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Old 12-11-2001, 05:11 PM   #1
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Dizzy Help with paperclip trick

Ok, it seems really simple, but when I try it I get a different result every time. So far I gather the car has to be running to do the paperclip trick. When I first put it in sometimes I get 3 very fast flashes and sometimes 1, then how long is the pause between? It starts flashing on and off about once per second, sometimes pausing after 3 or 4 or 6, sometimes not. Could it be giving me different codes each time or multiple codes at once? How do I know when one stops and one starts? Do I need to turn the car off after each insertion to reset something?
My SES light is on for a minute then off for a while then it comes back on for a few minutes then off again. Car runs fine (93SL1)
When I poke in the paperclip the coolant warning level/temp light comes on. What am I doing wrong? How fast are the flashes supposed to be and how long of a pause indicates a second (or first) code number?

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Old 12-11-2001, 07:06 PM   #2
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2003 VUE 3.0L

The car must be off(not running)when this is done,First put in the clip,then turn on ignition,then watch and see which codes come up.the first set of codes is telling you the pcm is ok,i would suggest getting a haynes or some other manual when doing this.
There is a current tread that gives links for the codes and also ho to retrive them.
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Old 12-11-2001, 07:11 PM   #3
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2003 VUE 3.0L

i don't know what went wrong.but the tread is called is
so lets try again
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Old 12-11-2001, 09:06 PM   #4
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Dizzy still confused

Mike Silva's article on retrieving the codes gives me "page not found"

So do I actually start the car or just turn the ignition to "on"?

BTW I have a haynes manual that explains the codes, but doesn't give a he!! of a lot of explanation about exactly how to retrieve them.

My mechanics advise (he was busy hunting for intermittent SES stuff on 4 other cars at the time) is, "don't worry about it as long as the car drives fine, bring it in if it STAYS on"

I know some cars "run rich" when the check engine light is on, but I'm not sure about the sattys.
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Old 12-11-2001, 10:59 PM   #5
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Post How to read/clear the codes...

Arg! The page didn't work for me either! Sorry, I should have checked it before posting it.

The procedure is not in the Hayne's manual but it is in the Chilton's manual. I don't have a Chilton's manual (yet). However, saved Mike Silva's page! The only part that is missing is a diagram showing terminals A and B of the ALDL. Basically those are found on the top row in the last two positions on the far right of the data port. Here is the text from Mike Silva's page:

General Information

1991 - 1995 Saturns Only
The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) performs a continual self-diagnosis on many circuits of the engine control system and , if equipped, on the automatic transaxle control system. If a problem or irregularity is detected, the PCM will set either a Code or a Flag. A Code indicates a suspected failure that currently exists or that has existed in an engine system. A currently present code will illuminate the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light. A Flag is a diagnostic aid that indicates an intermittent problem or irregularity, but it does not necessarily indicate a failure, A flag will not illuminate the indicator light.

There are two levels of PCM memory, "General Information" and "Malfunction History". Codes are stored in both places, white flags are only stored in malfunction history. Any code stored in General Information can be read by observing the flashing SERVICE ENGINE SOON lamp while the system is in diagnostic mode. Flags and codes that are stored in Malfunction History can only be retrieved with a suitable scan tool. Most tools will be menu driven and although their use is not specially covered here, most described tests are useful for interpreting scan tool test results. Unlike flags for the engine control system, flags which are designated for the automatic transaxle will flash the SHIFT TO D2 lamp along with any stored transaxle codes.

Assembly Line Diagnostic Link (ALDL)
There are many Saturn test procedures that require the connection of a scan tool or connecting a jumper wire to terminals A and B of the ALDL (the main diagnostic tool connector). The ALDL is used during vehicle assembly to test the engine before it leaves the assembly plant and after the factory to communicate with the PCM. The ALDL is located under the left side of the dashboard, near the hood release handle. Terminal A is an internal ground and is the top right terminal in the connector. Terminal B, directly adjacent and to the left of Terminal A, is the main diagnostic terminal. When these terminals are jumpered together and the ignition switch turned ON, the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light will flash Code 12. This indicates that the internal diagnostic system is operating and that specific output device signals are being generated.

Entering Self-Diagnosis
To enter the diagnostics, either connect a scan tool to the ALDL or use a jumper wire to connect terminals A and B of the ALDL. Turn the ignition switch ON, then the PCM will enter the diagnostic program and report trouble codes on the scan tool or by flashing the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light.

All codes are 2 digits between 11 and 99. Codes are displayed on the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light by flashing the light with short and long pauses to distinguish digits of one code from digits of another. The short pause is used between digits of the same code, long pauses are between codes. For code 12, the sequence will be: flash, pause, flash-flash, long pause.[list=1][*]When diagnostic mode is entered, Code 12 is displayed 3 times. This indicates that the internal diagnostic system is operating. If Code 12 is not displayed, the self-diagnostic program is not functioning properly, If only Code 12 is displayed, no system malfunctions have been stored.[*]Any existing system fault codes are displayed in order from low to high, except Code 11. Each code is displayed 3 times, followed by the next code, if any.[*]On vehicles with an automatic transaxle and on which exist stored transaxle codes, Code 11 will be displayed last, then the SHIFT TO D2 light will begin flashing transaxle codes or flags.[*]When all engine and transaxle codes have been displayed, Code 12 will flash again. At this point all output devices are driven, except the fuel pump, so these circuits can be checked.[*]This procedure can be repeated as required by cycling the ignition switch OFF, then ON again with the ALDL terminals jumpered together. The Code display will begin again as in step 1.[/list=1]
Clearing Codes
Removing power from the PCM will clear Codes from the General Information portion of of the PCM memory. Flags and Codes in Malfunction History however, will remain in the PCM memory even if power is disconnected. Data in Malfunction History can only be read or cleared using a scan tool.

To clear General Information without cutting PCM power, therefore preserving other on-board data such as radio presets or the PCM learning ability, a scan tool may be used. If no scan tool is available proceed as follows:[list=1][*]Turn the ignition ON, then jumper terminals A and B of the ALDL together 3 times within 5 seconds. The SERVICE ENGINE SOON light should stop flashing and any Codes should be cleared.[*]Enter diagnostic mode to be certain that all codes have been erased. If necessary, repeat Step 1 to assure all codes are removed from General Information memory.[*]If all faults have repaired, cycling the ignition switch 50 times will automatically clear General Information of fault Codes.[/list=1]
PCM Learning Ability
The PCM module contains a built-in learning ability that allows it to maximize driveability by correcting minor variations in the fuel system. Any time the PCM is replaced or the power is removed from the PCM, the module must go through a relearning process. Maximum performance may not return until after this is accomplished. To enable the PCM to relearn the fuel system:[list=1][*]Start the vehicle and warm it to normal operating temperature.[*]Drive the vehicle at part throttle, with moderate acceleration and idle conditions, until normal performance returns.[*]Park the vehicle and engage the parking brake.[*]For automatic transaxles, shift into D. For manual transaxles, shift into N.[*]Allow the engine to idle at normal operating temperature for about 2 minutes, until the engine stabilizes.[/list=1]
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