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Old 10-10-2017, 09:54 AM   #1
VicSaturnS
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Default Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

Hello everyone, I got an issue with my bros 1996 Saturn SL SOHC 1.9L. I would like to know if anyone has any tips or tricks or can guide me to do some diagnostic work for what is going on! Its been weird thus far.

So recently we replaced his head with a refurbished one a while back because of the crack in the 5th cam lobe mixing oil and coolant...

and since then it was running good but it now does this thing where it will make a smoke NOT a thick coolant smoking because It isn't vaporous as water and it is definitely a fuel smoke issue like a grey slow moving smoke but regardless I know it is because the fuel trims are acting crazy. The short term fuel trim is trying to correct itself cycling from 0 % to -25 to -30 % and under load* it will go to -50 % (*throttle applied in park).

The coolant sensor is new, replaced the same time as the head and works good but the one thing I notice about the short fuel trims is the Precat sensor is also cementing that it is running rich it will go as high as 1.05 v and lowest at .6 v and when it reaches that peak 1.05 it will go back down to 0% on the short term fuel trim and gradually rise again and repeat itself going to -25 or -30 and stay for a while and drop when the voltage reaches peak. the intake sensor is working to my knowledge when running it is at about 100f which seems right from where I live in the lower midwest.

One thing I should mention is that he replaced the o2 sensor a few years ago with a Bosch universal I am not sure if that sits well with people here if you know if it does or doesn't please let me know but I think that is where my problem lies since it overshoots the usual .1v to .9v that is usually normal.
I don't think it is an exhaust leak either, even a small one wouldn't do it this drastically I wouldn't think. I also think that now the catalytic converter isn't efficient anymore I checked it a while back and the temp test didn't pass. So there is that, but even with it being bad he would get 32-35 mpg.

Thank you for reading I hope someone can shed some light on what I should do next!

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Old 10-10-2017, 10:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=181079

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc
Universal O2 sensor is not satisfactory either. Denso or NGK/NTK direct fit.
I picked one up on ebay, of all places. Direct fit Denso or NGK, don't recall which, and worked perfectly, around $20~25 shipped, IIRC

edit: I wouldn't think an O2 would cause that much trouble. Any codes?

When you read live data, what temp is showing for coolant when engine is warmed up? A few people have had "bad out of the box" ECTS / coolant sensors

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Old 10-11-2017, 09:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

I checked it yesterday and it showed a P0140 and P0141, and an incorrect gear 3 ratio code, both about the inoperable the heater circuit in the second o2 sensor and in-operating condition, but when I look at the live data it is reading steadily as if it were running normally at around .50-.55 v . Before it did have codes about the precat sensor but I replaced the manifold to downpipe gasket and cleared them about a week ago. Not sure if it has been driven enough to complete a drive cycle.

EDIT: Also the temperature is reading good, both the gauge and my live data correspond with the temperatures of the coolant, I was checking it with my IR heat gun to verify

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Old 10-11-2017, 09:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

If you discuss fuel trims, you may go off on a tangent discussing all the details of EFI systems and the what ifs when something occurs. Fuel trims are basically for the extremely technical minded person that already has advanced knowledge of EFI systems. If you're not completely familiar with EFI systems and how fuel trims are affected, you're liable to get lost in the minutiae. It may be better, easier and wiser to simply discuss what the symptoms are, error codes and history of the car along with any maintenance done and parts replaced. This draws a picture for anyone reading your post to have an idea of what you see and hear. Remember, no one's standing next to you and cannot know what you mean with generalizations like coolant temperatures. Unless you know what is normal operating temps, your idea of normal may be incorrect. Post actual numbers.


Are you aware of the two O2 sensors operating differently? The upstream sensor is the main one used by the PCM to run the EFI system while controlling emissions. The downstream sensor is checking only for catcon efficiency. The upstream sensor fluctuates output voltages between 0.1-0.9 volts several times a second while the downstream sensor output s one voltage.

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Old 10-11-2017, 10:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

^ ^ ^ yeah, I wouldn't worry about the P0140 and P0141 for now. No effect on fuel. If you get bored, clear them, make sure everything is plugged in, wires didn't get crimped or cut, and see if they come back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer
Post actual numbers
and codes
Good point on actual info/numbers, rather than a general "it checked good"

I'd replace the front O2 on general principles

Then do some additional free checks.
1) first thing in the morning, cold engine, check air temp and coolant temp, report back actual numbers
2) first thing in the morning, cold engine, read air pressure reported by MAP sensor

Couldn't hurt to check fuel pressure, though I would expect a code

how long between the time the head was replaced and it was running good, to the time it started blowing out the smoke?

