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Old 06-06-2009, 10:26 AM   #1
cdog999
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Question Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

I have a 96 SL2 with a P0141 Oxygen Sensor Code. Does this mean that the Oxygen Sensor needs to be replaced? Also, which OE Oxygen Sensor should I get if I need a new one, there are ones with 1 wire and ones with 4 wires. They both say OE? How can this be?

Also, any recommendation on brand of Oxygen Sensor? It looks like the Bosch OE ones sell for $60+ at the local stores around me. But, could get NGK OE ones online for around $40.

I'm assuming the the Universal Oxygen Sensors would require some soldering of wires, which I would like to avoid.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:41 AM   #2
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

The universal will not function satisfactorily in a Saturn. NGK is the preferred O2 sensor as far as I am concerned. I also would not buy a Bosch O2 sensor. Your code is the heater circuit for the O2 sensor located behind the CAT converter. Check the EGR fuse if you have any other codes. The NGK part number you need is 21538. You can order one from here; http://www.sparkplugs.com/default.asp and if you search you may find it a bit cheaper.

Have you checked the sensor grounds on the back of the block right above the starter and under the #4 intake runner? You can reach them from above as they are just past the side on the back.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The universal will not function satisfactorily in a Saturn. NGK is the preferred O2 sensor as far as I am concerned. I also would not buy a Bosch O2 sensor. Your code is the heater circuit for the O2 sensor located behind the CAT converter. Check the EGR fuse if you have any other codes. The NGK part number you need is 21538. You can order one from here; http://www.sparkplugs.com/default.asp and if you search you may find it a bit cheaper.

Have you checked the sensor grounds on the back of the block right above the starter and under the #4 intake runner? You can reach them from above as they are just past the side on the back.
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I have one other code P0300 (multiple misfire), for which I plan on rechecking the NGK BKR5ESA-11 Plugs that I installed about 3000 miles or so ago. No other codes.

Could the Oxygen Sensor problems be causing the misfire? I'm just surprised that I have a multiple misfire after installing the NGK Plugs and new wires BWD Select CH74162 7MM.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

The O2 sensor code is related to the heater in the sensor. It is independent of the P0300 although you may have killed teh sensor heater due to the misfire.

You need to address the misfire condition first though. Clean the coil pack towers and then apply a light coat of silicone grease, follow that by wiping it off as all you want is a very thin film. Carefully check your firing order. Check the plug wells for oil. When you check the plugs look at the boots for signs of oil or arcing down the insulator. Do not grease the plug insulators. If you have never cleaned the ignition module that would be a very good idea also.

Any other driveability issues? The P0300 does not usually occur all by its self.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The O2 sensor code is related to the heater in the sensor. It is independent of the P0300 although you may have killed teh sensor heater due to the misfire.

You need to address the misfire condition first though. Clean the coil pack towers and then apply a light coat of silicone grease, follow that by wiping it off as all you want is a very thin film. Carefully check your firing order. Check the plug wells for oil. When you check the plugs look at the boots for signs of oil or arcing down the insulator. Do not grease the plug insulators. If you have never cleaned the ignition module that would be a very good idea also.
Checked the plugs and they look fine. No signs of oil or arcing down the insulator. Firing order is correct, I was super careful when I changed the spark plug wires.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc
Any other driveability issues? The P0300 does not usually occur all by its self.
Yes, actually I've noticed for the last couple of years overall decreased horsepower. I got a check engine light earlier this year and was able to determine I had a faulty valve cover gasket (oil was in hole 1). At that time I replaced the valve cover gasket, replaced the spark plugs, and replaced the spark plug wires. Check Engine Light subsequently turned off, and since then I have had no oil problems.

When I was replacing the wires, I did notice some corrosion on the coil pack for wires 3 and 4, and I cleaned off as much as I could with a toothbrush. I used some dielectric grease on the spark plug boots (both sides) and when I just looked at the coil pack it looks clean (I think).

