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Old 04-07-2009, 03:12 PM   #1
Green99SL2
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Mad Sluggish performance

My SL2 automatic is sluggish at part throttle around 1800-2500 rpm. If I block off the EGR the engine runs great, no hint of bad performance. Engine has 83K original miles.

Here is the list of items checked or replaced.
EGR valve
ECTS
PLUGS replaced with NGK oem style, removed plats
new wires
checked all vacuum hoses
compression is 195, all cylinders
cleaned throttle body
replaced t-stat
no codes in computer except "EGR flow" when EGR is blocked off.

What else should I be looking at? Is it time to find and experianced Saturn tech to put this thing on a diagnostic computer?

Any help would be appriciated.

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Old 04-07-2009, 03:33 PM   #2
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Sluggish performance

The year and model would help here. I will leap to the conclusion that your handle is a clue. Have you cleaned the EGR? Its entirely possible that its new EGR time. Its definitely some of the cause of your problem, maybe all of it.

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Old 04-07-2009, 03:37 PM   #3
Green99SL2
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Default Re: Sluggish performance

It's an 1999 SL2 1.9 DOHC. I did clean the EGR with carb cleaner as well as swapping it out for another used unit. It was not really that bad, just black carbon, no heavy deposits.

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Old 04-07-2009, 04:11 PM   #4
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1998 SL1
Default Re: Sluggish performance

Fuel Filter ? Not sure if it even has one,,just suggesting since it wasnt on the list of checked items.

...
1995 Saturn SL2 136,094---->> 152,000 (12/2010 ) Gone but not forgotten

1998 Saturn SL1 160,000

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Old 04-07-2009, 05:34 PM   #5
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Sluggish performance

The fuel filter/regulator will not respond to blocking the EGR. If you block the EGR and the car runs better then the EGR is leaking exhaust gas back into the intake when it is supposed to be closed. A used EGR can also leak.

Carb cleaner is not a real aggressive carbon remover. The pintle seat and the body seat become coated with a thick layer of carbon and when it partially chips off it holds the valve open. Mechanical removal is about the best way to clean it off. The pintle is easy but the body seat is a bit more difficult.

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Old 04-07-2009, 05:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Sluggish performance

What method do you recommend to clean the EGR? You must use some kind of celaner along with a small wire bruch or something? Do you raise the pintle and attempt to clewan the seat?

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Old 04-07-2009, 05:55 PM   #7
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Sluggish performance

Turn the thing bottom up and hold the pintle all the way down with a torx bit and scrape the carbon off of the seat face with a small dull screwdriver. Turn the pintle against the screwdriver. Then stick a small tool (modified broken screw driver made into an "L" shape) into the valve and pull it back against the body seat and rotate it around to scrape that surface clean. You can not see it but you can tell by feel when its clean. You can flush the chunks out with carb cleaner.

It helps to have a vice with padded jaws to do this.

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Old 04-08-2009, 09:44 AM   #8
Green99SL2
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Default Re: Sluggish performance

Thanks. I'll try your cleaning method.

One other question though...if I remove the EGR block-off and then unplug the EGR, the car runs great. So what does that tell us? The EGR should be in a closed position and not leaking I would think.

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Old 04-08-2009, 12:50 PM   #9
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Sluggish performance

If you block it off and even leave it plugged in, which is recommended, and the car runs great it means that the EGR was leaking. Like that cold water faucet in the bathroom that drips all night, only more.

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Old 04-08-2009, 02:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: Sluggish performance

Ok, I get that. How about when the EGR is not blocked off and is unplugged and the engine runs great? What does that tell us?

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Old 04-08-2009, 06:00 PM   #11
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Sluggish performance

That would indicate a problem with either the EGR valve or its wiring to the PCM. It could be a sticking EGR valve also. Push the pintle all the way in and rotate it as you clean off the seat.

Do you ever get any EGR codes when its plugged in and not blocked?

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Old 04-08-2009, 06:50 PM   #12
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1999 SL2
2003 ION-3 Sedan
Default Re: Sluggish performance

I have a 1999 SL2 that started to get sluggish performance, but it happened when it it became warm and got worse as you drove it during the day. Took it to a mechanic and it turns out my PCM was getting confused trying to run the tranny and meter the fuel when demanded.

...
1999 SL2 748k miles
engine and tranny rebuilt
36.5 mpg
Now I am ready to go for another 500,000!

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Old 04-09-2009, 01:53 PM   #13
Green99SL2
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Default Re: Sluggish performance

Nope. Not getting any codes except for when the EGR is not plugged in or it is blocked off. I don't get a code for a while after blocking it off.

I did clean the EGR last night. There was some carbon on both surfaces. The valve moves freely. Overall it looked pretty good.

There doesn't seem to be any issue with the wiring. Does the MAP sensor influence performance like this?

Not sure if I want to replace the PCM just yet until I can confirm that its faulty or I pick one up cheap. Is there a way to diagnose that device?

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Old 04-09-2009, 03:41 PM   #14
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Sluggish performance

PCM failure is very rare, save your money.

The MAP sensor can cause similar problems but if blocking the EGR fixes it then the EGR is the problem and not something else.

The reason it takes a while to get an EGR code when its blocked off is that the Flow Test is only run once each key on cycle when all entry conditions are met to allow running the test.

If the car runs bad with the cleaned EGR installed and runs good when its blocked or unplugged its either a defective valve, wiring, or PCM signals to the valve. PCM is not likely. Wiring is possible. EGR is the highest probability. If you have a pick and pull J/Y close you can get an EGR off of a 95-99 and see if it helps. Or if you have a DVM you can check you EGR for any pin that is showing continuity to the valve body, grounded. Between A and E should be 7.8 to 8.6 ohms. Between C and D is the position sensor output and should change smoothly when the pintle is pushed in and released.

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