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Old 02-12-2005, 12:35 PM   #1
Filo
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Default Service Engine Soon Light – Error Code P0133

The SES light on my 1997 Saturn SL1 (105K miles) turned “on” very recently. I obtained a fault code P0133 [“Upstream heated O2 sensor circuit high voltage (Bank 1, Sensor1)”] from my local AutoZone. No other codes were found and the vehicle seems to be driving normally. Have not checked gas mileage.

I have three question-areas for anyone kind enough to help…

1) Does this fault code automatically mean that the upstream O2 sensor is bad/going bad? Has anyone else had this fault code and, if so, would you recommend, or did your vehicle require, service work other than replacement of the upstream O2 sensor?

2) Is replacement of the upstream sensor a DIY job? Any tricks or tips to make the job easier or prevent problems? Should an O.E. Type or Universal sensor be purchased (what is difference…other than price)? Are special sockets needed?

3) Is it possible to drive the vehicle for a few days until I install a new sensor? Any risk of damage/degradation to the exhaust system components (catalytic converter)?

Thanks for your help!

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Old 02-12-2005, 02:41 PM   #2
Razorbak
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Default Re: Service Engine Soon Light – Error Code P0133

That code is related to the front O2 sensor on the exhaust manifold ("O2S"), not the rear "heated" O2 sensor behind the catalytic converter ("HO2S-2"). The front sensor is not heated.

Check the sensor and wiring for corrosion or a loose connection. The most likely cause of this code is contamination caused by fuel, improper use of RTV sealant (w/silicone), engine oil, or coolant contamination. The source of contamination should be identified and corrected before replacing the sensor. Otherwise, the new sensor will quickly go bad from the still-present contamination source.

Was this O2 sensor replaced recently? If so, was any type of penetrating oil allowed to contact the upper (air reference) portion of the sensor? What type of anti-sieze was used (hopefully not containing silicone)? Were any RTV gaskets replaced recently (hopefully not containing silicone)?

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Old 02-12-2005, 04:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Service Engine Soon Light – Error Code P0133

P0133 Heated O2 Sensor Circuit Slow Response (Bank 1, Sensor 1)

my list says slow response not high voltage. it mean the sensor has become "lazy" or its not cris-crossing from high to low to high fast enough in the PCM's mind.

what Razor said is 100% true, this is normally caused by contamination. and chances are whatever that contamination is is doing more harm to your exhaust then a O2 code.

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Old 02-12-2005, 08:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Service Engine Soon Light – Error Code P0133

I had the same SES code at 75,000 miles. Dealership replaced O2 sensor under my extended warranty. I have not had a problem since then, and have 88,000 miles. I have replaced it on other vehicles, and has been easy since I have the special socket and can use a breaker bar if I need leverage. A few tips: I have always heard to warm the car slightly to make it easier to remove. On this car, you could use a wrench, so others that have changed them on this car could direct you better. To me, it is much like changing a spark plug, but due to corrosion/heat/and time it may be harder to remove. As far as universal O2 sensors, I believe the universal Bosch O2 sensor contributed to failing emissions on my other car (Sentra). I replaced with the Bosch one that had the wiring harness, and it has worked great. I believe Wolfman posted a list of some parts he recommends being OEM, the O2 sensor was one of them (I believe). I don't know why? I have had good luck with Bosch O.E. type, but it was not used on a Saturn. So, maybe others can direct you on that also.

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Old 02-15-2005, 11:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: Service Engine Soon Light – Error Code P0133

Thank you for the replies, I appreciate it.

The SES indicator turned “off” after approximately one hour of driving at highway speed last weekend. Could the prolonged hot exhaust gas stream have burned-off any contamination on the sensor (though one might think it could also further degrade to a char any existing contaminant present on the sensor)?

It is interesting that you mention contamination as a possible root cause for the sensor performance degradation over time. I did have a problem with a cylinder 1 misfire error code (error code 301) almost exactly one year ago. However, it was “solved” by inspecting and reseating the plug boot on this cylinder’s plug – error code no longer present/SES light off. However, I did not remove and check the plug itself (all plugs were replaced at 76K miles – 6/2002). Also, my car does not seem to be consuming any significant (?) amount of oil between changes (3000 miles).

Perhaps the plugs should be removed and inspected for signs of contamination?

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Old 02-16-2005, 03:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: Service Engine Soon Light - Error Code P0133

The O2 sensor is located at the harshest environment any electrical device shouldn't be. Its core part is directly dealing with HOT exhaust gas all time and its connector is at front of the engine (Dust, Water, etc).....

It's not abnormal for the O2 sensor being contaminated over time because Exhaust gas has harmful stuff like Carbon, Sulfur, etc....other than just high HEAT. It's a wear item and typical life-span is 60-70k. With 105k on the car already, you are lucky to have it replace just now. Also, it's DIY item but like Wolfman said, better get OEM parts because it's been calibrated for Saturn's PCM.

Later time, you need require to have the Downstream O2 sensor (one after the Cat Converter) replace as well. Wait until the SES light said it cuz that one is more expensive.

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