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Old 03-23-2012, 05:05 PM   #1
airme
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Default 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

4 cyl, 2.2, manual

A few days ago my wife took our 2005 VUE out and it wouldn't go above 30MPH, it was running rough and sputtering.

Took it to a local Mienekie(sp) to get the codes checked and it spit out:

B3B16 they didn't know what this code meant

and

p2176a Minimum Throttle Position not learned

Once they unplugged the code checker, it started running normally. They suggested since I put a new battery in it a month ago that I go home and unplug the battery for 15 mins and then let it run for 10 mins and see what happens. Did this and it was still running normally.

Fast forward 24 hours, my wife goes to take it out again and it is sputtering and running rough etc etc again. Went through, unplugged the battery for 15 mins, let it run for 10, shut it off and started it back up again and it is now running fine.

What could be the source of this?
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

You could disconnect battery again for few minutes - reconnect - turn key to ON (not start) for at least one minute. Turn key OFF - then START and drive for 30 minutes on route with varying speeds and requiring a few stops and starts.

During drive - also turn on lights, AC, HVAC fan, rear defogger, etc.

You want the ECM to "learn" engine RPM requirements for different speeds and electrical loads.

This may make a difference - but could be a waste of time. It is a procedure recommended by the service manual.
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
You could disconnect battery again for few minutes - reconnect - turn key to ON (not start) for at least one minute. Turn key OFF - then START and drive for 30 minutes on route with varying speeds and requiring a few stops and starts.

During drive - also turn on lights, AC, HVAC fan, rear defogger, etc.

You want the ECM to "learn" engine RPM requirements for different speeds and electrical loads.

This may make a difference - but could be a waste of time. It is a procedure recommended by the service manual.
I did that for 15 minutes, I guess I didn't do it long enough. LOL. I will give it a try and I didn't see that step in the manual but I think my kids may have removed a page or 2.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:56 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Quote:
Originally Posted by airme View Post
I did that for 15 minutes, I guess I didn't do it long enough. LOL. I will give it a try and I didn't see that step in the manual but I think my kids may have removed a page or 2.
Pardon me if I misinterpreted what procedure you did, but for this to (potentially) work, it must be followed exactly as Far2grumpy stated...

From the sounds of it, you simply disconnected the battery then started it and let it run (at idle?) for 10 minutes after reconnecting the battery.

For this to work (potentially), after you reconnect the battery, turn the key to the ON (ACC) position for at least 1 minute, then back OFF (do NOT start the engine). Then, start the Vue and take the little guy out for a drive for at least 30 minutes.

During that drive, run as many electrical-related things as possible, as F2g stated, and make sure you throw in some stop & go driving along the route.

Hopefully this works. Let us know how you make out.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:25 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedGeminiPA View Post
Pardon me if I misinterpreted what procedure you did, but for this to (potentially) work, it must be followed exactly as Far2grumpy stated...

From the sounds of it, you simply disconnected the battery then started it and let it run (at idle?) for 10 minutes after reconnecting the battery.

For this to work (potentially), after you reconnect the battery, turn the key to the ON (ACC) position for at least 1 minute, then back OFF (do NOT start the engine). Then, start the Vue and take the little guy out for a drive for at least 30 minutes.

During that drive, run as many electrical-related things as possible, as F2g stated, and make sure you throw in some stop & go driving along the route.

Hopefully this works. Let us know how you make out.
Yeah I followed grumpy's instructions. It ran fine afterwards but when I turned it off and went back an hour later the problem was back. I had the headlights on, the AC, windshield wipers, radio rear defroster. Drove it for about 45 minutes with stop and go and interstate driving.

I think it might be the throttle control (position?) sensor and I am trying to locate one locally. I am a newb when it comes to car DIY car repairs but I am confident I can do this if I can find the part.
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Cleaned the throttle body assembly and replaced the MAP sensor, followed f2g's instructions. Same issue. I am guessing the throttle body needs to be replaced since the sensor is sealed inside?
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

I'll try to make sense of those codes ... in the meantime - is it safe to say the Vue runs OK when engine is cold? Say for the first few minutes of each start cycle?

