Saturn ION RedLine Forums banner

ION Redline Aftermarket Supercharger Pulley Information

24563 Views 31 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Vita
The Saturn Ion RedLine (RL) features the 2.0L Supercharged ECOTEC (LSJ) motor. The supercharger is the latest generation Eaton M62 helical roots style positive displacement supercharger and offers a maximum of 12 psi of manifold pressure for a 40% increase in power. The latest generation offers a more efficient low-end power and improved durability from a more precision made zero-contact assembly. Also the supercharger is configured with an internal bypass valve to lower off power loads resulting in less power used and higher MPG ratings when cruising. The intake manifold that the supercharger is mated to is an all aluminum port matched intake manifold with an internal water-to-air Laminova heat exchanger intercooler. This style of heat exchanger is more efficient than even that of a bar and plate intercooler and offers more compact packaging. When the whole package is configured together and controlled with a high speed PCM it produces 200 HP and 200 lb-ft TQ for a very solid and reliable powertrain package.

As is the case in every consumer’s quest for “more power” the common ideology is that the more air you can stuff in a motor the more power you will get out of it. This is a solid way of thinking as long as it’s adhered to with attention to both the needs of the air (oxygen) and the needs of a combustible (fuel). Other factors contribute to the whole process like spark and it’s timing, but for simplicity sake focus will be directed to just air and fuel (mixture). In the case of the RL the fuel needs are addressed 100% by the PCM and sensor input based on the mass of airflow entering the engine. The M62 supercharger based on the relationship of the engine rpm and rotor speed addresses the air needs of the motor. This leads individuals to assume that by spinning the supercharger faster that it will also increase the air entering the motor and by ideology make more power. This assumption is inaccurate and will only lead to a loss in power, and increase in heat and drastically reduced supercharger and engine life.

To understand why this is the case (as contrary to ideology as it sounds) it’s very important to fully understand how a positive displacement helical roots supercharger works and its respective limits. Positive displacement helical roots superchargers are literally one-way valves that move a fluid from one place to another. The way the valve works is that it is of a specific size and can move a specific volume of fluid through itself by creating a bucket that is first exposed to one side then contained in the assembly and then exposed to the other side through constant rotation. How this is possible is based on the design of the rotors that are counter-rotating and intermeshed. There is no physical contact between either the rotors or housing of the supercharger, but the clearance is so close that at high speeds not even air under pressure can escape. Also the actual profile of the rotors is almost like a 4 leaf clover and is aligned in a way that the ‘lobe’ of one is in the ‘recess’ of the other as they rotate. By moving a larger volume of air into an intake manifold than the motor can consume the supercharger begins to cause backpressure against itself and the intake valves. This backpressure continues to build until it’s many times that of atmospheric and in the case of the RL ~2 times so. Thus you have more air entering the motor and it results in more power than it would naturally aspirated.

The pressure in the manifold is in a direct relation to how much volume the supercharger puts in it and how fast. When correctly matched through gearing to engine rpm the supercharger will offer a substantial increase in volume at low engine rpms and as much as two or three times that by redline. The supercharger however can only operate so quickly because of physical size limits and mechanical bearing limits. As the pressure in the manifold increases it generates heat from both compression and action against the rotors and this heat becomes increasingly more of a problem as rotor speeds increase. This is a key factor in why roots superchargers tend to be so inefficient in the range of 60-70% compared to that of a Turbo in the range of 90% efficient. Basically as you increase rotor speed you see diminishing returns to the point that the actual volume of air is lower at higher rotor speeds than it would be at a lower speed.

The M62 supercharger at 12psi by redline in a 2.0L motor is already very close to it’s maximum operating speed needing around 30 HP to operate producing 180degree charge temperatures. Obviously the intercooler addresses the extreme charge temperatures, but increasing the rotor speed much more will only take additional power to do and measurably increase charge temperatures.

Will a smaller diameter pulley make more power? Possibly, but there are other more reliable and safer ways to make equal if not more power than can be made with a smaller pulley. When a pulley does become available it will have to be no more than a few percent difference in size or by redline the heat generated will cause blower failure from heat expansion and contact. In a warm weather environment or abusive driving conditions I would never suggest a smaller pulley because heat build-up will result in even quicker failure.
For now opening up the exhaust track and providing more than atmospheric pressure to the open side of the blower are the only easy ways to gain power. A possible M91 swap would also result in more air volume and at a lower pressure and temperature, but it would take serious work. Finally the other option would be N20, but I can’t stress enough that is MUST be plumbed AFTER the supercharger along with ANY form of fluid other than air or it will delaminate the rotor coating and dramatically reduce power.

