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Old 03-30-2012, 12:04 PM   #1
Tio76
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Default '99 SL with Slight Intermitant Loss of power at cruising speeds

For the past 6 months or so my ’99 SL has been having problems with hesitation/shuddering/shimmying… while under cruising conditions. Once the car has accelerated and come to the appropriate cursing speed, ( i.e. the speed limit for the road) as low as 25MPH up to 60MPH, and I am barley pushing the accelerator to maintain speed the power output begins to stutter. It is almost like the car would do as it was running out of gas but only for a half a second at a time. It does it in 3rd, 4th, or 5th gear. I never notice it when accelerating, in fact I can give the car more gas and the stutter will stop until I return to cruising then it returns. I can see the RMPs shimmy (move down slightly) when the half a second loss of power occurs.
The car has 120K miles. I have recently replace the thermostat, temperature sensor, battery, cleaned the egr valve. In the past 1-2 years I have replace the fuel filter cleaned the throttle body. The spark plugs and wires were replace 3-4 years ago.
I am looking for ideas. What could cause this problem? Where should I look for solutions? Thanks in advance for your help.

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Old 03-30-2012, 01:02 PM   #2
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Default Re: '99 SL with Slight Intermitant Loss of power at cruising speeds

Go over this short check list.

1-Check fuel pressure.

2-Search for egr valve temporary blocking gasket. Cleaning it will never be proof that the egr valve is faulty. Blocking it off will.

3-Spark plugs are mileage related - 30k+ miles for regular plugs. If not certain, pull them for inspecting.

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Old 03-30-2012, 01:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: '99 SL with Slight Intermitant Loss of power at cruising speeds

fdryer,

Thanks for the checklist. I will try each of those and post results.

Thanks,
Chris

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Old 03-31-2012, 11:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: '99 SL with Slight Intermitant Loss of power at cruising speeds

Update:

So I started with the spark plugs as it has been around 60K miles since the last ones were put in. The old plugs looked fine (still gapped at .040 and little to no carbon buildup). Since the new plus were only $2 a piece I just replaced them. However this did not have any impact on the problems the car was experiencing.

I then move to check the fuel supply and EGR valve. After taking off the air supply assembly I decided to clean the throttle body and IAC valve. These did not have any impact on the symptoms.

After quickly checking fuel supply on the fuel rail coming into the throttle body ( it was fine) I moved to the EGR valve. I removed it and with the gasget removed place two quarters on the two holes and replaced the EGR. Took the car for a spin and it was like a new car. No problems!!

So now that the EGR valve bypass test resolved the symptoms, now what? Is it enough to simply clean the EGR pindel? Is there more that can be done? Should a new EGR be purchased? What is the problem with perminantly bypassing the EGR?

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Old 03-31-2012, 11:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: '99 SL with Slight Intermitant Loss of power at cruising speeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tio76 View Post
Update:....I moved to the EGR valve. I removed it and with the gasget removed place two quarters on the two holes and replaced the EGR. Took the car for a spin and it was like a new car. No problems!!

So now that the EGR valve bypass test resolved the symptoms, now what? Is it enough to simply clean the EGR pindel? Is there more that can be done? Should a new EGR be purchased? What is the problem with perminantly bypassing the EGR?
1-Check prices on replacements.

2-Cleaning consists of attempting to remove stuff off the pintle shaft that causes sticky movement and faults. The position sensor can be damaged from cleaning solvents and the pintle valve will have resistance to movement because of the servo motor design that may be unfamiliar to anyone never working with servo motors. The motor/shaft movement can feel as if there's something wrong and difficult to separate from shaft binding/corrosion build up. Some servo motors feel 'ratchety' while pushing/pulling on the shaft. Other designs use the motor like a drill to screw the shaft in/out. I think egr valves push/pull while the iacv rotates.

3-There are members here that have used the bypass permanently without issues, period. No long term valve burn outs. Great reliability. No emissions inspection where they are.

4-Some egr valves trigger the SES indicator because of interference or damage to the internal position sensor.

If you have emissions inspection with no tail pipe exhaust analyzer and the SES indicator is OFF, you're good to go with this bypass. Any state (California) that uses tail pipe sniffing will most likely fail your car. If, like NYS, only the cable is plugged into the OBD II port for verification that the SES indicator wasn't reset in the last week and the SES indicator stays OFF, the car passes all federal and NYS emission requirements. We stopped tail pipe sniffing when OBD II became the standard used by the feds.

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Old 03-31-2012, 12:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: '99 SL with Slight Intermitant Loss of power at cruising speeds

What is the best way to perminantly bypass the EGR? Should I just leave the two quarters? Is there a better method?
Thanks!

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Old 03-31-2012, 12:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: '99 SL with Slight Intermitant Loss of power at cruising speeds

Leave it as is if the SES light stays off. Those two quarters are already giving you a greater return on the initial investment!

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Old 03-31-2012, 12:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: '99 SL with Slight Intermitant Loss of power at cruising speeds

To Bypass I would just apply some sealer around the quartes and tighten them back down again.

I reccomend cleaning the EGR, I did it last night on my 97 SC2 for the same issue you were having. a $3.00 can of brake cleen from the parts store and about 20 min of my time and my 15 year old EGR is working like new. I can't post a link to the video I follwed on youtube that showes how to clean it but but it was made by youtube user richpin06a.

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Old 04-01-2012, 10:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: '99 SL with Slight Intermitant Loss of power at cruising speeds

I ditched the quarters as it was difficult to get everything to sit and seal well. The car sounded awful (small exhaust leak around the quarters). I opted to fashion my own perminantly bypass out of sheet metal using the same method richpin used in making his out of aluminum. The car now runs like it did when I drove it out of the Saturn Dealer lot 13.5 years ago.

Now we will just wait and see if this solution causes valve problems down the road. By the way what are the symptoms of overcooked exhaust valves?

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Old 04-01-2012, 02:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: '99 SL with Slight Intermitant Loss of power at cruising speeds

Search for pictures of burned exhaust valves - missing a chunk. These are from posts when lost compression, very erratic idling and overall poor engine running occurred with all manner of chemical concoctions tried and compression tests done until the cylinder head was removed. None because of a blocked off egr valve.

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