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Posted: 1/15/2006 2:38:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/17/2006 2:29:22 PM EDT by The_Reaper]
I was heading to the gas station on my way home from buying a new gun.

The idiot light was on telling me I was out of gas.

I was a block away from the filling station at a stop light.

When the light turned green, I let the clutch out (standard transmission) and took off like I always do.

Except this time I went about 20 feet, and before my foot was completely off the clutch,
the engine lurched great big, and almost died.

I figured it was my engine's way of telling me it was starving.

I got to the station, and filled up.

But the symptoms didn't go away.

As I pulled away from the pump, it did the same thing. And every time I started from a dead stop,
it would do it. No problems after shifting into any other gear.

Rev the engine up to about 1500-2000rpm and start to let the clutch out.
When the car starts to move, and the engine speed is dragged down to around
1300rpm, it is as if the fuel pump cuts out for a second.
The car bucks real hard once, then is fine.

Or if I'm quick, I can push the clutch back in as soon as it starts to buck, (so it won't be so violent)
and then let the clutch back out after it has it's brief fit.

The "check engine light" is NOT on.

It did it before and after I filled up with gas.

The only thing out of the ordinary (other than the symptom) was that I ran it very low on fuel.

Any ideas?

Thanks!


Link Posted: 1/15/2006 2:41:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/15/2006 2:42:18 PM EDT by The_Beer_Slayer]
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 2:50:16 PM EDT
yeah, fuel filter. also spark plugs can do this too.
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 2:59:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
fuel filter

by the way... it's a bitch to change <at least my 99 was>

empty tank you sucked up the sludge on the bottom.




I've had fuel filters get plugged up before in other vehicles.
The symptoms then were that the engine would idle fine, and drive okay at mild speeds
an then start to cut out at higher speeds or hard acceleration. (more consumption)

I jumped on the gas once I got it into second gear, and it ran hard and fast, same as always.

I suppose it is possible the car needs more gas under the load of getting moving.

Link Posted: 1/15/2006 3:02:12 PM EDT
Yup, fuel filter or a spark plug is out. Does it shudder when when you pull out slowly? When my car's fuel filter was bad, the car shut down and I had to restatrt. A bad plug just shudders while driving.
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 3:04:32 PM EDT
Might have sucked some crap into the fuel rail and into the injectors.

Any SES codes?
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 3:12:18 PM EDT

We also have an "01" SL2 that had the same problem. You'll start noticing first, intermittent loss of power, then it will die sometimes, usually when the tank is below 1/2 full.

The Saturn tech will say they can't duplicate the problem. They will see the problem first hand because you need to take them for a ride until it happens again... do a lot of semi-fast starts with 1/4 tank or less.

The genius will say, it's the fuel pump/filter (one unit, the bastards),like I told them in the first place. Then you get to pay them 400ish dollars because some asswipe engineer didn't put a seperate fuel filter on the car.

This happened about a year ago and it's been fine ever since. I think keeping your tank from getting too low helps. Aside from the sunroof going tits-up it's the only problem we've had in almost 50K miles.

Good Luck, Bruce
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 7:35:35 PM EDT
Is there a definitive test for a clogged fuel filter for a car like this?

Like I said, it used to be a clogged fuel filter could be diagnosed by
the engine cutting out more, the faster you tried to drive due to the
amount of fuel consumed.

Since this only happens at low RPMs, and in first gear,
it just isn't screaming "fuel filter".

I considered the fuel filter first, but I tried hard acceleration after it got past
this little hickup, and it ran fine.

Link Posted: 1/15/2006 7:40:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/15/2006 7:43:08 PM EDT by www-glock19-com]
I agree wiht the above clogged fuel filter you got empty and sucked up the crud from the bottom of the tank
if it was most anything in air/ fuel mangement ,you would get a check engine light and you can pull the code
Do saturns have a extra cold start or enrichment/ power fuel injectors?
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 7:41:26 PM EDT
bad gas


clogged filter


dirty intake manifold



clogged injectors
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 4:20:46 AM EDT
UPDATE

Car started up this morning, and ran fine.

On the way home from the gas station yesterday, I considered the possibility of a computer glitch.
I even went to far as to shut the engine off for a second at a stop sign, but that didn't help.

Probably unrelated, but on the way home from the gun store, the cruise control kicked off on it's own.
First time that had ever happened.

But on the way to work this morning, the car ran like it always had.
Nothing out of the ordinary.

