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Old 11-12-2011, 04:49 PM   #1
Twin_Cam
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2000 SL2
Default Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

Once again, the time has come for my car (a 2000 SL2) to pass the Soviet Republic of Pennsylvania's emissions test. They plug the car into a computer, and if there are any codes, it fails. Only problem is mine just tells the computer "System not ready for testing. Readiness monitors not set." The shop can't tell me, or refuses to tell me, which monitors aren't set. Yay.

Here's the thing. I've put 12,000 miles on my car since last year, when I had this same problem. You mean to tell me I haven't gone through a drive cycle in 12,000 miles? And before you ask, yes, the battery has been replaced...17 months ago, in about June of 2010. Other than that, the battery hasn't died, and I haven't disconnected it.

There's a couple of possibilities:
1. Fried ECU. Replace with junkyard unit and get the dealer to "reflash" (what does that even mean? goddamned computer doublespeak) it to the BCU.
2. Bad connections somewhere on the ECU. Check connections, check grounds.
3. ECU just needs to be reset. Unplug battery for a day, reconnect.
4. Sell a perfectly good car for no reason other than it won't pass an emissions test and buy a car that has a carburetor because I'm sick of technology "improving" my life.

What says the SaturnFans forum braintrust?

...
'00 SL2m- DD, 186K miles
'05 Honda CR-V- wife's DD and my upright bass hauler
'84 Honda CB650SC Nighthawk- toy

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Old 11-12-2011, 05:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

The pcm's fine. Nothing wrong with it. Readiness monitors means one sensor or solenoid valve isn't operating and isn't turning on the SES indicator to tell you what went bad so lets cover the usual suspects in the order most cars fail when readiness monitors aren't ready. Start with the brass coolant sensor and 195F thermostat. Never seeing the temperature needle go past the 1/4 mark is one indication of coolant temps not reaching a point in time when the pcm expects it to continue with emissions self tests. Whether you know it or not, every time the engine is started the emissions self tests are performed, long before any state inspection requires emissions tests. Our OBD II cars self tests emissions on every drive so as long as the SES indicator stays off then most likely the emissions self tests pass. These tests are the readiness monitors that takes place during warmup and driving. All sensors and solenoids are used to check the evap system, purge valve, tank pressure, engine manifold pressure, coolant temps, O2 sensor and catcon output. Each part is used at the correct time during an engine run and as the engine warms up a check list is checked off in sequential order. If everything goes correctly the readiness monitors pass and state inspection gives you a new sticker. Its easier to use a reader to see if these readiness monitors are ready or not before going for state inspection.

The majority of readiness monitors not passing are the coolant sensor followed by a t-stat where the coolant temps don't get up to operating temps quickly and hang up the emissions self tests. Once replaced the readiness monitors continues on it check lists to see if the O2 sensor starts operating. Before this the evap system checks vacuum and pressure to be sure the fuel system is totally sealed from a leaking gas cap to a pinhole anywhere in the fuel system.

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Old 11-12-2011, 07:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

Some of the tests performed require a long continuous drive at a constant speed and throttle opening as well.

If you own your own scan tool like the one I have (forgot the brand, but it's orange), in one of the main menus, at the top, there's a section titled something like 'Sensor Monitors' or something like that. In that section you'll find a list of all of the monitors that apply to your car, such as O2 monitor, EVAP monitor, CAT monitor, and others. If all that apply to your vehicle have run through the appropriate test, they should have an OK next to them. INC indicates incomplete. N/A indicates not applicable.

What fdryer has suggested is a likely possibility as to the cause of your problem.

I believe that my scan tool cost about $100 or slightly less. Maybe it was more like $50. I can't remember. You want one that can give you sensor readings in real time, but you don't need much more than that. The fancier ones also allow you to hook up to your computer, but you don't absolutely need that. I can find out what my model number is if you are interested. It was the model that did just what I wanted, and nothing more, at a price that I could handle.

