Engine Performance problem
1998 Saturn SL2 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 163000 miles
I have a 1998 Saturn SL2 with approximately 163,000 miles on it. It is a 4 cyl. DOHC motor with an automatic transmission. And right now it will not start.
The problem occurred two days ago when I drove the car to work (which is only 6 miles away). I got there just fine, it started up and drove normally. After my shift (about 8 hours later) I attempted to go home. The car seemed to take a while to start up (which is one problem I've never had), then it finally ran and then died about 3 seconds later.
Later attempts to start were unsuccessful. It turns over just fine and the electrical stuff is up to par, but nothing will catch. One of my coworkers said it sounded like it was out of gas. Remembering that my sister had a similar problem with a bad fuel gauge on an older GM car, I went out and got a few gallons and put it in the tank with no success. It's the same thing.
I've been told by several different people that it could be several different things. The first thing I was told to check is the fuel pump and also the fuel filter. I do not believe it is the fuel pump, because when I turn the key (just before turning over the motor) I hear the familiar hum of the fuel pump turning on. I was told to check the fuel injectors as well.
My personal belief is that either the spark plugs and/or wires are shot. The reason here is that I had an oil leak from the oil cap (bad o-ring, and the cap was changed about 2 months ago when I changed that and the serpentine belt tensioner and belt). Oil had been leaking down onto the plugs/wires. I cleaned up what I saw, and the oil no longer leaks. But lately, I have been getting a faint whiff of something burning. It smells like oil, but I can't see anything that is burning.
My questions are: what can cause a car to not start when it was running fine earlier the same day? Could this be a spark plug issue? Is there another fuel pump/filter set up near the fuel tank that I could replace? I've ruled out that a faulty gas gauge is not the issue, at least, not that I can tell.
If there is a fuel clog, is there something I could buy (that is very cheap!) To correct that part? How difficult would it be to change the plugs/wires, and what tools would I need to get to do that? I work at Sears, where the car is, so getting any tool would not be a problem.
The battery sounded fine, but I'm unsure of how old it is. But that could be the next guess. However everything turned over when the key was turned. If it's any help, I had to replace the transmission last February when the gears were stripped out. Minus the serpentine tensioner issue, I've had no further problems with the vehicle *knock on wood.
have the same problem?
Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 AT 6:11 PM