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Old 05-14-2012, 05:27 PM   #1
Mrfootball420
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Default 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

The car has been flawless and then this morning when I got to work It just started to idle really rough. About 2 weeks ago I changed the plugs, the wires and the coils. She ran even better then before and I even made 2 trips to arizona from california. Over 1000 miles with no problems. So I thought maybe it was the plug wires so i changed those today and it did nothing. I also removed and cleaned the Idle Air Control valve. that also didnt help. then I pulled and inspected the Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor and it didnt appear to be cracked. At this point i dont want to start replacing stuff and spending money i dont have on parts that wont fix my problem.

I have never worked on a saturn before so im not sure where to go from here. I am a honda guy pretty much. I was hoping you saturn guys might have a good feel for what my problem likely is, cause im stuck. Im thinking the after market coils might be faulty? I tested them and they do spark though.

Oh yeah the check engine light also started flashing too and the error codes are p0300( random multiple misfire) p0420 (cat efficiency below threshold) p0341 (camshaft position sensor range/ performance). The last one I called around and discovered the car doesnt even have a cps sensor. I felt like a real idiot, lol.

Could the cat convertor really be that clogged up making it run this bad? Im not sure? it just started out of nowhere so im thinking some type of sensor or module but idk?

please help

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Old 05-14-2012, 05:42 PM   #2
lil_buddy
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

could be the motor mount.

thoroughly read the s-series general forum sticky.

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Old 05-14-2012, 05:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

Its not the motor mount, it sputters and spits when accelerating. I have been reading for hours now. Thats how i have came this far. I didnt know anything about the IAC valve or the ects sensor before today.

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Old 05-14-2012, 06:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

the car does have a cps.

what kind of plugs did you get?

was the ects metal with a square tip or plastic with a round tip?

did you run a compression test to ascertain the condition of the engine?

When was the last time the fuel filter was changed? Air filter?

Have you checked fuel pressure?

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Old 05-14-2012, 06:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

A cps but not the one listed on the code. I was told it has a crankshaft position sensor, not a cam shaft position sensor like with my error code says.


The ngk plugs that were recomended.

The ects is plastic and im going to replace it but it appears to be in good shape.

Compression test no, hoping its something stupid like a sensor. The car ran really, really strong before today, compression id guess would be good but not certain.

Fuel and air filters are good. I have not checked the fuel pressure though. how can i do that and what should the pressure be?

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Old 05-14-2012, 07:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

you used copper NGKs, right?

these motors do NOT have a cam position sensor. the spark plug wires must be routed correctly or you will receive the p0341 code and the engine will run rough. the wires for 1 and 4 need to run parallel to eachother, explanation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_y-3fhAHZM

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Old 05-14-2012, 08:02 PM   #7
dsquare86
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

I seem to recall this was exactly what happened to mine shortly before I burned an exhaust valve on number 2 cylinder, followed by number 4 later on inmy saturn journey. I hope you arent repeating my history.

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Old 05-14-2012, 08:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

For what it's worth.. There is no cam position sensor (CPS) on any SL, there is a Crankshaft Position Sensor (CKP is the official acronym). P0341 is calculated by the ICM based on feedback from the #4 signal IIRC.

A flashing MIL indicates severe mis-fire. Why did you mention the coil packs, were they recently replaced? The wires are on the packs in the order 4,1,2,3 and routed as mentioned previously? Did you measure the plug wires for resistance and/or pull the plugs to see how they look?

...
1997 - SL2, barebones, 161k, Auto - Rebuild complete and.. burnt a valve 20k later Arrgh!
Purchased 114k 10/07
Added OEM CC

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Old 05-14-2012, 09:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

Since you said the plugs are newer if you haven't checked yet, make sure none of the plugs have been coming loose. Also, the coils packs are in a terrible spot for corrsion. the tip where the wire connects gets badly corroded on mine and the 1 time I used Di-electric on it, the wires wouldn't stay on, so if they were not done recently I'd recheck for corrsion there. Another issue that fixed my cam postion sen code from coming up on my car was cleaning the prongs on the ignition module that the coils go in and throwing di-electric grease on it. Unless its an automatic try this. In neutral lightly press on the throttle till 3000 to 3500 (I think rev lim in neutral is 3500) and if it sputters it prob ignition. Put in high gear and burry the throttle for a couple of seconds, if it sputters its fuel related. If both I guess that didn't help. Since you say it is mostly on acceleration I would assume it fuel related. Another thing to check is fuel pressure regulator, esp if it starts hard. Pull the vacuum line off the regulator and if there is fuel in there, the pressure regulator is bad.

