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Old 11-07-2016, 04:05 PM   #1
Cyberchipz
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Default LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

Hello, and thank you for welcoming me to this forum. Or from the Star Wars side of me... help me all you saturn fans, you're my only hope.
Skip to the ******** to go directly to symptoms and codes.

Recent History:
I've been trying to help with my daughter's Saturn, and have run up against a wall the likes I've never seen before.
I've also taken this to several mechanics and have exhausted their expertise, with one exception who claims it could be fixed for around $800. (sigh) She's a waitress, and therefore turned to me.
One place discovered that there was a problem with the catalytic converter, and after removing the last converter in the exhaust and replacing with a straight pipe it ran great... for almost a week. Then the weirdness began.

It behaved very similarly... (like plugged converter ) I took it back to the exhaust mechanic, and he could only confirm that the other two converters were not plugged up, even though, apparently, there is a code for one of the converters in the list.

So, I asked for the list of codes so I could troubleshoot the problem. That's where I hope you all can help. I'm a moderate mechanic , and other than a complete tear down of the engine (like major mechanical), I can handle most jobs. Here are the symptoms followed by the codes.

*************************
Present Symptoms:
The car starts fairly quickly but runs rough, like it's missing on some or one cylinder (applying any pedal while it tries to start, fails to start - on occasion a very rapid tapping gas pedal helps, often not (seems to flood)). Often it won't stay running for more than a few seconds after starting. If it stays running, it's rough, and it will not accelerate at all... unless...

If I apply the gas pedal very (very, very) slowly , it may die, or start to pick up rpms. By start, I mean that it can take 15 seconds or more to get up to 800 rpm, then the higher the rpms, the more responsive the gas pedal becomes. If I relax the pedal and the rpms drop to idle speeds, I have to start over to get a response .

If I put the car in 'D'rive after a few minutes warm up. It seems to responde a bit better, but not much at all... still takes a long time to get rpms up enough to move vehicle. Once on the road and it hits around 1500, it goes to 2000 fairly quickly , and once there is fine, unless I have a stop sign or light , then more than likely it will stall, and refuse to start , or idle regularly, and dropping in gear will usually stall unless I tap the pedal rapidly, and once again, once up to speed it's ok, sounds and acts as if nothing is wrong as long as rpms stay above 1500.

The mechanic had two code machines, he ran the codes on both machines: Here are those codes:

Small Code reader:
P0030,
P0300,
P0103

Large Code reader:
P00F1
B3B03
B3B01
P0030 (duplicate on small)
U31BB
PO301

Note: I don't know if any codes are for the last catalytic converter (I think mechanic said there were no sensors) but, it has been removed.

Thank you so much for any help anyone can give.

I have been having to drive my daughter to work... I hope someone can point me in the right direction. After I do something to fix, if not done, I can go back to him for help getting a new set of codes.

Thank you ahead of time everyone for your time and help!

Chip

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Old 11-07-2016, 06:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

Sure sounds like a restricted exhaust to me. If you were to go to a muffler shop they could check backpressure in the exhaust system for you. This is something your mechanic should have done. Check both of the converters as there are two. It's possible if the catalyst material broke that it could possibly be in the muffler causing a restriction.

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Old 11-07-2016, 08:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

Actually three catcons - one to each exhaust manifold and the third one downstream of the two upstream catcons. The easiest way to check for the two smaller catcons; remove upstream O2 sensor and run the engine. The open exhaust hole bypasses a blocked catcon, will be loud but can help determine if a catcon is blocked. One or both O2 sensors may need to be removed to determine which one (or both) are clogged and blocking exhaust flow. You may need to make a custom metal exhaust diverter with soup cans direct hot exhaust gases away from plastic and aluminum parts. Ignore the loud exhaust and of possible, drive around. Or loosen both O2 sensors before driving, find an area away from homes, remove the two sensors and drive around. If engine power suddenly come back, one or both precats are blocking exhaust flow. Not many muffler shops will give this method away. This works well for single exhaust systems like 4 cyl engines.

Mileage? A fuel filter never replaced every 100k miles may be strangling fuel flow and pressure. A fuel pressure check can help with 38-55 psi expected when ignition is turned on without starting up. Spark plugs? Posting car history may help here.

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Old 11-07-2016, 11:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

Welcome to SaturnFans, Cyberchipz!

