Tommy's Project Tupperware - 2004 Saturn Ion Quad Coupe Level 2

My father bought me this as a daily driver when my Monte Carlo bent the valves (and also heavily urging me to get rid of the Monte). I call this Project Tupperware because it's a common nickname for Saturns here, due to the plastic dent-resistant body panels. My aunt even asked if I had to burp the sunroof when getting into it XD.
A little background info on Saturn for you Europeans since they're North American Market only.
Saturn was a project started by GM in the early 1980's. GM wanted to show they could make a high quality small car to take down the Japanese imports... something they weren't known for. The project started in 1982 as "Project Saturn". At the time it was just a code-name for the project. In 1985, GM Announced Saturn to the world, showing one of the development cars, and announcing Saturn would be independent from GM.
In 1988, Saturn built their factory and headquarters, a high-tech factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
In 1990, Saturn began building their first 2 cars, the SL sedan, and the SC coupe. The cars featured plastic body paneling heavily advertised for it's dent-resistant nature. The cars featured a platform unique to Saturn and Saturn's own engines, either a 1.9L SOHC 8 valve I4, or a 1.9L DOHC 16 valve I4, both of which shared the exact same block. Saturns were built almost entirely in their factory, with few, if any, imported parts in a manufacturing process that was both unique, efficient, and left the cars mostly hand-built. Saturn IMMEDIATELY became well-known for treating their customers great and for their no-haggle pricing. What this meant was that the price was never up or down from quoted. What you saw is what you paid. Dealers were allowed to set their own prices but most just went with the invoice pricing. Saturn was an immediate hit.
In 1992, Saturn entered the Canadian market. Saturn by now had received much praise for their customer satisfaction rating, the highest in the industry.
In 1993, Saturn built their 500,000th car, named Carla. 1993, Saturn also introduced the SW, an estate/station wagon variant.
In 1995, Saturn built their 1,000,000th car, a green SC2 coupe named "Jasper".
In 1994, Saturn hosted a "Homecoming", a 3 day "feel-good" event for Saturn owners at Saturn's factory in Tennessee, which further cemented relationships with customers and further established Saturn as caring about their customers. Saturn hosted one of these every few years after that.
In 1996 Saturn introduced the second generation SL and SW. Also in 1996, Saturn officials met with GM officials to discuss Saturn's future. Though the experiment was deemed a runaway success, the experiment had garnered much hatred inside GM. Saturn's development had drained 5 billion dollars from other projects, and Saturn's sales proved cannibalistic as 41% of Saturn's buyers already owned a GM car. GM voted to cut Saturn's development, which severely hampered the company.
In 1997, Saturn introduced the second generation SC coupe. Saturn also had found a partnership of sorts with European GM division Opel and Vauxhall, which tended to act independently from GM as well. The fruits of this partnership led to the development of the chain-drive 2.0, 2.2, and 2.4L Ecotec 4 cylinder engines in 2000.
In 1999, Saturn's SC coupe gained a door, a backwards-swinging half door on the driver's side allowing better rear seat access. The door was optional in 1999, but became standard in 2000.
2000 was a big year for Saturn. First Saturn introduced their first all-new car, a mid-size car called the L-series, in the same vain as their successful S-series car. The L-series was based on the Opel/Vauxhall Vectra, featured Saturn's trademark plastic body paneling, and featured the 2.2L Ecotec or the 3.0L DOHC V6. Saturn also introduced their third generation SL, SC, and SW cars.
In 2001, the SW was dropped due to lagging sales.
In 2002, Saturn introduced the VUE, a mid-size crossover SUV, utilizing GM's newest Theta platform and also the first public vehicle on the platform. Again, the VUE featured plastic body panels. The VUE had the same engine options as the L-series, but offered AWD. 2002 was the last year for Saturn's S-series cars.
