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Discussion Starter #1
Ok I'm thinking about getting a new car soon... looking for something fast in the mid to low 20's. I've been looking at what's out there, here's my list.

(no particular order)

VW R32
Dodge SRT-4
Saturn ION Redline
Ford SVT Focus
Honda Civic Si
Acura RSX Type-S
Ford Mustang GT
Subaru WRX
Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec-V
Toyota Celica GTS
Mitsubishi Eclipse GT (V6)
Hyundai Tiburon (V6)

What makes the ION the best choice in your opinion?
 

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I would say the srt-4..not JUST because i own one but for the same reason i do own one. 21k, fast as shit, and very responsive to tuning. Go spend 21 k, then over time drop 2-3 k into the car and BAMM your beating vipers and KILLING every other car on your list.


Edit: I forgot your question..If your looking for speed the the ION is not the best "sell"
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow this forums is dead... what gives?

Anyway, I was told by a friend of mine (who's a saturn mechanic) that stock Ecotec engines can support 750hp so I should get an ION since I'm planning on modding whatever I get... but I read elsewhere that the rods on an Ecotec can only handle about 275hp, and the crank can handle 750... I know the Redline has better rods for F/I but how much do you think they can handle? No I'm not planning on going to 750 EVER but it'd be nice to know how much room i'd have before I have to worry about the rods.

oh yeah, I know a little about F/I not an expert but... with a comp. ratio of 9.6:1 how much boost can this engine handle before detonation becomes a concern? I know the air to water intercooler is more efficiant, but really... that seems like a high C/R, arn't most F/I engines around 8:1?
 

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the engine stock can handle 350 hp without needing to touch any internals!, thats good stuff, considering not many people will need/want any more than that
 

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Vita said:
the engine stock can handle 350 hp without needing to touch any internals!, thats good stuff, considering not many people will need/want any more than that
350 at the crank or wheels? I'm looking to runs low 13's on street tires... If it's running mid/low 15's with 200whp I'm not sure what I'd need to run the times I'm looking for... basicly I want to run with EVO's and STi's in something they'd expect to beat.
 

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350 at the crank before replacing some things, cant remember where i saw the article where GM paid someone to make a cavi with 800hp that would run 20-40 drags without breaking down. they made a chart showing what needed to be replaced as the power went up and a what power, you could go beyond the 350 crank hp if you find it and see what needed to be replaced
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Vita said:
350 at the crank before replacing some things, cant remember where i saw the article where GM paid someone to make a cavi with 800hp that would run 20-40 drags without breaking down. they made a chart showing what needed to be replaced as the power went up and a what power, you could go beyond the 350 crank hp if you find it and see what needed to be replaced

Not sure where you heard 350 on stock rods... I found this
http://www.motorsportsengineering.sae.org/motorsports/technology/aeijun02-gm.htm

"We're currently at the 800-hp level after starting with about 140 hp with the production engine as installed in a production car," said O'Blenes. "We were able to make between 370 and 400 hp with billet rods and forged pistons with everything else stock."
and this

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3012/is_5_182/ai_87105898

To speed the Ecotec learning curve, GM and Bothwell Racing in Fraser, Mich., started working together about one year ago. First they applied nitrous injection to the production 2.2L engine to see where the weak points were. With stock rods and pistons, the limit was about 275 hp before reliability became an issue. After upgrading to JE pistons and Crower rods and crankshaft, power surged to 500 hp before head gaskets blew out.
So it's somewhere around 275hp at the crank before a regular ecotec needs upgrades... I'm pretty sure the ION redline has better internals... but does anyone know for sure?
 

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I know what car I would pick because I bought it. The srt-4. If you are looking for speed I would only consider the srt-4 the mustang gt and the wrx. The others are all slow to me. Another good reason I got the srt-4 is insurance is only like 80 a month and I'm 21 and on my own policy not under my parents otherwise It would have been cheaper.
Get whatever you want nobody swayed me into getting my srt-4. I did research on my own and test drove almost all the cars on your list. I used to sell fords. When I test drove the srt-4 it ended all doubts on which 1 I should buy. Most fun car on your list is definately the srt-4. But again try to test drive all the cars and eliminate them 1 by 1 till you get to the one you want. hope this helps you.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks... that's a good idea.

