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Old 04-12-2014, 11:03 AM   #1
Penrod
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2009 Outlook XE
Default Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

After fixing my reduced power issue, see Throttle Relearn for more details, my car now won't get up to speed. I was having this issue before the throttle issue and the GM dealer said it was my catalytic convertor. I had a code pointing to the cat (bank 1 sensor 2, I think) previously but since clearing the codes I have nothing to go by. I took out back catalytic convertor and rinsed it out with water. When I did this I noticed the honeycomb piece inside sliding back and forth freely. Is that piece supposed to be stationary or is it designed to slide like that?

This is pretty much the issue: If I press the pedal all the way down the RPMs will go to about 2K and then stutter. When I let off the pedal the vehicle will shift and start speeding up some more. If I lightly press the pedal and not go above 2K RPMs the vehicle will accelerate and shift, but just very slowly. At no time do I ever get a check engine, or any other warning light. I have tried to sustain the problem till something flags but don't want to cause any bigger issues so I back off. Is this something with the transmission or is it actually the cat? Any information would be helpful. 09 Outlook XE

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Old 04-12-2014, 12:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

Couldn't figure out how to edit post. Just wanted to specify that the honeycomb piece inside rattled back and forth before I rinsed it out with water.

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Old 04-12-2014, 01:58 PM   #3
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

Depending on engine configuration, there may be three catalytic converters, one pre-cat after each cylinder back on V6's and a main catcon downstream or a single catcon for 4cyl engines. Your GM dealer may have given you a hint.

Catalytic converters have fixed high temperature substrates that tend to last the life of most car warranties and long after but there are exceptions to the rule. Once wear and tear begins, most catcons disintegrate internally, falling apart and begin blocking exhaust flow. A constipated exhaust system that restricts exhaust flow can be difficult to troubleshoot sometimes. Either a visit to the dealer, muffler shop or troubleshooting at home can determine damaged catcons. One of the easiest methods for home troubleshooting would be removing O2 sensors upstream of the catcon for a LOUD drive; engine power suddenly improving from the alternate exhaust holes implies a blocked/partially damaged catcon. Blocking exhaust flow randomly with floating parts of damaged cat guts makes diagnosing failed catcons difficult.

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Old 04-12-2014, 03:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

Just one more quick question. Should the piece on the inside of the catcon move around freely or should they be stationary?

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Old 04-12-2014, 03:54 PM   #5
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

They're supposed to be fixed in place. Google pics of new catcons and damaged ones. Some show light thru them from design to allow free air flow thru without restricting exhaust flow. Using some imagination, a constipated (blocked) exhaust system that won't allow free exhaust flow will cause the engine to react in many strange ways.

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Old 04-12-2014, 07:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

ok. I'm going to order a new catcon a replace just for that and hopefully it'll fix my problem all together. I'll update when I replace it whether goo or bad. Thanks.

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Old 04-12-2014, 08:48 PM   #7
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

Some here, in the S-series forums, can disconnect their O2 sensor for a loud drive and determine whether or not a blocked catcon exists - engine power suddenly coming back with an alternate exhaust hole. If you can run the engine with the catcon disconnected (loud exhaust) and drive around the block, you may be able to notice any dramatic improvement or nothing. This can save you from buying a catcon that isn't damaged.

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Old 04-13-2014, 09:04 AM   #8
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2009 Outlook XE
Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

I did start my car when I had the catcon out but didn't drive it around. Wasn't sure how that "unguided" exhaust would do in my engine bay. After looking at Eastern Catalytics website for troubleshooting, they said look at the scanner and check the O2 sensors before and after the catcons. They said the upstream should fluctuate quite a bit and the downstream should be fairly even. My bank 2 performed in this manner but my bank 1 didn't, they both jumped around pretty good.

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Old 04-13-2014, 12:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

A parts place that gives technical advice to help the DIYer? Cool!