In 2003, To replace the successful S-series cars, Saturn introduced the ION, the first car in the world to feature GM's new Delta platform (which would underpin the 2005+ Astra's). Once again, the ION featured the dent resistant panels, and the 2.2L Ecotec in base models. Saturn unveiled the cars in a large "apple" in New York City, commonly nicknamed "The Big Apple" to indicate how well it was in city's. The Ion featured 2 body-styles. A conventional 4 door sedan, and an unconventional 4 door coupe Saturn called the Quad Coupe, due to the 2 rear backwards swinging half-doors.
In 2004, Saturn introduced a new badge, "Redline", denoting a performance oriented vehicle. The first 2 vehicles to bear this badge were the VUE, which featured a 3.5L Honda SOHC V6, and the Ion, featuring a 205 HP supercharged 2.0L Ecotec. The Ion Redline was heavily promoted for it's Nurburgring tuned suspension. In 2004, The Vue also dropped the 3.0L DOHC V6 in favor of Honda's 3.5L SOHC V6, while the L-series retained the 3.0L DOHC.
In 2005, Chevrolet introduced the Cobalt, a replacement for their aging Cavalier. This car featured the same Delta platform as the Ion, and utilized Saturn's supercharged Ecotec and Nurburgring tuned suspension in the SS variant. The Cobalt SS Supercharged was heavily promoted as a world-beater. In 2005 Saturn's partnership with Opel/Vauxhall had grown stonger, as evidenced by the Saturn preVUE concept, showcasing the next generation Saturn VUE. 2005 was the last year for the L-series, and the Ion was updated to match it's Chevrolet Cobalt sibling's updates. 2005 was also the year Saturn officially merged with GM, becoming nothing more than another division. 2005 Also saw Saturn's first non-plastic bodied behicle in the lineup, the RELAY minivan (or MPV as you Europeans know it). This wasn't a true Saturn and was ACTUALLY a rebadged Chevrolet Uplander minivan. Engine options were a 3.5L Pontiac Developed OHV 12 valve 212 HP V6, and a Chevrolet developed 3.9L variant with 240 HP.
In 2006, Saturn introduced their first RWD car, a 2 seat roadster called the SKY, which was meant to do 2 things, take down the Mazda MX5 Miata and to promote Saturn's new 2.4L DOHC 16 valve VVT Ecotec. 2006 also saw a facelift for the aging VUE SUV.
2007 was another big year for Saturn. 2007 was the last year of the Ion, and the first year of the Saturn Aura, which replaced the L-series and was again heavily based on the Opel/Vauxhall Vectra. The car was so impressive it won 2007 North American Car Of The Year. Engine options in the AURA were the 2.4L Ecotec, a 2.4L Ecotec hybrid, a Pontiac Developed 212 HP 3.5L OHV 12 valve V6, and a Cadillac developed 240 HP 3.6L DOHC V6. 2007 was the last year for the Relay minivan. 2007 also saw the SKY introduced as the third REDLINE vehicle, featuring a turbocharged 2.0L Ecotec with 260 HP. This 260 HP version was sold by Opel as the Opel GT.
2008 was another big year for Saturn. Saturn introduced 3 new models. The Saturn Astra was introduced in 3 and 5 door hatch form to replace the ION. This was a rebadged Opel/Vauxhall Astra, built on the same assembly line, and even featuring the same 1.8L Ecotec engine (which was the only engine option in America). This was also the first, and only Saturn to feature a timing belt.
The Saturn Outlook was a full-size crossover SUV using GM's new Lambda platform and featured the Cadillac developed DOHC 24 valve 288 HP 3.6L V6 as the only engine option
2008 Also saw the second generation VUE, another rebadged vehicle. This time a rebadged Opel Antara. Engine options were the 2.4L Ecotec and the 3.6L V6, and a 2.4L hybrid.
2009 was a carryover year for Saturn and a sad one as well. As part of GM's bankruptcy proceedings, it was agreed that GM would shut down Saturn. As such, 2009 was the last year for the Saturn Astra, Aura, and Sky.
2010 was the last year for the Saturn Outlook and Saturn period. The end of a revolution in car sales.
In 2011, America saw the Opel Insignia rebadged as the Buick Regal here. This car was originally supposed to be the second generation Saturn Aura.

