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Old 05-17-2021, 10:27 PM   #1
Caleb.m1
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Default 02 Saturn SL won't idle

I had an intake gasket leak. So I replaced it. Before I did it would idle high but would rev up and run minty. Now I can't seem to get it to even idle. Misses hard. I can keep it going if I rev it up high but that'll make the headers and cat glow red. Anything lower than 1200rpm it bounced around because it's missing hard. I took off the intake again and made sure everything is in place. An same thing.
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Old 05-17-2021, 11:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Headers glowing red??? Is that just revving it at a stand-still, or pulling a lot of power on a dyno. Or are you exaggerating?

Headers usually can't get that hot unless the engine is pulling very hard, and for an extended time. If they are really glowing (at a stand-still) I'm wondering what the spark timing is like. Maybe way retarded from a false knock being sensed?
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Old 05-18-2021, 08:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Headers glowing red??? Is that just revving it at a stand-still, or pulling a lot of power on a dyno. Or are you exaggerating?

Headers usually can't get that hot unless the engine is pulling very hard, and for an extended time. If they are really glowing (at a stand-still) I'm wondering what the spark timing is like. Maybe way retarded from a false knock being sensed?

I say headers. It's not right at the engine. It's arounc the cat/ flex tube. And that's just trying to keep it to idle. It does pop quite a bit through the intake though. I'm wondering what changed since it was running ok( aside the miss and high idle) before I replaced the gasket.
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Old 05-18-2021, 12:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Start with the basics, pull the plugs for examination and take compression readings. Use live-data to check MAP, ECT, IAT, and TP; as well as fuel trims and spark advance. If the fuel trims are negative, check fuel pressure with a gauge.

Oh, and check to make sure the vacuum line to the fuel-pressure regulator got re-attached when the intake manifold was fussed with...
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Old 05-18-2021, 03:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Start with the basics, pull the plugs for examination and take compression readings. Use live-data to check MAP, ECT, IAT, and TP; as well as fuel trims and spark advance. If the fuel trims are negative, check fuel pressure with a gauge.

Oh, and check to make sure the vacuum line to the fuel-pressure regulator got re-attached when the intake manifold was fussed with...
I don't have access to a scanner where I'm at right now. All the lines are reattached. Im able to make it start but it's only firing on cyl 3. I can unplug the other cyls and no change. It has spark. Checked that. Has fuel. Pulled the fuel rail and verified that it is pulsating fuel as it should be. I don't know what I'm missing here. Unless there's a huge vaccume leak I can't find or timing somehow got off when I replaced the intake gasket.
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Old 05-18-2021, 03:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr
Start with the basics, pull the plugs for examination
Pull the other 3 plugs and check them, as billr suggested.

Are they wet with fuel after you try to start the car? Are they fouled? Do you get spark at each these three plugs?

If I understand you correctly, you are only firing on cylinder 3, so you need to really rev it up to keep it running.

Meanwhile, you are washing down the other 3 cylinders with unburned gas, which is going past the header and burning there, making your exhaust red hot.
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Old 05-18-2021, 04:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

I wish we could keep all this in one thread. OP, pick one...

I suspect this is a simple matter of having the plug wires mixed up.
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Old 05-18-2021, 05:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
Pull the other 3 plugs and check them, as billr suggested.

Are they wet with fuel after you try to start the car? Are they fouled? Do you get spark at each these three plugs?

If I understand you correctly, you are only firing on cylinder 3, so you need to really rev it up to keep it running.

Meanwhile, you are washing down the other 3 cylinders with unburned gas, which is going past the header and burning there, making your exhaust red hot.
Other three cyls are getting washed yes. Pulled plugs tested spark on those plugs and they have spark.
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Old 05-18-2021, 05:14 PM   #9
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
I wish we could keep all this in one thread. OP, pick one...

I suspect this is a simple matter of having the plug wires mixed up.
My bad about the multithread. And as far as I have found the plug wires are in the right spot. Looking at the engine bay from left to right we have cyl 1 2 3 4.
At the coil from left to right I plug in 1 4 2 3
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Old 05-18-2021, 07:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

So, we are going to continue with this thread and leave the other dormant?

My plug wires are 4-1-2-3 on the coils, but I don't think that 4-1 swap would cause such a severe problem. Is "left" for you the passenger-side? I still suggest posting pictures.

