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Old 03-05-2017, 01:38 PM   #1
Bkardell
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2001 SL1
Question 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

Hello!

I am currently on a 2.5 hour toad trip and this morning my car ran and drove great, no CEL, no problems. I recently replaced spark plugs with ngk copper cores, spark plug wires with Napa ones, pcv valve and hose, also cleaned all the carbon out of the throttle body (I took out the TPS and the iacv and cleaned those seperately as I've heard it's bad to really spray them a lot. ) also, i took the coils and icm off the trans and wire brushed all metal surfaces, and i put dilectric grease on the coil tower where the plug wires snap on. Cleaned ALL bolts of rust and corrosion. Now again this morning my car drove fine, was on the highway and drove into a rest stop. As soon as I pushed the clutch in, rpms dropped to like 200-600 and it was idling horribly. Check engine light was coming on and off, and I'm not sure of the issue. I'm back on the road and it runs and drives fine as long as the rpms are up and I seem to be getting awesome mileage. please let me know what you guys think as I'm a long way from home! Thank you!
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Old 03-05-2017, 03:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

With 200k miles comes age related problems. This can a clogged fuel filter (never replaced), fuel pump announcing its demise (a fuel pressure gauge may or may not reveal diminishing pressure), a well worn catalytic converter falling apart and randomly blocking exhaust flow, sticking iacv, etc..
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Old 03-05-2017, 05:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
With 200k miles comes age related problems. This can a clogged fuel filter (never replaced), fuel pump announcing its demise (a fuel pressure gauge may or may not reveal diminishing pressure), a well worn catalytic converter falling apart and randomly blocking exhaust flow, sticking iacv, etc..
Thank you for your reply. Do you think there is an order of price and easiness to replace that I should start to go through some things? Please let me know, thanks in advance!
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

The randomness of this problem appearing out of nowhere makes it more difficult to determine where its coming from. A list of possibilities is just guessing with some tests giving you some reasonable assurances of parts not contributing to this problem. Some ideas and suggestions have helped others with troubleshooting with some tests requiring tools while others don't. There are no specific sequences of thing to test but by themselves can sometimes give a clear black or white answer.

Fuel filters do only one job, act as the final filter for fuel after it was refined, distributed and pumped into our gas tanks. As a rule, it should be replaced every 100k miles to rule out any contaminants from restricting fuel flow and pressure to influence EFI systems. Along with a filter, an old car like yours most likely has the original fuel pump and no one guarantees how long they last beyond a new car warranty. You inherit age related problems with high mileage and must accept the inevitable. A simple way to monitor and determine if fuel filter or pump is erratic, connecting a fuel pressure gauge and leaving it on as long as possible (in this situation with erratic engine running). Even if borrowed for a few days (Autozone loaner) may help as checking on pressure before startup, warmed engine and before engine shutdown allows some baseline references compared to service manual specs (40-55 psi). The problem with this intermittent problem and if its fuel related is catching another incident and pulling off the road to observe pressures while the drop in idle is occurring before it disappears. A catalytic converter problem may be similar, causing engine problems intermittently.

Two ways to check on catcons, thumping the catcon to see if rattles can be heard within and removing the upstream O2 sensor for a brief drive. Thumping a catcon with a fist is to see whether or not the porous ceramic brick fell apart from years of use. Some hear metallic sounds while driving, others bang their catcons and hear loose cat guts. Catcons are porous bricks to allow exhaust flow thru without restrictions while reacting and converting combustion byproducts to harmless gases. Damaged catcons rattle with loose cat guts that randomly block off exhaust flow, some permanently, others randomly without rhyme or reason. A sudden loss of engine power followed with front O2 sensor removal and sudden power restoration points to a disintegrating catcon. Some gut theirs because their state doesn't check emissions, others buy replacement catcons. Good catcons don't rattle with loose cat guts.

I try suggesting the easiest and cheapest things to do for troubleshooting before advising on which parts to replace.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

how much oil does your car use?

I've seen cases were after a highway run and then coasting to down to a point where you push the clutch that the engine would load up on oil since when you are off the accelerator completely over 1500rpm it will turn the injectors and spark off. Once it turns back on, prob about the time you pushed the clutch in the cylinders are loaded with oil and sets up a really poor idle. At least until it cleans up and then it will idle and it's normal self

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Old 03-06-2017, 10:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highmile View Post
how much oil does your car use?

I've seen cases were after a highway run and then coasting to down to a point where you push the clutch that the engine would load up on oil since when you are off the accelerator completely over 1500rpm it will turn the injectors and spark off. Once it turns back on, prob about the time you pushed the clutch in the cylinders are loaded with oil and sets up a really poor idle. At least until it cleans up and then it will idle and it's normal self

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So far I've only had the car for maybe 400-500 miles total, and it appears as if the oil has let gone very far down. Maybe 1/4 quart? I'm not sure if egr or iacv is something I should check and how to check them I'm not sure. However once it gets up from idle, it runs flawlessly. Cruises down the highway, yesterday I drove almost 200 miles on just over 1/4 tank. But when I pulled into that rest stop the car really didn't like that and idled very low and rough.
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Old 03-06-2017, 12:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

If the IACV fails to open at idle, the engine will idle badly at around 400 ish RPM. Been there. A dirty throttle body can also contribute to a low idle.
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Old 03-06-2017, 03:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BV22 View Post
If the IACV fails to open at idle, the engine will idle badly at around 400 ish RPM. Been there. A dirty throttle body can also contribute to a low idle.
I just cleaned the throttle body to the point it was hard to find anymore black stuff in there to clean, I also cleaned the iacv as well. When I first got the car, it was idling sort of rough at stoplights and things like that but no problems once I get going. Not sure what to check/clean/replace next.
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Old 03-06-2017, 03:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

There is a simple pair of tests you can do for IACV function. With the air intake hose removed, you can see an oblong hole in the throttle body at 6 o'clock in front of the throttle plate. When the IACV is functioning normally and the engine is idling around 800 RPM, blocking this hole with your finger should drop the idle RPM to the 400-500 range.

