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Old 12-21-2005, 11:03 PM   #1
copyaid
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Dizzy 97 sl1 running rough

I have a new to me 97 sl1 thats running really rough. I'm hoping someone out there can give me a hand. Sometimes it starts up fine. But most of the time it really stutters like it's going to die out and lets out a big cloud of exhaust. Yesterday, it did die out twice. Don't know what kind of maintenance the previous owner did on it. We had it serviced at speedie lube, changed oil etc. Ran a bottle of fuel injector cleaner. Then at the next fill ran a bottle with techron. No improvement. Gas mileage has become very poor. Don't know when the spark plugs were last changed. Then owner's manual is missing so I don't know what are the proper plugs and wires. I noticed that the coolant temp gauge is not working. The needle doesn't move off of cold, would that be the thermostat? And if so does anyone have the part #'s? Cold weather is not a factor here (live in Hawaii), and the nearest Saturn dealer is on another island. I would appreciate any suggestions!
Thanks
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Old 12-21-2005, 11:13 PM   #2
DarrylLeeOHS30
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1998 SL2
2001 SL2
Default Re: 97 sl1 running rough

Quote:
Originally Posted by copyaid
I have a new to me 97 sl1 thats running really rough. I'm hoping someone out there can give me a hand. Sometimes it starts up fine. But most of the time it really stutters like it's going to die out and lets out a big cloud of exhaust. Yesterday, it did die out twice. Don't know what kind of maintenance the previous owner did on it. We had it serviced at speedie lube, changed oil etc. Ran a bottle of fuel injector cleaner. Then at the next fill ran a bottle with techron. No improvement. Gas mileage has become very poor. Don't know when the spark plugs were last changed. Then owner's manual is missing so I don't know what are the proper plugs and wires. I noticed that the coolant temp gauge is not working. The needle doesn't move off of cold, would that be the thermostat? And if so does anyone have the part #'s? Cold weather is not a factor here (live in Hawaii), and the nearest Saturn dealer is on another island. I would appreciate any suggestions!
Thanks
First and foremost, the ECTS needs changed in this car if it hasn't been already. It does need to come from the dealer, as the aftermarket ECTS' are made of plastic and will break, and the dealer (OEM) piece is made of brass. All pre 2001 Saturn S-series have the plastic ECTS which will eventually have to be changed. This is more than likely what's causing the temp. hand to mess up.

Second, plugs...you need to be running NGK's or AC Delco's are the most popular ones i've heard talked about on here. No bosch plat's i have heard those can make it run bad.

Third, I'm not sure what plug wires are best but you can't go wrong with OEM, call the dealer and see if they can be shipped. If they can't some people on here can give you a website that ships OEM parts to you at a discounted price.

Hope it helps
...
-Darryl
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Old 12-21-2005, 11:16 PM   #3
WingsOfSaturn
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1998 SL2
1995 SL2
Default Re: 97 sl1 running rough

First thing you probably need is the newer ECTS and your ECTS connector is probably shot too. Check out the How-To Library. Easy to change and a good place to start in correcting problems. OEM parts can be ordered via saturnparts.net or saturnparts.com, which ever is cheaper. Also pick up a Haynes manual, it will help out a lot.
...
"When you stop to fill up on oil, don't forget to check the gas"
98 SL2 MT 213K+ Daily Driver 38+ mpg
97 SL2 AT 150K Original Owner
95 SL2 MT 220K+
My Saturns have BRASS ones!
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Old 12-21-2005, 11:17 PM   #4
thebidsnyper
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Default Re: 97 sl1 running rough

Hello! If you have never replaced your spark plugs, you might want to do that on a 97. It's cheap and easy. Let me know if you don't know how to do it. Don't buy the Platinum plugs.

Does your car have these problems mostly at low rpms and in lower temperatures? If so, even before I replaced the plugs, I would do the following:

1/ Walk into a saturn dealership and tell them you need a Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor (ECTS). It should cost around $20.
2/ Do a search on this site for detailed ECTS replacement procedures. I know I've seen good pictures on this site (and I used them to do the same thing on my car).
3/ Follow those instructions to replace your cracked resin (1997 model) with a brass sensor.

If that doesn't work, and I think it will, check the connector for green goo and replace the connector too. Then do another search on this site because there are a few other less likely causes like vacuum links intake sensor problems, etc.

Merry Christmas!
Bryan
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Old 12-21-2005, 11:18 PM   #5
Razorbak
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1996 SL2
Default Re: 97 sl1 running rough

Quote:
Originally Posted by copyaid
Then owner's manual is missing
You can buy a replacement owners manual for your car on eBay...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1997-...23190248QQrdZ1
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