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Old 11-27-2019, 06:47 AM   #1
Streetguru
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Default 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

How hard is it for a 97 SL2 to pass CA smog? Has about 100K miles on it, got it for free basically, out of state transfer for new york from a family friend.

Registration has lapsed, and I don't have the title until it passes CA smog apparently. Car runs fine otherwise.

He said I needed to replace a sensor on it, codes were cleared though. already changed the spark plugs.

Going to replace the O2 sensor($20) and the EGR sensor/Valve($20), and air filter($10), then get all of the fluids swapped, As it goes through the drive cycle/reset period before we can smog it again, just making a bet/trying to help it pass in any way possible. Just have access to a basic OBD code reader, so we'll see what happens after those swaps.

Is there anything else obvious I should look for assuming it's not an expensive fix, since it wouldn't be worth it, like just spraying some seafoam somewhere to clean out something related to a smog test? Or is the car in general just hard to pass CA smog with?

Anything wrong with these replacements, any other cheap filters or something I can replace as well? Thanks. Coolant Sensor is much deep in the engine, seems like a pain.
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

I would suggest you replace the PCV, which is really cheap, and also replace the spark plug wires.

My 1998 SL2, for the first time, failed CA smog this year at 218,075 miles. The car failed the HC (PPM) emission test so my mechanic changed the plugs and wires using Napa wires (blue) and NGK spark plugs (he also did some cleaning of the area) which allowed my car to pass the second CA smog.

The failing measurement was 71 - HHC at 15 MPH - and reduced to 54 just after changing the plugs and wires. The max allowed is 66.

All the sensors/parts you mentioned had already been replaced over the last 18 months. I also tend to buy OEM parts, when possible, though.

...
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Last edited by focusofheart; 11-27-2019 at 11:52 AM..

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Old 11-29-2019, 03:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

Found the codes we had before changing the spark plugs and wiped it, some other threads on here mentioned coils and ignition as the cause for the codes.


P0341/P0341 P
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Old 11-30-2019, 03:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

Just an FYI, in the future if you feel the need to post new threads, post in the S-series Tech forums where most members hang out. More members, more shared experiences, etc. You'll find a wealth of free info to keep your car going.

The S-series never had cam sensors so the error code was decided by GM to be the best definition of a general ignition system fault; ignition coils, plugs and plug wires. Other vehicles with a real cam sensor failure will generate the same error code to point to the sensor and its wiring.

In general, if the check engine light is off and remains off after several days of driving, this means the car ran its own emissions self tests without issues. Under federal EPA guidelines your car meets emissions requirements. Whether it meets your state emissions standards has yet to be determined. As long as the check engine light remains off, the car is federal qualified. You won't know if it meets California emissions until taking it in for smog check. A paper record will show emissions.

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Old 11-30-2019, 11:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
The S-series never had cam sensors so the error code was decided by GM to be the best definition of a general ignition system fault; ignition coils, plugs and plug wires. Other vehicles with a real cam sensor failure will generate the same error code to point to the sensor and its wiring.
Ordered the stuff to clean it, so hopefully that was the only issue.

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Old 12-08-2019, 11:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Streetguru View Post
Ordered the stuff to clean it, so hopefully that was the only issue.
Finally got around to cleaning it, probably should have gotten some rust remover specific stuff, but I also have a dremel anyways.

Would I have any issues passing CA smog with an aftermarket coil? Whoever worked on it last seems to have just gotten the car up and running basically. It's missing a ground point, but I don't think one ground point should matter much?

Still have a lot of scrubbing to do.

The bolts are also pretty rusty, is there anywhere I can just get cheap brand new bolts for it? Seems to be a fairly tight fit so I doubt I could just rig something up. Only place online has no actual images of the bolts and wants $4 each + Shipping. Going to attempt to clean all of the rust off the bottom anyways.
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Old 12-09-2019, 04:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

Are you aware that your ignition system are three parts, two ignition coils and one ignition control module the two coils plug onto? It may not be necessary to replace corroded bolts when wire brushing can remove corrosion. The bolts ground the ignition control module and coils to the engine block. Engine block and chassis are two main ground points to the battery. A light coating of oil or grease on bolts can keep corrosion away.

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Old 12-11-2019, 02:46 AM   #8
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Streetguru View Post
...Would I have any issues passing CA smog with an aftermarket coil? Whoever worked on it last seems to have just gotten the car up and running basically...
With regard to the installation of an aftermarket coil the answer is no. CA smog rules deal harshly with altered ignition and emission systems, but not ones that are maintained in a factory-like installed state. You have no cause to be concerned about failing a smog test here for that reason alone if the ignition coil was taking the place of the original one in form, fit, and performance.

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Old 12-11-2019, 02:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

If your P0341 code hasn't come back, you fixed it. If it does come back, try new wires like focusofheart mentioned. 1 & 4 should run parallel most of their length - the car came with wire looms to hold the spark plug wires but those get lost a lot.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Streetguru View Post
The bolts are also pretty rusty, is there anywhere I can just get cheap brand new bolts for it?
You live in state with almost no rust concerns. If you want cheap, you should be able to hit a junkyard and pull nice bolts. Not new, but next best thing.

Quote:
Coolant Sensor is much deep in the engine, seems like a pain.
It really isn't that deep. Since you are changing the EGR, you are literally inches away from it.