Please follow fdryer's request for the fundamental information on repair history, maintenance (including the timing belt!) and mileage.

The DTC's (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) of P0030, P0103, P0300, P0301 are familiar, but the others listed as from the "large code reader" are unfamiliar to me. DTC's in the FSM (Factory Service Manual) have letter prefixes of P (Powertrain Code- engine and transmission), U (Network Code - wiring bus, communications), B (Body Code - includes A/C and air bag), and C (Chassis Code - includes ABS) and are followed by four numerals and no letters.

Definitions:

P0030 - H02S (heated oxygen sensor) Heater Control Circuit Bank 1 Sensor 1 (Bank 1 is nearest firewall)
P0103 - MAF Sensor Circuit High Frequency
P0300 - Engine Misfire Detected (my words: generic misfire code)
P0301 - (through P0306) Specific Cylinder Misfire Detected (cyl. no. 1 in this case)

P0030 could result from something as simple as a bad O2 sensor.
The question here is what is the condition of the spark plugs? When were they last replaced? P0300 and P0301 could result from bad spark plugs, or coil packs, or spark plug boots with their contacts. If they and the O2 sensor are good then here's a potential scenario:
P0030 may be influencing the misfires, P0300 and P0301. If there is blockage in the pre-catalytic converter at bank 1 - related to P0030 - then it can result in creating misfires. If the ECM detects regular misfires it may then tell the emission system to raise the engine idle in order to compensate for the lost power from the misfiring cylinder. The question about the fuel filter needs to be answered here as it could be influencing this driveability problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberchipz View Post
One place discovered that there was a problem with the catalytic converter, and after removing the last converter in the exhaust and replacing with a straight pipe it ran great... for almost a week. Then the weirdness began.
P0103: members posting problems with MAF Sensors in the L Series Forums have experienced really unusual driveability problems. Search for them using the Advanced Forum Search and/or Google. A possibility exists that the removal of the downstream catalytic converter (after the catalytic converter) will result in generating other DTC's at a later time. The downstream O2 sensor's information sent to the ECM will be outside of normal parameters. (It may even be inflluencing the P0103 code, but I can't say that with certainty.)




...
273,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

Last edited by pierrot; 11-07-2016 at 11:50 PM..

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Old 11-08-2016, 12:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post

A possibility exists that the removal of the downstream catalytic converter (after the catalytic converter) will result in generating other DTC's at a later time. The downstream O2 sensor's information sent to the ECM will be outside of normal parameters.


Correction: it should have read,
A possibility exists that the removal of the downstream catalytic converter will result in generating other DTC's at a later time. The downstream (after the catalytic converter) O2 sensor's information sent to the ECM will be outside of normal parameters.

...
273,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 11-08-2016, 10:46 AM   #6
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2002 SL2
Default Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

I too found that some of the codes are unusual to say the least. I found this post on another forum which listed ALL GM codes for Saturns BUT there are some that don;t appear on this 'complete' list.

http://www.saturnspot.com/showthread.php?t=10145

That said, the OP did say they have removed one of the catcons and replaced it with a straight pipe, so the car is not currently functioning as a 'regular' L300 with all 3 catcons. That is bound to screw up the codes I am sure.

It seems like the 'mechanic' used has given the codes, but not the meaning behind them. That's hardly helpful. I's like giving you map coordinates but not giving you the map.

Personally, I would get the car back to regular state, ie put the 3rd catcon back in, then you are back to 'normal' state and go from there.

I also think that perhaps getting the car checked out by a garage that has Tech11 will help pinpoint what those other mysterious codes are. Given the OP says he's visited many garages, I would heartily recommend visiting the GM Dealer. He is wasting a lot of time at the moment going from unhelpful garage to unhelpful garage. Sometimes it pays to bite the bullet of the GM Dealer.

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Old 11-09-2016, 04:02 PM   #7
Cyberchipz
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Thumbs Up Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

"The DTC's (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) of P0030, P0103, P0300, P0301 are familiar, but the others listed as from the "large code reader" are unfamiliar to me. DTC's in the FSM (Factory Service Manual) have letter prefixes of P (Powertrain Code- engine and transmission), U (Network Code - wiring bus, communications), B (Body Code - includes A/C and air bag), and C (Chassis Code - includes ABS) and are followed by four numerals and no letters."

