SaturnFans.com
what's new (beta) - classifieds - forums - photos


Go Back   SaturnFans.com Forums > Models > Saturn S-Series > S-Series Tech
Register FAQ Members List Groups Calendar Chat Room Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-18-2009, 11:42 AM   #1
gruvn
Junior Member
gruvn is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Shad Bay, NS
Posts: 23
 

1998 SL2
Sad 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

Hi Folks,
This is my first post, so if I've put it in the wrong place, please forgive me!

So, I'm in the midst of trying to figure out what's wrong with my 98 SL2. I've grown frustrated with the dealership, as they seem to just keep replacing parts as the codes dictate without putting any thought into things. After $600 on a rental car for the last 2 weeks, I feel it's time I make an effort to solve this.

The Problem:
The car seems to run fine initially (when it's cool), but once it heats up, the engine tends to stumble/hiccup. This only occurs while I'm driving, and generally when accelerating. If I keep going, the car get progressively worse. It will act as though I am not giving it any gas, and not respond to the accelerator. At this point, I'll be pumping the accelerator, and the engine may catch again, and I can go my merry way, or I will have to gently coast my way to the side of the road and restart the car. I should note that it's just as if the engine was turned off, but the lights, radio, etc all stay on. As you might imagine, if i have to keep goping on like this, the complete loss of power becomes more frequent, and it becomes increasingly difficult to start.

Chronologically:
The first time this occurred, I was on a driving trip, and the car was hot, and so was the day. On this occasion, the car died, I coasted to the side of the road, and was able to restart it. I got it to a mechanic, and he was able to retrieve the codes:
p0122
p0405
p1599
p1635
p0452
However, when he looked at it, the check engine light was no longer on and he couldn't duplicate my problem. I am not proficient enough (yet) to know if any of these codes were laying "dormant" in the system prior to their retrieval. It seems unlikely that they all occurred at once!

I finished the trip, and then came winter (cooler temperatures), and we didn't have a problem again until this may. At this point, I took it to the Saturn dealer and they reported a
p1404
and in response, changed the EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) valve.

Then, in July, the car started to die regularly, usually after sitting all day in the hot parking lot at my work. I took it back to Saturn and they found code
p0355
and in response, replaced the throttle position sensor.

Within days of that, the dying became very regular so I took it back to Saturn, and while I don't have all the codes, I do have a new Crankshaft Sensor. That STILL didn't do it, and in response to the code
p1635
they suggested I get a new Powertrain Control Module (PCM), but they could not locate one within North America (?!). In response I drove down the street to Napa and ordered one, and had it in 2 days, and they programmed it for me using my VIN. Reading this forum, it sounds as though PCMs rarely fail, and that may have just been a colossal waste of money.

That brings us to today. My car is still stumbling, and feels no different then it ever did. I stopped in at Saturn today to ask what they thought, and now they're rolling their eyes at the fact that I have a non-Saturn PCM, and how that could be causing the problem (even though they were unable to sell me one themselves!). Incidentally, the new PCM is virtually identical to the old one, right down to the stamps on the metal casing..

I am definitely feeling like a chump, and am slowly going broke. We only have the one car, and can't afford a rental forever.

In reading these most excellent forums, I came across one at saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=144425&highlight=catalytic+conver ter[/url], and bjazi's problem sounds similar to mine. I am wondering if it's the catalytic converter.

Can anyone recommend anything I might be able to narrow things down? I'm not really into rebuilding my engine, bit-by-bit...

Thanks for any assistance - I am at your mercy!

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to gruvn's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help gruvn reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
gruvn is offline   Reply With Quote
SaturnFans.com Sponsored Links
Old 09-18-2009, 11:50 AM   #2
fetchitfido
Super Member
fetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud of
 
fetchitfido's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 13,499
 

2001 SC2
Default Re: 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

$12 for a ECTS, didn't see it on the list of parts you/they replaced.

The look on the dealerships face when a $12 part stumped 'em: priceless

Also, check the battery, alternator, and associated wiring for problems/corrosion.

You could recoupe some of the money spent on the new PCM by selling it to someone who's doing an engine or transmission swap.

Oh, it's 19mm (maybe larger) wrench to remove the O2 sensor to test if the cat converter is plugged.

...
The proper way to fix a S-Series automatic is to replace it with a 5spd O:)

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to fetchitfido's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help fetchitfido reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
fetchitfido is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2009, 12:03 PM   #3
gruvn
Junior Member
gruvn is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Shad Bay, NS
Posts: 23
 

1998 SL2
Default Re: 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

Thanks for the tip, fetchitfido.

What the heck is $12 at this point anyways?! Regarding the ECTS (Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor, right?), was there any logic that pointed you in that direction, or is it just the only thing I haven't done yet? Do you think that seems more likely then the catalytic convertor? Or just cheaper?

Regarding the O2 sensor check with the catalytic converter - how does that work? You just take off the sensor, then try driving around as you normally would? The hole where the sensor was just gives the exhaust somewhere new to escape rather then the tailpipe (via the catalytic converter)?

