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Saturn S-Series

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  • Hi! I have a 1994 Saturn SL2 that I use for commuting to my job 300 miles from home (drive 600 miles/week). Odometer reads 220k miles. Normally, I drive 65 mph on the freeway using cruise control. Until yesterday, the car ran like a dream - very smooth, easily maintained speed and temperature, got great gas mileage - up to 50 mpg (with a tail wind!!).
    Yesterday, while climbing a hill, with A/C on, the engine suddenly began struggling to maintain speed and began to heat up. I turned off the A/C and pulled over to find the engine running very rough, but without the load, the temp returned to normal. I continued for another 35 miles, but noticed the engine was struggling, so shut it down to begin testing. Notably, exhaust was not particularly smokey.
    I pulled spark plug wires one at a time and found that the #2 cylinder was not contributing - spark was there, but roughness did not change when spark plug wire was pulled. After a 165 mile tow, this morning I ran a compression test to find #1, 3, and 4 running at appx 180 psi. #2 at 0 psi. Spark plugs #1,3, and 4 had a white-ish buildup on the ground electrode, and buildup on #2 appears to have broken off (maybe stuck in valve?)
    I reason that I may have a stuck valve, or burned valve. I rule out broken rings due to clean exhaust. Maybe a broken piston?
    I assume the next step is to pull the valve cover, but have never done this on this vehicle. Any guidance and or discussion would be appreciated. Any steps to take that would narrow down the possibilties?
    Thank you - RenoMike
  • booboo6booboo6 Posts: 46
    When there is 0 psi reading on compression test of #2 cylinder, cyl #2 is completely vented. A burnt valve would still have some compression. The rough driving sounds to the result of operating on 3 cylinders. Not sure why the coolant temperature rose on you, probably normal for slow grind up the hill with load. My guess is that the electrode of spark plug failed and the broken electrode served as hard debris that may have scored up your cylinders and vented the cylinder compression that way. Search Richpin videos on Youtube for removing valve cover. Easy job, but that only helps you confirm valve motion. I am afraid the damage could be in your block, piston, its rings after driving so far with debris in cylinder. Good would be the electrode hung up in your valves to mess up the head instead of the bore. If your plugs are original, that would suggest failure of a plug from excessive age/use. Major engine job either way I am afraid.
  • bambiebambie Posts: 12
    You may want to pull the oil pan off. This won't fix anything but it may give you some clues. You may find some debris in the bottom of the pan or with a good flash light you may be able to see the cylinder or piston from below.

    IAN
  • I am getting codes 11, 25, 71, 77 can anyone help me with what there are and how best to get them fixed?
  • USING SYNTHETICOIL IN AN ENGINE WITH THAT MANY MILES ON IT WHEN IT IS BUILT TO RUN ON CONVENTIONAL OIL WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. HAVE SEEN THIS PROBLEM BEFORE IN MANY LATE 90'S AND EARLY 2000'S VEHICLES CARS AND TRUCKS. TRY CONVENTIONAL OIL. COMPRESSION SHOULD BE UP AROUND 150 PER CYLINDER. SHOULD HAVE INSTALLED PISTON RINGS WHILE OTHER WORK WAS PERFORMED
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