1994 Saturn SL1 Dummy Light

Tiny
WOLFETUNDRA
  • MEMBER
  • 1994 SATURN SL1
1994 Saturn SL1 4 cyl Automatic

Recently, my dummy light (check engine light) came on. Because my odometer stopped working around 150k miles, I have no way to tell how long my last fluid change was. When the dummy light comes on, tells me "dummy you forgot to change the fluids!". That being said, I checked and changed my trans fluid and engine oil. The light stayed lit for about 15 min after the change. After that, it was fine.

The next day, I was driving to the store and the dummy light came back on. This time, the engine bogged down. For those who are familiar with standard, it felt equivalent to traveling at 40 mph and downshifting into 1st gear. I pulled the car over and shut it off. I checked all the fluids again and everything was fine. I started the car up and the light was off.

Drove again the next day and the light came on as soon as the car turned over. I am taking it into the shop on Friday, but I was hoping someone had some insight as to what the problem might be.
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Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 AT 1:14 AM

13 Replies

Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Hi there,

This is telling you that there is a set fault code set in the ECU, you will need to get a scan done to read this code, as this will indicate where the problem is, start with the scan.

Mark (mhpautos)
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Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 AT 2:30 AM
Tiny
WOLFETUNDRA
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I figured the diag would be the best route. I was just hoping there would be "cheap" solution. I know its about $60 - $90 for a diag and I was hoping to avoid that.

Thank you for your help.
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Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 AT 2:33 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Iam not trying to step on mhpautos toes here I just want to pass some info on how to retrive ur obd1 codes without a scan tool since the auto parts stores don't retrive those then when u get the codes mhpautos can help u from there. On the drivers side bottom of the dash theres the obd1 connector where u would put a code reader on. Look at the top row of it far right side theres two pins side by side. Turn the key to the run postion dont start it and jump those two pins together and leave it that way. Watch the service engine soon light flash.U will see it flash once then two faster flashes. Thats a code 12 that means the computer is good it will do this 3 times if it repeats the code 12 after the 3 times u dont have any codes. But watch the light for example if u see 3 quick flashes then 2 quick ones that would be a code 32 it would repeat 3 times then go to the next code when it gets back to code 12 then the codes are done.
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Thursday, May 13th, 2010 AT 12:18 PM
Tiny
WOLFETUNDRA
  • MEMBER
I took my car into the shop. The mech hooked up a diag and couldn't pull a code. He did what you suggested and attached a jumper. All he kept reading was code 12. As he explained it, meant the computer was working fine and there was no code.

If that's the case, (note; check engine light conveniently turned off as I pulled into the driveway), where's the code that was stored when the check engine light came on?
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Thursday, May 13th, 2010 AT 2:21 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
I thought mhautos was going to get back to u after my post I guess ur stuck with me now lol. So the shop hooked a obd1 scanner and didn't get any codes?And flashing the codes out u only got a code 12 which Means PCM self tests passes. Which is normal. If ur service engine soon light is comming on u should have a code stored in ur PCM doesn't make sense. Unless u have some other light comming on?Let me know.
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Friday, May 14th, 2010 AT 7:25 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Hi there,

As I am in Australia, the time difference is a bit of a pain, but anyway I am happy for Saturntech to run with this as he will have a greater depth of knowledge on this car, I will watch from the back row and maybe learn a thing or two.

Mark (mhpautos)
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Friday, May 14th, 2010 AT 7:55 PM
Tiny
WOLFETUNDRA
  • MEMBER
It is the Service Engine Soon light that is coming on. Since I left the mech, the light still comes on periodically but only for a few seconds to a min. As soon as I get the chance to pull over, the light has already turned off. For the first day and second day after the mech, the car ran fine. It's now that it sometimes comes on and turns off.

Normally, I'd be able to trouble-shoot what's causing it. Though, nothing comes to mind. It happens in cold and hot weather, when the engine is cold and warm, when I'm idling and when in motion. It seems like it is completely random. There's nothing specific about what triggers it. I've tried to duplicate the circumstances but nothing I do will cause the engine light to trip long enough to get it to the shop. I'm running out of ideas.

The mech said he can't do anything without a code and for some reason the computer isn't storing any codes. It makes no sense. Any ideas?

Oh, new symptom. Note; only happened 3 times so far. I normally park reversed into my stall. I put the car in reverse, and my fiance asked me a question. While I was answering her, the car was idling in reverse. Before I finished answering, the car stalled. I didn't get a chance to see my dash before it happened. I started the car back up and rolled into my stall. The next day, I was idling at a light. The light turned green. As soon as I took my foot off the brake, the engine stalled. It "appeared" to be at about 700 rpm when it happened. The car "normally" idles about 900 rpm. I started the car back up and rolled to the next light. It stalled again there. No further issues have occurred. The car was warm when all these incidents happened. I'm not sure if there's any relation.
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Saturday, May 15th, 2010 AT 2:40 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Iam running out of ideas too when the light comes on it stores a code in the PCM even if u cycle the key it stores a code still. Why don't u do this for try jumping those two terminals for me with the key in the run postion engine off and see if u can get some codes to flash out besides a code 12. Also if u have a multimeter here's what I want u to do start the car up turn the headlights on with high beams on turn on ur a/c blower fan on high and take ur meter and see what ur voltage reading at the battery is at idle. Let me know what u find.
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Saturday, May 15th, 2010 AT 3:00 PM
Tiny
WOLFETUNDRA
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I don't have any type of multimeter. What can I use as a jumper? It looked like the mech only used a fuse. That's what it looked like anyway. What can I use as a jumper?
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Saturday, May 15th, 2010 AT 3:03 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
U can use a fuse if u have a spare or a paper clip just don't stretch out the terminals when u jump it. Also if u don't have a multimeter then go to a auto parts store like autozone and have them test ur battery and alternator. Also make sure ur battery cables are clean and tight. But don't mess with ur battery cables till after u test for codes with ur jumper. Let me know what u find.
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Saturday, May 15th, 2010 AT 3:20 PM
Tiny
WOLFETUNDRA
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I'm getting ready to run out for a min. Have a few things to do so I can do that when I get back. Any type of fuse or does it not matter (5, 10, 20.)?
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Saturday, May 15th, 2010 AT 3:22 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
U can use which ever size fuse u want ur only using it for a jumper not a fuse so it doesn't matter which size u use. Let me know what u find.
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Saturday, May 15th, 2010 AT 4:29 PM
Tiny
WOLFETUNDRA
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For many reasons, I was unable to get back online to answer you until recently. Due to the length of time, I renewed this inquiry to http://www.2carpros.com/forum/1993-saturn-sl1-93-saturn-sl-check-engine-light-vt483999.html

Also posted my update there.
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Sunday, July 18th, 2010 AT 6:08 AM

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