That is Saturn's history and Saturn's legacy.
Anyways, My father bought me a 2004 Ion 2 Quad Coupe to drive around in since my Monte Carlo was down and out. Featuring the 2.2L Ecotec, and getrag F23 manual, it has the same powertrain as many European Astra's and Vectra's. Sorry to say, but the 2.2L, 2.0L, and 2.4L Ecotecs were Saturn developed and borrowed from Saturn for use by Opel/Vauxhall. The Opel and Saturn developed Ecotecs tend to be easy to differentiate. Saturn developed Ecotec engines feature a timing chain. Opel developed Ecotec engines feature a timing belt. This applies only to those 3 displacements. All other Ecotec's were Opel developed. Anyways, here's photos of my Saturn Ion. I'll update this thread as the project progresses.
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Wow that's a pretty comprehensive write up, thank you. :D
I like the fact your Saturn has the same door configuration as the RX8.
What have you got planned for your pride & joy then?
 
Lol. This isn't my pride and joy. It's my daily driver. My Monte Carlo is my pride and joy. I do like this car, but I don't love it. :/ Maybe that'll change over time. Anyways, power goal is 220 HP.
Engine plans:
Eagle forged connecting rods
Diamond forged pistons
Crane Cams street supercharger grind camshafts
ZZPerformance 2.2L/2.4L Supercharger kit
Megasquirt 2 standalone ECU or 2005 ECU conversion (2005 ECU's are tunable)
SPEC stage 3 clutch kit
Fidanza lightweight flywheel
TWM Performance Short Throw Shifter

Suspension plans:
ZZPerformance front strut tower bar
2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Turbocharged FE5 struts and dampers
2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Turbocharged FE5 lower control arms
Overkill Engineering Motorsports (O.E.M.) FE5 polyurathane bushings
Progress Motorsports rear sway bar
GM Performance Parts 16" chrome rims (Got)
Goodyear Eagle GT or Firestone Firehawk GT tires. Haven't decided between the two.
2005+ Saturn Ion/Chevrolet Cobalt motor mount
2005+ Saturn Ion/Chevrolet Cobalt transmission mounts
GM Performance Parts anti-wheel-hop kit
GM Performance Parts performance wheel knuckles

Looks/Comfort plans:
Pioneer upgraded door and rear speakers
Pioneer head unit with mixtrax and auxiliary input
2005+ Saturn Ion Redline steering wheel
dark interior panels (most likely black)
Fabric trim inserts replaced with red suede.
Saturn Ion Redline Recaro seats (reupholstered for red suede instead of blue leather)
RK Sport body kit
RK Sport fiberglass ram-air hood with carbon fiber blister
RK Sport 3 piece rear lip spoiler
Anzo LED tail lights
Projector headlight retrofit kit
black painted headlight chrome
HID kit
Fog light kit
 
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Thanks for the comments guys! I appreciate it. Famous derogatory acronym for Saturn? Slow And Tasteless; Upgrade Right Now. Simpletons Attracted To Unconventional Retail Network.

Anyways. I'm starting a small project tonight. It should be fairly obvious what I'm doing.
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lol. Painting the headlight chrome black.

cleaning the lens' clear again I can do with them on the car. Wouldn't need to take them apart for it.

Also debating on whether I should change the entire transmission for the F35 one they used on the supercharged 2.0L Ions and Cobalts when I supercharge the 2.2L.
 
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yeah i meant cleaning the inside of the clear lens as the right hand side one looks cloudy after those installed pics.
I actually did attempt to clean it. That's apparently oxidation of the lens itself. I'll have to pick up a "headlight restorer kit" to get rid of it. I've seen them do wonders with headlights in our school's shop

I'm liking the plans mate! Car looks good so far but in desperate need of lowering.
LOL> Not the first person to say that. My suspension plans are expensive as you can see. I'll get it handling properly first, THEN worry about ride-height.
 
