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Old 08-15-2009, 10:52 PM   #1
2strkBlu
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Question Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

I have read posts that say you should only use the oem O2 sensors.
And then I have read threads where the sensors are replaced and no one chimes in with
only buy the oem sensors. What are the current opinions & why?

I just read the thread ' Rear O2 sensor removal - special tool needed?'
And a generic O2 sensor from Rock Auto was used,
OldNuc you posted on it.
BarnOwl you out there?
OnDaGround you state in your 'Maintenance Schedule' to not use universal or Bosh sensors. Is universal a brand name?

I have a '96 SL2 171k miles.
I replaced my catalytic converter 3 weeks ago and reused the sensor I bought 3 years ago.
I cut the connector off to get a 7/8" box wrench on the sensor. I marked the wires first &
carefully soldiered & shrink tubed each one and put a larger piece of shrink tube over all of
the wires with rtv stuffed in the ends for good measure. I also reset the PCM,
the car had a hesitation after the cat replacement. The old one had clogged up.
PCM reset fixed the hesitation.

It worked fine for a week, then I took a 2200 mile trip. On the first day of the trip
I got a ses light while idling in a rest area eating. I plugged in my trusty ODB-II code
reader and got 'low voltage O2 sensor 2 bank 1 the code was P0139'. I just noticed
that P0139 isn't in my Haynes Manual. I thought at the time that one of the soldier
joints must be bad, my fault. I will borrow my friend's ramps and check it, while on vacation.
I plan on changing the oil before the return trip anyway. I just kept the reader plugged in and
2 or 3 times a day I reset the pending codes before the ses lit. I arrived Tuesday night and I haven't gotten around to doing it yet.
This is a vacation.

Today I drove the car 3 miles and got a P0133 high voltage bank 1 sensor 1
I replaced both sensors in the spring of 2006. The second sensor had gone bad and
I replaced both just for good measure. I bought them from PepBoys, they weren't Bosh.
I had read not to use Bosh back then. The car had around 140k on the clock.

I burned a valve in 2007 and rebuilt the engine, new rings, valve job, timing chain, oil pump,
new bearings [didn't need them, but I bought a kit and had them], seals, etc...
This engine never burned oil noticeably then and is in great shape now.

I also got bad gas mileage on the way here, 34-35mpg. I usually get 38 or better.
I figured it was the O2 sensor, but on further reading I was reminded that its the 1st
sensor that the PCM uses for air / fuel mixture.

Should I bite the bullet and replace both sensors?
Check my soldering first on the 2nd sensor, if bad fix it and replace the 1st sensor?
What sensor(s) should I buy?

Ned

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If you've cleaned your egr and still get occasional problems, replace it, you will burn valves in #4 if you don't.

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Old 08-15-2009, 10:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2strkBlu View Post
I have read posts that say you should only use the oem O2 sensors.
And then I have read threads where the sensors are replaced and no one chimes in with
only buy the oem sensors. What are the current opinions & why?

OEM. I get them from lwo mileage junkyard cars

I just read the thread ' Rear O2 sensor removal - special tool needed?'
And a generic O2 sensor from Rock Auto was used,
OldNuc you posted on it.
BarnOwl you out there?
OnDaGround you state in your 'Maintenance Schedule' to not use universal or Bosh sensors. Is universal a brand name? No, its a Bosch Universal

Today I drove the car 3 miles and got a P0133 high voltage bank 1 sensor 1

I also got bad gas mileage on the way here, 34-35mpg. I usually get 38 or better.
I figured it was the O2 sensor, but on further reading I was reminded that its the 1st
sensor that the PCM uses for air / fuel mixture.
Bank 1 Sensor 1 is the front o2 which is used for air/fuel mixtures. Explains your bad mileage

Should I bite the bullet and replace both sensors?
Check my soldering first on the 2nd sensor, if bad fix it and replace the 1st sensor?
What sensor(s) should I buy?

Ned
Your front one is no good. Your rear one is ok (as there is no code displayed for it).

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Old 08-15-2009, 11:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

Bosch among other manufacturers make what is labeled as a universal sensor. This is a one-size-fits-all device that you get to wire the plug to. They do not function well in most applications and are particularly bad in a Saturn. Several aftermarket suppliers make high quality direct, make/model specific , replacements. Two of which are Denso and NGK/NTK.