...And while it is annoying that we must keep after all of the emissions things on our cars, they do keep our air cleaner. If you have ever driven behind a vintage car made prior to 1968, just imagine what it'd be like breathing our air if every car were like that. Another example is to go down to Mexico City, or Mexico in general. You will get a big headache, and possibly become nauseous. Another benefit of rigid control of the fuel mixture and combustion in your car is that the parts last longer.

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Old 11-12-2011, 09:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

I have this; http://obddiagnostics.com/ , hooks up to a windows laptop and reads Readiness monitors. It's an old design and requires a serial interface. Had it for years.

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Old 11-12-2011, 09:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by TvSteve View Post
I have this; http://obddiagnostics.com/ , hooks up to a windows laptop and reads Readiness monitors. It's an old design and requires a serial interface. Had it for years.
Just checked his website and he has priced this out of the ballpark.

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Old 11-13-2011, 10:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

Thanks for the input. The coolant temp. sensor is less than a year old, and the thermostat was replaced at about 100,000 miles. Is 50,000 a short enough interval for those to fail? I replaced it with an OEM part from the dealer, so I know it was the right temp. range.

I will look into getting one of those OBD readers.

I hear you about the clean air and all that...but didn't OBD-I make a big step toward that, too? They have EGR valves and catalysts and evaporative emissions canisters and all that. Why make it way more complicated with OBD-II? Why more sensors that fail? It's just one more example of cars becoming unnecessarily complex and computerized. Eventually you'll need a computer programming degree instead of a wrench to fix a car

...
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'05 Honda CR-V- wife's DD and my upright bass hauler
'84 Honda CB650SC Nighthawk- toy

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Old 11-13-2011, 11:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

The brass coolant sensor is permanent. The t-stat is more or less good but the easy way to tell is through temperature gauge needle position - it should be either 3/8ths (between the 1/4 and 1/2 mark) or close to the 1/2 mark after 10-minutes (or so) of driving. A lower needle position (with a brass coolant sensor) suggests a worn t-stat. There's also the outside chance the coolant sensor connector may be corroded (and never checked?) causing erratic temperature needle positioning. This would also upset the normal emissions self tests on engine start-up/warm-up. With your situation, the devil is in the details that's preventing the self test emissions/readiness monitors from completion/passing.

OBD II is just a more refined version of OBD I with a second O2 sensor to check catcon efficiency. When running right, our cars EFI system is actually more reliable for the long term as long as sensors/solenoids/vacuum lines operate. The key to troubleshooting these somewhat complicated systems (due to emissions requirements) is to continue learning about EFI systems a little at a time. OBD I outlived its usefulness due to faster processing speeds that allowed changes from the original narrow band O2 sensors to wide band sensors that require higher processing speed. This translates to engines warming up quicker using less fuel on cold start-ups while transitioning from open loop to closed loop sooner. As soon as 30-seconds with heated O2 sensors. All this to use less fuel on cold start-up and spend less time wasting fuel. Appreciation of how sophisticated EFI systems have changed comes from reading and accepting that changes allow much more fuel efficiency than most want to know about.

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Old 11-13-2011, 01:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

I bought an OBD-II scan tool. Very clever. Here are the current state of the readiness monitors on my car, this was with the car running, after about an hour of mixed highway/city driving:

MIL Status: OFF
Misfire Monitor: OK
Fuel System Monitor: OK
Comprehensive Components System: OK
Catalyst Monitor: INCOMPLETE
Heated Catalyst: N/A
EVAP System: OK
Secondary Air System: OK
A/C Refrigerant Monitor: N/A
Oxygen Sensor Monitor: INCOMPLETE
Oxygen Sensor Heater: OK
EGR System: INCOMPLETE

1. Catalyst monitor: bad cat. converter? I have one on the exhaust manifold collector and one under the car, both original, as far as I know.
2. Oxygen sensor: the one on the exhaust manifold is only two years old, so that must be the one post-cat. converter under the car.
3. EGR system: ????

