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Old 04-13-2008, 11:11 AM   #1
Gadweller
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2002 SL1
Default SL1 rough idle

I have a 2002 SL1 with approx 106k miles on it. I noticed it was idling rough and then the service engine soon light came on. I ended up changing out the plugs and plug wires and put in a clean air filter. The car is running better now and no engine light but when I am in park and sometimes in neutral, the car idles roughly. Also, if I have the air off and am idling in drive, it idles roughly but not as much as when in park or idle. This is most noticable after the car has warmed up. Any ideas of what may be causing this? Thanks...Greg

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Old 04-13-2008, 11:21 AM   #2
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2005 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: SL1 rough idle

Leaking intake manifold gasket. Get a can of carb cleaner or brakleen and spray it on the intake (with the car running) on the #1 cylinder(behind the P/S pump) You will hear the change in idle. Pretty simple weekend DIY project. Get yourself a new gasket, remove the intake, replace the gasket, and put it back together. They had a problem in the factory with later Sx1's where the robot installing the gasket folded the corner by the #1 cylinder. It usually takes a few years or about 100K miles to start showing the problem. Do a search, it's been covered a ton already.

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Old 04-13-2008, 12:05 PM   #3
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1998 SL2
Default Re: SL1 rough idle

Squareback's probably right. The third gen SOHCs are notorious for that manifold gasket problem. However, I'll point out that when you get an SES light, you really need to go to Advance or Autozone and get the code read for free. When you post on here please post the code not the explanation you got for what it means. In your case, it's probably a P0301 but, check it.

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Old 04-13-2008, 07:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: SL1 rough idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnOwl View Post
Squareback's probably right. The third gen SOHCs are notorious for that manifold gasket problem. However, I'll point out that when you get an SES light, you really need to go to Advance or Autozone and get the code read for free. When you post on here please post the code not the explanation you got for what it means. In your case, it's probably a P0301 but, check it.
Thank you for the posts. I did go to Advance when the SES light went on and they told me I had a cylinder 1 misfire. When we pulled the number one plug wire off and put it back on, the SES light went back off. I decided at that point to go ahead and change the plugs and wires since they were due anyway. One thing I forgot to mention is that the car also has a soft misfire that you can hear when it is in park. Probably due to the same issue that you both have addressed for me. Thank you again for posts.

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Old 04-15-2008, 06:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: SL1 rough idle and soft backfire

Ok, per my last post, I am going to replace the PCV this weekend and clean the EGR valve. My question is, when my SL1 is in park w/o the air on, there is a noticible soft backfire noise that you can hear coming out of the tailpipe. The tailpipe has a ring of black soot around it though I do not have any kind of smoke coming out of the tailpipe.
-- The car has new Autolite platinum plugs in it as well as new plug wires but the backfire noise was there before the plug and plug wire change.
--When I put the a/c on, the backfire noise lessens to the point where I think I may hear it if I put my ear to the pipe but I am not sure. Also, the car seems to run ok when it in gear (I have an auto trans). I did spray around the intake manifold but I did not notice an idle change (I will have a more mechanically knowledgeable friend redo that for me this weekend to be sure).
Anyway, what would cause the backfire noise described above and would I assume right that it is directly related to the rough idle that I have when car is in park w/o air on. (a/c on, car fine - a/c off, car rough)

Thank you for your patience in reading this!

Last edited by Gadweller; 04-15-2008 at 06:50 PM.. Reason: correction

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Old 04-15-2008, 06:42 PM   #6
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Default SL1 rough idle and backfire

accidently duplicated message when website locked up.

Last edited by Gadweller; 04-15-2008 at 06:45 PM.. Reason: Duplicate

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Old 04-15-2008, 08:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: SL1 rough idle

GET RID OF THE PLATINUM PLUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They cause horrible misfires and poor running in Saturn vehicles. No need for exotic metals for these cars. NGK copper plugs are preferred, or if you absolutely must spend more money, NGK V Power. Where were you spraying the carb cleaner? It should be sprayed where the intake and cylinder head meet, near the power steering pump side of the engine.

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Old 04-15-2008, 09:36 PM   #8
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2002 SL1
Default Re: SL1 rough idle

Man, did you have to yell? I am not a mechanic which is why I am asking for advice. I am just trying to learn how to service my own car to save $$$. I have been watching Richpin's videos, etc.

I have already thought about replacing the platinums with NGK copper and probably will this weekend, but I was having this problem before they were replaced and actually the car was running better after the replacement. Anyway, I did spray in the area around the power steering pump.

Thanks...

Last edited by Gadweller; 04-15-2008 at 09:46 PM..

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Old 04-16-2008, 09:29 AM   #9
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Default Re: SL1 rough idle

Change the intake gasket.
Most of your issues will go away when you change it.
NGK copper plugs works best in the Saturn.
I just went through the intake thing. The Fel-Pro gasket is a lot stiffer than the old one and works great.
After change, idle 550 warm and steady like a rock.
No more codes

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Old 04-16-2008, 09:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: SL1 rough idle

Courtesy of RC1488 - a nice how-to.

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Old 04-16-2008, 08:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: SL1 rough idle

Thank you!! I have lots to do this weekend.

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Old 05-04-2008, 09:44 AM   #12
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Default Re: SL1 rough idle - bad intake gasket

I have a saturn sl1 2002, that suffers from the rough idle, and spraying carb cleaner on intake near power stearing pump does result in a change in idle speed So i suspect it has the folded intake gasket.
my question is will this continue to get worse or cause engine damage if its not corrected right away?

also would anyone know what i would expect to pay to have a mechanic fix it?

thanks
kdy

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Old 05-04-2008, 03:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: SL1 rough idle - bad intake gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdy View Post
I have a saturn sl1 2002, that suffers from the rough idle, and spraying carb cleaner on intake near power stearing pump does result in a change in idle speed So i suspect it has the folded intake gasket.
my question is will this continue to get worse or cause engine damage if its not corrected right away?

also would anyone know what i would expect to pay to have a mechanic fix it?

thanks
kdy
I'm not sure if they leak coolant or not. Regardless, it's not something you want to let go for a while.

I paid about $170 for a local shop to do it. Depending on your location, it could be more. For a decent shop, it shouldn't take more than 90 minutes.

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