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Old 02-22-2013, 12:46 PM   #1
Rogerrp
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default 2003 Vue FWD 4CL. P0302 Misfire. Spontaneous recovery, then back to problem

Dear Saturn fans,

2003 Vue FWD 4CL. Manual. 125k miles. P0302 Misfire. Spontaneous recovery, then back to problem.

Suddenly last Monday engine started misfiring as I start the car, happens at idle and any gear, hot and cold engine. Tank half full. Always Premium 93 gas.
OBDII sees p0300 with one reader and p0302 with another reader. No other codes.

Clues:
For a few months smell of fuel at start. Decided to work on fuel line this next Spring (fuel filter change, techron cleaner liquid, leak checks, injector checks,...) but now I can't wait (assuming fuel line is the guilty player). Spark plugs are new, coil is new, wires may be old (I have no record of when they were changed). Bought the car last summer, have done some basic tune ups.

The puzzling event is that last night, I added the techron fuel line cleaner liquid and filled up on gas (First time I use fuel cleaners ever but I had to try this time). No immediate change (obviously). 1 hour later I opened the hood and disconnected a vacuum hose (intake manifold port I think and hope) wanting to check for vacuum leaks. Could not even get a proper reading with the vacuum gauge. But, in 30 seconds of the engine being on, and misfiring/shaking, the engine misfires dropped in frequency. I reconnected the vacuum hose that I had disconnected and the engine continued to behave better and better. At that point I guessed that the techron cleaner was magically starting to act. Got in the car, drove around the block, perfect car behavior. Noticed the rpms at idle were lower than usual (800 instead of 1000). Drove again 5 minutes later and no problems either.
This morning, started the car and misfires again. As bad as before.
Dropped the car at a garage so they can have their guess.
Is the spontaneous but temporary recovery that I saw last night a clue at all? Does anything else that I have written give you a hint?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Roger
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:57 PM   #2
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2005 VUE 3.5L
2007 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 2003 Vue FWD 4CL. P0302 Misfire. Spontaneous recovery, then back to problem

Roger ... see the thumbnail and try to locate the hose you removed (or general area).

This diagram does not have fresh air intake tube to throttle bode so perhaps the line was part of that.
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:51 PM   #3
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2003 Vue FWD 4CL. P0302 Misfire. Spontaneous recovery, then back to problem

The one that plugs in where the arrow points. From the air duct to there.
Thanks,

R
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2003 Vue FWD 4CL. P0302 Misfire. Spontaneous recovery, then back to problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogerrp View Post
The one that plugs in where the arrow points. From the air duct to there.
Thanks,

R
That fitting is for the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system. A good quality hose should run from that fitting to a nipple on the intake air duct.

PCV establishes a closed loop where engine fumes are "sucked" into the air intake to be burned during the ignition processes and passed through the exhaust system.

If engine runs better with hose removed it could mean the hose is clogged, which means pressure will build in engine and affect operation.

Another downside of a clogged PCV hose is internal pressure will build to distort the valve cover gasket causing oil leaks.

One way to check for a properly operating PCV system is to rev engine to 1500-1600 RPM and pull the oil dipstick. A vacuum should be felt at dipstick hole. Pressure could mean the PCV system is clogged or you have excessive blow-by (bad rings in one or more cylinder).
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2003 Vue FWD 4CL. P0302 Misfire. Spontaneous recovery, then back to problem

Thanks for the info.
My first follow up question is where is the intake manifold vacuum? Not even looking at the picture in the Haynes manual can I tell which hose it is.

Concerning the PCV:

I left the car at a mechanic this morning and he has been vague as to what he checked but in the end he could not even identify the problem. I did not tell him about the PCV hose as I am still skeptic that the solution revolves around it. Mechanic failed and problem persists. After dinner tried to replicate my experience from last night by removing that PCV hose again and certainly, the engine stopped misfiring at idle. Checked hose and connection and is not clogged. Reconnected hose. Took car for a ride and misfired in 3rd gear and up. Less misfiring than usual.
Could I have something blocking the throttle and that messes up the pressure in the entire system in such a way that with the PCV hose off, that pressure comes back or it is relieved through the disconnected air intake duct?
Here is the thing. I have not even run the proper control for the pcv hose disconnection experiment were I turn on the car and let it idle for 5 minutes to see whether it is just a matter of waiting before the misfires present at start are reduced.
Plan for tomorrow, snow storm or not:
Check vacuum pressure (if I can find the right hose)
Check spark plugs and wires, maybe swap them around and see if the DTC follows a spark plug or wire set.
Check fuel pressure.
Think and read your answers.

Good night and thanks again far2g.

R
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2003 Vue FWD 4CL. P0302 Misfire. Spontaneous recovery, then back to problem

Check the thumbnail ... item 4 is the EVAP purge valve ... one end is traceable back to carbon canister and the other (front) is tied to intake manifold vacuum.

I can't put a finer point on where the vacuum hose is routed to because I've not dealt with a 2.2.

A smooth idle with the PCV hose removed is probably a good clue for some one familiar with the 2.2. I assume when you unplug the hose from valve cover you let it dangle in free space. Or, do you crimp the hose to limit airflow into intake duct?

The ignition module and coil pack will limit swapping plug leads - but you can swap plugs. I use a Sharpie to number sparkplugs removed from any engine to keep track of how each plug is working.

If you find your Vue misfires after engine has warmed you could disconnect the electrical lead to the upstream O2 sensor. Its OK to run without this sensor for awhile so you could try to see if engine runs smoothly.

Don't do for extended period since engine will run open loop and the injectors will tend to inject too much fuel to each cylinder ... this could eventually harm the catalytic converter.
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