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Old 02-24-2009, 08:56 AM   #1
paulo
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Default oxygen sensor/ replacement

I drive a 1997 Saturn SL manual with 177,500 miles. Service soon engine light went on last week. Scanned P0141 error code ( oxygen sensor heater circuit malfunction bank 1 sensor 2 ). Erased error code and drove 500 miles and then the same code was set. I am assuming that this original down stream (after the catalytic converter) oxygen sensor is weak and needs to be replaced. Is this a four wire oxygen sensor and has anyone had luck using a universal oxygen sensor verses a dealer OEM sensor. Big difference in price, although you have to splice the wire harness onto the universal oxygen sensor. I would solder the connections and use heat wrap insulating connectors. Any suggestions on how to deal with this part? Thanks

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Old 02-24-2009, 08:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

Needs to be replaced. OEM only. The bosch universal has brought about issues later on with people who get them.

Personally, i just use old 02's from a junker. Work just as good, OEM, and cheappp

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Old 02-24-2009, 09:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

Probe the wires on the supply side with a DVOM. You want to see if you have one wire showing 12V. Two of the others will show a ground. You want to do this before buying a sensor. If you don't have the 12V or a bad ground, replacing the sensor won't solve the problem. And if you do need a sensor, the generic will do just fine as long as you properly splice the wires, which it sounds like you are.

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Old 02-24-2009, 12:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

When you say supply side- are you referring to the connector of the oxygen sensor located on the cross member of the A frame using a DVOM- digital volt ohm meter? I've noticed that my gas milage has dropped from 39 to 33 mpg. Could this be the cause? Thanks for your help.

Last edited by paulo; 02-24-2009 at 12:33 PM..

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Old 02-24-2009, 12:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo View Post
When you say supply side- are you referring to the connector of the oxygen sensor located on the cross member of the A frame using a DVOM- digital volt ohm meter?
Yes, unplug the connector, turn the switch to run (but do not start the car) and test the pins on the connector from the harness.

Quote:
I've noticed that my gas milage has dropped from 39 to 33 mpg. Could this be the cause? Thanks for your help.
Probably not. The rear O2 sensor's purpose is to monitor the catalyst. It's the front sensor's job (along with other sensor inputs) to control the fuel/air ratio. You'd have to look at the sensor datastream to get a feel for a problem -supposing there is one.

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Old 02-24-2009, 12:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

Since it is a four pin connector with two pins ground and one pin 12volts, what is the fourth pins job? Thanks for your help. I will perform the ground and voltage test tonight after work before purahasing oxygen sensor.

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Old 02-24-2009, 01:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

The fourth pin supplies the sensor output to the ecm. It's output is in mv.

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Old 02-24-2009, 01:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

Gerry Proctor-Thanks for all your help in answering my questions.

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Old 03-02-2009, 06:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

I'm in the prosses of replacing my O2 sensor with the universal unit.
I'm a little stumped on the wiring though

The Factory harness has
2 white wires (ground?)
1 purple (12v?)
1 tanish pink (signal?)

The universal has
2 white- heater wires
1 gray- ground
1 black- signal

so what goes to what?

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Old 03-02-2009, 06:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

Heed what's already been said, but also check the 15A Emission fuse in the under hood fuse box (O2 sensor heater circuit is part of this). If it is blown check downstream O2 sensor wires for breaks/corrosion.

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Old 03-02-2009, 07:32 PM   #11
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

None of that really matters. I hit another guys muffler as it fell off his car and it tore the O2 sensor into bits, so it needs replacing.

The Haynes manual (is ****) doesn't show the 4 wire O2 in any of the wiring diagrams so it is of no help.

maybe someone who has used a universal bosh O2 can help.

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Old 03-02-2009, 08:38 PM   #12
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

They changed the colors 97 to 98. However, ther are very small letters in the plug up on the rear cradle rail and this is what goes to the letters.

