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Old 05-22-2012, 12:19 PM   #1
mattt6511
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Default Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

Hey guys I'm with my gf and our 2000 Saturn sl2 just broke down. Here is whst happened its about 92 degrees we were at a stop lite and all of a sudden the engine just died. We were able to start it and give it some gas to keep it going but it violently shook and we pulled into a gas station parking lot. The cooling guage red a little under the half and I pulled the cap no steam came out but the coolant was very hot and almost to the top of the resivour. The oil was low it was at the low end of the dip stick I would say 3/4 quart low but the oil which I changed about 900 miles ago has a pretty strong gas smell!! We are sitting waiting for a tow truck. Any ideas!

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Old 05-22-2012, 12:22 PM   #2
dbsanfte
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

Sounds like one of your cylinders is dead. I think a compression test is in your future. Head gasket, burned valve, or just a spark issue if you're really lucky.

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Old 05-22-2012, 01:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

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Originally Posted by dbsanfte View Post
Sounds like one of your cylinders is dead. I think a compression test is in your future. Head gasket, burned valve, or just a spark issue if you're really lucky.
I wouldn't jump to that conclusion too quickly, there are a lot of things it could be from the description.

Coolant will be hot - the lack of steam is a good indication that it's probably not hot enough to be concerning. Have you ever replaced your coolant temp sensor? If so, that would be further confirmation that the engine most likely didn't overheat. If you haven't, replace it. It may or may not be the problem, but they almost universally fail on these cars, and are cheap & easy to replace, and when they go bad they will make the car run terribly.

As long as the oil is in the hashmarks, you should be fine on oil level.

Does the car turn over/try to start?

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Old 05-22-2012, 01:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

Yeah I replaced the coolant temp sensor about a month ago. The car cranks over and it will start if u give the gas petal some gas but it will run like hell for a few seconds jolting and shaking till it dies.

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Old 05-22-2012, 01:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

Any ideas on why the oil would smell like gas?? Maybe because I have the evap line missing and it plugged? I'm not sure.

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Old 05-22-2012, 01:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

Do you know how to read spark plugs? Pull them and look for one that isn't firing. How old are the plugs and wires?

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Old 05-22-2012, 01:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

I'll check the plugs they are one month old and I made sure to get good plugs. The wires I'm not sure but they don't look bad. They were still a tight fit on the plugs. It's just weird it was running smooth and perfect then all of a sudden at a light this happened.

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Old 05-22-2012, 01:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

The oil smells like gas because your dead cylinder is injecting fuel that isn't igniting. Like the man said above, pull the plugs and check for the one that's wet with gas. That's your trouble cylinder.

If it's cylinder #3 (second from right, facing the engine), chances are you burned an exhaust valve.

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Old 05-22-2012, 02:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

Awesome thanks for the help I'll check that. Can you explain what you mean by burnt a exhaust valve? What exactly does that mean? Thanks!!!

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Old 05-22-2012, 02:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

In theory you could have two dead cylinders, which is more commonly related to head gasket failure. So I guess I shouldn't say check for your dead one (singular), you may have multiple.

A burnt valve is caused by an overly-lean fuel-air mixture in a cylinder, causing that cylinder to run hotter than normal and melt the exhaust valves. The root of this is not enough fuel getting into that cylinder. There are a host of reasons why this might have occurred, from a clogged injector to a clogged fuel filter to a bad fuel pump. Basically, maintenance neglect.

Go check for wet spark plugs and let us know what you find.

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Old 05-22-2012, 03:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

Ok my gf ended up towing it to a shop since she needs it asap for work and they said the fuel pump is bad?! Does this make sense can it just all of a sudden go bad at a trafic light?? Would the bad fuel pump make the oil smell like gas?? The shop quoted us $350 for a fuel pump but I can probably do that easy on my own. At least I think.

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Old 05-22-2012, 03:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

Is that $350 parts AND labor? That's not bad, if so.

Doing it on your own is a challenge (one I didn't take myself). You have to drop the gas tank, the fuel pump is on top with no access from above.

