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Old 08-04-2020, 01:34 PM   #1
TJB63
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Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Virginia
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2002 VUE 3.0L
2008 SKY Red Line
Default Timing Belt/PO300 Misfire/Fix

Well, I've replied elsewhere, But I thought I'd post my experience in hopes that it may help someone.

First off, This Forum has given me lots of direction and ideas of things to look for, Sorry if this post ends up being long, But it's been a Loooonnnng journey.

Years ago I owned an 03 V6 VUE and stupidly traded it in 3 years later when the 3rd Gen Rav4's came out. (Still have a Rav4 BTW) Anyhow, last November I purchased a 02 VUE V6 w/about 149,000 miles on it, So I knew it would need some TLC from the start, But Winter came and without a garage, I wasn't going to start to do too much like a Timing Belt job.

I suspected the Timing Belt needed replacement, and I wanted to take care of basic maintenance items likes plugs, oil etc...I babied it until Spring and in that time it drove OK, But I had odd things happen like the Engine RPM's would just Rev up in the 5-6000 range in Park and I started getting a Misfire code which I was thinking Coil Packs and already had on my list of things to do.

Spring came and first task was Timing Belt, Good thing, Because it was the Original Belt - 18 years old and 50,000 past Replacement, Word of Warning Here: Don't Attempt this following the Chilton or Haynes manual for Timing Belt Replacement, lots wrong there. First time, Didn't work, Belt jumped and wouldn't tension, even though I replaced the Water Pump and New Tensioners with it, 2nd attempt was a little better, but same story, 3rd attempt, a friend linked me to a YouTube video on a guy doing the belt on a Cadillac CTS, that video was a Life saver, following his direction made the job 100% easier. Now the fun begins....(I could do another 10 paragraphs on the Timing Belt alone, but if you read this far, I'll spare you)

Doing the Belt the first time, We (My Brother was a Big Help and he drove 400 miles 3 times to help me) disconnected all the plugs, camshaft, crankshaft, transmission etc....accessing the Timing Belt and pulling the Plenum, This must have fixed the High Rev situation because it's never returned since.
But the NEW Problem was the constant PO300 Misfire on Cylinders 301 - 303 & 305 and at this point, I had already replaced the Plugs, Coil packs, Valve cover gaskets, New PVC hose, and I started also getting a PO171 Lean Fuel code,
So, over the course of time since the 1st Belt attempt in March, I visually went through everything I knew to be a vacuum line, nothing out of the ordinary, replaced the Fuel Filter and that seemed to fix the PO171 code, But the PO300-301-303 and 305 remained, it seemed like it would kick in ONLY at Low Idle like a Stoplight or sitting parked with the Engine running, The Service Engine Soon(SES) light would flash and then eventually stay solid on the dash until I reset the code.

So I tried checking the Vacuum Chamber, what a nightmare that turned into, the 8 bolts holding the chamber in have a torque value of 22 inch pounds, torquing the 3rd bolt, it snapped. then to make matters worse, While wiping the oil and build up off the chamber, I tore the Orange Flapper valve off the Chamber, that led to a Misfire Code on ALL 6 Cylinders and instant stall out unless you rev'd the engine and held it there, That upset me, at this point you can't buy a Vacuum Chamber anywhere, Not for Saturn or any other Model they used the same 3.0L engine in. At that point I was thinking it just became scrap all for the want of a $0.3 cent rubber flapper valve. Once again, My Brother to the rescue, He found a 3.0L near his work and luckily it had an intact Vacuum Chamber and as a Bonus, it came with the 'Springs' mentioned in the TSB on Vacuum Chambers, My original had no springs. But Sadly, The Misfire Code continued.

Next up I bought a Smoke Machine to Test all the lines, No smoke leaking anywhere, next I bought a Vacuum Gauge, Vacuum held at a steady 22, which is Good, But wasn't fixing my problem, This past Saturday I replaced my Bank 1 O2 Sensors which still didn't fix the problem, But while watching YouTube and perusing my Haynes manual I got hit with a Double whammy that turned out to be the Solution.

When doing the timing Belt all three times and removing the Plenum to do the plugs/coils, I removed the Throttle Body for better access, In the Haynes manual I came across a Throttle Position Relearn procedure, and it also stated that anytime the TB was disconnected, removed or Replaced, this procedure needed to be preformed,(You'd think Haynes and Chilton would mention this in the "removing the Plenum section, they don't) then at the same time I saw 2 videos pop up in YouTube on Resetting a cars computer, So at this point I figured Why Not, Nothing else seemed to work.

I disconnected the Battery, let the terminals touch for 5 minutes to supposedly drain any remaining energy left in the computer and circuits, hooked the battery back up and performed the Relearn Procedure,

Which for the 3.0L V6 isStep 1) Turn Key to ON for 1 minute, turn off, then
(Step 2) Start Engine and let Idle for 5 minutes with NO LOAD on it, it stated in Haynes if the Fan kicked on, Not to count that time it ran as part of the 5 minutes.

I've driven the car for about 100 miles now and No Flashing Service Engine Soon Light, No Pending Codes, No Permanent Codes and No Steady Service Engine Soon Light. in the past, the Dash would have definitely been lit up by then.

I hope that Helps someone, I've been scratching my head since March, again, Sorry it's a Long Post, But I've been through a LOT getting to this point. I don't Regret anything I bought and replaced i.e. Plugs, Coils, Fuel Filter etc...cause I feel that ALL needed to be done anyhow, the Car's 18 years old and it came with Service records, But it's just Oil Changes, Brakes, etc...Just very basic maintenance stuff, But they kept up on that stuff very well.

As for the other Equipment, smoke Tester, gauges, etc...I own 5 other cars including a Saturn Sky, My 'Newest' car being a 2010, plus my wife has 3 cars, So I'm pretty sure they'll come in handy.

Some takeaways: Overall, while frustrating, I've learned a lot about this Engine, Hopefully I can keep it running, I Love the 1st Gen VUEs for some reason. I spent $125.00 on the tool set to just do the Belt, But I figure with some luck I'll be doing it again someday, but not soon I hope, To do the Timing Belt, Water Pump, Tensioners and Serpentine Belt, plus the Tool cost above, cost me less than $500 - I've heard people paying anywhere from $1500.00 to $3500.00 for the timing Belt, So I saved some money and learned a lot in the process and know exactly what's been done to it.

Like I say, I hope somebody finds this useful, Misfire codes can be a bear to find the culprit, maybe this will save you some hair.

TJ
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