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Old 11-22-2015, 03:05 PM   #1
SkyNET97
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Default Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

i previously posted about a broken shift cable, i think i have that situation remedied for the time being.

however after my fix, the car is running very poorly.

i have has suggested in my previous thread that my issue could be related to EGR, ECTS, and/or MAP sensor.

The car idles kinda rough. with a sputter from the tailpipe that is consistent with a deep womp. almost as if i am running a V8 under the hood. The car is getting extremely poor mpg with a strong fuel smell that permeates the cab. when driving and getting under load, like going up an incline, the car starts bucking violently, necessitating a shift into a higher gear to keep rpm's up. sometimes when coming to a stop, upon pressing the clutch the engine drops rpm to the point of stalling out and dying, which it has done a couple times now. the car previously did buck under higher rpm that was determined to be bad plugs. but even then the car started fine and idled great.

only thing that has happened with the car to start all this off was the broken end loop from the shift cable. i also disconnected the neg post during my work. i have pulled my current plugs, ensured proper gap, cleaned my EGR according to instructions from this site. i am very limited on what i can do at the moment as i actually start my new job today and need the car for that commute.

my next step is to take an aluminum can and shim a block between the engine and EGR (another last ditch diagnosis) to determine if the egr itself is bad.

going to the parts store and using their scan tool provided me with the following codes
P0304, P0404(three times), P1599, P1650, P1651

i assumed the 304 is from my engine burning oil
the 404 led my brother to suggest to me to clean the egr
the other 3 i assumed were tied to the dis assembly of the center console and disconnection of the lights and adapter.

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Old 11-22-2015, 04:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

I placed the aluminum shim in between the egr and engine, no change in idle or run.

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Old 11-22-2015, 04:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

With few posts here suggesting newbie status and not yet familiar with Saturnfans, one of the first things to do is review the sticky at the top of the forum. A few members made a short list of priority items with the coolant sensor at the top for every S-series engine from '91-'01. Next is the thermostat as both in original condition fail, combining poor running and rich fuel mixtures. The tall tale is the temperature gauge needle never going above the 1/4 mark and poor heating in winter weather. Normal needle position will be between 3/8 and 1/2. The egr valve being sticky can feed exhaust gases into the intake manifold at the wrong time and cause stalling, hesitation or bucking. If mileage is over 150k miles, a worn catalytic converter may have disintegrated and block exhaust flow. Removing the front O2 sensor for an alternate exhaust path may provide renewed engine power, a sure sign of a blocked catcon.

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Old 11-22-2015, 04:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. i personally don't use forums often or at all (this might be the only one i have ever really posted on)

i see the solutions posted in the sticky, however the information is too general. by placing the shim inbetween the egr and engine should i see improvement or no improvement, the sticky does not say for sure. as stated i start work and absolutely do not have the money to throw at it. yea i see "its only 10 bucks" but if i don't currently have 2 nickels to rub together, that does not help.

i have not had problems with temperatures before as the needle seems to stay between 1/4 and 1/2 while going to 1/2 or above if i sit too long in traffic.

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Old 11-22-2015, 04:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

If the coolant sensor was never replaced, its likely the original faulty plastic round nosed one. With a cold engine, just remove it for examination. There will be very little coolant leaking out as the closed system will hold fluid in from leaking out while you examine it. There are pictures of the original and flat nosed brass sensor (the correct replacement). Another hint is one has a round shoulder while the other has a square shoulder. One recent post were from new members wondering about coolant temps until they removed their t-stats; http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=211669.

The egr blocking gasket can be made from soda can aluminum, coins or sheet metal. If coins fit, use them. Second choice is aluminum as it cuts easily with scissors but will not last long as it melts from exhaust heat so its good for a brief drive for a before and after check of a clogged catcon. Coins won't melt and last forever if left in place. Some in states without emissions inspection simply leave the blocking gasket in place instead if replacing their egr valve.

No parts need to be bought until a visual (coolant sensor ot t-stat) check is done or a blocking gasket test determines whether or not the catcon is damaged.

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Old 11-22-2015, 05:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

I too had rough idle this past month It was strange as before Idled fine but starting November My car started to start up slow like it had a weak starter,

Previously it would start up in one hit barely moving the key to start.

Found out the battery was bad got it replaced and my idle was back to normal even the performance was back to normal, before I felt power lose like I would merge to freeway WOT and nothing but know shes back to normal.

I even bought OEM AC Delco wires NGK plugs new ects and thermostat thinking it needed a tuneup when this parts come in Ill see if it makes a difference

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Old 11-22-2015, 05:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

I have used an aluminum shim to completely block off the egr, when i started the car there was no change in idle at all. other than the change of removing my plugs and cleaning them and checking for proper gap.

i will need to check the ects tomorrow morning as i start my work tonight and come hell or high water i will be going in. i have no idea if it has ever been replaced as i am the second owner of the car. i was able to borrow some money from my mother to get a new egr and will be picking it up tonight and installing either tonight or tomorrow morning.

seeing mark's post about a bad battery intrigues me, as the only thing done before the problem started was the removal and reattachment of the negative post. that made me think at first the computer got reset and needed to be reconfigured through driving but it has not gotten any better.
as beforehand, changing the plugs made it run like showroom new.

speaking with my brother (who used to manage an auto shop) he is almost certain it could be a faulty egr. and for disclosure's sake, for the year i have owned the car, intermittently it would try to stall out and die when the load is taken off the engine when the clutch is pushed in and coming to a stop.

