Yesterday I took a few hours to work on my 1994 SC2. It’s been parked up for a month or two as it had been overcooling and generally running like garbage. Then the battery died, so I just kind of ignored it. I charged the battery overnight and put it in, but found one of the terminal screws (thanks GM) had stripped, making it hard to keep it running. Two zip ties later and the bolt is snug ish. Good enough. On to the overcooling issue...
Up to (I think) 1995, Saturn’s DOHC 1.9 motors came with not one but two coolant temp sensors. One sent temperature to the PCM, the other to the gauge cluster. The PCM one had failed and I had had it unplugged for a while, forcing the radiator fan to stay on whenever the car was running. Plugging the sensor in resulted in the car running extremely lean, to the point of being undrivable. So I replaced that and took it for a spin, but the car was still overcooling. Next up was the thermostat. The old one had failed open, it seems. I now have heat!
The car is infinitely more drivable now. The to do list on the car is now:
1. Wheel bearings (has a little play in the front wheels right now. It’s not a daily driver, but they should be done before it goes into DD service)
2. Exhaust. Right now it’s sawzalled off after the catalytic converter. It redefines loud.
3. Fix the leaky sunroof. There’s just some adhesive on top of the weather stripping right now, and it seems to have stopped keeping the water out. It gets damp inside when it rains. I may replace the stripping and figure out the motor so I have a working sunroof and a watertight car.
4. Swap in more comfortable seats. The current ones are original and show it.
5. Fix the odometer. The gears that turn it are made of plastic and lose teeth over time. It’s a known issue and aftermarket replacement gears are available.
6. Make it pretty. This might mean paint, might mean wheels. Who knows.
For now, the car will continue being a support vehicle for when the Golf breaks. Now that a backup car exists and is serviceable, I am confident the Golf will break next week.