SL2 Stalls in drive

Discussion in 'Saturn S-series' started by Ratbert, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. Ratbert

    Ratbert Guest

    Several times in the last couple of weeks, we have had the following
    problem. After backing out of the garage (parking spot, etc.) and
    putting the car into Drive, I step on the gas and it acts like it is
    going to stall. A couple of times it actually did stall. I even had
    the problem after driving a couple hundred feet out of my neighborhood,
    as I was about to drive onto the main road. I've really only had the
    problem in the first two minutes of running the car. Outside
    temperatures have been 60-100 F recently. The car is a 98 SL2 with
    93000 miles. The things I've done to it most recently are:

    1. Attempt to solve the 'bang into reverse' problem as described here
    (seems to have worked, by the way):

    2. As I was doing that, the coolant cap leaked, so I flushed and
    refilled the coolant and replaced the cap.

    What sorts of things could cause this problem?
    Ratbert, Oct 7, 2003
  2. Ratbert

    Ratbert Guest

    I forgot to mention that the indicator lights on the dash are not
    showing any problems.
    Ratbert, Oct 7, 2003
  3. Ratbert

    Bob Shuman Guest

    When was it last tuned? At 93K, it is time for replacement of wires along
    with the regular spark plug change. Are the plugs gapped properly? When
    was the air filter and fuel filter last replaced? When was the throttle
    body last cleaned?

    Does the engine warm up normally according to the temperature gauge since
    you flushed and refilled the coolant?

    Bob Shuman, Oct 7, 2003
  4. Ratbert

    Ratbert Guest

    thanks for the reply. I changed the spark plugs at 90k miles, but I
    didn't change the wires. I didn't notice any of the items that Haynes
    says to look for (corrosion, burns, cracks, etc). I haven't checked the
    resistance of the wires. I can do that later when the car comes home.
    The air filter is OK. It is a K&N and I check it when I change the
    oil. I haven't changed the fuel filter since I started doing most of my
    own maintenance, so that probably hasn't been done in the last 30k
    miles. Same with the throttle body.
    The engine warms up normally, according to the guage.
    Since I'm overdue for a fuel filter and cleaning the throttle body is
    supposedly cheap and easy, I'll try those first. I'll also check the
    resistance of the wires.
    Ratbert, Oct 8, 2003
  5. Ratbert

    tim kettring Guest

    I had to change the plug wires at 50 K

    Resistance check means nothing , it is the Insulation that breaks down .

    If it is a little worse on a humid or rainy day , it probably is the wires .

    If you replace them , only do 1 wire at a time so they dont get mis-wired .

    I used aftermarket silicone wires , saturn parts are not that great anyhow .

    tim kettring, Oct 9, 2003
  6. Ratbert

    Ratbert Guest

    According to the computer and a book at Autozone, 98's don't have a
    serviceable fuel filter. Indeed, my owner's manual says nothing about a
    fuel filter (probably why I didn't change it at 90k miles). Haynes says
    to change it every 30k miles, but they don't get all of the changes
    between model years.
    I did clean the throttle body tonight (sort of). I lacked a deep
    socket needed to get it off, so I cleaned it with a toothbrush and paper
    towels in place. It doesn't stick as much now as it did just after I
    started cleaning it. Stupid me, I didn't check it before I started
    cleaning, so I can't compare that. After reassembling everything, I
    started the car and it ran as before (tried to stall in Drive).
    My wires still look good. I tested the resistance, and they are
    between 3.5k and 7.5k ohms. Running the engine in the dark reveals no
    sparks at all.
    Ratbert, Oct 9, 2003
  7. Ratbert

    Bob Shuman Guest

    I can't believe there is no fuel filter, but if it runs fine at speed, I
    doubt this would be the problem anyway. If you got the throttle body and
    plate clean, then that would eliminate this as a possible cause. I doubt it
    would be the wires, but suggest they be replaced sometime soon if they are
    original and you have the miles stated.

    Next areas to investigate in my mind would be the fuel injectors and
    computer feedback sensors. Maybe someone else on the newsgroup has a
    different thought.

    Good luck!

    Bob Shuman, Oct 9, 2003
  8. Ratbert

    Ratbert Guest

    I replaced the spark plug wires tonight, but didn't expect or see any
    change. I'll try to more thoroughly clean the throttle body when I get
    the right tool to remove it. I'll let you know how that goes.
    Ratbert, Oct 10, 2003
  9. Ratbert

    Ratbert Guest

    After getting a deep socket set, I took the throttle body off and
    cleaned it some more. No change.

    I called the parts counter at the dealership to ask about a fuel filter.
    They said that on this car, it is integrated with the fuel pressure
    regulator, and costs about $100. Not wanting to throw that much money
    at something that may or may not solve the problem, I opted not to get
    that right now (it also doesn't sound very fun to change).

    Someone suggested I call the service manager at Saturn. I did that, and
    I told him that I didn't really want to take the car 100 miles to them
    so that they could fix it, if it was something I could do easily at
    home. After describing the problem, he suggested the coolant
    temperature sensor, and told me it was easy to change. I found one in
    town for $9 and changed it (with one of my new deep sockets). The old
    sensor head was cracked right in half. So that was a good sign. I
    drove it half a mile to Wal-Mart to get some more coolant (it lost a lot
    more than I had expected). Of course, the coolant lights were flashing,
    but I ran just fine! I refilled the coolant, and will have my wife tell
    me how it runs tomorrow.
    Ratbert, Oct 16, 2003
  10. Ratbert

    Bob Shuman Guest

    Sounds promising. Great! Hope this does it for you.
    Bob Shuman, Oct 16, 2003
  11. Ratbert

    Ratbert Guest

    It did solve the problem. Several test drives today confirmed that.
    Extra kudos go the sevrice dept at Saturn of Bakersfield for pointing me
    in the right direction even though I wouldn't be bringing my car to him
    for repair.
    Ratbert, Oct 17, 2003
  12. Ratbert

    Kirk Kohnen Guest

    Make sure that you got the brass one. The plastic ones (the kind that Saturn
    originally installed in the cars) are really failure prone.
    Kirk Kohnen, Oct 17, 2003
  13. Ratbert

    Detector195 Guest

    Where is it located? I have new sensor, but can't find the old one!
    Detector195, Oct 17, 2003
  14. Ratbert

    Ratbert Guest

    It's on the right side of the engine behind and a little lower than a
    coolant hose. Remove the electrical wires and then you'll need a 12 mm
    deep socket. Be prepared to lose a quart or two of coolant.
    Ratbert, Oct 17, 2003
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