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Old 04-22-2013, 01:10 AM   #1
Petek
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1995 SC1
Default Running rich but no CEL?

Hello All, i have a 95 sc1 5spd sohc with 188000kms on it. the car has never thrown a CEL but when i bought it a few months ago, the thermostat was shot, the plugs were so fouled out that the cyl 2 and 3 plugs were completely covered in carbon that the electrode was not even visible. the car would hardly pull after 4000rpm, and it would miss and stumble horribly. since i bought it, ive replaced, plugs , plug wires, air filter, thermostat, the 2 wire coolant temp sensor, the pcv valve and it has fresh coolant. the fuel mileage went from 32 mpg pre tune up to 37 mpg. my car is driven 100kms (60 miles) a day mostly highway.

The thing is, it runs great but still has a little miss to it at idle here and there, and it kind of feels clogged up. i was thinking that since the previous owner only drove it a short distance to work and back through the city and the fact that the thermostat was shot so it could never warmed up, that my o2 sensor would be extremely dirty or that the cat was clogged or both. the car failed etest twice last week because the HC's were over the limit on idle, not bad but bad enough to fail. i got the car to pass by running the car almost out of fuel and adding 4 liters of 99% pure methyl hydrate.


my questions are 1) shouldnt a bad o2 sensor cause a check engine light?
2) since i dont need to pass an etest for another 2 years would there be a problem gutting the cat? or replacing it with a straight pipe?
3) is there anything else i should be looking at?

the muffler on the car is original or still says saturn on it, but the front flex pipe has been replaced, im assuming that the cat is original or is very old. thanks for your help.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:50 AM   #2
enginebrake
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Default Re: Running rich but no CEL?

Replacing plugs and air filter for example covered your basic tune-up needs but since you also did your coolant temp sensor and thermostat, you corrected any problems you would typically get with fuel mixture AFTER the car is warmed up. On more modern OBDII cars, yes, an O2 sensor would throw codes for being lazy, not having the heater circuit connected or not working. On early ones you might or might not get it. Either check the sensor or outright replace it to rule it out before proceeding. Gutting the cat or straight piping the exhaust will not cure the excess fuel consumption and you will still have to change plugs down the road so stick to getting the engine to work the way it is supposed to.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Running rich but no CEL?

Exhaust leaks can cause it to run a little rich without tripping a code.
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Running rich but no CEL?

Failing Canadian emissions were a combination of; faulty coolant sensor, old t-stat, short trip driving, and possibly the previous owner removing the SES bulb to ignore the error code(s) stored. Repairing/replacing necessary items eliminated most if not all issues. What you need to do is to ensure the SES light turns on during the lamp tests at ignition ON time when all the instrument panel lights turn on. If you never see this light turn on then remove the i/p and replace the burned out/missing lamp. Once this is done then move on but don't jump to conclusions.
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Running rich but no CEL?

Quote:
Originally Posted by enginebrake View Post
Replacing plugs and air filter for example covered your basic tune-up needs but since you also did your coolant temp sensor and thermostat, you corrected any problems you would typically get with fuel mixture AFTER the car is warmed up. On more modern OBDII cars, yes, an O2 sensor would throw codes for being lazy, not having the heater circuit connected or not working. On early ones you might or might not get it. Either check the sensor or outright replace it to rule it out before proceeding. Gutting the cat or straight piping the exhaust will not cure the excess fuel consumption and you will still have to change plugs down the road so stick to getting the engine to work the way it is supposed to.
what if i replaced the 02 sensor and ditched the cat for a while?. i know some obd1 cars benefit from it while it seems to throw others off.
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Old 04-22-2013, 03:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Running rich but no CEL?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Failing Canadian emissions were a combination of; faulty coolant sensor, old t-stat, short trip driving, and possibly the previous owner removing the SES bulb to ignore the error code(s) stored. Repairing/replacing necessary items eliminated most if not all issues. What you need to do is to ensure the SES light turns on during the lamp tests at ignition ON time when all the instrument panel lights turn on. If you never see this light turn on then remove the i/p and replace the burned out/missing lamp. Once this is done then move on but don't jump to conclusions.
Sorry i didnt mean to ignore this post, i just didnt see it. I replaced everything all in on shot almost a month before my etest. also had the battery unplugged for a whole weekend while i fixed the broken sway bar issue. so the computer should have been cleared. Before my first e etest i got the car nice and warm before testing and it barely failed on the idle test. 225 HC limit is 200. After failing i took it out for a really hard drive, the cat was so hot you could hear it popping. it failed worse with a 247 on the idle test, however on the 2500 rpm is was way better (didnt matter it passed on the 2500 rpm test to begin with). like i said i got it to pass running methyl hydrate.

But what you say about my check engine light could be true, when i first got the car it was running so horribly that it would have had to throw a check engine light, but it never did. cyl 2 and 3 plugs were so fouled the electrodes were completely covered in crud, and i hardly doubt they would be firing. on a side note, i read somewhere that all sc1's have shift up lights?? ive never seen that go off either. ill look into this. thanks for the replys.
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Running rich but no CEL?

Do the free, easy, and cheap fixes first to eliminate new ownership problems with a neglected car. Ignore the upshift light if you know how to shift; its there for anyone oblivious to fuel economy driving and unfamiliar with rowing a stick.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Running rich but no CEL?

LOL dont worry im not losing sleep over my shift light, I was just wondering if it could be connected to the no check engine light problem. I did check on my way to work though, andwith my ignition on but no start I get a service engine soon light on the top left.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Running rich but no CEL?

Each car performs its own emissions self tests every time the engine is started, car driven. As long as the SES light is OFF and wasn't reset manually, the car passes its own emissions test. Here in the USA, all but a few states comply with federal EPA guidelines for vehicle emissions. States like California went beyond and impose their state emissions regulations to subvert federal guidelines, effectively forcing older cars off the roads sooner than in states not requiring emissions inspection like Michigan!? From one extreme to the other. Canada has its own emissions regulations. NYS abides by federal emissions so all I have to do is see the SES light stay off prior to yearly emissions tests and 99.99999% of the time my car passes. The 'idiot' light tells me all I need to know without guessing. Its when an SES light occurs is where I plug in a reader to pull codes and do things; replace one O2 sensor, t-stat, and crank sensor (no light/random dead engine symptoms).

OBD I/OBD II is the USA's version of emissions self tests done on every car on engine start up/run/drive/shutdown. Tail pipe exhaust sniffing is additional testing and not a requirement in either OBD I or OBD II emissions self tests. NYS did use tail pipe sniffing prior to OBD II and now doesn't use it. OBD II emissions self tests perform all the emissions testing to comply with USA federal EPA emissions guidelines. A mouthful to say the least...................
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:08 AM   #10
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Default Re: Running rich but no CEL?

Not familiar with the situation in Canada, but at least in the non-California parts of the US, the '95 was OBDI, and would not set a CEL for many emissions-related issues; e.g., it did not check to see whether or not the catcon is working. Thus the use of the tail pipe sniffer for emissions tests where they are required.

For '96 and newer, the emissions tests tipically rely on the OBDII connection reports coupled with some physical examinations, and in those cases the CEL is a good indication that something is wrong and needs correction before inspection.
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