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Old 04-14-2019, 03:41 PM   #1
Incalid
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Default 2003 saturn vue 3.0L stutters

I would like to start this by saying that I do not know much about cars. We have replaced the valve cover gaskets and the throttle body. The car will rev decent when it park. If you put it in gear, it tries to die. If you push the gas slowly it will gain speed. If you floor it, rpms will jump but the car will not accelerate.

I have ordered coil packs and spark plugs.

When in park, reving the rpms to around 2k, they seem to drop to 1500 and back up without increasing pressure.

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Old 04-14-2019, 05:52 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2003 saturn vue 3.0L stutters

When repairing or replacing drive by wire systems (electric throttle, electronic gas pedal, ecm), there's a calibration procedure requiring nothing more than simply turning on ignition and leave the pedal alone. As time passes, after 30 seconds the ecm detects the pedal hasn't moved and automatically enters into a calibration mode - you may hear a high pitched quiet whine as the ecm moves the throttle plate in several positions then resets it for starting position. All in less than a minute. Once done, cycle ignition off then try starting. The ecm uses four position sensors, two for throttle and two for pedal to monitor them while calibrating throttle position. Try it.

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Old 04-14-2019, 06:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2003 saturn vue 3.0L stutters

Thank you for your suggestion. I have tried that, it did not seem to help.

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Old 04-14-2019, 07:31 PM   #4
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2003 saturn vue 3.0L stutters

To ensure throttle calibration does occur, remove the intake air tube to expose the throttle body. Turn on ignition and observe the throttle plate. It should move in one of several positions after waiting for 30 seconds. Once its done, throttle returns (as commanded by the ecm) to a preset position for starting. Verifying this covers several things; the replacement throttle works, electrical connections are correct, communications between ecm and throttle are correct, ecm program operates. Once done, ignition cycled off then back on, have someone slowly press the gas pedal as you observe throttle opening/closing in proportion to pedal travel. As an all electronic system, pedal/throttle/ecm is a closed feedback circuit with pedal movement telling the ecm to open/close throttle.

Without more background history, its difficult to determine if something else is creating this problem.

Mileage, maintenance done, parts replaced?

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Old 04-14-2019, 11:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2003 saturn vue 3.0L stutters

I am unsure of the history of the vehicle as I just bought it. I do know so far we replaced the CV shaft and valve cover gasket as it was bad and filled all spark plug wells with oil.

We have replaced the whole throttle body as well. I am not sure how to test the coil packs. Although I did order new ones but it will be around the 19th before they get here.

The mileage is around 170k.

If you put the car in reverse, pressing the gas the rpms go up to 1500 and the car slowly moves backwards. Like it crawls and gains speed... Regardless of actual direction really.

When in drive, the car also crawls, taking about a mile to reach 55. If you don't press the gas too far it performs better. Pressing the gas harder results in the car bogging more.

Hopefully that is more informative. I know that more information might be needed, just not knowing cars makes knowing what to say hard. I will verify the throttle body tomorrow. Thanks again.

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Old 04-15-2019, 09:59 AM   #6
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2003 saturn vue 3.0L stutters

When cold, the engine idles higher until it warms up (10 minutes of driving). Cold engine idle can be as high as 1500 rpm. Normal warm engine idle is around 650 rpm. If the xmission seems unable to move the car in forward or reverse, this may be as simple as low xmission fluid. Unfortunately, front wheel drive sometimes doesn't have dipsticks to measure xmission fluid level. For the L-series, the car must be up on a lift and an access plug on the xmission removed with the engine fully warmed up and idling to determine fluid levels. There may be other issues affecting xmission operation.

At 170k miles, there are age related issues that may be masked as xmission problems. One may be worn out/clogged catalytic converters. We have three catcons, one on each cylinder bank and a third downstream on the exhaust system. One diy way to determine clogged catcons - remove the exhaust manifold mounted O2 sensors for alternate exhaust holes before each catcon. While loud, if the car drives with improved performance, one or more catcons disintegrated internally and should be replaced. You may have to use a soup can diverter to direct hot exhaust gases away from nearby plastic to prevent melting non metal parts. An exhaust shop can measure exhaust pressure at the O2 sensors to determine if catcons are blocked. Less than a few psi in the exhaust system.

Fuel pressure may be another issue. Fuel filter should be replaced every 100k miles and pressure checked with a fuel pressure gauge. Loaner tools from AutoZone are great for diyers - just be sure equipment works.

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