FEOA Forums banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So in the opinions of those who drive these cars daily which is the better all round than the other if there is one better than the other.

*1998 Saturn SL Manual
*1998 Mercury Tracer GS Auto

We own both and I have to admit I do enjoy driving the Tracer more than the Saturn; the Tracer has power steering for one! I also like sitting up with a shorter nose than down in the Saturn with the longer nose and no power steering, feels like I’m driving a brick. I like how the Tracer corners, and how the suspension feels plus it’s silent inside compared to the Saturn. Although in its defense the Saturn has only ever asked for three things, oil changes, tires and a new water pump.. the Tracer has asked for quite a bit more!.. Tensioner, Timing Belt, A/C and of course the now standard… vacuum leak that can’t ever be found!

The Saturn was bought in excellent shape with 82k on the clock for $2,500 in 2005 and the Tracer bought in near perfect condition inside and out in 2007 with 75k on the clock for around $2,300. Prices are before taxes, titles, tag, dealer rip off fees…etc. Both cars are still stock with the exception of a couple of aftermarket stereo’s so we could listen to MP3’s!

I really do like both but I’ve a funny feeling that Saturn might just outlast the Tracer. The Saturn has 147k on the clock now and burns oil about 1 quart every 1,500 miles, the Tracer has 94k on the clock no oil burning but still has some minor issues.. vacuum leak may still be one of them lol. Just feels like we spend more time and money keeping the Tracer running where the Saturn (and we could be just lucky there) seems to be a tank.. feed it oil and it’s happy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,719 Posts
My aunt has an SL. Not sure of the year, but I think it's late 90s. She just had me replace the upper motor mount on it, the thing was mangled! But I drove it around a bit and I do prefer my escort, granted it's a 2nd gen and not a 3rd gen like your tracer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've a feeling the motor mounts on the Saturn I have needs it's done.. it's very loud inside! I had all but one mount done on the Tracer about a year or so ago and it's very quite inside.. Silent next to the Saturn lol I will give the Saturn one thing it was very easy to install a new stereo the Tracer took me forever to get it right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,588 Posts
What motor is in the Saturn?

If it's a 1.9 DOHC, then that should be the answer in itself. That's a GREAT motor.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,295 Posts
In our family we have a 92 SL2, a 98 SL2, a 92 Escort LX wagon and a 94 Escort LX wagon - will have a 91 Escort LX sedan when I get finished re-assembling the motor. I am the one who fixes them (all bought used or hauled away free and fixed) and I find them about equally likeable, for the slightly different reasons you have stated.
You should replace that top motor mount, because: The inside of the Saturn should be -quieter- than inside an Escort wagon! Mostly due to the road noise that comes into the Escort, at least into the wagons. If you are on rough pavement the Escort lets you know - the Saturn; hardly at all. I have had to repair the leaking sunroof & its drain tubes - which the Escort doesnt have (thankfully). The electric windows on the Saturn's rear doors are a known weakpoint - have to pull one up to get it to shut.
For driving around town I would prefer the Escorts - unless I have 3 people with me; then the slightly greater width of the Saturns would be a plus. For driving from the nation's capitol to the west coast - I would prefer the Saturn. I find the seats slightly more comfy after a couple of hours sitting behind the wheel.
I agree the Saturn motor is a great design - apart from needing new piston rings & the grooves cleaned out when they begin to use more motor oil between changes. I replaced the piston rings in the 92, now it goes 4000 before being a quart low. The only other thing the 92 Saturn needed at 128,000 was a new radiator (the usual crack) and a junkyard tranny (the diff. pin had eaten a hole into the bell-housing.
But the 2nd generation Escort motor is easy to work on, the parts are cheap, and I consider it worthwhile to take the motor apart at the first sign of trouble (leaking, inlet valve guide loose, etc.) and rebuild it. Especially if the car isnt rusty on the undercarriage. I would say the Escort's/Tracer's F4EAT automatic tranny is a weakpoint - as it is likely to go out somewhere between 100,000-190,000 miles, and need rebuilt. I hae rebuilt two of them myself, which is why I say that. The Saturn auto trannies seem to usually behave if you change the filter and the AFT each 30,000 miles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It is a 1.9 engine although am fairly sure it’s not a DOHC, it’s rated at 100hp. That engine is burning oil but from what I’ve read that’s to be expected from these cars lol.

My Escort/Tracer is oddly quite inside compared to the Saturn although am sure the mounts on the Saturn need done. The Saturn seems to pickup more engine and road noise and I can feel more of the bumps and lumps on the road with the Saturn, I do prefer driving the Tracer. Luckily we have the basic models of both the Saturn and Tracer so no sunroof to worry about and no power windows, locks or steering on the Saturn lol, the Tracer has power steering but no rear defrost which the Saturn has?

Transmission on the Saturn is manual; the auto transmission on the Tracer luckily appears to be good so far. Fluid is in good shape, shifts nice and smooth.. picks up speed easily and slides between gears without any issues. No rust on either car, Tracer was kept inside most of it's life when looking at the paint condition the Saturn was kept quite well too paint still shines.

I do like both cars but don’t like the invisible, impossible to find vacuum leak on the Tracer or the headliner that’s falling apart in the Saturn. I’ve seen a few other Saturn’s around the same year missing their headliners I wonder if it’s a glue/quality issue? Over all I shouldn’t complain about either of them. They both drive perfectly without any issues and we’ve no car payments to make!
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top