This area will feature the FASTEST FIVE SATURN CARS in their respective categories. Think your car is fast enough to be featured in the Fastest V? Send your information and mods to poc301 to have your car listed here.

Street Class
1) UnderdogSDA 13.3 (Nitrous)
2) S.Bretz 13.35 (Turbo)
3) Poc301 13.50 (Nitrous)
4) BoostedSL2 13.56 (Turbo)
5) Yardbird 13.59 (Nitrous)

Unlimited Class
1) Nefarious 12.26 (Nitrous)
2) LowSC2 12.4 (Nitrous)
3) 92saturnSS 13.33 (Nitrous)

1) UnderdogSDA 14.21
2) Green Monstah 14.5
3) DonBaker 14.71
4) Applebit 14.8

1) ProjectPhase1 16.61
2) Sh1FT 16.90
3) Wraith 16.98
4) jhsl1 17.2
5) SL_Sled 17.96

1) JGreen 15.48
2) schzzo97sc2 15.60
3) Chris 15.79
4) rascon11 16.06
5) IonJon 16.27

Updated 1/05

For the most recent list of the fastest five cars click here.



220whp or Bust


A quick and dirty guide to all the turbo system components needed to make ~220whp on a Saturn 1.9 L engine

Relatively speaking turbo charging a Saturn is not that difficult. Time and time again people have proved that with a limited budget one can build and install a reliable turbo system on their daily driven Saturn. These turbo systems have differed in many ways mostly depending on the amount of power desired and the working budget. In this article I will be covering several different turbo system components to help tailor the system to suit your needs.

The very first step in your quest for power is deciding how much you want. Starting with a goal you can add the components to achieve your desired horse power desires. Be realistic with your goals, remember the more power you desire the more your project will cost. Also, the more power you make the more parts you will break; guaranteed. This beginner's guide will cover horsepower levels to about 220whp which is by far the most economical and easiest to achieve. Every major component will be addressed with additional information allowing you to mix and match parts or just follow our sure fire recipes at the end of the article. So let's get started!

To save money a stock Saturn engine can be used as a turbo engine. The stock internals and high compression ratio will limit the amount of maximum boost but 7psi should be attainable on a t3 and a bit more with proper tuning. At 8psi you should se somewhere in the range of 200-215whp depending on the tuning. None-the-less this is a fun ride for cheap.

Fuel pumps
Saturns made from 1991 to 1997 possess a return fuel system which means that the fuel pump runs continuously at full capacity and any additional unused fuel is returned back to the gas tank via the return fuel line. These fuel pumps and systems have been proven up to 300whp but I do not recommend that you try for more than that on the stock pump. The take home message here is that if your power goal is less than 300whp you do not need to change the stock fuel pump.

Starting in 1998 Saturn switched to the returnless fuel systems. The returnless fuel system is controlled by the PCM. As fuel demand is increased voltage to the fuel pump is also increased. At this time there is limited information on the potential of these fuel systems. There are a few work around options though like inline fuel pumps (can be noisy) or converting the returnless system to a return system. Check the forums for the latest information on turboing with a returnless fuel system.

The stock fuel line diameter and the fuel rail are sufficient to support over 300whp but if you're shooting for anything above 300whp it's a good idea to install a larger fuel rail.

There are quite a few injector sizing equations out there but it's safe to say that you will be looking to purchase injectors in the 35-45 lbs/hr range depending on your goals. Make sure that you choose the correct style and impedance. Saturn's can use any injectors that will fit GM or Ford cars.

Injector size is just as important as what you are using to control the injectors.

Injector control
A raising rate fuel pressure regulator, although the easiest to install, is the least desirable. It's difficult to adjust and tune properly and more times than not you run into excessive fuel pressures. If you do use this method make sure that you do not exceed 80psi at maximum boost as this could lock the injectors closed. Also, this method of fuel delivery should only be used with smaller t3 or t25 turbos to ensure that adequate fuel is being delivered. This method has been used on a lot of other cars including Saturns. The problem is two fold. First there is the excessive fuel pressures i.e. the more you turn up the boost the higher the fuel pressure and two fuel is delivered on a liner curve while a boost curve follows a steep increase once under full boost. This method works just be careful.

Another method is the SDS or extra injector controller. This is a bit more difficult to install but relatively easy to tune. This setup has been proven to reach 300whp but at the same time blown a few engines in the process. Using stock injectors with this system will insure stock idle quality and plenty of fuel once boost kicks in. There is limited amout of tuning needed; just two knobs. How much simpler can it get? Words of caution, the extra injectors are your only defense against a lean combustion condition. If an injector locks or your vacuum line comes off you will be replacing your engine. When it works; it works well, just be sure to have everything secured tightly.

