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Old 03-16-2008, 07:55 PM   #1
auger
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Default Sudden onset of rough idle/running 92 SL1

Hi, wondering where best to start with diagnosing this.
270,000 Kms 92 SL1

Car has been running fine, started yesterday and drove three miles or so and gassed up with regular, had a half tank already.
Then drove onto the highway and drove at approx. 100kms to 110kms for five minutes or so. When I exited the highway and stopped the engine began to idle roughly, and when I accelerated it was sluggish and felt like it didn't want to take the gas. The next light I had to shift to neutral to keep up engine rpm or the car would have stalled.
Car starts fine, no codes showing via the service engine light when jumpered to enter diagnostic mode.
Just wondering where the best place to start with this might be.
Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Sudden onset of rough idle/running 92 SL1

it might be the EGR or TPS. For the tps, tap on it to see if idle changes.
Egr will be needed to be taken off for cleaning making sure the pintle move freely.
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Old 03-17-2008, 01:48 AM   #3
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Default Re: Sudden onset of rough idle/running 92 SL1

mine had the same problem. i opened the front trunk and found some knocking sound under the rocker cover( cover on which the word SATURN is written. removed the rocker cover and discovered that the exaust valve spring was broken and the cylinder no 2 was not making compression cause of open valve. i have ot change the valve spring now. yes, mine too is 92 SL1 and 160k now
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Old 03-17-2008, 03:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Sudden onset of rough idle/running 92 SL1

Clean your EGR and throttle body including the IAC passages.



Quote:
Originally Posted by amrjohal View Post
i opened the front trunk and found some knocking sound under the rocker cover( cover on which the word SATURN is written
Took me a few times to understand what you were sayin haha

Front trunk = Hood
Rocker cover = Valve cover

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Old 03-17-2008, 01:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: Sudden onset of rough idle/running 92 SL1

No one asked about his ECTS!!! It can do that, if the connector corrodes off. auger use the forum jump at the bottom of the page and go to the How-To Library. What you need to know is at the top of the page. There are two coolant temp sensors on your car. The one you want to replace is the one with two wires going to it.

Also a clogged cat is a possibility. To chacek for that, pull the front O2 sensor out of the manifold and take it for a noisey ride with the SES light on. If it runs better, your cat is probably clogged.
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Old 03-17-2008, 05:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Sudden onset of rough idle/running 92 SL1

Thanks for the input guys.
I had a look at things today, and found one of the towers on one of the coil packs was surprisingly quite corroded. Just the one? Odd. Cleaned it and checked with ohm meter, strong 10+ reading across both towers on that coil. Replaced the plug wire just to be sure a good connection was made.
Car still idles and runs like it's missing on a cylinder, will try your suggestions next.
Note: there is a strong odor of either oil or unburned gas or both from the exhaust, this has occurred with this problem and was not present before.

There's a shot of the two towers on the coil I spoke of.
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Old 03-17-2008, 05:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Sudden onset of rough idle/running 92 SL1

Quote:
Originally Posted by auger View Post
Note: there is a strong odor of either oil or unburned gas or both from the exhaust, this has occurred with this problem and was not present before.
That's an indication of a very rich fuel mix and that's a good indication of a problem with the ECTS.
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Old 03-21-2008, 07:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Sudden onset of rough idle/running 92 SL1

Haven't had a chance to investigate further, but today with half a tank of gas gone (in half the normal amount of kilometers driven) the car seemed to be running better than it had in the last week since buying that gas.
I'm beginning to think it's bad gas. The odor from the exhaust is more acrid than just unburnt gasoline, it's more harsh, chemical, almost paint thinner-like.
Should I just run this tank down as low as I can, then run some cleaner through the system, pull the plugs and see what's on them?

PS, sorry, should have said before, I replaced the ECTS and pigtail about three years ago with an all brass, also replaced the EGR at that time, TPS too. Turned out to be a vacuum leak at the intake at that time, replaced that also, checked for a leak two days ago, seems fine.
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Old 03-21-2008, 07:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Sudden onset of rough idle/running 92 SL1

Ignore, I deleted my reply after "re-reading" everyone elses replies. My reply sounded stupid and irrelevant.


Last edited by serenitythen; 03-21-2008 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 03-30-2008, 02:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: Sudden onset of rough idle/running 92 SL1

OK, after thinking about this, and pouring over my Chilton's when I had a chance, and searching for similar threads (which are numerous to say the least) I decided to start with the basics as suggested by you all.
I am happy to report that the problem was corrosion on the coil packs and under the module.
After removing the plug wire boots at the coil packs and having someone turn the ignition switch I discovered that the only spark present was an arc from the number 3 cylinder's coil pack tower to ground somewhere other than cylinder 2's coil tower. I saw no visible spark between any other coil pack towers. Weak spark.
I took the coil packs and ignition module off the engine, cleaned everything.
Inspecting the coil packs I discovered the contact point on one of the towers was very corroded, the one shown in the picture I posted earlier on in the thread. Luckily I had kept the coil packs that I'd changed three years ago in a desperate attempt to smooth an idle that was being made rough by an intake leak. I installed these coil packs (they read about 8k ohms) and cleaned the mounting surface on the block, then reassembled and did the spark test again, it worked GREAT!
The car is running smoother than it has in a long while, I guess this problem was creeping up and I didn't notice.
Thanks for the help, hope this helps someone else down the road.

The week before this problem came on, or to the point that it could not be ignored, we had a wicked winter snow storm, I was having chunks of ice fall out from the plastic splash pan under the rad for three days after. All that wet must have gotten in to the coil pack and module area, a week later it was well corroded. I'll be on the watch for this from now on.
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