When the car is idling low with the hole open, and this is because the IACV is closed when it is supposed to be open, then blocking the hole will make no difference in idle speed.
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Old 03-06-2017, 04:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

Add to the possibilities, an intermittently sticking evaporative emissons purge valve. This valve is supposed to be shut solid until you are up to driving speed and the engine is warm. I had one that occasionally wouldn't seal tight all the time and it fought the IAC valve causing erratic up and down idle, almost to the point of stalling at stop lights.
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Old 03-06-2017, 04:58 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BV22 View Post
There is a simple pair of tests you can do for IACV function. With the air intake hose removed, you can see an oblong hole in the throttle body at 6 o'clock in front of the throttle plate. When the IACV is functioning normally and the engine is idling around 800 RPM, blocking this hole with your finger should drop the idle RPM to the 400-500 range.

When the car is idling low with the hole open, and this is because the IACV is closed when it is supposed to be open, then blocking the hole will make no difference in idle speed.
Being the problem is so intermittent, and only happebed once after long highway travel speeds, I'm not too sure how to test that problem. It is is idling fine and I cover the iacv hole. It should drop in rpm? And then Rev back up when I remove it?
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Old 03-06-2017, 04:59 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosierrun View Post
Add to the possibilities, an intermittently sticking evaporative emissons purge valve. This valve is supposed to be shut solid until you are up to driving speed and the engine is warm. I had one that occasionally wouldn't seal tight all the time and it fought the IAC valve causing erratic up and down idle, almost to the point of stalling at stop lights.
Is this the same thing as an egr valve? May be a stupid question but where can I find the evap emissions purge valve? Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-06-2017, 05:32 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bkardell View Post
Being the problem is so intermittent, and only happebed once after long highway travel speeds, I'm not too sure how to test that problem. It is is idling fine and I cover the iacv hole. It should drop in rpm? And then Rev back up when I remove it?
Yes. Cover the hole, RPM should drop. Uncover, RPM should rise above normal idle briefly and then return to normal idle. This suggests that the IACV is working. Intermittent issues are always fun! Electromechanical devices can do strange things when hot or cold or wet or...

Keep a screwdriver with you and if it acts up again, do the same IACV test while it is idling slow.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bkardell View Post
Is this the same thing as an egr valve? May be a stupid question but where can I find the evap emissions purge valve? Thanks in advance!
It is not the EGR valve. On the 2.2 engine, it should be to the right of the valve cover as you are looking into the engine bay. It is also called the purge solenoid. It has an input line from the rear (goes to vapor canister) and an output line or vacuum line that goes to the intake manifold. There is an electrical plug on the rear of the unit. I found that it is tricky getting those lines disconnected because of the latch system they use.

Usually, electrical failure of this device gives an engine code, but a sticking valve may not give a code. Again... this is only one of a few possibilities causing your problem.
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:00 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosierrun View Post
It is not the EGR valve. On the 2.2 engine, it should be to the right of the valve cover as you are looking into the engine bay. It is also called the purge solenoid. It has an input line from the rear (goes to vapor canister) and an output line or vacuum line that goes to the intake manifold. There is an electrical plug on the rear of the unit. I found that it is tricky getting those lines disconnected because of the latch system they use.

Usually, electrical failure of this device gives an engine code, but a sticking valve may not give a code. Again... this is only one of a few possibilities causing your problem.
being my engine is the 1.9L sohc, I am not even sure if it has this purge valve you are speaking of. If it does, where would it be and would cleaning it be similar to a egr valve? thanks
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:37 AM   #16
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

This is a good place to check since you haven't owned it long

http://saturnfans3.saturnfans.com/~s...d.php?t=177672

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Old 03-10-2017, 11:55 AM   #17
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

On the 1.9L DOHC, the purge valve is on the firewall side of the head.

Dunno where on the SOHC.

I have had the symptom you observe (OP). I think it is usually related to IACV function (or sticking). While on highway cruise, there is little need for variance in the IACV position. When slow to idle/crawl , the IACV needs adjust.

I'd follow BV22 advice for test ... monitor .

I recently replaced my IACV with one from Standard Motor (via RockAuto) --
I prefer it to the previous one which i installed 60kMi ago.
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:24 PM   #18
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

USUALLY a clogged fuel filter will be evident because it runs OK at idle and low power output, but will not sustain high output operation because the filter will not pass enough fuel to satisfy the power demand.

Sometimes it will also change the fuel pressure....
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:03 AM   #19
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Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

The purge valve is located on the back of the motor above the starter on the SOHC.
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:55 AM   #20
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1995 SL1
Default Re: 2001 sl1 idle problems after highway driving? HELP ASAP!!!

If this hasn't been resolved yet, I'd add an EGR block to your troubleshooting list. On my car when the EGR went it was hit and miss as to when it would happen, as well as how much it would impact how the car reacted. From slight hiccups here and there to completely trying to die off throttle in some cases.

Easy and free to check too.
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