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Old 05-22-2012, 03:33 PM   #13
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattt6511 View Post
Ok my gf ended up towing it to a shop since she needs it asap for work and they said the fuel pump is bad?! Does this make sense can it just all of a sudden go bad at a trafic light?? Would the bad fuel pump make the oil smell like gas??
No, just the opposite. Bad fuel pump - no fuel (burned or unburned) to the engine. Before spending anywhere near that much, I would insist on documentation of diagnosis.

How many miles are on the car? Has the fuel filter/regulator been replaced? If so, with what brand?

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Old 05-22-2012, 04:47 PM   #14
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

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Is that $350 parts AND labor? That's not bad, if so.

Doing it on your own is a challenge (one I didn't take myself). You have to drop the gas tank, the fuel pump is on top with no access from above.
Its really not bad at all. Siphon the gas out and the tank comes out easily. It is very light without gas in it so its easy to maneuver out. There are lots of prices for pumps some as high as probably $350.

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Old 05-22-2012, 04:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattt6511 View Post
Ok my gf ended up towing it to a shop since she needs it asap for work and they said the fuel pump is bad?! Does this make sense can it just all of a sudden go bad at a trafic light?? Would the bad fuel pump make the oil smell like gas?? The shop quoted us $350 for a fuel pump but I can probably do that easy on my own. At least I think.
It can fail in a variety of ways. Typically it tends to go more slowly such that starting is tough but it certainly can go all at once. Everything in the car smells of some type of petroleum product.

-Robert

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Old 05-22-2012, 06:34 PM   #16
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

I think, in this case, I'd go with a bad fuel pressure regulator. 3rd gens are notoriously picky about them and too much pressure could explain the gas in the oil (running to rich for the PCM to counter...but I'd have expected it to set a code), and if the regulator is faulty it could theoretically fluctuate between too much pressure and not enough and mighta finally failed with 0 pressure.

Not sure how you'd got about testing it (the pump is easy to test, just stick a jumper wire in place of the relay in the IPJB) but get a WIX or OEM fuel filter & regulator combo. Cheaper and easier then the fuel pump if you can determine the pump is working.

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Old 05-22-2012, 06:47 PM   #17
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

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Originally Posted by mattt6511 View Post
I'll check the plugs they are one month old and I made sure to get good plugs.
What do you mean by "good plugs"? These cars like good ole copper ones!

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Old 05-22-2012, 07:58 PM   #18
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

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Not sure how you'd got about testing it...
...
Quote:
...but get a WIX or OEM fuel filter & regulator combo.
That _is_ the test. If it's not Wix/NAPA or OEM, less than 100,000 miles, presume that it's faulty; otherwise you're chasing your tail.

Whether it's the fuel pump or the filter/regulator, if there's unburned fuel in the oil, addressing the fuel supply is only half the equation. A compression test is a must, to determine if any cylinder is not firing due to lack of compression.

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Old 05-23-2012, 08:25 AM   #19
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

Alright as far as plugs I believe I got the acdelco plugs. Not sure if they are copper or not, the shop said it was the fuel pump but I was thinking should I go to harbor frieght and buy a fuel pressure guage and put it on the fuel rail and check the psi what is spec 47psi is perfect? Also I will pick up a compression tester I'm assuming it's pretty simple to use a compression tester? And what should each cylinder read?? Thanks guys!!! Oh also I did a ton of looking around the web and I found this link it was very very good for how to test fuel pump and pressure regulator. http://www.aa1car.com/library/fuel_pump_diagnose.htm That website is pretty awesome you guys should check it out. It helped a noob like me understand a little bit :-)

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Old 05-23-2012, 10:42 AM   #20
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Default Re: Help my Saturn sl2 just broke down :-(

Critical unanswered questions remain -- How many miles on the car? What brand of fuel filter/regulator and how old?

Doesn't matter what the "shop said" - how, in writing, have they _diagnosed_ that it's the fuel pump? How, specifically, do they explain the unburned fuel in the oil?

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