Really appreciate your $0.02!

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to gruvn's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help gruvn reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
gruvn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2009, 12:13 PM   #4
alordofchaos
Super Member
alordofchaos is a splendid one to beholdalordofchaos is a splendid one to beholdalordofchaos is a splendid one to beholdalordofchaos is a splendid one to beholdalordofchaos is a splendid one to beholdalordofchaos is a splendid one to beholdalordofchaos is a splendid one to behold
 
alordofchaos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Central MI
Posts: 11,153
 

1998 SL2
1997 SL2
Default Re: 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

Quote:
Originally Posted by gruvn View Post
Regarding the ECTS (Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor, right?),
Yep.
Quote:
was there any logic that pointed you in that direction, or is it just the only thing I haven't done yet?
should be done, regardless, unless a previous owner has already done it. You can check the "shoulders" on the exposed part (click on my photos for pics). ECTS sends the temp signal to the PCM, PCM controls a bunch of stuff. Bad ECTS says engine is cold, dump more fuel in there to idle faster and warm up the engine. Normally, though, you'd see cold or low reading on the temp gauge of a 96+ S-series with a bad ECTS/connector.
Quote:
Regarding the O2 sensor check with the catalytic converter - how does that work? You just take off the sensor, then try driving around as you normally would? The hole where the sensor was just gives the exhaust somewhere new to escape rather then the tailpipe (via the catalytic converter)?
Yup, so don't do this when the neighbors are sleeping If symptoms go away, exhaust is plugged (which, incidentally can result from a bad ECTS causing overly rich running)

...
I'm not worthy to grovel in the shadow of Signmaster's wisdom

11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 124k DD
7/2010 Craigslist white 1997 SC2 project
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to alordofchaos's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help alordofchaos reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
alordofchaos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2009, 12:20 PM   #5
fetchitfido
Super Member
fetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud offetchitfido has much to be proud of
 
fetchitfido's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 13,499
 

2001 SC2
Default Re: 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

Quote:
Originally Posted by gruvn View Post
1)was there any logic that pointed you in that direction, or is it just the only thing I haven't done yet?

2)Regarding the O2 sensor check with the catalytic converter - how does that work? You just take off the sensor, then try driving around as you normally would? The hole where the sensor was just gives the exhaust somewhere new to escape rather then the tailpipe (via the catalytic converter)?
1) Pretty much everything alordofchaos said. Its defiantly a part that almost never gives a code saying it's the problem, causes all sorts of oddball problems and because of the way the electronics work it makes other parts look bad when it's bad.
2) Yup, that's it exactly.

...
The proper way to fix a S-Series automatic is to replace it with a 5spd O:)

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to fetchitfido's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help fetchitfido reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
fetchitfido is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2009, 12:27 PM   #6
gruvn
Junior Member
gruvn is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Shad Bay, NS
Posts: 23
 

1998 SL2
Default Re: 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

Since you guys are listening

Let's say I change the ECTS, and I still have some trouble. In response I do the Oxygen Sensor pull, and it runs fine (other then being loud). Is that pretty much a definitive sign that the catalytic converter needs to be replaced?

Thanks guys!

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to gruvn's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help gruvn reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
gruvn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2009, 12:52 PM   #7
gruvn
Junior Member
gruvn is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Shad Bay, NS
Posts: 23
 

1998 SL2
Default Re: 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

Last thing -

How far can I go with no O2 sensor before I set fire to something? Could I go 20 miles?

PS: Anyone want to buy a like-new PCM?

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to gruvn's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help gruvn reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
gruvn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2009, 03:12 PM   #8
alordofchaos
Super Member
alordofchaos is a splendid one to beholdalordofchaos is a splendid one to beholdalordofchaos is a splendid one to beholdalordofchaos is a splendid one to beholdalordofchaos is a splendid one to beholdalordofchaos is a splendid one to beholdalordofchaos is a splendid one to behold
 
alordofchaos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Central MI
Posts: 11,153
 

1998 SL2
1997 SL2
Default Re: 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

Y'know, the more I think on it, the less likely I'm thinking it's an exhaust problem. I'd expect codes if that were the case, plus I'd expect you to have the same problems with a cold engine. Sounds like your issue is engine warm only.

Since you had the same problem with and without the new generic NAPA PCM, I'd put the OEM PCM back in for now to rule out the NAPA one from causing anything or hiding codes.

If it then throws a code, report that one back. the last code you got was P1635 "5 Volt Reference Circuit" and there are sensors like the TPS, MAP and others. Take a look at this post

This one

and this

The ECTS replacement is a good idea if your temp gauge doesn't read at 3/8 (for your year) when fully warmed; check the connector for corrosion, too.

If pulling the O2 sensor helps, it points to a restriction somewhere in the exhaust - cat is likeliest suspect, but could be up or downstream as well. but I would expect a code and cold driveability problems, too.