I'll contact the mechanic and see if he can explain the codes, or why they're so odd.

I guess I wasn't clear in the first post; but, all the converters have been checked, the downstream converter was replaced with a straight pipe.
The two exhaust manifold catcons were checked by removing something from each side (upstream O2 sensor?) and this didn't change behavior. The
Fuel Filter was replaced and Fuel Pump was also replaced. The exhaust mechanic ensured me that there is no exhaust problem, with exception of sensor indicating a problem with one of the catcons when none exist.

I haven't checked the spark plugs but could do so; but, at rpms above 1500-2000 it doesn't miss or hesitate. I runs great all the way to max rpms. Based on that it appears that none of the catcons are at fault. To me it seems like some rheostats I've seen in that the low rpm or low gas pedal range isn't working at all, or intermittently, like the gas or air mix is being interpreted incorrectly.

It was suggested that I replace TPS and coil pack for 1-4 (closest to firewall). I have a feeling the odd codes are that readers attempt to diagnose and thus they do not appear to be proper codes and so should be ignored.

So, according to mechanic, no exhaust back pressure issue exists, code that one catcon indicates problem but catcon is not blocked (bypass produced no change in behavior), except code. (Sensor?, if so, what is sensor)

If removal of downflow catcon can give false codes upstream, can anyone tell me about what the downflow catcon costs? We're working with fixed income on my part, and a waitress' salary on her part.

Should I try to start with spark plugs and coil pack? If so, once I remove nuts or bolts covering coil pack, does it swing away, or what's needed to replace coil pack?

I thought I read somewhere that TPS's don't really go bad (or was it gas pedal and pickups don't go bad) ... could it be a TPS issue (top, front left)?

Taking it to dealer is off the table for now... we just don't have the cash.. and they tend to frown at not replacing everything, like downstream catcon. Exhaust mechanic said it could run without it; but that mpg would drop, not the symptoms I'm getting... no zero to low position throttle response.

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Old 11-09-2016, 04:48 PM   #8
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Wrench Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post
Welcome to SaturnFans, Cyberchipz!

Please follow fdryer's request for the fundamental information on repair history, maintenance (including the timing belt!) and mileage.
I don't have any history on the vehicle other than what we've had problems with, like, the filter and pump are good and we replaced the downflow catcon with a straight pipe. The car was bought used by my daughter's boyfriend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post


P0030 - H02S (heated oxygen sensor) Heater Control Circuit Bank 1 Sensor 1 (Bank 1 is nearest firewall)
P0103 - MAF Sensor Circuit High Frequency
P0300 - Engine Misfire Detected (my words: generic misfire code)
P0301 - (through P0306) Specific Cylinder Misfire Detected (cyl. no. 1 in this case)

P0030 could result from something as simple as a bad O2 sensor.
The question here is what is the condition of the spark plugs? When were they last replaced? P0300 and P0301 could result from bad spark plugs, or coil packs, or spark plug boots with their contacts.


So, can we presume the O2 sensor is reading off because the backflow catcom has been removed. Since fuel filter and fuel pump are good, could my first step be to replace coil pack and spark plugs (closest to firewall - cylinders 1-3)?

OR

Should I try to replace O2 sensor first? Keeping in mind it's only at the start and pedal position up to 1500 rpms that are not working right? No skips or misses above 2000 rpm and only great or very slightly sluggish response above 2000 rpm.

I'm thinking... maybe at higher rpms, the alternator might be producing enough power to energize the 'failing' coil and/or bad spark plugs to run great. Perhaps the battery hasn't failed; but, has reached the point due to her driving mostly at night, a constant need to be charging which would produce higher current at higher rpms?!