How many miles does the Vue have? Have the plugs been changed on schedule? I'm surprised if engine is sputtering and spitting that you've not captured a misfire code.

One cheap test to try - unplug the upstream HO2S sensor and drive for a few miles. This sensor plays a major role in controlling fuel - air ratio when the engine is in closed loop. I've personally observed how an intermittent sensor will cause engine sputter.

Once unplugged - the ECM will instantly recognize the HO2S is not providing input and will default to preprogrammed open-loop operation.

If sputter clears - you can plan on changing the sensor - if results are same - I'd lean toward a fuel pressure problem, plugs or ignition control module.
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Quote:
Originally Posted by airme View Post
Cleaned the throttle body assembly and replaced the MAP sensor, followed f2g's instructions. Same issue. I am guessing the throttle body needs to be replaced since the sensor is sealed inside?
See post # 7 first.

I suspect a new throttle body is big bucks - if you can find one.

I'd also think you'd have experienced a few reduced-power events (its in your title but I didn't see circumstances listed in text) if the throttle body resistor network was intermittent because the throttle actuator system (TAC) self-protects to an extreme.

Would you like to see a diagram of the TAC system?
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
I'll try to make sense of those codes ... in the meantime - is it safe to say the Vue runs OK when engine is cold? Say for the first few minutes of each start cycle?

How many miles does the Vue have? Have the plugs been changed on schedule? I'm surprised if engine is sputtering and spitting that you've not captured a misfire code.

One cheap test to try - unplug the upstream HO2S sensor and drive for a few miles. This sensor plays a major role in controlling fuel - air ratio when the engine is in closed loop. I've personally observed how an intermittent sensor will cause engine sputter.

Once unplugged - the ECM will instantly recognize the HO2S is not providing input and will default to preprogrammed open-loop operation.

If sputter clears - you can plan on changing the sensor - if results are same - I'd lean toward a fuel pressure problem, plugs or ignition control module.
The engine only runs fine after the battery disconnect and turning the key on for a minute. I can drive it fine after that as long as I don't turn it off and let it sit. When I turn it off and let it sit the problem starts over again.


I do not have a code checker so I would have to take it down to autozone or mineike to have them check. The guy at mineike did say he was surprised they didn't get a misfire code with the way it was running.

It has 71,000 miles on it. Plugs have not been changed, if I am reading the manual right they don't need to be changed until 100k miles.

I am willing to give the HO2S sensor a shot. Where is that located?
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
See post # 7 first.

I suspect a new throttle body is big bucks - if you can find one.

I'd also think you'd have experienced a few reduced-power events (its in your title but I didn't see circumstances listed in text) if the throttle body resistor network was intermittent because the throttle actuator system (TAC) self-protects to an extreme.

Would you like to see a diagram of the TAC system?
Searching online I have found used throttle bodys for around 100.

I don't know if I would understand a diagram of the TAC system, but I am willing to give it a look.
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:46 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Regarding 02 sensor - I've attached thumbnail - you'd want to leave the sensor installed in exhaust manifold. If you follow wiring harness back from sensor you'll find the connection point. This is where I'd temporarily unplug.

I've also attached two documents for TAC. They reference 03 Vue but the 2.2 scheme is going to be close enough for 02-07 Vue.

You'll note the the throttle body contains an electric motor which sets angle of the throttle blade. The ECM does the positioning - with no input from foot-pedal to maintain idle under differing engine loads - but does set angle (opening) based on foot-pedal input for all above idle.

Did you find lots of junk at the ends of the throttle blade when you did cleaning? I'm not sure how powerful the motor is but I could see how small amounts of carbon build-up could keep the throttle blade from free movement.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 2.2 HO2S Sensor 1.jpg (66.8 KB, 22 views)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 03 Vue - 2.2 Reduced Pwr.pdf (34.2 KB, 50 views)
File Type: pdf 03 Vue - 2.2 TAC Diag.pdf (23.1 KB, 29 views)
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:21 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
Regarding 02 sensor - I've attached thumbnail - you'd want to leave the sensor installed in exhaust manifold. If you follow wiring harness back from sensor you'll find the connection point. This is where I'd temporarily unplug.