I do remember that a few days after I changed the plugs and wires I turned the car on and was sitting in park for about 30 seconds and all of a sudden the RPMs started going up past 4K. I remember I put it in drive and the RPMs went back down. I remember thinking at the time if I had somehow caused a problem, but my check engine light stayed off for the next 2000 miles so I didn't worry about it.

That brings me to a couple of weeks ago when the Check Engine Light came on, and I confirmed both the P0141 and P0300 at Autozone.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

OK, the ignition module could use a good cleaning. You will need a socket that fits teh little bolts that hold it on the transmission bell housing. A green scotch brite, well used. the one on the kitchen sink works well, buy a new one and use the old one. Use it wet. A can of CRC Electrical Connector cleaner. very carefully unplug teh unit and remove the 4 bolts. They thread all the way into the bell housing and will break very easy. So if they start to turn hard, stop and screw them in a turn and then back out, repeat till out. You will clean the backside of the bolt heads and the 2 grounding pads on the coils. Then lift the coils off and clean odd al the dirt and grime on the coils and ICM The rubber boots on the 2 coil connectors will lift out so they can be cleaned and the connectors can be cleaned up also. Polish the towers till nice and shinny. Very lightly grease the mating surface of the connector seals for the coils and the connectors. Flush out the spark plug boots, both ends, with the CRC. Flush out teh electrical plug and connector with the CRC cleaner. Put it all back together and remove the PCM-B fuse from the UHJB for a couple of minutes and replace. UHJB = engine compartment fuse box. This will clear all of the codes.

Fixing the P0300 is the project. You also should look for a vacuum leak. PCV connector hose cracked. Evap canister purge solenoid vacuum line. Fuel pressure regulator vacuum line. The last 2 are connected at the back of the throttle body.

How many miles are on the car?

You can use advanced search and search for <clean ignition> and find several other write ups.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
OK, the ignition module could use a good cleaning. You will need a socket that fits teh little bolts that hold it on the transmission bell housing. A green scotch brite, well used. the one on the kitchen sink works well, buy a new one and use the old one. Use it wet. A can of CRC Electrical Connector cleaner. very carefully unplug teh unit and remove the 4 bolts. They thread all the way into the bell housing and will break very easy. So if they start to turn hard, stop and screw them in a turn and then back out, repeat till out. You will clean the backside of the bolt heads and the 2 grounding pads on the coils. Then lift the coils off and clean odd al the dirt and grime on the coils and ICM The rubber boots on the 2 coil connectors will lift out so they can be cleaned and the connectors can be cleaned up also. Polish the towers till nice and shinny. Very lightly grease the mating surface of the connector seals for the coils and the connectors. Flush out the spark plug boots, both ends, with the CRC. Flush out teh electrical plug and connector with the CRC cleaner. Put it all back together and remove the PCM-B fuse from the UHJB for a couple of minutes and replace. UHJB = engine compartment fuse box. This will clear all of the codes.

Fixing the P0300 is the project. You also should look for a vacuum leak. PCV connector hose cracked. Evap canister purge solenoid vacuum line. Fuel pressure regulator vacuum line. The last 2 are connected at the back of the throttle body.

How many miles are on the car?

You can use advanced search and search for <clean ignition> and find several other write ups.
Thanks for the detailed post. I'm hoping to get to this repair sometime tomorrow, so I will update later. As for my 96 SL2, just under 130K miles.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

The reason for the mileage was to asses the physical condition. A random misfire can be a real job to track down and can be related to several things, none of which alone has failed.
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

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The reason for the mileage was to asses the physical condition. A random misfire can be a real job to track down and can be related to several things, none of which alone has failed.
Thanks for all of your help! You have now helped in two significant repairs (the other being the valve cover gasket)

Last night I went through all of the steps for trying to correct the misfire (cleaning ignition, spark plug wires, checking plugs). I took out the PCM-B fuse for about 5 minutes.

