1997 SATURN SL2 OIL IN SPARK PLUG CHAMBER & SHAKING CAR

  • Tiny
  • M249-M4A1
  • 1997 Saturn SL2

Shakes or Wobbles problem
1997 Saturn SL2 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 249000 miles

When I drive, my car has been shaking and I couldn't figure out what the problem was.

I parked the car and stepped on the gas to get the RPM up, and when the RPM is at 4,000, the car shakes a lot and it kicks.

I checked the spark plugs, and upon removing the boot, the chamber was filled with oil. The other three spark plug chambers are fine, but I haven't actually removed the plugs yet.

I don't know why there's oil in this chamber (my car has overheated once before, and had a loss of oil).

My question is, is my spark plug faulty and causing a leak? Or is something else causing the oil to gush into this chamber.

Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 AT 7:18 PM

8 Answers

  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
  • Expert
  • 28,260 posts

For your oil in the spark plug hole's you need to replace your valve cover gasket also I would replace the wire's if there soaked in oil. Also check your plug's if you replace the plug's don't put platnuim plug's in the engine carbon foul's them. Use standard plug's I recommend ngk plug's like it came with. Also your shaking and cutting out in park at 4,000 rpm's that's normal that's your rev limter kicking in. When you replace the valve cover gasket you have to run a bead of silicone across where the front cover meet's the head on each side of the cam sprocket's or the oil will leak real bad from there. Try what I said and then let's see how it run's. Also do you have any code's?

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Thursday, October 7th, 2010 AT 1:09 PM
  • Tiny
  • M249-M4A1
  • Member

I just replaced the valve cover gasket and there are (currently) no leaks in the spark plug chambers, and the car ran fine for a little while. However there is a new problem.

From a complete standstill, when I start to accelerate, the car will start to shake again as if it was going to give out, and then when speed picks up, it starts driving normally again.

Could it be a problem with the transmission, or the spark plugs misfiring (which I replaced as you recommended).

I do not have any error codes right now but I will check when I find my obd2 scanner.

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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 AT 3:43 PM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
  • Expert
  • 28,260 posts

Did you just replace the plug's?Or did you replace the wire's as well?If you haven't replaced the wire's then I would replace them too and inspect the coil tower's for being corroded.

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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 AT 5:27 PM
  • Tiny
  • M249-M4A1
  • Member

I replaced just the plugs. The wires seem okay but I don't know how to go about changing those. I'll look it up.

On the other hand, I just did a second check in the spark plug well and well 1 is flooded again. Wells 2, 3 and 4 are dry. Funny thing is, well 3 was also flooded the first time, but that seems to be fixed when I replaced the valve cover gasket.

Upon closer expection into well 1 (the leftmost), I noticed a small ring/washer-looking thing stuck on the side of the spark plug. I have no idea how it got in there but I think that might be a new problem. I can't even get the spark plug socket around it because it's in the way.

This piece looks *almost* like the buffer ring/washer that comes with the spark plug, but I won't know until I remove it.

Thanks again for your speedy reply and all your help!

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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 AT 5:54 PM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
  • Expert
  • 28,260 posts

They sell a retractable claw for retriving stuff like like that. Replacing the wire's is easy all you do is un clip the wire seperator's and change one wire at a time. You will have to recheck your valve cover gasket if you have a plug well that is leaking now and wasn't leaking before.

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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 AT 6:37 PM
  • Tiny
  • M249-M4A1
  • Member

Wells #1 and #3 were leaking.

Well #3 no longer leaks but #1 is still leaky.

I'll be sure to work on those wires and get back soon.

Thanks again for your help; I put some funds into this question as a thanks!

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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 AT 6:49 PM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
  • Expert
  • 28,260 posts

I would double check the gasket you can try putting some silcone around the number one spark plug well. Sometimes those plastic cover's get warped and leak even with a new gasket. The cover's are expensive if you have to end up changing it I recommend you go the used route. Thank you so much for the donation.

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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 AT 8:23 PM
  • Tiny
  • EricDT62
  • Member

I just bought a 1997 Saturn 4dr sdn. It does not tell me what series it is. However, The vehicle was sitting a couple years. When I started it, the engine shook pretty bad. I tried driving it and when you first pull off, it seem to have hardly any power. After it gets going, it runs pretty good. I know that I need to change plugs and wires. However, I don' t know if the wires are currently in it' s right position, and I can not find a photo that will show me the exact wiring position from the coil to the plugs. What do I do?

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Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015 AT 10:15 PM

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