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Old 01-06-2020, 11:22 PM   #1
Reliabilityman
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1995 SL1
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Default 365,000 plus just died

My 365,000 plus mile 95 SL1 just left me stranded on the side of the road. Starting a high pitch gear whine coming from the engine under acceleration on the inner state at about 75MPH. Started losing power to the point I was crowing at 40MPH among the other cars so I hit the shoulder. The engine was coughing a bit and as the RPMS went down, it died and check engine light came on. Would not start up until you put the gas peddle to the floor, then it would fire up and blow black smoke like a coal burner. Had it towed, sat over night and started right up without issues, then it started running rough again and blowing black smoke. Previously I had the fuel line rupture twice in a couple of years so I thought this was fuel related. I am busy with work so I couldn't trouble shoot it all the way and took it to a mechanic. Hes not sure either but tossed out that it might have been a timing chain. Any thoughts? First time it left me stranded since I bought it new.
...
1995 Saturn SL1 Owned since new
360,073 Miles Original Clutch, Back Brakes

2000 L Series Owned since new
154,000 Miles, Melted Fuse Box, Randomly Opening Trunk, Leaking AC condensate into cabin,
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: 365,000 plus just died

Black smoke usually means too rich. Only starting with the pedal to the floor usually means too rich. Low power can be too rich. Timing chain seems unlikely. What codes are associated with the check engine light?
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Bryan Cotton
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Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
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Old 01-07-2020, 07:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: 365,000 plus just died

Too much fuel. Do you have the brass tip engine temp sensor?

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Old 01-07-2020, 08:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: 365,000 plus just died

Multiple fuel line ruptures, running too rich....perhaps your fuel line pressure is too high. Did you replace the fuel pump at some point and if so what brand did you put in? Some brands are not so good.
...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
2001 SL1 MT (438,500 km 11y)
1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
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Old 01-07-2020, 09:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: 365,000 plus just died

By the way, 365K is awesome. Hope you get this resolved.
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Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
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Old 01-07-2020, 01:48 PM   #6
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1999 SL2
Default Re: 365,000 plus just died

Check your EGR valve.

My '99 had the perfect storm one day, right after I got onto the highway, and a giant piece of carbon got caught in the EGR and held the valve all the way open.

It didn't even throw a check engine light but I immediately noticed a lack of power and took an exit.
The engine stalled when I pushed the clutch in and I barely got it restarted -- it would only run if I kept my foot on the gas while waiting to turn off the offramp. Car wouldn't go over 20 miles an hour so I barely made it to the next parking lot.

I pulled the EGR off (2 deep 10mm bolts and a connector) and discovered the culprit -- a shot of carb cleaner and some scrubbing cleaned it right up and the car was fine again.

I wouldn't be surprised if it was something like that. Every now and again my car will act up a little and it's just another piece of carbon holding the valve open a bit.
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Old 01-07-2020, 07:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: 365,000 plus just died

1-engine or xmission whine?

2-black smoke can be associated with rich fuel running but what are the chances of well worn injectors allowing more fuel or a well worn fuel pump still supplying operating pressures to create a rich running condition?

3-pressing the gas pedal down further for starting can be interpreted in two different ways, lean fuel mixtures or possibly richening fuel to startup. Every EFI system has one undeniable startup characteristic - the ability to startup in hot summer or freezing winter without touching the gas pedal. Once the gas pedal is needed to startup, something's wrong.

With 365k miles and no mention of maintenance done over the years, guessing is all anyone can do here.

4-what's fuel pressure?

5-spark plugs replaced at recommended intervals?

6-fuel filter replaced every 100k miles?

7-is this car still on its original exhaust system? If original, there may be a possibility of the catcon disintegrating internally, blocking off exhaust flow and creating the equivalent of engine constipation by severely restricting exhaust flow to prevent normal engine running. The simplest test for a blocked exhaust system; remove the upstream exhaust manifold mounted O2 sensor to allow an alternate exhaust hole and startup.

I don't think this is a timing chain issue.
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Old 01-08-2020, 01:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: 365,000 plus just died

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
1-engine or xmission whine?

2-black smoke can be associated with rich fuel running but what are the chances of well worn injectors allowing more fuel or a well worn fuel pump still supplying operating pressures to create a rich running condition?

3-pressing the gas pedal down further for starting can be interpreted in two different ways, lean fuel mixtures or possibly richening fuel to startup. Every EFI system has one undeniable startup characteristic - the ability to startup in hot summer or freezing winter without touching the gas pedal. Once the gas pedal is needed to startup, something's wrong.

With 365k miles and no mention of maintenance done over the years, guessing is all anyone can do here.

4-what's fuel pressure?

5-spark plugs replaced at recommended intervals?

6-fuel filter replaced every 100k miles?

7-is this car still on its original exhaust system? If original, there may be a possibility of the catcon disintegrating internally, blocking off exhaust flow and creating the equivalent of engine constipation by severely restricting exhaust flow to prevent normal engine running. The simplest test for a blocked exhaust system; remove the upstream exhaust manifold mounted O2 sensor to allow an alternate exhaust hole and startup.

