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Old 06-20-2010, 04:30 PM   #1
WesAlvaro
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Question Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

Wow. I am overwhelmed with the amount of information on this website. I've been absorbing as much as I could for the past several days.

I just bought a 1992 Saturn SC2 and we had to have it serviced for emissions in Arizona. I replaced the spark plugs (they told us Bosch platinum plugs were bad, I put in Champion copper plugs) and the ECTS (... with one from Autozone). This took off 200$ from our bill so that we could make full use of the VVR&R in Maricopa county.

The mechanic replaced the O2 sensor, the EGR Valve and the catalytic converter (that was 700$ ).

It seemed fine. We passed emissions and registered the car. Drove well but may have an overheating problem... That may be for a different thread, I haven't tested the cooling fan, yet...

Wife said she experienced some stalls before the mechanic's work was done, but I experienced no problems.

She went to run some errands and said it stalled on the way. She got in the car to come home and it stalled and wouldn't start back when she was pulling out of the parking lot.

I show up and take a look, the car turns over just fine. It just wouldn't start. Then it does? It starts and runs for a few seconds then dies. Then I get it to start and the RPMs just keep slowly climbing. We get it towed back to our place. I start it up and drive into our parking spot, but it dies before I get all the way into the spot.

I let it cool until the next day and it starts right up again, but the RPMs are way high (2000+ and climbing) so I turn it off.

And now for today... What do you guys think is wrong? I've heard lots of things all over the forums during my searches, but my situation seems a bit unique? Is it just the CPS? Is my ECTS bad from the get-go? Sounds like the car is getting gas to me!

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you ahead of time

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Old 06-20-2010, 05:07 PM   #2
huidaman
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2000 SL1
Default Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

I'd say replace your CPS, and have a look at your coil packs.

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Old 06-20-2010, 06:35 PM   #3
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Question OK, but what about the RPMs on start?

Thanks for the fast reply! It sounds like a good place to start, I'll have to wait until I can get it jacked up, but another question for you all:

I can see how a bad CPS can cause the car to stall or to not start at high temperatures, but what about the rising RPMs when it does start. It's been fine (even after replacing the ECTS), idling at around 700-800 RPMs, but now it'll go straight up to 2000 RPMs. If it doesn't do that, it'll start normally only to stay running for just a couple of seconds and then die.

What do you think about that?

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Old 06-20-2010, 07:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

turn it off then turn it back on. if it changes, then the TPS needs to be replaced.

Otherwise, you have a vaccuum leak somewhere. Oh yeah, there's also no 1992 SC2, it was just an SC.

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Old 06-20-2010, 10:51 PM   #5
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Question Of/On Didn't help. Could it be my IAC?

I tried turning the car off and on a few times, but each time the car idled very high (~2300RPM). Would it really be the throttle position sensor or could it be my Idle Air Control Valve?

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Old 06-20-2010, 11:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

In general, if the engine runs its not the cps.

When the ects was replaced did anyone check the connector to be sure it isn't corroded? A fouled connector is the same as having a faulty ects; both can contribute to rich running conditions. An easy way to tell is to pull the plugs and examne them. Black/oily is raw fuel and oil, brown/tan/white is normal, blistered ceramic is leaned out mixtures. Google spark plug color charts fro more info.

With the plugs out you can also perform a spark test that will tell you many things; cranking the engine should create spark to all plugs while the pcm turns on the fuel pump and pulse the injectors. All by simply testing for spark.

Turn your attention to the ignition module and coils for removal; clean off any corrosion including the mounting bolts.

If the engine starts and stays at high idle there's always a possibility of a vacuum leak from old dry rotted vacuum hoses that require a hands-on approach to feeling them for cracks, spraying water on them to notice any rpm changes. Be sure to check the large hose supplying vacuum to the vacuum brake booster unit directly behind the brake master cylinder. Follow the large diameter hose from the bottom of the vacuum boost unit to the back of the intake manifold. Trace all other vacuum hoses carefully and check for cracks by pulling on them if necessary; weak hoses will break to at least tell you to replace them with new ones.

Clean the thottle body if it hasn't been done.

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Old 06-21-2010, 10:40 AM   #7
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Question Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

When I replaced the ECTS, it and the connector looked fine. I checked again yesterday, and it looked fine then, too.

The plugs looks like they were running hot, straight up white when I took them out. Hence, I replaced them with copper plugs.

It's a little hard to check for spark when the problem arises, as I don't want to get myself stranded somewhere. It seems that my problem with not starting is similar to a lot of other users out there that you have helped, fdryer. It seems like it could be the CKS opening at a certain temperature so that there is no spark.

I'll check out the throttle body, ignition coils & module anyway when I get home later.

A vacuum leak is possible, but the hoses (upon simple inspection) look fine and everything had been running well...

Thanks again for all the suggestions! What are you guys thinking?

