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Old 03-11-2006, 09:45 PM   #1
jacobsstcg
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Default 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

I have had my 94' Saturn SL2 for 8 years now (it has 178,000 miles) and have never had a problem smogging it, but now I live in Fresno County, California where the smog regulations are really strict and I am not sure what to fix to get it to pass. Here are the numbers I got back from the Smog Inspection, the NO results are the ones that are really high...

15mph Test @ 1826 RPM
CO2 Meas: 14.70
%O2 Meas: 0.30
HC (PPM): Max 93, Ave 21, Meas 97
CO(%): Max 0.57, Ave 0.06, Meas 0.04
NO (PPM): Max 720, Ave 150, Meas 1589

25mph test @ 2067 RPM
CO2 Meas: 14.70
%O2 Meas: 0.24
HC (PPM): Max 59, Ave 13, Meas 56
CO(%): Max 0.55, Ave 0.05, Meas 0.01
NO (PPM): Max 774, Ave 136, Meas 1363

Within the last year I have installed a brand new Catalytic Converter that meets CA smog guidelines, replaced the O2 sensor, replaced the PCV valve, and replaced the ECTS. All of these replacements where done using new Saturn parts (except for the cat). The only other problem I can tell is that the Thermostat is probably stuck open as the car takes a long time to warm up (both on the gauge and heater temp) but I made sure I ran it a while so when they ran the tests the temp needle was at 1/4. The car also idles around 1000 - 1050 which is a bit high, and burns about a quart of oil every 1200 miles. I run a tank of gas that has MM Oil added once a month to try to keep down deposits, but in the end I am just not sure what I should be replacing to get the 'NO' values way down. Does anyone have any suggestions, I don't want to just go replacing random parts hopeing it helps as that could be time consuming and expensive.

Thanks for any advice / help in advance.

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Old 03-11-2006, 09:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

is this car a cali emissions one or federal?

the 94 calis had an electric egr valve where federal still vacuum.

If the federal car were imported into cali, its then-present owner paid the "smog fine" and the car now only has to meet looser standards.

If your car meets cali emissions you should have the electric EGR valve and an adaptor thing that sits between it and the manifold. A NOx problem is generally EGR related.

Being cool is actually good for reducing NOx but you want to be running at thermostat temp to save your cat, save gas, and generally run right.

I would take your EGR valve off, and its adaptor too if it looks easy, and clean out all the passages, and poke the pintle (has a torx type indentation, but it doesn't unscrew, just pokes in) and spray carb cleaner through the valve and all the passages you can get at.

you can also look for vacuum leaks; replace your pcv valve, it's cheap: the car could be running lean from the leak which will show up on the relatively low speed treadmill as higher nox.

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Old 03-11-2006, 10:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

Well, the EGR is responsible for reducing NO levels by recirculating exhaust gas back to the combustion chambers to cool them. So, you may have a faulty/sticking EGR. Is it a linear or vacuum EGR? If it's a vacuum you may need to check the hose along with cleaning the EGR itself. I say the hoses because a vacuum leak would cause your high idle. And it's seems coincidental that you are having high NO levels and a high idle. If it's been happening for a while, you may need new plugs (NGK brand) as well. I hope my logic is on some sort of right path to help you.

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Old 03-11-2006, 10:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

Thanks for the advice eljefino and Protour. Honestly I am not sure if that car is a Cali or Federal emissions model, it sound like once I start messing around with the ERG valve it should become pretty apparent though. Is it worth it to just replace the ERG valve (I think I saw them for around ~80) or is cleaning it usually sufficient?

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Old 03-11-2006, 10:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

Cleaning is easy as H-E-double hockey sticks. That's where I would start. You must have a linear vavle if it's $80. 2 bolts hold it on. Thoroughly spray the inside of the valve. Also poke in the pintle while you spray. There are article in the how-to section I believe with pictures: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...&highlight=egr

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Old 03-11-2006, 11:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

I guess I'm lucky I live in Austin, TX where they just now started doing smog to get your registration every year. I bought the car in Cerritos in 1994 and drove it to TX where I was stationed. Glad I don't live in Cali now. Man, is Texas a dirty state! Emission standards are WAY loose here. I too have a 94 SL2, with 187K mi. and I go through oil pretty good too. Clean/replace the EGR valve, check/replace the vacuum hoses and by all means, put in NEW plugs (NKG). While you're at it, might as well replace the plug wires, especially if you've never replaced them or it's been several years. A new fuel & air filter wouldn't hurt either. Change the oil and do all this, then drive it up and down 99 (yes, I know the area, I was stationed in Merced ) for about 20 min. up, 20 min back, then pull into the dyno and hook up the machine. Should pass with flying colors....hopefully!

