failed emission smog test saturn

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Hardway Tony, Feb 21, 2004.

  1. Hardway Tony

    Hardway Tony Guest

    1993 Saturn SW2 at 207k

    I am the kind of guy that likes to do things himself.

    Two years ago after failing Illinois emission testing, I welded in a
    new after market catalytic converter for a total cost of $56. The old
    was was probably original and the ceramic was choked with black hard
    glazed on coating of crud. Not surprising since the car was run many
    miles with a burned exhaust valve and after rebuilding the engine had
    unwittingly switched the oxygen sensor and air conditioning clutch
    plugs which made the car run so rich that at times the exhaust had a
    black cloud. After a few thousand miles of trips to Minneapolis and
    back, I diagnosed my error. Needless to say the first emission test
    was off scale. The car finally squeaked by.

    Last August I received the emission test notice. I mixed a 50-50
    mixture of E85 ethanol and gas and drove an hour on the tollway.
    Supremely confident in my ability to oxidize the fuel, I was dismayed
    when the car fail hydrocarbons. Carbon monoxide was acceptable. A
    month later with regular fuel and a 15 minute drive the car failed
    both HC and CO with readings twice as high. In December with the
    sawzall, I cut out the converter and replaced it with a fresh one from
    Farm and Fleet. It didn't look bad inside. An hour ride on the tollway
    and the test readings were essentially the same as the first test,
    failing on hydrocarbons.

    My confidence in Saturn's ability to built as good a car as the
    Japanese was broken. I never had a emission problem with the old
    Honda. It was a _____ to replace struts on it though, as the bolt
    heads snap off and two hours each in drilling it out. Too bad it
    caught fire and burnt up. After an 8 hour drive to Minneapolis on the
    interstate, sometimes in the exit ramp I would see a wisp of oil smoke
    in back of the Saturn. When I replaced the exhaust manifold with
    factory headers, one port had an oily deposit. Auto Machine Inc. in St
    Charles did the valve job on the head. His original quote was $220,
    which I thought was high. The last time I did a valve job, it was $50
    on a 72 Datsun 1200. Times had changed. When I went to pick up the
    head he told me it was $420 because it took longer than he thought. If
    there had been any Saturns in the junk yard I would have let him keep
    the head. There were stacks of dusty heads in the shop, so this must
    have been a regular occurrence. I was in a bind, so I argued from the
    point that I was not my fault that he did not have the proper tools to
    do the job. The price was $330. Anyway I think he left out one valve
    stem seal and that is the cause of all my trouble. I changed the oil
    with 20w-50. I plugged the air inlet to the crank case, causing the
    PVC to pump a vacuum and suck back in any oil dripping down the valve
    guide. Yesterday The car passed after a 45 minute drive, with 2.24
    times lees HC than the best previous test. The moral of the story:


    Oil aborbes hydrocarbons in the engine and the tiny droplets release
    them when heated by exhaust gases, which then are tallied as a no-go.

    Test results

    Date HC CO
    04/20/04 .082/.129 .776/.837 (g) pass
    12/22/03 1.99/.80 10.4/15.0 (gpm) fail
    12/20/03 1.13/.80 11.5/15.0 (gpm) fail
    09/09/03 2.55/.80 22.0/15.0 (gpm) fail
    08/30/03 1.44/.80 11.8/15.0 (gpm) fail
    12/28/01 0.368/0.706 5.288/5.702 (g) pass

    Copywrite 2004 by Hardway Tony
    Hardway Tony, Feb 21, 2004
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  2. Hardway Tony

    Markwalt Guest

    207K Miles? Not surprising you'd have trouble passing emissions,
    especially since your description would indicate a car that hasn't been
    serviced properly. How about letting the service department at your
    dealer have a look at it? Then at least you know that the mechanic
    doing the work will have the proper tools and experience.
    Markwalt, Feb 22, 2004
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  3. Hardway Tony

    BANDIT2941 Guest

    My confidence in Saturn's ability to built as good a car as the
    At least the Saturn didn't burn up........
    BANDIT2941, Feb 23, 2004
  4. Do they exceed EPA emissions when they do? :)
    Philip Nasadowski, Feb 24, 2004
  5. Hardway Tony

    BANDIT2941 Guest

    LOL good question......probably would pass emissions if you put the sensor in
    the exhaust pipe :)
    BANDIT2941, Feb 24, 2004
  6. It's about the only non plastic thing on a Saturn :p
    I'm still thinking, when this thing finally dies (which, being a GM car,
    means it'll die when the body rots away. Being plastic, this will take
    forever), towing it to my friend's nice big 'property' finding a quiet
    corner, and burning it down as an offering to the automotive gods....
    Philip Nasadowski, Feb 25, 2004
  7. Hardway Tony

    BANDIT2941 Guest

    It's about the only non plastic thing on a Saturn :p
    Good excuse to drink beer :)
    BANDIT2941, Feb 25, 2004
  8. Only I don't drink beer. And I have a Harley. Which makes it doubly
    weird, as I'm about the ONLY Harley rider I know who doesn't get
    magically drawn to beer. All my friends do and it's &^%& annoying...

    But yeah, cool explosions We figure there's a lot of
    potential here, but a remote initiator system will be needed so we can
    detenate it in the valley and watch it from the deck.
    Philip Nasadowski, Feb 26, 2004
  9. Hardway Tony

    BANDIT2941 Guest

    Only I don't drink beer. And I have a Harley. Which makes it doubly
    Interesting. A rare breed indeed...... :)

    uh huh huh, explosions are cool, yeah yeah......... :)

    Fill that b*tch up with gas and let 'er rip!
    BANDIT2941, Feb 26, 2004
  10. I guzzle cherry/regular coke like crazy.

    Anyway, they all hate me cause my bike's faster than theirs >:)

    (95 inch motor, worked heads, cam, S&S, and all. I've embarressed a few
    bigger bikes with it...)
    WE've got a few ideas that might be worth trying.
    Philip Nasadowski, Feb 26, 2004
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