...
'00 SL2m- DD, 186K miles
'05 Honda CR-V- wife's DD and my upright bass hauler
'84 Honda CB650SC Nighthawk- toy

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Old 11-13-2011, 02:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

The oxygen sensor monitor being incomplete is pointing to the front (in the exhaust manifold) O2 sensor. Poor connection? Incorrect sensor? This may be where the emissions test halts and lists the remaining monitors not ready. Ignore the egr monitor as this may be the program being halted until one item is corrected. My thoughts lies with the O2 sensor.

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Old 11-13-2011, 02:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

Searching for the Inspection/Maintenance (I/M) System Check;

Several states require that a vehicle pass on-board diagnostic (OBD) system tests and the I/M emission inspection in order to renew license plates. This is accomplished by viewing the I/M System Status display on a scan tool. Using a scan tool, the technician can observe the I/M System Status in order to verify that the vehicle meets the criteria that comply with the local area requirements.

Monitored Emission Control Systems

The OBD II System monitors all emission control systems that are on-board. Not all vehicles have a full complement of emission control systems. For example, a vehicle may not be equipped with secondary air injection (AIR) or exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). The OBD II regulations require monitoring of the following:

The Air Conditioning System
Catalytic converter efficiency
Comprehensive component monitoring--Emission related inputs and outputs
The Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) System
The EGR System
The Fuel Delivery System
Heated catalyst monitoring
Misfire monitoring
The Oxygen Sensor System (O2S or HO2S)
The Oxygen Sensor Heater System (HO2S heater)
The AIR System

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Old 11-13-2011, 02:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

I did replace that front sensor before. I had to solder the wire to the old connector, but I've been soldering practically since before I could walk, I doubt it's the connection. Perhaps it is the cheap-o Rock Auto sensor I bought. I'll double-check the connection, and if it looks okay, I'll look into a new (higher quality) sensor.

...
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'05 Honda CR-V- wife's DD and my upright bass hauler
'84 Honda CB650SC Nighthawk- toy

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Old 11-13-2011, 03:55 PM   #12
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

If you are able to, try reading the output of this sensor. It takes 600F+ heat to get to operate before it starts fluctuating its output from 0.35 to 0.85 volts. The key is seeing the voltage fluctuate back and forth. Google O2 sensor operation. And don't confuse the rear O2 sensor operation; this one just puts out a straight signal without fluctuating. The front sensor is the important one that the pcm uses to constantly adjust a/f mixtures precisely.

A dead one will put out either a constant voltage or nothing. Your soldering is fine but it may depend on where soldering took place as exhaust heat can melt solder....................

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Old 01-19-2012, 05:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

I have got a very similar problem.

2000 SC2, 240K miles. Battery replaced last yr. 5 Monitors won't go ready.
Parts replaced:
copper core plugs
Copper ECTS
195 degree T stat
EGR

200 miles driven since parts replaced.

I use a "scantool" card and the software that came with it.

Monitors report as follows:

Misfire Monitor: Y
Fuel System Monitor: Y
Comprehensive Components System: Y
Catalyst Monitor: N
EVAP System: N
Secondary Air System: N
A/C Refrigerant Monitor: N/A
Oxygen Sensor Monitor: N
Oxygen Sensor Heater: Y
EGR System: N

My mechanic is at a loss, I am getting NO codes.
What is holding up the monitors???
Thanks guys!

...
2007 ION2 124k
2000 SC2 @ 244,000 miles R.I.P.
2007 Aura XE (wifes)40K miles
1995 SL2 sold it at 213,000 miles
1993 SL1 gone X-wife got it in the settlement

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Old 01-19-2012, 06:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

In addition to my above post...

I just dug this out of an old thread....