...
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Last edited by TXTABBY; 03-11-2006 at 11:17 PM..

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Old 03-11-2006, 11:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

It failed for LOW SPEED HC (hydrocarbons) all the rest of the numbers (CO) are well under or within spec. The HC numbers improved a little at higher rpms.

It also had way high NO (oxides of nitrogen) numbers.

Its running RICH (getting too much fuel) at low RPM/low road speeds. And there is a problem with the EGR system.

Both the EGR activity and fuel curve are set by the PCM based on ENGINE TEMPERATURE. You posted that the car is running too cold and you know the thermostat is most likely stuck open and due for replacement...

See where I am going here...?

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Old 03-12-2006, 01:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

The standards the car had to meet when certified new are much stricter, and aggressively tested, than the ones you have to meet when they stick the sniffer up your tailpipe. The "sniffer" test accounts for mediocre maintenance and a fully warmed up car and is designed to ferret out cars that are well below the curve and in need of repair. And who drives 15mph? That's barely touching the gas.

California and a few northeast states have stricter "virgin" emissions standards than the rest of the nation. Your underhood "Powertrain Module" sticker will say if it meets california standards or not (federal).

In lieu of that, your specific year, if it's california-certified has the new electric EGR valve that showed up on everyone else's cars in 1995.

Good luck it sounds like this can be fixed cheaply.

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Old 03-25-2006, 02:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

Well I cleaned out the EGR value (I do have the electronic model), replaced my plugs with new NGK V-Power's, replaced my plugs wires, and went back in for another test. Test results looked at lot better, but in the end I still did not pass. Here are the results...

15mph Test @ 1926 RPM
CO2 Meas: 14.97
%O2 Meas: 0.27
HC (PPM): Max 93, Ave 21, Meas 32
CO(%): Max 0.57, Ave 0.06, Meas 0.00
NO (PPM): Max 720, Ave 150, Meas 841

25mph test @ 2114 RPM
CO2 Meas: 15.00
%O2 Meas: 0.25
HC (PPM): Max 59, Ave 13, Meas 29
CO(%): Max 0.55, Ave 0.05, Meas 0.00
NO (PPM): Max 774, Ave 136, Meas 683

I think that the problem now is pointing to my stuck open thermostat like wolfman pointed out, so I guess I am going to pursue that route now. I am almost tempted to leave the car running to raise the temp way up and then bring it in and have them test it right away. But I am kind of getting tired of paying the $40.00 bucks for the tests only to have them fail.

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Old 03-25-2006, 05:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

Taking wolfmans point to heart I went out and purchased a new thermostat and installed it this morning / afternoon. Everything went well with the install and after going on a test drive the difference was clearly evident. So with a working thermostat in place, I went back out to the Smog Test shop and gave it another shot. Unfortionaitely the third time was not a charm, and readings where actually worse then the 2nd test (the 2nd test was performed at a different place then tests 1 and 3). Here are the results from test 3

15mph Test @ 1955 RPM
CO2 Meas: 14.60
%O2 Meas: 0.39
HC (PPM): Max 93, Ave 21, Meas 76
CO(%): Max 0.57, Ave 0.06, Meas 0.02
NO (PPM): Max 720, Ave 150, Meas 1341

25mph test @ 2093 RPM
CO2 Meas: 15.00
%O2 Meas: 0.28
HC (PPM): Max 59, Ave 13, Meas 49
CO(%): Max 0.55, Ave 0.05, Meas 0.01
NO (PPM): Max 774, Ave 136, Meas 1043

At this point I am not sure what to do. Even though I cleaned the EGR valve and the engine passages maybe it is just time to replace it. What do you think?

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Old 03-25-2006, 08:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

OMG, you have to pay everytime for the smog test? And its $40?!? I'm so glad I don't live in Cali anymore. Washington states test fee is $12 and you get two second chances if you don't pass the first time.

If the EGR valve is a vacuum type, you need to check the vacuum switching valve to make sure its working also. Follow the vacuum like back from the EGR valve and the first place it stops is the switching valve.

