1996 Saturn SL1

Tiny
DWOLLENB
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 SATURN SL1
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • MANUAL
  • 135,000 MILES
My daughter has noticed at times when she shifts from 2nd to 3rd that there seems to be somewhat of a putt-putt delay before the car seems to recover and then takes off. It sounded like it wasn't getting gas to me, so we have had the fuel filter changed last year and this last month put a can a seafoam in the gas tank. A couple days after the seafoam was put in the tank, it didn't seem to have this problem again, until today. There has never been any service codes identified when placed on a computer. Can you narrow this issue down for us. Is it a carburoter, transmission, clutch, engine, or some other issue? Also, the backup lights do not come on any longer, but the turn signals and brake lights work. Is there a switch by the transmission that would need to be adjusted?
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Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 AT 9:04 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
The first thing I would check would be the spark plugs being worn black residue on them where the wire's go on. If there's black residue then you need wire's too. If you replace the plug's don't use the platnuim plug's or the split fire one's they don't run right in those car's.I would also inspect the coil tower's where the wire's go on it's real common for them to get corroded up there. Now on your no back up light's I would first check the back up light fuse in your under hood fuse box. If it's good then I would turn your key to the run position then on the top of your shifter tower on your transmission. It's below your brake master cylinder there is a connector going to your back up switch. Unplug the switch then jump those two terminals on the harness together while someone watches for the back up light's to come on. If the light's come on then replace the back up light switch on the transmission.
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Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 AT 12:35 PM
Tiny
DWOLLENB
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the info. I didn't realize, but it is actually an SL2 instead of an SL1. I'm guessing that doesn't make much of a difference. I know just some basics about car repairs, mainly from experience. When I pulled the plug wires out, one of the chambers had quite a bit of oil in it. This was in only one of the chambers and went up the coil tower approximately 1/2-3/4 inch. My nephew generally does most of mechanical repairs and I asked him in which he replied it was that way when he did the first tune up on it (since I've owned the car in 2003). It has always used some oil, but never left a puddle, so I never really knew were the oil was going. Would running this car with oil in the plug chamber cause the issue? Will this be a warning for more expensive repairs on the horizon?
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Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 AT 6:05 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
The oil in the valve could cause some problems but usually doesn't. You need to replace your valve cover gasket to fix that problem when you replace the valve cover gasket make sure you put a bead of silcone across where the front cover meets the head on both the front and rear if you don't it will leak real bad.I was asking you to check the other end of the wire's where they meet the coil's for being corroded. Were the plugs in pretty good shape no black stuff?They weren't worn out?Another thing you can check is the coolant temp sensor they go bad all the time and cause all kind's of symptom's. The sensor is only 10 if you replace it make sure you get a brass tipped one the plastic tipped one's crack. Also inspect the connector going to it if it's corroded replace the connector too.
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Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 AT 6:20 PM
Tiny
DWOLLENB
  • MEMBER
I don't have a plug puller, so I have to wait to check the plugs until I get one, my neighbor is home, or my nephew is around. From the top, they didn't look bad, but then you can't get a good look. I did look at the other end of the wire to see if there was any corrosion, and it didn't appear to be any. It seemed somewhat greasy, but they were pretty silver looking when I rubbed them with my finger. Where would I find the coolant temp sensor and how do I have that tested? Or since it is a cheap enough part, should I just replace it instead of paying for a test?
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Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 AT 6:42 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/416332_2000_sl2_coolant_temp_sensor_1.jpg


It's cheaper just to replace it then have it tested also make sure you check the connector to make sure it's not corroded.Also you could have the spark plug wire's breaking down when the engine is hot and under a load.The wire's are cheap also so if the wire's look old then i would just change them.Have you checked your fuel pressure when it's acting up.
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Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 AT 7:27 PM
Tiny
DWOLLENB
  • MEMBER
Just FYI, in my records, it looks like I had the EGR valve replaced, O2 sensor, Coolant Temp Sensor, all replaced about 20,000 miles ago (around 125,000 miles). I also have had the valve cover gasket replaced twice. Once by nephew and once by a Saturn dealership. These were all done in 2004 and 2005. I bought the car in 2003 with approximately 87,000 miles on it and it has about 145,000 now. I gave it to my daughter in 2006 and she only puts about 5,000/year on it. I have not checked the fuel pressure when it acts up. How do you do that? It seems this happens sporadically, so not sure if I took it somewhere to test that if they could tell me. Is it something that can best tested at the time or shortly after it happens and can we do it ourselves?
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Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 AT 8:16 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Yeah if you rent a fuel pressure gauge from auto zone you can check it yourself when it act's up. The valve cover gasket is only like 20.
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Thursday, July 29th, 2010 AT 12:26 AM
Tiny
DWOLLENB
  • MEMBER
Thank you for all your help and quick responses with this. I will give your suggestions a try!
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Thursday, July 29th, 2010 AT 6:26 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Your welcome thank you so much for your donation.
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Thursday, July 29th, 2010 AT 11:40 AM

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