Is there a ghost in the machine?
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 4:31:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By oulufinn:
We also have an "01" SL2 that had the same problem. You'll start noticing first, intermittent loss of power, then it will die sometimes, usually when the tank is below 1/2 full.

The Saturn tech will say they can't duplicate the problem. They will see the problem first hand because you need to take them for a ride until it happens again... do a lot of semi-fast starts with 1/4 tank or less.

The genius will say, it's the fuel pump/filter (one unit, the bastards),like I told them in the first place. Then you get to pay them 400ish dollars because some asswipe engineer didn't put a seperate fuel filter on the car.

This happened about a year ago and it's been fine ever since. I think keeping your tank from getting too low helps. Aside from the sunroof going tits-up it's the only problem we've had in almost 50K miles.

Good Luck, Bruce



One fuel pump/filter?



That sucks!!!! I imagine it's that way in my 2001 SL1....
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 4:51:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Reaper:
UPDATE

Car started up this morning, and ran fine.

On the way home from the gas station yesterday, I considered the possibility of a computer glitch.
I even went to far as to shut the engine off for a second at a stop sign, but that didn't help.

Probably unrelated, but on the way home from the gun store, the cruise control kicked off on it's own.
First time that had ever happened.

But on the way to work this morning, the car ran like it always had.
Nothing out of the ordinary.

Is there a ghost in the machine?




Doesn't 100% mean your problem is fixed. Was it colder out when it was running like crap or colder out this morning? I would give it a few days, I bet it comes back.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 12:51:15 PM EDT
Another Update

As I left work today, the car still ran fine.
But the check engine light came on.
But it came on right when the odometer hit 90,001 miles.

I know some cars are set to trigger the check engine light after so many miles,
so I didn't get too worried.

I went to Gander Mountain to pick up my order.

When I left Gander Mountain, as I pulled out of my parking spot, it lurched again.

The quickest way to get a check engine light decoded is the local Autozone, so I went there.

They hooked my car up to their little handheld tester, and it came back with
two error codes for the EGR valve.

They can order the EGR valve, for $130.

I didn't even know these cars had EGR valves.

I thank them, and head to a local repair shop that I trust.
I described the symptoms, told them the opinions I got here, and told them what Autozone said.

The guy went out and luckily it was still acting up for him.

He hooked up his decoder/computer thing-a-bob, and did several tests.

I freak'in hate when I have a problem and the experts say "hmmm... I've never seen THIS before".

His computer said the car had several errors.
The main one being that the EGR valve is opening too soon,
and the rest of the errors being related to the near stall situation.

He had his computer thing scan the sensors while driving, and it said that for whatever
reason, the EGR valve was opening too soon, and starving the engine of oxygen.

It isn't as if the EGR valve isn't working.
It is that something is triggering it to work at the wrong time.

And I remembered something else that I wouldn't have considered related.
On the way home from the sporting goods store yesterday, I was on the interstate
cruising at 75. For no reason whatsoever, the car disengaged the cruise.

I set the cruise back where it was, and scratched my head a little.
I kicked around at the clutch and brake pedals to see if a switch was getting loose,
but I couldn't duplicate the problem.

So now I'm starting to think my car's computer is fried.

Maybe I'll get lucky and some other sensor went bad that is triggering the EGR.

It is beyond my abilities to diagnose this now.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 2:18:04 PM EDT
Don't jump to conclusions and start replacing parts needlessly.

Take your car to a qualified repair facility where they'll analyze the stored trouble codes and the "freeze frame data" associated with those codes. Here, the troubleshooting will begin - the codes are simply troubleshooting aids and are not necessarily going to take you directly to the problem.

The cruise control issue may be unrelated, or the computer may normally cancel the cruise control under some trouble code conditions.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 2:22:57 PM EDT
Unplugging the battery from the car while it is off is supposed to 'reset' the onboard computer. You may want to try that first.

Orthwise, try google/ deja news to see if you can find similar saturn owners with the same problem.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 2:26:43 PM EDT
It will be intermittent for a while and then get slowly worse.... The codes won't help because they're being triggered by the stalls. It will become clearer it's a fuel supply problem as it progresses. We waited about a month because I didn't want to try the "shotgun" approach and fix a bunch of stuff that wasn't really the problem. The good thing was it never just croaked. It always restarted after it died so it never left her stranded. It IS a design flaw but not a recall(of course). Call a couple of different Saturn dealers and speak to a tech (NOT the service writers) someone probably will know of the problem.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 4:44:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By oulufinn:
It will be intermittent for a while and then get slowly worse.... The codes won't help because they're being triggered by the stalls. It will become clearer it's a fuel supply problem as it progresses. We waited about a month because I didn't want to try the "shotgun" approach and fix a bunch of stuff that wasn't really the problem. The good thing was it never just croaked. It always restarted after it died so it never left her stranded. It IS a design flaw but not a recall(of course). Call a couple of different Saturn dealers and speak to a tech (NOT the service writers) someone probably will know of the problem.



