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2000 saturn sw2 - diagnosis problem

My wife drives a 2000 Saturn sw2 with 175K. I am out of town currently. Last night she called me and said that the car was cutting out on the interstate. The problem only occurred at almost 3000 rpm while the car was at speeds above 70 mph. Below that it was fine. Then today she called now she said that she could barely get it to 55mph. I am returning home tomorrow and am going to try to fix this in 5 hours before she needs it again. I am going to test drive it first to see if the above statements are correct. If so I am thinking it could be a failing fuel pump. I am not sure it autozone rents a tool that can measure the pressure on the fuel rail. I am thinking that this is a fuel rather than an ignition problem. Any quick diagnosis processes that could help narrow down this problem quickly? Thanks for all your guys’ help.

How old are the ignition components? Check engine light? If so, pulling the codes is the first step.

So far the description is too vague to say much, but first you check the transmission fluid to make sure it isn’t really really low and now black from slipping. If that’s good, I’d check the fuel pressure and check for exhaust blockage. (A vacuum gauge is the best quick tool for the latter, but if you don’t have one you could pull an O2 sensor and see if that makes a difference - other than in noise.)

When you get a chance to drive it & can report back with a better description that could change things.

I just drove the car. It has no power. Almost like the choke was on, if it had one. I am going to try and find a fuel pressure gauge somewhere that is affordable. I am not sure about the how I would use a vacuum gauge to my advantage here? Info welcome. Thanks

The check engine light must be on - ?

I have a basic fuel pressure gauge I got for $40. Its fine. You might see if any auto parts stores “loaner tool” programs have them.

I also paid about $40 for a vacuum gauge, but I also later bought a hand vacuum pump which doubles as a vacuum gauge. The vacuum pump is just plain handy for lots of things so its the kind of thing you might buy just on principle. If you do get your hands on one, you can refer to this: Check our “Scenario 14” bottom of page.

Are you smelling any fuel?

That site is awesome just bookmarked it. The check engine light is on. But it has been for a few months. The old code was an 02 code. The car was running while and getting 36 mpg so I did not do anything. I had the code read at autozone, I live about 20 mile from the nearest town. I do not know if I should drive the car that far. I should probably buy a code reader for the saturn which I believe is obd2. I am going to end up with few new tools.

I just took off the gas cap and pcv, then took it around the county block. I seemed somewhat better however the could be wishful thinking.

testing if it is the egr and vacuum next unless anyone has a better idea?

You have to get the codes out of it. Yes, it is OBD II.

What is an “02 code”? Did you mean to say an oxygen sensor code? That’s not the way it works. The codes look like this: “P1234” They tell you a lot less than people think. Get them and post them.

You still haven’t said a word about how old the ignition stuff is (spark plugs, wires, etc.)

I have had the car for a little over a year the previous owner said it recently had a tune up.

I unplugged the egr and it drove much better. I went straight to the parts store and had the codes read.
P0 then

I did not know which ones were from me unplugging the EGR

Then I replaced the plugs and wires with delcos. Previous ones were very old the gap in the manual called for .040 they were worn to .060 The connections on the coil pack were cover completely in a white corrosion. Last owner lied.

I changed the oiI. I cleaned the egr. I replaced the air filter, PCV valve, and put a bottle of gumout - don’t know how to spell it.

Found the antifreeze leak finally. When the motor is at about 170 or above a small crack open in the water stem that is a plastic part of the intake manifold. I guess this is a common problem. If I bought a new manifold thy said it would happen again. I sanded down the area of the crack covered it in epoxy covered with a small strip of gorilla tape to work as a binder. Then I covered it with a hose I had to split down the middle. Then I drilled two small holes between the actual manifold part and the water stem where I used zip ties to hold it tight. I did not puncture or even come close the actual manifold.It seems to have work. I admit the idea seems hill billy.

I had the battery disconnected while working on it. Once everything is back together. The car started up ran rough for about 10 seconds. Now it seems fine. It has this little fan on the intake. I always thought it worked. I guess it didn’t because now I can hear it run.

No check lights on! Seems to run well. Has a little more power. However it just seems to run different. I thought it ran well before no misses smooth. I did not like the plug wires I could not tell when they snapped on the connectors. I tried the am radio test. I turned it to a blank station and listen for a pop or rhythmic pop to see if the plugs or wires had a bad connection. The result was every band on the am radio is picking up some kind of station. It has never done that.

Sounds like are are dealing with multiple problems and have handled some of them. If you still have running issues; the symptom of cutting out at speed on the highway could be fuel starvation. Not enough fuel flow to meet the engine demand under load. Change the fuel filters first and if still an issue it could be a failing fuel pump. Even a clogged fuel screen in the tank could cause this symptom.

I’d agree that there are multiple, unrelated issues. The plugs & corrosion were probably huge chunk of the power problem.

Now you clear the codes, see how it goes and find out what codes reappear.

P0133, oxygen sensor 1 slow response. You will need to replace this.

P0405, EGR sensor A slow, probably due to unplugging.

P0442, evap system leak detected. Check for a cracked or loose hose at the canister or vacuum lione at throttle body.

P0410, Secondary Air Injection system malfunction. This is the air pump located between the windshield washer reservoir and the pass side headlight. Most people spend hundreds replacing the pump or the reed valve without success. Follow the big hose from the pump to the reed valve. From the reed valve, there is a metal tube going to the exhaust manifold.

Remove the metal tube and clean it. Then get a can of spray Gumout Carb Cleaner, make sure the can has the little red extension tube, and use it to clean out the passage way in the exhaust manifold. Stick the flexible red tube as far down into this port as you can. Then remount the steel tube.

If you get this code back, then remove the reed valve, take it apart and clean it out inside with the spray Gumout. Usually the reed valve will only stick when the temperatures are below freezing.