It's funny, I got more responses from SRT owners than ION owners what's up with that? I guess the ION must not be that great if nobody can give me any good reasons to buy one... even if it COULD handle 350 at the crank stock, there are plenty of other cars that can do better before needing engine work, and some are on my list. Besides like I said before, if the ION is making 200whp and running 15's what would it take to hit low... low 13's? I mean it has to be making about 230 at the crank now to put out 200whp, another 100hp isn't going to shave 2 full seconds of the E.T.s is it? and then what??? I'd have a car that's maxed out and still slower than I wanted... Maybe I should hold off untill other people start modding them before I draw ANY conclusions, who knows maybe it can handle more than we're thinking... or maybe it can't... but it's not looking to good to me right now.
 

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they got to 275 or so before replacing the rods in the 2.2 ecotec, i believe they destroked it and used the same internals that are in the production car to bring it to 2.0 and that is what we have today. i could be wrong though.

btw, you are on one of the least active saturn forums on the net, try saturn fans.com for some other reactions.

i love this car since day one, rides nice, doesn't look all riced out from the factory, but if you like the more extreme look, than this car isnt for you. but it can and will hold much power, its just so new that nobody has done it yet, i'll tell you that im still not done breaking her in. its all a matter of preference really.

im not going to try and sell you on the ion because after driving one it sold itself, go test drive one and see for yourself
 

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the thing is you're asking people here to sell it to you as the best car for what you want. sounds like you're going to be pouring tons of money into it to make it really fast, while most of the people here bought it as a daily driver. they bought it for the comfort, the handling, the feel of it. if and when i get one, i will be getting it for the suicide doors. that's why it's my second choice next to the RX-8 (which has suicide doors as well).

i don't think anyone will be selling it as a fast tuner's car until there's more aftermarket support which may be a few months to a year. The SRT-4 already has the upgrades available, as my friend is still pouring money into his to make it faster.
 

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exactly, you could get a turbo manifold made, slap on a cheap "laggy" turbo, an intercooler, and route all the piping and you wont have to do much, but if you do you will be the first. but i have read that the stock PCM is configured to adapt to a good amount of extra power automatically (e.g., air/fuel etc.)

if you want a car strictly for speed, there simply INSN'T the aftermarket quite yet, but there WILL be.

personally, after looking at an SRT-4, i love the interior of the RL that much more, and again, the more "conservative" look of the redline sold me on it.


again, go test drive one, but if you dont buy one, then i'll be glad that there is one less on the road making mine that much more unique
 

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Sorry I can't hit every board every day. This is a REAL good question and one that EVERY Saturn sales consultant should be able to answer and currently can’t for shit.
Now lets see if I can do this in fewer than 1000 words.
First of all the GM Racing program started with a 2.2L ECOTEC (L61) motor designed to only make a maximum of 150 HP ever. The LSJ is a motor that is designed to make 300 HP in production form and currently only makes 210 HP in the SAAB 93T and 205 in the Saturn RedLine. While the main structure of the LSJ and L61 are the same; the way they are made, the materials used and a few upgrades necessary for boosted motors make the LSJ an even better motor than the L61 already is. Through the extreme testing GM did for the Sport Compact race program they discovered a few limitations of the L61 along with normal production factors that showed up over the course of the first few years in L series vehicles.
The LSJ and SAAB 93 use the same motor and it includes all of the production upgrades made from findings both from GM Racing and through the first few years in the L series. 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. – GM Media Information
GM Racing found that the head tended to deform around 400 HP so they pre-loaded the #1 and #4 cylinders through the head with support braces in the early race heads and later had production updated with webbing to do the same. Through production it was found that the lost foam casting process can have instances of voids in the casts which would lead to waste castings or if not found in time a potential motor problem down the road. Sand casting didn’t have the same issues and provided a denser overall cast so along with the webbing the SAAB and LSJ motor uses a sand cast head assembly.
From what I understand all production heads now have the additional webbing and that includes the GM performance products heads.

It’s common knowledge that 86mm bore x 86mm stroke is the perfect size and shape of a 4 cylinder motor when working with high power forced induction motors. Most of the sport compact drag race vehicles all run this ‘square’ configuration or one very close to it. Some programs go a little over or under to address rod to stroke ratio and how it affects turbo spool-up, but in general this is the “golden square” of 4 cylinder motors. Lot’s of testing has been done for many years on combustion in relation to power produced, detonation, heat, loads, ect. and it has always been found that a bore of 86 mm results in an almost perfect combustion chamber size in every aspect important to motor operation and efficiency.

