1996 SL2 - bucking & idle problems

Discussion in 'Saturn S-series' started by embee, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. embee

    embee Guest

    OK.. 74k miles on the car.. stuff I've done so far:

    plug wires - replaced 1 yr ago

    plugs - replaced 2 weeks ago, got these from the dealership

    EGR valve - just replaced this today, after hooking it up I reset the
    computer by leaving the battery unhooked for 30 minutes (disconnected the
    negative terminal). I replaced it because it was not coming clean when I
    used throttle body cleaner on it.

    Fuel filter - replaced 2 weeks ago

    Also, 2 weeks ago, I cleaned out the throttle body. The cleaner said it
    was sensor safe, but I'm wondering if I may have messed something up.

    The car is bucking very badly and the engine seems to be misfiring (?). At
    times (not constantly) it idles at about 1800 or more, this seems to go
    away after driving a bit.

    Any ideas?? Thanks for your wisdom in advance. :)

    William Tucker
    embee, Jul 2, 2003
  2. embee

    embee Guest

    I should add that I was driving without power hooked up to the EGR valve
    today, prior to replacing it, and the bucking still occurred. Also, once
    the bucking starts, the engine feels like it has little/no power.
    embee, Jul 2, 2003
  3. embee

    Kirk Kohnen Guest


    When the alternator is going out, it puts such crap on the power line of the
    car that the computers get confused.

    And, if the voltage is low, the computer tries to compensate by increasing
    the idle.

    You have a 96 SL2 with 74k miles. And, we're getting summer weather.

    I'd suspect the alternator. Replace it with a dealer rebuild. The schlock
    that you get over the counter at Pep-Kragun-Autozoner-Etc might have a
    life-time warranty, but it won't be as good of an alternator.

    Also, replace the battery if the battery isn't NEW, because I guarantee you,
    if your alternator is going, you've overstressed the battery.

    Also, make sure when you replace the battery that the terminal bolts aren't
    too long so that they bottom out and crack the new battery.
    Kirk Kohnen, Jul 2, 2003
  4. embee

    paul Guest

    I had the same problem with a 1993. Turned out to be a fuel pressure
    regulator that had a small leak. That caused inconsistent fuel
    delivery and that resulted in "bucking", especially under load at
    below freeway speed.

    I was getting Code 49 and sometimes a Code 32. The slight "smell" of
    gas under the hood is what caused me to check the fuel pressue
    regulator. Fixed that 5,000 miles ago and NO problems since!
    paul, Jul 3, 2003
  5. embee

    Not Much Guest

    wouldn't surprise me. I also own a 96 saturn sl-2, and it's on it's
    third alternator. I was told at one saturn dealership's service dept,
    that this is common because of the placement of the alternator and
    heat issues. At least I got one replaced under warranty.

    I've never had bucking issues, when my alternator went out, it just
    killed my battery fairly quickly both times(which logically doesn't
    surprise me either). I have had misfiring issues. I dunno, maybe there
    are issues with these things and misfiring too.

    The only other major maintenance ive had besides brakes, tires, etc,
    is that i had some valve leakage. That was causing misfires also if I
    remember right(happened a few years back). I've got an A/C issue right
    now too, as i posted in another thread.

    I'm at 130k miles and climbing.

    But i'm starting to get antsy. Looking at some other cars now. I just
    have a hard time throwing out a paid-off car :) I'm especially
    intrigued by the hybrids(ie. Toyota's Prius), but they still seem
    Not Much, Jul 3, 2003
  6. embee

    Kirk Kohnen Guest

    My wife and I each had 97 SL2s. I keep a spare alternator on the shelf at
    home. And, I've gotten real good at replacing the alternators relatively

    It has been my experience that they go out roughly every 35,000 miles. I
    live in Southern California, so there is a heat issue.
    There are. When the alternator goes, it puts crap on the power line for the
    car. The computers get a bit confused by this. Often the first symptom of an
    alternator failure is seemingly unrelated drivability problems.

    I looked at the Prius before I got a new ION3.

    Bottom line: Cool neat technology, but on a dollar per performance basis,
    not too great. I got the ION3 quad coupe with the GM employee discount and
    the $2,000 cash back for about $16,300 out the door. And, that was with
    leather, the VTi transmission and the bestest sound system that Saturn puts
    into cars. Very happy with it.
    Kirk Kohnen, Jul 3, 2003
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