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Old 11-10-2013, 08:42 PM   #1
bradford177
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Default I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

1998 Saturn SL2 Automatic

Okay, so here is the symptom:

Rough idle.. sometimes to the point the car will stall. When it is a small rough idle, the RPM needle does not move. Driveability of the car is fine.. you get on the gas and it scoots along with no problem.. drives great on the freeway and down the road. Come to a stop and it feels like someone put a quarter in the machine and your getting a free massage.

What I have done up to now:

-replaced Temperature sensor
-replaced Upstream O2 sensor
-Cleaned out throttle body and IAC
-Checked for vacuum leaks.. not finding any
-Reset the computer multiple times.
-Changed out plugs/wires and air filter

I just changed out the o2 sensor today with a bosch universal unit. The wire had melted a bit from hitting the manifold. So it only has a few miles on it.

When this first started, when I took off the neg on the battery, it would idle fine for a while then start acting up again.. now that does not work.

I am thinking of changing out the IAC.. just don't know guys...

Any other ideas?

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Old 11-10-2013, 11:43 PM   #2
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1995 SL1
Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

More info would be helpful.

What is the idle RPM when it runs rough, and from your statements it seems the tach stays steady when the idle drop happens?

Does the car usually start and idle or does it die if you don't help it rev some?


Being you have cleaned the IAC my first freebie suggestion would be to pull and block the EGR. They can often do funky things on the way out, and blocking it is the best way to check for issues. You can also clean it while you have it off, as well as blow out the ports before you install it again.

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Old 11-11-2013, 12:00 AM   #3
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1998 SC2
Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

Leave the IAC alone as it is not your problem. Quit throwing parts at it as all it will accomplish is spending lots of money unnecessarily.

What is your gas mileage?

What brand of plugs and wires are you using?

It sounds like you have a random miss at idle RPM. Does it feel like it is running on 3 cylinders?

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Old 11-11-2013, 05:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

Sounds like the egr valve is giving some issues. Dirty egr will manifest with rough erratic idle and may not throw a code

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Old 11-11-2013, 08:10 AM   #5
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Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

Good place to start actually, after answering the basic questions above and everything else is acceptable. To test EGR just remove it, cut up a can that will block both ports, set can piece on top of existing gasket and hold it in place with the EGR valve. Do not over tighten the EGR as it will bend or break and leave it connected. Now drive car and see if problem goes away. If it does you most likely have a leaking EGR which can not be fixed by a simple cleaning.

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Old 11-11-2013, 08:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

+1^^^^ Checking EGR Valve, Also being this happens at lower RPM's run a compression test to check for burnt valves.

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Old 11-11-2013, 11:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

So..
Idle seems to be at or around 800 when warm. It does feel like a miss. It was real bad the last couple of days and it dropped down to 600 or so and actually died a few times. Then I threw some Sea Foam in the tank and reset the computer.. it brought it back to where it is a smaller miss at idle.

Starts up just fine and idles high until it is warmed up then drops down like normal. Using AC Delco spark plugs as aftermarket wires. Those are all new within the last couple of months and did not see any change when I replaced all that. It overall drives fine.. so no on the 3 cylinders.. just at idle. Gas mileage has dropped slightly, but nothing dramatic.

I did clean out the EGR valve yesterday when I replaced the O2 sensor.. I also left out the I got a code that comes and goes.. I forget the number, but it is the code that says the Cat is going out.. the o2 sensors are reading the same. That is why I replaced the one.

So I guess I can try blocking the EGR valve and see what happens.. I was actually guessing to change out the IAC next.. but everyone is saying no.

On the compression, I have not had that checked.. but wouldn't that make the car run bad all the time throughout the range, not just at idle?

Thanks everyone.. keep the ideas flowing.

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Old 11-11-2013, 12:00 PM   #8
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1998 SC2
Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

Block the EGR and try that test then actually check exhaust for leaks by pressurizing it with a high volume low pressure source of air. Spray every inch between the head and CAT inlet with soapy water and verify it does not leak. The rear O2 sensor is telling you something and finding out what is important.

What do you mean by the O2 sensors arr reading the same? Numbers help.

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Old 11-11-2013, 02:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

I will have to wait to see if it throws the code again.. it was a popular code here on the forums.. according to the obdII codes, the downstream o2 is reading the same as the upstream o2 saying that the cat is not burning the excess exhaust off.