I don't think this is a timing chain issue.
Yes called my mechanic today to see the status. Needless to say they haven't tried very hard. I am short of calling them idiots. They looked at the mileage and passed on any real diagnosis. They haven't even tried looking for any codes. Looks like I will be figuring this out and fixing it myself like I always have over the years. To answer your question:
1) It was an engine whine, at first thought it sounded like a gear low on oil, (I know that was not the issue but I am describing the sound)
2) The injectors have never been replaced. With blowing the nylon fuel lines several times and hard venting when opening the gas tank, Im thinking its fuel pressure related.
3) Have to press the gas pedle to the floor only when the car starts blowing black smoke
4) Fuel pressure was not tested by mechanics but was tested by me last summer and it was within the norm (34 or so PSI) Im leaning toward bad fuel regulator possibly.
5) regular maintenance has been performed on the car and the spark plugs have been replaced every 36k
6) Fuel filter replaced more than 100k, was replaced 6 months ago when the fuel filter line ruptured.
7) Yes still has the original exhaust system, minus several mufflers.
...
1995 Saturn SL1 Owned since new
360,073 Miles Original Clutch, Back Brakes

2000 L Series Owned since new
154,000 Miles, Melted Fuse Box, Randomly Opening Trunk, Leaking AC condensate into cabin,
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Old 01-08-2020, 01:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: 365,000 plus just died

One part I learned from the mechanic today was this:
If the car sits for a while, it will start up just fine and they took it around the block. Then the car acts up, starts coughing and blowing black smoke and they can barely get it back on the lot.

He said he thought it was a Cam or stuck valve which I told him I didn't agree with and it sounded more of a sensor issue.? They wont touch it for another week. I don't think they know what they are doing.
...
1995 Saturn SL1 Owned since new
360,073 Miles Original Clutch, Back Brakes

2000 L Series Owned since new
154,000 Miles, Melted Fuse Box, Randomly Opening Trunk, Leaking AC condensate into cabin,
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Old 01-08-2020, 02:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: 365,000 plus just died

I'd run from that garage. Seems like a good time to roll up your sleeves and confer with your friends on the forum.
...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018
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Old 01-08-2020, 03:37 PM   #11
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Default Re: 365,000 plus just died

^ I agree. Either this garage is sizing you up for a repair bill that they're trying to figure out to be believable without ever diagnosing the problem, aren't interested in diagnosing the problem and simply throwing out anything in hopes of hooking you and your wallet/credit card or are truly lost but still interested in attempting to make some money from you regardless whether or not they make an actual repair. As a rule, business is in business to give you the business. Nothing personal. As a business, repair shops have overhead costs so they must make money one way or another. This shop is on a fishing expedition and you're The Fish............
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Old 01-08-2020, 04:12 PM   #12
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Default Re: 365,000 plus just died

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reliabilityman View Post
Yes called my mechanic today to see the status. Needless to say they haven't tried very hard. I am short of calling them idiots. They looked at the mileage and passed on any real diagnosis. They haven't even tried looking for any codes. Looks like I will be figuring this out and fixing it myself like I always have over the years. To answer your question:
1) It was an engine whine, at first thought it sounded like a gear low on oil, (I know that was not the issue but I am describing the sound)
2) The injectors have never been replaced. With blowing the nylon fuel lines several times and hard venting when opening the gas tank, Im thinking its fuel pressure related.
3) Have to press the gas pedle to the floor only when the car starts blowing black smoke
4) Fuel pressure was not tested by mechanics but was tested by me last summer and it was within the norm (34 or so PSI) Im leaning toward bad fuel regulator possibly.
5) regular maintenance has been performed on the car and the spark plugs have been replaced every 36k
6) Fuel filter replaced more than 100k, was replaced 6 months ago when the fuel filter line ruptured.
7) Yes still has the original exhaust system, minus several mufflers.
1) It was an engine whine, at first thought it sounded like a gear low on oil, (I know that was not the issue but I am describing the sound) . No comment
2) The injectors have never been replaced. With blowing the nylon fuel lines several times and hard venting when opening the gas tank, I'm thinking its fuel pressure related. I agree
3) Have to press the gas pedle to the floor only when the car starts blowing black smoke. When starting the car, pressing the gas pedal to the floor shuts down fuel as I understand it; so to me this makes sense as a running rich fuel related problem. I'm not sure if this is the case for an already running car though.
4) Fuel pressure was not tested by mechanics but was tested by me last summer and it was within the norm (34 or so PSI) Im leaning toward bad fuel regulator possibly. I'd start here however you'd have to get pressures while the issue is presenting.
5) regular maintenance has been performed on the car and the spark plugs have been replaced every 36k What is the status of the ECTS and its electrical connector? Replaced with a brass tipped one or still resin? They are known to make the S Series run rich.
6) Fuel filter replaced more than 100k, was replaced 6 months ago when the fuel filter line ruptured. What about the fuel pump? History? Can't fully recall GEN1 but isn't the fuel pressure regulator integrated into the fuel pump?
7) Yes still has the original exhaust system, minus several mufflers. No comment
...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
2001 SL1 MT (438,500 km 11y)
1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
1992 SL2 MT (5y)

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