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Old 12-12-2019, 04:42 PM   #1
DavidSL2
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Default New SL2 Owner, high idle speed-

So, new virtually "mint" SL2 owner here. I purchased a 1998 SL2/Auto with only 60K on the odometer but it is the year 2019 so there are a couple of issues. I'd like to know what defer and what to address right away.

Functional Issues:

1. Sometimes (not always) after driving I see a 2K idle, pushing/releasing the accelerator does not fix it but stopping the motor and restarting it does, it goes to the normal "low idle" (~1K) position.

2. Significant low idle vibration (it's my understanding I need new motor mounts, particularly the passenger top mount, possibly others, to fix this). Since GM mounts are no longer available which ones should I be ordering? Are DOHC mounts the same as SOHC mounts?

3. Rattle on startup/ cold low idle (it's my understanding I need to re-attach heat shields around the exhaust to fix this due to failing rivet joints), although definitely related to #2.

4. Transmission occasionally "hiccups" with 1-2 shifts at low speeds/uphill but works correctly in all other scenarios.

Non-Functional Issues:

It also needs a new headliner and set of visors. The ones in it are genuinely terrible.

There may be minor oil leaks. It was full when I got it but I definitely saw/smelled some leakage under the hood, not at all unusual for a car that has been sitting for so long.

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Old 12-12-2019, 05:03 PM   #2
alordofchaos
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1998 SL2
Default Re: New SL2 Owner, high idle speed-

Congrats on getting a nice, low mileage car.

Edit: I would do top engine mount first, transmission fluid second, TPS third, and exhaust last.

But frankly, they can all be done over a weekend for about $100 total or less with minimal hand tools.

Top mount is maybe an hour or two, if being ultra-careful the first time. Trans fluid, maybe an hour or two.

TPS, maybe an hour if you also remove and clean the throttle body. I think I left the throttle body on when I did mine. Probably 10 minutes or less for two screws and a couple electrical connectors (my '02 has the vertical TB so it took longer than it would on 98).

Exhaust, maybe a couple of hours? depends on how may rivets are broken, etc

edit 2: as a new owner, check out the sticky thread
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=177672

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidSL2 View Post
1. Sometimes (not always) after driving I see a 2K idle, pushing/releasing the accelerator does not fix it but stopping the motor and restarting it does, it goes to the normal "low idle" (~1K) position.
Classic Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) failure. It's mounted on the throttle body by a couple of screws, relatively cheap, too.

Note that after market TPS quality is hit and miss . . . when I replaced mine, it failed again within a month or two, returned it under warranty and has been fine for about a year now.

richpin has a great video showing throttle body removal and the two sensors attached to it
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc5qCuQLmFE


Quote:
2. Significant low idle vibration (it's my understanding I need new motor mounts, particularly the passenger top mount, possibly others, to fix this). Since GM mounts are no longer available which ones should I be ordering? Are DOHC mounts the same as SOHC mounts?
Pretty sure they are the same mounts. Look for solid (vs frownie) style. I have a picture - click the link under my user name


edit 3: Oh, yeah, richpin has a video for that, too
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaugUfILmGE
Quote:
3. Rattle on startup/ cold low idle (it's my understanding I need to re-attach heat shields around the exhaust to fix this due to failing rivet joints), although definitely related to #2.
Yep, you'll need to get under and take a look. Usually, I've seen the recommendation of drilling a hole and using a self tapping stainless screw with antiseize

Quote:
4. Transmission occasionally "hiccups" with 1-2 shifts at low speeds/uphill but works correctly in all other scenarios.
change the fluid and filter. Uses a cannister style external filter, located under the battery tray. Drain via bolt in the transmission case inboard, near driver side. There are pictures on saturnfans and in the owners manual.

edit 4: richpin, video, blah, blah blah
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEimWgEb65c

Quote:
Non-Functional Issues:

It also needs a new headliner and set of visors. The ones in it are genuinely terrible.
Many good threads on new headliner. I followed one for my first ever headliner job, looks great if I say so myself
Quote:
There may be minor oil leaks. It was full when I got it but I definitely saw/smelled some leakage under the hood, not at all unusual for a car that has been sitting for so long.
One of the more common spots is the plastic cam /valve cover, left rear (driver side towards firewall). Wipe it down, run engine briefly, and wipe again, checking for fresh oil.

