1996 Saturn SC acceleration and chk engine lite

alexis717_dfFebruary 23, 2010

I'm hoping someone can help with some ideas because I'm up the proverbial creek. Like a lot of people these days, economically I'm in a pinch. I've been cut back to 3 days a week and I've tried to find a second job but not so easy these days. Particularly when you are concerned about getting from point a to b. Here are the symptoms.

The check engine light is on and you have to really feather or play with the gas pedal to get it from a stopped position to forward. Unless you play with the gas pedal it just dies. The first request in the morning to go from stopped to moving in first gear is perfect, no feathering the gas pedal required. But at subsequent stops, first being a block later, it starts. If I don't keep feathering the pedal, slowly, to get the RPM's up it just sits there or dies. It's a five speed and I don't have this problem in any other gears just first. In all other aspects it runs, or at least appears to me, fine.

Any ideas or help is appreciated.


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Since operation in first gear is disrupted more than the other gears the first thought that comes to mind is possibly the boot between the Mass Airflow sensor and the engine has a slight tear in it. Now of course this only applies if your car uses a MAF and not a Map sensor to calculate the engine load.

The symptom broken down as you describe it suggests the engine isn't getting enough fuel when you attempt to accelerate. But seemingly this is only occurring for now in first gear. If your car does use a MAF sensor, the torque that the engine and transmission deliver in first gear is much higher and therefore can pull open a tear in the boot more easily than any of the higher gears could. This tear would let air into the engine that isn't being measured, and that results in not enough fuel being delivered.

BTW, have you had some-one retrieve the code?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 9:51PM
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John thank you so much for your speedy response and the information. How do I find out if my engine uses a MAF sensor?

But my biggest questions is retrieve what code? and how do I go about doing/getting that.

Thank you, I'm extremely greatful for any information that may point me in the right direction.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 12:45PM
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Update: After much googling, the problem that most matched my description was the ECTS (engine coolant temperature sensor). Site said about a 10-30 minute fix. Since the part was 21.00 (with tax) I figured I wasn't out much if it didn't work. Took me 20 minutes to change out the old one for the new and reset the PCM B fuse. The old one was cracked. Car now runs like brand new. Oh, and they also said the Check Engine Light would go out at or about 8 miles. Almost 8 miles to the foot the light went out. I am one happy camper.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 7:14PM
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Hey Saturn owners! I know this thread has been posted months long so forgive me for putting this up for the second time around. just want to share the issues i've had with my Saturn 03. I came here to discuss very similar problem and also to raise some Saturn repair questions. It's ok if you don't respond to it. would be fine. So the car(Saturnv 96) is having problems when starting.First few tries, it won't even turn over, then, once it does turn over, it sounds like 'chug chug' for a few seconds then dies. keep on hapening over and over. When I try to put on gas on it, it keep on dying. Again after few tries, (and the car is decently warmed up and my temp gauge is 1/4 or 1/2)

I can finally give it gas and I rev the engine for about a minute. I then can put my car into drive without it dying immediately but it still 'chugs chugs' for a few seconds before driving regularly. After I get it started and start driving, it drives wonderfully!! I can usually restart it after letting it sit for up to an hour. Letting it sit any more than that, the whole process occours again.

Additional info: I had overheating problems about a week ago and our mechanic who is very trustworthy and a dear friend replaced the thermostat and fixed a leaky radiator hose.

Here is a link that might be useful: The same probken with my car

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 10:40PM
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