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Old 04-08-2019, 02:44 PM   #1
Manospeed
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Default 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

Hello Gents,

So last night I went ahead and installed new AC Delco spark plugs, ignition control module (ICM), Ignition coil, and coil-on-plug boots.

The engine appears to be running somewhat smoother in terms of holding the idle, but as I'm approaching a light and begin braking, the RPMs hold steady at around 800-850, then suddenly will do a sudden drop to 600 and the engine seems like its going to start sputtering.

Do I need to do a reprogram? If yes, what are the steps involved? If I can't do it myself, I assume I need to go to a dealer/shop to do the reprogram. Any feedback on this would be great.

The vehicle currently has 140,000 miles and I'm planning on doing some additional work to it as I'd like to get another three years out of it (if possible). Thoughts on the following:

1. Timing chain and water pump replacement
2. Thermostat replacement
3. Crankshaft position sensor replacement
4. Transmission fluid flush, filter, transmission pan gasket & magnet replacement
5. Install new inner tie rods, boots, and outer tie rod ends

Thanks...

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Old 04-09-2019, 10:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manospeed View Post
......So last night I went ahead and installed new AC Delco spark plugs, ignition control module (ICM), Ignition coil, and coil-on-plug boots.

The engine appears to be running somewhat smoother in terms of holding the idle, but as I'm approaching a light and begin braking, the RPMs hold steady at around 800-850, then suddenly will do a sudden drop to 600 and the engine seems like its going to start sputtering.

Do I need to do a reprogram? If yes, what are the steps involved? If I can't do it myself, I assume I need to go to a dealer/shop to do the reprogram. Any feedback on this would be great.
What makes you think reprogramming is needed just because idle rpm drops? New plugs and ignition system are considered part of periodic maintenance. Did you clean the throttle body?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manospeed View Post
The vehicle currently has 140,000 miles and I'm planning on doing some additional work to it as I'd like to get another three years out of it (if possible). Thoughts on the following:

1. Timing chain and water pump replacement
2. Thermostat replacement
3. Crankshaft position sensor replacement
4. Transmission fluid flush, filter, transmission pan gasket & magnet replacement
5. Install new inner tie rods, boots, and outer tie rod ends..
Don't fix what isn't broke (if the timing chain isn't noisy). Replace water pump if its bearings are loose and leaking coolant. A reader tells you operating temperatures - replace thermostats when they stop regulating at desired temps - 185F-195F. If the engine runs then the crankshaft sensor is working. A dead crank sensor effectively kills the entire EFI system since it supplies precise timing signals the ecm/pcm needs to operate. No crank sensor signal = no fuel pump, no ignition for spark and no injector pulses. You won't find it amusing when a crank sensor dies. Automatic xmissions are notoriously difficult to flush since the torque converter holds almost half the capacity of xmission fluid and not easily flushed. Dropping the xmission pan and draining fluid is wiser. At least half of xmission fluid is replaced and should be good enough unless you care to repeat it later. There are many pros and cons about pressurized xmission fluid flushes thru the xmission cooler lines without replacing filters than simply dropping a pan to replace filter and half the fluid. Unless tie rods are loose, replace parts when wear is apparent.

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Old 04-09-2019, 11:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
What makes you think reprogramming is needed just because idle rpm drops? New plugs and ignition system are considered part of periodic maintenance. Did you clean the throttle body?



Don't fix what isn't broke (if the timing chain isn't noisy). Replace water pump if its bearings are loose and leaking coolant. A reader tells you operating temperatures - replace thermostats when they stop regulating at desired temps - 185F-195F. If the engine runs then the crankshaft sensor is working. A dead crank sensor effectively kills the entire EFI system since it supplies precise timing signals the ecm/pcm needs to operate. No crank sensor signal = no fuel pump, no ignition for spark and no injector pulses. You won't find it amusing when a crank sensor dies. Automatic xmissions are notoriously difficult to flush since the torque converter holds almost half the capacity of xmission fluid and not easily flushed. Dropping the xmission pan and draining fluid is wiser. At least half of xmission fluid is replaced and should be good enough unless you care to repeat it later. There are many pros and cons about pressurized xmission fluid flushes thru the xmission cooler lines without replacing filters than simply dropping a pan to replace filter and half the fluid. Unless tie rods are loose, replace parts when wear is apparent.
I plan on cleaning the throttle body this weekend. I'm hoping that will resolve the issue I'm seeing with the rpms.

As for the other items:

1. Timing chain - At 140,000 miles chain is rattling substantially and I think its best to just get it replaced.

2. Water pump - Since I'm doing the timing chain thought to change the water pump as well.

3. Thermostat - Could probably leave it alone

4. Crankshaft position sensor - Could probably leave alone

3. Transmission - Didn't actually mean a full transmission flush, but rather simply dropping the pan, replacing filter, gasket, magnets, and add new fluid.