I've also attached two documents for TAC. They reference 03 Vue but the 2.2 scheme is going to be close enough for 02-07 Vue.

You'll note the the throttle body contains an electric motor which sets angle of the throttle blade. The ECM does the positioning - with no input from foot-pedal to maintain idle under differing engine loads - but does set angle (opening) based on foot-pedal input for all above idle.

Did you find lots of junk at the ends of the throttle blade when you did cleaning? I'm not sure how powerful the motor is but I could see how small amounts of carbon build-up could keep the throttle blade from free movement.
There was a lot of build up in there, I am thinking about going back and making sure I got it very clean because I concentrated on the housing itself and not the throttle blade.

I will follow these steps tomorrow and let you know what happened.
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Old 03-25-2012, 04:49 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Disconnecting the 02 sensor didn't do anything. Took it down to Autozone to recheck the codes and now there are no codes coming up but it is still running the same.

The guy said he thought it was the throttle position sensor as well because of the way it was responding to the initial press of the gas pedal. So I guess tomorrow I will be looking for a throttle body assembly to put in it.
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:28 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Quote:
Originally Posted by airme View Post
Disconnecting the 02 sensor didn't do anything. Took it down to Autozone to recheck the codes and now there are no codes coming up but it is still running the same.

The guy said he thought it was the throttle position sensor as well because of the way it was responding to the initial press of the gas pedal. So I guess tomorrow I will be looking for a throttle body assembly to put in it.
Darn ... has the check engine light came on? If yes ... and you have a choice - try a store other than AutoZone. I've read dozens of posts where AZ readers fail to pull basic codes.

I've attached info for one of the original codes you posted ... P2176. The notes about corrosion could be a factor as earlier Vue's had a known problem with corrosion behind panel to next to drivers left foot and also at the throttle body. You could pull the panel (its part of door runner - use putty blades to remove) and check the large connector for greenish powder.

You may also want to disconnect the throttle body and check those contacts for corrosion.
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File Type: pdf Vue - 2.2 - P2176.pdf (23.4 KB, 31 views)
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:22 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
Darn ... has the check engine light came on? If yes ... and you have a choice - try a store other than AutoZone. I've read dozens of posts where AZ readers fail to pull basic codes.

I've attached info for one of the original codes you posted ... P2176. The notes about corrosion could be a factor as earlier Vue's had a known problem with corrosion behind panel to next to drivers left foot and also at the throttle body. You could pull the panel (its part of door runner - use putty blades to remove) and check the large connector for greenish powder.

You may also want to disconnect the throttle body and check those contacts for corrosion.
When it is running rough, the check engine light and reduced power light are on. But after the battery reset those will usually go off.

Dumb question, how do I disconnect the connecter to the throttle body. I have not been able to get it to budge (the electrical plug that plugs into the sensor.)

I will check both connectors in the AM before I order the part. I am all for anything that can fix this for free or for cheap!

I also noticed that it only idles rough, if I have my foot on the gas it sounds fine (just runs on reduced power) Just like the guy at autozone, I realized that nothing happens when you first press the pedal down it does nothing and then acts like it is about to stall. Once you get past that initial sputter it seems to be fine, though in reduced power mode.

Last edited by airme; 03-25-2012 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:00 PM   #16
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Quote:
Originally Posted by airme View Post
When it is running rough, the check engine light and reduced power light are on. But after the battery reset those will usually go off.

Dumb question, how do I disconnect the connector to the throttle body. I have not been able to get it to budge (the electrical plug that plugs into the sensor.)

I will check both connectors in the AM before I order the part. I am all for anything that can fix this for free or for cheap!

I also noticed that it only idles rough, if I have my foot on the gas it sounds fine (just runs on reduced power) Just like the guy at autozone, I realized that nothing happens when you first press the pedal down it does nothing and then acts like it is about to stall. Once you get past that initial sputter it seems to be fine, though in reduced power mode.
The connector has a small square opening on back side - use a slim tool to gently raise the locking lever while tugging on backside of connector.

Have you used your fingers to move the throttle plate thru its full range to see if you can find a binding point? If you had a small strip of strong but thin metal to hook under the butterfly you could let the plate go nearly shut and then lift with the metal to see if the plate is sticky.