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Old 05-14-2012, 11:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

...And once you're done checking the ignition, try blocking off the EGR valve, in case it is stuck open.

All that is mentioned here is important. Wires must be routed properly. The 4/1 wires are especially important.

Measurement of the ignition coil resistances at 70*F room temperature can reveal faulty coils, if any. They should pass the resistance test.

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Old 05-30-2012, 09:34 AM   #11
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

....i have similar problems with my 97 SC2 but theres some differences. Eight months ago i built a motor for it, dual intake cam mod...polished crank, new rings, bearings, ported and polished head, valve job, had head milled .030" and put a 92 header on it. Ran great, and about two months ago it started it would run good on initial startup and a short ways----sometimes five minutes...sometimes one minute....sometimes ten minutes up the road, it would start running as if it had dropped a cylinder...would chug and carry on...in the beginning sometimes it would clear up, after ten or fifteen minutes...but it got worse and worse in the following month to the point where it would do it every day to and from work, and then it nearly died on me on the way home from work one day, had to sort of limp it home...running veerryy rough...when i got it home there was smoke coming from the rear of the engine...somewhere down low almost as if from exhaust area...now it starts and idles ok..not 100% but sounds like all four....until you touch the throttle then it has a stutter all the way through rpm range..as if running on three.
Fuel pressure is good at 32-35 psi and bumping to 40-45 ish when blipping the throttle, i changed the coils and module initially thinking this would cure my promblem however no change. All four plugs are hot, and black with carbon. None are wet with fuel or with antifreeze. Oil isnt milky.
Compression is 200lbs on 1,3,4 but cylinder two only comes up to 160...40lbs low.

Scanned for my codes, and got as follows;

P0141 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit, Bank 1 Sensor 2
P0300 Random Multiple Cylinder Missfire Detected
P0341 Camshaft Position Sensor "A" Circuit Range/Performance Bank 1 or Single Sensor
P0405 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Sensor A Circuit Low
P0440 Evap Emission System


....now the P0300 missfire code has been coming up the entire time since it started doing this initially. And i do remember getting that O2 code once before since the start of this also. Evap code is from driving with no gas cap for a week or two. Camshaft Position Sensor and EGR codes are news to me.

Can anyone shed some light on what may be cause all of this?? A few things have crossed my mind like a plugged cat causing a slightly burnt valve on number 2 cyl?....a blown head gasket maybe? just weird it was slowly intermittent until now its constant.

Will be doing a leakdown pressure test tonight to see if i can determine if the valves and head gasket are ok. Wet compression test on cyl 2 will also be done.
Any Ideas??

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Old 05-31-2012, 10:49 AM   #12
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

Bump.....
Ran car again last night, started and ran good for about ten fifteen minutes then same problem..stumbles bad..idles OK not great but as soon as you touch the gas its as if its on three cylinders....pulled the o2 sensor and ran with no change still stutters, did real time data logging and screenshots of a dashboard (Palmers Dashcommand) and saw no change in timing---28-30 degrees at idle...map, and maf both fluctuate accordingly with throttle...no changes in values from running good to when it started bucking and jerking (idle in driveway not moving). Unplugged o2 connector and still no change.

Swapped out ICM and coils for another set i had. No change.

Please help!! im stumped. Going to try blocking off EGR and running it, however i think it would be more prevelant at idle and not on the throttle if it where an EGR related problem....anyone?

Would a faulty crank position sensor even allow the vehicle to run? Most of what ive read indicates nostart when bad.

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Old 06-06-2012, 10:36 AM   #13
mrclean92124
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

Same exact issue here on 96 SL2... ROUGH idle, no codes that I can see.

