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Old 03-18-2014, 06:10 PM   #1
SaturnGal21
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Default 2001 L300 emissions questions

Okay. So I have a 2001 L300 4 door. V6 engine. I moved to Tennessee about a year ago. What with getting out of the military and trouble on the job search front I couldn't afford to get my car re-registered. So she sat for a year. The battery was dead. 2 days ago I recharged the battery via a slow charger. And she started up fine. Let her run for a bit too. One to make sure it held the charge. Two if it held the charge to make sure she was ready to go. Fluid levels were good. Especially since I had done an oil change before making the trip from Texas. I went in for my emissions test today to try and get new plates and tags. But I failed by two factors. Cat and Evap were not ready. The guy said to drive her around for about 2 weeks before going back and getting the emissions test again. But I know nothing about emissions testing as I never had to do them before. I'm from Pa and up there my car is old enough that it doesn't require emissions testing to pass inspection. So. What I want to know is this. Just what are the drive cycles? And how do I make sure my car can perform the self tests. Like what procedure do I do to trigger them. I dot want to die around for two weeks and still fail when I go back.
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2001 L300 emissions questions

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Originally Posted by SaturnGal21 View Post
Okay. So I have a 2001 L300 4 door. V6 engine. I moved to Tennessee about a year ago. So she sat for a year. The battery was dead. 2 days ago I recharged the battery via a slow charger. And she started up fine. Let her run for a bit too. One to make sure it held the charge. Two if it held the charge to make sure she was ready to go. Fluid levels were good. Especially since I had done an oil change before making the trip from Texas. I went in for my emissions test today to try and get new plates and tags. But I failed by two factors. Cat and Evap were not ready.
Welcome the L Series Forums! There are some really sharp people here who regularly check in so you're bound to get some good advice. If I recall fdryer's info correctly a "drive cycle" is 50 miles.

Was the check engine light illuminated when you went in for the test? If so, did the mechanic relate any trouble codes to you?

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Originally Posted by SaturnGal21 View Post
The guy said to drive her around for about 2 weeks before going back and getting the emissions test again. But I know nothing about emissions testing as I never had to do them before. I'm from Pa and up there my car is old enough that it doesn't require emissions testing to pass inspection. So. What I want to know is this. Just what are the drive cycles? And how do I make sure my car can perform the self tests. Like what procedure do I do to trigger them. I dot want to die around for two weeks and still fail when I go back.
The mechanic is correct that the vehicle needs to be driven more and it's quite possible that, in so doing, the computer will adjust to the its "new home" and learn your driving habits. Be sure that the engine is fully warmed up prior to the next test; temp. gauge reading between 1/4 to 1/2.

The "self tests" are just that, the car's computer is doing the testing itself every time the engine is started. As you drive the computer (Engine Control Module [ECM]) monitors all of the various inputs from the many sensors around the engine and exhaust system. If a problem is detected and the computer cannot compensate for it or correct it, then a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) is stored in the ECM's memory and the Check Engine light (or Service Engine Soon light [SES]) is illuminated and will remain on until the problem is corrected. It's quite likely that if you had no warning light illuminated prior to getting the smog test then the problem won't be serious and driving the car will improve it's performance and clear out old fuel (Yes, fuel ages, partially goes bad and gunks up the system.) Using some fuel system cleaning additive prior to the test might also be helpful.

http://www.hyperlube.com/c3/Total-Fu...leaner-c9.html
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2001 L300 emissions questions

Nah the check engine light wasn't on. That's always the first thing I pay attention to. Every time I start her up and while I'm driving. I've never had the check engine light come on on my car or my old Saturn when I had it. Lolz my dad taught me well to pay attention to the Christmas tree. Haha. Don't worry the lights all work. I did talk to my dad too. He is a self taught mechanic. A very good one too. Likes his Pontiac fieros. Even he said to get some stp and put it in the tank. Half a tank of old gas is not good. I learned from my dad how to work on my car. Tho I need to and want to learn more. So the plan right now is to get the additive for the gas and take her out and open her up. Give her a good run. It makes sense now why the Evap factor failed. And also now why the Cat factor failed. Thanks everyone. It's good to know y'all can help me out when you can ^_^. It's awesome.
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2001 L300 emissions questions

Also. Not letting my car sit like that ever again! I know better than to do that. Kinda kicking myself for that now. Haha.
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Old 03-19-2014, 01:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2001 L300 emissions questions

Just a little more info here. When the battery dropped dead all power for memory in every mini computer module in our cars loses its mind. Complete power down erased all radio presets, all memory from the engine computer, etc.. This occurred when the battery died or when a battery is replaced. The engine computer, ECM, simply reverts back to it factory default settings. The entire emissions self test starts as if it left the factory. The drive cycle requires a period of mixed city/highway driving from cold engine start up until the engine is shut off. Ideally, a 50 mile drive is needed for the emissions self test to complete but regular every day driving will work fine. You can find out if your self test emissions are complete/Ready or incomplete/Not Ready by using a reader to display Ready/Not Ready; emissions monitors that are stepped thru as each emission parameter is tested while driving. A Not Ready display should show which monitor(s) haven't passed, requiring some more driving. A reader is the best way to find out before going for inspection. State emission inspection read the same info as we can from a reader.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2001 L300 emissions questions

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Originally Posted by SaturnGal21 View Post
Okay. So I have a 2001 L300 4 door. V6 engine. I moved to Tennessee about a year ago. So she sat for a year.

Fluid levels were good. Especially since I had done an oil change before making the trip from Texas.
^^^I'm certainly glad to see that our venerable friend, fdryer, brought his input to this thread!! Another thought came to mind. As a general rule, the oil should be changed once a year even if the mileage wouldn't demand it. That's due to the fact that contaminants are present in the oil which degrade it over time even though the engine hasn't been run. The reason engine oil gets dirty is due to the combustion process and it's residue passing the piston rings and going down into the oil pan - all by design. As a polar opposite, the reason why transmission fluid is changed much less frequently, at a far greater service interval, is due to the fact that there is no interaction with a foreign contaminant which can degrade the fluid's viscosity.

It would be wise to change the oil at your earliest convenience to protect the engine. Please let us know how the next state emissions test goes. Thank you! BTW, I've done my share of dumb things, or silly mistakes with my car as time has passed.
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