1 (edited by allgood2386 2021-01-09 05:13 PM)

Topic: New team, moderate wrenching skills, and a saturn sw2

Hi y'all, we are looking to start a team. We have moderate wrenching skills but no fabrication type skills. We found a 98 Saturn sw2, seems solid but we are concerned about parts.

What should we be worrying about here? We are willing to put a few dollars repairing it, but we wont be able to fabricate.

Re: New team, moderate wrenching skills, and a saturn sw2

You need a list.
For budget.
For work you can and cant do.
For priorities.

1. Make the car work.
2. Make it reliable. (Bulletproof)
After 1 & 2, do the rest
3. Remove the interior
4. Instal the race seat
5. Install the cage
6. Add fire supression
7. Race
8. Upgrade brakes
9. Reduce weight

Captain
1996 Crown Vic. #55
Team Racing Cosmo
On MuchoMacho tires

Re: New team, moderate wrenching skills, and a saturn sw2

I ran a Saturn SC2 5spd in my first LeMon's race in 09.  They can be very durable, just make sure you keep oil in it.  They tend to burn it.  Also, make sure you have a good amount of suspension spares as they don't take much to bend. Parts cars are your friends!!

Of course, none of what I posted really matters if you can't build the car yourselves, or you don't have the money to pay someone to do it for you.  Your best bet for a rookie team with no fabrication skill is to buy a used LeMon's car.  They come up for sale from time to time, and lots of the time they come with spare parts.  You also get the added benefit of getting a car that passed tech, provided that it passed tech in the last couple of years.

Your first priority is not to waste time, money and effort on a car you can't build or can't afford to build.



Bill

2020 I.O.E. CT #36 The Rootes Of All Evil,1958 Sunbeam Rapier Convertible (YES 1958!!) & 2019 Judges Choice NJMP
2016 Thompson Speedway #36 Sabrina Duncan's Revenge, IOE Trophy, 5th Place 'C' Class 1977 Ford Pinto
2009 Stafford Motor Speedway #16 Team Teflon, 11th Place (overall) 1997 Saturn SL2

Re: New team, moderate wrenching skills, and a saturn sw2

We've run Saturn for years. We have an SW2 and an SL1.  In general, they are reliable unless you try to add HP to the engines. That seems to kill their reliability. As Bill has said, they will burn some oil stock but it's not bad. 

Parts are getting harder to come by these days. We have a pretty decent amount of parts we've acquired over the years. We bought numerous trashed ones and stripped them for parts.

1992 Saturn SL2 (retired) - Elmo's Revenge -  Class B winner, Heroic Fix winner x2
1969 Rover P6B 3500S(sold) - Super G-Rover - I.O.E Winner, Class C Winner
1996 Saturn SW2 - Elmo's Revenge (reborn!), Saturn SL1  Dazzleship
1974 AMC Javelin - Oscar's Trash heap - IOE,”Organizer's Choice" and "I got Screwed" award winner

Re: New team, moderate wrenching skills, and a saturn sw2

Welcome! You will have a blast.

1) plan on spending 5k.
2) make it pass tech. If they dont let you on track nothing else matters
3) brakes
4) reliability
5) make it handle

Don’t worry about bs budget. The number of penalty laps they give you doesn’t matter. Just show up and have fun.

Re: New team, moderate wrenching skills, and a saturn sw2

Consider buying an already built car. It will get you racing faster. Keep the Saturn on the back burner until you get your feet wet and learn what you’re doing.

Re: New team, moderate wrenching skills, and a saturn sw2

Welcome!  FYI, telling us where in the world you are is helpful in so many ways.

Like others, we ran an SC2 for number of years and most of its failures were caused by us.

When prep'ing the car, remember this is a marathon that is run in all weather so:

Do...

Remove all the interior with one exception.  This includes the annoying sound deadening in the floors.

Figure out how to mount your seat, even temporarily, before sending your car off for cage (you indicated you have no fab skills so do have it professionally done).

Leave all wiring harnesses intact...your new, this is not the place to save weight or complexity.  For instance, in the early generations there is an oil pressure ignition kill circuit some teams have accidentally disabled.

Use the stock gauge cluster (see above on wiring).

Replace known failure items like the Crank position sensor, alternator, starter prior to first race and keep the originals as "known good" spares. 

Consider the same of the coil packs but we tended to just get junk yard spares and run them in test and tune to mark them as also known good.

Inspect every millimeter of the hard brake lines, particularly the rear lines from the back of the doors rearward...they rust...a lot and this is a difficult repair at the track for most.

Get a pair of front knuckles and put new bearings in them...Front wheel bearing suffer failures often and this is a really tough fix at the track so swapping in spare knuckles is better...I think we were down to about 15 minutes to do the swap at one point.

