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Old 10-06-2017, 07:15 PM   #1
cdinges
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Default Intermittent loss of power, no codes

Spring of 2016 my 97 SL2 with 145K miles started to have intermittent issues with severe loss of engine power and has even died on me once or twice. My best guess is fuel starvation. However it was not effected by hills or acceleration, even just cruising down the road all of a sudden it would sputter and cannot maintain speed, then after a few seconds the engine would come back to normal and the car could accelerate again.

I have no engine codes, the only thing I have noticed is it would not happen on cool mornings and in the afternoons (above 70) it would get more and more often. I purchased a new truck last spring so I put the car in storage, now I want my commuter car back and am trying to troubleshoot it to get it back on the road.

Today in the driveway it started to act up while I was letting it run, I pulled spark plugs one at a time and they all had a severe miss on the engine so I know its not an ignition issue. No codes so I dont think its a sensor.

I replaced the fuel pump years ago due to the system loosing its pressure when the car was off causing long crank times to start.

I am going to replace the fuel filter but I dont see that being the issue with heat related symptoms and no P0087 Low fuel pressure codes and the immediate cuts in and out not related to throttle position or RPMs

Anyone else have any ideas?
Also before I parked it I ran a few tanks of fuel through it so I know it was not a bad tank of fuel, however now the tank has 1.5 year old fuel in it. I am going to pump it out when I have the fuel filter off and put in new gas.

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Old 10-07-2017, 04:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Intermittent loss of power, no codes

I had something similar on another vehicle, turned out the ICM was bad. Seemed to act up only when the weather was hot or the car sat in the hot sun before starting to act up. After pulling the 2 coils and then getting the sensor out and replaced, it has never acted erratic since.

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Old 10-07-2017, 02:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: Intermittent loss of power, no codes

Are you sure it is P0087? That doesn't sound like a valid code to me. Regardless, there is no fuel pressure sensor on the S-series so whatever "pressure" that code refers to can't be the fuel pressure. Use a mechanical pressure gauge with a long hose to watch what FP does as the engine acts up while driving. That will be cheaper and easier than just throwing a fuel filter or pump at it.

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Old 10-09-2017, 03:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Intermittent loss of power, no codes

You can ignore the code I gave, I googled GMs code for low fuel pressure. I assumed that these cars had a fuel pressure transducer and would send a code if that it sensed it.

When the car was running rough I pulled spark plug wires one at a time to see if there was a change in the way it ran and each one effected it. unless an ICM can screw up timing a little so it doesnt run smoothly but still fires I dont think thats the issue. However usually if it sits for a few weeks on first start It runs rough for a few seconds, I get a CEL and the code is #3 misfire detected. it usually doesnt have an issue after a few seconds when it throws the code after startup.

In the meantime I found videos to clean the ICM and will hook up a pressure tester to it. Crappy part is its getting into cold months so it might take forever for it to have a problem again to where I can troubleshoot it.

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Old 10-09-2017, 08:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Intermittent loss of power, no codes

I gotta ask... have you checked/replaced the ECT sensor?

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Old 10-10-2017, 07:34 AM   #6
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1999 SL
Default Re: Intermittent loss of power, no codes

Did you check proper gaps on your Spark Plugs?
Change the Plugs and Wires?
Clean the Coil Pack Towers or even swap them out for new ones.
What is your Engine Compression? Standard should be 185 psi across all 4 cylinders.

...
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Gone 3/12

92SL1
05VUE
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Old 10-15-2017, 04:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Intermittent loss of power, no codes

Sorry it took me so long to reply, I finally got some time to dig into it a little.

Cyl 1
.040 Gap
189 PSI
SP looks new

Cyl 2
.040 Gap
181 PSI
SP looks new

Cyl 3
.042 Gap
182 PSI
SP Carbon Coked, replaced it (possibly causing the misfire every once in a while.

Cyl 4
.040 Gap
182 PSI
SP looks new

Here is where I finally got somewhere:
Fuel pressure

Cold Idle 36 PSI
Throttle blip pressure spikes to 42 and stabilizes at 36

After hour of idleing
Pressure would hunt between 20-30 psi
When somewhat stable at 26 PSI a throttle blip would drop it to 20
Never did stutter or lag like what I am trying to do.

After the hour of idling I took it for a short drive and it did hesitate, not bad but it did show itself. Today is somewhat cool at 58, I think if it was 70+ the pressure would drop even more and the issue would be more present.

Just to address the ECT suggestion (assuming maybe it was bad and the car was overheating but the sensor was not telling you so) The OBD2 reader says the car sits between 200-220, when it hits 220 my fans kick on dropping the temp. So I believe it is cooling correctly.

So after all of this I am pointing to low fuel pressure related to temperatures. Cold it is steadily 36-42, when it gets hot it drops to 20-30.

Fuel pump was replaced with Autozone one 30k miles ago, could possibly be going bad.

Never changed fuel filter that I know of just needs to be done but I dont see how heat can cause it to restrict flow and cause gradual decrease in power changes, also be worse under throttle demand.

Fuel regulator? is this near the engine to where it warms up and stops functioning properly?

I do want to point out that when it does act up it immediate response flipping back and forth between normal and dying, like a flip of a switch. maybe fuel pump turning off and on. or if someone knows how the saturn fuel regulator operates it could point to that.

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Old 10-15-2017, 04:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Intermittent loss of power, no codes

I just started thinking about the fuel delivery sequence. Correct me if I am wrong,

Fuel pump--> Fuel Filter--(test port, reading 20-42 psi)-->Regulator--> Fuel rail

I read on another thread that the fuel pump should have a delivery pressure of 46-94 PSI. So if if my sequence is correct at the pressure port built into the line after the fuel filter I should be reading over 46 PSI, correct?

So must be pump or filter

I will just change the darn filter

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Old 10-15-2017, 05:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Intermittent loss of power, no codes

Yes, test pressure at that port on the rail, but both the two ranges you mentioned (20-42 and 46-94) sound way too wide. Somebody will post the correct range.

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