When you address the details in how this very well designed and built motor is force fed it quickly becomes clear where the lines are drawn. While the ultimate top end power will always go to the centrifugal compressor it’s not uncommon for the life of a roots style blower to last many times that of any turbo. As a manufacture failure rate is important and even in limited run vehicles as low as 5000 in the case of the 2004 RedLine GM considered that when picking a proven roots blower over a Turbo. GM has a long and solid history of proven performance and longevity in roots blowers many of which are being used today in sport compacts as a second life from pick-a-part kits. Now I’m not saying that they don’t fail, but as a function of them not being linked to the engine cooling or lubrication system in the rare event they do fail it can’t impact the life of the engine through contamination. A turbo failure rate while also rare does happen more often and sooner than a roots blower and when it does it can cause problems with both engine cooling and lubrication since both systems are routed directly through the turbo.

Even when it comes to just mechanical limitations of each type of system the limits are defined by normal failure rates and magnified by enhancements to the vehicles. In each case a motor can only take so much of a load before it will begin to fail and I think it’s safe to assume 300 HP is a safe limit and 350 HP is the maximum limit. How that plays into things with the RedLine and the SRT-4 is that the M62 blower can’t even move the necessary volume of air to exceed 275 HP let alone 300 so you can forget 350. The SRT-4 on the other hand can inexpensively be modified to increase boost pressure resulting in more air volume and eventually a larger displacement compressor for much less that it would cost to replace the roots blower on the RedLine. In contrast though you could spend as much for a SRT-4 upgrade package as it would be to install a Turbo system on top of the roots blower in the RedLine resulting in the same final result; more power available than the motor can handle. The next progressive step would be internal modification in which case I can only say the RedLine wins hands down based on my time with both engines, but NO one wants to believe. GM racing REALLY does use all stock internals other than the pistons, rods and crank. All the bearings, pumps and many of the valve components are solid as a rock up to the 800 HP mark. With the LSJ motor having a forged crank that is stronger than the L61 crank GM replaced in testing it’s likely that the LSJ crank will withstand HP production close to 800 HP and beyond. Since anything over 500 HP is beyond the limits of any streetable FWD vehicle and PCM control it’s not a real factor. So for the $1000 MAX in pistons and rods, $100 for copper head gasket and a measurable amount of DIY work you have a 500 HP LSJ motor that would probably last 50,000-75,000 miles with proper tuning.
By that time I would just go turbo all the way, but swapping out a S/C for a Turbo in the beginning makes this whole discussion a moot point doesn’t it?
I mean let’s be honest take away the forced induction in both vehicles and what do you have left? A new 2000 delta platform Saturn ION Quad Coupe, with a sport suspension and the seats people have been asking for going on 13 years now and the same old Neon no one liked 5 years ago.

Bottom line: You remove all the power adders that increase the vehicle complexity, chance of failure, and dealer difficulty and you are left with a simple decision.
Saturn, Honda/Acura, Toyota, VW, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Hyundai, Dodge, Ford
All the V6s are overweight wastes of time in most cases and all the N/A 4 cylinders are at the limit of power. The Turbo and S/C are the only baseline starting points.
The fact that a S/C will outlast a Turbo any day of the week just adds to the quality GM is offering in the RedLine.
 

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f'n beautiful man, took me a minute to read, but your posts anywhere always seem to. VERY INFORMATIVE and VERY factual, thank you for making my time learning about my car more productive!!!
 

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i can attest to the whole reliability issue of turbo's, i am the very proud owner of an 87 buick regal turbo-t, but, its on it's 3rd turbo, and i only have 85k, first one went at 40k, 2nd at 77k and 3rd, well, hope it aint gonna happen, but i know it will sometime
 

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I have to admit it's part of a seminar we are planning for the local Saturn retailer to fight the Dodge dealer in town.

Having the visual aids of the SRT-4 and L61 blocks for the seminar helps hit home the real strength of the GM product.

This is just an ECOTEC

Head, block, girdle, pan.
No main caps because the crank is sandwiched between the block and girdle.
Solid as a rock. The counter rotating balance shaft holes are on the other side of the upper block piece.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
SCdyne said:
...In each case a motor can only take so much of a load before it will begin to fail, and I think it’s safe to assume 300 HP is a safe limit and 350 HP is the maximum limit. How that plays into things with the RedLine and the SRT-4 is that the M62 blower can’t even move the necessary volume of air to exceed 275 HP let alone 300 so you can forget 350. The SRT-4 on the other hand can inexpensively be modified to increase boost pressure resulting in more air volume and eventually a larger displacement compressor for much less that it would cost to replace the roots blower on the RedLine. In contrast though you could spend as much for a SRT-4 upgrade package as it would be to install a Turbo system on top of the roots blower in the RedLine resulting in the same final result; more power available than the motor can handle.
Sounds like what you're saying here is that both cars could be modded to create 350+hp but that neither car can support that stock, right?