I have been tuning M45, M62 and M91 blowers on Hondas for a number of years now here in the humidity-neglect high California desert. I have seen everything happen to them and every attempt to make more power by people and most of the time all that results is an expensive piece of junk that can’t even produce the advertised power because of physical damage from failing to understand how they work.
Also as of my last chat with Hondata no M62 supercharger strapped to any Honda motor has even produced more than 280 HP and that’s with cams, exhaust and hondata PCM so don’t expect anything magical out of a RL because it’s already been tried on a motor that statistically is exactly the same as the LSJ.
See less See more
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
now, would it be possible to add a turbo on top of the S/C in this particular application???
Probably, but you'd need to strength the engine.
Yes totally and it can make around 350 HP without EVER touching the inside of the motor.
What happens is that you blow the turbo through the S/C and as it makes more boost it actually spins the supercharger instead of the crank. In theory it will actually put power into the motor by air volume and by spinning the S/C which will spin the crank.. Just like a secondary electric motor in a hybrid vehicle.

TRUST me I'll do it as soon as someone lets me.. I'm about to just get a GM crate motor and do it in my S series or my gf RX-7 is the wankel is too messed up to rebuild.
But what about the PSI, can the heads handle the increase? I know a Saab heads can handle 30psi, but I double the RL heads can.
are the saab heads any different?

i saw the graph where they show what was replaced as they got the ecotec up to 800, which is why SCDyne says 350 no problem. i'll tell you one thing, if i can get 300 to the wheels, i'll be happy, but that won't come until after the warranty is up!

just imagine a big ol turbo without the worry of lag! good stuff i say
Vita said:
are the saab heads any different?

i saw the graph where they show what was replaced as they got the ecotec up to 800, which is why SCDyne says 350 no problem. i'll tell you one thing, if i can get 300 to the wheels, i'll be happy, but that won't come until after the warranty is up!

just imagine a big ol turbo without the worry of lag! good stuff i say
Saab heads are sand cast, RL's are ceramic cast (makes them weaker) Same with engine block.

I'd be happy with 300whp for sure. With a good turbo set up the car would run just like a supercharger since the engine doesn't make use of the sc at low rpm's anyways. :)
im liking this car more every day, now i have to hurry and put on 36000 miles before next september so i can justify throwing on a phatty turbo setup to the wife, better start saving now!
SAAB 2.0t ECOTEC and Saturn LSJ is EXACTLY the same motor top to bottom.
Both heads are sand cast along with the bottom piece of the block/girdle just before the oil pan.

Both motors are built in the same factory (Kaiserslautern, Germany) at the same time and have the same internal and external parts less the way it is boosted.

This is a snippet from the GM media site about the LSJ (
The Ecotec four-cylinder engine family is GM's first true line of global powerplants. The four-valve, overhead cam engines deliver excellent fuel economy and low emissions in a dependable, durable package with low noise and vibration. The Ecotec 2.0L SC incorporates a number of components from the proven Saab 2.0L design, including a direct-mount oil cooler, oil jets for piston cooling, heavy duty pistons, stronger connecting rods, forged steel crankshaft, larger oil sump, sodium-filled exhaust valves for improved durability, and a high-strength aluminum cylinder head.

The kicker is that when GM floated the heads in the original ECOTEC motors at 400 HP (not 800 HP) they found a simple way to prevent the problem and also had the head design changed in normal production. That means that the SAAB/LSJ head that is sand cast has extra webbing from the spark plug towers to the #1 and #4 cylinder outer chamber rim to pre-load and prevent the head from floating under heavy pressure. They also made main block changes too that helped improve main stud support and prevent failure in rebuild process from improper torque of the studs into the block..
See less See more
even better, didn't see why GM would use two seperate processes to build the same engine!?!
You are correct, they based it on the SAAB 2.0L which is not an ecotec, I'll have to check my manual on the name, second sentence from the Document "Built off the strengths of GM Powertrain’s naturally aspirated Ecotec 2.2-liter engine,... "

If the two engines are the same:

1) why are the maintenance schedules so different (ie. the SAAB goes up to 2yrs with out an oil change).
2) why did GM say they didn't have time to finish reliability testing on the RL engine and that's why it crashes into the rev limiter and the RPM's are about 700rpm's off

You are correct that they did take parts off the saab 2.0L but they have their differences in quality.

The biggest difference is the maintenance. If GM swapped the engine into the RL and SC'd it instead of turbo, why would the maintenance be so different. Both are boosted engines, both run Mobil 1 oil, yet GM doesn't trust the reliability of the RL 2.0L the way they do the SAAB 2.0L.

