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Old 03-12-2017, 03:50 PM   #1
GnilradLeahcim
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2002 SL2
Default Help ECTS, rough/fast idle, throttle body, 2002 SL2

I have a 2002 SL2 (which nobody else on the planet seems to have) and ever since I got the thing there's been nothing but problems. Started with car would drive fine, and sometimes when I put the car in park or neutral, engine would race rpm's up to 2000. Several months go by, I replace the TPS (throttle position sensor) fixes the problem completely for two weeks, then back to engine racing. Also, every time I brake for a stop sign/light, as the car is shifting down to (probably) first gear (it's an automatic) the engine revs from 1100 to about 2000 really quick and right back down before the car will stop. When sitting and I let off the gas, the car will go by itself (even uphill) at about 10 mph.

After some research I decided the throttle body had to be cleaned, so I went out, took the main air hose off, played with it a little, put it back the way it was, and for the first time in months I could put the car in park no problem, but in park the rpms would change from 6-900 very randomly. During this time, I felt jerking and random surging when going 50 ish. After about 2 weeks, can't put in park again....

Respected the same process of playing with throttle body, nothing happened. I bought throttle body cleaner, cleaned as best I could without taking it off (had no gasket) nothing changed. I should mention, before me playing with the TB, I could turn the car off and emmidiately back on, and the idle would return to normal (1000). If I stayed under 35, I could put it in park every time. Now when I turn the car on, engine emmidiateoy climbs up 2000 and keeps going unless I shift to drive and hold the brake.(can't even warm the car up).

Service engine soon light randomly goes on and off daily.

Cleaned the egr. Went and bought iac (idle air control) MAP sensor , ECTS (engine coolant temp sensor) thermostat. I can see the ects connector and the wires, but a roughly 2 inch diameter hose connected to the engine is in the way, and a small bracket holding spark plugs are attached it to. I can see virtually no way of reaching my hand in to squeeze the plastic, and no way of getting a ratchet in there. Any help would be appreciated.

I included all the background info in case anybody would think of some magical solution I'm not seeing. Could it possibly be a leak in the gasket of the throttle body?

Regardless what I'm looking for is a solution to replacing the ECTS sensor. He only mechanic in the area that would use a customers parts is completely untrustworthy.

Also, temp. Gauge does not go above 1/4 no matter how long the car is running, but I have no idea how to remove the act compressor to get to the thermostat
Thank you!

(Oil changed frequently, all fluids good, recently replaced fuel injection line)

Last edited by GnilradLeahcim; 03-12-2017 at 03:52 PM.. Reason: Forgot information

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Old 03-12-2017, 04:27 PM   #2
fdryer
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Default Re: Help ECTS, rough/fast idle, throttle body, 2002 SL2

Your '02 SL2 should have the correct brass coolant sensor. Every Saturn from '91-'01 have the infamous round nosed plastic sensor that fails and sends incorrect temperature signals creating hard starting, flooded engines, high idling, poor fuel mileage, erratic xmission shifts, etc.. Search threads for images of the two coolant sensors. Presuming yours is the brass one, the next likely problem is a worn out thermostat. Good coolant sensors will display accurate temps. Plug in a reader that displays client put coolant temperatures when the engine is cold, to reflect outside temps after an overnight cool down, and after a full warm up. Normal operating temps will be between 185F-205F, cooler for a worn out t-stat.

Gauge needle should be between 1/4-1/2.

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Old 03-12-2017, 04:55 PM   #3
GnilradLeahcim
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Help ECTS, rough/fast idle, throttle body, 2002 SL2

The new ects I ordered is the brass one. I assume the one in the car now is the original crappy one that it likely cracked. My problem is I don't see how anybody could reach the sensor with the hose and spark plugs in the way, and the egr right above.

And as I said, I see no way of getting even close to the thermostat without tearing half the car apart.

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Old 03-12-2017, 05:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Help ECTS, rough/fast idle, throttle body, 2002 SL2

Welcome to Saturnfans GnilradLeahcim!

Interesting name, GnilradLeahcim. Some thing out of Scottish Gaelic perhaps?

Admittedly, there is not a lot of room unless you take off the air snorkel by removing the hose clamps at both ends, then, if you still cannot reach it easily, take off the top battery clamp (if it is still there) and then disconnect and remove the battery.
This activity should not take you 10 minutes.

Do the following on a cold engine.

Then, pinch and remove the ECTS connector, examine the connector inside corrosion, and using a 1/4" socket drive (not a 3/8 or 1/2 so that you have inch pound control, not foot pound control) remove and replace the ECTS.
Most new ones have thread sealer on them already, if not, use PTFE tape.
Insert & thread it in c a r e f u l l y so as to not strip out the aluminum threads. Tighten carefully, Do Not attempt to 'just give it one more crank' or else y'all might easily feel, hear, see a cracked off ECTS....spelling trouble with a large "T".

There will only be a small amount of coolant that leaks out.

PS. If the connector is corroded, OR you see someone has already spliced into the wires and used anything other than a solder joint (ie, no twisted wires or wire nuts allowed) replace that connector and splice in with solder and shrink tube.

Last edited by toggenburg; 03-12-2017 at 05:43 PM..

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Old 03-12-2017, 07:27 PM   #5
billr
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Default Re: Help ECTS, rough/fast idle, throttle body, 2002 SL2

Live-data can save a whole lot of guessing and parts swapping, I suggest using it.

There is no need to touch the A/C compressor/bracket to get to the T-stat. Come in from underneath, remove the plastic air-dam/splash-shield and the T-stat housing is easy to see and get to.

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Old 03-13-2017, 10:58 AM   #6
alordofchaos
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1997 SL2
Default Re: Help ECTS, rough/fast idle, throttle body, 2002 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by GnilradLeahcim View Post
The new ects I ordered is the brass one. I assume the one in the car now is the original crappy one that it likely cracked
Saturn caught on to the problems with the ECTS and changed over, sometime in mid to late 2001, to the brass tipped sensors.

All 2002 Saturn S series have the good sensors, as fdryer mentioned (unless someone changed to a bad resin-tipped sensor for some reason)

Quote:
. My problem is I don't see how anybody could reach the sensor with the hose and spark plugs in the way, and the egr right above.
I did it the way toggenburg suggests, remove the air intake snorkel and the battery. You have a clear shot to the ECTS if you still want to replace it - pic

http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...closer/cat/500


Quote:
Interesting name, Gnilrad Leahcim. Some thing out of Scottish Gaelic perhaps?
Read it backwards

The new TPS may have gone bad, but the new symptoms don't quite sound right for TPS

I've removed the throttle body off my '98 around once a year for about 6~7 years, for cleaning, and only used a new gasket once. Seems to be fine to re-use.

Auto parts stores will pull the code for free (except California) - post up the code numbers here (letter "P" followed by three numbers, e.g., P0172), or search them)

Are there any aftermarket parts? When I bought my '02, it had one of those cone filter / CAI on it. Less obvious, it had an STS aftermarket throttle body. Wasn't until I took it off and saw the STS markings that I realized what it was. Replacing both with stock parts took care of my high idle issue.

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