I'll keep you posted.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 4:51:07 PM EDT
EVERYONE I personally know that had one has hated their Saturn. Having driven my ex girlfriends to the dealer for warranty work more times than I'd like to remember, I've come to the opinion that Saturn's are junk.

I have never seen a Saturn with over 50k that runs right. The alternators frequently go out on them, the injectors seem to be less than quality, and the automatic transmissions are 100% junk.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 4:59:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By olds442tyguy:
EVERYONE I personally know that had one has hated their Saturn. Having driven my ex girlfriends to the dealer for warranty work more times than I'd like to remember, I've come to the opinion that Saturn's are junk.

I have never seen a Saturn with over 50k that runs right. The alternators frequently go out on them, the injectors seem to be less than quality, and the automatic transmissions are 100% junk.



Yep, my fiance got suckered into the whole "new, friendly responsible GM" crap. Paid as much for her Saturn as I did a used Lexus sedan two years later. I have +50k over miles on my Lexus than her Saturn, paid almost the same price and the Saturn has had +$3k more repair bills. Lexus has had two timing belt changes and some recurring tire alignment problems.

Link Posted: 1/16/2006 5:20:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By oulufinn:
Then you get to pay them 400ish dollars because some asswipe engineer didn't put a seperate fuel filter on the car.



Chrysler swears up and down that the '96'-99 Neon fuel pump and filter are one unit, and you can't replace just the fuel filter.

Well, the fuel filter and pressure regulator are one unit, which snaps into the fuel pump assembly that goes into the tank. So, we just go right on buying replacement filter/regulators, with Chrysler telling us every step of the way that what we do can't be done.

Jim
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 5:30:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By olds442tyguy:
EVERYONE I personally know that had one has hated their Saturn. Having driven my ex girlfriends to the dealer for warranty work more times than I'd like to remember, I've come to the opinion that Saturn's are junk.

I have never seen a Saturn with over 50k that runs right. The alternators frequently go out on them, the injectors seem to be less than quality, and the automatic transmissions are 100% junk.



Are you telling me that the injectors on a Saturn are different than are used on
a ton of other GM vehicles?

I've got 99,000 miles on this one, and have never had a problem. Until now.

It still gets close to 40mpg highway if I drive it nice.

Asside from fuel, oil changes, tires, brake pads and rotors, it has never needed any attention.

I have three payments left, so I figure it is gearing up to fall apart in April or May.

I had a buddy that used to work for the Saturn Service department at our dealership.

His opinion was the all of the Saturns with problems are due to people trying to drive them
like they are some kind of sports car. The engines and transmissions can't handle jackrabbit
starts all the time. I don't treat mine that way.

He said there were "things" they look for that determine how rough they were driven.

Don't know if that was true, but it is what he said.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 5:31:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:

Originally Posted By oulufinn:
Then you get to pay them 400ish dollars because some asswipe engineer didn't put a seperate fuel filter on the car.



Chrysler swears up and down that the '96'-99 Neon fuel pump and filter are one unit, and you can't replace just the fuel filter.

Well, the fuel filter and pressure regulator are one unit, which snaps into the fuel pump assembly that goes into the tank. So, we just go right on buying replacement filter/regulators, with Chrysler telling us every step of the way that what we do can't be done.

Jim



Where do you get those parts if they "don't exist"?
I would have guessed they aren't available unless you buy the entire package.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 6:10:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Reaper:

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:

Originally Posted By oulufinn:
Then you get to pay them 400ish dollars because some asswipe engineer didn't put a seperate fuel filter on the car.



Chrysler swears up and down that the '96'-99 Neon fuel pump and filter are one unit, and you can't replace just the fuel filter.

Well, the fuel filter and pressure regulator are one unit, which snaps into the fuel pump assembly that goes into the tank. So, we just go right on buying replacement filter/regulators, with Chrysler telling us every step of the way that what we do can't be done.

Jim



Where do you get those parts if they "don't exist"?
I would have guessed they aren't available unless you buy the entire package.



