Recieving A P0301 Code

Tiny
TOKI TOVER
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 SATURN SL1
  • 96,000 MILES
Hello,

About a week ago, I get the "Service Engine Soon" light on my 2000 Saturn SL1. I got a simple code reader and got the code "P0301" = Cylinder #1 Misfire.

From minor research, most say it could be the intake manifold gasket. To test this I sprayed brake clean around the manifold and head around #1 and #2 and the idle did not change.

It does, however, at idle sounds like it is "putt putt'ing". It idles around 800rpm when parked and gets to around 1300rpm when driving and stopping at a light.

In Jan 2012 I did change the spark plugs/wires, thermostat and ETCS.

What could be causing this code to come on or how can I go about testing to figure out what it could be?

Is it OK to be driving the car like this?

Thanks,

Toki
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Thursday, April 5th, 2012 AT 1:40 PM

15 Replies

Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER
Yah, it's ok to drive it.
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Thursday, April 5th, 2012 AT 3:02 PM
Tiny
TOKI TOVER
  • MEMBER
@fixitmr - good to know, thanks. Any advice for the rest of my situation?
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Thursday, April 5th, 2012 AT 3:04 PM
Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER
What was reason you changed those parts in jan?
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Thursday, April 5th, 2012 AT 3:35 PM
Tiny
TOKI TOVER
  • MEMBER
I bought the car and those things have never been done. The heat never went passed the quarter mark, so I changed the thermostat. Then it got up to optimal heating. The sensor was old, so I updated that. And the spark plugs were in horrible condition. So I changed out those plus the wires.
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Thursday, April 5th, 2012 AT 3:38 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Just to add to this one it sounds just like a leaking intake gasket with the way you describe the idling. The 2000-2002 S model single cam engines had a lot of leaking intake gaskets.I replaced a ton of them they wrinkled them when putting the intakes on at the factory. Take a flash light look down at the intake gasket right by the power steering pump where the intake meets the head. Look at the side that faces the power steering pump. Does the gasket look wrinkled?Its easy to tell if it is. Also when you replaced the spark plugs you didnt use platnuim plugsdid you?
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Thursday, April 5th, 2012 AT 3:59 PM
Tiny
TOKI TOVER
  • MEMBER
I actually didn't see any wrinkles on the gasket. An no I did not use platinum spark plugs.

I am going to try and see if the ignition coils are corroded. I'll report back tomorrow.
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Friday, April 6th, 2012 AT 3:47 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
I thought you already replaced the wires?If you did you would have seen if the coil towers are corroded. So does it smooth out when your driving down the road?
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Friday, April 6th, 2012 AT 5:13 AM
Tiny
TOKI TOVER
  • MEMBER
Yes I did replace the wires, but I didn't take off the coils to look under them.

Could there be corrosion under the coils on top the module?
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Friday, April 6th, 2012 AT 12:36 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Not usually the only place they corroded was where the spark plug wire went on the coil tower. That was up till about 1997 on the 1998 and up cars didnt see that much anymore. Anything is possibly have you tried pulling the number one spark plug wire off the spark plug to see if it runs worse at idle?Also to see if have a nice blue spark not orange or yellow one?
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Friday, April 6th, 2012 AT 2:18 PM
Tiny
TOKI TOVER
  • MEMBER
Hmm, so after I took apart the ICM and cleaned it (It really wasn't dirty or corroded) and took off the wire for #1 and put it back on, the car didn't "putt putt" for like 20-30 seconds. Then it started back up again.

You know the wire for #1 seems loose. It is a new wire but just feels like its not "staying" on the back of the spark plug. When I pulled the #2 wire off and put it back on, it seemed to "click" into place. I don't get that with the #1 wire.

I will go right now to see if it runs worse at idle and look at the spark color with it off. So, it didn't run worse (and that "putt putt" wasn't there) when I pulled the wire off (had a little shock too, still learning) and the color had a blue tint.

Could it be the wire not "staying" on the back of the plug?
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Friday, April 6th, 2012 AT 2:42 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
When you disconnected the number one wire it should have ran worse that means the number one cylinder isnt firing like it should. Where did you buy the spark plug wires?Hopefully there not duralast wires?They dont click on the plugs like they should. Try pulling the wires off one at a time at idle then put them back on till you have done all four and look for a differnce in the way the engine runs. Let me know what you find and try not to get shocked this time.
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Friday, April 6th, 2012 AT 2:55 PM
Tiny
TOKI TOVER
  • MEMBER
All the plugs and wires are good. So I thought it might be the fuel system or the #1 injector being dirty. I added a couple bottles of injector cleaner into the gas tank within the last couple weeks. Have not seen an improvement yet. How long does those types of cleaners take to work?

Should I just replace the #1 injector?
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Monday, April 23rd, 2012 AT 2:11 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Replacing the injector is the last thing I would do what kind of spark plugs do you have in the engine?Not platnuim plugs I hope?Is the number one wire tight now?I would also do a compression test on all four of the cylinders.
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Monday, April 23rd, 2012 AT 3:44 AM
Tiny
TOKI TOVER
  • MEMBER
No I didn't put platinum plugs in. I added NGK with Adelco wires. Yes the wires are tight.

How do I do a compression test?
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Monday, April 23rd, 2012 AT 1:53 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
You would remove all the spark plugs also pull out the ignition and fuel pump fuses. Then starting with the number one cylinder closest to the coolant bottle screw in a compression tester. Then hold the gas pedal all the way to the floor then crank the engine 10 revolutions you will feel the engine hit the compression stroke so you can count 10 revolutions. Mark down the readings and check the 2 3 and 4th cylinders. You can rent the compression tester for free at auto zone. Let me know what you find.
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Monday, April 23rd, 2012 AT 5:45 PM

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