They short cut the RL engine some how IMO.
See less See more
You are staring to sound like the step child .. Don't worry GM loves you just as much as the other children.

The SAAB 2.0L in the 93 is the ECOTEC. They aren't talking about the old iron block motor because there is nothing about that motor that can be linked to the L61. Heck the Saturn LLO has more in common with the L61 than the old saab motors.

Remember we're talking about a $40,000 Saab and a $20,000 Saturn. If you owned a Saab and found out that the powertrain was exactly the same it would make you think twice about what justified the 100% difference in price.
Saab 93T 2.0L Turbocharged ECOTEC motor and F35 transmission.
ION RedLine 2.0L Supercharged ECOTEC motor and F35 transmission.
That's an expensive powertrain control system if you ask me..

Service schedule is a factor of the vehicle price and retailer network more than physical engine material and make up. The actual details on the oil change is missleading to say the least. The SAAB PCM actually monitors oil quality and suggests the service frequancy. It's possible to go 2 years on synthetic when you have a complex vehicle control system like the Saab has, but not likely. That same 2 years in the mojave desert would be 3 months.

GM didn't have time to finish advanced PCM testing. The PCM in the ION is a brand new generation of Delphi high speed systems that is used on all of about 3 other GM vehicles for 2004 all of which are V8 motors. (Vette, SST, GTO)
Again back to the other issue it would be a real problem to slap the Saab PCM system on the Saturn because there would be no difference in the vehicles other than turbo vs. s/c ... for $20,000 difference in price..
That would be pissed off professionals that make an average of $65,000 a year with 6 year degrees and 65% female.. Not a demographic you expose to a $20,000 less expensive vehicle from a make with about the same demographic make up..

Seriously they are the same mechanical vehicles and it's funny in my opinion. The only place GM short-cut was in the development of the PCM, but that will be addressed in the next year and probably result in a power upgrade or recall to replash the PCM.

I expect to see a pulley and reprogram or at least a reprogram for the RL by the 2005 production.

Other than that we'll all just have to wait until the end of the year when all the toys come out for SEMA to see what GM and everyone else has planned for the RedLine..
I can't wait..
See less See more
i thought so, considering GM is all about the "parts bin", but that is interesting about the PCM, considering that it will be the same next year, only fine tuned, i hope that they offer a recall/reflash for those of us who went out and supported their product early on
If it is the EXACT PCM I think it is, there will be a tuner/software for it in the next year.

worst case I'm going to get a damn Vette 04 PCM and make it work with the RL so I can do a S series / LSJ swap and either slap on a Disco Potato on top of the S/C or at least the DP instead. The vette 04 PCM already has tuner/software...
they didnt have time to reliability test is because they used pre-exisiting reliability from saab, i even think its the same boost level, this allowed them to not even have to recertify the emission's on the car, when you are bookin ass to get a car done and do it right you cut corners, thank god they were corners that are trivial and easily changed, think about the only other high performance 4-cyl fwd gm made, the quad 4 ho and w41's w41's took 4 years to do reliability testing they started this project in 87 or 88 when the l.o. quad 4 was relesed, and it took them 5 years for testing on the quad 4 h.o. development it started in 84/85 and i think they released it in 89 or 90, anyways, when gm does performance now they do better durability work than any1 else, this is why i have 130k on my q4ho and have beat the living daylights out of it since day1 of owning it, but they couldnt wait 4-5 years to release this car, so they are doing it during production and pre-production that way they can do upgrades every year and only sacrificed a little performance to get it out there, but it still has great performance
See less See more
Well after talking to Saturn/SAAB the 2.0T engine replacement is $9000CDN. Yet they sell the RL for 26,900 and the 9 3 2.0T for 42,000CDN. So explain to me what corners GM cut on the RL for the price difference. "This is not a step child anger issue. I was about to purchase an RL until it worked out cheaper to get a saab." And I'm not putting down the RL.

1) Poly panels are more expensive to manufacture
2) You say same engine, which makes up almost half the cost of the vehicle (yes gm is selling the crate sc engine for 3,500US then buy the computer control systems).
3) Explain the recall on the RL but not saab's, same fuel rail would be going in, the leaking oil issues on the RL now developing. Quality on SC version just isn't there.
4) They could still foam/ceramic mould the RL motor and the Saab is sand cast, sand casting is much more expensive and time consuming to do.

Oh ya, the Saab engines are ecopower, not eco-tec.
See less See more
This is more of an issue of marketing and Perceived Value than it is mechanics.

