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Old 02-04-2021, 10:33 PM   #1
Gbentley
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Attention Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Purchased a sc1 98 5 speed manual on Craigslist 1200 cash with 140k miles fuel pump went out on me after a few months so I had it towed and replaced. Replaced spark plugs,spark plug cables, also had a bad ignition coil and I replaced that myself also I cleaned out the throttle body . Only thing I had the mechanic do was the fuel pump cost me around 550 with fuel filter replaced as well. I've had oil change and also replaced the air filter too. Yesterday driving my mom home from shopping it died going up big hill .. engine just shut off on highway Had to sit for awhile then it started again but this happened 5 more times until we eventually got home.seemed like the longer we shut of and waited the longer it would stay running without shutting off. And the temp gauge was normal and no check engine lights of any kind. Can anyone tell me what's wrong? we might try to take it to a mechanic next week. Just hope it's not too expensive. Also the idle was acting funny jumping up to 3 staying there then going back to 1 when I would start back up. I'm guessing from you tube vids crankshaft sensor? Any input is much appreciated this is my 6th Saturn. I love these cars but it's the worst feeling to lose power like that on highway.
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Old 02-04-2021, 10:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

When you had the throttle body out and cleaned it, did you clean/replace the 2 sensors attached? The IAC (idle air control) and the TPS (throttle position sensor).
I had issues with mine and found the 2 were inexpensive and easy to replace on my SW2.
Only other item that comes to mind would be the ignition module behind the coil packs.
I had a situation similar whereby the car would die as if it was just like flipping a light switch OFF. Not stumbling or stalling out, just 'click', dead and coasting...
I would wait a while (presumably the module was overheated) and when it cooled down, the ignition would start and I could go for a while longer before it shut off again.
Replace the module and all was back to normal in my case.

Last edited by toggenburg; 02-04-2021 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 02-04-2021, 11:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Welcome to the forum. Fails when hot - runs again when cools off sounds like the classic crank position sensor failure. I've never had it myself. It is very easy to change however.

All my ignition failures (two of them) were misfires. Never enough to kill the car completely.
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Old 02-04-2021, 11:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Thank you guys so much. This is a great place for Saturn owners to learn. No I didn't replace the either of those didn't take the whole thing apart just kind of wiped the carbon out with cleaner and a rag. I appreciate it you guys cps I'm hoping is the problem. I will update once I find out. Thankfully none of those things are too expensive to fix. Thank you guys
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Old 02-05-2021, 08:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

My vote would be the crank angle sensor.

They can be temperature sensative.

Try to duplicate the problem. If it loses spark when the engine dies- it is a good candidate.
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Old 02-05-2021, 11:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

I'd replace the crank position sensor. If that didn't do it then I'd replace the ignition module.

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Old 02-05-2021, 03:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

If you can replicate the issue, keep a close eye on your tachometer. If it drops like the rock to zero and then rubber bands back as the engine is stalling it's the crank position sensor. The tachometer gets it's information from the CPS and when the signal dies, the gauge readout does too.
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Old 02-05-2021, 05:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macgyver View Post
If you can replicate the issue, keep a close eye on your tachometer. If it drops like the rock to zero and then rubber bands back as the engine is stalling it's the crank position sensor. The tachometer gets it's information from the CPS and when the signal dies, the gauge readout does too.

Nice!

Never thunk it .....

But it does make sense...
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Old 02-05-2021, 05:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Sure, but the OP did experience the rubber band effect, they sat on the roadside for awhile before it would restart...not the CPS, but it's the Ignition Module I'd say.
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Old 02-05-2021, 06:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Thanks again for the input guys. I forgot to mention a couple of times when I went to pull over on highway when I would hit the grader on the side of road➡️ ////// it would you know make the car shake and the engine would kick back on almost like something was loose. I got the passenger tire off today just to see if I could get to the cps and replace it myself and I found it right next to starter but its too hard to get to with my primitive tools. I will drive it to mechanic next week I guess if it's not that and ends up being ignition module. I'd rather go pull one from a junk yard for cheaper and replace that myself.
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Old 02-05-2021, 07:25 PM   #11
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

If you have ramps for your Saturn, it's easy to get at from underneath.
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Old 02-06-2021, 04:08 PM   #12
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
Sure, but the OP did experience the rubber band effect, they sat on the roadside for awhile before it would restart...not the CPS, but it's the Ignition Module I'd say.
Not that the ICM can't fail in this manner, but this is classic CPS failure.
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Old 02-06-2021, 08:01 PM   #13
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Another symptom of a problematic ignition module is the engine stalling.
A faulty module may cause the engine to suddenly stall and be unable to start again.
Sometimes the engine can still be restarted after a short period of time, usually though after the module has been allowed to cool off.

Time will tell on this one.
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Old 02-07-2021, 04:52 PM   #14
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

To clarify, I am not saying this is a CPS failure although it is quite possible. What I am saying is that heating up and stalling only to start again when cooled down are the very conditions present in the typical CPS failure.

Also, the OP has not indicated having verified that there is a loss of spark during the event. There are obviously other possibilities.

