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Old 04-28-2008, 06:08 PM   #1
foo
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1997 SL1
Default Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.
It's the first time I've seen the service engine light come on.
I noticed the light as I was driving to work. It turned off for a little bit while driving and then it came back on again.
It then shut off again after a bit.
On my way home it didn't come on at all.
I don't know what triggers the service engine light to come on.
Can someone please fill me in as to what causes the light to come on?
And maybe why it came on and off?

Thanks so much in advance.

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Old 04-28-2008, 06:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

Any number of things will cause the light to come on.
You NEED to have the code scanned at an autozone or similar place, then post whatever code info here, then the good folks here will be able to help you.

...
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

most likely its poor EGR performance. that happend to me exactly the way u described it. go get an egr valve gasket and some carb cleaner and go to the how-to section here and check out the article that tells u how to clean the egr. check with autozone though just to be sure. the parts u need cost about 5 bucks total. hope this helps

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Old 04-28-2008, 07:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

Thank you both so much. I will drop by Autozone and have them do just that.
Is that a free service?

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Old 04-28-2008, 09:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

Yes. Get the codes, then look them up in the how-to library. Then post the code with its description here along with your Vitals.

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Old 04-29-2008, 02:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

The light isn't coming back on so far. In a good way, maybe nothing is wrong?
But in a bad way, Autozone says there's no memory of what codes were generated so until they can scan it when it's on there's no way for them to know.

I'll keep an eye out for it and post as soon as I get some results.

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Old 04-29-2008, 02:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

What?

The PCM on Saturns DOES retain the code information. Autozone is smoking crack.

What year is your car?

If it is pre 1996, you can read the codes yourself with a Paperclip and count the number of flashes for the SES light.

If your car is post 1996, autozone can read the codes...and they ARE stored in the memory of the PCM. Try another autozone, be forward with them, and tell them that you need the codes read on your 199* saturn or whichever year Saturn that you have.

Autozone will read the codes for free on POST 1996 model year Saturns. Anything before 1996, do it yourself with a Paperclip; because Autozone stopped reading the codes at the end of 2006 for OBD1 cars. That is what I was told (1991-1995 Saturns are OBD1, while 1996-2002 are OBD2).

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Old 04-29-2008, 02:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

Thank you for letting me know. I will go to another Autozone and have them check it out.

'97 SL1

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Old 04-30-2008, 02:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

I went to another autozone where they scanned for the trouble codes and it turns out that there aren't any.
I learned that there are two service indicator lights. One is a service light with a wrench icon and one is a service engine soon light that's just text.
Well, the guy explained to me that the trouble codes are only caused by the service engine soon light.
He also explained that the service light with the wrench icon meant that there were probably fluids that either needed checked or changed.

If this is accurate, which fluids are tied to this service light?

I recently had an oil change by Wal-Mart for $20. I also replaced the tranny fluid and filter myself which now concerns me since this light is coming on and after what the AutoZone guy told me.
I am wondering if my tranny fluid is becoming overfull at certain times and that that's what is causing the light to come on. So when I turn the car on and run it for a few miles before the light stops coming on for the rest of the day. Doesn't come on again in the afternoon. It's just a morning thing so far.

Thanks so much for the help!

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Old 04-30-2008, 04:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

So you're saying it was the Wrench light, and NOT the SES light, that's been coming on?

First thing to check is the SES light itself. Turn the key to RUN (but NOT to START), and the SES, Wrench and all the other dash warning lights should come on momentarily.

Do you have A/C? Automatic or manual transmission? If it's a manual, does the "upshift" light go on when you expect it to?

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Old 04-30-2008, 04:48 PM   #11
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

It's an automatic. It does have air conditioning of which does work. I'll check that both lights come on momentarily. That's what might have surprised me, I don't remember two service-type lights coming on ever before now, err during engine start-up.

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Old 04-30-2008, 06:59 PM   #12
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

The only thing I can think that the wrench light would be connected to is the oil monitor, although I don't know if post 96 model year S-Series have an Oil Monitor.

Did you have the oil changed recently?
Are you due for an oil change?

From my understanding when the wrench light comes on (from experience in our now wrecked/totalled 2005 VUE) when the wrench light comes on, it's time to get the Oil Changed and get have the Oil Monitor reset....