Sometimes a new gasket will fix it (instructions also on this forum); sometimes you need a new cover. Using the aluminum cover from the early DOHC engines is a permanent fix - search for a thread started by Saturninin on the subject

another place to check is the oil drain plug. Gasket wears out, or wrong gasket is used, leaving very slow leaks.

if you cant find anything on searches, let us know and we can dig up links for you

...
I'm not worthy to grovel in the shadow of Signmaster's wisdom

11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 151k DD
7/2010 Craigslist white 1997 SC2 project
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

Last edited by alordofchaos; 12-12-2019 at 05:13 PM..

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Old 12-12-2019, 05:46 PM   #3
DawnR
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Default Re: New SL2 Owner, high idle speed-

Hi and Welcome!

My name is Dawn, I have 2 Saturns and I have learned how to do so many mechanical things from the people here. Fantastic!

I purchased my 97 SW2 wagon with 145-150k miles on it. I can't remember to be honest. It just turned over 227k and is the most reliable car I have ever owned. I come here and listen to everyones advice and watch Richpin Video's galore. I have done every repair by myself.Not oil changes though. It's just easier to drive through and have that done for me. I always bring my own extended length filter with me and the place I found will install it for me without hassle. I swear that it helps my car run smoother.
I love this group.

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Old 12-12-2019, 05:59 PM   #4
RobertGary1
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Default Re: New SL2 Owner, high idle speed-

Buy this and changing the throttle position sensor without removing the TB will be easy.

https://www.amazon.com/Neiko-03044A-...s%2C212&sr=8-3

-Robert

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Old 12-12-2019, 06:47 PM   #5
97SL2guy
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Default Re: New SL2 Owner, high idle speed-

I bought my 97 SL2 from the original owner's daughter, who never drove it. I'm only the second person to drive it! But since the day I bought it 2 years ago, it's always had a BAD engine vibration at idle in gear! My friend, who has a 96 SL1, says it's pretty common for these engines to vibrate, but I've never heard others with this problem until I read your post. Mine did break a top motor mount. Super easy to replace. But the vibration is still there. For 2 years, I've put the car in neutral when I'm at a red light just to stop the annoying vibration. It goes away above about 900 rpm.

I'm curious to find out what other say or you find out about this aspect of your issues.

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Old 12-13-2019, 10:17 AM   #6
DavidSL2
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Default Re: New SL2 Owner, high idle speed-

So which aftermarket motor mount(s) and TPS to buy? OEM is probably no longer an option in late 2019 unless there is some NOS I am unaware of. Installing crap parts may well make these problems worse. Which service manual(s) should I buy for this car?

Last edited by DavidSL2; 12-13-2019 at 10:30 AM..

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Old 12-13-2019, 11:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: New SL2 Owner, high idle speed-

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidSL2 View Post
So, new virtually "mint" SL2 owner here. I purchased a 1998 SL2/Auto with only 60K on the odometer...... Sometimes (not always) after driving I see a 2K idle, pushing/releasing the accelerator does not fix it but stopping the motor and restarting it does, it goes to the normal "low idle" (~1K) position.....
1k rpm is not the normal idle. Around 850 rpm is normal. In addition to possible tps wear, did you remove and examine the engine coolant sensor? Original round nosed plastic sensors failed on virtually every S-series engine with GM issuing a service bulletin ten years later about it. Replace it with a flat nosed brass sensor. The damaged sensors caused these problems; startup flooding, continuous rich mixtures, overheating in summer, poor fuel mileage, erratic xmission shifts, premature piston ring damage creating high oil consumption and more. A few leaned out fuel mixtures backfired into the intake manifold during startup. The backfiring came out the throttle body with a "puuuuf" sound.

With a cold engine, the sensor next to the egr valve connects to a two wire harness for easy removal. Its been said very little coolant escapes with enough time to examine whether its the round nosed one or not. The sensor has a tapered pipe thread. New ones have pipe dope and seals when threaded into the hole. If replaced, do not bottom it as this will break the sensor into two and create a new headache. Hand tighten until resistance begins then tighten about a quarter turn more as tapered pipe threads tighten without too much torque while the pipe sealant does the rest.

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Old 12-13-2019, 11:56 AM   #8
alordofchaos
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Default Re: New SL2 Owner, high idle speed-

Quote:
Originally Posted by 97SL2guy View Post
I bought my 97 SL2 from the original owner's daughter, who never drove it. I'm only the second person to drive it! But since the day I bought it 2 years ago, it's always had a BAD engine vibration at idle in gear! My friend, who has a 96 SL1, says it's pretty common for these engines to vibrate, but I've never heard others with this problem until I read your post. Mine did break a top motor mount. Super easy to replace. But the vibration is still there. For 2 years, I've put the car in neutral when I'm at a red light just to stop the annoying vibration. It goes away above about 900 rpm.