After starting up my car today, the check engine light was on for about a mile and then it went off. Car ride felt significantly smoother. I drove about 25 miles and the Check Engine Light did not turn on.

One thing I was surprised though is the old Code P0141 for the O2 Sensor. I was expecting that the Check Engine Light would have come back on by now. Could that have been some sort of malfunction? Maybe the O2 Sensor was wet or maybe it was just having that error as a result of the multiple misfire. Would you expect the Check Engine Light to come back on? Do I still need to replace the O2 Sensor?
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

The P0141 has to occur in 2 consecutive ignition cycles to turn the light on. It will stay off for the first key on cycle and will come on if it occurs in the second. If it comes back it is a good indication that the heater element has failed. It can be checked for continuity at the plug which is located on teh cradle behind the steering rack. You need ramps to get at it.
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Old 06-20-2009, 03:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The P0141 has to occur in 2 consecutive ignition cycles to turn the light on. It will stay off for the first key on cycle and will come on if it occurs in the second. If it comes back it is a good indication that the heater element has failed. It can be checked for continuity at the plug which is located on teh cradle behind the steering rack. You need ramps to get at it.
Update 6/20: I drove about 250+ miles on about 20 separate trips. Today the Service Engine Light turned back on. I took it to Autozone had them read the codes, and its the same P0141 (O2 Sensor) and P0300 (multiple misfire). What the heck? This seems like a really long time for these codes not to come back on if there really is still the problem.

Is this likely a vacuum line problem? Maybe one of the spark plugs is damaged? If it is a vacuum line problem is there an easy way to check? Looking (with just my naked eyeball from above the engine) at the lines that go in the engine I see that the CCV (air in) line has cracks on the two ends (but still looks like a firm connection). Maybe its something else.

Very frustrated ... Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 06-20-2009, 04:36 PM   #12
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

The interesting thing is that the P0300 and P0141 are not usually related. A vacuum leak will do it though for the misfire. The air in hose is a non problem but the PCV hose and the other vacuum lines and manifold gaskets can be a problem. Don't forget to check teh vacuum line to the brake booster. The best way to look for the leak is to get the car warm at idle and gently flow brake cleaner over all the lines and the intake manifold/head flange and the throttle body gasket area. The idle RPM changes when you find the leak.

Probably a real good idea to go looking for a leak. The fuel regulator vacuum line comes off of the throttle body and it can leak. Also the vacuum line to the purge solenoid comes off the throttle body and is routed to the purge solenoid mounted on the back of the block right above the starter. You can reach the solenoid from the left rear corner of the block from above as the solenoid is right below the #3 and #4 intake runners.

How old is the PCV valve?
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Old 06-20-2009, 06:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

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How old is the PCV valve?
PCV valve is 3 months old. I went straight to Saturn for that part based on recommendations from this forum.
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:20 PM   #14
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

Check the PCV hose and the grommet under the MAP while looking for a leak.
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:33 AM   #15
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

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Check the PCV hose and the grommet under the MAP while looking for a leak.
I checked for vacuum leaks as indicated on the Richpin video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYa8r...e=channel_page

First: My SL2 at idle is normally around 1100 RPM. I'm assuming if there was a leak then there would be a significant change right? I didn't really notice much (if anything). I did notice over the course of the next two minutes idle went down to around 900 RPM. Again, it was a gradual change. I started the car up about 10 minutes later to recheck and idle started at 1000 RPM, eventually went to 900 RPM after a few minutes after spraying brake cleaner. Do you think this area is in the clear? Does idle typically spike dramatically or fall if their is a leak? The Richpin video had no leak so I wasn't able to get an idea of how dramatic a leak would cause a change in idle.

Second: Checked the PCV grommet and noticed that there is some oil seepage. Its not leaking out but if I remove the PCV Valve and then push on the top of the grommet I can see some oil. Other than that the grommet looks fine. Might this be the problem?

