1995 Saturn SL1 Hard starting and smoke

Tiny
QUADBOY
  • MEMBER
  • 1995 SATURN SL1
  • 150,000 MILES
Hi, I was looking around for a crappy car for work and I came across a 95 Saturn SL1 AUTOMATIC for $300. The problem is - While cranking, the engine takes about 10 seconds to finally start and while it is cranking it has black smoke, then a little white smoke coming out of the exhaust, but the smoke stops when the car is running. Also it idles almost up to 3k rpms when put in neutral without pushing the gas. And (sometimes) when you put it in gear it dies. I just want to know if I should even mess with the car or if the engine is blown?
-Thanks
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Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 AT 8:19 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
If it doesn't smoke after it has been running for a minute or two, and the coolant isn't disappearing out of the reservoir, it probably has a leaking injector that is bleeding off the fuel pressure when it sits for a while. That causes a flooding condition and that black smoke at start up, but that is less likely to occur when the engine is cold.

The fuel pump may not run long enough to build the pressure back up for starting when you turn the ignition switch to "run". It will resume running during cranking but since the injectors will be pulsing on and off too and bleeding some pressure off again, it will take some time to build the pressure high enough for the engine to start. That, coupled with the flooded condition will make for a long crank time.

If that's all that's occurring it may not be serious. The high idle speed is typical of a vacuum leak. Listen for a hiss or you can spray water on the vacuum hoses while the engine is still cold. Watch for where it gets sucked or the engine slows down momentarily.
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Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 AT 10:09 PM
Tiny
QUADBOY
  • MEMBER
Ok thank you. I think i'll buy it for the $300 because it seems fixable. -Ill post back once I try what you said. -Thanks
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Friday, May 3rd, 2013 AT 4:13 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Actually sounds like a bad coolant temp sensor really common on those and will cause the smoke high idle etc. Its the bottom coolant temp sensor also inspect the inside of the coolant temp sensor connector. If the terminals are blue or green instead of silver you will need a new connector also.
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Sunday, May 12th, 2013 AT 8:03 PM

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