When you cut the wires and soldered them back together and then liberally coated the results with RTV you contaminated the rear sensor. It no good any more - junk. Tyhe front one has died from something.

A P0133 is slow response, not high voltage. Haynes strikes again...

A P0132 is high voltage

And, just in case, do not grease the connector on an O2 sensor or spray it out with any cleaner. That will contaminate it and it will die.

The Denso sensors are a good replacement. Buy the direct fits with the connector. RockAuto is the lowest cost.

Last edited by OldNuc; 08-15-2009 at 11:15 PM..

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Old 08-16-2009, 11:11 AM   #4
2strkBlu
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Wrench Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Bosch among other manufacturers make what is labeled as a universal sensor. This is a one-size-fits-all device that you get to wire the plug to. They do not function well in most applications and are particularly bad in a Saturn. Several aftermarket suppliers make high quality direct, make/model specific , replacements. Two of which are Denso and NGK/NTK.

When you cut the wires and soldered them back together and then liberally coated the results with RTV you contaminated the rear sensor. It no good any more - junk. Tyhe front one has died from something.

A P0133 is slow response, not high voltage. Haynes strikes again...

A P0132 is high voltage

And, just in case, do not grease the connector on an O2 sensor or spray it out with any cleaner. That will contaminate it and it will die.

The Denso sensors are a good replacement. Buy the direct fits with the connector. RockAuto is the lowest cost.
OldNuc, I didn't apply rtv to the sensor or the soldier joints.
After I had shrink tubed the 4 wires I had a larger piece of shrink tube over all 4 wires
that I then slid over the other shrink tubed connections. I put a little rtv in the ends of
the larger shrink tube then used the heat gun on it to seal everything. Making it water
tight. I did use a small dab of anti-seize on the threads.

So I still think I need to check my soldier joints. I soldier mic cables and electronics
for my job, so I am good at it. Not perfect, but lots of experience.

*Is there a Saturn code P0139? That is the code I was getting on the long trip.*

I replaced the sensors in 2006 with direct fit sensors from PepBoys. I don't remember
the brand. They weren't Bosh. There are less than 30k miles on these sensors. I do
realize that the P0133 means that the front one is dieing.

Thank You OldNuc,
Ned

...
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If you've cleaned your egr and still get occasional problems, replace it, you will burn valves in #4 if you don't.

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Old 08-16-2009, 11:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

On the rear O2 sensor. You blocked it access to reference outside air. Its done for.

The P0139 is/was heated O2 sensor slow response. That happens when it can not breathe.

PepBoys scares me.....

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Old 08-16-2009, 12:41 PM   #6
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Wrench Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
On the rear O2 sensor. You blocked it access to reference outside air. Its done for.

The P0139 is/was heated O2 sensor slow response. That happens when it can not breathe.

PepBoys scares me.....
Okay there are Napa & O'Rielly's here in Montana, I'll get Denso or NGK.

I still don't see how I could have blocked the reference air. I cut the wires '3 inches' from
the connector. That leaves some 15 inches of wire covered in gray insulator going to the
sensor. I used a box wrench on the sensor and didn't harm the crimp where the wires
enter it. The connector is in good shape too.

Any how, I will call O'rielly's today and see which sensors they sell.

Thank You OldNuc,
Ned

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If you've cleaned your egr and still get occasional problems, replace it, you will burn valves in #4 if you don't.

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Old 08-16-2009, 02:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

One wire has a core thread in it. It is one of the 2 signal wires. The insulation is impervious to O2 but the core is not. The center core is exposed to air inside that 4 pin plug on the end of the cable. Your splice is air and water tight. So you choked off the reference air. RTV will plug the micro pores in the core. This happens. This is also why you always buy the replacement with the plug included.

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Old 08-17-2009, 07:53 AM   #8
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Default RTV Silicone Sealers and Oxygen Sensors

2strkBlu wrote: "shrink tube over all of
the wires with rtv stuffed in the ends for good measure"

Starting in the early 1990s car manufacturers started warning that oxygen sensors may be destroyed by silicone used as a gasket or gasket helper somewhere in the engine. There are manufacturer technical service bulletins (found under Literature at RockAuto.com) with titles like "Oxygen Sensor Contamination Due to Silicone".

I thought this meant traces of the RTV silicone had to be passing down the exhaust pipe. However, O2 sensors must be very sensitive to RTV if RTV on a distant valve cover gasket can cause damage. So maybe externally coating the oxygen sensor connectors with silicone might cause damage too.