And the advice is correct. The pre-cat O2 sensor's output voltage fluctuates after heating up, varying output between 0-1000 MV or 0.0v-1.0v. Some readers may not be able to display quick reacting O2 sensor as they switch voltage levels. The post cat O2 sensor outputs a steady voltage in reference to catcon productivity/efficiency. Your reader seems to be pointing to the catcon (presuming both sensors aren't faulty).

For clarification, which engine is yours?

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Old 04-13-2014, 12:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

be advised that a converter that the bed has broken up on flows the debris downstream to the muffler/resonaters and also causes a restiction...you MAY have to replace more exhaust componants.. i advise replace the cat..if its good leave it if it still feels sluggish replace the rest...

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Old 04-16-2014, 07:44 PM   #11
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2009 Outlook XE
Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

Well after replacing the catcon, I'm still having issues but this time it won't go above 20. I drove it around my neighborhood a few times trying to get a light, but it never showed up. I downloaded the system again to check my O2 sensors to make sure they worked like they're supposed to after replacing the catcon, and they all do now. I noticed that I got a P0102, MAF sensor low voltage, although I never got a check engine light. I guess this will be my next part to change. Any input on this?

If I replace the MAF sensor, and air filter for good measure, and it doesn't fix it; I'll be limping it to the dealer for them to re-diagnose it for me and look into the next thing. Let me know what you guys think.

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Old 04-16-2014, 09:38 PM   #12
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2009 Outlook XE
Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

Update:

I replaced the air filter and cleaned the MAF sensor. It didn't completely fix it but it seemed to have gotten better. I think replacing the sensor will fix it. Anything else I should try before replacing the MAF sensor?

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Old 04-16-2014, 09:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

i already told you ,or you skipped it.. when the cat bed breaks up the broken parts flow into the muffler and plug it up as well. drop the exhaust off and go for a drive .. bet it works then and the maf code goes away..the maf is seeing air go in but not enough. cuz the exhaust is still restricted..

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Old 04-18-2014, 05:04 PM   #14
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2009 Outlook XE
Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

satlite440 you were absolutely right. Not sure how I missed/ overlooked your post, but I disconnected the pipe between the flex pipe and the exhaust line catcon and drove it around. It was loud but worked like it's supposed to. I took the catcon out and there was a lot of debris in it. I back flushed it with water and looked at the inner material and it looked fine. I reinstalled everything and it's running like a champ again. If it starts acting up again I'll probably just replace that catcon. Thanks again for telling me to look at your other post it saved me some more time and money.

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Old 04-18-2014, 05:48 PM   #15
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Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

If you don't mind, would you sum it all up as to what you found and the solution? Mileage and engine was never mentioned..........

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Old 04-19-2014, 11:47 AM   #16
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Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

Certainly. First it's an 09 Saturn Outlook XE 3.6 engine and is at 91,400 right now. My vehicle wouldn't get up to speed, meaning when I pressed the gas the RPMs wouldn't go above approx 2k and the car itself wouldn't go above about 25 mph. I checked my O2 sensors for bank 1 for any fluctuation to test my catalytic converter and it checked it bad. I replaced the bank 1 (closest to firewall) catcon and was still having issues. After taking satlite's advice I checked the catcon down the exhaust pipe for debris. I dumped out the catcon and it had all the broken pieces from the other catcon. I also back flushed it with water to get anything else embedded in it out and reinstalled everything. Car works like a champ again.

Any other question feel free to ask. This site is perfect for advice and help on any Saturn issues you are having. I hope this helps someone else down the road.

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Old 04-20-2014, 04:22 PM   #17
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Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

Update:

I was driving to Columbia and realized the vehicle has issues keeping/ gaining speed on hills. Looks like I will be replacing the catcon under the passenger side of the car. Will post with more updates.

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Old 04-27-2014, 07:49 PM   #18
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Default Re: Vehicle won't get up to speed. No codes.

Last Update, hopefully:

replaced the catcon under the passenger side before the muffler and went on vacation to Georgia. Didn't have as many hills but when driving up overpasses the cruise control kicked in and got the vehicle back up to speed while on the incline. I think it's safe to say that everything is now back to working exactly how it's supposed to again.

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