On another note..
My wife just called and said that the car had way more power going up hills today on the way to work.. to recap, I changed the upstream o2 and cleaned the EGR. She said it is still idling a bit rough, but better than before. I am wondering how long it takes for the computer to utilize the new readings from a new o2 sensor?

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Old 11-11-2013, 02:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

Not long at all unless you insist on manually resetting the pcm. All this does is force the pcm back to factory default settings requiring a long drive while the entire emissions self test are performed from the beginning and as the pcm learns new shift parameters. This may or not be felt while driving. The best you can do is to stop resetting the pcm and let it do what it was programmed to do; adapt to changes while automatically detecting any sensor failure or correction to sensor failure at engine start up while turning off the check engine light on its own. No manual reset needed.

All OBD II systems since 1996 performs emissions self tests every time the engine is started, car driven. Every time the engine is started. Resetting the pcm deletes all customized parameters that made the engine pass emissions inspection and requires driving the car for a few days depending on each drive cycle. New xmission shift points are learned so a few jolts are part of this learning sequence along with emissions testing to learn all new fuel trims. Leaving the pcm to perform its own check engine light reset is better; every emissions self test that encounters an error simply halts at the last test and when a repair is made to correct the fault the next engine start allows the OBD II diagnostics to detect the error and resume emissions testing where it left off - this allows the tests to complete sooner than when someone manually resets the engine computer.

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Old 11-11-2013, 05:40 PM   #11
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Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

O2 sensor data is used immediately and fuel trim tables take about 12 minutes at hot idle and cruse each. To help you further will need the actual code number as your description is meaningless. There is no code that says the front and rear O2 sensor are reading identically.

Check your exhaust for leaks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradford177 View Post
I will have to wait to see if it throws the code again.. it was a popular code here on the forums.. according to the obdII codes, the downstream o2 is reading the same as the upstream o2 saying that the cat is not burning the excess exhaust off.

On another note..
My wife just called and said that the car had way more power going up hills today on the way to work.. to recap, I changed the upstream o2 and cleaned the EGR. She said it is still idling a bit rough, but better than before. I am wondering how long it takes for the computer to utilize the new readings from a new o2 sensor?

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Old 11-12-2013, 07:10 AM   #12
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1995 SL1
Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradford177 View Post
I will have to wait to see if it throws the code again.. it was a popular code here on the forums.. according to the obdII codes, the downstream o2 is reading the same as the upstream o2 saying that the cat is not burning the excess exhaust off.

On another note..
My wife just called and said that the car had way more power going up hills today on the way to work.. to recap, I changed the upstream o2 and cleaned the EGR. She said it is still idling a bit rough, but better than before. I am wondering how long it takes for the computer to utilize the new readings from a new o2 sensor?
If you are confident that things improved, look at the logic involved. You changed two things, and one of them helped. Since you have already changed the O2 sensor once before, most likely the EGR cleaning helped.

You can block the EGR and check for nothing other than time. I'd also blow out the EGR ports, which is easily done. Make sure the car is near operating temp, then turn it off, remove the EGR, and start it again. Be warned the car will bounce off the rev limiter at about 4000 revs, and it will blow crap out of the ports in the process.

If blocking the EGR doesn't fix the problem, move on to continued troubleshooting.


Though I've seen reports of the EGR doing all kinds of things on the way out, ours always affected idle first. The car would run great on the gas at all revs, and stumble and/or die off the gas.

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Old 01-22-2014, 07:06 PM   #13
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2002 SL1
Idea Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

I am going crazy also, my 2002 sl1 wont Idle right occasionally, I also get new codes, like O2 sensor, cam communication error, crankshaft positioning sensor...its new.. code back.. I get random ABS light... I just cleaned egr and throttle body and Sensors.. Cleaned about 7 different Grounds, put in fuel injector cleaner in tank, I have175 pounds compression. I own two s series and had another, never had these troubles. Any ideas past blocking egr?

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Old 01-22-2014, 07:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

It might be better to start a new post and add as much info as possible along with symptoms; mileage, maintenance done, parts replaced, error codes, etc..

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Old 01-23-2014, 01:59 PM   #15
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Default Re: I am going crazy.. 98 SL2 won't idle right.. HELP

It sounds like an intake gasket leak or some kind of vacuum leak. Symptoms will be a rough idle (puffing sound at the exhaust). Symptoms go away as soon as throttle is applied. It can throw all kinds of codes.

I would start by checking for vacuum leaks more carefully (and with a can of brake cleaner, carb cleaner & a nozzle). I know you said you've already checked, but it's worth checking again.

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