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Old 07-13-2021, 03:33 PM   #1
Chaz9496
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2002 SL2
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Default Economy ? Seriously ?

There must be something wrong with mine. This SL2 gets Worse gas mileage than my L200 did with a 2.2. 100 miles less per Full Tank ! Are You kidding ? Gotta be something wrong, somewhere. Maybe that's why it had 6 owners before Me. I've changed the plugs and wires because they were worn. No change. It's supposed to get better than a 2.2 ecotec. Not happy. This has been the same since March when I bought it. Whatever, You know ? Should have kept the L200.
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Old 07-13-2021, 03:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

What's your MPG? What is your driving terrain like (hilly or flat, stop an go or go go go!) Is your foot made of a dense not so precious metal. Do you brake too much and not coast to that upcoming stop? The dual cam engine is a gas hog compared to its single cam little brother. I don't think the L200 has such engine options (quick guess).
Maybe you don't have that economy button pressed?
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Old 07-13-2021, 03:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

The L-Series also has a larger fuel tank. IIRC the S-Series tank is a maximum of 12.1 gallons and the L-Series is a maximum of 14.5
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Old 07-13-2021, 04:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

You're close. The wiki page says the S-Series has a 12.8 gallon tank with an average 32mpg (automatic), which my math confirms. I hit almost 33mpg during one run.

I know someone's gonna tell me that's not nearly as good as a manual, but considering my Silverado only gets MAYBE 15mpg, that's a win in my book
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Old 07-13-2021, 08:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

The fuel tank actually went from 12.8 gallons to 12.1 in 98 when the fuel system was changed to the returnless fuel system.
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Old 07-13-2021, 09:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dummo View Post
What's your MPG?
Don't know, I've never checked it. I do know the gauge goes down awful quick. The S Series is supposed to be more efficient that the 2.2. Example: It was between 3/4 and full Saturday after fueling up, drove it 78 Mi. When I got home, it was under 3/4 already. Usually when I had My L Series, I could go that many miles and still would be about on 3/4. I guess I won't know until I check the mileage after filling completely up. My 2.2 got fantastic mileage, in town and on the highway. My driving habits are normal. It also has a "Aggravating Misfire" I can't locate. That May add to the problem, but that Miss is only during idle, in gear. I guess in park or neutral it has a "Bouncing" to it. My friends 2017 Silverado with 55,000 mi also misses once in a while and has that same engine "Bouncing" in park as well. He said He was told it's running it with 87 octane w/ethanol that causes it. I don't believe so. I tried it and there's no change running Ethanol Free fuel. It may be one of those things that can't be found. It's been proven on YouTube by "Good Mechanics" that sometimes "Misfires" just happen and there's nothing You can do but live with it.
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Old 07-13-2021, 10:04 PM   #7
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2001 SL1
Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

I had that 2.2L engine also, it is only rated as 20 city, 26 highway.
Whereas, your 2002 SL2 should do at least 30 city and 35 to even 40+ on the highway.
The only ever way to know is to fillup completly, drive it to you get like to a 1/4 full and refill. The repeat this for a few fillups and you will have a better idea of the true mileage you are getting....as Dummo said, it all depends on your driving habits and types of trips you do.
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Old 07-13-2021, 11:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

Sounds like your SL2 has been neglected and/or worked on by morons. I had a SL2 like that as well, except the moron was me. Got down to about 18mpg before I realized there were serious issues (had all the bolt-on's plus dual intake cams and expected worse than normal MPG) lol Tried being super super easy on it and got up to 22mpg.

Mine was a '93 and the fix's ended up being super easy...plug the O2 sensor into the O2 sensor plug instead of the A/C compressor plug, replace the ICM and properly attach the PCM/O2 sensor grounds under intake runner #4. Went back up to 30-31mpg where it belonged.
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Old 07-14-2021, 10:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

Check your mileage - the gas gauge isn' t super accurate in most S series.

You probably still have 1/4 to 1/3 tank when it reads E.
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Old 07-14-2021, 01:28 PM   #10
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1995 SL1
Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

No MPG or actual economy checked, and a known misfire. Sounds like a recipe for an unknown to me.

Misfires can "just happen" occasionally. Very rarely enough to be noticed unless there is a problem.

