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Old 07-17-2016, 01:27 AM   #1
JAMMAN
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Default Latest problem....pulsing


I own a 98 saturn SL2. Unknown miles, previous owner had her dad replace the motor as best as I can guess within the first 4 years of the cars life, probably a new motor at a dealership.

What I do know is the car has 179000 miles and does not burn oil so it must be newer.

When I bought it it stalled frequently. No evident reason, could be cold could be hot could be parked and idling, could be 70 on the highway. It always re started.

I cleaned the throttle body and replaced the IAC motor.

Car changed completely. Picked up a random high idle but ran great otherwise.

I replaced the temp sensor from tons of threads and articles I read... found it had already been replaced and spliced in a new connector.

Nothing changed.

Air filter looked OK. I was prompted to replace the thermostat but have not yet.

I was getting a CEL most of the time, sluggish upstream O2 sensor.

Drove it for a year like that, high idle could be cured at any moment by turning car off and re starting it.

Recently I went ahead and replaced the O2 sensor, the light went out in a few miles but the car runs the same.

THENNNN just recently after driving in a bad rain storm, the high idle stopped BUT when it is warm/ac off/idling in drive (like in line at fast food restaurants) it pulses from like 700 to 1200 RPM like it is being controlled. It is not just a random thing it is like the computer is telling it "go fromm 700 to 1200 rpm at an exact interval until the gas is pushed or the car is in park or you turn the AC on".

I have looked for vacuum leaks but replaced any bad hoses during the IAC/TBcleaning.

I will hook it to the tech2 next week and see if it has any codes that are not turning on the CEL but this problem whatever it is seems to be morphing.

Should I replace the thermostat before I try anything else? Has anyone else experienced this symptom?

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Old 07-18-2016, 04:46 PM   #2
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Since you've already cleaned the TB and replaced the IAC, I believe the " i can turn it off and restart it and it idles just fine" is a bad Throttle position Sensor (TPS). Well know issue.

As for the oscillations/wandering seeking idle:

A)What Brand/Kind?

What kind and what brand of O2 sensor did you buy?
Universals suck in these cars
Bosch s suck in the s cars (from my personal experience 0/2)
Denso was the OEM sensor.

Go to Rockauto.com. IF they carry the OEM GM, the part number is right there, and so is the Denso equivalent which is the same exact sensor at about half the price. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING YET

B) How bad was the rain and did you drive through any big puddles?
C) True CAI? Ram AI w K&N (non standard air intake is the question)?
D) That roaming idle ONLY happens in Drive??

What does it idle at in park?

It sounds to me like when it is in drive, the rpms drop (as they should) before you ever touch the gas. However, it may be that for reasons yet to be determined, your rpms are falling down below the target set by the PCM, so some other part of the PCM is keeping it from stalling by commanding more fuel, then letting off. When you turn the AC on while in drive, you load the engine and the rpms move up just enough to avoid the cycling.

Be sure to note the RPMS in park, Drive w AC, and Drive w n AC (range)
Also check the front O2 response to see if its reading is oscillating slowly at the same frequency as your RPM oscillation. It may be feeding the PCM rich/lean/rich/lean cyclic data instead of the true much faster real time bouncing around data that it tweaks the fuel mix.

If you have water in your intake somewhere, it shouldn't matter what gear it is in.

Re check the vac lines -- I know the PVC to throttle body does something funky to the idle, just don't remember what
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Old 07-18-2016, 11:24 PM   #3
JAMMAN
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OK cool one step at a time. I'll get a TPS and see if both problems go away, and I'll hook up the tech2 after TPS is installed to see what the O2 sensor is doing.

I personally don't remember the brand, it was an e-bay special:

***POSTED E_BAY LINK HERE BUT WAS NOT ALLOWED TO DUE TO INSUFFICIENT POST COUNT***

We are a denso dealer at work I can probably order a good one with the number. If I end up needing it.

Thanks again-
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Old 07-19-2016, 07:03 AM   #4
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hey goalie -- could you please move this to the s section? Accidentally got posted in the ion section.

