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Old 10-15-2007, 02:40 PM   #1
weisserguy
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Default Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

I searched the forums and didn't find a thread similar to my problem, sorry.

My girlfriends 97 SL1 A/T with w/ <80,000 miles on it has been having a stumbling/hesitation problem. She's reported to me that during idle, accel. and constant speed driving, the car stumbles and there's a loss in power. I've driven the car 3 times since the problem, and only on the last drive did it do what she says it does (the problem has been intermittent with her to). Sometimes the SES comes on, stays steady and then flashes, and repeats. Also, the rpm's drop a few hundred revs at idle, and it feels like a slight lurch.

Over the weekend I cleaned the EGR valve and gasket and replaced the ECTS. It seemed to work for a while but the problem persists.

What could be going on here? Sorry, I don't have any codes. Is there away to read the codes without a scanner tool? Any help would be much appreciated.

Last edited by weisserguy; 10-15-2007 at 02:43 PM. Reason: added more info
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

The cheapest and free thing to do is check for a clogged cat. Take off the fron O2 sensor and go for a drive. If that solves the issue then you have a clogged cat. Also have you checked the plugs, wires, and coils to make sure they are all still good?
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

Just got in from checking the plugs. The plugs were fine, I had replaced them 6k miles ago, but still showed no signs of abnormal wear. The wires looked good too as I replaced them the same time as the plugs. I guess I'll try the clogged cat test.

Thanks for the quick reply! Any other opinions are welcome too!
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

I just did 2 test drives. The first with the front 02 sensor removed. This run went fine, I think I felt a little stumbling but not bad.

I put the o2 sensor back in to do a comparison test. The car drove perfectly, no stumble whatsoever.

Is there a more direct method of checking the cat, without removing it?
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Old 10-15-2007, 05:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

Stop off at an autoparts store that will loan a OBD II scanner so that you can get the codes stored when the check engine light went on. That will give you a good idea what is going on. Don't be surprised it is a code 32 for the EGR.

Question must be asked... have you changed the ECTS?

And I hope you didn't put platinum plugs in the Saturn 6k ago because that is about the time it takes for the Saturn to start acting up with them.
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Old 10-15-2007, 05:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

Yes, the ECTS has been changed and the EGR cleaned. Thats why I'm posting. I also put in standard plugs, just copper i believe.
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Old 10-15-2007, 05:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

Ok.. read all of the posts... the codes will get on the right road.
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Old 10-15-2007, 06:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by yazhere View Post
Don't be surprised it is a code 32 for the EGR.
I'd be shocked if it were a 32, since it's OBD-II.

Translation for the OP - you can't get the code yourself like you could with an older (up to '95) car. You have to get it read, as mentioned above, or buy/borrow a reader/scanner.
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Old 10-15-2007, 08:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

OK...i rented an OBDII scanner and it read P0303 (cylinder 3 misfire). So basically, I still know nothing. I guess the sputtering/hesitation is an intermittent misfire of cylinder 3?

How do I go about fixing this? Since the plugs and wires look fine, how do I check the coil?
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

Go back to basics. Pull the spark plug and see what it looks like. Check the connections to the plug and where the wire connects to the ignition coil. Corrosion?

If all looks good.. I recommend a compression test on all the cylinders with an eye ball on #3.
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Old 10-15-2007, 10:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

Can a cylinder loose enough compression to cause a misfire in less than a week? The car was running great until last Thursday, then this started happening.

BTW, there is no corrosion on the plugs or the coil contact. I just ran the motor and there wasn't any arcing from wire to wire or any other place, although the motor ran smoothly.
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Old 10-16-2007, 12:34 AM   #12
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

You should probably do a compression check.

It might not be able to go from perfect to misfire in only a week, but if something is failing, it's going to reach the point where it actually does fail at some point.

That point might be some time during the past week.
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:10 PM   #13
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

I was just thinking about it and wouldn't a misfire caused by poor cyclinder compression be a fairly constant thing?
I can drive for 30 min. and the car runs perfect. When I finish what I'm doing, 5 min into the drive home, its stumbling again. When it does stumble, its only for a few revs, and then its normal again for a few revs, and it repeats.
It may be just me, but it seems that poor compression would cause a constant misfire.
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:38 PM   #14
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

Maybe it is only on occasion you feel a stumble yet the car is running on 3 cylinders.

Get a compression test done. Real easy. Post the numbers back here.

None of the cylinders should be below 180..

If you need a little homework, search "code P0303 " and see what is there.

Good Luck !!
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:41 PM   #15
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by weisserguy View Post
I was just thinking about it and wouldn't a misfire caused by poor cyclinder compression be a fairly constant thing?
I believe so, but as yazhere says, check it anyways. At least if that's not the problem, you'll know it's not the problem and look elsewhere.
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

We are hoping its a clogged injector, a bad module or coil, or even a fuel issue maybe with the regulator but get a compression test done so the checklist can be done in some kind of organized manner.
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Old 10-24-2007, 05:30 PM   #17
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

I havn't been able to do a compression test yet. But, the car ran perfect all last week (for a total of 6 days w/o a problem), not a single stumble, but it started again on monday and has been progressively worse to today. Last night I replaced the fuel filter and there was an immediate change in driving characterisitics. There was more power, the motor ran smoothly, and most importantly, the stumble went away. Lo and behold, it came back once again this morning. What do you guys think? Clogged injector? I was going to pull them tonight and take them in for a full service/cleaning tomorrow.
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Old 10-24-2007, 06:27 PM   #18
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

OK guys. Someone forgot to mention that a clogged PCV valve may exhibit the same characteristics. Real easy to check. Make sure it does not have built up crud in it. If it does, either clean it with carb cleaner or get a new one.
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Old 10-24-2007, 06:31 PM   #19
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

Wow...I completely forgot about the PCV valve. Anyone know where it is? I'm not at home to get under the hood and find it.
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Old 10-24-2007, 06:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: Yet another hesitation/stumble thread

it is right on the valve cover and it is held by a rubber grommet on the valve cover.
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