Third: I noticed that the valve won't go in quite as far as in the Richpin PCV Valve video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-xIpNSADGM It does go into the grommet past the pcv valve ridge, so it does fit snug. I thought it was strange when I replaced the pcv valve 3 months ago that I could see some of the silver pcv valve after putting into the grommet, but didn't think to much of it since it was in snug.

Here are some pictures of my engine for reference (maybe this will help), click on view full size image*:
http://cdog999.tripod.com/photos/

*I tried to get it to come in properly on this page, but I couldn't figure it out.

Last edited by cdog999; 06-21-2009 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:11 PM   #16
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog999 View Post
I checked for vacuum leaks as indicated on the Richpin video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYa8r...e=channel_page

First: My SL2 at idle is normally around 1100 RPM. I'm assuming if there was a leak then there would be a significant change right? I didn't really notice much (if anything). I did notice over the course of the next two minutes idle went down to around 900 RPM. Again, it was a gradual change. I started the car up about 10 minutes later to recheck and idle started at 1000 RPM, eventually went to 900 RPM after a few minutes after spraying brake cleaner. Do you think this area is in the clear? Does idle typically spike dramatically or fall if their is a leak? The Richpin video had no leak so I wasn't able to get an idea of how dramatic a leak would cause a change in idle.
The proper idle is in teh 800 range when warm. This might be part of the problem. Have you replaced the ECTS and checked the connector for any signs of corrosion of antifreeze? The temperature gauge should be at 3/8 when warm, half way between 1/2 and 1/4 marks. It should also be above 3/8 when driving at 35 to 40 mph. If the ECTS is good then the thermostat is suspect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog999 View Post
Second: Checked the PCV grommet and noticed that there is some oil seepage. Its not leaking out but if I remove the PCV Valve and then push on the top of the grommet I can see some oil. Other than that the grommet looks fine. Might this be the problem?
No, they all do that. If there is a vacuum leak it will be in the hose from the PCV to the manifold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog999 View Post
Third: I noticed that the valve won't go in quite as far as in the Richpin PCV Valve video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-xIpNSADGM It does go into the grommet past the pcv valve ridge, so it does fit snug. I thought it was strange when I replaced the pcv valve 3 months ago that I could see some of the silver pcv valve after putting into the grommet, but didn't think to much of it since it was in snug.

Here are some pictures of my engine for reference (maybe this will help), click on view full size image*:
http://cdog999.tripod.com/photos/

*I tried to get it to come in properly on this page, but I couldn't figure it out.
The PCV should snap into a grove on the inside of that grommet however. Check inside of the grommet for a grove as it might be an aftermarket grommet.

The problem is that the idle is too high. That is symptomatic of either a coolant temperature problem or a vacuum leak. The trick is to figure out which and fix it. That quite possibly could be the cause of the P0300. The P141 is probably a failed rear O2 sensor. The misfire is the real problem here. I did not see anything that jumped out at me in the pictures.
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Old 06-21-2009, 05:01 PM   #17
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The proper idle is in teh 800 range when warm. This might be part of the problem. Have you replaced the ECTS and checked the connector for any signs of corrosion of antifreeze? The temperature gauge should be at 3/8 when warm, half way between 1/2 and 1/4 marks. It should also be above 3/8 when driving at 35 to 40 mph. If the ECTS is good then the thermostat is suspect.
I have never replaced the ECTS. It may have been replaced at some point, but its only been in the past year that I've decided to try and do repairs myself. From the outside connector looks dirty (but, haven't removed yet). Next time I drive, I'll note the temperature readings. As for the ECTS (and connector), which model should I look for (OE only?)? I'm assuming its a bad idea to remove the ECTS without having a replacement in hand since the antifreeze would ooze out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
No, they all do that. If there is a vacuum leak it will be in the hose from the PCV to the manifold.
I sprayed it down fairly good when doing my testing. Its hard to eyeball since it has that extra sleeve on it, but it doesn't appear damaged.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The PCV should snap into a grove on the inside of that grommet however. Check inside of the grommet for a grove as it might be an aftermarket grommet.
It has the groove.
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:04 PM   #18
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

You clean the connector with CRC Electrical Connector cleaner. You buy it at the parts store. And you buy a new ECTS at the same parts store. Then you go to the hardware store and buy a tube of pipe dope. The pipe dope is much easier to use than Teflon tape and actually works better. See teh first 3 sticky posts in the How-To Library for the ECTS replacement procedure. The 1st post is the index and links to the richpin DIY videos. Its the inside of the connector that is of concern. It slips right off when you squeeze on the ears. the video will make that clear.

