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Old 02-10-2007, 10:44 AM   #1
twcinnh
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Default erratic egr (P1404) error code

This is a recurring problem and I've received advice several times on this error code. Just when I think the problem is gone, it's back.

It's the SES light. I've had the car about 3 months and the SES came on the first week I owned it, but rarely and when it was raining.

Over a month or more it came on more often until it was common and I cleaned it. (I had 2 P1404 codes: IAT - B circuit malfunction / EGR temperature sensor circuit on the AutoZone print out.) I replaced the Intake Air Temperature Sensor and the EGV Valve Gasket.

The SES light was off about 10 days before coming back when driving to my in-laws (about 55 miles), and it stayed on after. So, I took the EGR valve off a 2nd time and cleaned it more thoroughly. When taking the valve off the 2nd time I noticed a trace of carbon on the gasket where it appeared gas had been escaping. So, after cleaning it a 2nd time, this time more thoroughly, I made sure the bolts were on tighter. The light was off again a week to 10 days. Then, a few days ago while driving the 55 miles to my in-laws it came on the last few miles of the trip. Then, the next day when driving home it did not come on.

I'm wondering if this could be something electrical instead of the EGR valve itself, although I thought the pindle moved more easily after the 2nd cleaning. Would a RTV silicone gasket be worth trying, should I be cleaning the holes on the engine block itself, give up and get a new/used EGR (really would like to hold onto the bucks right now).

It's the erratic appearance of the SES light that is perplexing me. Just when I think I'm a mechanic, it's back.

Thanks for your feedback.

Tom

...
1999 SL1, automatic

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Old 02-10-2007, 11:03 AM   #2
dmc
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2000 SL2
Default Re: erratic egr (P1404) error code

Quote:
Originally Posted by twcinnh View Post
When taking the valve off the 2nd time I noticed a trace of carbon on the gasket where it appeared gas had been escaping. So, after cleaning it a 2nd time, this time more thoroughly, I made sure the bolts were on tighter.
The EGR to head bolts should be 22 ft lb.

Have you tried cleaning off all the old gasket material and replacing the EGR gasket? It's only a few dollars.

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Old 02-10-2007, 11:08 AM   #3
twcinnh
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Default Re: erratic egr (P1404) error code

Yes, I replaced the old gasket the first time.

The procedure I used was spraying the carb cleaner on the metal and using a toothbrush to scrub. I was thinking of taking the EGR valve off again to see if there have been any more gas leaks, but then why would the SES stay off on my last return trip, or could the sensor be that sensitive?

Well, it's an option.

Tom

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Old 02-10-2007, 11:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: erratic egr (P1404) error code

By the way, the car has 116,000 miles on it and runs beautifully. Just that gosh darn light.

Tom

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Old 02-10-2007, 01:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: erratic egr (P1404) error code

The EGR valve isn't sensitive as much as its gone 116,000 miles without a problem until now. Unless your car is running rough, whether in idle or in regular driving, the EGR is still performing adequately from your last cleaning. The pintle isn't the problem as much as its the shaft, spring, and servo motor that moves it from the port valve allowing exhaust gas into the intake manifold for emissions purposes. It may just be a corroded electrical connection or a complete failure by not operating at all that generates the warning light. This might explain why the car runs perfectly from a dead EGR valve. You must realize that some things eventually wear out and this is one of those things. There are many posts involving all Saturn models with the EGR valve failing to close from long term use causing erratic engine running symptoms. Just like a battery or alternator the EGR wears out but until its replaced for the before and after effect there are still some refusing to believe that an EGR valve is causing rough running and possible stalling symptoms. You haven't stated this to be but irritated, justifiably, by the warning light. You've isolated the problem very well and want to keep using it for as long as possible but to what extent? If you aren't having any errant engine problems most people would gladly have what you've got instead of the engine problems directly caused by the EGR valve failing. The worst case posted was the state inspection failure. Just passing along some food for thought.

BTW, I don't relish the thought of parting with money for this EGR valve and I would do as much as you've done and then some more before replacing it.

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Old 02-10-2007, 02:01 PM   #6
twcinnh
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Default Re: erratic egr (P1404) error code

Thanks for the information you just posted. I'll take a look to see if I can see anything like corroded electrical connections. Part of my being baffled was after reviewing a lot of posts on EGR valves and the associated problems, I haven't had any problems or symptoms that I've been aware of. The car just runs very well.

However, I think I'll be looking for a replacement after reading your comments.

Thanks again,

Tom

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