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Old 11-12-2007, 07:01 PM   #1
lateknightucd
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Default Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

Hey guys, I've been trying to get my wife's 2000 SL SOHC ready to pass smog for reregistration in December. We had a SES light about 4 months ago, which showed up as a Cylinder 1 Misfire and a High Idle RPM. I checked the spark plugs and they look horrible, so I went ahead and replaced those and cleared the codes. About two weeks ago the SES light came back on. I took it in to the shop today and they showed the same codes I had pulled before. Their tech seems to think that the High Idle has to do with a bad MAP or temperature sensor, so they're going to replace both. As far as the Cylinder 1 Misfire, they seem to think it might be the plug wires since I've already changed the plugs. Anyone had these codes before? What did the problem wind up being? I got the tech to agree to delete the codes after the work so it'll at least pass smog that day. I figure if the codes come back after three cycles I'll just take it back. Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions you can give!

Patrick

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Old 11-12-2007, 07:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

STOP THAT SHOP!!!! Don't let them do anything else, they obviously have very little Saturn experience. You have a leaking intake manifold gasket that is folded and has been since it's installation. This will cause both a misifre (obviously) and the high idle (vacuum leak). Show em you know what you're doing...head on over there with a can of Brakleen, fire up the car, spray the area of #1 cylinder on the intake. You'll notice the change in idle. If they have charged you any diagnostic fees, get them back. This is an easy DIY fix. Search the forums, very common.

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Old 11-12-2007, 07:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

Wow, okay, thanks...well they haven't done any of the work yet, so I'll keep looking at this path tonight and possibly take care of it on my own. I'm okay with tools, but the thought of changing an intake manifold gasket is a little intimidating...how much skill do I really need to do this fix?

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Old 11-12-2007, 08:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

Incidentally I believe MA requires 'readiness monitors' to be in order before they sticker cars... don't give this guy money, he'll be back to apologize. They can't fake it b/c the computers are all online to the state.

Squareback is right, it's the intake gasket. The job can be done by oneself, there aren't any special tools and in my case at least the bolts weren't torqued that heavily, I could get them loose with an open end wrench snaked all the way around everything, on my back, in the driveway, up on jackstands, etc.

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Old 11-12-2007, 09:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Squareback View Post
STOP THAT SHOP!!!! Don't let them do anything else, they obviously have very little Saturn experience. You have a leaking intake manifold gasket that is folded and has been since it's installation. This will cause both a misifre (obviously) and the high idle (vacuum leak). Show em you know what you're doing...head on over there with a can of Brakleen, fire up the car, spray the area of #1 cylinder on the intake. You'll notice the change in idle. If they have charged you any diagnostic fees, get them back. This is an easy DIY fix. Search the forums, very common.
True, but they might have been on the right rack witht he "temperature sensor."

Make sure the ECTS is brass, or replace it with a brass one if it is plastic.

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Old 11-12-2007, 09:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

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Originally Posted by Uzzy View Post
True, but they might have been on the right rack witht he "temperature sensor."

Make sure the ECTS is brass, or replace it with a brass one if it is plastic.
Good to know...unfortunately the car has already been dropped off so I can't test the engine now...however, when I talk to them tomorrow morning I'll have them check the gasket with brake cleaner. I'm booked solid at work for the next week and I have to get the car smogged soon. I figure if they find that there's a vacuum leak I'll just have them change the gasket for me. What do you figure, 2 hours by a trained mechanic?

Also, with regards to the emissions testing, if the codes are cleared by a mechanic, does that mean I'll have to drive the car for a week with no SES before it's smogged? Or can I just take it over as soon as they clear it? This is California, BTW. Thanks!!

Patrick

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Old 11-12-2007, 10:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

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Good to know...unfortunately the car has already been dropped off so I can't test the engine now...however, when I talk to them tomorrow morning I'll have them check the gasket with brake cleaner. I'm booked solid at work for the next week and I have to get the car smogged soon. I figure if they find that there's a vacuum leak I'll just have them change the gasket for me. What do you figure, 2 hours by a trained mechanic?
Well according to the Saturn mechanic that did mine, the job pays 4 hours, but he usually knocks them out in about 45mins.

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Old 11-12-2007, 10:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

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True, but they might have been on the right rack witht he "temperature sensor."