I have a Crown Vic Police Interceptor that I drive. It has 8 coils, one for each spark plug. When one fails, the car runs without a skip or miss at lower rpms, which means, just before it shifts into the next gear (automatic) it runs great, then after the shift, when the rpms drop, it skips and misses. Until I replaced the coil, I would constantly just give it gas to drop a gear, then coast until I needed to speed up again to keep it running smooth. This is the basis of my thinking. The Interceptor is a power hog! lol Of course once I replaced the coil and plug, it ran great! Naturally, it doesn't have the same problems like in the old days when cars had one coil, or like now, two. I'm sure they built it that way so the car could run pretty good even if a plug or coil failed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post


P0103: members posting problems with MAF Sensors in the L Series Forums have experienced really unusual driveability problems. Search for them using the Advanced Forum Search and/or Google. A possibility exists that the removal of the downstream catalytic converter (after the catalytic converter) will result in generating other DTC's at a later time. The downstream O2 sensor's information sent to the ECM will be outside of normal parameters. (It may even be influencing the P0103 code, but I can't say that with certainty.)
Do you think that replacing the downstream catcon is going to be imperative? The exhaust mechanic seemed to think that it would run OK, with only a degraded performance in gas milage. Are you saying that having the ECM being outside of normal parameters can cause poor to no performance at low rpms, and normal performance above 2000 rpm?

Last edited by Cyberchipz; 11-09-2016 at 04:59 PM..

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Old 11-09-2016, 05:07 PM   #9
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Dazed Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

[QUOTE=Cyberchipz;2221857] Sorry, I mis wrote this part and exceeded my edit time:

I have a Crown Vic Police Interceptor that I drive. It has 8 coils, one for each spark plug. When one fails, the car runs without a skip or miss at higher [not lower] rpms, which means, just before it shifts into the next gear (automatic) it runs great, then after the shift, when the rpms drop, it skips and misses.

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Old 11-09-2016, 08:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberchipz View Post
I don't have any history on the vehicle other than what we've had problems with, like, the filter and pump are good and we replaced the downflow catcon with a straight pipe. The car was bought used by my daughter's boyfriend.
Okay, I understand. Can you get the odometer reading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberchipz View Post
So, can we presume the O2 sensor is reading off because the backflow catcom has been removed. Since fuel filter and fuel pump are good, could my first step be to replace coil pack and spark plugs (closest to firewall - cylinders 1-3)?

OR

Should I try to replace O2 sensor first? Keeping in mind it's only at the start and pedal position up to 1500 rpms that are not working right? No skips or misses above 2000 rpm and only great or very slightly sluggish response above 2000 rpm.
Well, we can presume that the ECM is receiving faulty readings - actually no readings at all - from the downstream sensor's input. This will alter how the ECM reads fuel burning effiency. Beyond that we're getting into speculation as to what parts should be replaced in order to correct the DTC P0030 condition and/or the DTC P0300 and P0301 conditons. Your guess is a good as mine, actually better, as to what should be done next since you're near the car and I'm on the opposite coast! Information from the FSM regarding diagnosis presumes the use of the Tech II Scan Tool to follow the diagnostic tree. Therefore I'm not sanguine to suggest any particular direction regarding which parts should be replaced. Barring more specific diagnosis available, one can only use their best educated guess about replacing one part or another in this situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberchipz View Post
I'm thinking... maybe at higher rpms, the alternator might be producing enough power to energize the 'failing' coil and/or bad spark plugs to run great. Perhaps the battery hasn't failed; but, has reached the point due to her driving mostly at night, a constant need to be charging which would produce higher current at higher rpms?!
I think not. The alternator is designed to run within a limited voltage range and thus maintain a stable, even flowing power supply. In any case, a simple test of the battery at an auto parts store or independent mechanical repair shop would verify its "health."


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberchipz View Post
I have a Crown Vic Police Interceptor that I drive. It has 8 coils, one for each spark plug. When one fails, the car runs without a skip or miss at lower rpms, which means, just before it shifts into the next gear (automatic) it runs great, then after the shift, when the rpms drop, it skips and misses. Until I replaced the coil, I would constantly just give it gas to drop a gear, then coast until I needed to speed up again to keep it running smooth. This is the basis of my thinking. The Interceptor is a power hog! lol Of course once I replaced the coil and plug, it ran great! Naturally, it doesn't have the same problems like in the old days when cars had one coil, or like now, two. I'm sure they built it that way so the car could run pretty good even if a plug or coil failed.
An engine miss at higher RPM is much less noticeable on a V8 simply because it means that the engine has not lost as great of a percentage of its available power compared to that of a V6 or four cylinder engine (1/8th, vs 1/6th or 1/4). You're absolutely right about a police interceptor being a power hog. My former boss sought out a Chevy 350 (5.7L) engine from a police cruiser for that very reason when dropping it into a Jaguar XJ6. That thing really made the Jaguar surprise folks on the freeway when he wanted to pass a vehicle - it could leave 'em in the dust!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberchipz View Post
Do you think that replacing the downstream catcon is going to be imperative? The exhaust mechanic seemed to think that it would run OK, with only a degraded performance in gas milage. Are you saying that having the ECM being outside of normal parameters can cause poor to no performance at low rpms, and normal performance above 2000 rpm?
No, I'm not suggesting that at all. I honestly have no idea what other performance issues might arise as a result of eliminating the downstream catalytic converter. I do believe that its removal would inevitably result problems with the emission system, but I cannot know just what they will be. I also believe that diagnosis of the system has been made more difficult, to some degree or other, because the ECM is programmed to read and expect information being fed to it from the downstream O2 sensor after the exhaust has been further "cleaned" by the catalytic converter.

