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Old 07-02-2010, 03:17 AM   #1
mozzles
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Default Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Hi, this is my first post here.. I joined because my girlfriend has a 1995 Saturn SW2 and we are having some problems with it.

After looking around on here for a minute it seems I might know what the exact issue is now but I am not sure. My background in mechanics is not much at all and even more so with small cars.

I was struggling for awhile to explain exactly what symptoms we are having, until coming upon a site on Throttle Position Sensors which lists:

* Bucking and jerking of the car
* Idle surging
* Sudden stalling of the car engine
* Hesitation while the driver of the car is trying to accelerate
* Sudden surge in car's speed while driving on the highway

Sounds EXACTLY like what her little Saturn is doing.

Now my question is, it seems that some vehicles have TPS which are easy to adjust, others not so much, what is the case for the '95 SW2 Automatic? Also would it be your guess that it needs to be replaced, or just adjusted?

Again, I am not a mechanic and had never even heard of a Throttle Position Sensor before about 20 minutes ago, so I could be WAY off base here.

Thanks guys! Oh and it's good to find a Saturn forum, I go on some for my Bronco II and for the next car I plan on purchasing (Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon), and they are always tons of help. I'll be seeing you around most likely...
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Old 07-02-2010, 03:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

After doing some more research, it seems that the idling and stalling problems that we are having are fairly common, and it could be a number of things.

But one thing that I was going to add, is that the check engine light does come on usually when the car starts to drive sluggish and stays on until it dies and is started again. Sometimes after that it comes on once more and will die if the engine doesn't get a good chance to run, if there is traffic for instance.

Haven't gotten a chance to check the SES codes, as I just read about them on here.. is this something that is a common service at auto shops? I live in a fairly small city. Also how much does this usually cost on average?

Thanks for the help, and sorry if I'm asking a lot of questions which have already been covered.. I've been reading through the archives and trying to learn as much about this issue as possible, but still it is inevitable.
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Old 07-02-2010, 05:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

This is most likely not a tps issue but one or two other parts that as a new member hasn't been replaced yet; the engine coolant temperature sensor and thermostat. The other possibility is a very carboned (dirty) egr valve needing a cleaning or replacement.

Use the Forum jump below to find the How-to library about the ects. The two-wire original one is plastic and fails. Rich mixtures causes flooding, hard starting, and high idling around 1100rpm. Replace it with the brass one.

If the temperature gauge still hovers near the 1/4 mark after replacing the ects, replace the thermostat with a 195F one to bring operating temps up to where the needle is 3/8th on the gauge.

If stumbling still occurs, make a temporary blocking gasket out of a soda can, two quarters or sheet metal to block off the two ports underneath the egr valve; this completely blocks off any interference from exhaust gases entering the intake fresh air system to cause erratic engine running. Use the egr valve to hold things down and drive. You'll either see an immediate improvement or no change at all. Aluminum will melt quickly from exhaust heat so keep this in mind. If a change is better, either clean the egr valve or replace it.

Find an Autozone or auto store giving free scans for error codes. It takes less than 1-minute to plug n' play any OBD II reader to pull codes. Write down the codes for posting. Typical codes are P0340, P0300, P0301, etc..
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Old 07-02-2010, 07:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

If the SES light is on, you don't need AutoZone. Visit our How-To Library, and search within it on "paper clip", for instructions on obtaining the code(s) yourself. The code(s) will be two digits.
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Old 07-02-2010, 01:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Having some trouble finding the post that you are talking about. When I do the search "Search: Keyword(s): paper, clip ; Forum: How-To Library and child forums", it comes up with six threads, about:

seat heater repair tutorial, cleaning the combustion camber, diagnosing the radiator cooling fan, and changing the ETCS.

There is also a thread on getting codes from a OBD I Saturn, but after browsing it I'm not so sure it's the one you were talking about.

Is there any chance you could find that post and hit me with a link?


It would be much appreciated. Thank you.

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Old 07-02-2010, 01:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
This is most likely not a tps issue but one or two other parts that as a new member hasn't been replaced yet; the engine coolant temperature sensor and thermostat. The other possibility is a very carboned (dirty) egr valve needing a cleaning or replacement.

Use the Forum jump below to find the How-to library about the ects. The two-wire original one is plastic and fails. Rich mixtures causes flooding, hard starting, and high idling around 1100rpm. Replace it with the brass one.

If the temperature gauge still hovers near the 1/4 mark after replacing the ects, replace the thermostat with a 195F one to bring operating temps up to where the needle is 3/8th on the gauge.

If stumbling still occurs, make a temporary blocking gasket out of a soda can, two quarters or sheet metal to block off the two ports underneath the egr valve; this completely blocks off any interference from exhaust gases entering the intake fresh air system to cause erratic engine running. Use the egr valve to hold things down and drive. You'll either see an immediate improvement or no change at all. Aluminum will melt quickly from exhaust heat so keep this in mind. If a change is better, either clean the egr valve or replace it.

Find an Autozone or auto store giving free scans for error codes. It takes less than 1-minute to plug n' play any OBD II reader to pull codes. Write down the codes for posting. Typical codes are P0340, P0300, P0301, etc..
After just talking with her I realized that the ECTS was replaced two years ago, so this is most likely not the issue correct?

The temperature gauge is usually right between 1/4 and 3/8.

