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Old 12-21-2000, 10:13 PM   #1
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Default very low initial rpm at starting

got a problem on starting. for starters, new battery, new napa alternator,new plugs(champion), relatively clean air filter, new oil(havoline 5w-30),good quality gas, new fuel filter. 94 sl2 with 171,400 miles.
now everytime i start the engine after being parked for at least 5 hours, the rpm at initial would be a shade below 1000. the engine sounds like its choking so i have to step on the gas for at least 2 seconds to keep it from chugging roughly. after i take my foot off, i notice that the idling at cold is just about 1000. i used to get around 1500-1800rpm at initial start and 1200 rpm idling right after that,even during very cold winters in saginaw, michigan. also gas mileage is down to around 23 mi/gal from usual 29-31 mi/gal.
problem seem to have started after i decarbonized the engine with top engine cleaner the car ran fine on the day i decarbonized although it seemed to run hotter on the temp. gauge than usual. and i remember it was a particularly cold day in november. that night i soaked all 4 cylinders with chemtool b-12. changed oil and but the following morning the car just won't crank but i can hear the starter spinning. pulled out the starter cleaned it with contact cleaner both in and out. manually cranked the engine with a wrench with all plugs out, i don't know how it should feel but at a particular part while turning it manually, it catches stops turning and felt like its stuck. once beyond this point it was easy again to turn until you get to the same part. didn't start for 5 days tried jumping and a squirt of starting fluid, no avail. a AAA tow guy cranked the hell out of it, started and he said it just got cold. thing is i never had problems with cold starting before this. now every morning, i had to step on the gas while starting to fire up the car. today while driving the car i noticed that everytime i let go of the gas while on the road,it felt like i'm suddenly slowwing down. could i have a partially seized engine? if not, what could i possibly check out? the car starts ok as long as it doesn't sit for too long. also i could barely get beyond 1/8 on the temp gauge while cruising.
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Old 12-21-2000, 11:14 PM   #2
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Hey I dunno anything about how to solve this problem, but i know exactly what you're going through...i have an sl2 and it has been hard too start as well..the only way i can seem to keep it started it is to keep my foot on the gas for a first i thought it was doing this just because it has been cold lately..but seeing you have the same problem maybe its something else....FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEONE HELP US PAALLEEEASE
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Old 12-22-2000, 01:00 AM   #3
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Sounds like you could have a couple of problems. The hard starting chugging could be a bad pcm temp sensor. If the sensor is telling the pcm that it is colder than it really is then there will be to much fuel on initial start. Try replacing the pcm temp sensor. The other thing of not getting a high enough reading from the temp gauge could be the temp gauge sensor or the t-stat. If the low temp reading also gives you no heat inside the car replace the t-stat. If you have heat and a low reading replace the gauge temp sensor. A given is that you have sufficient coolant in the engine. Interesting reading on a similar problem to yours is in one of the threads by novascotiasl1 (I think that's the right name). Another thought on the hard start is that it may be the idle air control, but that shouldn't give you any black smoke.
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Old 12-26-2000, 11:40 PM   #4
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thanks! will try out the pcm temp sensor as soon as i get the chance.
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Old 03-01-2001, 04:38 PM   #5
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Another often overlooked mishap is vaccum leaks. Check to make sure the hoses on the intake are solid and connected. An open line would do exactlly what you described.
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Old 03-01-2001, 04:45 PM   #6
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Since ssicarman's up in Canada, he ought to be a real authority on cold weather problems.

Great to have all our techs on board for free consultations on our Saturn ailments.
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Old 04-01-2001, 07:36 PM   #7
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it turned out to be the idle air control valve. i've been putting up with the hard starting and stumbling for the last 3 1/2 months but it has gotten so worse that no matter whether it's cold or hot i could'nt start it and the stumbling happenned each and every time i release the accelerator at any given speed. on ssicarman's mention of the IAC valve i tried flooding the throttle body inlet for the valve with cleaner. it ran OK for a few hours and then the stumbling occured again. 2 weeks ago it got nice enough in jersey for me to replace the IAC valve and as soon as i started it, it roared to life like the old days. also replaced the pcm temp sensor since i already have it in hand. i actually drove it down to florida the following day and have run close to 3000 miles since with no problems. me and my sl2 are back in business. thanks.
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