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Old 10-20-2018, 02:16 AM   #1
RobertGary1
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Default TPS woes

After years of problem free TPS operation I started to have TPS symptoms again including P0122 and P1122. After going through 3 connectors (j/y, A/C Delco, Standard), 3 TPS sensors and 2 TB's (thought the axle bearing may be bad) I still have an issue.

Nearly always the low voltage happens when I first start the car, before touching the gas peddle. Normally it goes away after a few miles and returns to normal. I have caught it a couple times in the garage and hooked up my Tech 2.

With the tech 2 I saw voltages either 1/2 or less than expected (normal is about 0.40 at idle). My first guess was the solder joints on the connector so I pulled, pushed, twisted and manhandled each joint but no change in voltage on the tech2. I wiggled, etc the connect in every way, no change. I moved the throttle open and close but it always returned to its (bad) idle voltage. I even torqued the butterfly valve to see if it made a difference.

However, the one thing that ALWAYS solves the problem is to unplug the TPS. If I unplug it the reference voltage measures correctly at 5v and then plug it back in everything works great for sometimes as long as a week. Literally the solution is to unplug the TPS and plug it back in. I've very careful to unplug and plug back in without distrurbing the wire, etc to ensure its not just pulling a wire.

The tech 2 shows the voltages for the MAP and EGR pendile are correct.

My only remaining thought is that maybe its a strange PCM issue. Is there any scenario in which the PCM would send a low reference voltage and went disconnected somehow "reset" back to 5v?

I can't think of anything else to try or why unplugging and pluggin back in always solves it when beating the crap out of every part of it pulling and tugging doesn't change anything.

-Robert

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Old 10-20-2018, 07:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: TPS woes

Below is a 5v wiring diagram for '98 SC2. Presuming the 5v reference is the same with possible exception of pinouts, is it possible for intermittent wire or connector issues between pcm and tps?
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Old 10-20-2018, 09:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: TPS woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
After years of problem free TPS operation I started to have TPS symptoms again including P0122 and P1122. After going through 3 connectors (j/y, A/C Delco, Standard), 3 TPS sensors and 2 TB's (thought the axle bearing may be bad) I still have an issue.

Nearly always the low voltage happens when I first start the car, before touching the gas peddle. Normally it goes away after a few miles and returns to normal. I have caught it a couple times in the garage and hooked up my Tech 2.

With the tech 2 I saw voltages either 1/2 or less than expected (normal is about 0.40 at idle). My first guess was the solder joints on the connector so I pulled, pushed, twisted and manhandled each joint but no change in voltage on the tech2. I wiggled, etc the connect in every way, no change. I moved the throttle open and close but it always returned to its (bad) idle voltage. I even torqued the butterfly valve to see if it made a difference.

However, the one thing that ALWAYS solves the problem is to unplug the TPS. If I unplug it the reference voltage measures correctly at 5v and then plug it back in everything works great for sometimes as long as a week. Literally the solution is to unplug the TPS and plug it back in. I've very careful to unplug and plug back in without distrurbing the wire, etc to ensure its not just pulling a wire.

The tech 2 shows the voltages for the MAP and EGR pendile are correct.

My only remaining thought is that maybe its a strange PCM issue. Is there any scenario in which the PCM would send a low reference voltage and went disconnected somehow "reset" back to 5v?

I can't think of anything else to try or why unplugging and pluggin back in always solves it when beating the crap out of every part of it pulling and tugging doesn't change anything.

-Robert
There is an obscure issue with low voltage low current connections, fretting corrosion, which is corrected by cycling the connector. One of the suggested fixes is to carefully lube the finned environmental seal on the connector so it does not exert any force on the actual connection. Using this: https://www.amazon.com/Hosa-D5S-6-De...70_&dpSrc=srch on the connector and socket should help if it is a case of fretting corrosion.

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Old 10-20-2018, 12:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: TPS woes

I would try back-probing that connector, both before and after disturbing it to "fix" the issue. Read voltages on all three wires: 5V, signal, and ground relative to a solid ground on the engine. Let's see what actually changes.

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Old 10-20-2018, 01:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: TPS woes

Back probing will effectively move the connector and solve the problem if is feting corrosion.

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Old 10-20-2018, 02:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: TPS woes

Maybe, it depends on how hard you push against the contacts with the probes. However, if it is not a fretting issue, then we may get some good clues. How much can it hurt to try reading voltages?

