procker Reader
3/4/12 1:46 p.m.

So, my 2002 Saturn has been sputtering and shaking with cold starts the last week or so. Last night, it only sat for 5 hours and the shaking when I started it up was pretty rough...same with this afternoon after sitting for 8 hours or so.
After it warms up, I usually just give it some "rev therapy" for a minute or two, it idles and drives just fine. The SES light flashes when it's rough idling, then stops when everything smooths out.
I'm leaning towards spark plugs maybe(?)..I guess more like hoping b/c I know that isn't too hard of a fix...but, what else could it be?

~New battery, one month ago ~Full tank of gas ~Only sputters on cold starts (after I drive to my parents house for tools/errands, it sat for a few hours and would not replicate the symptoms for my dad or brother)

Any suggestions/help? I just don't want to be stranded before work in the AM...Thanks!

belteshazzar SuperDork
3/4/12 2:03 p.m.

gotta start somewhere. a fresh set of plugs, and some good wires while you're at it.

procker Reader
3/4/12 3:51 p.m.

Welp, no luck there. Before leaving for the store, tried starting the car up...its cranking but not starting. Either way, pulled the plugs and swapped in some new ones, gapped correctly and everything. Still nothing...cranks but that's it.

Thinking something fuel related? Kinda bummed cuz it's not like I can do much more with my limited tools and street parking right now. Shoot.

Gearheadotaku GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/5/12 7:43 a.m.

Check the EGR valve. Sometimes they get carboned up and hang open a bit on those cars. After that check fuel pressure, the pumps can have some issues on those. How many miles and is it a single or twin cam?

iceracer SuperDork
3/5/12 7:56 a.m.

Temperature sensors add more fuel on cold startup..

belteshazzar SuperDork
3/5/12 9:17 a.m.

but generally that means the start great cold, and are hard starting when hot.

Nitroracer SuperDork
3/5/12 9:24 a.m.

No spark at all? Possibly a crank or cam position sensor that is bad.

I used to have a car that would crank and not start about once a month and unplugging the crank position sensor and resetting it would get me going again.

belteshazzar SuperDork
3/5/12 10:04 a.m.

they don't have a cam sensor, fwiw.

i'd confirm the fuel pressure situation is good.

procker Reader
3/5/12 8:48 p.m.

Got the car started up last night then. Had to clear the cylinders by starting it up without any fuel to the cylinders (pedal to the floor and starting it up). I guess while I was checking for spark (got it btw), I flooded the engine a lil. Oops.

Still, though, its got a super crazy rough idle, flashes the SES light, and then after feathering the throttle for a lil (minute or two) it smooths out again. Drives fine. I don't notice any loss upon acceleration. Slightly rough idle at stoplights occasionally, but feathering the olde throttle clears her right up.

Its a 2002 1.9L SOHC Satrun SL1 5-speed with apprlx 185,xxx mile on it. New fuel pump five and a half years ago, new intake gasket then too. Burns a lil oil, but less than expected for a 10 year old Saturn. No other mechanical issues co-morbid with it.

Gonna clear the codes, and run it for a while to see what comes up soon. Do some more thinking and stuff too...kinda hard to find daylight to fiddle with it in-between work, so it's gonna hafta wait to get it to the Dad's house...

Any thoughts?

3/26/12 8:07 p.m.

Ok, i have the same year saturn with the same symptoms. My car has 153,000 miles on it.My problems all started when my intake manifold gasket started leaking moisture into the engine. I thought crank sensor cheap part so I changed it(not it). So after changing the gasket and crank sensor. I happen to notice when i first start the engine cold the timing chain sounds to be grinding on something. once the engine is warm I dont hear it making noise. So if the chain is loose during start up of a warm engine. what does that do for the timing?Is that our problem? Well is the oil passage to the tensioner plugged with sludge from having moisture in the oil? I am not getting any fault codes.I checked temp sensors with resistance meter they are in spec.I also back pinned the map sensor and did the vaccum test tested 1.1 volt at idle.

EvanB GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/26/12 8:17 p.m.

Have you replace the coolant temp sensor yet?

ProDarwin SuperDork
3/26/12 8:18 p.m.

1) Flashing SES just means misfire 2) Check your ECTS. If it is as bad as you say it is, the easy check is to just unplug it. It should then start and idle fine, although the SES light will be on.

Edit: That was in response to the OP.

ozonepro2002 New Reader
4/22/12 4:35 p.m.

All of you that said temperature sensor you are correct that solved my problems. Thanks to all of you for the sugestions.

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