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Old 12-09-2021, 09:30 AM   #1
cplvan
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Default P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

Hi, I was driving to work the other day and I started getting a hesitation when I would press on the gas but it would go away when I gave it more throttle. I also noticed that my gas mpg was about half what in normally does (I guess it was running very rich?). I took it to AutoZone to look at the codes and there were three codes. P0131 O2 Circuit Low Voltage (bank 1 sensor 1), p0300 engine misfire detected, p0440 evaporative emission (EVAP) system.

MY car is 2001 saturn SL w/ 1.9 SOHC

any suggestions on what to do?
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Old 12-09-2021, 10:17 AM   #2
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

Here is OldNuc advice on the O2 sensor:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...25&postcount=2

I'd go after the P0300 first. Have you ever changed plugs and wires? This is a basic tuneup thing which can cause a misfire. The P0300 is probably the major problem.

Plugs:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...37&postcount=8

Evap won't cause power or fuel economy problems.

Somebody will be along shortly to mandate a compression test. While that's not a bad thing I think the amount of catastrophic failures is low.
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Old 12-09-2021, 12:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
Here is OldNuc advice on the O2 sensor:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...25&postcount=2

I'd go after the P0300 first. Have you ever changed plugs and wires? This is a basic tuneup thing which can cause a misfire. The P0300 is probably the major problem.

Plugs:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...37&postcount=8

Evap won't cause power or fuel economy problems.

Somebody will be along shortly to mandate a compression test. While that's not a bad thing I think the amount of catastrophic failures is low.
I replaced the plugs and wires a few months ago. not sure what brand. SO would you suggest that I replace the spark plugs? or should i replace the o2 sensor? i have a hard time beliveing changing my spark plugs would create or fix the issue.
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Old 12-09-2021, 10:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

There's a lot going on there but I'll take a stab at what might be the root cause problem which waterfalls into other issues you are experiencing.

What does your temp gauge read when at full operating temperature? If it is close to 1/4 then you likely need to do one or all of the following. Replace your ETCS sensor, replace the ETCS sensor wire harness connector and replace the thermostat.

The ETCS sensor installed in 2001 models is resin tipped and it is prone to cracking and fouling the connector. This sends an incorrect reading to the ECU and the ECU thinks your engine is running cool so it increases fuel. This results in poor fuel mileage and increased carbonization in the engine and exhaust components. One of those is your O2 sensor on the exhaust manifold hence the P0131. The other component is the Air Injection System connected to your exhaust manifold which relates to the P0440.

Check your ETCS sensor or just replace it with a brass tipped version. If it is cracked then also inspect or just replace your connector making sure to solder and shrink tube the connections to the wire harness. Crimp connectors are a common point of failure in this circuit.

After this, if your gauge temperature does not increase when at operating temperature then replace your thermostat as it has likely failed open and your engine is actually running cool (and the ECU is increasing fuel and you are getting carbonization).

You will likely need to deal with the carbonization problem too by replacing your O2 sensor and removing the carbonization in the exhaust manifold passages including the tube that goes into the air injection system and the pre-cat. Sometimes you can get away with just cleaning out the tube going to the air injection system off the manifold.

It wouldn't hurt to clean your throttle body and EGR too. Plugs and wires if close to service life as Waiex191 suggests is also a good measure.
...
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Past Saturns
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Last edited by trottida; 12-09-2021 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 12-09-2021, 12:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

Quote:
Originally Posted by trottida View Post
There's a lot going on there but I'll take a stab at what might be the root cause problem which waterfalls into other issues you are experiencing.

What does your temp gauge read when at full operating temperature? If it is close to 1/4 then you likely need to do one or all of the following. Replace your ETCS sensor, replace the ETCS sensor wire harness connector and replace the thermostat.

The ETCS sensor installed in 2001 models is resin tipped and it is prone to cracking and fouling the connector. This sends an incorrect reading to the ECU and the ECU thinks your engine is running cool so it increases fuel. This results in poor fuel mileage and increased carbonization in the engine and exhaust components. One of those is your O2 sensor on the exhaust manifold hence the P0131. The other component is the Air Injection System connected to your exhaust manifold which relates to the P0440.