It is human nature to "see" things the way we know they are supposed to be, not the way they really are... And, if the pictures are good quality, encompassing most of the engine bay, we may spot something else that is odd.
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Old 05-18-2021, 08:35 PM   #11
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
So, we are going to continue with this thread and leave the other dormant?

My plug wires are 4-1-2-3 on the coils, but I don't think that 4-1 swap would cause such a severe problem. Is "left" for you the passenger-side? I still suggest posting pictures.

It is human nature to "see" things the way we know they are supposed to be, not the way they really are... And, if the pictures are good quality, encompassing most of the engine bay, we may spot something else that is odd.
Left being passenger side yes. I tried 4-1 swap to no difference.
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Old 05-18-2021, 08:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Also tried to Cheech some starting fluid in it. No bingo.
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Old 05-18-2021, 10:36 PM   #13
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

I have no clue what "Cheech" and "run minty" mean. It would help if you avoid using slang.

Have you tried any of the things I suggested above?
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Old 05-19-2021, 08:42 AM   #14
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
I have no clue what "Cheech" and "run minty" mean. It would help if you avoid using slang.

Have you tried any of the things I suggested above?

Aside live data because I don't have access to a scanner right now I've tried everything that's been suggested outside the realm of just throwing parts at it.

"Cheeched some starting fluid"
Sprayed starting fluid

"She used to run minty"
She used to fire up and aside the safety hazards it's too notch.
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Old 05-19-2021, 11:39 AM   #15
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

You tried everything suggested except live-data? Let's go over the results, make sure I understand correctly:

1) What are the compression readings?

2) With fuel injectors and pump disabled and using starting fluid, it will fire only on #3, and only if the #3 plug wire is connected to provide spark. Is that correct?

Swap the #2 and #3 plug wires at the plug end, see if it still fires only on #3 or if #2 now becomes the only good one. Another no-cost and easy to do trick is to swap the coils, see if that moves the problem to different cylinders.

With fueling disabled so there is no chance the mixture is too rich, and using the very-forgiving starting-fluid, a "no fire" on any particular cylinder means either there is no spark to that cylinder, or the basic engine innards are bad. There is no point looking at any of the fuel system or any sensors (other than CKP sensor) until each cylinder can fire on starting-fluid.
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Old 05-19-2021, 07:27 PM   #16
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
You tried everything suggested except live-data? Let's go over the results, make sure I understand correctly:

1) What are the compression readings?

2) With fuel injectors and pump disabled and using starting fluid, it will fire only on #3, and only if the #3 plug wire is connected to provide spark. Is that correct?

Swap the #2 and #3 plug wires at the plug end, see if it still fires only on #3 or if #2 now becomes the only good one. Another no-cost and easy to do trick is to swap the coils, see if that moves the problem to different cylinders.

With fueling disabled so there is no chance the mixture is too rich, and using the very-forgiving starting-fluid, a "no fire" on any particular cylinder means either there is no spark to that cylinder, or the basic engine innards are bad. There is no point looking at any of the fuel system or any sensors (other than CKP sensor) until each cylinder can fire on starting-fluid.

Compression is
1. 170
2. 130.
3. 130
4. 165.

Not the best but I've ran motors on worse.

With injectors unplugged spraying starting fluid it doesn't fire up. Little Fire which I believe to be cyl 2.

OBD2 plugged in everything looks normal. Random multipule misfire detected.

Saturn obd
Misfire.
Coolant low.
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Old 05-19-2021, 07:31 PM   #17
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
You tried everything suggested except live-data? Let's go over the results, make sure I understand correctly:

1) What are the compression readings?

2) With fuel injectors and pump disabled and using starting fluid, it will fire only on #3, and only if the #3 plug wire is connected to provide spark. Is that correct?

Swap the #2 and #3 plug wires at the plug end, see if it still fires only on #3 or if #2 now becomes the only good one. Another no-cost and easy to do trick is to swap the coils, see if that moves the problem to different cylinders.

With fueling disabled so there is no chance the mixture is too rich, and using the very-forgiving starting-fluid, a "no fire" on any particular cylinder means either there is no spark to that cylinder, or the basic engine innards are bad. There is no point looking at any of the fuel system or any sensors (other than CKP sensor) until each cylinder can fire on starting-fluid.


