Supercharger Questions


Asked by Clayton Jun 10, 2012 at 08:50 AM about the 2004 Saturn ION Red Line Quad Coupe

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

The vehicle Iam looking at has a 2L supercharged motor in it. Just wondering, how reliable are superchargers for daily driving? Do
they break easily? what kind of maintenance must be done to keep them running good? How expensive are they to fix? when
they break, is it better to get a rebuilt one or a brand new one?

14 Answers


Also, can i drive it in the winter?

2 people found this helpful.

I haven't had one myself, but a guy I know ran an F-150 Lightning with a supercharger. He drove it in the winter, and at one point he drove it with the supercharger disabled (I don't know why, I think he broke the charger belt). It should prove reliable enough, though I would also listen to other people who actually have chargers.


I have an Ion redline with the 2 liter S/C motor, and i drive it year round: it can be done quite easily, as long as you keep heavy throttle away during the winter. I've spun tire in the wet, but i've never gotten stuck with this little car. As for reliability, i've had no problems with it; the original motor in mine did blow up, but i think the damage was done long before i bought the car. Maintenance? Regular oil changes, coolant flushes (both the cooling system for the engine and the intercooler), and tune ups, nothing more than your standard car. I will say this though, if you buy one with a clutch near the end of it's life, knock the seller back about a grand, because thats what it will cost to fix it (i know because i'm pricing out replacing mine; fortunately i have friends who are mechanics). I'll answer the last two questions with one answer: pricey. When the block cracked on my Ion, i had to pay over 5 grand to have a 0 mile long block put in. Thankfully i had a warranty that covered it, but it was still a pain to do. When stuff on these cars break, you are going to pay, thats just the nature of the beast. That being said, i hope i haven't put you off of owning one; they are a lot of fun in the bends, and in a straight line they can lay tire all the way into 2nd gear. Plus lets face it, who doesn't love hearing a supercharger whining ;)

5 people found this helpful.

How many km do you have on your Ion now? Was it in an accident, hence the block replacement? When does the Factory clutch go?


Well, i don't know the miles to kilometers conversion rate, but i can tell you my Ion is currently at 76k on the body, and about 27k on the motor. No, the block cracked because of some overheat issue; at some point the car ran hot enough to crack the block, and to this day i still don't know when, where, or how. When the dealer replaced it they said they'd never seen an LSJ engine go like that. Right now i've got 76k miles on the original factory clutch, so they do last awhile. My rule of thumb is around 75 to 80k miles, depending on driving style, you should start planning to replace the clutch.


Converting units, that's 47,000 miles on the odometer and 17,000 miles on the motor. The distance sounds about right for clutch life with mildly spirited driving to me.


I guess i should have said 76k miles odo lol; all of my measurements are in imperial units. So i have 27k miles on the motor. I guess i should have said that originally, my bad ;)

1 people found this helpful.

Heh, then you're much nicer than I am on cars then. I went through a clutch in 3 months on an 85-horsepower naturally-aspired S-Series. (Yes, it involved quite a bit of racing.) Clearly, the driver is much more important than the motor's output when it comes to the lifespan of your clutch.


Yeah, i have another toy to beat on, so this one isn't as extreme when it comes to abuse ;). I'll jump on it once in awhile, or do a hard pull through first and second, but nothing too extreme. That being said my clutch is coming to the end of it's life, because even though it's not slipping, there is considerable flop in the pedal (flop=freeplay, something you shouldn't have on a hydraulic clutch)


By comparison to Ontario, mild; i live in the Western part of Pennsylvania. But even so, in your area you should be able to get by with some specialist snow tires (i would recommend a tire called the I-Pike)


It's been varying wildly from brown winters to snow-so-deep- that-even-snowplows-get-stuck in my part of Illinois this decade, but almost every racer I know insists on Blizzaks if they run their sportscar in the winter. One guy even tried using them during the summer since they were on sale, but I don't recommend that due to how fast they wore out. I hope to try them myself next winter.


Ya man just picked it up last week!! its soo fast.

1 people found this helpful.

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