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Old 03-25-2006, 09:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

Fortunately, I live where I don't have to worry about emissions testing (my old car would proably fail).

Personally, I think the high HC is probably because of the oil consumption. I have a 92 SL2 150k and I have halved the oil it burns through by using the Valvoline Max Life stuff. They also sell additives, but I am not brave enough to be the guinea pig and find out if they muck up my engine.

I know this is probably a stupid question, but have you checked the air filter? It would be my first guess at high NOX. The other thing I can think of is the ECM takes a while to get used to changes before it decides to change fuel mixtures drastically. You could try driving it for fifty miles. I'd recommend trying running some carb/injector cleaner through as well. You should be able to also get it tested at an auto service shop (its not official, but it might be cheaper).

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Old 03-25-2006, 09:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

You might want to take that thing out and run to Bakersfield and back to get some sustained highway miles on it before your next test regardless of what else you end up doing to it.

Your car is used to being run with the wacky thermostat so you should run it to get it used to the new operating parameters.

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Old 03-26-2006, 12:02 PM   #14
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

I'm still thinking that the EGR, and the orivices are not fully cleaned out.

As once happened on my old 1985 Trooper II, the diaphram within the EGR valve had an, every-so slight, pinhole leak; This resulted in the unit not functioning fully.

Just a Thought.....on......My Perceptions......

...
> 95 SL 2 = 653,369 Miles 40.4 MPG, as of 5/20/11. My manual Radiator Fan Switch, courtesy of Wolfman's patient installation guidance, continues to be.......invaluable < The car was retired

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Old 04-01-2006, 03:18 PM   #15
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

Yea I think that I am just going to replace the EGR valve with a new one. I know I got my current one as clean as possible but maybe it does have a pinhole leak in it or something. Would it be the resounding advice of the group to purchase a replacement from Saturn or are the ones available at the local parts store comparable?
Thanks

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Old 04-05-2006, 08:07 AM   #16
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

Glad to find this topic, I have the same issue with my 01 SC2, thought the NO limits are 576 while driving, in Ontario, NO at idle is not required, mine is reading 910. I have noticed the the temp is running just ever so lower than normal. I cleaned my EGR a couple of months ago, but the car had a RICH condition not too long ago, replaced ECTS, rich condition and my SES light seem to have disappeared. I figuere my EGR got gumked up while the car was running rich. I have 2 days before I can renew my plates... thermostat and EGR cleaning seem to be in order for me. I will let you know what the outcome is...

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Old 04-05-2006, 11:15 AM   #17
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

intake manifold gasket leaking? computer trying to compensate? easy to check!

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Old 04-05-2006, 12:57 PM   #18
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Default EGR Replacement ?? NO, unless

Quote:
> Jacob <
Would it be the resounding advice of the group to purchase a replacement from Saturn or are the ones available at the local parts store comparable?
NO , not from me. Only if it can be confirmed that there is, in fact, a leak. These units are too expensive to simply replace, based on a "perception" that the unit is bad. I'd want a confirming fact, that it is leaking.

...
> 95 SL 2 = 653,369 Miles 40.4 MPG, as of 5/20/11. My manual Radiator Fan Switch, courtesy of Wolfman's patient installation guidance, continues to be.......invaluable < The car was retired

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Old 04-05-2006, 04:11 PM   #19
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobsstcg

Within the last year I have installed a brand new Catalytic Converter

What brand of Cat?

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Old 04-06-2006, 01:34 AM   #20
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Default Re: 94 SL2 Failing CA Smog :( Need Advice

Well I dug through my records and found out that I bought my new CAT almost exactly a year ago and that I purchased it from www.exhaustwarehouse.com . My records did not say what actual brand it was, but it is part 4402 at exhaustwarehouse.com. I also replaced the O2 sensor with a brand new one from my local saturn dealership about 2 weeks after I recieved and installed the new CAT. From an old posting of AmazingHL's about his smogging problems maybe I should be thinking about a new CAT. In high and sight I probably should have bought a better, more expensive one, but at the time I had never had previous smog check troubles and money was tighter as my wife and I where both students. Anyways is there anyways to test to see if my CAT is not working as well as it should before I go out a purchase a new one for a couple hundred?

*As a note I haven't put that many miles on this car in the last year, probably only around 7,500 tops.

Thanks again...

Last edited by jacobsstcg; 04-06-2006 at 01:40 AM..

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