4. Inner tie rods appear "ok", but outer tie rods are loose and leaking fluid. Figure I might as well change inner/outer at the same time.

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Old 04-09-2019, 12:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

Any codes set??

...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.

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Old 04-09-2019, 12:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

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Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Did you clean the throttle body?
^^^ This.

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Old 04-10-2019, 05:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

So the shop I'm considering taking the vehicle to get the timing chain replaced recommended I also change the head gasket (I'm losing coolant and have been refilling). When I asked him, can't I just keep refilling he said that eventually the engine will go out and that I'd be wasting my money changing the timing chain only for the head gasket to kill the engine.

The price is considerably higher. I don't have much experience or knowledge with engine repair, but is he accurate? Assuming I proceed, with the vehicle at 140,000 miles what are the odds the car will last for another 60,000 miles based on your experience/knowledge with the 2.2 liter? They quoted me $3,200 labor only (parts I supply) for everything I want to do. Another shop quoted me $1,700, but that doesn't include head gasket replacement. Still waiting on the modified quote.

If I can spend 2-3 thousand and get another 3 years out of the vehicle, I'll be a happy camper.

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Old 04-10-2019, 05:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

tough call......... Thats a lot of money to be spending on a 12 year old car...

I'm a DIYer, so I'd do the work myself. If you have to pay someone to do it, that changes the equation significantly..

If you do the timing chain and head gasket, may as well do the water pump and balance chain at the same time.

AND, this also depends what they find when the get the head off..

Look at the underside and see how much rust there is.. with 140 k miles, it may be ready for shocks, brakes, calipers, brake hoses, bearings, etc...

...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.

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Old 04-10-2019, 06:03 PM   #8
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

Are you able to do the timing chain yourself? It isn't that hard to do, but you must be meticuliously careful..

...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.

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Old 04-10-2019, 06:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

Unless this repair shop can prove to you that the head gasket is blown, this may be another example of padding a repair bill. Be aware of sleight of hand dishonest repair shops taking advantage of any situation with anyone unfamiliar with car repairs, diagnosing and troubleshooting. You may be at a distinct disadvantage when you presented your issues. This just my opinion and not based on professional experience. Just leery of so called repair shops. As another diyer, I can visualize uncomfortable situations between repairs shops and vehicle owners unfamiliar with car repairs.

Are you aware that water pumps on 2.2L engines are not the usual remove and replace part? A special fixture is needed (bought, rented, custom made) to hold a second timing chain that's driven from the pump. Removing the pump without this doodad fixture results in the chain falling off and creating a mistimed balance shaft problem. This chain drives the balance shaft(s) that dynamically smoothes out 4cyl engine vibrations.

The second, lower repair quote may be more realistic. Repair shop hourly labor rates vary and can result in disparities in billing differences. All repairs are negotiable and never set in stone. Honest repair shops may take the time to discuss details on how they will repair your car. Its always better to have recommendations from friends, relatives and acquaintances compared to visiting a shop without any references on a a repair shops ethics. Sometimes local better business, online consumer reports like yelp or other sites can be informative on shop reputation.

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Old 04-11-2019, 11:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

Quote:
Originally Posted by waiter21 View Post
tough call......... Thats a lot of money to be spending on a 12 year old car...

I'm a DIYer, so I'd do the work myself. If you have to pay someone to do it, that changes the equation significantly..

If you do the timing chain and head gasket, may as well do the water pump and balance chain at the same time.

AND, this also depends what they find when the get the head off..

Look at the underside and see how much rust there is.. with 140 k miles, it may be ready for shocks, brakes, calipers, brake hoses, bearings, etc...
I agree, paying versus doing it yourself definitely changes the equation. There are some things I feel comfortable doing (ex. tie rods) myself, but tearing apart the engine or doing the timing chain is not one of these things, plus I just don't have the time to spend hours in the garage with a 3 and 1 year old and a third baby arriving in a couple weeks.

Water pump I'm planning on doing. Balance chain I didn't think of. There certainly is rust underneath, but I would say its still mostly localized at various points rather than the entire under body covered in rust.

I've already replaced myself front struts, brake pads, rear drums + hardware + brake cylinders + rear brake lines, front wheel bearings, spark plugs, ignition control module, boots, and ignition coil pack.

The way I'm seeing it is that I'll spend $3,000 dollars on a vehicle my wife purchased new in 2007. I know the history of the car, what it needs, what can wait etc. Yes, the miles are high, but if I sold it I doubt I'd get more than $1,500-2,000 dollars for it and then would need to spend 3-4 thousand dollars and I would be getting a high mileage vehicle, except that I have absolutely no idea what it needs or if its been neglected and will cause me headaches with expensive and time consuming repairs.