Make sure the ECTS is brass, or replace it with a brass one if it is plastic.
A 2000 should have the brass sensor already, but not a bad thing to check certainly. Regardless, it needs an intake gasket

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Old 11-12-2007, 10:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

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A 2000 should have the brass sensor already, but not a bad thing to check certainly. Regardless, it needs an intake gasket
A 2001 should have the brass snesor already, according to everything I've read before on here. But people with 2001s have found plastic ones before.

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Old 11-13-2007, 09:20 AM   #10
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

Before there's an argument, I'll confirm that the brass ECTS came in, in 2001. It's a common mistake to think that it came in, in late '99 because so many other changes came in then. lateknightucd I'll second the strong recommendation to replace the ECTS. It's a problem waiting to happen, if it hasn't already and the replacement will fix it permanently.

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Old 11-13-2007, 07:04 PM   #11
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

Okay, so this morning the shop called me with an estimate to replace the MAP and ECTS and I asked them to do the brake cleaner test for me before they started any other work. They called me back and told me I was totally right, that there was a vacuum leak in the intake manifold gasket to the point that it had charred a 4 month old spark plug. Thanks to the forum for your help! But the drama doesn't stop there! So they ordered the part and called me a while later to tell me that the old gasket had a 1/4" break in it near the first cylinder. That same call was to inform me that they had gotten a replacement gasket from their parts supplier only to find that it had been damaged. They just called 30 minutes ago (3:30) to tell me that they got the second gasket but that they couldn't get it done today. They've had the car now for two days and I had to tell them what was wrong with it. I got the whole line of BS about having started other cars, etc. etc. and that they were really sorry. Anyway, as politely as I could I read them the riot act and at 5pm I'll either be getting a phone call to tell me that the car is finished or getting a call from a manager to explain how I'm going to be appropriately compensated for my troubles. I mean I understand that they can't be held responsible for the actions of third-party suppliers, but at the same time, they have the part now, and their mechanic even said that it would only take an hour to put back together, so they're basically just telling me that they don't care enough to finish the car. So we'll see what happens. I'll update tonight...

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Old 11-13-2007, 08:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

Quote:
Originally Posted by lateknightucd View Post
the old gasket had a 1/4" break in it near the first cylinder.
That's where they always break. The robots were not very good at putting them in. And by not very good, I mean, close to every single one of them on the SOHC post '99 Saturns is messed up.

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Old 11-13-2007, 08:26 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

ouch! sounds like ur day hasnt been going well! hmmm i dont think ull be going back to them anytime soon :/ Good luck!

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Old 11-13-2007, 09:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

Don't be too hard on the mechanics. They're being upfront with you about their troubles. Would you complain at a doctor if he took extra time b/c he found some scar tissue he didn't know was there?

They humored you and did the brake cleaner test... they'll remember you from now on whenever they work on saturns, LOL.

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Old 11-14-2007, 02:40 AM   #15
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

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ouch! sounds like ur day hasnt been going well! hmmm i dont think ull be going back to them anytime soon :/ Good luck!
Actually I have to be honest...they stayed open late to get the car finished...it runs like a champ now! The only thing they didn't do was to top off the coolant that spilled so I have to do that tomorrow (speaking of which...is DexCool the red coolant?). The gasket was in horrible shape...the big breach by the 1st cylinder and there were two more places that were ready to go soon. The guy was actually really thankful that I clued them in on the problem. He was shocked that Saturn hadn't issued a recall. Anyone had any luck getting any reimbursement for a problem Saturn knows was caused during manufacture? Anyway, like I said, they were pretty accommodating when I let them know that keeping the car another day was basically impossible. And in the end it only cost me $298. Not bad considering. Thanks for all the help everyone!!

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Old 11-14-2007, 02:47 AM   #16
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

i stand corrected Thats real nice of them to finish ur car up. there arent to many shops that would do that around where i live :/ Glad everything went well in the end!

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Old 11-14-2007, 06:02 AM   #17
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Default Re: Cylinder 1 misfire and High Idle Codes

On a 7 year old car, with heaven knows how many miles, Saturn's not going to fix the gasket. This certainly isn't the first car that's prone to a peculiar problem. If anything should have gotten a recall, it's the ECTS.

As for the mechanic, I'd cut him some slack here. On a generic car with a cylinder one miss and high idle, a vacumn leak would be pretty far down the list of things to check. It's a fine line they have to walk. Diagnostic time costs money and sometimes it's cheaper to replace something just to eliminate it as a possibility. Here you have a source of people that specialize in S-series Saturns that know how common that problem is on that particular car.

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