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Old 08-11-2022, 06:20 PM   #1
hazzard74
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Default Burning Through Throttle Position Sensors

Hello all,

2000 Saturn SL2, 120K, auto trans.
I have put in 3 TPS. They seem to work for a a couple months and then start going on the fritz: Idling at 1k in drive, 1,500-2K in neutral. Restart car, back 850 neutral, 750 drive.
First two were from NAPA, 3rd and current was an AC Delco purchased off eBay as new from well reputable seller (from what I could tell) and it is starting to act up. Sometimes as mentioned above, sometimes it settles at 1k RPM, bounces a little, and then down to 750.
IAC looks good, throttle body cleaned, can't find any vacuum leaks.
Is there anything that upstream that would cause TPS to go bad so quickly? Can't really afford to replace this every 2 months, and not sure where to go from here.

If any more details/symptoms would help please let me know.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-11-2022, 06:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: Burning Through Throttle Position Sensors

Check the contacts in the harness connector for the TPS; look for contacts that are corroded or "sprung open" so as to make poor contact. Tug on each wire and make sure none feel like they are stretching.

Use live data to see what the TPS (and other sensors) are reading when the problem happens.
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Old 08-13-2022, 12:03 AM   #3
hazzard74
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Default Re: Burning Through Throttle Position Sensors

I checked the Absolute Throttle Position on my reader and it read <1% open when the idle shot to 1,500 RPM in neutral. I popped the hood, verified the throttle was fully closed, jiggled the wires and connectors to the TPS and IAC...no change.
There is a vacuum line that goes over the timing chain cover. I wiggled it where it goes down behind the motor, and the idle dropped instantly. I tried wiggling it around to see if I could get the idle to spike again, but no luck. The pic shows the line and where I wiggled it.

Where does this line go to/from, and what should I check next?
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say it's not a TPS problem.

Thanks everyone for your help
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Old 08-13-2022, 12:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: Burning Through Throttle Position Sensors

I can't help. My gen1s don't have that gizmo, which I think is for fresh air to be added to the exhaust to help burning of HC/CO. They used to call it "A.I.R", for air injection reaction, back in the 1960s. It disappeared for a while when EFI became standard, then was revived in the late 1990s as "secondary air".
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Old 08-13-2022, 05:43 AM   #5
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Default Re: Burning Through Throttle Position Sensors

Itís a good idea to replace the connector when replacing the tps. Iíve also had this happen from the harness pins failing at the connector. Back probed the sensor signal and ground at the pcm and the problem solved just from increasing pin tension resulting from back probe.
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Old 08-13-2022, 11:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Burning Through Throttle Position Sensors

Quote:
Originally Posted by hazzard74 View Post
.......There is a vacuum line that goes over the timing chain cover. I wiggled it where it goes down behind the motor, and the idle dropped instantly. I tried wiggling it around to see if I could get the idle to spike again, but no luck. The pic shows the line and where I wiggled it.

Where does this line go to/from, and what should I check next?
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say it's not a TPS problem.
I think you found the intermittent source of high idling - one of several vacuum lines deteriorating from dry rot, cracking open and becoming the erratic high idle problem. You probably wasted money (we all do at some point) on throttle position sensors chasing this problem. Rubber or hard nylon eventually dry rots after many years then cracks, sometimes invisibly or large enough to see. Jiggling revealed where the damage occurred. Rubber vacuum hoses are easily replaced. Hard nylon a little more difficult. If a break occurred away from fittings then you can cut and connect an appropriate plastic fitting matching the inside diameter of rubber hoses or try replacing the hose. Hard nylon tubing is difficult to work with unless heated to soften it for inserting a plastic fitting. Another method might be using a rubber hose matching the outside diameter, over lapping each cut end by about an inch. Slipped on for a snug fit or glued with rubber or silicone sealant. If a vacuum line is damaged at a fitting, some imagination may be needed for a repair like drilling out the fitting to insert a plastic vacuum fitting into the hole and sealing around the fitting.

In front and above the exhaust manifold is the supplemental air injection system to pump air into the exhaust manifold on cold engine startups to help the O2 sensor heat up. This system uses a vacuum valve to open a passage for pumped air into the exhaust manifold for no more than a few minutes. The vacuum line is the tubing crossing over the camshaft cover. As you found out, something broke to allow fresh air into the intake manifold, increasing idle rpm.
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