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Old 10-11-2017, 10:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

Thanks. Yes I am aware of the o2 sensor's functions, and the temperature is operating at 205 when parked and about 3/8-1/2 on the gauge. Driving it reads at 190*f.

I understand that fuel trims may not be everyone's specialty, but it is the one thing that is actually showing something to be wrong sorry for the disillusion I have made. I understand that the EFI system on most EFI systems in any vehicle will change for any multitude of reasons.

So to recompense not giving enough listing of what has been done. This listing is from newest to oldest in the span of 3 years. All new unless other-wisely specified.

Manifold to Down pipe Exhaust Gasket - Replaced
Radiator - Replaced
PCV valve - Replaced
Upper radiator hose - Replaced
CTS - Replaced
Thermostat - Replaced
Cylinder Head Assembly - Replaced ( remanufactured )
Alternator - Replaced
Spark plugs & wires - Replaced
Air Filter - Replaced
Idler pulley and Tensioner and belt - Replaced
EGR valve - Replaced
Battery - Replaced

----------------

And to state the problems quickly the car smokes, smells of fuel, worse gas mileage, feeling as car is heavy as if it is working hard.

The ODO is at 240k

Codes up to this point relating to engine P0140 and P0141, prior cleared were directed at upstream sensor.

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Old 10-11-2017, 11:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post

Then do some additional free checks.
1) first thing in the morning, cold engine, check air temp and coolant temp, report back actual numbers
2) first thing in the morning, cold engine, read air pressure reported by MAP sensor

Couldn't hurt to check fuel pressure, though I would expect a code

how long between the time the head was replaced and it was running good, to the time it started blowing out the smoke?
I'll get to 1 and 2 and fuel shortly. I may not be able to get this information to you today.

The head was replaced 4 months ago

My brothers said the car started smoking is when the heater core busted in his car and leaked inside. He didn't want it replaced so he connected the hoses to recirculate in engine. After that particular moment of him fixing" it, it smoked.

which was about 2 months ago, and it was sitting for the better part of a month to get a replacement radiator as it developed a pinhole leak in the core.

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Old 10-11-2017, 11:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

Quote:
Originally Posted by VicSaturnS View Post
I'll get to 1 and 2 and fuel shortly. I may not be able to get this information to you today.
No worries. With the new info, it seems more likely that the issue is related to something your brother did, than any sensor failure.

Quote:
My brothers said the car started smoking is when the heater core busted in his car and leaked inside. He didn't want it replaced so he connected the hoses to recirculate in engine. After that particular moment of him fixing" it, it smoked
Have you inspected his work? Does he have some kind of U-shaped hose or did he just plug them off somehow? what about nearby wiring, etc.?

It sounds like you know what you are about, your brother, not so much.

the P0140/141 may also be related to his "fix" - he may have crimped the wires, pulled them out by accident, etc

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Old 10-11-2017, 12:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

In addition to suggestions given, at 240k miles, car driving with less power, low fuel mileage, may suggest a partially blocked catalytic converter disintegrating. A strangled exhaust system can create strange symptoms. The easiest test for a damaged catcon is to remove the upstream O2 sensor for an alternate exhaust path (loud) and drive. You may have to make a soup can diverter to point hot exhaust gases away from parts melting from the heat. If engine power suddenly returns, the catcon is strangling the engine from breathing.

How's compression? P0140 and P014201 related to the downstream heater and sensor not operating.

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Old 10-20-2017, 06:41 PM   #10
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Default Re: Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

The fuel trim to watch is the LTFT not the STFT.

The STFT is basically the minor fuel trim adjustment. every time it maxes out it will add 1 or subtract 1on the LTFT and zero itself and start over.

Are you using coolant?

do you smell gas in the oil when you pull the dipstick.

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Old 12-06-2017, 01:27 AM   #11
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Default Re: Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

Howdy y'all. Its been a while so bear with me; the cat was indeed clogged, it was replaced then it was driving good for a while, then it started to smoke again still fuel trims were crazy, a month goes by and it is misfiring on plug 3, coil pack prongs were corroded so I replaced the wires, no change, switched the coil, stayed in place.

Checked the spark plug and it was completely fouled and carbon built up like crazy! After getting new one it was still misfiring, found out through nothing else more than some searching that the EFI sticker of the 96 was the one with the wide gap, put it down to .040 then it was good to go again, its been at .060 for the longest time!

Then it starts to leak oil (still smokes), find out it was from the rear of the timing cover, pretty large leak, do timing cover again, now it doesn't leak.