The next progressive step would be internal modification in which case I can only say the RedLine wins hands down based on my time with both engines, but NO one wants to believe. GM racing REALLY does use all stock internals other than the pistons, rods and crank. All the bearings, pumps and many of the valve components are solid as a rock up to the 800 HP mark. With the LSJ motor having a forged crank that is stronger than the L61 crank GM replaced in testing it’s likely that the LSJ crank will withstand HP production close to 800 HP and beyond.
I know GM uses a lot of "stock" components in their race engines... but what you're failing to admit here is that those "stock" parts have been modified. The block for instance had to be re-enforced to handle the 700+hp goal. Yes GM uses all stock internals other than the pistons, rods and crank, but lets face it, what's left of the "internals" if you remove the pistons rods and crank... and then modify the block and head? Fact is there isn't much left that can be swapped off the production car without having to be modified.

Since anything over 500 HP is beyond the limits of any streetable FWD vehicle and PCM control it’s not a real factor. So for the $1000 MAX in pistons and rods, $100 for copper head gasket and a measurable amount of DIY work you have a 500 HP LSJ motor that would probably last 50,000-75,000 miles with proper tuning.
Tell that to this guy... all on a stock engine by the way, just a turbo upgrade. http://www.turbochargers.com/forumuploads/500hp.wmv

You know it's funny... you've said quite a few times now that you have experience with the SRT's engine yet multiple time in your post you've proven otherwise... To say the Redline wins "hands down" once you start modding internals is flat out wrong... the Mopar drag team also uses a bunch of stock parts... in fact they ARE using the stock crank, it can support 1200+hp with no failures, and when I say stock, I mean it's untouched... they also use the stock bedplate, and oil pump... basically billet rods and forged pistons are the only major components upgrades, while the stock head and block are used they do have to be modded. So the way I see it, the dodge has the advantage here... only slightly.

As far as stock internals go, the SRT wins there too... While the ION can support 350hp MAX at the crank, the SRT has been proven to support 500+whp with astounding reliability. People are running 12's with less than $1000 in upgrades... 11's for around 3,000, and all on stock internals, pump gas, and street driven. There are a few people looking for 10’s soon too.

I’d really love to see what you are using as a “visual aide” for the A853… probably a 2.0L from an SXT… since like you said, take away the F/I and the SRT is no different than a regular neon… guess again.

I came here to see if the ION could match the SRT before I just go out and get one... from what you've told me that's not the case, I'll still test drive one, but I've pretty much already made up my mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
SCdyne said:
I have to admit it's part of a seminar we are planning for the local Saturn retailer to fight the Dodge dealer in town.

Having the visual aids of the SRT-4 and L61 blocks for the seminar helps hit home the real strength of the GM product.

This is just an ECOTEC

Head, block, girdle, pan.
No main caps because the crank is sandwiched between the block and girdle.
Solid as a rock. The counter rotating balance shaft holes are on the other side of the upper block piece.
So then where's a picture of the SRT engine you're using? It's constructed the same way you know...

http://www.sportcompactcarweb.com/projectcars/0310scc_projneon/

http://www.hotrod.com/techarticles/engine/113_0309_srt/index1.html

 

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than what's the point of this thread if you're not serously considering the RL?

i could honestly care less, but have to say yet again that i find the SRT to be a ricey looking neon, no more no less. nothing personal, but both are decent cars and im glad you seem to like the SRT-4, just test drive a RL and compare the interiors, IMHO the RL is much nicer than the SRT
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Vita said:
than what's the point of this thread if you're not serously considering the RL?

i could honestly care less, but have to say yet again that i find the SRT to be a ricey looking neon, no more no less. nothing personal, but both are decent cars and im glad you seem to like the SRT-4, just test drive a RL and compare the interiors, IMHO the RL is much nicer than the SRT

The point of this thread was, I wanted to learn more about the RL before I make up my mind... I wanted to know if they beefed up the engine any for F/I, and if so what it can handle... it wasn't a RL vs SRT thread but it seems like that's the way it went anyway... I've been interested in the SRT since it first came, and was glad to see a competitor come out now that I can afford to get one, but it just seems harder to mod the RL from what I'm hearing.

This SCdyne person seemed to think he was an expert on both cars, apparently not... I don't like when people feed me half truths, and twist things to make their car look better. You (Vita) on the otherhand have been very helpfull, and most importantly honest... thank you. I WILL still test drive both just to be sure...
 
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