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Old 11-05-2013, 09:17 PM   #1
climbski
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Default Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Recently helped a friend purchase a 98 SL2 with 170k miles. Car is in good condition. Engine has very good power. Has a two year old problem that has never gotten worse according to previous owner.

No check engine light no codes.

Car hesitates when giving it pedal only when warmed up. Happens at all rpms but is more noticeable at rpms under 2500. Lower gears are also more noticeable due to jerkiness. In first and second it is significant enough that it can stall out when shifting if you are not used to it. Happens anytime you give it pedal even when using Cruise control. When driving behind the vehicle slightly blue exhaust occasionally visible at higher rpms and throttle. This hesitation/engine cutout is momentary then the acceleration kicks in and the motor has strong pull.

I recommended she purchase it anyway at $900 as I consider this a probably minor issue.

Today I spent a fair bit of time trying to solve the problem for her. Here is what I've done.

Replaced champion plugs with properly gapped recommended NGKs.

Replaced PCV

Removed throttle body and cleaned thoroughly.

Replaced ECTS and plug and checked plug orientation thoroughly.

Replaced ICS and TPS (with used from pick and pull so not sure about those).

Results
NO CHANGE to main issue but car idles lower.

Friday I plan to pull my coil packs from my 2000 SW2 and the wires (if the wires fit) and try them out. More complete inspection of vacuum lines

Other possibilities I am considering

Fuel filter, fuel pressure test. Timing belt?

FRUSTRATING! Any thoughts?

Last edited by climbski; 11-05-2013 at 09:31 PM..

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Old 11-05-2013, 09:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Egr valve sticking? Its opened for exhaust gas to recirculate back into the intake manifold to lower emissions but when faulty will cause many erratic engine issues. The simplest troubleshooting method is to remove it and make a temporary blocking gasket to block off both ports underneath it and use the valve to hold it down. Use layers of soda can aluminum or sheet metal. Drive; if the hesitation disappears then either clean the egr valve or replace it.

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Old 11-05-2013, 10:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

With a hesitation under 2500 rpms I would be inclined to do a compression test as a burnt exhaust valve exhibits those symptoms at lower rpms.

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Old 11-05-2013, 10:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Could a burnt valve be ok when cold? but then be a problem once engine warms up say 1 to 2 minutes after first start from cold? The car does not do this when it is cold.

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Old 11-05-2013, 10:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

With 170K on the engine and it being a DOHC motor, I would do the compression test, There known for burnt exhaust valves, Most likely if thats the case the reason it runs better above the 2500 rpm range is because ignition is happening at a faster rate before the air/fuel mixture exits the burned valve, If you find compression lower in one of the cylinders you could stop all of your tests because that will be your issue....

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2000 SW2 Still Running Strong- 160K Traded In
2002 SL1 Still has Its Training Wheels on at 88K Traded In


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Old 11-06-2013, 12:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

A burned exhaust valve is a cylinder without any compression, resulting in that one cylinder not running at any engine speed.

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Old 11-06-2013, 12:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Does the engine idle smoothly? If it does you do not have a compression issue. It is a timing CHAIN so you are stuck with that. There are several things that cause the problem you are experiencing and valves are not on that list.
1) failed plug wires or incorrectly routed.
2) leaks in the exhaust system between the engine and CAT inlet.
3) if the car has a pre-CAT located in the actual exhaust manifold that can melt and partially block the exhaust.

Check plug wire routing and leak check exhaust as a pinhole leak will cause this hesitation if it is in the right spot.

Ignition wire routing as seen when looking at the engine and coils from the front, hood open, your left to right.

Engine
1-2-3-4

4-1-2-3
coil towers

Connect the matching numbers with a plug wire.

To check exhaust system start with a cold system and pressurize it with a low pressure source of air, shop vac that will blow, leaf blower, large fan. Then spray the piping and exhaust manifold with soapy water from the head gasket all the way to the cat paying close attention to the lower clamp area lower flange area and the flex section. The braid on the flex section is just a rock guard and that actual flex is under it so the soapy water has to soak through to show any leakage unless it is a big one.


Quote:
Originally Posted by climbski View Post
Recently helped a friend purchase a 98 SL2 with 170k miles. Car is in good condition. Engine has very good power. Has a two year old problem that has never gotten worse according to previous owner.

No check engine light no codes.

Car hesitates when giving it pedal only when warmed up. Happens at all rpms but is more noticeable at rpms under 2500. Lower gears are also more noticeable due to jerkiness. In first and second it is significant enough that it can stall out when shifting if you are not used to it. Happens anytime you give it pedal even when using Cruise control. When driving behind the vehicle slightly blue exhaust occasionally visible at higher rpms and throttle. This hesitation/engine cutout is momentary then the acceleration kicks in and the motor has strong pull.

I recommended she purchase it anyway at $900 as I consider this a probably minor issue.

Today I spent a fair bit of time trying to solve the problem for her. Here is what I've done.

Replaced champion plugs with properly gapped recommended NGKs.

Replaced PCV

Removed throttle body and cleaned thoroughly.

Replaced ECTS and plug and checked plug orientation thoroughly.

Replaced ICS and TPS (with used from pick and pull so not sure about those).

Results
NO CHANGE to main issue but car idles lower.