This picture shows the location - under the EGR mount.
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...closer/cat/500

That said, these cars have been around long enough that surviving cars most likely have had the ECTS replaced by now. Look for heat-shrink or electrical tape on the wires - that indicates the connector has already been replaced. 13m deep socket and don't overtighten when installing (pipe thread so some threads will be exposed when it is fully installed - that confused me at first)

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Old 12-16-2019, 03:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
If your P0341 code hasn't come back, you fixed it. If it does come back, try new wires like focusofheart mentioned. 1 & 4 should run parallel most of their length - the car came with wire looms to hold the spark plug wires but those get lost a lot.
The Spark Plugs and Spark Plug Wires are all brand new, unless maybe the wrong type would throw out the code? But they had checked the VIN at the parts store.

After scrubbing everything down, I don't think it's an issue with the grounding, the code went away the first time I put everything together, but by the next day "service engine soon" came back with the same code, so we wiped it again and need to drive cycle it at some point. The car does start up immediately now though. Suppose it might go away after the computer cycles with everything cleaned up now?

Both codes were "P0341 P" last time didn't have a P on 01/02 , not sure what the difference might be, unless I just need to replace the ignition coil thing entirely with OEM parts, haven't changed anything else out as we're just trying to get rid of the codes, the air filter seems fine.

24 hours in evaporust cleaned up the bolts nicely. Car is from the northeast so there's a decent amount of corrosion on it. 100K miles if I hadn't mentioned that before.
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:11 PM   #11
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
... It really isn't that deep. Since you are changing the EGR, you are literally inches away from it.

This picture shows the location - under the EGR mount.
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...closer/cat/500
I was able to change out my ETCS easily when I cleaned the EGR.

I did place a rag under the sensor to catch any coolant that seeped out and also sprayed the electrical connection.

It is one of the few engine things I have been able to do all by myself.

...
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Old 12-21-2019, 03:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

Next step I guess is buying a wholly OEM ignition coil thing, even though the car seems to run fine with the current one.

Guessing that's what it needs to remove the codes? Seems they're around $100, but at least the old bolts are clean now.

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Old 12-21-2019, 05:01 PM   #13
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

The 'P' after P0341 may mean pending. All error codes consists of one letter followed by four digits like P03431. What you haven't stated yet is whether or not P0341 is still displayed by itself without the extra 'P' added to the side. And more importantly, is the check engine light on or off?

If P0341 is gone and the cel is off, you should be set for emissions inspection. If P0341 with 'P' is displayed then this may mean you'll have to drive the car a few days for the emissions self tests to run everything and doesn't see P03431 return before extinguishing P0341 P. Your reader may be the type to display the extra 'P' instead of displaying it another way to inform you of not completing the self tests before going to inspection. Most inspections will not pass of they see a pending code as this means the same as explained, the self tests haven't completed yet and still needs some mileage before the lending code goes away. Technically, 50 miles are needed in local, highway and in between to cover every speed and stops for the self tests to determine if everything is fine and passes emissions. Pending codes does not mean the error is still there. It went away when the correct repair was made and the next engine startup resulted in the on board diagnostic self tests determined the repair was correct and turns off the cel but may store a pending code. This means the full emissions self tests haven't completed to satisfy all the parameters to meet emissions requirements. Some errors are erased immediately without a pending code while other error codes kick a pending code requiring the car driven for a few days. When these codes are fixed, don't try any battery or reader reset button as this sets you back farther than where you are now. Any battery disconnect or pushbutton reset from reader resets all emissions parameters back to factory default as if the car just rolled off the assembly line. The car now needs to be driven the full 50 miles in every situation so the on board emissions tests record all the parameters. A new car will pass its own emissions self tests easily but vehicles out of warranty with lots of mileage and little maintenance may not pass all the self tests and take a little longer. Under normal circumstances, a vehicle kept up with maintenance will fulfill all emissions parameters by not having the cel on with zero pending error codes.

Emissions stations see the same data you see but are more trained to know who just reset their error codes and tries to get by inspections. A reader for diyers is the best tool to have to know whether or not a vehicle is ready for emissions inspection or not. No one has to visit an inspection station to find out anything. A reader can prepare anyone before appearing for inspection. Knowing how to read and interpret reader displays helps too.

Last edited by fdryer; 12-21-2019 at 05:08 PM..

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Old 12-21-2019, 05:31 PM   #14
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
The 'P' after P0341 may mean pending. All error codes consists of one letter followed by four digits like P03431. What you haven't stated yet is whether or not P0341 is still displayed by itself without the extra 'P' added to the side. And more importantly, is the check engine light on or off?
Before I cleaned it, it read P0341 / P0341 P

now it reads
P0341 P / P0341P

Or whatever the codes in the images are, the Service Engine Soon light is currently on when the car is running. Check Engine Light was on before as well before changing the spark plugs.

So we'll drive it around, change the oils, then see what happens, thanks.

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Old 12-21-2019, 06:47 PM   #15
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? Sensor replacements

What's important is the check engine light comes first, the error code displayed second and fixing the problem to extinguish the cel on its own.

So far, the cel remains on with P0341 camshaft position error that doesn't exist when its derived from various parts of the ignition system - spark plugs, ignition coils and spark plug wires.

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Old 01-18-2020, 08:52 PM   #16
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Default Re: 97 SL2, passing CA smog? [fixed/passed]

Finally got it fixed and passed CA smog, needed to replace/clean the ignition coil module thing(s) with OEM parts, ones that I got with it were aftermarket. Dunno why it must be so picky.

Kept and cleaned the plate that came with the car, just changed out the bits that run the spark plugs.

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