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Old 10-20-2018, 08:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: TPS woes

This problem has a long history.

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Old 10-20-2018, 09:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: TPS woes

I believe the correct word is "fretting" corrosion.

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Old 10-21-2018, 01:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: TPS woes

Went out and back probed the TPS at the PCM. However it decided to work correct so I didn't get any data. At idle the voltage across the TPS signal and TPS ground was 0.40 voltage and the Tech 2 read 0.37.

I'm skeptical that the diagrams that show the 5v reference as a simple resister within the PCM and then the 3 outs (TPS, EGR pendle, MAP). I suspect internally its probably more complex. For one thing the reference voltage is always 5 v but the system buss voltage various between 12-14v depending on what the car is doing. To maintain the constant 5v it must be more than a simple resister.

I also would not be surprised if the issue is with the PCM voltage sensing. Its possible the correct voltage is being sent to the PCM but the PCM is no longer reading it correctly. I'll know if that's true pretty quick if I still see 0.40 voltage at the PCM but Tech 2 shows much less. I went ahead and ordered a used $20 PCM off eBay just in case.

-Robert

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Old 10-21-2018, 07:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: TPS woes

Yep, that 5V ref will be a regulated supply, not a simple resistor as shown.

Keep in mind that it does not have to be an exact 5V, between 4.85 and 5.15 is often the range. The ADCs (analog-to-digital-converters) that read those signals are referenced to the "5V ref" and the reading they provide to the CPU will be self-compensating for any deviation of that "5V" supply from an exact 5V.

The two wire temperature sensors, like for ECT and IAT do have a series resistor between them and the 5V ref, similar to as shown.

I suspect the OP knows/understands all this, perhaps even better than me; I'm pointing it out for the sake of others who may be following this thread to learn.

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Old 10-21-2018, 08:46 AM   #11
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Default Re: TPS woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
.....I'm skeptical that the diagrams that show the 5v reference as a simple resister within the PCM and then the 3 outs (TPS, EGR pendle, MAP). I suspect internally its probably more complex. For one thing the reference voltage is always 5 v but the system buss voltage various between 12-14v depending on what the car is doing. To maintain the constant 5v it must be more than a simple resister......... I went ahead and ordered a used $20 PCM off eBay just in case......Robert
The resistor and 5v labeling for reference voltage in GM circuit diagrams is an abbreviated diagram. If GM published actual circuit schematics, no one would read them. Circuitry is so advanced and complex, it's not worth the effort to show complex schematics when a simplified diagram is sufficient. I haven't seen actual schematics in my workplace for decades, all due to condensing information to make diagnosing and troubleshooting far easier. While not certain of how 5v is developed, one guess is voltage regulation, taking a variable voltage from battery/alternator, regulating it for circuit board voltage then regulating it again for 5v. Voltage regulation can be coarse (alternator) or fine (5v), depending on circuit requirements.

One definition of 5v reference circuits; A voltage reference is an electronic device which produces a constant voltage regardless of the loading on the device, temperature changes, passage of time and power supply variations. The voltage reference circuit most commonly used in integrated circuits is the bandgap voltage reference.

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Old 10-21-2018, 09:40 AM   #12
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Default Re: TPS woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
Went out and back probed the TPS at the PCM. However it decided to work correct so I didn't get any data. At idle the voltage across the TPS signal and TPS ground was 0.40 voltage and the Tech 2 read 0.37.

I'm skeptical that the diagrams that show the 5v reference as a simple resister within the PCM and then the 3 outs (TPS, EGR pendle, MAP). I suspect internally its probably more complex. For one thing the reference voltage is always 5 v but the system buss voltage various between 12-14v depending on what the car is doing. To maintain the constant 5v it must be more than a simple resister.

I also would not be surprised if the issue is with the PCM voltage sensing. Its possible the correct voltage is being sent to the PCM but the PCM is no longer reading it correctly. I'll know if that's true pretty quick if I still see 0.40 voltage at the PCM but Tech 2 shows much less. I went ahead and ordered a used $20 PCM off eBay just in case.

-Robert
Skipping over the rest of this thread you are probably now on the right track, PCM internal failure. Swapping in a PNP replacement PCM for nothing more than actually proving your thoughts is the easy way to do this.