BTW, all the codes are in the How To library here

...
I'm not worthy to grovel in the shadow of Signmaster's wisdom

11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 124k DD
7/2010 Craigslist white 1997 SC2 project
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to alordofchaos's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help alordofchaos reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
alordofchaos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2009, 04:22 PM   #9
gruvn
Junior Member
gruvn is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Shad Bay, NS
Posts: 23
 

1998 SL2
Default Re: 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

Thanks so much for posting those messages. I drove quite a distance without the O2 sensor, so that's not the problem. I have the ECTS in my pocket, and I'll change it tomorrow morning when the car is cold.

Unfortunately, I no longer have the Saturn PCM - NAPA takes them back when you buy a new one... so crap about that.

I will look into the coils tomorrow, and some of the other suggestions made in those posts you referenced. I don't know what my chances are of tracking down a short...

Again - thanks so much for your help!

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to gruvn's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help gruvn reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
gruvn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2009, 09:39 PM   #10
gruvn
Junior Member
gruvn is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Shad Bay, NS
Posts: 23
 

1998 SL2
Default Re: 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

According to ssicarmen (while discussing DTC p1635 at saturnfans.com/forums/showpost.php?p=221086&postcount=2)
"If DTCs P0563, P0108, P1106, P0452, P0453, P1122, or P0122 are set, a short to B+ on the 5 volt reference circuit is probable."

I have had p0122 and p0452 (quite a while ago), but have since changed out the TPS sensor (0122).

Let's imagine I have a short on the B+ on the 5 volt reference circuit - should I just dig around at all the wires looking for a problem, or is there a more logical way to approach this?

I'll be cleaning the coil packs tomorrow, but am unsure if they're on that circuit...

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to gruvn's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help gruvn reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
gruvn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2009, 10:52 PM   #11
gruvn
Junior Member
gruvn is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Shad Bay, NS
Posts: 23
 

1998 SL2
Default Re: 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

Just an update if anyone's listening...

I changed the ECTS today.
I cracked open the coils and cleaned them up, although there was no evidence of corrosion.
I checked the spark plugs, which look generally yellowed and awful. I bought 4 new ones (stock NGK ones), but haven't put them in yet.
I checked the grounding of the negative battery cable everywhere it straps down, and shined up all surfaces it comes into contact with.
I also bought a scan tool.

After doing all that, I ran the car a bit, and it still stumbles. The only code I get is 1336, since the new computer has not had it's crackshaft learn procedure done (which OldNuc just described to me).

I'll run that tomorrow (after I change the plugs), but I still have a feeling there's a short or something somewhere (cause of that p1635)....

Cheers!

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to gruvn's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help gruvn reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
gruvn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2009, 04:16 PM   #12
LPC
Junior Member
LPC is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 35
Default Re: 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

Well I'm a bit late here, but hows progress?

What's your mileage?
Have you replaced the O2 sensor? I drove my 95 SC with the symptoms you describe for about 70K miles fighting it all the way, never got a useful code. Turns out the O2 sensor was bad, changing that and the MAP sensor cured everything. I did the MAP sensor a month or so after the O2, ran and idled better, but lost a couple mpg. I was almost tempted to fish the old one out of the trash

Sounds to me like the dealer is playing parts bingo just like you can, only its cheaper when you do it

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to LPC's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help LPC reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
LPC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2009, 08:24 AM   #13
gruvn
Junior Member
gruvn is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Shad Bay, NS
Posts: 23
 

1998 SL2
Default Re: 1998 SL2, stumbling and dying

Just a quick note to keep you all up to date....

After I did all th work mentioned above, the car ran really well for about a month. Then yesterday, it died again as I was pulling out of a parking lot.
I did change the O2 sensor, but I've never looked at the MAP.

I am going to try and find a short in the 5v circuit using some stuff sent to me by oldnuc, but I'm also going to:
  1. see if I can clean up the MAP sensor (the one remaining snsor I think I haven't changed). I don't have a vaccuum unit for pressure testing, but I'll see if there's something I can do to clean it up...
  2. change the spark plug wires
  3. pull the coil packs and clean them REALLY well

The colder it gets around here, the less fun this sort of work is!

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to gruvn's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help gruvn reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
gruvn is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
SL2 dying at stoplights, no SES andreasanfword S-Series Tech 9 01-18-2006 05:53 PM
94 sl2 stumbling on tipin sometimes tone it down S-Series Tech 2 11-27-2005 11:24 PM
Electrical problem 99 SL2, Dying Guages and/or Radio dnmoreno S-Series Tech 2 01-18-2005 06:59 PM
Stumbling SL2...NEED help URGENTLY !!! Rogn38 S-Series General 32 01-03-2005 10:57 AM
94 SL2 stumbling/shuddering burly S-Series Tech 10 03-10-2004 09:39 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:33 PM.

Advanced Forum Search | Advanced Photo Search


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SaturnFans.com. The Saturn Enthusiasts Site.