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Old 12-16-2006, 05:57 AM   #1
taosd
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Default Erratic Idle

So today I was driving my 2001 Saturn L200 2.2L 4-cyl to work, and when I stopped at a red light, I noticed that it was idling oddly. It would be idling at around 750 rpm (as normal) then drop down to 500 or so RPM, then up, then down, then up, and so on. Once I started moving, it seemed like the cars acceleration was acting in a similar way, and as I was driving at a constant speed down the road, with steady pressure on the accelerator, the engine kinda seemed to go up and down in RPM, though the tach reported a constant reading.

So later today, I was on my way home and I noticed that the erratic idling was gone. However, after approximately 30 minutes of driving, when I stopped the erratic idling was back, however, the strange engine "going up and down in RPM" feeling was not there.

Again, later tonight, same thing, everything was fine until about 30 minutes into the drive, and when I stopped it was back, again the strange engine "going up and down in RPM" feeling was not there.

The check engine light is not on, and I put some fuel injector cleaner in my car not too long ago (about a month). Any ideas what this might be? I did a search on "erratic idle" and didn't find much that suited my situation.

Thanks in advance

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Old 12-19-2006, 10:35 AM   #2
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Default Re: Erratic Idle

an update: It seems that it does it constantly, though it intensifies after about a half hour of driving, if this helps anyone identify the problem.

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Old 12-22-2006, 12:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Erratic Idle

There are a number of things to check if this hasn't happened before.

1-Do you have auto climate control and is it always on? If you're driving with it dialed into your favorite temperature, has the a/c been warmer as if there's less cooling now? The IAC in conjunction with a faulty a/c may contribute to this condition. Turn off the a/c and observe if the erratic idling goes away.
2-It may be the EGR valve needing some cleaning, loose/cracked vacuum line, loose electrical connector if an electrical unit.
3-IAC (intake air control) loose connector.
4-Possibly the throttle position sensor (TPS) is deteriorating; rap the side of it lightly with a screwdriver handle and observe if the idle speed immediately changes; if it does then change the TPS. Check for a loose electrical connector also.
5-Possibly a loose or cracked vacuum line; spraying suspected areas with throttle cleaner or something similar and observing immediate engine speed changes will expose this problem.
6-Intake manifold leaking air by the gaskets, PCV fitting, vacuum booster line to the power brake unit, etc..

Choose the easiest item you're familiar with and eliminate each item carefully, sometimes the problem will be obvious in appearance all by itself during a hands-on visual inspection.

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Old 12-22-2006, 03:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: Erratic Idle

The 2.2L doesnt have an EGR valve, so that one is out the window.

My first place to suggest is a clogged cat. They usually get worse when fully warmed up. Did you have some bad misfires not too long ago possibly? How many miles on it? ANy recent repairs?

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Old 12-22-2006, 08:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Erratic Idle

What about the Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor? I've heard of problems like this caused by the ECTS sending bad info to the ECM on other Saturn models.

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Old 12-22-2006, 04:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Erratic Idle

While it is possible, it is highly unlikely, since they have used a very good design since 2001 in all gm cars, thanks to saturn....

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Old 12-25-2006, 07:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Erratic Idle

Well, as for recent work on the car, I had a remote starter put in about two weeks prior to the problem occuring. The car has about 95000 KM on it... sooooo not quite 60000 miles.

I poured some fuel injector cleaner in there and I haven't yet had the chance to really drive the car to the point that the problem would occur. I'll check back in a few days after doing some driving.

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