Mechanics

MISFIRE/LOW COMPRESSION/BURNING OIL

1996 Saturn SL1 • 4 cylinder 2WD Manual • 183,173 miles

I have a 1996 Saturn SL1. The engine has a misfire and alternates between running fine for a few weeks and then running rough for a few weeks. When the car is running rough it has less power and the engine has low compression in one of the cylinders (mechanic did a compression test). After a few weeks of running rough the car will shudder for a few seconds while I'm driving and then suddenly the power will return, the engine runs fine, and I'm good for another few weeks. Interestingly, the engine will burn oil when the engine is running fine, but when the engine is running rough it does not burn oil at all! Also, if I smell the dipstick I think I can smell fuel. I'm wondering if anybody can put this all together and give me an idea what might be wrong. I only paid $900 for the car and I can't afford to have the engine taken apart, so I was just going to carry on driving it until it dies (been going 8 months like this now), unless anybody has an idea for a simple fix. Thanks!
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Sclindsay
May 15, 2011.




First, let me explain this. Compression does not come and go. If you have low compression, then you have an internal mechanical issue and it's not going away. If you have a problems coming and going, something is changing in fuel or ignition supply and that is what needs to be determined. A competent technician should be able to isolate what is happening.

Wrenchtech
May 15, 2011.
Your problem seems odd. A intermittent problem like your sounds like a misfire could be from ignition related problem. The only explanation I can see for engine running fine when burning oil is may be u could have a intermittent oil leak in your problem cylinder the add oil can raise your compression. Making your car run better. Gas in your oil is a sign of cylinder wall beind washed down or gas entering engine base past pistion rings. There could be may posiable problems here. The saturn sl1 had trouble with coolant temp senor cracking causing coolant temp to read - 35 constanly usaly car runs fine tell it warms up and enters closed loop then floods out engine and most likely black smoke is seen from exhaust

Since this question is nearly three years old, I seriously doubt he is still looking for an answer.
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Wrenchtech
Feb 2, 2014.

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