Can I put a non-Saturn 1.9L engine in my S-Series?
Short answer: if you have to ask, then you probably can’t.
Long Answer: It depends. It is not a drop-in motor swap by any means. Even the GM Ecotec (found in the S-Series replacement, the ION) and Saturn 1.9L engines have different dimensions, mate to different transmissions, and have different electronic controls. Theoretically, the following would be required to make a non-Saturn 1.9L engine work in an S-Series:
– custom axles
– custom engine mounts
– standalone engine management
– probably a hundred little things you’d find along the way…
Doing all this requires a ton of skill, a lot of money, and significant time/downtime (this is the reason for the seemingly harsh “short answer”). Be ready to spend thousands and not be able to drive your car for a year or more. Also, if you had to ask this question, chances are you don’t have the skills to do the swap, and asking a shop to do it for you is going to cost you an enormous amount of money, if you can even find a shop willing and able to do it.
Also, this is all pretty much the same work that would be required to make any non-Saturn 1.9L engine work in an S-Series, and it will get expensive. Because of this, you have to decide if your money is better spent making the 1.9L fast (they have pushed near 400hp), and if you do want to do an engine swap, is the Ecotec the best choice? For similar money, you may decide you’d rather put a 6 or 8 cylinder engine in.
What engines can I put in my S-Series?
Only the Saturn 1.9L engine is a direct swap. The Saturn engine was designed and produced while Saturn was still a largely separate subsidiary of GM, and was not extensively using the GM parts bin. It is a unique engine, with many unique characteristics. It was not sourced from any outside vendor. (Past rumors have dubbed it an Isuzu engine, as well as others. It is not.) It was not used in any other vehicle.
The same engine was, however, used in all models of the S-Series (coupe, sedan, and wagon), so if you need an engine, it can come from any of these models. There are year-to-year differences, as well as single and dual cam versions, so you will need to pay attention to those. See the knowledge guide section regarding S-Series engines for more info on the different Saturn 1.9L engines.