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Old 03-08-2017, 08:14 PM   #1
fleeisme
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Default 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

Alright, I've a Saturn Vue V6 AWD, I can't help but notice that it is really down on power, it feels like it can't carry its own weight. Even when you put it right to the floor, it takes it a while to get up to speed. My SL2 would certainly blow the doors clean off of it, for example.

Other than being super down on power feeling, at exactly 50 MPH, if you try to maintain that speed, it sputters violently, its like a vibration it's so fast. I'd think it were a wheel bearing if not for the fact that it is completely dependent on me pressing the gas pedal slightly to do it. If you give it more gas, or let off completely, it stops stuttering. It does this at 30 MPH as well, but much less violently.

Sometimes I get the flashing engine light, but most of the time I don't.

Also, it might be related to this problem, but it might be something else, I am noticing that when you come to a complete stop, and then let off the brake, it will not move on its own, it sort of tries, if you give it a tiny bit of gas it will start to move and then idle like normal, even if you let off the gas.

I haven't taken it to a shop or anything yet, I was just wondering if this problem was something that you guys would have insight on, because I am broke as a joke, and will need to do anything to it that needs to be done myself. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by fleeisme; 03-08-2017 at 08:29 PM.. Reason: EDIT: More info

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Old 03-08-2017, 08:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

How many miles on this '02? Have you checked to see if your brakes are overheating? You need to get your trouble codes scanned.

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Old 03-08-2017, 08:58 PM   #3
fleeisme
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazberry View Post
How many miles on this '02? Have you checked to see if your brakes are overheating? You need to get your trouble codes scanned.
It has 102,xxx on it, and I thought the brakes might have been getting stuck as well, but I just got back from an hour long drive in the poor thing and they didn't look like they were (no smell, no obvious signs) and I didn't have any fading or loss of braking while driving.

Also, I plan on getting the codes pulled as soon as possible, but I work, so it is going to have to wait until Monday. The Autozone coders are... basically colecovisions.

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Old 03-09-2017, 11:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

how old are spark plugs? good time to replace valve cover gaskets too. i got my vue due to misfire. seemed to drive ok on the way home. i replaced front plugs but they did not look awful. drove to work the next few days and had to punch it on hwy and i got a misfire/flashing cel. so i did the rear plugs which looked the same as front bank. still drives the same. have not had a misfire code since.

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Old 03-09-2017, 01:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

What happens if you rev the engine when in park? Does the engine sputter, hesitate, misfire, etc?

Sounds like you have multiple issues. Let's start simply. When was the last time the fuel filter was replaced?

...
2003 Saturn Vue V6 3.0L

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Old 03-09-2017, 08:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

Quote:
Originally Posted by fleeisme View Post
Sometimes I get the flashing engine light, but most of the time I don't.
This is a major misfire. Could lead to a converter meltdown which explains poor performance as it blocks exhaust flow.

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Old 03-10-2017, 07:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

Quote:
Originally Posted by fleeisme View Post
It has 102,xxx....I plan on getting the codes pulled as soon as possible, but I work, so it is going to have to wait until Monday. The Autozone coders are... basically colecovisions.
Unless you own your own reader, AutoZone's readers are more than colecovisions. Any reader that displays an error code that saves anyone an expensive repair bill is worth its weight in gold. I don't add up all the money I saved from not paying a repair shop or dealer to read error codes and make repairs. My reader paid for itself after several error codes resulted in replacing O2 sensors, t-stat, and fuel filler pipe assembly - each with their own error code.

If I'm not mistaken, there are three catalytic converters on your Vue, two pup converters (one for each exhaust manifold and a third downstream from the two. Strangled catcons made many vehicles act underpowered and can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. While 102k miles isn't a lot, catcons only need to meet new vehicle and mileage warranty. Once beyond that, GM could care less. A simple test for faulty catcons; remove the O2 sensors from each exhaust manifold, create a makeshift diverter from soup cans to prevent hot exhaust from melting nearby plastics (if necessary) and drive around the neighborhood. The exhaust will be loud but if engine power suddenly returns, one or both pup converters fell apart internally, blocking exhaust flow. The third downstream converter may be blocking exhaust flow too.

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Old 03-11-2017, 12:30 PM   #8
fleeisme
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

Going to have the codes read at Autozone today when I pick up a fuel filter and order a valve cover gasket set (none of them are in stock at any autozone near by).

Plugged converters sounds likely, or at least likely to become a future problem, how crazy is it to just cut them off and just patch in piping? I know on most "modern" engines there are sensors that would really not appreciate doing such a thing, just wondering if anyone here has a way to go about doing this.

Note: There are no emissions testings done where I live, so if I could get the car to run well without them, I'd honestly love to just eliminate them.

Thanks a lot guys.

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Old 03-11-2017, 12:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

Quote:
Originally Posted by Badmotorfinger View Post
What happens if you rev the engine when in park? Does the engine sputter, hesitate, misfire, etc?