Check your ETCS sensor or just replace it with a brass tipped version. If it is cracked then also inspect or just replace your connector making sure to solder and shrink tube the connections to the wire harness. Crimp connectors are a common point of failure in this circuit.

After this, if your gauge temperature does not increase when at operating temperature then replace your thermostat as it has likely failed open and your engine is actually running cool (and the ECU is increasing fuel and you are getting carbonization).

You will likely need to deal with the carbonization problem too by replacing your O2 sensor and removing the carbonization in the exhaust manifold passages including the tube that goes into the air injection system and the pre-cat. Sometimes you can get away with just cleaning out the tube going to the air injection system off the manifold.

It wouldn't hurt to clean your throttle body and EGR too. Plugs and wires if close to service life as Waiex191 suggests is also a good measure.
my temp gage is a little over 1/4but okay ill check out the ETCS sensor. where is it located? what should be my first step into checking this sensor?

also i dont think i need to replace my thermostat because if it failed to open my engine would be running to hot not to cold. right? because when the the thermostat is stuck closed no coolant is getting into the engine to cool it down,
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Old 12-09-2021, 02:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

Both the ECTS and thermostat have higher than average failure rates in the S-Series.

The factory ECTS is made of a resin that cracks when exposed to the chemicals in coolant over 4-5 years, this long after the last S-Series was built I'd expect them all to have a proper brass ECTS now. The air temp sensor and if you have an automatic transmission the trans temp sensor is the same part number as the ECTS yet they virtually never fail in those locations.

The thermostat usually fails in the fully open position, this is the opposite of "fails to open." With it stuck open it allows coolant to flow through the engine at whatever high rate the water pump makes, which results in the engine running colder than it should (195-205f is good, 160-180 is cold, 210-220f is hot).

Cheapest way to tell which is needed is to stick another thermometer in the coolant reservoir to get a 2nd opinion of the coolant temp. Depending on the accuracy of the thermometer I'd expect up to 10f difference. Don't use a standard house thermometer, they top out under 130f while you're expecting a reading 150-200f.

With your car being a '00-'02 and having misfire issue's I'd also look at the engine idle speed. If it's over 800rpm after the coolant temp issue is fixed you likely have a vacuum leak at the intake manifold gasket. Should be simple to diagnose, take a can of brake cleaner or carb cleaner and spray around the intake manifold flange, if engine RPM change's then it's for sure leaking.
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Old 12-09-2021, 03:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

Quote:
Originally Posted by cplvan View Post
my temp gage is a little over 1/4but okay ill check out the ETCS sensor. where is it located? what should be my first step into checking this sensor?

also i dont think i need to replace my thermostat because if it failed to open my engine would be running to hot not to cold. right? because when the the thermostat is stuck closed no coolant is getting into the engine to cool it down,
Classic S Series symptom is a low temp reading. This is about the correct reading for a GEN3 like yours; give or take a needle width.



Below is a photo showing the ECTS location with the battery removed and here is a relevant video >> https://youtu.be/cucm7QGlsYs. I think this is a GEN2 which has a few engine bay differences but the ECTS is in the same location. There is a second photo of the difference between a brass tipped and resin sensor. You want a brass tipped in there.

Pinch the sides of the ECTS connector to remove it and use the appropriate sized socket to remove the sensor. You will loose a bit of coolant and it helps if you raise the left front corner of the car. Inspect the tip for cracks or just replace it. Inspect the pins on the connector to make sure they are clean; no coolant residue or dirt. Here's a link to a relevant video for replacing the connector >>https://youtu.be/mNZq6PuOi5c

The thermostat typically fails open on these allowing coolant to circulate and over cooling the engine. Here's a relevant video for replacement >> https://youtu.be/JEoLFrg8IUI and this one >> https://youtu.be/dVLoeoDU5E8



...
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2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
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Past Saturns
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Last edited by trottida; 12-09-2021 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 12-09-2021, 08:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

Quote:
Originally Posted by trottida View Post
Classic S Series symptom is a low temp reading. This is about the correct reading for a GEN3 like yours; give or take a needle width.