...
273,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 11-10-2016, 03:42 AM   #11
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Default Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

Anecdotal info about another vehicle and its electronic ignition system different from other ignition systems can be misleading. A V8 with eight individual coils may be similar to our L-series V6 with two coil packs, each containing three ignition coils with both engines having a coil to fire one spark plug but misfiring issues may not be similar as one engine has two more cylinders that may mask misfiring better than a V6 misfiring.

I'm guessing since the third catcon doesn't have an O2 sensor, emissions control doesn't know its there. Its most likely cleaning up any exhaust byproducts. No sensor, no detection of whether its working or not so in theory its not needed. However, in California where tail pipe emissions were mandated and superseded federal emissions standards, this third catcon may be GM's way to ensure L300/LW300 vehicles passes California's unwarranted mandate to have cleaner emissions than the other 49 states. It should be mentioned here that several states ignore federal emissions. So we have a conflict where one state raised the bar on emissions and forced all USA vehicles to pass their emissions standards, over and above accepted federal (EPA) regulations. In your state, if tail pipe analyzers aren't used, its presumed federal emissions suffice and not replacing the third catcon can be replaced with a straight pipe.

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Old 11-10-2016, 02:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

To continue, the problem with our ignition coil packs, different from Crown Vics, is that it can be expensive replacing a coil pack since you're replacing three ignition coils at once (one coil pack). Here's where comparisons can't help; the CV may have individual coils to replace and less expensive compared to guessing on a coil pack for our L300 engines. Comparisons about symptoms, diagnosing and troubleshooting may not be the same. To put it mildly, is there a dealer from any major brand that guarantees their work to repair a problem with a money back guarantee if they're wrong? With limited info, my guess is its rare for any dealer to admit to a mistake to make good on repairs without charging the customer for more labor. The majority simply sways whatever wasn't repaired with long winded descriptions that parts were replaced and needed and that more diagnostics are needed to continue troubleshooting, all at customers expense. This fits the business model of "we give you the business so we can stay in business" without telling anyone that they make money whether they're right or wrong.............

Some error codes do not exist in Saturns and unless a service manual is on hand, members having access to them or subscribing to alldata or Mitchell for service manual info, you're likely to use Google to search for error code definitions. There are many sites decoding error codes but only a few capable of listing OEM codes and describing them in general terms as there may be subtle differences. All USA vehicles requiring EPA regulated emissions control are required to use OBD II since 1996. This can create some confusion as every USA vehicle sold in the USA market must use a standard set of error codes grouped into several main functions, 'P' for emissions, 'U' for network, 'B' for body (non emissions), an 'C' for chassis (abs, steering, etc). Generic readers display 'P' codes with newer ones now displaying abs error codes. 'U' and 'B' codes are advanced info for dealers using manufacturers (Ford, GM, Chrysler, etc) scantools specifically programmed for their family of models for 100% access to everything most repair shops pay thousands of dollars to have access. Programming and updating are not available to generic readers or scantools as this is s slippery slope for the tuner market wanting access to fuel management programs - what is federally mandated to have emissions controls may be undone by anyone with access to ecm/pcm programs. Saturn ecm/pcm do not allow tuning. Having stated this, GM does allow tuning other models like Camaros and Corvettes. Its up to the tuner to obey regulations in their respective state to adhere to emissions regulations while tuning otherwise their tunes may fail emission inspection.

