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Old 12-28-2010, 02:00 AM   #1
Jetsa
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Default Noob Here to Saturn but not to GM-L3000 Question/Help Needed

I bought a 2000 L3000 SW2 wagon with the 3.0 V6 engine. Looks great and in excellent shape, especially for a 2000. Only has 98000 miles. The problem(s) are that it will not accelerate, cannot get over around 2000ish RPM's. Runs really rough, backfires, misfires on various cylinders when attempting to accelerate (per my Tech 2 scanner). It had a couple various codes when I got it (around 2 weeks ago), but I cleared them and no codes have come back. I saw cylinder 3 misfiring regularly so I pulled that coil/ignition module off for inspection of cylinder 3. This was no easy task and some things I found out were that someone else had removed some of the upper engine before me (probably looking for the same problem)...several of the small inverted torx bolts were stripped or missing. The first thing I found was that it had those Bosch 3-electrode plugs in it. They did not look like it was running rich or lean but I replaced them with the factory AC Delco's....made no difference. I ran a compression test on the 1,3,5 bank and all had approx. 190ish PSI so thats okay. What I think I am seeing is a lean condition. I have been in GM dealership service departments since 1982, but never Saturn which, to me, is a whole nother ballgame. The llamba readings from the front 2 O2 sensors seem to go over 2000 often and the rear O2's settle around the 200MV or less area consistently. I have tried another MAF sensor and that made no difference. Fuel pressure running is always about 43PSI. It idles just fine, just cant accelerate. I notice the tachometer jumps around a lot while it is not running right/straining to get RPM's (makes me think ignition-type problem but it doesn't feel like ignition...feels like starving for fuel). I would think that if it were a vacuum leak issue, the idle would be high and for it to run as bad as it does when trying to accelerate, it would have to have a massive vacuum leak (dont think it does). Wondering what a timing belt that was not correct would run like? I'm not condemming the timing belt because I don't know what one would run like if the belt had jumped teeth or something similiar.

Hoping some of you Saturn tech's might have seen this before and can lead me in the right direction. I see lots of threads here describing similar complaints but I thought I would add what my GM experience tells me to this thread. Any help would certainly be appreciated and if you have any issues with ANY other GM vehicles, just ask and I have probably had experience with it and can help or can find out for sure.

Thanks in Advance.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that I read about Saturn's "Limp Home" modes and while one of them sounds like the car might be in limp home mode, the Tech 2 tells me that all the limp home readings are in the right state. Also, I have not seen a Reduced Engine Power message.

EDIT X 2: I have also read all the bulletins related with this and have pretty much ruled out any of those being related with my issue. Of course, some of you guys that work on them every day might know different. That's kind of what I am looking for here, daily experience with the 3.0. We specialize at my dealership and I am with performance, electrical, and AC (Just not Saturn performance LOL).

Last edited by Jetsa; 12-28-2010 at 02:07 AM..

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Old 12-28-2010, 09:03 AM   #2
Partymmudasti
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Default Re: Noob Here to Saturn but not to GM-L3000 Question/Help Needed

Given the information you have collected in your posting, have you ruled out the catalytic converter? If damaged/plugged, it will restrict power and cause all kinds of problems, similar to what you're experiencing.

If the timing jumped, it would definitely run the same way you are describing too. I would check the condition of the timing belt, and the timing itself ASAP because if it did jump already, theres nothing saying it wont jump again and cause big damage this time (The 3.0l is an interference design). Hope this helps!

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Old 12-28-2010, 11:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: Noob Here to Saturn but not to GM-L3000 Question/Help Needed

Since the car idles fine, the belt is probably not an issue. I agree with above about the cat conv. Seperate the exhaust before the cat, leaving all sensors connected and see if you can rev to the limiter.

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Old 12-28-2010, 11:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: Noob Here to Saturn but not to GM-L3000 Question/Help Needed

Since the car idles fine, the belt is probably not an issue. I agree with above about the cat conv. Seperate the exhaust before the cats, leaving all sensors connected and see if you can rev to the limiter.

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Old 12-28-2010, 12:16 PM   #5
Jetsa
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Default Re: Noob Here to Saturn but not to GM-L3000 Question/Help Needed

See thats what I need, you guys to keep me honest. Also forgot.....when I first got the car it was doing this and the problem sounded like an exhaust issue, so I had the rear convertor cut so I could see the inside and it looked fine. Then I dropped both mini-convertors via the Y-pipe and started it. It does the same thing with the exhaust removed.

Keep em coming...please.

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Old 12-28-2010, 12:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Noob Here to Saturn but not to GM-L3000 Question/Help Needed

If the tech II clears your ignition operation, you may still want to swap out the ignition module and / or the 2 coil packs. Otherwise focus on fuel delivery; gauge the injector fuel rail from idle on up. Try the Tech II with the Caddy Catera setup.

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Old 12-28-2010, 06:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: Noob Here to Saturn but not to GM-L3000 Question/Help Needed

Well, the fuel pressure remains constant even when it is starting to miss/run rough (except for the natural fuel pressure regulator action of course). Not quite sure I am following you on the "tech 2 clearing the ignition operation". And when you talk about the ignition module, I thought that this Saturn had 2 coil pack assemblies, one per side, which was also the ignition module? Lastly, if I can get the Tech 2 to scan it as if it were a Catera, are my readings going to be any different or look different?

Because of the electronic throttle, I am unable to raise the idle up (by myself) and spray some carb cleaner into the snorkel to see if that would lower or raise the engine performance. I think this would tell me if it were actually running lean or not. According to the O2 readings I see, it looks like it is running lean, acts like it is running lean (will backfire when trying to get the RPM's up and kind of like starves for fuel).

The service manual way of getting the front timing cover off looks like a nightmare and I would hate to go through that whole procedure just to look and find out there was no problem, but I guess I am in the ruling-out-possibilities mode now. Do any of you Saturn guys know do I need to remove the whole timing cover just to see if timing had jumped, or is it possible to just remove say an upper piece that would allow me to check the marks? Speaking of the marks, I read where the service manual says that the marks should line up with the slots at the top "JUST FOR INSTALLATION PURPOSES". Does this mean that since the belt has been on for a while now, the marks lining up would not be a good indicator of if the belt had moved?

Thanks Again

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