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Old 03-10-2008, 10:07 PM   #1
mike_245
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Default P0304 Code (out of ideas)

My 2001 SL SOHC (177,000 miles) has a P0304 setting at idle and idles rough. Normal driving I don't notice any issues. I have read many posts and tried nearly everything. Here is what has been done:

Front O2 changed (already had this code set from before)
Plugs changed from bosch to AC gapped to .40
Wires changed
Coil packs changed
Ignition module swapped from my brothers Saturn
PCV changed
Coolant temp sensor and connector changed (was cracked and connector corroded)
TPS swapped from spare 1.9L
IAC swapped from spare 1.9L
Compression checked wet #1 200, #2 180, #3 200, #4 180
Injectors removed and cleaned (checked via 9v battery on switch) (swapped #1 injector with #4 injector) ( 1 time I did get an P0301 after this, but now consistantly get only P0304)
EGR changed

Items noted:

Carb cleaner used to find leak, but no impact (noted that engine nearly stalled rather than increase when sprayed into throttle body - running too rich already). Terrible fuel smell and moisture from exhaust at idle.

Pull #4 plug wire and no impact to engine idle, also would match with P0304 and unclean burn on plug. Pulled all other plug wires and engine nearly stalled. Same applies for pulling injector wires...although I pulled #1 injector and didn't notice much difference either.

Can hear a mechanical clicking noise (4 or 5 clicks in succession) and then nothing for 8 or so more counts...can't seem to locate source using a screwdriver on engine, injectors, EGR, exhaust, valve cover, etc. Seems to come from area near firewall. No difference engine hot or cold.

I haven't pulled the valve cover to see if cam lobe is warn on #4 exhaust yet, but that seems like it would also affect normal driving.

Any ideas? I just picked up a low mileage 1.9 that I could swap, but I was hoping to get at least 200K with this one. I have never had any issues and it still runs strong as when it was new....except for the idle issue!
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

P0304...usually its a p0301.

Anyway, you have a '01 SOHC with a rough idle. My guess is your intake manifold gasket needs to be replaced. Spray some brake cleaner near cylinder #4 and #1 around the intake manifold gasket for confirmation. If the idle changes, then you know what is wrong.
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

rc1488 is right that the typical intake gasket leak on a third gen SOHC is on cylinder one. There's a fairly rare intake gasket leak that can leak coolant into cylinder 4 and cause a miss. However, I don't think that would stop cylinder 4 from banging at all.

Try swapping injectors with another cylinder to see if the miss moves.
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

I tried that with carb cleaner and ether, but didn't notice any change. I will try with brake cleaner.

I also swapped 1 and 4 injectors with no change...well I think I did...I need to verify I didn't put them back in the same place. I was going to swap the new fuel rail/injectors from the new motor for final confirmation. I also was going to see if the tech at work could hook up a multi channel O-scope to check the PWM is the same for all cylinders. It sounds the same using a screwdriver to the injector, but that is subjective.

The coolant leak concept may make sense...I have notice some coolant loss, but didn't think too much with it. I didn't really want to change the intake gasket without confirmation.

Any possiblity that fuel pressure is too high? I don't have a pressure gauge, but was thinking about getting one.

The other idea I has was that the computer is not working correctly during idle (open loop operation).

I acts very much like a simple injector or ignition problem - but the plug is firing and the injector seems to be firing...I just don't know if it is at the right time or not.

Correction to my post...the compression numbers were dry not wet...I did the wet test on 4 and it only increased by 5 psi.
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

You can also try swapping the coils and see if the miss moves.
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Old 03-11-2008, 11:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

Both coils are brand new but on Saturday just for second check I took the coils, ignition module and wires from my brothers SL1 and still had same problems)

This thing has got me stumped.
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Old 03-12-2008, 12:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

Pull the wire off the #4 plug and leave it close to the block or in the well. You should hear/see a spark jump from the end of the wire to the block. If you dont, then there isnt a spark getting to the plug. Let us know what you find
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

The spark is strong, same as other cylinders. Before I changed the wires it didn't seem to be as strong as the others so I thought I had the fix, but now it is. I also got rid of the platnum plugs and went back to AC Delco's at the same time. Didn't effect idle though with the improvement in spark. Other than fuel injectors, compression, or ignition what could be effecting only one cylinder and mainly only at idle or lower RPM?

It is now more of a quest to find the answer to the puzzle than anything else. Not to mention my normal 37 mpg is nice when gas is over $3.45. I guess I could just take the weekend and put in the new motor, but I don't think there is anything mechanically wrong with mine.
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Old 03-12-2008, 11:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

The clicking noises, by chance is it from the ABS module near the master cylinder?

This may be way out on a limb but could there be something with the notches in the crank, particularly the #4 notch, that the crank position sensor is sensing out of the ordinary? The only way to see the notches other than dropping the oil pan would be to remove the cps and use a mechanics mirror/light to peer straight into the crankcase while the crankshaft is slowly rotated. Just a thought since all timing takes place with the cps/crankshaft notches.
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Old 03-12-2008, 12:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

Basic brakes only...no ABS. The German student that works for me can't figure out how I can drive a car without ABS.

As for the CPS...couldn't you check this with a o-scope to verify a consistant signal? I think this might be easier since I have access to a scope at work. I may still try this weekend to do the visual method.

How would something happen internally though? It may be a crazy idea, but I will accept all possibilities at this point.

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Old 03-12-2008, 12:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

Ha-ha! A German that can't handle a car without ABS brakes?! With our roads?

Unless you have the old style ignition coils with separate plug wires, the comprehensive ignition module has to be removed, layed to one side with the plug(s) inserted and the plug body grounded, to observe sparking otherwise the scope is the et's preferred method if it weren't so bulky compared to portable OBD II scanners. Good waveforms say a lot when interpreted correctly.

I'll leave it up to your imagination as to what goes on inside the crankcase if something were to bridge the notches that are crucial to the cps operating optimally. A scope can discern an anomaly.
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:28 PM   #12
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

I didn't even think about the GM Tech II scanner. Will it read out the sensor output in a way that could be analyzed? I haven't worked with a Tech II in years and didn't remember any waveform analysis capabilities, but I generally used it for interior electronics issues not engine sensor evaluations. I have a couple friends at GM Engineering that I could borrow one from. I kind of figured the Saturn diagnostics would be pretty basic.
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:52 PM   #13
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

I can't answer that question about the Tech II scanner's capability and I don't think a digital scope is part of Saturn's equipment when they already have extensive data acquisition with real time analysis. This may be the substitute wave form duplicating a scope function. Perhaps one of the Saturn techs can answer your question.
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:28 AM   #14
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Default Re: P0304 Code (out of ideas)

See my user gallery for pictures.... Remove and replace (or clean) the BOLTS that hold the DIS module and coils packs to the transaxle... (no kidding)

http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...69/ppuser/3528
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