A- O2 sensor signal ground blk/wht
B- O2 return to PCM ppl/wht
C- Heater ground dk grn
D- Heater feed pnk

Those are the 98 colors.

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Old 03-03-2009, 08:31 AM   #13
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

Quote:
I've noticed that my gas mileage has dropped from 39 to 33 mpg. Could this be the cause? Thanks for your help.
Not at all likely to be related to the rear O2 sensor.

Some drop (maybe 5%) can be expected with cold weather, thanks to winter blends of gas. Short trips hurt more in winter hurt because the engine spends little time at normal operating temperature. Larger drops can be expected if there are problems (e.g., lazy response) with the front O2 sensor, as could a stuck open t-stat.

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Old 03-03-2009, 09:46 AM   #14
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by rc1488 View Post
Needs to be replaced. OEM only. The bosch universal has brought about issues later on with people who get them.
Really, on a rear O2 sensor. Since when? They may not hold up as well but, they won't effect the way the car runs.

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Old 03-03-2009, 10:29 AM   #15
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

I would agree. The Bosch universal should be fine in the rear position as long as you get it spliced in so as not be throwing codes. The splicing can be problematic though.

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Old 03-03-2009, 11:23 AM   #16
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

Okay, it has been over a week since I erased the error code P0141. The check engine soon light has not come back on again. I didn't have the opportunity to use a digital volt ohm meter to test the four wires that go to the rear o2 sensor. Had to clean the throttle body on my wifes civic and repair a leaking impeller housing on a hot tub. How could this oxygen sensor not throw a error code unless all four wires are funtioning? I plan on still getting underneath the car and doing the inspection with the DVOM, but from what I have read about o2 sensors- they tend to become less responsive over time (weak). I guess a weak sensor could funtion okay for a time and then throw an error code under the right conditions ( poor heater circuit output or too lengthy response time) With 178,000 miles on this o2 sensor, how long can they last?

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Old 03-03-2009, 11:40 AM   #17
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnOwl View Post
Really, on a rear O2 sensor. Since when? They may not hold up as well but, they won't effect the way the car runs.
It would help if I read the post thoroughly I didnt realize it said sensor 2

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Old 03-03-2009, 01:00 PM   #18
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

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Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
I would agree. The Bosch universal should be fine in the rear position as long as you get it spliced in so as not be throwing codes. The splicing can be problematic though.
I put one universal on the rear a long time ago. As I recall, there was a pretty fancy plastic box doodad with some very specific instructions about how to do the splicing. It's best to take the harness and O2 sensor out and do the splicing on the bench.

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Old 03-03-2009, 01:09 PM   #19
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

Yes. The splicing is not very easy and the directions are incredibly vague. You do have to read them and then ask questions and if you are real lucky someone will have discovered the right way to do it. I do not think the universal O2 sensor, either one is worth the $$ when for about $15.00 more I can have a direct fit OEM design spec compliant NGK/NTK sensor.

I also understand that sometimes a person will have the time but not the $$.

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Old 03-06-2009, 09:10 PM   #20
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Default Re: oxygen sensor/ replacement

After over a week the SES light went on and I scanned another P0141 code. The motor would idle at 1800 rpm until the cars speedometer was at zero. My guess is that the PCM was trying to compensate for a faulty rear o2 sensor by increasing the idle rpm's in an attempt to warm up that sensor. Once I cleared the error code the motor would idle down as soon as your released the gas pedal to 800 rpm's. I have ordered the o2 sensor, but it won't arrive until 3/12/09 from California. ($38) for a universal 4 wire after the catalytic converter. Today, I had to heat up the o2 sensor fitting with a MAP gas torch to loosen it up. Then I used PB Blaster to loosen the threads up. I had to apply so much heat, that the pipe was glowing red. I have read that a inconsistent way of cleaning these o2 sensors is to heat the tip until they glow red and then dip them in water. Suposed to remove the carbon deposits. Sounds a little iffy to me.

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