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Old 01-17-2018, 05:09 PM   #1
Rover1
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1997 SL2
Question SL-2 starting problem after sitting 3/4 days

97 Saturn Sl-2
It only hard starting after not being driven for three or four days.
Where usually it pops right off, just listen for fuel to stop pumping and turn the key.

To, after sitting, you have to press the gas pedal completely down. Turn the key to start the engine, and it turns over like it's trying to fire but seems like it's not firing on all 4 cylinders. Almost like it's flooded.

Rebuilt engine with 17,000 miles
new bosh injectors
new fuel regulator
new carter fuel pump
All at the time of rebuild
Fuel pump does drain down, and I don't start the engine until I hear the pump stop. But that shouldn't be the problem.
Any suggestions?
Thanks

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Old 01-17-2018, 05:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: SL-2 starting problem after sitting 3/4 days

When you hold the throttle all the way open you invoke the "flood clear" mode inhibiting the injectors; so it probably is flooding, if WOT helps. I gotta ask... have you checked/changed the OEM ECT sensor yet?

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Old 01-17-2018, 07:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: SL-2 starting problem after sitting 3/4 days

Rover1, if you held throttle wide open on the first startup, no matter what the outside temperature is, you forced clear flood mode where injectors are shut off. All you did, if this did occur exactly as you described, was prevent any fuel injection during starting so the engine has zero fuel. Clear flood mode is only needed after repeated starting fails to get the engine to run. This is based on the premise that the engine is cold (doesn't matter whether its 125F or -25F) and always starts with a rich fuel mixture. All cold engine starts begins with a rich fuel mixture to allow better starting. The EFI system always uses the coolant sensor as one of the main signals to determine what fuel mixture is needed.

Instead of holding throttle wide open for the first start of the day, leave the gas pedal alone and let the EFI system determine what fuel mixture is needed and startup.

Every engine using EFI systems does not need anyone to hold throttle in any position for starting. EFI systems have the only characteristic of near instant starting, all due to how sophisticated EFI systems have evolved in the forty years since Bosch fuel injection was invented.

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Old 01-18-2018, 09:38 AM   #4
Rover1
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Default Re: SL-2 starting problem after sitting 3/4 days

biiir Thanks for the reply.
New coolant senser installed when I rebuilt the engine.

fdryer Thanks for the reply.
This only occurs after vehicle sets for 3 days.
Initial attempt to start the engine, only involves turning the key, no gas pedal.
The engine struggles to start as if it is not getting enough gas, or so it seems. But does not start.

The engine does start after holding the gas pedal to the floor and that start is not a smooth start, but a start where all the plugs seem to be not firing.
After 30 seconds of this rough start, it starts running like it should.
Also very heavy gas smelling exhaust.

The coolant sensor is two years old. I'll check the ects for 3500 ohms resistance, maybe it's bad.

This does not happen if I use the car every day or two.
Because of the cold winters, I store my Saturn until the summer time.
I start it every couple days if temps are 20 plus degrees or higher. If I wait more than three days I have this problem.

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Old 01-18-2018, 11:08 AM   #5
Rover1
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Default Re: SL-2 starting problem after sitting 3/4 days

Coolant temp ok
When I dis-connected the air tunnel to the throttle opening, it had a couple tablespoons of ice and water in it. I have never noticed that before.

On rock auto, they have a sensor called "air intake/charge temp sensor". It records air temp and density and the computer adjusts fuel flow.
Maybe that is the problem. I'll remove this sensor from the system and see what happens on a cold start.

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Old 01-18-2018, 03:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: SL-2 starting problem after sitting 3/4 days

The ECT sensor has been replaced, but that isn't the whole circuit. Besides, the sensor itself could still be bad, even though fairly new. Checking resistance of the sensor is a good first step, but using live-data or checking voltage of the sensor signal back at the PCM connector is more thorough. Live-data is far easier to do, and can check many other sensors (including that IAT sensor), so I always urge people to get set up with live-data capability.

I am focused on the ECT because that is, by far, the most likely cause of flooding.

Got ice/rats/mud/leaves blocking the intake? Yeah, live-data can show that too, via the MAP reading while cranking...

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Old 01-18-2018, 06:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: SL-2 starting problem after sitting 3/4 days

billr
Thanks for the continued replies, I appreciate it.
My obd 2 scan shows no defaults.
The pvc valve was a little dirty and was cleaned.
Mice are a problem in the country and I keep my hood up when garaged.
New napa air filter and everything tight and clean between air cleaner and throttle.

Maybe I'm a little paranoid when the engine doesn't start right away. Before I go further, I am going to let the car sit for a week. Then document how many times it takes to start the car or run down the battery.

I usually get a little nervous if the engine doesn't start after two attempts. So maybe it takes three or four attempts before starting, when it sits for 3 or more days.

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Old 01-18-2018, 06:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: SL-2 starting problem after sitting 3/4 days

Are you saying you do have live-data?

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Old 01-18-2018, 09:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: SL-2 starting problem after sitting 3/4 days

You mentioned that the fuel pressure bleeds down. There is the possibility that the fuel is leaking past the injectors, actually creating a rich condition in the intake runners. And that may be why holding the pedal down clears the problem.

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Old 01-18-2018, 09:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: SL-2 starting problem after sitting 3/4 days

That is certainly a possibility, but the OP says this happens after it has sat for 3-4 days, so I kind of think leakage from injectors would probably be gone by then.

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Old 01-18-2018, 11:26 PM   #11
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Default Re: SL-2 starting problem after sitting 3/4 days

Rover1, some feedback that may clear up some confusion. Correct me if I'm wrong.

1-The flat nosed brass coolant sensor is fine as designed and shouldn't be any cause for concern. What's important are the two wires and connector that adds to problems before or after a coolant sensor was replaced. WHat's not discussed often is the fact that this sensor operates on less than 5 volts (zero current) making poor connections take on additional problems of running the engine rich. Just be sure the connections are good.

2-The air intake/charge temp sensor is simply known as the intake air temperature sensor, plugged into the air filter box to measure intake air temps. If I'm not mistaken, it's the same one as used for the coolant sensor but lasts almost forever because its never immersed in coolant. You are correct about this intake air temperature sensor aiding the pcm in fuel mixtures but to a lesser degree. Its been found that some members meddled with this sensor with circuit mods to eek out a few mpg but with consequences. As another sensor, it helps the pcm fine tune fuel mixtures. If you feel the need to replace it then go ahead.

3-Even with a new fuel pump in place with an overhauled engine, never assume anything. Measure fuel pressure again at exactly the time when the engine sat more than three days. It's easy to guess but wiser to measure and document possible fuel pump issues. At the least, this will help to
eliminate a pump and pressure problem

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