Consider buying new axles at a chain store on Thursday and returning them Monday if not needed.  It is of the utmost importance that you open the box and inspect the axle before leaving the store...all three chain stores in our area where getting their rebuilts from the same supplier and they were putting passenger axles in the boxes for drivers axles.

Gut the filler neck and remove the anti-siphon ball.

Baffle the oil pan IF you have the engine or transmission out of the car.  No fab skills to do it yourself...let me know, a partner team might still have our old baffled pan from our former car.

Do NOT...

Remove the stock cimate control...at least leave the blower/heater core and defrost duct...you can wire it to just a 20 amp switch but honestly, the head does not take up much space.

Remove the windshield wipers or their controls.

Go down a rabbit hole of "Making it better".  One exception is potentially swapping to rear disc just for ease of track maintenance.  These are competative B cars out of the box and first couple of races, you are unlikely to be a competative team of racers.

Modify the front facia of the car without serious consideration to airflow through the radiator.

Wrap up...

Some parts are getting harder to find like spare manual transmissions...the diff pin can back out and trash the tranny but disassmbly, welding up the pin and reassembly is not a simple process.  Long term...it is important but just having a spare is a good interim option.

Without a doubt the best way to secure spares is to buy the same gen sedan (normally $7-900 here with significant body damage or a phantom  no-start condition), remove the whole front subframe and carry that for spares...it is a tidy package and includes everything but rear brakes, suspension and hubs that can reasonably fail at a race.  It is light enough that a team of 4 can lift into your truck bed or onto your trailer without a hernia.

Always keep in mind KISS.  The teams that have the most fun and do the best spend their time on track...not fixing things (OK, some like fixing things) so never complicate something for the sake of making it better.  Trust me, you are not making it better.

Re: New team, moderate wrenching skills, and a saturn sw2

This is very good advice although i would leave the windshield wipers intact.   Where are you located? I build roll cages in the northeast and give a Lemons hookup.


OnkelUdo wrote:

Welcome!  FYI, telling us where in the world you are is helpful in so many ways.

Like others, we ran an SC2 for number of years and most of its failures were caused by us.

When prep'ing the car, remember this is a marathon that is run in all weather so:

Do...

Remove all the interior with one exception.  This includes the annoying sound deadening in the floors.

Figure out how to mount your seat, even temporarily, before sending your car off for cage (you indicated you have no fab skills so do have it professionally done).

Leave all wiring harnesses intact...your new, this is not the place to save weight or complexity.  For instance, in the early generations there is an oil pressure ignition kill circuit some teams have accidentally disabled.

Use the stock gauge cluster (see above on wiring).

Replace known failure items like the Crank position sensor, alternator, starter prior to first race and keep the originals as "known good" spares. 

Consider the same of the coil packs but we tended to just get junk yard spares and run them in test and tune to mark them as also known good.

Inspect every millimeter of the hard brake lines, particularly the rear lines from the back of the doors rearward...they rust...a lot and this is a difficult repair at the track for most.

Get a pair of front knuckles and put new bearings in them...Front wheel bearing suffer failures often and this is a really tough fix at the track so swapping in spare knuckles is better...I think we were down to about 15 minutes to do the swap at one point.

Consider buying new axles at a chain store on Thursday and returning them Monday if not needed.  It is of the utmost importance that you open the box and inspect the axle before leaving the store...all three chain stores in our area where getting their rebuilts from the same supplier and they were putting passenger axles in the boxes for drivers axles.

Gut the filler neck and remove the anti-siphon ball.

Baffle the oil pan IF you have the engine or transmission out of the car.  No fab skills to do it yourself...let me know, a partner team might still have our old baffled pan from our former car.

Do NOT...

Remove the stock cimate control...at least leave the blower/heater core and defrost duct...you can wire it to just a 20 amp switch but honestly, the head does not take up much space.

Remove the windshield wipers or their controls.

Go down a rabbit hole of "Making it better".  One exception is potentially swapping to rear disc just for ease of track maintenance.  These are competative B cars out of the box and first couple of races, you are unlikely to be a competative team of racers.

Modify the front facia of the car without serious consideration to airflow through the radiator.

Wrap up...

Some parts are getting harder to find like spare manual transmissions...the diff pin can back out and trash the tranny but disassmbly, welding up the pin and reassembly is not a simple process.  Long term...it is important but just having a spare is a good interim option.

Without a doubt the best way to secure spares is to buy the same gen sedan (normally $7-900 here with significant body damage or a phantom  no-start condition), remove the whole front subframe and carry that for spares...it is a tidy package and includes everything but rear brakes, suspension and hubs that can reasonably fail at a race.  It is light enough that a team of 4 can lift into your truck bed or onto your trailer without a hernia.

