When a co-worker offered me his SC for a pittance, I couldn’t refuse it. The ’90 Spirit had served well, but was getting well up in miles and was starting to feel a bit tired with some rust setting in. The Saturn had some issues, but I figured I could take care of them.
I had known the car for a while, and knew most of its faults. It tended to run hot, and there were some electrical issues as well. The hot running turned out to be the radiator. If I recall correctly, the issue was that the car was a “bottom breather” and the little grille in the bumper was just for show. It relied on air flow under the car to flow through the rad to keep it cool, but the fins in the core had corroded away, and even at highway speed the engine would heat up to 3/4 on the gauge, the fan would cut in, and cool it down. A new radiator fixed that issue. The other issue was that there was some electrical gremlins. One had something to do with the coolant temperature sensor- which was replaced with a sensor and wiring kit from the dealer. The other issue was when it would rain out, the engine would idle at 2,000 RPM. I didn’t keep the car long enough to figure that one out.
The car had the twin-cam all aluminum engine, mated to a 5-speed. The engine didn’t burn any noticeable amount of oil, and the transmission shifted nicely too. Coming from the Spirit with its 2.5, this was a totally different animal. It really revved nicely and no problem hauling the car around. The car was pretty tight too, with 180,000 KM on it.
The interior of the car was quite nice. I recall complaints about the level of quality of the interior of these cars, but it really didn’t strike me as bad at all. It was way nicer than a Cavalier inside. Also something that struck me was that there wasn’t a lot from the GM parts bin used in the car aside from the Delco radio. The harness connectors, instrument panel, and switchgear all looked different. This was the first and only car I had with motorized seat belts, and they were annoying. We in Canada weren’t affected as badly by these – was the Saturn the only car sold in Canada with motorized belts? They sometimes had to be helped along to make sure they would go into place.
In the meantime, I was still travelling every so often from home to the provincial capital, Halifax for work. A job opportunity came up at home at an auto parts store for more money than I was making at the data centre. I duly moved back home in October of 2004, and the car came with me. I found I didn’t need a fuel efficient car any longer, so I decided to go on the hunt for a truck. I was never really in love with it, but a lady who came to look at it had to have it and it was sold.