replacing its Pontiac engine with a Chevy counterpart, and years later giving the lineup the axe.

I'm a fan of Saturn's though... Entry-level speaking, I'd take a Saturn over a cavalier, neon, altima/sentra anyday. The only reason I prefer Saturn to Honda/Toyota is the pricing is much better and we also have timing chains instead of belts.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:36 AM   #6
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wlecome to the sl1 club. i love mine and im just in the early phases of tweeking it. ive taken it from 33mpg to 38mpg just by doing some simple stuff. im gonna really start digging into it once the weather gets nice.
the high highway rpms are mostly atributted to the mp2 and mp3 tranny. the sl1 has a much lower 5th gear so it chugs at a lower rpm. my 94 sl1 has a 5th gear inbetween the 2. im looking into swapping in a late model 5th gear so i can really drop some revs. should be about an 8% reduction in final gearing so i think ill see a few mpg's out of it.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:17 PM   #7
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Well, thank you.

Mine's an auto, so no gear swapping in my future. Good luck with yours!
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'09 Saturn Aura 2.4L
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:38 PM   #8
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forgot the auto thing, sorry. what options does yours have? i know mines rocken the a/c and ps and thats it. manual everything else.
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:53 PM   #9
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I almost wish we still had grandma's old AMC Spirit. Options: Heated rear window (She lived in Connecticut) Tiny little hatchback with a 20+ gallon tank. If it had a/c or 4wd (yes, AMC put 4wd on compact hatchbacks) I might still have it.
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Old 03-08-2010, 03:31 PM   #10
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Sounds like a good catch, John. I don't think 50 mpg with an AT is possible. Surprise me!
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