As you have the Tech-2 you can reflash that eBay PCM to your car without a great deal of effort if need be.

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Old 10-21-2018, 01:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: TPS woes

Strange datapoint
Heading out for some dr mandated cardio I realized my multimeter was still hooked up to back probe the pcm across the tps sensor and tps ground (not reference ). So for kicks I turned on the multimeter and turned on the ignition. Got 0 volts. Figured the probes have slipped out so I pressed the gas. It reacted. Then back at idle the voltage very slowly stated to climb until it reached 0.40.

Got my bicycle ready and thought maybe Iíll try that again. This time without touching the throttle. Turned on the multimeter, tuned on the ignition got 0 volts. Waited about 5 seconds and the voltage slowly started to climb. About 0.02 volts/second until it reached 5v.

After my ride I might switch up my set up to read across the tps reference and tps ground and see if itís the same.

Iíve never tried this type of test before; this seems like itís wrong. The PCM shouldnít have to warm up to have proper reference voltage? Or maybe itís normal for some strange reason.

-Robert

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Old 10-21-2018, 02:55 PM   #14
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Default Re: TPS woes

Hmm. Maybe a red herring. Started the car and saw the same strange behavior on the meter but no checkengjne light and no idle issue. Maybe Iíll try to secure the multimeter and see if I can drive around and watch it when I have issues.

Or maybe, once again, trying to debug the issue has solved it for some time.

-Robert

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Old 10-21-2018, 03:05 PM   #15
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Default Re: TPS woes

From your descriptions, 5v isn't getting to wherever you're measuring or your probes aren't making good electrical connections. The fact that the car starts up with 5v gradually ramping up seems to point to less than ideal probing or wire/terminal damage/connection. 5v should be immediate, right after ignition is turned on without any delays. If you measured for 5v in other areas and see immediate voltage after turning on ignition, this suggests wire or terminal connection damage related to the tps.

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Old 10-21-2018, 03:42 PM   #16
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Default Re: TPS woes

"This time without touching the throttle. Turned on the multimeter, tuned on the ignition got 0 volts. Waited about 5 seconds and the voltage slowly started to climb. About 0.02 volts/second until it reached 5v. "

I think I'm confused by that. The voltmeter is connected between the TPS signal wire and the TPS ground wire? That should never go towards 5V if "the throttle isn't being touched". If it is slowly rising, I'm guessing the ground circuit to the TPS is bad. Remember, that includes the wiring and connector at the PCM. At $20 and having the Tech2 available, throwing another PCM is probably the practical approach, as the only definitive trouble-shooting will require moving that meter all over the circuit.

As already pointed out by others, the 5V should be "instant on" and checking it someplace else (like the MAP sensor) may give some clues.

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Old 10-21-2018, 04:04 PM   #17
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Default Re: TPS woes

I havenít tried measuring the reference voltage at all yet. Iím measuring at the pcm between the tps signal and tps ground at the pcm. Normal idle should read 0.40 volts. Below 0.20 volts generates p0122.

Probes are fine because the voltage wouldnít ramp up on initial ignition and then stabilize with a bad probe. The probes wouldnít even know the difference they beteen an initial ignition and cycling.

-Robert

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Old 10-21-2018, 04:07 PM   #18
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Default Re: TPS woes

Looks like the ignition must be off for several minutes to get the slow voltage climb on the tps signal. If i cycle the ignition it goes right to 0.40.

-Robert

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Old 10-21-2018, 04:14 PM   #19
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Default Re: TPS woes

Is the TPS connected when when probing at the PCM connector? If not, measurement at the signal pin is meaningless since that PCM input is open. Both the meter reading and the PCM reading in live-data will be "meaningless".

PS: if the TPS is connected, and the meter voltage at the PCM input drifts, that is an indication that the PCM is OK and the problem is in wiring or the TPS itself.

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Old 10-21-2018, 04:44 PM   #20
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Default Re: TPS woes

Drove around for 20 minutes and the problem never happened. Always works that way. Voltage measured at the pcm didnít vary from what the tech 2 reported and of course no cel or idle problems. Idle always around 0.40v

Hopefully Iíll be able to catch it throwing p0122 later and be able to see if there is a difference ( meaning a bad adc on the pcm board which is my prime suspect right now ).

-Robert

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