Swapped coils around. Wouldn't even try to fire. Swapped plugs around. Same.
Swapped coils back. Fire on 3rd cyl. Put #3 plug wire on 2. No fire.
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Old 05-19-2021, 08:51 PM   #18
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

So on a new update.

I got new plugs for it just to see. Cranked an all 4 were wet. Tested spark again because well why not.cyl 1 had spark. Sometimes. Cyl 4 was weak. Cyl 2 and 3 had great spark. So I'll put in a new coil tomorrow. See what it does.
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Old 05-19-2021, 08:55 PM   #19
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

"Little Fire which I believe to be cyl 2."

Are you trying it on one cylinder at a time, with the other three plugs removed??? If you do that, there should be absolutely no uncertainty about which cylinders are capable of firing. And, if you find one that does fire, try it again with the plug in but wire disconnected so we can be sure it isn't dieseling on the staring-fluid.

Are you taking compression with the throttle held wide-open? Yes, many engines run with compression that low, but a lot depends on why the compression is lower than normal. If it is because of leaky valves or worn rings, the engine will be down on power, but run. If, however the poor compression is because valve timing has slipped, then it is hard to predict what the effect will be.

You should probably remove the valve cover and check things in there visually, at least.

We must determine if you have spark for #3 that is good enough to reliably fire #3. If so, then we can dismiss the CKP sensor and several other possibilities. If you do have spark from that coil, then we must wonder why it won't fire #2 Did you move the plug wire at the plug end? Moving it at the coil still leaves a bad plug wire as a possibility.
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Old 05-19-2021, 11:01 PM   #20
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Default Re: 02 Saturn SL won't idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
"Little Fire which I believe to be cyl 2."

Are you trying it on one cylinder at a time, with the other three plugs removed??? If you do that, there should be absolutely no uncertainty about which cylinders are capable of firing. And, if you find one that does fire, try it again with the plug in but wire disconnected so we can be sure it isn't dieseling on the staring-fluid.


Are you taking compression with the throttle held wide-open? Yes, many engines run with compression that low, but a lot depends on why the compression is lower than normal. If it is because of leaky valves or worn rings, the engine will be down on power, but run. If, however the poor compression is because valve timing has slipped, then it is hard to predict what the effect will be.

You should probably remove the valve cover and check things in there visually, at least.

We must determine if you have spark for #3 that is good enough to reliably fire #3. If so, then we can dismiss the CKP sensor and several other possibilities. If you do have spark from that coil, then we must wonder why it won't fire #2 Did you move the plug wire at the plug end? Moving it at the coil still leaves a bad plug wire as a possibility.
Process went a bit like this. When it was running ( by holding the throttle open and doing my best to make sure it doesn't die) I pulled wires off the coils till something changed. I could pull 1, 2 and 4 without change. Pull 3. Dead. Then test if it'll try and come to life one cyl wire on at a time.

Compression was taken with wot intake disconnected/ open to the throttle body.

I have high doubt the timing is off but this did cross my mind. Knowing how it sounded when it was running with 3 cyls, as well as knowing how it sounds when it cranks, timing is on the back of my mind.as well as inspection of timing cover shows no tamper. To be noted it appears valve cover has been tampered with recently. But a motor out of time has a distinct sound when cranking. Especially if it's a compression loss.

Current assumption is based off results from new spark plugs. Old spark plugs gave weak spark but should of been enough to make it run.

Insert new spark plugs. Disconnect injector wiring. Spray starting fluid. Crank. Tries to start more than it was. Plug in injectors crank. Same result. Pull plugs. All plugs wet. Test spark. Spark on cyl 2-3 is much improved and is more than enough to make fire. Cyl 4 has weak spark on new plug. Cyl 1 has intermittent spark. I would say one out of every 5-6 times it's supposed to fire, it does. Pulled coil. Tested resistance between top two points. 0k ohms. Previous coil test showed 13k ohm. Possible intermittent coil. Replacing coil tomorrow.

With new coil test spark. If spark is good proceed to unplug injectors and test with fluid. If spark is less than adequate, remove what I assume is the ignition module below the coil and find out procedure of testing that.

I have fuel. I have enough compression. The only thing that should keep it from running at this point is spark or timing. I have a possible spark issue so I'll nip that first.

I still haven't ruled out head gasket for cyl 2-3. No bubbles in coolant no smoke from exhaust. Possible lift between cylinders creating an equal pressure between the two.
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