Sounds like you have multiple issues. Let's start simply. When was the last time the fuel filter was replaced?
The engine seems to rev completely fine when in park no matter how you rev it, with no hesitation.

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Old 03-11-2017, 01:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

Revving without any engine hesitation is a good sign that the three catcons are fine. The only difference between free revving and driving is the engine under load when driving. Unless there's some strange catcon action going on, most faulty cats with exhaust blockage can occur at random without rhyme or reason and stay consistently blocked or contents rattle away to open up exhaust flow - intermittent blockage. Google images of damaged catcons to see examples of how they fall apart. There shouldn't be any metallic/ball bearing rattling with engine running or loose cat guts when hand banging them. Before presuming catcons are damaged and preventing exhaust flow, check other possibilities; clogged fuel filter, fuel pump, ignition. In your state without emissions, some members simply gut their catcons to allow unrestricted exhaust flow. The second O2 sensor will detect something wrong and may turn on an error code. Spark plug extenders are used in some applications to turn off the error code.

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Old 03-12-2017, 06:56 PM   #11
fleeisme
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

Alright helpful folks, I think I may have some clogged cats now. After a fuel filter change it seems to actually be running the same if not, worse.

There is a noticeable hesitation in park now, it burps twice and then revs up. This seems to happen after it warms up, it runs pretty well after a cold start, to be honest.

When it is running well, all seems fine, and when driving I can feel it change into low power, almost like it goes into a limp mode, it feels like the throttle does half of what it is supposed to do. Although it does Rev like hell, it doesn't have the power, like I'm running on three cylinders.

Also the only error codes it gave were for random misfire, it said cylinders 1, 2, and 3. Which aren't in the same bank, and the auto zone computer suggested to change the thermostat, which sounded crazy to me, but I've heard crazier.

So now I'm down to ignition system or timing belt having jumped, although since it can run well, I find it hard to believe.

Any more help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 03-12-2017, 10:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

Quote:
Originally Posted by fleeisme View Post
Any more help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
I've 'been there, done that' with a clogged Cat on my L81. You can tell something by looking at the signals from the O2 Sensors. See the last few posts in this thread . . .
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=202843

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Old 03-26-2017, 10:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

From one VUE owner to another, at that age and mileage, if your front rubber brake lines arent bad yet, they will be realllll soon. Mine went bad both almost at the same time, the front brakes would stay applied after you released the pedal. I didnt get any smell, but my gas mileage went down to 12mpg, and the VUE felt "heavy". Try jacking up the front end safely, starting the VUE and putting it into Neutral and having a helper depress the brake pedal. Then right after releasing it, try to rotate each of the front wheels.

Again, they might not be bad "yet" but the metal clamp always rusts and squeezes the line, compromising it. Well documented issue on the forums.

The coil packs go bad too. Im interested to see what your exact DTC's are. You could invest in a bluetooth code reader, they are like $20 on Ebay, and download the Torque app onto your phone. This would allow you to view live data and read/reset codes.

The bad coil pack could definitely kill your cat. That also has been documented here on the forums... the VUE's cats seem to be particularly fickle when the coil pack goes bad. Whereas, Ive worked on other vehicles that have had misfire conditions for months, and the cats are still fine. But it seems it only takes once or twice for the VUE's cats to give up the ghost...

Also, if you havent replaced your timing belt yet, it needs to be done. When the belt stretches, the engine timing will no longer be perfect, and usually at higher RPMs, can cause a misfire. Of course, ignoring the timing belt replacement interval can also cause belt to break, and then the valves to say hello to the top of your pistons, and now youve got a 6 cylinder lawn ornament. $$$$ The L81 is an interference engine.

Fuel filter is a good start, but when I acquired the VUE from my Dad, it had never been changed in 140,000 miles, not once. The VUE ran fine, even though when I removed the fuel filter a bunch of black stuff came out when I drained the fuel that was left into a container.

Again, the EXACT DTC's are needed. If your timing belt jumped a tooth, you'd definitely know it. If it were me, I would not drive it if you are worried about the belt, because if it did in fact skip a tooth, that means its stretched enough that it can either break or skip more, and ruin your engine (read above).

Last edited by Partymmudasti; 03-26-2017 at 10:20 PM..

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Old 04-03-2017, 10:48 AM   #14
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Default Re: 02 Saturn Vue V6 AWD Down on Power

if you're getting misfire codes.. i would focus on the most obvious culprits first..
1) check the plugs
2) replace the coil packs
3) check for vacuum leak.. (disconnected/cracked hose... or perhaps a leaking intake manifold gasket)..

If you don't want to throw money at this.. maybe try swapping around the coil packs between the good and bad cyclinders.. to see if the misfire codes change to different cylinder numbers...

if none of those work. .then i would try cleaning the throttle body.. .. and maybe check into the fuel filter and fuel pump.

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