Service manuals for The L-series doesn't have P00F1, B3B03, B3B01, U31BB. I may be wrong as I use a limited set of manuals without updates. In general, all error codes related to a specific year are already published while newer vehicles will have newer error codes for specific 'P', 'B' and 'U' codes. Our old L300's have all error codes published so my conservative opinion is these codes don't exist. They may apply to other cars but we're not discussing other cars.

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Old 11-10-2016, 05:16 PM   #13
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Wrench Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

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I'm guessing since the third catcon doesn't have an O2 sensor, emissions control doesn't know its there. Its most likely cleaning up any exhaust byproducts. No sensor, no detection of whether its working or not so in theory its not needed. However, in California where tail pipe emissions were mandated and superseded federal emissions standards, this third catcon may be GM's way to ensure L300/LW300 vehicles passes California's unwarranted mandate to have cleaner emissions than the other 49 states. It should be mentioned here that several states ignore federal emissions. So we have a conflict where one state raised the bar on emissions and forced all USA vehicles to pass their emissions standards, over and above accepted federal (EPA) regulations. In your state, if tail pipe analyzers aren't used, its presumed federal emissions suffice and not replacing the third catcon can be replaced with a straight pipe.
According to my exhaust tech, the third downstream catcom does not/did not have an O2 sensor. I am hoping that with that information, I can presumably ignore any negative effects... However, I do realize that there may be effects of missing backpressure, considering the other two catcoms appear to be working, or at least not blocking the flow. It's not clear to me which, if any of the two manifold O2 sensors are not working properly.

I will call the exhaust tech tomorrow (THU 11/11) and see if he can supply the meanings for the missing codes. He told me, but I figured I'd be able to look them up, or possibly you all would have them, so I didn't write them down. I think the said the the U code indicated which manifold O2 sensor was giving bad readings. I have pictures, and I hope to upload them so someone could point me to what I have to remove to get at spark plugs... never seen anything like this before. lol This car has a lot I've never seen before, no joke!

I was asked twice the milage... it's 179,000 miles.

BTW I'm curious why no one has mentioned that it's only low rpm that doesn't work, or why it takes so long to get rpms up to where it runs great. Can someone explain that?

So, thanks everyone for the help so far... I think I'm getting a grasp on the problem.. I will know more after I can look at the plugs and see how good or bad they are.

PS: Am I able to add images, if so, do I have to find a way to store externally, or can I upload to Forum site?

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Old 11-10-2016, 06:39 PM   #14
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Default Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

Back pressure has little effect on emissions systems in general. A good exhaust shop that says you don't need the third (downstream) catcon is doing you a favor by not making money and saving you costs while not bypassing your state emissions control regulations. Try imagining every muscle car sold in the USA market. All requires exhaust systems meeting USA EPA regulations, meaning no matter how much high horsepower they have, they all must meet emissions regulations; every one of them has catalytic converters to convert exhaust to harmless gases. High horsepower implies larger catcon to prevent back pressure from strangling all that power someone wants to impress anyone when peeling tires and making smoke. Catcons are designed no more and no less to meet engine design parameters. Our relatively mild engines with 180hp has three catcons that meets requirements. With no sensors to monitor the third catcon, its not needed unless (my guess) you're in California. NYS doesn't have tail pipe analyzers for OBD II vehicles and my first emissions inspection for a two year old car took less than five minutes, the time to plug in NYS emissions computers to retrieve info from the car and log it into the state system. All This means is as long as emissions are fine and the check engine light is off and no one disconnected the battery recently, the car already met emissions requirements. I would guess if I were in your shoes and had a choice to use a straight pipe or catcon, I would use the straight pipe first as I know the third catcon isn't monitored so its moot for NYS emissions. If I'm wrong I would simply buy a replacement catcon. NYS is one of the tougher emissions states. Using your setup as is, a reader that doesn't display any error codes and no pending codes means your straight bypass pipe is fine and meets emissions requirements.

At 179k miles, spark plugs should have been replaced at 100k and now close to 200k for the next replacement. You're asked mileage as a reference to when plugs are recommended for replacement. If never replaced, its way overdue. The stock plugs are platinum and lasts longer than 100k miles but replacement is recommended for long term reliability. Even if they're replaced now, you won't need to replace them again until 300k miles are reached (with an extra 25k miles added). My plugs at 93k miles look new but I decided to replace them on a hunch about starting issues. Platinum and other exotic plugs used as OEM parts are long lasting, over and above the older style non exotic plugs but doesn't mean they should be left in forever.

pierrot already pointed out which O2 sensor is associated with the error code, the rear/firewall side on the exhaust manifold upstream of the precat. Ther precats are the coffee can sized objects after the exhaust manifold. The rear O2 sensor is easier to access than the front one. As a heater error code, this doesn't alter how the engine runs. The heater may have failed as both of mine failed within 75k miles ().

