I have a 2002 Saturn vue with a 2.2 ecotec and 5 speed trans that work great but the frame is rotted to hell. Can get a late 95-99 automatic sunfire or cavvy with a blown motor for dirt cheap. Looking for advice on the feasibility of this swap and tips as this would be my first motor swap.
It would be better to get a 2k or newer, since almost everything is different. You would have to do a lot of wiring. You would also have to do some welding if you are converting an automatic to a manual... since the transmission mounts are in different spots. Search the forums for auto to manual swaps. You can also search and see what is involved when swapping an ecotec into a pre 2k car.
I kinda Figured that might be the case. I knew it'd be easier to swap into 2k car unfortunately I've found about 10 pre 2k cars with a blown motor for cheap but not a single newer one. If I got say an 02-05 with an auto would I still have to change the tranny mounts?
Actually this would be similar to a swap from an '02-'05 to a '95-'99. Mechanically things should bolt up. Not knowing what the Saturn pieces look like you would need motor mounts, the clutch pedal & shifter for the J-Body.
Now the fun part. The computers & wiring harness are very different. Again I dont know what the Saturn harness looks like so it may work but you would either need to replace the entire harness, headlight to taillight, from a '02-'05 are splice the Vues computer into the existing harness. There may be the possibility of making the Vues EcoTec ECM co-exist with the '9x BCM.
A third alternative is an aftermarket engine controler. MegaSquirt or something.
If your up for taking the car apart & have access to a '02-'05 harness I say go for the swap. If not get an '02-'05 J-Body.
FYI not all '02s have EcoTecs. I have not had the pleasure of seeing a non-EcoTec '02 so I dont know what the computer & harness look like. '03-'05 should all be Ecos.