This week - Started it up one day, now cylinder 1 is misfiring, NEW spark plug fouled and covered in oil. Looked in cylinder, definitely oil getting into cylinder. Took a compression test, number 1 was the lowest at 165 others variances at all at 185-195. It runs but trims are still funky, more than likely now because of the oil getting onto the oxygen sensor.

I have read that these like to get quite a bit of oil leakage but this thing is burning off oil badly, It took out nearly half a quart in a day, and it is smoking like a train. Is there anyway for me to free up the rings? When I had the head off I put ATF in it and let is soak for a day but the ATF leaked passed this one quickly in particular so I am certain that the valve stems aren't leaking as they were new with the reman head. I really appreciate all the help I was given, and more insight I can honestly say it helped me. You guys are awesome! If there is some miracle treatment that you guys can recommend that you think can help this situation I would like to hear it, at this point it is either get rid of it or fix it without an overhaul in the meantime. So any information would be great, I will try searching around too on this forum's search engine. Thanks for reading!

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Old 12-06-2017, 09:47 PM   #12
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Default Re: Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

So far looks like MMO is a fan favorite, I may as well try it! I am at a point to where I can leave it in for a couple days or do something I saw talked about on another site which is to put the number one cylinder to TDC and add a little bit of MMO and put compressed air with my fitting from my leak-down tester and force it around the rings to help free up carbon deposits on the rings

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Old 12-07-2017, 12:12 AM   #13
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Default Re: Saturn SL running rich, fuel trims

Sounds like a head not sealing properly; gasket, head, possibly the block, or piston rings. Did the engine overheat with the old or new head? Did you get cheap and reuse the head bolts? They are one time use only they wont torque down properly and can result in head lifting or bolt breakage, The result is head gasket leakage. Ive seen it at least a dozen times.

Here is how I would diagnose and properly repair.
Compression test both hot and cold if the numbers are better cold then it might be piston rings. Then a positive pressure / leak down test to find out where the compression is going; you will need access to compressed air and a cylinder adapter with an air gauge inline with a shutoff valve, and a air line connector; make sure the gauge is on the cylinder side of the valve, and a watch to time air loss.
Remove the spark plugs and by hand turn cylinder #1 to TDC compression, and apply 120 PSI into the cylinder. Make sure you are at TDC or the compressed air will push the cylinder down into the block. Its a pain in the neck as you have to turn the engine back to TDC by hand Shut the valve and watch the pressure gauge the cylinder should be able to hold pressure for at least five minutes with minimal loss of pressure. Timing the pressure loss is not needed if you have air escaping and the pressure falls like a stone and the piston is at TDC.
Repressurize the cylinder listen for air leakage; air in the intake manifold usually means intake valves, exhaust manifold exhaust valves, air bubbling the coolant, between cylinders, air oil or coolant escaping at the between the head and block, usually a head gasket, head, block. Air heard in oil filler cap could be valve guides or piston rings if you have air in the bottom end head gasket, head, block, or piston rings might be shot.
I would pull the head, check the head and block surface for defects making sure the surfaces are within specs. Measure the cylinder bores with a bore gauge make sure they are in spec both diameter and roundness. If they check out O.K. replace the rings. REPLACE THE ROD BOLTS! If the bores need correcting less than 0.002 you can lightly hone the bores inframe BUT you need to be extremely careful not to get debris on the main bearings. Its better get with a good machine shop, pull the engine and have them correct the block, and match the block to the right sized pistons and rings. or you can replace the engine.

If everything goes well rebuild the head.
Buy a quality complete head set, NEW HEAD BOLTS Strip the head make sure you keep all the parts in order to where they go in the head. sandwich bag work. Remove the valves and check the guides, slide the valve into the guide and check for play in the valve guide. Dry valve stem just enough movement to say its there, Place oil on the stem place the valve in the head no movement the guide is good. Use the suction cup lapping tool LAP THE VALVES BY HAND DON'T USE A DRILL. make sure you lube the valve stem with oil and keep the lapping compound out of the guide or you can ruin the valve guides. You want a mate finish on the valve contact surfaces. Make sure all of the parts are in spec.
build the head. Reinstall the head make sure the surfaces are absolutely clean use acetone or lacquer thinner as they don,t leave a residue. You cannot have the head and block too clean. Install the head gasket, and cylinder head install the head gasket dry no sealants.
Make sure you have and use the proper tools for the job, especially torque wrenches, a torque angle gauge,valve spring compressor, valve lapping tools, coffee filters they are great for cleaning internal parts they clean lint free and are cheap. Have access to a reputable engine machine shop before uou start. Get the measurement and torque specs from a GM service department its 10 to 15 pages of needed info to do the job right.

Send me a PM if you need help.
Good luck let us know how it works out.

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