Was throttle ever cleaned? There's a trend about EFI systems; more electronics requires less maintenance where owners tend to neglect or forget to replace parts that last longer (spark plugs, fuel filter). This also means less maintenance elsewhere but past history here has show that some things still needs hand-on work. Throttle on our cars are now completely electrically driven and electronically monitored but still requires occasional cleaning. A rag soaked in solvent may clean off miles of built up debris that may have affected idle and low speed operation. As an electrically driven throttle (true drive by wire system) throttle may need recalibrating without dealer service. Simply cleaning built up dirt and following up with a recal may restore normal driving.

A recalibration of throttle; simply turn on ignition (no engine start) and wait. In about 30 seconds the ecm detects no pedal application and automatically enters a program. You may hear a slight whining sound as the ecm begins exercising the servo motor controlling the throttle plate; the ecm tests for home position and then opens throttle and checks positioning then moves throttle some more before returning to starting position based on engine coolant temperatures. All taking less than a minute. After a minute and no more sounds or movement of throttle, cycle ignition off before starting up.

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Old 11-11-2016, 03:36 PM   #15
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Idea Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

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A recalibration of throttle; simply turn on ignition (no engine start) and wait. In about 30 seconds the ecm detects no pedal application and automatically enters a program. You may hear a slight whining sound as the ecm begins exercising the servo motor controlling the throttle plate; the ecm tests for home position and then opens throttle and checks positioning then moves throttle some more before returning to starting position based on engine coolant temperatures. All taking less than a minute. After a minute and no more sounds or movement of throttle, cycle ignition off before starting up.
I believe the Exhaust tech said he cleaned the throttle and got no change.
I will recalibrate ASAP as I don't know if he did that.

That aside, I have two questions.
1: I've tried uploading photos and none show up in my Album I created, yet. I don't know if there's a delay, or they need to be authorized or not.

2: How in the heck do I get at those spark plugs. After searching the internet for a video or instructions I've not found anything. (I was lucky to even find one video that had the 2003 L300 series engine showing, not much on L300 engine I don't know if that's good or bad, but a lot of them were for sale... lol) With what looks like the intake manifold on top of everything, I'm not sure where to start to gain access. It looks like I'll need to remove or move the intake (however one does that) to gain access to the coil packs also. If I could get some indication on what to remove. I saw one horror picture (on a Vue?) where the entire intake manifold had to be removed before he could gain access to the plugs, I hope that's not the case. I don't have a service manual yet, as I've found them often to be woefully lacking compared to my younger days, and will get one anyway unless told it's unnecessary. Do you prefer Haynes or Chilton? I tend to Chilton, though I've gotten both.

Do you have any pointers on accessing the coil pack and plugs.

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Old 11-11-2016, 06:25 PM   #16
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Default Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

Spark plugs? Been there done 'dat. The two worst maintenance chores on L300's; replacing a thermostat () and spark plugs (). T-stat is more labor intensive (been there too) with plugs second worst chore. If I'm not mistaken, either a general description and/or reprints of service manual procedures were posted. The tough part is searching threads for them. I bought service manuals right after buying my L300 simply because I knew it has more electronics than previous cars I owned. I used a Chilton manual for a wagon, GM manual for a Buick and a Datsun manual for my one and only sports car. Factory service manuals are better only because they cover what Chilton or Haynes doesn't have. Both C and H manuals are basically condensed versions and leave out details when you need it. Factory manuals are written and used (I presume) by dealer mechanics and techs if they're not online for updates as they must have first hand info. The equivalent service manuals are either a subscription to alldata or Mitchell as they reproduce factory service manuals. My hard copy paper manuals are expensive and may not be available. Its more cost effective with online access to alldata or Mitchell. Try searching for pdf files (reprints) within the forums and if you don't find any, private message car info/info needed and an email address so I can send files. You might narrow your search by using my name to find all posts I made since I put pdfs into threads

