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Old 03-01-2006, 12:34 PM   #1
Tempsho
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Default New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

Hey guys, I need some help.

car info: 1996 1.9 SL1 5 speed manual

I replaced my ECTS last night with a new copper tipped one (when I pulled the old one out, it was cracked)

When I fired the car up, the check engine light came on. I read the codes, and 2 of them came up. I cant remember the specific code number, but one was something along the lines of: "low signal from coolant sensor" and the other one was "low voltage from sensor"

before I plugged the wire harness into the new sensor, I inspected it, and it was severly corroded. I can only assume that is why its throwing these 2 codes at me.

The reason why I changed the ects in the first place is because:

1 - I was getting crappy gas millage
2 - really rough idle
3 - hard to start when it was cold (had to keep the peddle to the floor to start it)
4 - the temp gauge did not move off of cold when running

Now with the new sensor in, it runs much smoother (still not 100% though), but as soon as I start it up, the temp gauge jump right to half, and the fan comes on even if the engine is ice cold. What could cause this? Does the computer jump into a different(limp) mode if its getting a crappy signal from the ects at tells the car its running at half temperature?

Im still getting shift flare when I shift, so I think I need a new IAC.

Any help would be good guys!! I think I might need to replace the thermostat as well, but i'll see what happens after a new wire clip and once the codes are cleared.

Alot of great info on the site, which has saved me hundreds of dollars at the dealership, keep up the good work!!

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Old 03-01-2006, 01:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

Oh ya, another thing, that harness for the ects is $47!! (cdn) more than the sensor itself. crazy

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Old 03-01-2006, 01:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

Yea if your getting those signals then something isn't right. If the ECTS hookup was all corroded then you have to replace it or it won't work right. Oddly enough when i replaced my ECTS, it wasn't cracked and the hookup wasn't corroded but i'm still glad i probably do't have to worry about it messing up.

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Old 03-01-2006, 02:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

i dont know if it possible for your 96 being that you only have one sensor, but i once did one, and got the wrong part (the sensor for the guage) instead of the one for the computer, caused the exact same problems. they will plug in the same connector.did you get a saturn part or aftermarket?

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Old 03-01-2006, 03:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

you are right, the computer has a limp home mode that drives the gauge to exactly 1/2 despite the ambient temp being freezing if it detects an ECTS problem. I would investigate your connector. Junkyards are good places to get extra connectors. The airbox temp sensor is the same part as the cts and has the same connector (albeit with different wire colors) so get one of those: Less harsh conditions mean less corrosion.

You might need a dentist's mirror to see this but do make sure the CTS you have installed has two pins. As SL2collector points out there is another part in the universe that has one pin.

The second code might be an "informational flag" that the car was, in the past, run with detected low coolant in the reservoir. This triggers the "mystery light" inside the tach that's shaped like a box with waves in it... Many threads have been started about the "mystery light when I accellerate when it's cold".

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Old 03-01-2006, 05:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

Thanks for the info guys. Im pretty sure the ects is the right one for my 96 SL1. It has the 2 pins on it, and fit in the same hole with a 13mm deep socket.

The replacement probes that have been posted here have a rounded tip. The one I have was a square tip. It is an ACDelco part, so I can only assume its the right one for my car.

I did have the low coolant light blinking on me, but I fixed that problem by flushing out the resevoir, filled it back up and then cleared the code.

I dont have this "mystery light" coming on that you speak of though.

I'll keep you guys posted if I fix it.

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Old 03-01-2006, 05:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

Its most likely the connector. Unplug it and try hsoing it down first with Carb cleaner, and then with WD40 and then reconnect it. If you keep gettign the codes, REPLACE it.

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Old 03-01-2006, 06:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

it's not a mystery light; you know what it is.

I suspect, having cleared the condition, the light went out, but the "code" sticks until reset with an official saturn scan tool, or the battery is disconnected.

It is something your car will do to narc on you for abuse when you go in for warantee work.

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Old 03-02-2006, 06:28 AM   #9
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eljefino
it's not a mystery light; you know what it is.

I suspect, having cleared the condition, the light went out, but the "code" sticks until reset with an official saturn scan tool, or the battery is disconnected.

It is something your car will do to narc on you for abuse when you go in for warantee work.
Sorry but wrong. The "active" SES code will self clear (ligh twill go out) when the PCM "sees" the previous part that caused the SES light to come on pass muster 4 out of 5 times 5 times in a row. (Or someting like that) Stored "history" codes (they don't set the SES light) Self clear after 500 ignition cycles with no repeat performance (failure) of the same part.

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Old 03-02-2006, 09:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

Well, it didnt self clear. And yes, I do have access to a OBDII code scanner. (pretty good relationship with my mechanic which is nice) I disconnected the battery, then cleared the code but it still comes up. Even after I installed a brand new connector from the dealership. Still getting those 2 codes, low voltage and low signal from the coolant sensor.

I suspect it might be either:
a) wrong sensor (it does have 2 pins, but it looks different than the ones you guys install)
b) bad sensor
c) im not plugging the clip all the way in

Anything else I can check out guys?

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Old 03-02-2006, 10:00 AM   #11
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

I'd go with bad sensor. You probably got it aftermarket. They usually work fine, but they'll have a higher DOA rate than OEM. The connector goes on wth a snap. I doubt you didn't get it on all the way.

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Old 03-02-2006, 11:36 AM   #12
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

>>You probably got it aftermarket. They usually work fine, but they'll have a higher DOA rate than OEM.<<

Based on what statistical evidence now?

People buy aftermarket and have a problem, they assume it is the part and return it.

People buy OEM and have a problem, it must be something else.

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Old 03-02-2006, 12:10 PM   #13
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

the replacement ECTS I have is an AC Delco part. The only difference is that the tip is flat, not rounded like ive seen in other pictures.

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Old 03-02-2006, 01:03 PM   #14
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempsho
the replacement ECTS I have is an AC Delco part. The only difference is that the tip is flat, not rounded like ive seen in other pictures.
Why didn't you go to a Saturn dealership and get the part there?

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Old 03-02-2006, 01:26 PM   #15
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

being that he own's a saturn, mabye he's not into wasting money.
I don't see why the aftermarket part is any different. They both made in mexico.

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Old 03-02-2006, 01:29 PM   #16
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sl2collector
They both made in mexico.

All the more reason to question the quality control and replace it again....

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Old 03-02-2006, 01:30 PM   #17
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by d3ad1ysp0rk
Why didn't you go to a Saturn dealership and get the part there?
Is AC Delco not original GM OEM replacement? Im hoping it isnt because then I will buy right from the dealership and hopefully it fixes my problem.

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Old 03-02-2006, 01:56 PM   #18
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

as far as I know, all the brass senders have the square end, I don't know what the spec is, but using an ohmmeter, you can test the resistance to confirm the sender bad or good.

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Old 03-02-2006, 02:04 PM   #19
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

What resistance should I get? Or would the resistance through the probe vary depending on the temperature of the coolant. (which im guessing is how that ects works is on variable resistance)

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Old 03-02-2006, 02:34 PM   #20
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Default Re: New ECTS, now throwing codes at me!!

There is a resistance chart here:

http://www.autozone.com/servlet/UiBr...3d8019a036.jsp

Not exactly a precision part. I think you could spot check it at room temp. Use hot water if you want to check another point.

I doubt your problem is the sensor. I think it is somewhere in the wiring. You may want to measure the resistance seen at the wires attaching to the computer.

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