It sounds like the OP may not have the necessary equipment to test. But the OP can always let the car idle in the driveway until it heats up and stalls and then check for spark across the coil terminals. Then check the other coil. Also during the no start condition and while cranking, monitor the tachometer for movement. The combination of these tests should point in the right direction.
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Old 02-07-2021, 05:16 PM   #15
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Actually, observe the tachometer first before bothering with the coils.
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:29 PM   #16
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

I took it to mechanic today dropped it off. he ordered me a new CPS also I forget the name of the other but he said my sensor for the air in the throttle body was bad. He's Charging me 190 for both I'll pick it up Wednesday. He checked everything else also tried to replicate the problem but couldn't. Also it made down there today no stalls 50 miles. He hooked up his computer and it's saying there's nothing wrong. He did say my ignition module is ok.So the air sensor is why I got a high idle apparently. Anyhow I sure Appreciate all of you guys and your fast input it really helped me. I feel lucky my budget was 500. The real test will be the next couple trips to town cause if it happens again I'll be in a jam. I will post an update after Wednesday saying if it worked.
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Old 02-12-2021, 03:00 PM   #17
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Well I thought that fixed it we payed the mechanic 240 total for 2 sensors cps and air. Yesterday the issue came back and now we are kind of screwed. All I can add is the battery light and oil light come in when it happens and the rpm tack just goes to zero. I also payed him for a diagnostic I assumed that meant he would test other things. I feel like I got ripped off by him but could it be as simple as a failing battery? I have no more money to put in to it now and was wondering if anyone could give me anything I can try myself to fix here at home? It shut off like 8 times coming home yesterday I think I picked a bad mechanic and feel stupid my mom and I depend on this car to get food.
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Old 02-12-2021, 04:32 PM   #18
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Probably not the battery though it wouldn't hurt to make sure the terminals are clean and the cables on tight. Failing battery generally shows up as weak starting, not dying while running (a healthy alternator provides all the electricity a car needs to run and more - once a car is started, the battery strength is no longer a factor)

Quote:
the battery light and oil light come in when it happens and the rpm tack just goes to zero
That's normal when an engine dies. Tach shows engine speed, which is 0 when not running, and when engine is not running, oil pressure is also zero

Let's start with some basics:

Quote:
the temp gauge was normal and no check engine lights of any kind.
Temp gauge was at around 3/8 mark?

When you turn the key to the ON position, every light on the dash should light up for a couple of seconds (part of teh bulb check process). Did you see both a Service Engine Soon and a wrench symbol light up on the left side?

Sometimes an unscrupulous seller will remove both bulbs to hide the fact that the light is one due to some unresolved issue.

Quote:
fuel pump went out on me after a few months so I had it towed and replaced.
What were the symptoms that led you to replace the fuel pump? Did it stall on the hwy before the fuel pump replacement? Fuel pump failure at 140 is pretty rare.


Quote:
Replaced spark plugs,spark plug cables, also had a bad ignition coil and I replaced that myself also I cleaned out the throttle body . Only thing I had the mechanic do was the fuel pump cost me around 550 with fuel filter replaced as well.
Are you able to find out the brand/model number of the fuel filter? Probably not your issue unless you find that there are missing bulbs in the dash - most fuel problems produce codes.

Do you ever have trouble starting when the engine is colde (e.g., first time in the morning)?

Two things to try when the engine stalls and will not restart, if you can do this in a safe place:

1) check for spark. Pull 2 of the wires off at one of the ignition modules and have someone try and start the car for just a second. Should produce a healthy spark across the exposed towers/terminals. Occasionally, you get a bad new part - from the symptoms, it really sounds like classic CPS failure.

2) Replace the plug wires. Push the gas pedal all the way down and hold it there. Keep it down and try starting the car a few times (it it catches and starts, release the pedal). Holding the pedal all the way down while starting is "clear flood" mode, shuts off the fuel injectors while starting.
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Old 02-13-2021, 01:04 AM   #19
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Yes on the 3/8 temp. All lights work except for the check engine..yes so also the mechanic did say that as well that's what scared me like someone removed it before I bought it. Always starts good cold or hot temps ( before problems of course) Symptoms for fuel pump diagnosis/ it was different. just wouldn't start a few times also no priming fuel sound buzz at all, and I was able to wack the gas tank with my shoe one last time to get it to start one last time before it died completely. Not sure I could get the fuel filter info but I do know he changed it cause I took a look at the old one before he did job. maybe he still has a record I'll look in my email. I had him send a copy I think. Anyhow today I took the throttle body completely off and cleaned it off very well. I saw that he did replace the air sensor. The throttle body itself was caked..had a lot of carbon so that fixed my sticky gas peddle problem,but maybe I did something wrong because now it's idling at 2000rpm. Yea so no clue what to do from here all I can say is the engine definitely gets pretty hot once it dies out. And sometimes the temp gauge goes from 3/8 to 1/2. I'm so stressed about it right now but really feel like now 850$ into it we have to know why it don't work at least. I really feel like there's a lot of life left in this one and refuse to let it go. I'll try a few things tomorrow in it. Also the mechanic did give me old sensors the cps had a little wear on the end of it. He says he said it could of been hitting the gears and messed it up. Thank you for all your input. I'm searching through tons of youtube vids trying to find any sort of solution.

Last edited by Gbentley; 02-13-2021 at 01:18 AM. Reason: Misspelling
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Old 02-13-2021, 09:52 AM   #20
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Default Re: Saturn Sc1 1998 stalls out on highway

Another symptom of a problematic ignition module is the engine stalling.
A faulty module may cause the engine to suddenly stall and be unable to start again.
Sometimes the engine can still be restarted after a short period of time, usually though after the module has been allowed to cool off.
As I said earlier, time will tell if it is the CPS or not.
It is the Ignition Module not CPS in this case.
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