Spark plugs were replaced a few months ago. I read the service manual procedures several times before working on replacing plugs. Off the top of my head; the outboard intake runners with German Click-r clamps are removed (screwdriver prying apart the snap on clamps) with the rear vacuum container removed and blue nylon vacuum lines moved off to the side. The click-r clamps can be reused with slip joint pliers or the expensive tool made for it (I use slip joint pliers). Fasteners are external Torx screws and a set of Torx sockets are needed. The polyurethane(?) flex couplers are probably glued from heat and need a little TLC with a screwdriver blade to separate the bonding between plastic and aluminum. A little WD40 to seep in as the flex coupler is separated from aluminum helps. Once each intake runner is removed, the coil pack assembly is in full view with two bolts holding them in place. Removing the bolts is easy but the coil packs use a poly(?) seal that's also bonded from heat and makes removing the coil pack difficult. I found gently prying on left/right side to help. There's a spring that acts as the conductor for each coil to its spark plug and another poly boot for insulating the spring. This creates a suction against coil pack removal. Done carefully, the coil pack comes off to reveal three spark plugs in deep holes. Blow out or vacuum any debris that's there or falls in from disassembling things. Plugs need a deep socket and extension for removal. Torque for tightening is 18ft lbs. A little more than snug if you don't have a torque wrench - the long threaded aluminum cylinder heads and matching plugs are designed to allow more threads to prevent stripping but aluminum can strip easily if not aware.

If a thumbnail is all that's needed to show something without creating a picture album, I suggest reviewing the size of each picture. The majority of digital cameras and cell phones create multiple megabyte picture files not accepted as attachments for thumbnails. The easiest remedy is to use a picture editing program like Paint or whatever you use and resize the image to less than a megabyte and reformat in jpeg. This allows acceptance as thumbnail attachments. I do it all the time when trying to show something when words fail.

Last edited by fdryer; 11-11-2016 at 06:31 PM..

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Old 11-12-2016, 12:15 AM   #17
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Dizzy Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

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Spark plugs? Been there done 'dat. The two worst maintenance chores on L300's ...
Looks like I have my work cut out for me, I'll start tomorrow to search for .pdfs Of course, if would be easier for me to let you do it; but, I'll make that a last resort

I'll also go and see what's in the C or H manual at my local auto store and see if it gives enough information on plug replacement. I'd think if it didn't at least include that information it must be practically useless!

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Old 11-12-2016, 11:11 AM   #18
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Default Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

My lad has a 2003 L300 with currently 136,000 on the clock. We bought it at 125,000. It's maintenance history was unknown, so I worked to reset the clock on maintenance. The Timing belt, water pump were replaced as soon we bought it as we found out it hadn't been done. The plugs were on the to do list. Couple of months he had a coolant leak I just could not find, so off to my indi garage it went.

They found the coolant leak in the V6 valley and the TStat was also leaking. So off came the complete manifold and all the gaskets were done, new TStat and as they had the manifold off new plugs were installed. Total cost to Dad was a shade over $800.00 with about half of that labor.

Whilst you can change the plugs by removing the manifold 'ends' and a few additional components for the rear set, if you want to 'do and be damned', you could do worse than lift the complete manifold, do the plugs and replace the Tstat and check gaskets while you are in there.

There is one thing on the V6's that I know drives some members up the wall and that is the QuickClips that hold the manifold ends. For some reason some folks just don't understand them and hence don't like them. Some will unclip them with pliers, etc and usually utter curse words doing it. You can buy the Quick Clip tool on the internet for about $12.00. It's like using a pair of Pincers. Sadly, my indi garage when they did my job, replaced them with Jubilee clips. which whilst they do the same job, look god awful.

At least you would have the knowledge those bits had all been sorted. All transversely mounted V6's are pains when it comes to changing spark plugs.

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Old 11-12-2016, 12:32 PM   #19
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Default Re: LW300 Lots of problems, lots of codes

^ From members with Honda V6 engines in their Vues, they seem to have it a little easier with individual coil over plug modules. This would seem to be less stressful than our coil packs and super fancy white (powder coated?) intake manifold system (though it does make a nice appearance for the WOW! factor). I've read about other engines using the individual coil over plug configurations. I think every engine have their good and bad points.

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