I read of one owner who removed the cover from the butterfly motor and resistive network to clean the resistors. I believe he used alcohol but I'd go with electrical contact cleaner (Radio Shack would have).

The problem may well be the throttle body but the wiring and ECM also play a major role for setting idle.

Last for now - if you unplug the throttle body connector - you should - for sure - do relearn procedure when all is reconnected.

I'll check for a pix of the connector and will post if found.
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:12 PM   #17
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
The connector has a small square opening on back side - use a slim tool to gently raise the locking lever while tugging on backside of connector.

Have you used your fingers to move the throttle plate thru its full range to see if you can find a binding point? If you had a small strip of strong but thin metal to hook under the butterfly you could let the plate go nearly shut and then lift with the metal to see if the plate is sticky.

I read of one owner who removed the cover from the butterfly motor and resistive network to clean the resistors. I believe he used alcohol but I'd go with electrical contact cleaner (Radio Shack would have).

The problem may well be the throttle body but the wiring and ECM also play a major role for setting idle.

Last for now - if you unplug the throttle body connector - you should - for sure - do relearn procedure when all is reconnected.

I'll check for a pix of the connector and will post if found.
The throttle plate moved just fine with no hang ups. The throttle body is probably cleaner now than it has been since it rolled off the assembly line.

I have been doing the re-learn procedure after every repair to see if the issue has been resolved. I do thank you for all the advice you have given me so far, hopefully I am close to the end of this journey. lol
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:51 PM   #18
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Checked both of the sensors you suggested and there was no sign of corrosion in either.

I bought a used throttle body at a local salvage yard for 60 dollars and put it in. I went through the battery disconnect and reset procedure but I don't think I let it go long enough and had the same issue when I started it up. So I went back, left the battery undone for 20 mins and reset it again, this time it started up fine. I was late to class so I could only drive it for about 10 mins before I started it up again. After class, same issue...HOWEVER this time I was able to get it to run properly with just turning the key on for 1 min.

I have been able to let it sit and turn it back on and have it run properly with no check engine light on so I think it is fixed. I am going to give it a good couple of hours right now with out being run before I call this a success.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:37 PM   #19
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

I hope you are good to go now.

I noted several TB on eBay but you avoided the shipping delay at a reasonable price.

You are an expert on the relearn but if you have to do again - arrange for an assistant to turn key ON while you monitor the blade. You should be able to see movement - if the ECM is sending signals to the TB.

If there's no movement - is your TB from a Vue, and is a ECM available?

I found an informative explanation from an older TAC post which you might find interesting (if problem persists).

Some of the terms may not be familiar to you so here's a cheat-sheet:

ECU - ECM (engine control module)
P.O. - prior owner
R.P. - reduced power
WOT - wide open throttle
CE - check engine
Attached Files
File Type: doc TAC Post Extract.doc (35.0 KB, 28 views)
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:25 PM   #20
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Default Re: 2005 VUE Sputtering, running in reduced power mode...

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
I hope you are good to go now.

I noted several TB on eBay but you avoided the shipping delay at a reasonable price.

You are an expert on the relearn but if you have to do again - arrange for an assistant to turn key ON while you monitor the blade. You should be able to see movement - if the ECM is sending signals to the TB.

If there's no movement - is your TB from a Vue, and is a ECM available?

I found an informative explanation from an older TAC post which you might find interesting (if problem persists).

Some of the terms may not be familiar to you so here's a cheat-sheet:

ECU - ECM (engine control module)
P.O. - prior owner
R.P. - reduced power
WOT - wide open throttle
CE - check engine
The throttle body that they gave me was off of an 06 Malibu I believe, which according to AC Delco is the same part.

The same salvage yard has an ECM off of a 2003 VUE. Would that do the trick?

Yeah, my optimism was not rewarded. The problem is still happening. I am inclined to believe that since I can disconnect the battery and get it to work properly that the ECM might be the issue.

Is replacing the ECM something I can do without any special tools? I really want to avoid taking it into a dealer because of the costs involved.

Last edited by airme; 03-26-2012 at 07:30 PM.
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