Always keep in mind KISS.  The teams that have the most fun and do the best spend their time on track...not fixing things (OK, some like fixing things) so never complicate something for the sake of making it better.  Trust me, you are not making it better.

959 Toyota Tercel   6x Lemons loser

New England Area roll cages send me an email I'm in Central MA

Re: New team, moderate wrenching skills, and a saturn sw2

NOPANTSDOUGIE wrote:

This is very good advice although i would leave the windshield wipers intact.   Where are you located? I build roll cages in the northeast and give a Lemons hookup.

It was in the "Do Not..." column.  As in do not remove.

10 (edited by fleming95 2021-01-12 07:26 PM)

Re: New team, moderate wrenching skills, and a saturn sw2

OnkelUdo wrote:

Welcome!  FYI, telling us where in the world you are is helpful in so many ways.

<snip>

Consider buying new axles at a chain store on Thursday and returning them Monday if not needed.  It is of the utmost importance that you open the box and inspect the axle before leaving the store...all three chain stores in our area where getting their rebuilts from the same supplier and they were putting passenger axles in the boxes for drivers axles.

Long-time non-racer here, but it's surprising this tactic isn't suggested more for new teams who are less likely to have space or time to have accumulated spares from previous...misadventures.

You can use your local NAPA or whatever as a lending library for the weekend for pricey or bulky stuff (axles/ignition pickups/fuel pressure regulator/injectors/shift cables/brake booster/etc.) and not have to sweat whether you'd want to keep it around 'til the next race.  If it isn't available at RockAuto today it might not be available mid-day Saturday at Joe's Parts Depot in Pudnucket...

Another common recommendation is to grab your typical at-the track tools and go to town at your local junkyard for a couple hours of disassembly on a car that's not yours and doesn't need to go back together.  If you can't get something out you'll know then instead of at the track.

If you take something out and think 'I hope I don't drop this 'cause I don't have a spare if I had to reassemble it at the track' take note: i.e, fuel injector o-rings.

Grab the small parts that are...portable...that show up as you dig back into the car 'cause they'll surely be the ones that'll break first if you don't have spares.

Plus don't forget a few spare lug nuts and hood pins.  If I ran a team I'd put one of each on a chain (and 10/12/14mm combo wrenches) and hand 'em out to each team member just so they'd stop asking me for 'em.  I still need that 14mm back from Sears in about '12...

-Jeff

Re: New team, moderate wrenching skills, and a saturn sw2

fleming95 wrote:
OnkelUdo wrote:

Welcome!  FYI, telling us where in the world you are is helpful in so many ways.

<snip>

Consider buying new axles at a chain store on Thursday and returning them Monday if not needed.  It is of the utmost importance that you open the box and inspect the axle before leaving the store...all three chain stores in our area where getting their rebuilts from the same supplier and they were putting passenger axles in the boxes for drivers axles.

Long-time non-racer here, but it's surprising this tactic isn't suggested more for new teams who are less likely to have space or time to have accumulated spares from previous...misadventures.

You can use your local NAPA or whatever as a lending library for the weekend for pricey or bulky stuff (axles/ignition pickups/fuel pressure regulator/injectors/shift cables/brake booster/etc.) and not have to sweat whether you'd want to keep it around 'til the next race.  If it isn't available at RockAuto today it might not be available mid-day Saturday at Joe's Parts Depot in Pudnucket...

Another common recommendation is to grab your typical at-the track tools and go to town at your local junkyard for a couple hours of disassembly on a car that's not yours and doesn't need to go back together.  If you can't get something out you'll know then instead of at the track.

If you take something out and think 'I hope I don't drop this 'cause I don't have a spare if I had to reassemble it at the track' take note: i.e, fuel injector o-rings.

Grab the small parts that are...portable...that show up as you dig back into the car 'cause they'll surely be the ones that'll break first if you don't have spares.

Plus don't forget a few spare lug nuts and hood pins.  If I ran a team I'd put one of each on a chain (and 10/12/14mm combo wrenches) and hand 'em out to each team member just so they'd stop asking me for 'em.  I still need that 14mm back from Sears in about '12...

-Jeff

The tactic has some flaws but a certain amount if this is wise for new teams. 

When we ran a more obscure car, we checked the ALL the local (to the track) chain stores for every sensor that could reasonably end a weekend.  Literally NONE were within 20 minutes and only two were at the regional hub.  Despite being obscure, none of them were expensive from Rockauto compare to even 2 hours of track time lost so I just bought them.