Low Idle

Tiny
TIMRUSSO
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 SATURN SC1
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 270,000 MILES
I have a 1996 Saturn SC1. I was at a stop light and the car idled low to the point it shut off. To keep it running, I had to keep the accelerator pressed in slightly. The AC was not running or anything like it. Any ideas to what causes this and how it can be fixed?
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Friday, July 8th, 2011 AT 6:56 PM

18 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Do you have any other symptoms like a hard start or you have to hold your gas pedal to the floor for it to start?Any trouble codes in the computer?
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Friday, July 8th, 2011 AT 10:37 PM
Tiny
TIMRUSSO
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No other symptoms to really mention. The car is old and the Check Engine Light is always on. It has become common with this car. The car starts without me having to use the gas to get it going. The transmission seems to run rough, but I think it could be from age and wear/tear.
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Friday, July 8th, 2011 AT 11:19 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Lets do this take the car to a auto parts store like auto zone and have them scan the car for codes write down the exact numbers not code description and let me know the numbers. You could even have a sticking egr valve causing this.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 12:00 AM
Tiny
TIMRUSSO
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Excellent! I will do this after work tomorrow. Thanks for your help! I appreciate it! I'll write more tomorrow.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 12:29 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
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Your welcome keep me posted.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 12:53 AM
Tiny
TIMRUSSO
  • MEMBER
Ok, just got the codes. Here they are:

P0122
P1406

Thanks again for your insight into this! The car is old, so I am not expecting miracles. If I can save money doing the repairs myself, I would love to.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 5:21 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Looks like you have two issues here lets start with the easiest one first your code P1406 egr pintle position error. Most likely caused by the egr valve pintle sticking remove the egr valve. Then turn it upside you will see a open hole and a hole with the pintle in it with a star shape on the end of the pintle. Then take a small screwdriver and slowly push the pintle down till it bottoms out. Was the pintle sticking shut when you first started pushing it down?After you bottom out the pintle then slowly release it did it stick open?If so you can try soaking it with some carbon cleaner but its usually best to just replace it. As far as your P0122 that is a low voltage on the tps circuit to diagnose it you will need a scan tool that can read live engine data and a multimeter. But lets look at the egr valve get back to me on that one and we will go from there.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 5:59 PM
Tiny
TIMRUSSO
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Ok, I took off the valve and the pintle moves fluidly. No sticking on the up or down. However, there is a lot of carbon deposit inside. Should I clean it or just replace it?
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 7:10 PM
Tiny
TIMRUSSO
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I see the TPS is around $35 from AutoZone. I am thinking about just replacing it since it is so inexpensive.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 7:25 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
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Since the egr moves good just try cleaning it those egrs arent cheap. As far as the tps I have replaced very few of them in my 16 plus yrs working for saturn dealers.I would its more likley a terminal tightness issue or wire issue to the tps. Do you have a multimeter?
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 7:42 PM
Tiny
TIMRUSSO
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I do have a multimeter here.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 7:47 PM
Tiny
TIMRUSSO
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Also, should I clean the EGR with a carburetor cleaner or a throttle cleaner?
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 7:48 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
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I would use a carbon cleaner because you have to eat up all that carbon.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 7:54 PM
Tiny
TIMRUSSO
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Will do! When you get a minute, let me know how I should test the TPS/lines and I'll get that done.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 8:03 PM
Tiny
TIMRUSSO
  • MEMBER
I just realized that in should have mentioned a few other things I noticed that could be linked to the TPS that I am experiencing.
Besides the low idle I have seen odd shifting patterns (shifting between gears is inconsistent). The power when accelerating is a little low, but that could be age too. I figured I would go ahead and give you a little more background on what I am experiencing.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 8:10 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Yes tps will effect idle shifting etc look at the tps wires going to the connector see if a animal has chewed up the wires too it. Also unplug it and see if there are any open terminals on the tps connector.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 8:23 PM
Tiny
TIMRUSSO
  • MEMBER
Ok, I have finished and everything is working MUCH BETTER now! I ended up getting a new TPS and all service lights went out. It shifts fine and idles where it should!
I can not thank you enough for your help, wisdom and guidance. The next big project I will tackle with it is replacing the front shocks. I will probably wait a week or 2 for that one.

You have a gift for problem solving and teaching. Thank you for your help! You literally saved me hundreds of dollars and gave me more confidence to do work on my own car.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 11:33 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
You are welcome glad to hear it all worked out for you. Let me. Know if you need anymore assistance if you start the question with this one is for saturntech9 they will leave it for me to answer. Also shoot me a personal message on here telling me you asked a question.
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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 11:39 PM

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