I'm curious to find out what other say or you find out about this aspect of your issues.
Did you loosen and re-tighten the two nuts (Strut-bracket to cradle)on the engine strut, beneath the car? See madpogue's links on this thread
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73563

If you've done that, then it could be one of the other 3 engine /trans mounts

...
I'm not worthy to grovel in the shadow of Signmaster's wisdom

11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 151k DD
7/2010 Craigslist white 1997 SC2 project
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

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Old 12-13-2019, 11:56 AM   #9
focusofheart
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Default Re: New SL2 Owner, high idle speed-

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidSL2 View Post
So which aftermarket motor mount(s) and TPS to buy? OEM is probably no longer an option in late 2019 unless there is some NOS I am unaware of. Installing crap parts may well make these problems worse. Which service manual(s) should I buy for this car?
I purchased the OEM TPS through a GM Dealer (out of my area in Fremont, Ca) about 6 months ago. The parts department manager helped me out by calling his supplier and found the ACDelco #21023673. The cost was $60.00 each plus shipping.

Call around, you might be able to track one down. It took calling 3 dealers to get any help.

P.S. I tend to purchase OEM parts as I find them for future use as I get lost in the junkyard since my forte is sewing machines rather than cars.

...
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Old 12-13-2019, 12:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: New SL2 Owner, high idle speed-

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidSL2 View Post
So which aftermarket motor mount(s) and TPS to buy? OEM is probably no longer an option in late 2019 unless there is some NOS I am unaware of. Installing crap parts may well make these problems worse.
I don't recall seeing one brand of aftermarket TPS being mentioned as consistently better/ reliable.

I did some searching when I bought mine and purchased the one that seemed most recommended - as mentioned, first one failed quickly, second one was fine (both the same brand/seller, SMP from Rockauto).

I try to document my stuff on the "what did you do . . ." thread, so it was relatively easy to find that I did the TPS about one year ago, Standard Motor Products TPS
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...postcount=5673

You'll get different opinions on the top motor mount. Some will swear that the OEM is worth paying $100+ for, if you can find NOS. Many I have seen lately swear by the Westar mount, on Rockauto.com for around $10 plus shipping

IMO, the important thing is getting a solid (aka, first-style or third-style mount) and avoiding the second-style (aka Frownie mount). I used an Anchor A2827 solid mount and I thought it was fine for ~7 years, 100k miles., and it is still in the car. Others will swear they can feel the difference between NOS OEM and aftermarket mounts. I never experienced a good OEM mount, so cant say.

Note: even a frown-style mount will improve engine vibration (some say it is better than solid in that respect). The concern with that style is longevity - they don't seem to last nearly as long, and can fail in a spectacular fashion according to a few (shearing off the mount studs, cracking the timing cover, etc). Most commonly, the failure is reported at around 24,000~36,000 miles, roughly

Pictures: frownie style on left
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...mounts/cat/500

Quote:
Which service manual(s) should I buy for this car?
Honestly, never felt the need for a service manual for the Saturns. I can find everything on here (or links on here to other sites and videos)

Again, many say a full set of service manuals is worth it.

...
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11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 151k DD
7/2010 Craigslist white 1997 SC2 project
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

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Old 12-13-2019, 01:42 PM   #11
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Default Re: New SL2 Owner, high idle speed-

I'd clean the throttle body and the air idle control valve before I jumped in and replaced the TPS. I've seen so many gunked up so badly that they would high idle like that. Restarted forces the air idle valve to reset thus fixing the high idle.

Highmile
'95 SL1 697k and counting

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Old 12-14-2019, 09:46 PM   #12
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Default Re: New SL2 Owner, high idle speed-

I did the TPS on my 98 SL2, and it was an hour disassembly, hour cleaning, and 30 minute reassembly...

You will need a Throttle Position Sensor, a gasket, some carb cleaner, lots of shop towels, disposable gloves, and an old toothbrush...

Use Fel-Pro 61177 throttle body gasket...

Remove throttle body, clean, install new TPS, reinstall..

Look on Rock Auto for gasket, and TPS.

...
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