Question about 1998 Saturn SL

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Misfire 98 SL2 with 132,000 miles - 4 months & 4 mechanics later, still no 'fix'.  Started as severe vibration/shaking, check engine light on, replaced injector #4, helped a lot, but still 'kicks' (misfires?) mostly between 30 to 45 mph, tho' also does it at all speeds above that just not as frequently.  Also began to stall when taking off from a stop, much worse when A/C running.  Changed wires, didn't help; got spark on all 4 cylinders; compression checked ok, EGR valve moving freely, replaced throttle sensor, didn't help; ignition coils check ok.  Next mechanic said since absolutely everything else checked out ok, it must be the computer - replaced it twice to no avail.  Have gone back to the original one. Was told may be a transmission problem, but that also checked out ok.  So, I just continued to drive it that way for about 2 months (check engine light never came back on since replacing injector #4), then severe vibration/shaking happened again, check engine light back on - code showed injector #1 was now bad, so replaced.  Drove great for maybe 5 miles, then check engine light came back on - code indicated injector #4 is bad (again?!?!). Mechanic reset light, drove for a day with no problem, we get car back the next day, check engine light comes back on, still says #4 is bad.  HELP!!!

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  • lj916 Oct 25, 2008

    Plugs and wires have been checked & rechecked, but no one has ever mentioned the ECTS.  Will give that a try. I've already decided to replace the coil pack for injectors #1 & #4 as those are the ones that have come up in the diagnostics codes, even tho' 2 mechanics have said the coil packs check out ok.
    Will keep you posted.  Thanks.

  • lj916 Nov 02, 2008

    Replaced the one coil pack for injectors 1 and 4 this week, made no difference.  Actually got worse as car now stalls when slowing to stop.  Had both coil packs checked first at Auto Zone - one reading was high, the other low but still within range. Thinking maybe should have replaced BOTH coil packs.
    In response to Solution #2, compression has been checked at least twice and always ok on all cylinders. 

  • northwoodszj Feb 19, 2009

    Been having the SAME issue on our 98 SL2 for the past 3 yrs. We've replaced everything in the fuel system from the fuel pump up to the injectors. New coil pack, plugs, wires. Throttle body has been cleaned. New IAC, New TPS, New EGR... etc, etc, etc... still nothing works.



    The Service Engine Soon light has popped on maybe 2 or 3 times, if that. The Check Engine light has come on twice, once for a lean condition then rich a few days later.



    If you figure it out. let me know, PLEASE!!

  • lj916 Mar 01, 2009

    Thanks for all the responses, but the transmission took a dump back in December, and would cost more to get fixed than the car is worth.
    Anyone need parts?!? 

  • mrbios May 11, 2010

    1997 Saturn SW2 - Two main symptoms are Lean Misfire at low or high speed. The car will buck coming off idle. It can happen when coasting down a hill when my foot is barely on the gas. Hydro Carbons (HC) have always been on the high side.
    I have owned this car since it was new and it start to shake a few seconds after starting - rough and erratic idle. Then Service Engine Soon (SES) light would start flashing then stay lit without blinking. A day or so later the light would go off and not come on for months. After the catalitic converter was replaced around 1999 along with several emmission sensors the problem went away but returned around 80K.

    Around 70K miles things acted up more when the car was about 6 years old. To fix the probem I replaced spark plugs, wires AND fuel filter which had never been replaced.

    Recenlty I replaced plugs (genuine AC), wires, fuel filter (last year) Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) even though the old one tested ok. I have never touched the ECTS and am going to check that now.


  • Anonymous Mar 16, 2014

    compression is perfect on the cylinders, the engine is misfiring even though i replaced all the spark plugs and ignition coils twice already. after i leave the car parked over the time frame of 8+ hours the car starts right up, but if i drive it, turn it off, and then turn it back on it strains just to get turned over. also, it when sitting still the car shakes a lot acting like it is about to go dead but then catches itself and revs up. when driving the car, it takes a bit after giving it gas before it will kick in and go, it will move after giving it gas but will not "get up and go". there is no smoke when i drive it. also the check engine light has started to blink. what could be the problem. it has about 97k on it.

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One question, have you replaced the ECTS (Electronic Cooling Temperature Sensor)? These cause no end of different seemingly unrelated problems on Saturns. Peice is about ten bucks and is an easy install. Just search on youtube for a how-to video. Even if that's not the problem it is reccommended to replace this peice just the same as they ALL end up going bad at some point.

If that's not a fix, start pulling plugs. Check to see if they're correctly gapped and if they have any damage/corrosion. If you're running Platinum plugs, immediatly change to a copper plug as Platinums have no place in these motors. Most people have the best luck with NGK copper.

Check to make sure that your plug wires haven't been crossed. This sounds like a plug or wire issue most likely so it has to be in that family, if the plugs are good, wires good and not crossed, sensors are fine, then time to replace your coil packs. If you've replaced everything up to the coil packs then that is most likely the cause of your dillema.


Posted on Oct 25, 2008

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Have you tried cleaning the contacts on the ECTS?

1997 Saturn SW2 - Two main symptoms are Lean Misfire at low or high speed. The car will buck coming off idle. It can happen when coasting down a hill when my foot is barely on the gas. Hydro Carbons (HC) have always been on the high side.

I have owned this car since it was new and it start to shake a few seconds after starting - rough and erratic idle. Then Service Engine Soon (SES) light would start flashing then stay lit without blinking. A day or so later the light would go off and not come on for months. After the catalitic converter was replaced around 1999 along with several emmission sensors the problem went away but returned around 80K.

Around 70K miles things acted up more when the car was about 6 years old. To fix the probem I replaced spark plugs, wires AND fuel filter which had never been replaced.

Recenlty I replaced plugs (genuine AC), wires, fuel filter (last year) Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) even though the old one tested ok. I have never touched the ECTS and am going to check that now.

Posted on May 29, 2009

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THE FIRST THING TO REPLACE IT THE CRANKSHAFT POSITION SENSOR!!!!! DO NOT DO ANYTHING BEFORE YOU DO THIS!! $20.00 BUCKS!!! THIS COVERS ALL THE PROBLEMS I SEE ON THIS SITE!!!

Posted on Sep 20, 2009

I just had this SAME problem with my car.. get a compression test done and if on cylinder reads way lower then the others then your engine is shot!...

Posted on Nov 01, 2008

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I had roughly the same problem and replaced my engine and transmission mounts to minimize vibration and line up all gears and connections between engine and drive shaft.

Posted on Mar 01, 2009

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