Watching a gauge won't tell you much of anything. As Onlinebiker stated, many cars will show "E" with a couple gallons left. The lowest I ever risked running my SL1 down was a little less than a couple gallons, and even then it was moving below "E".

Actually logging MPG and trends will show you MPG. Fixing misfires will make trends go up in MPG. Unless you live in horrid traffic, use AC constantly, and idle a lot it's rare to get below about 25 MPG. And that is usually worst case. Quite a few cars will get upper 30's to mid 40's with more highway miles.
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Old 07-14-2021, 02:24 PM   #11
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2001 SL1
Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

What does your temp gauge sit at when it is fully warmed up?

Some of the common sources of poor fuel mileage relates to the reported coolant temperature at the PCM. It causes the PCM to push more fuel to the injectors thinking the engine is too cool. This leads to poor fuel mileage and excess carbonization in the engine and exhaust components.

Your 2002 would have come with a brass ECTS whereas from 91-01 they were installed with a resin tipped ECTS that was prone to cracking and failing to report the correct temperatures. So this is not likely your issue but check it anyways as it reports temperature to the PCM and temp gauge.

More probable is a failed thermostat. They fail open and cause your engine to run cool which in turn increases fuel consumption. From a cold engine if you put your hand on the upper radiator hose it should be cool for a couple minutes. If it warms up then your thermostat is leaking. There should be no flow into the radiator until your coolant temperature reaches about 188 F at the thermostat and then it cracks open. It will be fully open at 195 F.

If the thermostat has been replaced with an aftermarket thermostat and housing (like MotoRad). The housing is not compatible with the OEM thermostat (Stant 14279). Sometimes owners will try to put a Stant in the aftermarket housing (it sort of fits) and the result is that the thermostat does not fully open. In this case your engine would run hot but fuel mileage shouldn't be affected. I share this for information only if you decide to change the thermostat.
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Old 07-14-2021, 10:03 PM   #12
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by trottida View Post
What does your temp gauge sit at when it is fully warmed up? Sometimes owners will try to put a Stant in the aftermarket housing (it sort of fits) and the result is that the thermostat does not fully open. In this case your engine would run hot but fuel mileage shouldn't be affected. I share this for information only if you decide to change the thermostat.
The Thermostat was changed in May by My Mechanic when the Water Pump was replaced. I had Him do it because the gauge was running under 1/4 at running temp. It now runs a little over 1/4. YouTube video's state that the temp gauges on these run a little low. The thermostat/housing's are Complete Assemblies. The Thermostat assembly is a Murray I got from work for $9. The WP a Cardone, which really doesn't matter, but I've had some negative comments here in the past about Murray Products. I'm going to check under the hood when it's dark some night soon and see if I can spot an Arc coming from somewhere. It feels like an ignition misfire, possibly from the Coil Packs. That would be perfect if I can locate it that easy....easily. Lol.
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Old 07-15-2021, 08:05 AM   #13
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1995 SL1
Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

Step 1: run a compression test

if good then

step 2: check coils, ohm check and spark check.

step 3: check for a clogged cat-con.

Step 4: make sure you installed the correct copper plugs.

this would be my first steps

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Old 07-15-2021, 08:21 AM   #14
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaz9496 View Post
The Thermostat was changed in May by My Mechanic when the Water Pump was replaced. I had Him do it because the gauge was running under 1/4 at running temp. It now runs a little over 1/4. YouTube video's state that the temp gauges on these run a little low. The thermostat/housing's are Complete Assemblies. The Thermostat assembly is a Murray I got from work for $9. The WP a Cardone, which really doesn't matter, but I've had some negative comments here in the past about Murray Products. I'm going to check under the hood when it's dark some night soon and see if I can spot an Arc coming from somewhere. It feels like an ignition misfire, possibly from the Coil Packs. That would be perfect if I can locate it that easy....easily. Lol.
For GEN3 your gauge should read like the photo below. There are 3 different temp gauge calibrations which changed with the generations. This link will take you to a good thread on this topic. GEN2 reads the coldest which is likely what you saw on the video if it was by RichPin. He has a 98 SL2.

That said the gauges are not terribly accurate so you should see what your temperature reads using a OBD2 scanner; it should be in and around 193 F. If your ECTS and/or its connector is failing thought that reading will be incorrect. For $15 you may just want to change the ECTS to see if the reading changes afterwards. The ECTS sends signal to both the PCM and temp gauge.