Below is a photo showing the ECTS location with the battery removed and here is a relevant video >> https://youtu.be/cucm7QGlsYs. I think this is a GEN2 which has a few engine bay differences but the ECTS is in the same location. There is a second photo of the difference between a brass tipped and resin sensor. You want a brass tipped in there.

Pinch the sides of the ECTS connector to remove it and use the appropriate sized socket to remove the sensor. You will loose a bit of coolant and it helps if you raise the left front corner of the car. Inspect the tip for cracks or just replace it. Inspect the pins on the connector to make sure they are clean; no coolant residue or dirt. Here's a link to a relevant video for replacing the connector >>https://youtu.be/mNZq6PuOi5c

The thermostat typically fails open on these allowing coolant to circulate and over cooling the engine. Here's a relevant video for replacement >> https://youtu.be/JEoLFrg8IUI and this one >> https://youtu.be/dVLoeoDU5E8



I replaced the ECTS and the wiring looked fine and no corrosion. The problem is still there. Do you recommend replacing the bank 1 sensor 1 o2 sensor?
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Old 12-09-2021, 08:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

Quote:
Originally Posted by cplvan View Post
I replaced the ECTS and the wiring looked fine and no corrosion. The problem is still there. Do you recommend replacing the bank 1 sensor 1 o2 sensor?
Has the temperature increased at full operating temperature? The first step is to remove the root cause and get your operating temperature where it should be. The second step is to resolve the secondary issues caused by the root cause. Let's confirm the issue from step 1 is resolved.
...
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2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

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Old 12-11-2021, 12:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

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Originally Posted by trottida View Post
Below is a photo showing the ECTS location with the battery removed . . . I think this is a GEN2
Yep, that's my '98. You can see the white shrink-wrap showing the ECTS connector had been changed at that point.

Quote:
I replaced the plugs and wires a few months ago. not sure what brand. . . . i have a hard time beliveing changing my spark plugs would create or fix the issue.
The spark plug brand doesn't matter much, spark plug type does. Fine-wire/single platinum plugs have a reputation for fouling in these engines, causing the P0300 series of misfire codes. Double-platinum or copper-core plugs will be fine. If you are not sure of the type, the auto parts store you got them at will have a record if you have an account there.

If not, they can do the parts lookup and see what their recommended plug is (probably a copper-core plug), and what t they recommend as the next step "up" is (probably a single-platinum plug). IF you got the single-plat, then at least inspect them, and if fouled, definitely replace with copper core.

Does the car run rough at idle?
How many miles on engine?
Has fuel filter ever been replaced?
good spark at all 4 plugs?
There are some good (free) troubleshooting steps here (pulling O2 sensor to check for blocked cat - or precat, since you have a 3rd gen and put a metal heat block to cover plastic parts in front, ICM switching, EGR blocking), worth a read:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=184377
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Old 12-13-2021, 04:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
Yep, that's my '98. You can see the white shrink-wrap showing the ECTS connector had been changed at that point.

The spark plug brand doesn't matter much, spark plug type does. Fine-wire/single platinum plugs have a reputation for fouling in these engines, causing the P0300 series of misfire codes. Double-platinum or copper-core plugs will be fine. If you are not sure of the type, the auto parts store you got them at will have a record if you have an account there.

If not, they can do the parts lookup and see what their recommended plug is (probably a copper-core plug), and what t they recommend as the next step "up" is (probably a single-platinum plug). IF you got the single-plat, then at least inspect them, and if fouled, definitely replace with copper core.