The mega squirt is still the most flexable option. This requires the most wiring and setup of any of the previous fuel controller but it is far more tunable. You will be able to extract more horsepower from this fuel system than any others short of a full stand alone. Also, the cost tends to be cheaper than the SDS controller. Please do not underestimate the tuning that is required with this system. This is basically a stand alone fuel system so you control all aspects of fuel delivery. You will want a wide band O2 sensor to get the best results. Make sure you have another car to drive so that you can take your time and tune your system right. Check the forums for the latest information on this system.

There are other extra injector controllers on the market that are laptop programable. These offer the ease of setup like the SDS system along with greater tunability similar to the mega squirt. I have been looking into these controllers which can be adjusted on rpm and map pressure. This type of tuning holds a lot of promise but it will take more research and actual use before it's given a thumbs up.

There are many choices when it comes to turbos. You can stare at the compressor maps all you want but when it comes down to it there are only two basic choices for a Saturn; a T3 or a T3/T4. The T3 should be a super 60 trim with a .48 or .63 hot side. This is a good choice that should get you in the 220whp range. Look for the power to die out before you hit your rev limiter but the spool up around town should make up for the lack of top end. This turbo will be good for 200-220whp. If you're looking for more than that a T3/T4 with a 50 cold side and a .48 hot side should net you 300whp with very good tuning. Be sure to beef up the rest of the system to keep up with the additional horsepower demands.

I personally like the idea of a .63 hot side on smaller turbos. This will help soften the torque curve a bit allowing for better traction. You will loose torque down low switching the a larger hot side.

Save your money and use an internal wastegate. If you're shooting for 220whp there is no need for an external wastegate. A t3/t4 system can benefit from an external wastegate and if you can take the noise you can dump to atmosphere for some extra horsepower. A 2 1/4" downpipe is plenty for a t3 turbo you could even use a 2" if you wanted. Sure bigger is better but you can save some cash using a smaller downpipe and it's easier to fit under the car. Also, with a smaller turbo and stock internals you won't be pushing the kind of volume of air which facilitates a bigger downpipe. Keep it simple.

The easiest and cheapest way to have a reliable system would be to use a log style manifold. These manifolds tend to be heavy duty and will last for a very long time. The log style will not be a big factor in reducing horsepower unless you are shooting for really high numbers. I have seen log style manifolds make over 350whp on cars.

Most Saturn turbo cars have used manual transmissions. Clutches that can handle the extra power are readily available through several manufactures. The stock clutch should hold to about 200whp anything above that and expect slipping and faster wear. Automatic transmissions should be able to hold about 200whp but they will slip more than the manual. If you are looking to make big power and you have an automatic than a manual swap is in your future. There is just no one making automatics that will hold a lot of power.

One of the weakest points of the Saturn transmission is the differential pin. It is a press fit from the factory and under high stress this pin dislodges and destroys the transmission. Disassembling the transmission and welding the pin in will keep it from flying out of the differential. Consider this a must have. I highly recommend that you do this mod, you don't want to be on the side of the road with a busted tranny believe me!

As a side note, the hot ticket when turbo charging your DOCH engine is using a SOHC transmission. The gear spacing is far better for turbo charging and you will get the economy from the high ratio fifth gear.

The stock radiator, although small, will work especially if your horsepower goals are less than 250whp. If your target is 300whp than an upgrade in cooling capacity should be considered. There are a few companies that make direct bolt-in aluminum radiators but they are expensive. If you have some fabrication skills I suggest purchasing a universal fit radiator from Jegs or Summit and make the mounts. You will save some cash and get a greater cooling capacity.

The forum has become one of the best resources for Saturn performance on the net. Our members are constantly pushing their cars to new performance levels. So, log in, share your ideas, and help push your car’s performance to the next level.

Archived Articles



August 2005 TSN will be holding its first ever meet in Chardon, Ohio. Some of the fastest Saturns in the country will be attending. Activities will include drag racing, dyno, tech session, and BBQ. Look for the latest information in the forums.


Different Racing

Jeff and his team Different Racing have big plans on breaking into some really low quarter mile times this year. Last year he posted a 12.40 on a pretty healthy nitrous shot. This year he has a new turbo setup and some serious determination. Visit his website for the latest news and information. I expect we'll be seeing some low 12's from him by the end of the year.