...
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:41 PM   #13
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

I checked out the light indicator situation when I turned on the car. Both the service indicator light and the service engine soon indicator light do come on together during startup. It's just that the service light shuts off much sooner than the service engine soon light.

I did have the oil changed 1,500 miles ago. It's due in another 1,500 miles.

When I checked the transmission fluid level. It appears to be high as it's at the top line of the dipstick.

I will have to drain some this weekend, I will keep an eye on it all the rest of this week. I really hate checking the tranny stick. It changes level all the time. Sometimes it's lower than the hot line when its hot, sometimes it higher. Sometimes its at the cold line when it cold, sometimes it's higher.
I hate the way the fluid moves on that stick. It's not as easy to read as the oil dipstick.

I am assuming the light must be indicating that the tranny fluid level is high, but not sure.
The engine oil does seem dark so maybe it's getting dirty quickly this time around.
I might change both fluids this weekend.

I hope someone can provide some more feedback.
Thanks in advance.

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Old 05-01-2008, 12:35 AM   #14
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

The lights on-off sequence on startup you experience is normal.

It's still not clear; which light went on while you were driving?

On a '97, the Wrench light isn't associated with any fluid I know of. Certainly not the oil; there's no oil life monitor. Most common Wrench light causes are a burnt-out "other" indicator light (SES, charge, oil, upshift [n/a]), and a bad fan relay. When you turn on the A/C, does the cooling fan come on?

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Old 05-01-2008, 04:22 AM   #15
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
It's still not clear; which light went on while you were driving?
The service text with a wrench next to it. I believe it's above the service engine soon text. Only the service text with the wrench icon comes on during the morning while driving to work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
When you turn on the A/C, does the cooling fan come on?
I will have to check if the cooling fan turns on at the same time as the air conditioner. The air conditioner works as I've seen it turn that extra pulley when it comes on and off, I never paid attention to the cooling fan at that time.
I'll post back tonight. THanks for easing my mind about the fluids.

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Old 05-01-2008, 07:17 AM   #16
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

Does not sound like your situation from the description - but the mostly common light to cycle on/off intermittently and not set a code or have any obvious cause is the coolant level light. This may happen if the float in the tank gets gunked up needing a cleaning, But that is a different light, not the wrench or service engine light.

A loose gas cap can set a light that will go away once the gas cap is properly tightened.

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Old 05-01-2008, 03:08 PM   #17
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

The fan seems to be working fine. I hear it running when I turn off the air conditioner.
The fan always stops when I shut off the car. I thought the engine fan/cooling system fan? stays on for a while even after the car is off. This one doesn't stay on at all even after a long trip. Car goes off, it goes off.

It did start(the service light coming on) after the last time I put in gas. I'll have to play with the gas cap and see if it goes away.

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Old 05-01-2008, 04:00 PM   #18
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

Assuming you have one, look in the owner's manual.

The "service engine soon" (aka SES) light is for emissions control related problems. The "service (wrench)" light is for non-emissions related problems. SES can come on for any number of not so serious reasons, some of which can go away on their own. I was always told that if the wrench light comes on, pull over, turn the car off and tow it to service.

Both lights should be throwing a code, and I assume they store in history.

There is nothing in the manual, but I seem to remember the dealer telling me that if you quickly flip the cruise on/off 3 times, it takes a "snapshot" of something. If you have cruise, give it a shot the next time you see the light.

A loose gas cap should trip the SES light, not the wrench.

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Old 05-01-2008, 04:12 PM   #19
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

Unfortunately I don't have an owners manual. I am going to either get one from a junkyard or ebay.

The car doesn't have cruise control.

I was really shocked when the scanner at Autozone came up with no codes. I am really in the dark on this one.

Is there a posting somewhere of what could trigger the service light? Is all that information in the owner's manual? If someone happens to have that list for my car/year, I'd appreciate seeing it. I don't know how difficult it is to come up with something like that.

Thanks for the responses.

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Old 05-01-2008, 04:56 PM   #20
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Default Re: Saturn SL1 - Engine Light came on twice then stopped coming on.

The Wrench light does NOT set OBD-II codes readable by a standard scanner/code reader.

Is the light coming on every time you drive the car now, or was this a "one-off" occurrence?

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