Does the car run rough at idle?
How many miles on engine?
Has fuel filter ever been replaced?
good spark at all 4 plugs?
There are some good (free) troubleshooting steps here (pulling O2 sensor to check for blocked cat - or precat, since you have a 3rd gen and put a metal heat block to cover plastic parts in front, ICM switching, EGR blocking), worth a read:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=184377
okay.
Does the car run rough at idle? no it runs fine at idle
How many miles on engine? about 75,000
Has fuel filter ever been replaced? i dont think so
good spark at all 4 plugs? and yes good spark on all 4 plugs
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Old 12-14-2021, 05:51 PM   #12
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

Have you read the sticky?
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=177672

I'd check for vacuum leaks if you have not already.
Quote:
Originally Posted by adventureoflink View Post

18. Intake Manifold (Gaskets).

* 2000-2002 SOHC engines: P0301 + P0507 = a nice recipe for a soured intake manifold gasket. Due to a defect from the factory (either miscalibrated robots or a bad IM gasket), these things like to leak vaccuum and set these two SES codes usually right around... NOW. These two codes, as well as spraying brake cleaner around the cyl #1 area will confirm this.
...
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Old 12-14-2021, 10:17 PM   #13
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

So on my way home from work today. It started hesitating again and the temperature was back to a little above 1/4 again. The only thing I did was add coolant because I thought it was low. When I got home I drained some coolant because maybe I added to much. So hopefully the hesitation goes away now that Iíve taken away some coolant? Very weird
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Old 12-14-2021, 10:46 PM   #14
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

How many miles on your SL SOHC? How long have you had it and what was the mileage when acquired?

Check for vacuum leaks as I mentioned this morning and Waiex mentioned this afternoon. Check both the vacuum lines and the intake manifold gasket.

Something is off with the coolant temperature situation reading too high and now too low after you replaced the thermostat. You've already replaced the ECTS so look at the ECTS connector again and answer these questions...
  • Has it been replaced before (shows evidence of wires from the harness being cut and spliced)?
  • If replaced have the wires been soldered and shrink tubed correctly?
  • Do they have crimp connectors which are a known point of failure on this circuit?
  • Looking at the connector pins does it look like there is coolant residue or dirt present?

Loss of power will also happen with a clogged pre-cat attached to your exhaust manifold or a clogged catalytic converter. If you run the car too rich for an extended period these components get clogged with carbon deposits.

How does the exhaust smell? Any unburnt fuel smells?


.
...
1999 SL2 MT (299,400 km @ 11/2021)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
2001 SL1 MT (438,500 km 11y)
1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
1992 SL2 MT (5y)

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Old 12-18-2021, 06:34 AM   #15
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

Quote:
Originally Posted by trottida View Post
How many miles on your SL SOHC? How long have you had it and what was the mileage when acquired?

Check for vacuum leaks as I mentioned this morning and Waiex mentioned this afternoon. Check both the vacuum lines and the intake manifold gasket.

Something is off with the coolant temperature situation reading too high and now too low after you replaced the thermostat. You've already replaced the ECTS so look at the ECTS connector again and answer these questions...
  • Has it been replaced before (shows evidence of wires from the harness being cut and spliced)?
  • If replaced have the wires been soldered and shrink tubed correctly?
  • Do they have crimp connectors which are a known point of failure on this circuit?
  • Looking at the connector pins does it look like there is coolant residue or dirt present?

Loss of power will also happen with a clogged pre-cat attached to your exhaust manifold or a clogged catalytic converter. If you run the car too rich for an extended period these components get clogged with carbon deposits.

How does the exhaust smell? Any unburnt fuel smells?


.
I had it for about 6 months so far and but over 10k miles on it. Thereís about 75k miles on it right now. Iím not totally sure how to check for vacuum leaks.

No it doesnít look like the connector has been replaced before and there no coolant residue or dirt on the connector pins.

It does feel like there is a bit of a loss of power. The exhaust smells fine. No unburnt fuel smells.
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Old 12-18-2021, 11:52 AM   #16
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Default Re: P0131 code with hesitation when accelerating and poor gas mileage

Quote:
Originally Posted by cplvan View Post
Iím not totally sure how to check for vacuum leaks.
Check this out. It's easy.
https://youtu.be/9CPqbaSgcok

Quote:
The coolant seems fine. Itís orange gm coolant not pink or green. Also I just changed the oil two days ago and it doesnít look like thereís any signs of water in the oil from a leaky head gasket. Do you think this is still necessary?
This would have nothing to do with your current issue. Not a bad thing to change coolant, especially if you don't know how old it is. I won't get into the green vs orange wars here.
...
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Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
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