Friday I plan to pull my coil packs from my 2000 SW2 and the wires (if the wires fit) and try them out. More complete inspection of vacuum lines

Other possibilities I am considering

Fuel filter, fuel pressure test. Timing belt?

FRUSTRATING! Any thoughts?

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Old 11-06-2013, 10:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Thanks to all for advice. Was getting frustrated with what seems like it must be something simple and I was running out of likely simple ideas. Friday I'll get back to work on it.

Yes forgot to list that I checked the spark plug wire sequence and it is correct. Basically the engine idles quite smooth although I think it gets a miss perhaps once every 5 to 10 seconds.

There does seem to be a small exhaust leak sounds like it's forward and low somewhere. CA emissions vehicle.

Slight oil seepage into the #1 spark plug well. No other gasket leak. Figured I'd change gasket but was in no rush. That will give me a chance to check the chain.

Forgot about EGR. Sure would be nice if that is the issue. Wouldn't surprise me since anytime the manifold pressure drops suddenly the hesitation/cutout occurs instantly.

I will let you all know how it goes.

Last edited by climbski; 11-06-2013 at 10:14 AM..

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Old 11-06-2013, 10:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Not likely EGR but test is easy. Being a CA emissions you have a preCAT and that might be it but it will be the last choice. That cam cover leak has ruined the #1 plug wire so that should be at the top of the list and a nice brand spanking new set of plug wires. Then exhaust system leak check. A leaking exhaust results in melted preCAT among other unpleasant issues.

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Old 11-07-2013, 01:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Tested the EGR and that didnt change anything.

Checked for exhaust leaks somewhat. No leak at block or other side of exhaust manifold. No audible leak in front or back of either cat but that may not be conclusive.

There is a small leak after at the back end of the muffler.

The wires on my 00 SW2 are a pain to remove so didnt have time to swap them (if they even fit on the 98)

A question. This problem seems related to closed loop operation. But I replaced and checked the ects and plug..I did plug it in backwards at first which intantly caused problems and the service engine light. Then I put it on right and reset. No problem.

Have not checked front O2 sensor.

Could a loose timing chain cause this problem only in closed loop?

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Old 11-07-2013, 01:44 PM   #11
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Tested the egr how?

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Old 11-07-2013, 01:52 PM   #12
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Check the exhaust by allowing the entire system to reach room temperature and then pressurize from an external low pressure source and spray down every inch of the pipe with soapy water between the head and CAT inlet. The remainder of the system will not cause this problem. You can not hear the size of leak you are looking for. Low pressure source is a shop vac that will blow, leaf blower, or large fan.

This has noting to do with closed loop at all ever, what happens is the base mixture changes to a leaner setting when the engine warms up and this lean mixture causes the hesitation to become apparent.

Buy new plug wires instead of fiddling around with a swap that will prove nothing. Plug wires do not last forever.

Did not think the EGR was the problem here to start with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by climbski View Post
Tested the EGR and that didnt change anything.

Checked for exhaust leaks somewhat. No leak at block or other side of exhaust manifold. No audible leak in front or back of either cat but that may not be conclusive.

There is a small leak after at the back end of the muffler.

The wires on my 00 SW2 are a pain to remove so didnt have time to swap them (if they even fit on the 98)

A question. This problem seems related to closed loop operation. But I replaced and checked the ects and plug..I did plug it in backwards at first which intantly caused problems and the service engine light. Then I put it on right and reset. No problem.

Have not checked front O2 sensor.

Could a loose timing chain cause this problem only in closed loop?

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Old 11-07-2013, 01:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Placed a couple quarters on the holes and bolted the EGR back in place. As OldNUC mentioned it was a low probability issue anyway but easy to check.

OK gotta borrow a shop vac. Guess I'll spring for her new wires as she purchased the vehicle on my recommendation and promise I could fix it. (I'm on the hook here lol). Any chance the coils could be an issue?

And NUC you are golden! Really appreciate the time you take to explain things.

Last edited by climbski; 11-07-2013 at 02:03 PM..

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Old 11-07-2013, 02:18 PM   #14
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Very slight on the coils but well used plug wires are a prime suspect along with a leaking exhaust at the flex connector or the lower clamp. If you go buy a shop vac be sure it is a reversible one. Do not to tightly couple to exhaust either to find any hole. If you have an ohmmeter you can check the cold coll resistance between the towers and if different between the 2 coils there is a problem or a single coil reads under ~8K ohm. While wires are off clean off the coil towers, use a damp pot scrubber scotch brite if you see any white/gray oxide.

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Old 11-07-2013, 03:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Quote:
Originally Posted by climbski View Post
Placed a couple quarters on the holes and bolted the EGR back in place.
Thank you. There are many posting the same way but never explain in detail - disconnecting wiring to the egr is easier to do than using a temporary blocking gasket. I do not assume anyone to explain what they do when "Tested the EGR....." Some found their egr valves faulty after assuming a disconnect in wiring didn't work at all until using coins or soda can material, suddenly finding out their engines performing like new.

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Old 11-07-2013, 04:39 PM   #16
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

Ok FIXED!. It was the wires. Too funny. Thanks everyone.

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Old 11-07-2013, 05:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: Warm 98 SL2 Engine Hesitation when changing throttle position upward

As I suspected, check the plug type and cam cover gasket for leaks, might as well get all the preventive maintenance done at the same time.

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