Last edited by SkyNET97; 11-22-2015 at 05:22 PM.. Reason: additional information

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Old 11-22-2015, 05:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

Blocking off the ports under the egr valve checks for a stuck open valve while driving, not while idling. The egr valve only opens to feed exhaust gases into the intake air system while driving. It's always closed at idle or while stopped in traffic. If the pintle valve were sticking open, idle would be lowered.

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Old 11-22-2015, 06:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

Ok, after some begging, was able to secure the funds i need to replace the ects and egr. should i start with the ects and then move on to the egr. or replace both at the same time?

edit: i plan on picking up both the ects and egr tonight on my way to work. tomorrow morning i will swap out the ects and if that is my miracle cure i will be able to return the egr unopened

Last edited by SkyNET97; 11-22-2015 at 06:30 PM.. Reason: restructured post

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Old 11-22-2015, 09:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

I'm not sure you understood my replies. From your descriptions, if you are low on money, removing the coolant sensor doesn't cost anything to examine it. Its either the round nosed plastic one or the flat nosed brass one. See below (click on the thumbnails). Why throw away money if you find out you have the brass one? Remove it first to identify which one you have then decide.

The same can be said for the egr valve except to remove it to see if its just dirty and stuck open for cleaning first. If this doesn't work, making a blocking gasket from coins, soda can aluminum or sheet metal will work. This blocks off the ports and you can drive this way as long as needed until you have time to decide on what to do next. Coins are the first choice if they fit and last forever, sheet metal lasts just as long and soda can aluminum will not last for more than a drive or two since aluminum melts from exhaust heat. Making a temporary blocking gasket allows you to use the car without problems while determining whether or not the egr valve is causing problems.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg plastic-brass cts.jpg (82.6 KB, 2 views)

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Old 11-22-2015, 09:19 PM   #11
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

You really need to get compression readings, to have some confidence there isn't something terribly wrong in the engine now. Yeah, a broken shift cable *shouldn't* have anything to do with compression (we've already covered the possibility of over-revving), but the broken cable shouldn't have affected anything else that would be causing this present problem. So, as unlikely as poor compression is... it is just as likely as anything else.

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Old 11-22-2015, 10:31 PM   #12
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

after tonight's drive to work, the car is still extremely low on power. but not as terrible as the other day

lacking the 13mm deep well socket currently prevents me from removing the ects to check, but i have purchased a new one just in case, along with a new egr. and completely forgot to get the deep well socket, i will have to leave tomorrow early enough to drive the couple miles to advance and see if they have just the socket for sale, and let the car cool all day to remove the ects before it gets dark.

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Old 11-22-2015, 10:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

You won't need to let it cool all day, probably just an hour or so. If you can squeeze one of the big radiator hoses by hand, the pressure is low enough to open the cooling system. Yeah the coolant may still be warm-to-hot, but not dangerously scalding, just be a bit careful when you remove the ECT sensor.

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Old 11-22-2015, 11:06 PM   #14
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

Most awesome, and thank you all for your input. i am really hoping that with my hands and the collective input from all will get my little gold turd running well again.

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Old 11-22-2015, 11:16 PM   #15
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark121 View Post
I too had rough idle this past month It was strange as before Idled fine but starting November My car started to start up slow like it had a weak starter,

Previously it would start up in one hit barely moving the key to start.

Found out the battery was bad got it replaced and my idle was back to normal even the performance was back to normal, before I felt power lose like I would merge to freeway WOT and nothing but know shes back to normal.

I even bought OEM AC Delco wires NGK plugs new ects and thermostat thinking it needed a tuneup when this parts come in Ill see if it makes a difference
You mentioned you removed the negative battery cable, any signs of corrosion? Something as simple as a bad connection or cable can wreck havoc with the ignition.

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Old 11-22-2015, 11:54 PM   #16
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

I have not checked for corrosion yet ( i know, kinda stupid on my part ), my brother had stated that if there was a problem there the car wouldnt even start. however i will be checking the terminals tomorrow, and clean as necessary.

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Old 11-25-2015, 05:32 PM   #17
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Default Re: Rough Idle, Engine tries to die, Bucking and loss of power

Sorry for the delay in responding, been fighting the flu.

i was able to get a new EGR, ECTS and a new set of NGK plugs. I replaced the EGR and the engine did run better, well, is running somewhat better. i checked the ECTS and the one in the car was the brass tipped one, which i had to replace due to user error on my part. i accidentally broke the connector on the sensor itself. I replaced it and changed out my plugs. it still does idle rough but much better than before. when starting the car it seems to fire on other cylinders before firing up completely. there is a slight whine during startup. after replacing the EGR, before checking and replacing the ects and plugs, my brother and i took the car for a test drive and it seemed to drive better. however it does feel like a loss of power.

as stated, the ects was a brass tipped one, and replaced with a brass tipped one. should i disconnect power to reset the comp afterwards (it is installed right i assume since the gauge is reading correctly as before)

after replacing the egr, the car started and idled at 900-1000 before jumping up to 2200 rpm at idle. i restarted the car and it went back to 900-1000 and held there. i have noticed a minor shake in the engine block that was not there before my cable broke, it persists. the throttle response is much more responsive after replacing my plugs and ects. but still feels off a bit.

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