Not sure what you mean about the dirty EGR valve, how and where would I check this?
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Old 07-02-2010, 02:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Getting the codes with a paper clip

The How To Library

richpin videos

I believe ethe first sticky in the How to library lists the richpiin vids at the time of the post, but he's added more. ECR cleaning should be in there
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Old 07-02-2010, 04:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

So how old are the spark plugs and ignition cables? $20 can get you a new set (Copper plugs only!) May fix the problem. Surging not so much but definitely hesitation.
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Old 07-02-2010, 07:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Autozone, my bad. I must have left my mind in OFF mode when your '95 is still OBD I/paper clip code checks. as Madpogue revealed. Follow links as posted ^ above ^ and you'll have all the info and pictures. With the ects replaced, its on to other parts like a possible thermostat holding operating temps down instead of raising it. Leave this for another time as plugs, wires, ignition coils, and egr valve are most likely the reason for the SES indicator. Hopefully you'll retrieve the error codes and find out more info.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Hey guys, it took me awhile but I did the paperclip trick and got the SES codes.. it gave a code 32, and then after that a 33.

32: EGR system fault
33: MAP circuit voltage out of range low

I have been reading a little about the EGR and how to clean and replace it, would a good first step be to just take it out and clean it with carb cleaner? I don't have much money to drop on a new one...

Also is this something that some junk yard saturns would have in ok condition still? Or be worth checking even? There's a pretty good yard where I live with about 10 Saturns laying around in various condition. Just picked up a new motor mount the other day.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 08-03-2010, 12:06 AM   #11
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Read post #3 again except ignore the last line (about OBD II) for eliminating the egr valve altogether for a positive test. Cleaning one doesn't prove a thing unless you can block off the ports underneath it to remove any interference.

Both egr valve and map sensors can be from a junk yard provided you accept that they may be faulty already. They're still good for an inexpensive swap if they work.
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Old 08-03-2010, 12:20 AM   #12
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Could you go a little more into detail about making the temporary blocking gasket out of a soda can? If that's what you're saying I ought try doing...
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Old 08-03-2010, 01:08 AM   #13
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

When the egr valve is removed, there are two ports, one is to the exhaust and the other is the entrance to the intake manifold. When the egr valve opens, the exhaust port allows exhaust gases to flow into the fresh air intake manifold to help lower combustion temps for emissions control. The egr valve is only used during acceleration and cruise, not at idle or wide open throttle. If it sticks and allows exhaust gases into the intake at the wrong time hesitation, stumbling, and stalling occurs. Cleaning it cannot prove a sticking valve will work or prove an egr valve is causing the problem except to completely block off the two ports completely.

Blocking both ports with a soda can accomplishes several things; blocks off the ports temporarily (until it melts from exhaust heat) to either demonstrate improved engine performance immediately or not, to verify a faulty egr valve, allows a positive test to eliminate an egr valve from contributing problems, and confirm whether or not this or any other egr valve works correctly. Its also another way to isolate one problem from several going on at the same time.

The soda can is the easiest material to cut up but melts in a day or less depending on driving time. Quarters are more sturdy for longer testing. Bolted down with the egr valve removes the ports from interference from a stuck valve not completely closed and seated.
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Old 08-03-2010, 02:05 PM   #14
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Ok I think I got it now... so basically I take off the EGR valve and gasket, and then put a small sheet of aluminum in place of where the gasket was, so that it's covering both holes, and then put on the EGR, assemble, and drive it around for the day?
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Old 08-03-2010, 02:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

In one word. yes.
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Great! Going to get started this afternoon, provided my girl doesn't need to use her car for a bit.

Think I should clean up the EGR a bit with some carb cleaner while it's off? Would it hurt anything?
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:02 PM   #17
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Clean away!
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:25 PM   #18
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Got a new gasket, some carb cleaner.. working on it at the moment.

A couple questions - there's a lot of silvery residue on the EGR valve where it meets the gasket, carb cleaner and a toothbrush isn't really getting it off, do I want to use something stronger?

Also, I want to clean the inside of the two holes where the EGR was, right? They were pretty caked with gunk..
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:04 PM   #19
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Not sure what the silvery residue is. Possibly flaking from the gasket material as gaskets are made of high temoerature materials that may have metallic particles for heat resistance.

The simple clean up for gunk in those two passages is to simply start up the engine expecting it to rev to engine limits, 4k rpm, for a few seconds. The open intake will suck in air to allow a runaway engine to hit its rev limit while the screaming engine blows out built-up exhaust crud. Many here are advised to do it rhis way other than removing the intake manifod and manually soaking it in solvent, spending time degunking the carbon build up. Your choice.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:14 PM   #20
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Default Re: Problem with jerky acceleration and engine stalling on '95 SW2

Thanks for all of your help, brother. So I took off the EGR valve, gave it a good cleaning and kind of cleaned out the tubes going to it with some carb cleaner and q-tips. Now it's running a little better but still managed to die once taking it for a quick drive around town.

Think like it's still worth doing the aluminum foil thing? I can do it tomorrow just ran short of time today. Also, I bought a new gasket today and put it on, should that be fine still or will I need to buy yet another? (no big deal they are only two bucks)

Didn't run it without the EGR on, will do that tomorrow and clean it out.
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