...
1999 SL2 MT (298,000 km @ 06/2021)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
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1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
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Old 07-15-2021, 08:28 PM   #15
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1994 SL2
Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

MAP sensor and O2 sensor are HUGE culprits when it comes to causing bad gas mileage. And in an older car, the computers aren't good enough to run really good tests to find out those parts are bad. Often in those cars, you need to put a code-reader that displays live data to see that an O2 isn't reacting as it should. Or the MAP isn't reacting correctly.

For instance, in an old car the computer looks for the O2 reading to change. And if the sensor reading changes, the computer assumes that the sensor is good. But as a sensor ages, it gets lazy and/or coated with carbon, and the changes are delayed or not as extreme as they should be. The sensor is actually bad, but the computer sees some change in it's output voltage and assumes it's good. So no code is set. But your gas mileage goes away. Without a good live data reader, they only thing you can do is replace the sensor. Pick up a used one at a wrecker to do some tests with. And if you get good results, put in a new one.

I have a '94 Fleetwood Brougham that the right-side O2 went bad. But there was no code. I threw parts at it (injectors, fuel pump, mass airflow sensor) and never fixed the symptom (high speed stumble at interstate speeds). Finally I decided to change the spark plugs. The driver's side plugs looked good. The passenger side plugs were black and sooted up. BOOM: O2 sensor. Replaced it, and everything was fine.

And don't forget the obvious things on a Saturn: Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor and Thermostat. Check their wires and plugs for good contact. And do the same for the intake air temperature sensor. Saturn computers are really picky about operating temperatures.

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Old 07-15-2021, 10:56 PM   #16
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highmile View Post
Step 1: run a compression test

if good then

step 2: check coils, ohm check and spark check.

step 3: check for a clogged cat-con.

Step 4: make sure you installed the correct copper plugs.

this would be my first steps

Highmile
'95 SL1 734k and counting
Compression is right on, on all 4, 150-152. Don't know much about checking these things, I'm really illiterate about this. It also has a Stumble giving it gas & Bucking at times while driving at any speed. I put in AC Delco's, exactly what was in it that were somewhat worn when I pulled them. This vehicle didn't miss at the time I bought it. It seems to be getting more consistent, the Misfire is every few seconds, at times. No Miss when Cold, only at running temp. O2 sensor, Upstream was changed with a Salvage Yard one to see if any change with Gas Mileage was improved. It was not. No codes when scanned today at work. I know You can check for a Cat problem using an Inferred Thermometer for temp differences at each end. Plug Wires also changed because the Factory wires were still on it. Still no change. Put the Factory Wires back on just to see what would happen, same issue.

Last edited by Chaz9496; 07-15-2021 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 07-16-2021, 07:57 AM   #17
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

So you still need to check the coils from what I'm seeing. Just because you replaced the plugs with the same ones that were in it doesn't mean they are the correct ones. Saturn's can be very picky about their plugs and a lot of folks think the expensive platinum or iridium plugs are better but not for these cars.

After checking the coils, I check the spark on each wire with an old fashioned timing light to see if there is a pattern on a single cylinder or if it's really random or if it's even a spark related at all.

Then I'd ohm check the injectors.

EGR issues can drive a person crazy as well. Block it off and let it run a bit to see if issues go away.

150lbs of compression is actually quite low but it could be due to slow cranking speed, inaccurate gauge, whatever. Most important is that they all read the same.

Moving on I'd look at fuel pressure, MAP, and throttle position sensor.

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Old 07-16-2021, 08:37 AM   #18
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

I'm going to redo the compression. It may help a little if I do it a little more correctly. I probably wasn't turning it over enough to get a proper reading, tho its consistency looks good.
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Old 07-16-2021, 03:33 PM   #19
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

My SC2 automatic is good for consistent 31-32 mpg.
My SL1 automatic is consistent at or above 40 mpg. Hence my preference during the daily commute. At 800 miles per week it’s obvious better choice.
All goes out the window of course above 70 mph. Mileage drops way off on both.
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Old 07-16-2021, 05:56 PM   #20
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Default Re: Economy ? Seriously ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaz9496 View Post
I'm going to redo the compression. It may help a little if I do it a little more correctly. I probably wasn't turning it over enough to get a proper reading, tho its consistency looks good.
When you do a compression test - make sure the throttle body is wide open......
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