LOL> Not the first person to say that. My suspension plans are expensive as you can see. I'll get it handling properly first, THEN worry about ride-height.

Quite often the two go hand-in-hand so you'll set the height up when you set the suspension up. That doesn't mean slam it either. Even if the suspension costs a lot it will be the most rewarding aspect of tuning the car.
 
You obviously have never driven a supercharged car. LOL
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkOKALULO9Ahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qcmFIOmiw8 We used to have one of those supercharged Pontiac Grand Prix's. QUICK fricken cars. It was supposedly GM's FWD answer to the BMW M3... but much cheaper, and faster. XD.

In a couple of months I'll own a supercharged car! I'm going to have say I doubt it was quicker than the M3 around a track. I find suspension tuning is more rewarding because anyone can drive in a straight line, it takes a properly set up car to keep the speed up through the bends.
 
In a couple of months I'll own a supercharged car! I'm going to have say I doubt it was quicker than the M3 around a track. I find suspension tuning is more rewarding because anyone can drive in a straight line, it takes a properly set up car to keep the speed up through the bends.
lol. The Grand Prix rides on an updated variation of my Monte Carlo's platform, so though it's FWD, the suspension is fully independent. The car handles great actually. But I also live in America. Not many twisty roads here to be honest. My face does light up though when I find a deserted twisty road. My Monte Carlo was an absolute JOY in the corners. And if I let off the throttle and got back on it again in the right spot mid-corner, the rear end would come out to play as if it were RWD. That car is SO much fun. The Saturn is much more nimble than the Monte, due to it's much smaller size, but the Monte will outhandle it any day of the week. People often underestimate just how well those cars handle their 3,100-3,650 lbs (depending on the model) bulk.

And actually it DOES take skill to drive in a straight line, especially in drag race cars. There's the G-forces pinning you in the seat, and you are honestly scared for your life. TRUST ME. It's a LOT more complicated than just "drive in a straight line". I come from a family of drag racers. My aunt used to drag race a Chevy Camaro that went down 1/4 mile in 10 seconds. Here's one of my family members (great cousin) drag racing actually... the green Chevy Bel Air.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK2OoVq8zKo
 
And actually it DOES take skill to drive in a straight line, especially in drag race cars. There's the G-forces pinning you in the seat, and you are honestly scared for your life. TRUST ME. It's a LOT more complicated than just "drive in a straight line". I come from a family of drag racers. My aunt used to drag race a Chevy Camaro that went down 1/4 mile in 10 seconds. Here's one of my family members (great cousin) drag racing actually... the green Chevy Bel Air.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK2OoVq8zKo

I wasn't talking about drag racing. I meant day to day. As in motorway (highway to you) vs country lane. The latter is more fun and therefore a road car benefits from suspension tuning more than power imo. Of course, both are always good!
 
I wasn't talking about drag racing. I meant day to day. As in motorway (highway to you) vs country lane. The latter is more fun and therefore a road car benefits from suspension tuning more than power imo. Of course, both are always good!
I do honestly think back-roads are more fun, but I do not see any fun in having to wind a motor all the way up to get the power to deal with it. This is why I like the Ecotec. For a 4 cylinder engine, it's very torquey. Lots of torque at low revs. 4th gear from 30 MPH, steep incline, I floor it and it GOES. Every other 4 banger I've dealt with has lost speed in a high gear going up the same hill until it hits the upper revband. The downside of the ecotec IMO is it doesn't rev very high, redlining at 6500. That can be fixed with a good set of camshafts though.
 