Quote:
If anybody in this thread had known that the pending code was an EGR code they would have jumped on it like a frog on a junebug. Plugged exhaust track is not at all uncommon on the gen-3 cars, along with sticky EGR valve.
I was getting intermittent EGR codes but the SES would reset and clear the next day. I just replaced the EGR but what are the "Plugged exhaust track"

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Old 01-19-2012, 07:47 PM   #15
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

Dead original O2 sensor?

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Old 01-19-2012, 10:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Dead original O2 sensor?
The one in the front on the manifold, behind the radiator fan?
I did replace that 3 yrs ago....not sure what brand.
Think that might do it?

Oh yea, the car idles lousy sometimes.

...
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Old 01-19-2012, 10:59 PM   #17
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

Its been said repeatedly around here to use OEM O2 sensors as they change to coincide with EFI changes. First generation Saturns use basic O2 sensors while third generation uses heaters to accelerate the time to get these sensors up to operating temperature quicker. Using aftermarket ones sometimes causes incompatibility issues.

One way to see if its the O2 sensor is monitoring open loop to closed loop mode where cold engine start ups always starts in open loop mode; no O2 sensor operation until the sensor gets up to 600F+ before it begins to output valid signals that allows the pcm to enter closed loop mode immediately. The OBD II system always runs its emissions program in a set procedure and expects sensors at certain times in a timely manner and against coolant temperatures. Somewhere during the warm up transition the O2 sensor is last to get on board and the pcm is waiting for it while all other sensors are telling it that the engine is warming up.

Monitoring coolant temps and knowing at what temperature coolant reaches is one of the steps the pcm watches for and expects the O2 sensor to begin outputting signals when open loop goes to closed loop. These steps are many and are in the service manual.

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Old 01-20-2012, 03:09 PM   #18
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

While I don't have an "answer" to the problem, I am in a similar boat. Last week, I had the following monitors in a "Not Ready" status on my 2000 SL2:

Catalyst Monitor
Oxygen Sensor Monitor
EGR Monitor
EVAP Monitor

As of right now, the Oxygen Sensor monitor has finally completed. From what I've read in the PDF I linked to below, the Cat monitor is dependent on the Oxygen Sensor monitor completing with a "passed" result. Given that, my assumption is that the cat might now complete....

The EGR monitor seems to have the same dependency on the oxygen monitor.
It seems it will also remain pending if the EVAP or cat monitor is running.

The PDF has a lot of good detail that I appreciated about the emissions diagnostic monitors as I've had a hard time hunting down specifics about how they work. I'm almost to the point of purchasing some kind of OBDII software or scan tool that will show me current sensor values in the hopes I can understand why the diagnostics are not completing. My conversations with one dealer about the diagnostic monitors have led to nothing but frustration as they are stuck on the fact that no codes have been set.

Hope this is helpful

EDIT: I am unable to post the link to the PDF due to my low post count. So, if anyone is interested, just PM me and I'll happily share the link.

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Old 01-21-2012, 09:43 PM   #19
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

I'm happy to report another success after using info from these forums. I replaced the thermostat today with a 185 degree model. One cruise post-install with mixed interstate and city driving and all monitors except for the evap have completed and passed. I don't need the evap to pass emissions and i have read how difficult it is to set compared to the others. I'm sure it will finish soon enough.

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Old 01-22-2012, 12:08 PM   #20
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Default Re: Readiness monitors not set...after 12,000 miles

Mammoth, glad to hear it! I am one monitor closer but still have 3 NOT ready yet.

Parts replaced so far now are:
copper core plugs
ETCS
EGR
T-stat
Front O2 sensor

It is still in OPEN loop status and pending monitors are:

Cataylst
EVAP
2nd Air

Any suggestions on the next step? Thanks guys

...
2007 ION2 124k
2000 SC2 @ 244,000 miles R.I.P.
2007 Aura XE (wifes)40K miles
1995 SL2 sold it at 213,000 miles
1993 SL1 gone X-wife got it in the settlement

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