Question about 1997 Saturn SC

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My '97 saturn had a hard time shifting gears going up hills the rpm would jump really high and the car started shaking violently. eventually the car would just turn off. i put in transmission fluid, oil, even anti-freeze just for the hell of it but still it kept stalling. i eventually had it towed away since i was so far away from home and wasnt going to drive 10 hours going 10 mph. what does this sound like??

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Sounds like a faulty throttle position sensor TPS. This is located on the outside of throttle body on the end of the throttle shaft. If there is no proper feedback of throttle position the ECu is unable to maintain a stable throttle and this in turn makes the gear change very erratic. It has three electrical connections. The device internally consists, most usually, of a curved carbon track with an electrical connection at both ends and a rotary contact slider that moves to a point on the curved carbon track determined by the amount that the throttle is open. The curved carbon track has a resistance associated with it so the voltage that is returned by the throttle contact tells the ECU the throttle position. When the throttle is closed the voltage is low (0 to 0.49 volts) and when fully open it is high (5 volts) The three electrical connections consist of the contact points at each end of the track and the middle connection is the sliding throttle contact. OK check that the wires are all where they should be. Put a volt meter on the connections and record the voltages. When the voltmeter is on the middle pin the voltage should vary evenly as the throttle is opened and closed: use the accelerator lever cam or, if you have remove the air filter piping, you can use your fingers on the throttle flap. If the voltages are uneven replace the TPS

Posted on May 10, 2010

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