Contamination on the outside of oxygen sensors can definitely cause problems. See the Tech Tip in this RockAuto newsletter on issues caused by engine oil getting on the outside of an oxygen sensor: http://www.rockauto.com/Newsletter/archives/91108.html

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Last edited by Faly RockAuto; 08-17-2009 at 08:06 AM..

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Old 08-17-2009, 08:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

I'm confused - so I shouldn't have used the generic sensor at my exhaust manifold O2 location?

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Old 08-17-2009, 09:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

If its working you are fine. The PCM program in the 97 and later cars is less restrictive on rear O2 sensor performance than the 96 so the generic will work fine.

On that note there are basically 2 types of sensors available. The first is teh so called Universal, with this sensor you have to connect it to the existing sensors plug. It comes with no connector installed. The second is a sensor that meets OEM specs and comes with teh correct connector installed. The dealer sells a sensor that meets the OEM specs.

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Old 08-17-2009, 11:10 AM   #11
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Heart Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
One wire has a core thread in it. It is one of the 2 signal wires. The insulation is impervious to O2 but the core is not. The center core is exposed to air inside that 4 pin plug on the end of the cable. Your splice is air and water tight. So you choked off the reference air. RTV will plug the micro pores in the core. This happens. This is also why you always buy the replacement with the plug included.
Okay now I understand OldNuc & I re-soldered my 2nd sensor last night for nothing.

I checked the 1st sensor after warm up. The sensor showed .102 volts, the reference
voltage coming from the pcm was .16 volts. Haynes says the reference voltage should
be around .5 volts.

I changed my oil too, it was time. Then took a 20 mile drive 6 miles of low speed 14
highway. I got one pending code. P0137 which is for the 2nd sensor.

Most places I called Sunday were closed, O'Reilly's carries Bosh, AutoZone Bosh, but
can order Denso. Today I called the Napa in Helena and they carry Bosh too. The local
autoparts store here a Napa distributer can order Denso.

I think I will take the 60 mile round trip drive to Helena today and see if I get another
code on the 1st sensor. If not I will order the 2nd sensor. Too bad no one here has NGK
I trust them for sparkplugs in all my vehicles motorcycles included.

Would high or low speed driving be more informative on getting the 1st sensor to act up?

Thanks for everyones input,
Ned

...
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If you've cleaned your egr and still get occasional problems, replace it, you will burn valves in #4 if you don't.

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Old 08-17-2009, 02:21 PM   #12
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Default Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

High speed driving will keep it hot and it has to be at least 600F to work. The longer it is actually hot/operating the more checks the PCM performs on it. Instead of paying the skyhigh local price I would order the Denso sensors from RockAuto and they may have the NGK also. If they do not Sparkplugs.com ( http://www.sparkplugs.com/default.asp )does stock them.

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Old 08-17-2009, 04:13 PM   #13
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Wrench Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
High speed driving will keep it hot and it has to be at least 600F to work. The longer it is actually hot/operating the more checks the PCM performs on it. Instead of paying the skyhigh local price I would order the Denso sensors from RockAuto and they may have the NGK also. If they do not Sparkplugs.com ( http://www.sparkplugs.com/default.asp )does stock them.
The RockAuto price is $65.79. I can have one tomorrow for $73.xx. With shipping the
price difference isn't worth the wait. I am in a small town in Montana, I am leaving Saturday for home I don't want to be stuck waiting for a part.

The P0133 code for the 1st sensor popped up on a short trip. All at 25-30mph.
I drove into town 2 miles. Parked shopped, drove 1 mile on the way back & ses lit.
It has been quite cool here, It was in the 50's. The car hadn't reached operating temp.
It was showing just past a 1/4 on the gauge. We are at 5300 feet here.

Yes my etc is brass, my thermostat is 195.

There were no other codes in the pcm that day, pending or otherwise.
I don't think my 1st sensor is bad. Is there any reason to replace it?

Thanks,
Ned

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If you've cleaned your egr and still get occasional problems, replace it, you will burn valves in #4 if you don't.

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Old 08-17-2009, 06:31 PM   #14
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Default Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

It is giving you a code after it is hot and the car is in closed loop. It is probably borderline and I think I would stall until you can order one out as the front Denso sensor is 35.00 or so from RockAuto. With a good ECTS and thermostat the car should be reaching 3/8 on the gauge within 2 miles at 35 mph. Clear the code right before you leave town and see what happens. The front sensor really is marginal at best.