Take the hose off and put your finger over one end and suck on the other. If it leaks you will know it.

The PCV should seat into the grove.

Plan on changing the ECTS as if its never been changed it is suspect and all readings are suspect. The new ECTS is a 10.00 part and the CRC cleaner is about 5.00 for a can. When you get through reading the posts in the How-To Library I will give you the rest of the steps that did not make it into the write ups. Its an easy job.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:46 PM   #19
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Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

While driving today I was a bit more cognizant of your initial thoughts on temperature and idle, here is what I saw:
1) Idle when car is warm is actually 900 or slightly under (it was 1100 when cold)
2) After car warmed up temperature gauge was fairly consistent at just under 3/8 (a little less than halfway between 1/4 and 1/2). This stayed basically the same whether I was going 65 mph or between 35 and 40.

I read the ECTS replacement stickys, and have printed out for reference.

I'm assuming you still recommend changing the ECTS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
You clean the connector with CRC Electrical Connector cleaner. You buy it at the parts store. And you buy a new ECTS at the same parts store. Then you go to the hardware store and buy a tube of pipe dope. The pipe dope is much easier to use than Teflon tape and actually works better. See teh first 3 sticky posts in the How-To Library for the ECTS replacement procedure. The 1st post is the index and links to the richpin DIY videos. Its the inside of the connector that is of concern. It slips right off when you squeeze on the ears. the video will make that clear.
What is the pipe dope used for? Is it for the threads on the ECTS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Take the hose off and put your finger over one end and suck on the other. If it leaks you will know it.
Which hose are you talking about?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The PCV should seat into the grove.
It seats into the groove, so no problem here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Plan on changing the ECTS as if its never been changed it is suspect and all readings are suspect. The new ECTS is a 10.00 part and the CRC cleaner is about 5.00 for a can. When you get through reading the posts in the How-To Library I will give you the rest of the steps that did not make it into the write ups. Its an easy job.
I'm interested in what else you recommend to do as for the steps. Also, does it matter if the ECTS is aftermarket?
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:13 PM   #20
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Code P0141 O2 Sensor, Do I need to replace?

Hose to check for leaks is the hose between the PCV and the intake. The cover on it prevents spraying it down. So that leaves the manual vacuum method.

Aftermarket ECTS is fine and the pipe dope goes on the threads. the ECTS has a 1/8" taper pipe thread so you screw it in until its just past hand tight. That is why the sticky suggests a 13mm deep socket and 1/4" drive. Then you can turn the socket with your fingers on the ratchet head. Slight over tightening and it breaks off. If it leaks you can always tighten it but if it breaks of it will not make your day.

When changing the RCTS after removing the connector very carefully inspect inside the 2 little holes for any signs of green corrosion or dried antifreeze. And, it is a good idea to spray it out with CRC Electronics Connection cleaner also. If teh connector is corroded it will have to be replaced but you can deal with that later as yous looks to be OK.

Before attempting to change the ECTS remove the air box and intake tube.

Jack up the left side of the car as high as you can.

Remove and then replace the reservoir cap. This lets the coolant drain away from the sensor.

Now unscrew the old sensor and screw in the new one. You probably will not loose a drop of water.

Couple of those are a bit out of order....

From what you are seeing it sounds like the car is close to OK except for the rear O2 sensor.

It is possible that the thermostat may be stuck open also. Will have a known good ECTS first to be able to tell.
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