I do honestly think back-roads are more fun, but I do not see any fun in having to wind a motor all the way up to get the power to deal with it. This is why I like the Ecotec. For a 4 cylinder engine, it's very torquey. Lots of torque at low revs. 4th gear from 30 MPH, steep incline, I floor it and it GOES. Every other 4 banger I've dealt with has lost speed in a high gear going up the same hill until it hits the upper revband. The downside of the ecotec IMO is it doesn't rev very high, redlining at 6500. That can be fixed with a good set of camshafts though.

That's what I hated about my old Honda Civic. You had to rev the nuts off it everywhere.
 
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I was ecstatic. Got this in the mail day before yesterday. Should be in within the next 2 weeks. Anyone want me to do a walk through of it?
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Clutch kit info: SPEC stage 1 clutch kit.
Features an integrally molded carbon kevlar-based, high performance organic lining that offers smooth engagement and excellent life. This lining has an integrally bonded steel backing for strength under high clamp loads and temperatures. The hub is double sprung with spring cover relieves for flexibility and heat treated components for strength and durability. Best for street and many track/off-road applications.
High clamp pressure plate
Steel-backed and multi-compound woven organic material
High torque sprung hub and disc assembly
Bearing and tool kit
Types of driving: Street, Drag, Drift, Road Race, Rallye, Pulling, Autocross

The specific clutch kit I got is part number: SR981
This clutch kit is labeled for my car, but SHOULD fit any GM car using the same L61 2.2L Ecotec and Getrag F23 5 speed engine and transmission combo, including: Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion, Saturn L-series, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Cavalier, Pontiac Sunfire, Oldsmobile Alero, Pontiac Grand Am, Opel/Vauxhall Astra, Opel/Vauxhall Vectra, Opel/Vauxhall Zafira, Opel/Vauxhall Speedster/VX220 and Saturn Vue (first generation).

I'll make a walk-through if anyone wants.
 
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at the moment nothing. I don't have the cash on hand to upgrade the flywheel to a fidanza lightweight flywheel so I'm not going to bother... at the moment. I will eventually swap to the fidanza flywheel. but not until I'm ready for a heavier duty clutch kit. Like I said, plan is for stage 2 or 3. This is stage 1, which is actually close to stock specs, just much higher quality. I know it's heavily recommended to change out the flywheel with every clutch swap. This is just a quick parts gather to get the thing back on the road and fuel economy up (averaging 23 MPG currently with no fifth gear... Still better than the Monte's 16 MPG average XD). I should start the swap Monday (swapping tranny's and doing the clutch while I'm at it), so plenty of time for everyone to decide if you guys want a walkthrough/how-to of this.
 
Also, for you Europeans, here's a few photos of Saturn throughout the years.

1985 development car:
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1988 development car:
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Saturn's Spring Hill Tennessee Factory:
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1989 Saturn Concepts (intended to show what production vehicles would be like):
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1991: First Saturn ever made:
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First gen (1991-1995) Saturn SL Sedan:
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First Gen (1991-1996) Saturn SC Coupe:
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Second gen (1996-1999) Saturn SL Sedan:
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Third Gen (2000-2002) Saturn SC Coupe:
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2000 Saturn L-series (2000-2002 front end). Based on the Vectra and the first car globally to feature the Saturn/Opel developed 2.2L 4 cylinder:
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Saturn Ion Sedan (2003-2007. 2005 facelift model shown):
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Saturn Ion Coupe (2003-2007. non-redline model shown)
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2004 Redline models: Saturn Vue Redline, with it's SOHC Honda Vtec V6, and the Ion Redline (available only as a coupe) with it's Saturn developed supercharged 2.0L Ecotec 4 cylinder.
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2005 Saturn Relay MPV/Minivan:
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2006 Saturn Sky roadster (2008 Redline special Ruby Red edition pictured with Saturn developed 2.0L direct injection turbocharged 260 HP Ecotec 4 cylinder):
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2007 Saturn Aura (heavily based on the Vectra):
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2008 Saturn Astra:
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2008 Saturn Vue (rebadged Opel Antara):
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2008 Saturn Outlook:
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