General Tech Help Good at troubleshooting? Have a non specific issue? Discuss general tech topics here...

2002 engine parts swap

Old 01-05-2018, 06:14 PM
Junior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 1
Unhappy 2002 engine parts swap

i have a running 1996 saturn sl2 automatic that im using for parts on my 2002 saturn sl2 manual. so far ive determined that i possibly need to replace the bottom end along with the first piston with all the bearings on the 02 sl2 manual. ive ordered a replacement set for the head gasket to do all that. i red lined in first gear felt like i lost compression in one of the cylinders. drove rough in first and second while i piggy backed it home from my job. left it sitting since then. buddy said it could have possibly been the csp sensor. i replaced that and fired it up. ran fine at the beginning then it started to knock like it was the day i got home. pulled the oil stick out bone dry. went and got 3 quarts of oil to check for leaks. fired it up ran good til we put some gas to it once we touched the throttle it started knocking and shooting white smoke out the tailpipe. checked the dip stick again. bone dry like a brand new dip stick. its shooting oil through the exhaust. next step is a compression test for the cylinders to make sure which cylinder is taking on the oil. Am i able to fully swap any and all parts from the 96 sl2 to my 02 sl2. and if anyone has heard of this happening to a saturn please leave me any and all pointers. im new to the mechanics life and im doing all my own work through youtube videos. so far no issues. so please any and all help will be very appreciated
Old 01-05-2018, 10:51 PM
02 LW300's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posts: 1,279

I have never had an S series engine open so I am not much help. I don’t know what interchanges. However I would not buy any parts until you determine what fits and what is broken. I hope this helps.
Old 01-06-2018, 01:02 AM
derf's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: My Saturn ;)
Posts: 7,696

96 is a 2nd Gen SL2. 02 is a 3rd gen SL2.
I believe the entire head was redesigned for the 3rd gens, so those parts likely won't swap.
I'll throw in an ancient "DOHC Swap Guide" link later in the post.

What are the SES codes (Pxxxx please)? I know many will be bogus but the misfire one may shed some light on the offending cylinder(s).
Oil smoke is usually bluish, with white smoke indicating coolant burning. Add to this the unburned fuel in the misfiring cylinders-----
then burn the mixture in the cat ---which with that much oil in such a short time, I doubt the cat is alive at this point.
Head gasket does not sound at all unreasonable. Did you get it with a blown head gasket?

Oops forgot the swap post link

To have THAT MUCH oil burning on that time scale it sounds to me like it may be a burned valve (usually exhaust) or possibly a broken ring.
A leakdown test should isolate the problem, but as you mentioned, start with a compression test. I'm guessing you'll come up with a dead cyl.


Running a Saturn S series engine on 1 Qt of oil (only holds 4) is basically asking for it to blow up. These engines do not give you many second chances. The wear you've already put on it between limping home, then refilling and blowing almost all the oil out the tailpipe has likely caused significant internal damage/wear.
I would advise you to inspect the crank bearings, the cams, etc for scoring and wear and make sure they are within spec BEFORE spending time figuring out what parts swap and what don't.
Pouring $$$ into an engine without knowing its state of health or lack thereof is a recipe for disaster. You know this one is damaged -- the question is how badly.

In general, once the compression drops far enough and you burn a valve or one punches a piston, the oil control rings have long since truly controlled the oil, the valve guide seals are oozing oil,etc.
If you truly plan to keep this car and run it until it runs no more, then rebuild the entire thing top and bottom (it needs a valve job by now anyway).
Trying to piecemeal an S car engine is fine when it's in fairly good health; trying to piecemeal a damaged one is an expensive risk. Open it up and see what you have before you decide what to do.

Last edited by derf; 01-06-2018 at 01:04 AM.
Related Topics
Thread Starter
Last Post
PRIVATE For Sale / Trade Classifieds
04-21-2018 08:33 AM
PRIVATE For Sale / Trade Classifieds
10-31-2016 12:53 PM
PRIVATE For Sale / Trade Classifieds
06-14-2016 03:27 AM
Private 'Wanted' Classifieds
02-06-2009 08:23 PM
PRIVATE For Sale / Trade Classifieds
07-14-2008 06:27 PM

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: 2002 engine parts swap

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.