You have to know what to ask for. If the parts counter guy looks up "fuel filter", the computer will display "ENTIRE EXPENSIVE PUMP MODULE". That's all.

If you ask for the fuel pressure regulator by part number, you will get the fuel pressure regulator--which happens to have the integral fuel filter inside it. Look here for an explanation. This could be very similar to how GM designed the Saturns.

Jim
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 6:27:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Reaper:Are you telling me that the injectors on a Saturn are different than are used on
a ton of other GM vehicles?

I've got 99,000 miles on this one, and have never had a problem. Until now.

It still gets close to 40mpg highway if I drive it nice.

Asside from fuel, oil changes, tires, brake pads and rotors, it has never needed any attention.

I have three payments left, so I figure it is gearing up to fall apart in April or May.

I had a buddy that used to work for the Saturn Service department at our dealership.

His opinion was the all of the Saturns with problems are due to people trying to drive them
like they are some kind of sports car. The engines and transmissions can't handle jackrabbit
starts all the time. I don't treat mine that way.

He said there were "things" they look for that determine how rough they were driven.

Don't know if that was true, but it is what he said.


Hers was a 98, and I was told it used the same injectors that GM used last in the 94 Cavalier motor.

I'd be surprised if she ever passed 60 mph and she didn't abuse it in any way shape or form. All maintenance was done accordingly to Saturn's reccomendation, and usually by Saturn themselves.

She was not the only one I know who had a Saturn and thought it was a POS. Saturn is known for their great warranty for a reason. I wish I could comment on GMC or Cadillac's warranty, but I've never had to use it.

I would never even step foot in a Saturn dealership. Just my opinion though.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 6:58:13 PM EDT
We also have an "01" SL2 that had the same problem. You'll start noticing first, intermittent loss of power, then it will die sometimes, usually when the tank is below 1/2 full.

The Saturn tech will say they can't duplicate the problem. They will see the problem first hand because you need to take them for a ride until it happens again... do a lot of semi-fast starts with 1/4 tank or less.

The genius will say, it's the fuel pump/filter (one unit, the bastards),like I told them in the first place. Then you get to pay them 400ish dollars because some asswipe engineer didn't put a seperate fuel filter on the car.

This happened about a year ago and it's been fine ever since. I think keeping your tank from getting too low helps. Aside from the sunroof going tits-up it's the only problem we've had in almost 50K miles.
Good Luck, Bruce


Bruce, you've had sunroof issues, too? Ours has leaked for a couple of months, even after they fixed (warranty) it before. I think I am done with GM. I hate to do it, but.........

B_S
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 2:29:07 PM EDT
So the mechanic calls me this morning at 10am.

He said that more diagnostics showed it was, in fact, the EGR valve.

I said "fix it"

He quoted me $289, and said he could have it done today
as long as the Saturn dealer had EGR valves in stock.

Out of curiosity, I called Saturn to price one of those EGR valves.
My price was $172. DANG!

When I picked up the car, the mechanic explained the diagnostics.

He said that his handheld computer thing is capable of controlling
everything the car's computer can control.

(cool toy, and I told them so. They said it cost them $4000, plus
about $300 per month for updates and software)

When they told the EGR to open 10%, nothing happened.
When they told the EGR to open 20%, nothing happened.
Same with 30%.

He said when they hit 40%, it snapped open.

It seems the car tries to open it a little, and if it isn't enough, it opens it a little more.

When it suddenly opens up to 40%, when the car only needed 10%, the car stalls.

I have the original EGR valve right here.
I've never seen an electric EGR valve before.

For as long as I can remember, the car had this faint engine knock that I attributed to
economy engines running lean. I assumed the knock sensor was keeping it under control
as much as needed.

The knock is gone.

The stalling is gone.

It seems to run better.

Now, get this...
The receipt from the mechanic shows that they only charged me $172 for the EGR.
I've never had a mechanic charge me their cost for parts.
Places like Midas, who get some of their parts from places like NAPA, add 20% or so to their cost.

They also charged me $65 for diagnostics.
Their standard fee is $65 per hour, one hour minimum.
They charged the same fee when I had my wife's car towed
to them when it crapped out on the interstate. I was too busy to
deal with it, so I told them to "fix it".
It was nothing more than a bad spark plug wire,
but I was still charged $65 for the computer diagnostics.

So they charged me $80 to install the part.

It is about 30 degrees outside, windy, chance of snow, ..... ya know what... that is the best
money I've spent in a long time.
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