Thanks
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Old 07-24-2016, 02:43 AM   #5
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OOPS sorry.

Kinda looks like it is just you and me here anyway. I see plenty of saturns on the road, enough to support multiple forums but this one seems a little slow.

Oh well it has that personal touch. Like being alone in a room. I like the peace, at least with nobody here there is nobody to flame, nobody to heckle, nobody to be rude.

Anyhow to add to this post in the wrong forum when I know better than to post things in a wrong forum..... saturn died today. Got back from vacation, started it up to move it beside the dodge it went about 2 feet and just quit.

I can hear fuel pump and it cranks, felt like a crank sensor. I put one on when I first bought it though....

So I thought "maybe a timing belt" so I popped the valve cover (needed a gasket anyway) and there is no belt... just the nicest chain I have ever seen in perfect shape and so tight it had no play at all. Cam pullys looked fantastic, cam lobes looked normal.

So It's off to the auto parts store to get a valve cover gasket and a crank sensor.

If it is the crank sensor why did it burn one in less than 2 years?

Anyhow I'll post tomorrow the results so I can discuss it here alone with my buddy fredfred.
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Old 07-25-2016, 12:19 PM   #6
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Before potentially blowing money on a CKP sensor you may not need, check for spark at the plugs and fuel at the rail via the test port. If you have neither, CKP likely the culprit. One but not the other, more investigation required.

If it is a CKP, the answer to your question likely lies in where you sourced the first CKP. If it was not AC Delco OEM or from Napa's elchlin electronics line, it is likely a piece of crap for which life expectancy is short. If purchased at AutoBlows or Advanced, it is likely crap. A friend of mine has worked at both and says their track record on electronic parts is a sad joke.
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:56 PM   #7
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yeah, pretty slow around here.

Believe it or not, this was a PREMIER Saturn site inhabited by about a dozen very knowledgeable folks and a whole mess of wannabes.

Apparently, the mods went AWOL, the site was overrun w Spam with no one here to clean it up, and ALL the smart folks left here and if they weren't already members, joined Saturnfans.

The site was then purchased and remained a mess until some new dude (Goaliemo) took on the task of cleaning up the place and getting assistance in screening the attempted membership requests.

Sadly, Goaliemo, a talented and knowledgeable guy, has now gone AWOL himself.

No activity on the site makes it less and less "relevant" as far as Google is concerned, so we don't come up high enough in search rankings to be found by anyone. So if there is a stray question or new member, I answer if I can because apparently I am the only one consistently visiting the site.

It is tragic because the volume of highly technical information stored within this forum is priceless but no one ever finds the site to search through it.
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Old 08-01-2016, 03:43 AM   #8
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Well I'm happy to announce I have completely cured every problem that ever happened to my saturn.

Sold it last week for exactly what I bought it for over a year ago. Drove about 10,000 miles with no car payment. Life is good.
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Old 08-02-2016, 03:25 AM   #9
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what was the last problem and how did you solve it ?

was it indeed a CKP sensor?
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Last edited by derfderf; 08-02-2016 at 03:28 AM..
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Old 08-02-2016, 10:52 AM   #10
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I really don't know. I think from sitting so long it had an air bubble in the fuel line or something. The fuel pump was coming on and shutting off but maybe it is a timer and not seeing pressure? Perhaps the lack of spark was me checking wrong or maybe it doesn't spark if it doesn't see fuel pressure?

All I know is the car was finally in a position with the nose pointing down instead of up. I brought the scanner home to scan it. I turned the key on and accidentally bumped the key forward and it started. ? So i noticed the fuel gauge was low. I put 5 gallons of gas in it I had from my garage, drove it to work the next day and sold it to a kid that had been bugging me for 2 weeks.

What was really wrong? No telling. Fuel light was not on and it does work. Car sat in the driveway slanted back for a week, runs for 10 seconds and quits. Doesn't start multiple times with jack stands under front. Jack stands off, nose down, wait a day, it starts. Sold. LOL.

Thanks for your help and encouragement during this.

Jim
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