I’m fully aware you can get the RL crate motor for $4950.00 and a street price of around $3665.00.
I’m also fully aware that there is no public technical information available the new Saab 93 motor, but a lot for the LSJ motor. Why do you think that is the case?

Why does a Saturn L300 cost 1/2 the price of the Catera?
Why does the Saturn RL cost 1/2 the price of the Saab 93T?
Same reason. The perceived value that SAAB places in the vehicles is partly real, but more so a profit vehicle.
Case in point: How you came across a 93T for the same price as the RL.
Did you get the deal of the century or just the average price of the L61 derived boosted motor attached to the Saab F35 transmission?
When all is said and done Saturn does operate at a lower margin of profit than a luxury class vehicle. It’s the job of the individual segment to promote the product as so much better, but overall mechanically they are the same. Obviously there are other factors that contribute like overall vehicle bells and whistles, but powertrain they are the same. Professional wealthy yuppies drive Saabs most of which are female. It gives them a sense of wealth and quality owning a Saab and will pay more buying into that image. The same holds true for Saturn actually but it’s more frugalness and quality owning a Saturn and will buy more into that image. Ironically the past demographic of both Saturn and Saab was exactly the same in every way, but something different psychologically in that demographic placed the owners in a Saturn over that of the Saab. It’s probably an insurmountable difference like old money vs. new money or earned vs. inherited that will always keep the two at opposite sides of the spectrum.
People are different and the psychology behind discrimination is complex, but companies like GM study it and rely on it to keep them in business and profitable.
Every automotive company has a volume-discount and quality-profit twin, it’s what keeps them in business. It’s just harder to pick out when the parent company does it in such a vague way by using unrelated subsidiaries like GM has done with Saturn and Saab. It’s also safer for GM because of the psychology that is present and the only reason this thread is even being debated.

Mechanically they are the same powertrain made in the same factory and delivered to their respective assembly plant for final assembly to the vehicle. How they are powered through electronics and provided the combustible mixture of air and fuel is the only real difference. The fuel systems are different for both vehicles based on the individual needs of the Company and PCM configuration so the one with the problem would get the only recall. Other issues like leaking oil will turn up in both vehicles if it is found to be a real issue.
If it wasn’t the exact same motor there is no way Saturn would outsource the motor production when they already make it in house. There would be zero reason especially since there is another L61 factory in NY too. You’ll probably never get an answer from anyone inside of Saturn, Saab or GM for that matter, but Saturn gets the LSJ motor from the factory that makes the Saab motor and just slaps the blower on it and into the car something to that affect. I have been inside of both motors and unless a microscope and crack scale can point out a different I didn’t see they are the exact same in every part and make-up.
Wait I didn’t measure the cam profile so that may be different and if it is it would explain the front cover oil issue being unique to Saturn.. AGAIN if it ever turns out to be anything.
Either way a Saab 93T or a Saturn RL are awesome vehicles to have and two of the best on the market IMO. Remember other than the engine and trans the Saab has a more complex suspension, unitbody and techie goodies that make it justify the higher MSRP to people. Worth is a perception not a fact.
See less See more
SCdyne said:
I?m also fully aware that there is no public technical information available the new Saab 93 motor, but a lot for the LSJ motor. Why do you think that is the case?

SCdyne said:
Case in point: How you came across a 93T for the same price as the RL.
Did you get the deal of the century or just the average price of the L61 derived boosted motor attached to the Saab F35 transmission?
Simple Mathmatics when leasing. $28,000 at a 4.9% and 39% residual (RL)

$40,900 at a 2.4% and 49% residual.

Until my research is complete on the engines, I will say no more. Just telling you what the heads at GM have told me.
Lease doesn't mean 'get' it means 'barrow'. You said you 'worked out a deal to get' and I assumed it was purchase. There is no such thing as 'simple math' in leasing.. hehehe :)

Until my research is complete on the engines, I will say no more. Just telling you what the heads at GM have told me.
I'm with you 100% on this!

I have a dozen L61 motors in my place so I can speak from hands on fingers through the oil experence, but I can only go from the 3 motors have I have seen in different stages of assembly, the photos and details a few friends at GM and a So Cal speed shop have emailed me over the past year.
This months CHEVY magazine has a bit on what they are doing.. or maybe next month .. I can't remember what month the blerb is supposed to be in.
Well when you work through the owner of the SAAB/Saturn lot, you do get a deal in leasing when instead of marking the car up for a lease the lease it to you as their cost.

Helps out alot.
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.