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Old 06-21-2010, 11:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

It just occurred to me, you have a '92 fuel pump!? It may be the reason for all this!? If the pump's going erratic, the fuel mixture will be erratic and run between normal and lean. Too lean and the engine dies. White plugs means too lean a fuel mixture if the pump can't keep up the pressure. An old pump with worn out brushes will just act erratically and cause all sorts of engine lean problems. The best you can do is to put a pressure gauge on the fuel rail and catch it in the act of dying while driving.

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Old 06-21-2010, 11:22 AM   #9
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Question The fuel pump?!?!

So this (the fuel pump) was actually my first guess, but after trolling these forums, was convinced otherwise...

Is there any way to test this being the cause without it having to completely fail? Know the regular pressure for this vehicle?

Would it be causing the high RPMs? Can I put a pressure tester on there to determine that? What would the pressure be doing to cause the high RPMs?

Thanks again!

Last edited by WesAlvaro; 06-21-2010 at 11:33 AM..

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Old 06-21-2010, 11:38 AM   #10
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Default Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

It might be tricky to catch a fuel pump fail the moment it dies as you may be paying attention to driving when the pump falters. Setting one up so you can monitor pressures may present problems too. The pressure gauge is the only way to see pressure fluctuations and sudden drops when the pump stops intermittently as the injectors continuously bleed off pressure with the engine running.

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Old 06-21-2010, 11:50 AM   #11
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Question Problem with testing the fuel pump?

So a normal fuel pump pressure test won't do me any good?

And still, what about the high RPMs, shouldn't I be able to diagnose that?

Also, you don't think it's the CKS opening at a high temperature?
Would the fuel pump be subject to not operating when the engine is hot?

I think I have a bit of a combo problem here... and I need some advice!

I'm getting a little stressed, as this was just supposed to be a temporary cheap car. I expected it to have some issues, but it's not drivable!

Thank you so much for all your advice so far. With you guys and richpin, I feel like I could take down one of these things and put it back together! I just don't have the Saturn expertise you possess to know what's going wrong...

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Old 06-21-2010, 12:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

Where did the replacement EGR valve come from?

There is a real possibility of a vacuum leak that is driving up the RPM. Check all of the hoses attached to the intake manifold, don't forget the hose to the PCV.

Don't think its the fuel pump.

Remove the PCV valve and clean it out with a solvent. When its clean and dry it should rattle when you shake it and when you hold it upside down the valve disk should float on the spring. If not then replace it.

The normal operating temperature indication is 1/2 on that year and teh fan Must come on when it just hits the RED, 3/4-7/8 on the gauge. If not then this is a problem that needs to be fixed and may have a lot to do with odd hot no start and high RPM. When you turn on the A/C the fan should come on, does it?

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Old 06-21-2010, 12:38 PM   #13
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Question The PCV Valve? Vacuum leak and not the fuel pump?

The EGR Valve came from the mechanic... It looks nice (shiny! ), but I haven't really looked at it. He claimed to use all "high-quality" parts.

I'll definitely try combing through the hoses for a leak... If all I have to do is check the hoses and replace a ~$1 PCV valve as opposed to replacing the ~$120 in-tank fuel pump, I'm all for it.

As far as the heat issue goes, I was going to look into it (check the fan, etc) but the thing started having the no start issues the very next day... it's hard to hear if the fan is running (or see it, since my flashlight just died ) when the engine is ramping up so high.

Driving down the highway (the day before the no-start issue arose), the temp gauge just kept rising, I kept watching it and tried not to test it since I needed to get home. It never did get above the 3/4 mark, but the red zone wasn't far away. It did drop back down to about 1/2 as I was getting off the interstate, though.

Should it be staying around the 1/2 mark? I'm in Arizona, so the tarmac can be pretty hot. This is my first car out here, so I'm not really sure how it should behave. Is it getting too hot? Will the fan keep it from getting (actually) too hot?

Should I be ruling anything out at this point?
CPS, ECTS, fuel pump, IAC, TPS?
Or are all of these still likely culprits?

Last edited by WesAlvaro; 06-21-2010 at 12:43 PM..

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Old 06-21-2010, 12:43 PM   #14
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Wrench Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

Duplicate.

Last edited by WesAlvaro; 06-21-2010 at 12:45 PM.. Reason: Duplicate post.

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Old 06-21-2010, 06:56 PM   #15
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Default Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

Highway driving with the A/C off it should hang at 1/2 as long as you are running at 55->65mph and a bit higher as teh sped goes up. You can test it by just starting the car and turning on the A/C. If the fan comes on then the fan electrics are good.

There are 2 sensors in the left end of the cylinder head. the one with 1 wire is for the gauge and the one with 2 wires is the ECTS. Take the forum jump to the How To Library and check the first group sticky posts, including the richpin videos so you are familiar with the replacement of the ECTS. You need to disconnect it and very carefully check the inside of the connector for any corrosion. Then open up the black loom and check the 2 wires for any splices or crimp on connectors. All connections/splices must be soldered.

Fix your flashlight. Check the hoses. Check the ECTS connector and wiring. Check the fan. And if a problem is not found then we can look further.

