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Old 07-13-2012, 02:56 AM   #1
subavairpine
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Default 1994 SW1 Very rough idle, stalls when put into gear...


I just bought a '94 SW1, overall in pretty good shape, previous owner said it ran pretty good, just needed a new starter and O2 sensor. I already replaced both of them with new units. I can start the car only if I push the gas pedal all the way to the floor, it won't start otherwise. Once it's running, it has a hard time holding an idle, even after it's warmed up. When the idle is low, it's very rough and the engine physically shakes pretty good. I checked the upper engine mount, looks pretty good, not perfect, but I can't put a finger or even a pencil in the gap, so I think that part is fine. If I rev up the engine, it actually feels and sounds pretty good, everything smooths out... but I let it drop to idle, and it gets rough again and usually stalls unless I keep giving it gas. As soon as I put it in drive, it stalls. I've gotten it to move all of 6 inches under it's own power. I live in a remote area of Alaska, and getting things fixed by a mechanic is outrageously expensive, so I'm trying to do as much as I can on my own. I'm pretty good with cars, have rebuilt a few oldies, etc., and usually do all my own servicing and repairs on my own cars, so I'm no stranger to a wrench. I've searched a few forums and gotten a couple of ideas, but I thought I'd throw it into this forum and see what help/advice I could get. This is my first Saturn, so I'm just getting to know the 1.9L I4 in this thing, it's a SOHC. There are new plugs in it (apparently the platinum are not the best, but it came with a new box of them, so I used them), a new battery, and I just ordered a new ECTS and PCV valve, just because they're pretty inexpensive, and I figured it couldn't hurt. I checked the spark on the ignition coils, and the spark between the towers looks good. I have a OBD II scanner, but it looks like this one has an OBD I port, so I can't scan it for codes. Any ideas out there? Thank you!


Last edited by subavairpine; 07-13-2012 at 02:58 AM..
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:04 AM   #2
Ssicarman
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Default

Welcome to the Board.

The coolant temp sensor is the best first step. You will want to remove the connector for it and check the terminals in it for any corrosion or wetness. If you find either the connector needs to be replaced.

If you use a bent paper clip across the correct terminals in the OBD 1 connector you will get the codes flashed out for you. I can't remember which teminals right now but if you do a search you should find the info.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:45 AM   #3
subavairpine
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Default Update...

Ok, so I put in a new ECTS, and it started up and seemed to run pretty good, but I had the air cleaner and shroud off, so I turned off the car and put them all back on (new air filter btw), and then tried to start it, and it was doing the same thing. I took off the air cleaner box again, and it seemed to run better, but not great. As it was idling though I looked around and noticed a fair amount of white vapor shooting into the air intake compartment through that tube coming in off the top engine cover (right next to the oil filler cap). It looks like it's fuel maybe? I looked in the air intake and it looked very wet, in fact I could see liquid almost pooling on the round air flapper thing (the air intake almost looks like a carb, but I'm pretty sure it has EFI) Anyway, I'm pretty sure the engine keeps getting too much fuel, and what I witnessed here I think confirms it... So what should my next step be?
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:02 AM   #4
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Default One more thing...

I also used the paper clip trick to get codes, and it gave me a 12 and 15. 12 means 'diagnostic system check' whatever that means, but 15 is a 'CTS circuit, out of range low'... I'm assuming that's the coolant temp sensor, but I just replaced it with a new one...

Last edited by subavairpine; 07-18-2012 at 04:04 AM..
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:19 PM   #5
subavairpine
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Default Another update...

Ok, so things are progressing, on a hunch I pulled the temp sensor and I didn't have the plug seated quite right, one of the pins was bent, so I corrected it and reinstalled it, and it ran much better, I could actually drive it! Who knew such a little thing could make a huge difference... But now I'm having different problems, and I'm realizing the guy I bought it from was less than honest about it's condition... It's got no power when I step on the gas. I can coax it up to about 35 mph and that's it. It also needs a new muffler, probably a cat converter, too, as it's loud, and the muffler is visibly trashed. It's also blowing some white smoke... not too bad, but noticeable. It had been sitting all winter, so who knows. But here's my plan... I've got a new fuel filter coming and I plan on running some Heat and fuel injector cleaner through it. Engine is probably pretty dirty inside, hoping I'm not looking at head gasket/block problems... As for the no power situation, I'm thinking either not enough fuel under load or backed up exhaust system... sound about right? Just hoping I'm moving in the right direction here... Thank you for listening...

Last edited by subavairpine; 07-18-2012 at 06:22 PM..
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