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Old 11-10-2018, 11:32 AM   #1
Doug427
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Default New owner question - miss at idle, intermittent "pop" in exhaust

I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the forum and learn from long time owners. Just bought a first car for my stepson. It's a 2002 SL1 with a 1.9L SOHC, standard transmission. It has 164,000 miles on it, and overall it's in very good clean condition. I've done a few things to it, we did an overall clean up, replaced the dome light and the driver side electric door lock switch needed to be replaced.

It runs really well, with one exception. At idle, it seems to idle rough with a random, intermittent miss. There's a randomly spaced popping sound in the exhaust. I have read about the intake gasket issue, but in the case of this car, there is no high idle speed. The idle speed is just fine. All the intake gasket issues I have read about include a raised idle speed symptom. This car doesn't have that. It's just that random popping sound in the exhaust accompanying the fairly rough idle.

There is no code stored, I've checked that already. I have cleaned the throttle body and changed the plugs. Neither solved the problem. Any of you long time owner experts have any ideas on this? Is this a common problem?

Thanks for the help and input.

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Old 11-10-2018, 12:12 PM   #2
tizan
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Default Re: New owner question - miss at idle, intermittent "pop" in exhaust

I have been using a fuel system cleaner on one full tank of gas ..before oil change (i have used gumout with PEA but i suspect other brands will work too)

That seems to reduce the rough idling.

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Old 11-10-2018, 01:19 PM   #3
edlee
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Default Re: New owner question - miss at idle, intermittent "pop" in exhaust

My car did not have high idle, but it still needed a new intake manifold gasket. Near the end, before I replaced the intake manifold gasket, the rough idle sounded really loud and reflected off the sides of cars next to me. I once thought, "That car needs a tune up, too," and then realized that it was the sound of my car reflecting off the other car. There was also a significantly reduced miles per gallon. I now get about 24-25 mpg on average with a mix of highway and residential road driving. I wonder if any Saturn SL1 or SL2 owner has NOT found a wrinkle near the cylinder 1 portion of their intake manifold gasket.

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Old 11-10-2018, 01:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: New owner question - miss at idle, intermittent "pop" in exhaust

Bottle of fuel cleaner, like Techron, wouldn't hurt.

How old are the spark plug wires? I got similar symptoms with old wires on my minivan (100k platinum plug changes). I usually change wires enough on the Saturn that it has not been a problem (copper plugs, more changes).

Make sure the 1 & 4 run parallel to each other for most of their length. There should be a clip or two to hold them in place.

Ditto with 2 &3.
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Old 11-10-2018, 03:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: New owner question - miss at idle, intermittent "pop" in exhaust

Doug427, when discussing engine rpm, what's your idle at cold engine startup. Warm engine rpm?

A cold engine startup will always have a high idle around 1200-1500 rpm. As soon as the engine warms up, the high idle automatically drops lower until a warm engine idle shows around 650-850 rpm.

Cold engine startup would be coolant temps at ambient temps. Warm engine, coolant temps at regulated thermostat setting, around 195F. A reader is more definitive for displaying coolant temps than the temperature gauge.

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