Remember, the car is 18 years old and has been given no real maintenance for at least 16 of those years, expect some issues. Watch some of the richpin videos so you become familiar with how the car is put together.

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Old 06-22-2010, 03:14 PM   #16
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Question Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

Well, when driving on the highway with the A/C off (as it doesn't work, it just blows air) it was climbing up to 3/4. I started the car and turned on the A/C with the blower to the max and the fan wasn't moving. I'll do some more diagnostics tonight (relay seemed good, switched it with the one for "horn" and the horn still worked ), but the sun was fading last night.

OldNuc, thank you so much for your comments, but I'm quite familiar with the ECTS by this point. Everything seems fine with it. I'll check it yet again, but I just replaced it and the connector seems fine. I even tested the old ECTS last night with hot water and checked the resistance; it seemed to be giving proper output (mechanic told me it was bad ).

I'm loving the richpin videos, by the way.

I non-intrusively checked the hoses last night and nothing stood out. It'll be easier when I can get the car jacked up later this week.

I also got a new flashlight.

Lastly, I thoroughly cleaned the throttle body until it was reflecting my face. I also cleaned up the IAC valve.

Tonight I'll:
  1. Check the wires to the ECTS connector
  2. Take a deeper look at hoses
  3. Clean the PCV valve.

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Old 06-22-2010, 06:38 PM   #17
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Default Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

If the A/C is low on gas that will prevent the fan from coming on when you turn on the A/C. The fan still should come on on high temperature though.

You can ruin the engine buy overheating it so the fan is a big deal.

Do you know how to read the SES codes with a paperclip? If not the directions are here. http://saturnwiki.org/index.php/PCM_..._Trouble_Codes

And the ALDL connector pin layout. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALDL The one you wan t is the 12 pin diagram and A and B are on the top row all the way to the right. If you have the key in ON position and engine RUNNING and then jumper A to B the fan will come on if everything is working correctly.

There is a big green fuse for the FAN also.

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Old 06-22-2010, 06:54 PM   #18
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Thumbs Up Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

You guys are GREAT!!!
I think I would have driven this thing into a wall if it wasn't for you.

I suspected that about the A/C. I thought that was going to be the only thing I had to work on, until the rest of the shenanigans reared their heads.

I seem to think the fan does come on, as when I was getting off the interstate the temperature shot down (I read on here that the PCM disables the fan at highway speeds?)... I sure hope it works, but I didn't even think about it not working so I hadn't tested it. I already checked the fuse and it's fine. Relay fine.

I just got a loaned multimeter from AutoZone (I'm only in AZ for a while...) and I plan on doing all the fun electrical stuff, now!

Thank you SO much for the link to the SES code decipherererer. I've been looking for this! I'll do that as soon as I get home. I'll report back my findings!

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Old 06-22-2010, 07:02 PM   #19
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Default Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

No, the PCM does not disable teh fan at any speed. That happens on some other cars but not a Saturn.

All you have to do is turn the key to ON and engine OFF and then jumper between the A and B terminals on the ALDL connector, top 2 terminals on the far right side of the connector. The fan will come on and the SES will flash 12 3 times and then repeat.

You can disconnect the A/C compressor clutch connector and then jumper the A/C pressure switch and that will simulate a good charge in the system. Then when you push in A/C on the console the fan will come on if all is well.

If you back up on that URL you will find much more good to know info.

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Old 06-22-2010, 09:33 PM   #20
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Question Re: Help with `92 SC2 - Random Stalls, No Hot Starts, High RPMs on Start

Big news, but first a reply:
Ok, well, if the PCM doesn't prevent the fan from running at high speed then maybe it was just timed well with me slowing down.

Anyway, the fan does operate when jumping the two terminals. I think I'll also be doing the manual fan switch mod once we get this thing running.

The only code flashing was 12, so no more info there.

I'll be waiting to see what's up with the A/C before bypassing the pressure switch since I checked the switch and it's probably right, there's no refrigerant in there. I'll be getting some 143 with dye and loaning that leak checker from AutoZone at some point...
So I took off the air filter from the throttle body and stuck my finger on the air intake for the IAC. I was able to bring the RPMs down to a managable level and then (we'd been afraid to let it idle that hard for that long, while still increasing! ) it actually regulated itself and calmed down to a normal idle! What does that mean?!?!

We tried that a few times and it kept starting back up strong, I was able to get the RPMs down and then it normalized.

In other news, I fiddled with putting the air filter back on and cleaning up. I closed the hood and decided that I would see what would happen.

It didn't start!

It turned over fine, but it didn't start! There was food on the table, so I couldn't mess with it anymore, but this seems to me like the CKS is getting hot and opening up.

Hopefully, if it's this easy to recreate, I'll try it again tomorrow and test for a spark with a spare plug or should I just take the wires off the 1&4 coil like richpin does in a video?

So, what do you think is causing the high RPMs, now?

And what do you think would be causing it not to start after it starts fine a few times?

THANK YOU SO MUCH AGAIN!

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