I need some guidance on what to do next.
My 96 Saturn SL2 all of a sudden, out of nowhere, started having serious issues. I’ve had to be towed home twice because of this.
It is revving slightly high all the time when the clutch is in (around 1500-2000 RPMs), but after about 30 minutes of driving the temp gauge on the dash board clicks slightly up then slightly back down (not dropping or anything, just a slight click that is audible) affecting my RPMs which then jump. The jumping will get so bad within a matter of minutes that my car is clunking hard down the road. At this point, putting the clutch in revs the engine up to 3500-4000 RPMs. The weirdest part? After clunking along for a couple of minutes, the ABS light will pop on.
I just want to reiterate - the clunking is pretty violent and nonstop. The temp is clicking and the RPMs are jumping from 4000 back down to 0 with it IN GEAR causing the car to jolt continuously.
Once the car was off, it smelled terrible, too, like an electrical fire or burning brakes.
I read about a common issue in older Saturns having a revving issue, so we cleaned the throttle body, replaced the idle air control sensor and throttle position sensor, and it is still having issues. Looking at the engine it looks like everything is in great shape - had a tune up about a year ago including a replacement of battery and alternator, all of the hoses look great, and all fluids are full.
Here are the next steps I imagine doing:
- just bought a pack of incense. Planning on seeing if there are any vacuum leaks the old fashioned way.
- Check the coolant relay.
- Check the engine coolant temperature sensor.
These are my only guesses on what else it could be. I really need this car, can’t afford a new one, and am willing to do any work on it that’s needed (by myself). Any thoughts? I’m assuming it’s something electrical causing serious mechanical issues, and likely related to the temp of the car (since it takes 30 minutes for it to happen, and is related to the jumping of the dash temp gauge).