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Old 08-17-2009, 11:25 PM   #15
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Wrench Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
It is giving you a code after it is hot and the car is in closed loop. It is probably borderline and I think I would stall until you can order one out as the front Denso sensor is 35.00 or so from RockAuto. With a good ECTS and thermostat the car should be reaching 3/8 on the gauge within 2 miles at 35 mph. Clear the code right before you leave town and see what happens. The front sensor really is marginal at best.
The point of my little story was that I don't believe that the car was hot.
It sat while I shopped and the drive back to the point the ses lit was 1 mile at 25 mph.
It was 55 degrees out too. The gauge wasn't showing 3/8 yet, a little less.

I checked codes today, none, then left on a 60 mile round trip.
At highway speed, speed limit 75mph. Except for 2 miles at each end.
The only code I got was P0137 twice. Temp gauge about 7/16.

I did end up ordering from RockAuto, the 2 stores that said they could order a Denso
sensor both said today when I went to order that their distributor was out of stock.
I ordered the 2nd sensor today, if the 1st one is marginal I will find out on the trip
home. And get one along the way home. At least the front one is easy to get at.
It's 2180 miles to Maryland from here.

Thanks,
Ned

...
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:32 PM   #16
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Default Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

The P137 is a low voltage code on the rear sensor. That is signal voltage from the sensor. It sounds a bit dead but the good news is that it has absolutely no control function other than to annoy you with a light. It is only there to monitor CAT performance.

The "who knows who made them" sensors tend to have a short service life. The Denso sensor is a Toyota in house product. The demand for the NGK/NTK sensors must be so high that they are just hard to get.

Should be a nice drive this time of year. Are you going across on I-90?

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Old 08-17-2009, 11:46 PM   #17
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Default Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The P137 is a low voltage code on the rear sensor. That is signal voltage from the sensor. It sounds a bit dead but the good news is that it has absolutely no control function other than to annoy you with a light. It is only there to monitor CAT performance.

The "who knows who made them" sensors tend to have a short service life. The Denso sensor is a Toyota in house product. The demand for the NGK/NTK sensors must be so high that they are just hard to get.

Should be a nice drive this time of year. Are you going across on I-90?
I am going to take the northern route, I-90, I-94 through Chicago on Sunday, I-80 on to
Pennsylvania. I find there is less traffic on I-94 across ND, Mn, Wi, till I hit Illinois.
I try to go through Chicago on the weekend. It still takes an hour. Weekdays 2
hours+ !@#$% I do believe they are still working on I-39 around the south side.

Thanks,
Ned

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Old 08-18-2009, 12:13 AM   #18
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

I used to live in Illinois so I know how to bypass that snake pit parking lot on the south end of the lake. When I have to go through there I plan the trip for about 2:30 Sunday AM. That has proved to be about the best time.

Indiana has highway cameras along that route and you can watch the traffic jam live.

I do not miss the trips through that mess at all.

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Old 08-18-2009, 01:24 PM   #19
2strkBlu
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1996 SL2
Question Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

Does anyone have experience with live ODB-II data. Specifically O2 sensor data.

I just thought of warming the car up and then checking the voltage on a straight and level
63mph run of 2 miles. Turn around and do it again. .395 to .735 volts -1.5% to +1.5% on
the front sensor, the voltage was jumping up and down, the % stayed at +.7 mostly
jumped up and down occasionally. The car was on cruse control on a straight & level road.
I am using a MemoScan U-581

No codes were set, not even pending ones for the bad 2nd sensor. RockAuto shipped
my new rear sensor this morning.

Are these normal readings?
No Guessing Please!
I am trying to make sure my front sensor is good, it threw one code while the car was
still warming up 3 days ago.

Thank You,
Ned

...
2StrokeBlue, Gold 1996 SL2 222000
If you've cleaned your egr and still get occasional problems, replace it, you will burn valves in #4 if you don't.

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Old 08-18-2009, 02:51 PM   #20
The Critic
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1996 SL2
Default Re: Use Saturn oem O2 sensors or generic sensors?

I have over 18,000 miles on the Bosch "direct fit" sensor on my '96 SL2 without ANY problems. The Bosch sensor that I'm using is for the upstream.

...
'10 Altima 3.5SR V6- 5k
'96 SL2- 150k!
'92 Previa- 99k

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