As the saying goes, "Better the devil you know, than the one you don't".

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Old 04-11-2019, 11:57 AM   #11
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

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Are you able to do the timing chain yourself? It isn't that hard to do, but you must be meticuliously careful..
I believe I could try to pull it off, but I just don't have the time with 2 little boys and a pregnant wife 2 weeks away from the due date to spend many hours in the garage.

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Old 04-11-2019, 12:53 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

A blown head gasket means the engine won't idle smoothly. A compression test can determine if one or two cylinders has lower compression from a damaged head gasket. Coolant drops should be seen on spark plugs. There's always evidence when a head gasket fails.

The water pump (driven by the balance chain that's driven by the crankshaft) may wear out and leak coolant into the area between the front of the engine block and timing chain cover. Any open holes between engine block and timing chain cover may allow leaked coolant to mix with engine oil.

If all cylinders show good compression, a damaged head gasket isn't the problem. Worn valve seats can leak compression pressures and a different compression test can determine worn valve seats. A leak down test using compressed air with intake and exhaust valves closed determines worn/burned valve seats as leaking air into the intake or exhaust system as compressed air is pumped into a cylinder.

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Old 04-11-2019, 02:25 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

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Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
A blown head gasket means the engine won't idle smoothly. A compression test can determine if one or two cylinders has lower compression from a damaged head gasket. Coolant drops should be seen on spark plugs. There's always evidence when a head gasket fails.

The water pump (driven by the balance chain that's driven by the crankshaft) may wear out and leak coolant into the area between the front of the engine block and timing chain cover. Any open holes between engine block and timing chain cover may allow leaked coolant to mix with engine oil.

If all cylinders show good compression, a damaged head gasket isn't the problem. Worn valve seats can leak compression pressures and a different compression test can determine worn valve seats. A leak down test using compressed air with intake and exhaust valves closed determines worn/burned valve seats as leaking air into the intake or exhaust system as compressed air is pumped into a cylinder.
@FD

Sounds like your suggesting I run these compression tests before spending any money on head gasket replacement. I agree this makes sense, but let me ask you another question. Given that I'd like to drive this car at least till I hit 200,000 miles, how likely is it that the head gasket will eventually fail between 140,000 and 200,000 miles? In other words, if the probability of it failing is high, I'd rather replace it now rather than wait for it to fail.

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Old 04-11-2019, 04:39 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue 2.2 not holding RPMs

Search for other 2.2L owners. Some here have well over 200k miles on theirs with regular maintenance. One member in the L-series has passed 300k miles with regular maintenance. An exceptional record but easily achieved with reasonable maintenance. GM uses 2.2L engines in several models.

I know suggestions can be tedious but diy repairs along with simple troubleshooting methods can help determine most problems without resorting to dealer or repair shops to reduce chances for major problems or dishonest shops eager to pad repair bills. A well known practice in repair shops when dealing with ac problems is the usual "Your ac compressor is the problem and needs to be replaced along with other parts..." I can tell you with certainty, personal experience as a diyer and having knowledge of refrigeration that the majority of vehicle ac problems are not compressor related when 98% of all ac problems is the leak no one wants to address. Repairs shops and dealers see only profit with compressor replacement the largest profit maker. Adding to insult is the fact that the drier is required to be replaced too while the leak is most likely a damaged fitting or broken tube on the condenser coil or anywhere ac lines are exposed to weathering and normal wear and tear. Adding up marked up parts along with labor rates and very expensive ac repairs scares everyone. Personal experience in repairing my car ac systems bears this out as I have three repairs to my '03 L300 (106k miles) and still use the original compressor. Two hoses leaked and one fitting mismatched from the old fitting being pitted against a new fitting, even when a new O-ring was used. Damaged condenser coil rounded out my ac problems. I repair ac problems from learning refrigeration and practice. Savings from labor rates and marked up parts by buying at discount. If I had to pay for these repairs, it would easily exceed $1500 (more with compressor replacement) when parts cost less than $125. I perform all labor and use equipment obtained over the years exactly the same as dealers and repair shops do. As you know, being a diyer saves much more money compared to dealer/repair shops.

Here on Saturnfans, I believe we share tips, ideas, experiences and knowledge to anyone willing to do diy repairs many pay dealers and repair shops are paid to do. The separation between diyers and repair shops is experience and knowledge. With the internet and youtube, secrets repair shops never reveal are provided with searching for info via google or similar search engines.

Last edited by fdryer; 04-11-2019 at 04:45 PM..

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