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Old 09-17-2012, 11:05 AM   #1
saturnmommy
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1997 SL1
Default car shakes when started,idle,and drive

I have a 1997 Saturn SL1. I have replaced the spark plugs and wires, the fuel injectors recently. Today when I started her up and when I put it in drive, the car starts shaking or shuttering, the service engine soon light starts flashing, and I am at a loss as to what it is this time. What would cause this to occur when it was running just fine yesterday?

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Old 09-17-2012, 12:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

The SES light flashing is a sign of a major misfire. Turn the motor off immediately when this occurs.

Others will be around.

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Old 09-17-2012, 03:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

Papoop is right. If that comes up, keep your car off. While driving, if the car is shaking, it could be maybe a front end alignment issue, or your tires may be off balenced. Thats a simple issue. While idling, it could always be a timing issue. Does your RPM's on your tachomoter bounce up and down while idling? Another thing if your RPM's are messed up is your Mass air senser. Could be shot, or just dirty. Let me know!

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Old 09-17-2012, 04:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLaplume View Post
Papoop is right. If that comes up, keep your car off. While driving, if the car is shaking, it could be maybe a front end alignment issue, or your tires may be off balenced. Thats a simple issue. While idling, it could always be a timing issue. Does your RPM's on your tachomoter bounce up and down while idling? Another thing if your RPM's are messed up is your Mass air senser. Could be shot, or just dirty. Let me know!
The RPM stays steady and does not jump when in park at idle. When I drive it has always dropped and raised but not high. It was shaking a while back and the SES would light up steady then flash then steady again, so with the codes we got we changed the fuel injectors since the car has over 130K miles on it and they were original. Tune up was also done with new plugs and wires, and a couple of years ago new coil packs were installed. It just shakes when idle and runs very loud as well. When in drive its not a shake like front end or tires, its something under the hood causing the shakes. Any more ideas for me?

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Old 09-17-2012, 04:26 PM   #5
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

Bang the catalytic converter (when it cold); there shouldn't be any loose cat guts and if you hear rattles then the cat guts may be crumbling and causing intermittent exhaust flow block, strangling the engine and causing the flashing intermittent SES light. Another test would be to remove the front O2 sensor for a short LOUD drive; renewed power would mean a partially/fully blocked catcon. If you have a coffee can pre-cat that's clogged, this can strangle exhaust flow too.

Other issues that may affect this intermittent misfiring condition are; fuel filter, fuel pump, corroded pump ground wire, corroded/faulty ignition control module, and/or corroded/damaged ignition coils.

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Old 09-17-2012, 04:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

How long ago were the plugs and wires replaced? Do you know what brand and part # was used for plugs? Do you recall what the code(s) that were read at the time of the original problem were? Did the SES light stay off for a while after the repairs were made?

A steady and then blinking SES light indeed indicates a serious misfire issue. There are quite a few sources, unfortunately, but it is usually good to start with the easy stuff. Platinum spark plugs do bad things to these engines. Incorrectly routed plug wires can lead to misfires.

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Old 09-17-2012, 04:37 PM   #7
saturnmommy
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1997 SL1
Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Bang the catalytic converter (when it cold); there shouldn't be any loose cat guts and if you hear rattles then the cat guts may be crumbling and causing intermittent exhaust flow block, strangling the engine and causing the flashing intermittent SES light. Another test would be to remove the front O2 sensor for a short LOUD drive; renewed power would mean a partially/fully blocked catcon. If you have a coffee can pre-cat that's clogged, this can strangle exhaust flow too.

Other issues that may affect this intermittent misfiring condition are; fuel filter, fuel pump, corroded pump ground wire, corroded/faulty ignition control module, and/or corroded/damaged ignition coils.
I will have to try that to see if the cat is rattling or not. I will also try to take off the o2 sensor.

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Old 09-17-2012, 04:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by BV22 View Post
How long ago were the plugs and wires replaced? Do you know what brand and part # was used for plugs? Do you recall what the code(s) that were read at the time of the original problem were? Did the SES light stay off for a while after the repairs were made?

A steady and then blinking SES light indeed indicates a serious misfire issue. There are quite a few sources, unfortunately, but it is usually good to start with the easy stuff. Platinum spark plugs do bad things to these engines. Incorrectly routed plug wires can lead to misfires.
Plugs replaced last month with bosch plugs and wires I believe. The code we were getting was a cylinder 4 misfire code and before that we always got a lean fuel mixture code and misfire code but it was never specific on the cylinder till recently. I will have to check and see if we used platnum plugs or not as I am not sure. Before when I was driving and it would start flashing and shuttering it felt like it was starved for gas and would barely climb a hill but if I gunned it and blew it out it settled down and the light stayed on till we cleared it off. Yes the light did stay off after we replaced the fuel injectors and did the tune up and for a month or two has not given any problems till today.

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Old 09-17-2012, 05:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

There is another very very remote possibility of removing their spark plugs and incorrectly replacing new ones, causing damage by inadvertently cocking the plug socket resulting in cracking the delicate porcelain insulator. This wasn't discovered until much later after running down every possible issue. Returning to plug inspection revealed the damage plug.

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Old 09-19-2012, 06:17 PM   #10
saturnmommy
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Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

replaced the o2 sensor in front and it is still shaking and making a putty putt putt sound when started and idle. Before my spouse meets an untimely end does anyone have any additional suggestions to check? It seems like something simple but he is a butthead and I am tired of listening to him gripe about working on my car! Thanks for any help you can offer.

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Old 09-19-2012, 06:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

What's fuel pressure? Fuel filter ever replaced? Ignition control module ever removed and cleaned of corrosion?

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Old 09-21-2012, 12:52 AM   #12
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Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

You know, if it wasn't for the flashing light and some of your other comments, I'd say the shaking and excessive noise is a classic case of worn out motor mounts.
And that's such a common issue with these cars, it's probably worth checking anyway. You might actually have a couple of issues going on, but take a look at those to be sure.

The top front one (passenger side head mount) is large, but easily worn out it seems. Just changed all four on a '97 a few weeks ago in fact, and other than the CEL, the symptoms sounded the same.

Good luck. Maybe they're related, maybe not. But at least the mounts are both easy to check, and easy to change.

Paul

PS: And tell hubby to grab a beer and a chair to keep you company, or a wrench and pliers to give you a hand!
It's fun, and you can use the reasoning that it's "good for the marriage" or some such psychological mumbo like that.

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Old 09-21-2012, 02:09 PM   #13
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Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

Any codes set now?

Is the EGR valve ok?

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Old 09-21-2012, 05:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: car shakes when started,idle,and drive

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Originally Posted by saturnmommy View Post
Plugs replaced last month with bosch plugs and wires I believe.
These wouldn't happen to be Bosch Platinum plugs, would they? If so, kick them to the curb immediately.

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