When I run a timing light i notice that the timing mark hops around in sync with the rough idle. Things to check on my short list (Haynes has a LONG list) are:

1) Compression test (new rebuild, better be OK)
2) MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor), that thing could be spiking volts
3) Crank Position Sensor, I read in another thread that they can fail OR arc and hop around the position reading badly.
4) Fuel Pressure (Runs like a charm accel and top end, original pump though)

Since I have replaced for rebuild are: coil packs,top/bottom rebuild with timing chain kit, plugs, wires, filter, EGR.

Glad you guys are still here... I've been running clean for almost 2 years 8p

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Old 06-06-2012, 11:09 AM   #14
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_whitey87 View Post
Bump.....

...Would a faulty crank position sensor even allow the vehicle to run? Most of what ive read indicates nostart when bad.
IIRC from reading other posts, the CKP can act up, and it happens as the engine gets warm.

I would change the crankshaft position sensor. It's not that expensive ~$20.00?

Last edited by sajor; 06-06-2012 at 11:24 AM..

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Old 06-06-2012, 11:37 AM   #15
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrclean92124 View Post
2) MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor)
Correction: MAP (Manifold Air Pressure Sensor)

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Old 06-06-2012, 02:44 PM   #16
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrclean92124 View Post
Correction: MAP (Manifold Air Pressure Sensor)
sorry to correct you but, Manifold Absolute Pressure

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Old 06-26-2012, 12:09 PM   #17
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

Quote:
Originally Posted by shaggydavid View Post
sorry to correct you but, Manifold Absolute Pressure
LOL, when you say "but" you take away the thing you said just before. Thanks, I stand corrected.

Having changed out the MAP sensor, i noticed that the idle did even out quite a bit. Also, I notice something curious, I'm now able to control RPM in the 1000-1500 rpm range with the gas pedal. Previous, I couldn't get a stable rpm of say 1300rpm or even close.. it was dead idle or 1500, nothing inbetween. I'm going to say that my MAP was marginal and I did notice some improvement.

However, I took a 2nd look at the upper motor mount, and noticed some play. Meaning, I could get the thing to flex with my two bare hands. I took the general forum advice and went with a Chevy dealer motor mount. That thing is ROCK solid, much stiffer than the aftermarket part, and made from a solid block of rubber. I can't budge that stupid thing.

I installed the mount, and my beautiful SL2 runs like brand new...So happy.

Thanks to all for the great posts, tips, etc., and even corrections!

Last edited by mrclean92124; 06-26-2012 at 12:09 PM.. Reason: remove price

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Old 06-26-2012, 12:55 PM   #18
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

i would bet the crank sensor is bad. the cat code is from the misfiring the misfiring is from the faulty sensor imo.

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Old 09-20-2012, 08:10 AM   #19
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

Im still having these problems, they come and go--sometimes get better--sometimes dont come back for a day at a time.

Ive since changed the crank sensor for another known good one to no avail. Cars now had three different icms and four differnet coils on it, and although anytime i replaced or removed the icm it seemed to make it better---it never goes away. Driving down the road it will start missfiring---randomly, sometimes a minute from home sometimes fifteen minutes from home. Runs quite rough and flashes cel---then out of nowhere it will cure itself and run fine the rest of the way to work. Sometimes it acts up for five minutes...one minute...fifteen minutes. Sometimes the cel flashes and i cant even feel a missfire.

o2 heater circuit was wire rubbing on body--fixed.
Emissions code was the canister---wasnt plugged in---fixed.

I replaced the ignition wires one at a time and number one cylinder plug wire was night and day you could pull it off and put on a new one and car would run like a charm--put old wire back on and it stuttered and stumbled all over. Figured i had found the problem---two days later problem returned.
At one point i noticed the plug boots were arcing bad on the plugs--replaced plugs--no difference.

Tech2 shows missfires heeaavy on 2, 3, and 4. There are some on cyl 1 but not many. These are all within a two day span. Missfires in the thousands.

Any ideas??

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Old 09-20-2012, 09:51 AM   #20
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Default Re: 98 saturn sl2 just started running really rough

Misfires across multiple cylinders would point to a problem with a system that feeds most cylinders.

Have you checked fuel pressure?

Edit: Nevermind, yes you did, I see it now.

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