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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

2003 9-3 Vector / Arc 75,000 Miles


Upon heavy acceleration I feel a sudden loss in power (boost gauge also drops). Afterwards, acceleration is very sluggish - dangerously slow. Even though it's slow, there is no shaking, sputtering, knocking, etc. I suppose it could be "limp mode" except I thought that would come with some sort of notification. (check engine or something in the DIC) There are no visual alerts.



After an ignition cycle, everything is fine. This has happened on several occasions now in the past few days. I've searched around and saw similar posts (waaay back) but no real solutions. (i.e. the author never came back and said "I fixed it by....")



I'm thinking of replacing the plugs because it's easy but I'm not convinced it's an ignition problem yet.



If I could only get at Saab Technician’s TSBs.



Any ideas?



Thanks in advance!



Travis
 

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Discussion Starter #3
JonV said:
Hey Jon - thanks for the quick reply.

From my experience, I would go for vacuum leak as well. The problem is it seems fine after a key off / on cycle which doesn't make sense.

Thanks for the link. It looks like it costs $$$. Have you used it? Is it worth it?

Where is the FPR in this vehicle? I suppose it wouldn't hurt to check it.
 

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register with Saab usa and you can get the TSB's, "there could be" several causes...I'm more mechanical with my old 900's...we'd say boost cutoff, fuel filter...sometimes ya gotta bite thee bullet and ask a pro.....with no disrespect to our fellow members, you'll get a lot of ..."well it could be".
 

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Discussion Starter #5
JonV said:
register with Saab usa and you can get the TSB's, "there could be" several causes...I'm more mechanical with my old 900's...we'd say boost cutoff, fuel filter...sometimes ya gotta bite thee bullet and ask a pro.....with no disrespect to our fellow members, you'll get a lot of ..."well it could be".
Agreed on "may need a professional".....I always like to educate myself as much as possible first. (don't know why - really)

Where are the TSBs at? I checked all over the owners section of saabusa.com and couldn't find them. I must be dense.

Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
JonV said:
Did you register with your VIN? I think they show up oddly under recalls, I have not checked in a while.
Yep - checked under recalls. They must have moved it. It really looks like this could be it too:

Make : SAABModel : 9-3Year : 2003Manufacturer : SAAB CARS USA, INC. Service Bulletin Num : 2912494Date of Bulletin: NOV 01, 2004NHTSA Item Number: 10012036 Component: ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLINGSummary:
REDUCED PERFORMANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC TROUBLE CODES FOR THE TURBO CONTROL VALVE. *EH
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just an update:

Yesterday I did a thorough check of all the vacuum lines. (found nothing) I cleaned the spark plugs. (couldn't replace them because my local Murray's did not stock the proper plug ) I checked the fuel pressure to be at 40lbs.



Finally, I replaced the battery because it was starting to crank slow on cold mornings. The battery was disconnected for a good two hours because, again, Murray's didn't stock the proper battery and I had to drive across town.



I have not been able to get the problem to come back. I'm a little worried because I did nothing to fix the issue, really.

If the problem happens again, I'm going to throw the pressure gauge back on the rail without cycling the key to see if the pressure is low. (I understand that is a sign of limp home mode.) I'll then cycle the key to see if the pressure goes back up to 40.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The saga continues....

I think I may be the only one contributing to my thread but I don't mind. It may help someone someday. :cool:



First, let me say that John at Ann Arbor Suburban Saab - rocks. Let me explain...



My CEL came back on today and I was hoping that it would tell me why I am getting the strange lack of power until the next key cycle (sometimes). He said it would be $95 to do a diagnostic check (Tech2). The other dealerships in the area "quoted" the same. I reluctantly drove out there and to my surprise, he did it for free! YMMV but either way, he was very nice and helpful.



Unfortunately, I don't think the code has anything to do with my performance issue. I have the dreaded SAI (secondary air) issue found in other threads here. As a side note, I blew out a ton of water from the system. We'll see if it helps before replacing the check valve or pump.



Soooooo....I think I still have a performance issue. I changed the plugs tonight but I doubt it helped...... More to come, I'm sure :cheesy:



Any ideas yet?

 

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Discussion Starter #10
Another update:

The problem seems to happen more frequently now. Of course, a simple restart fixes the problem. I am still questioning if it's "limp home" mode being invoked for some reason. The problem is, no light is set. You would think the PCM would set a CEL for limp mode.



I let it stay in poor performance mode a little longer tonight to see if I could learn more. I found that there is no throttle response past about 1/3 to 1/2 throttle. If you've ever noticed prior to starting the car, you can hear the butterfly in the air control valve. I decided to test this theory of no throttle movement.



Not Scientific:

I stalled the car (yikes) carefully (manual trans) in my garage. I didn't want to "key off" because this would reset the poor performance condition. I then opened the hood and carefully depressed the throttle. I could hear movement until about 1/3 to 1/2! I turned the key off and back on. I could then hear movement throughout the movement of the throttle.



I'm not sure what that means. I better test would be to pull the intake hose off and watch the butterfly. (I can't get that intake hose off! I must have to really pull on it.)



I read somewhere on here about coil packs and / or MAF sensors causing "limp mode". I guess I could go down that troubleshooting path.



Any ideas welcome.
 

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I had this same issure on my 2002 Pontiac grand am 2.2L Ecotec.

It was the Coil packs. I replaced it all.

My symtoms. Wouldnt pass 2000rpm, misfired like bat out of hell, Ran like pure "sh*t"

It sound to me your having the same problems.

I got it all for aorund $300 (canadian)

Fixed the problem and I was really happy :) At the time the car only had 80,000km on it.
I no longer own this car due to an accident back in September 07.
 

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I'm sorry for the headache this is causing you, I know what it is like. In the nature of just throwing out ideas until one works, I'm gonna add one to the list.

Are you using the original MAF? I had the exact same problem maybe six months ago. I was using the dreded K&N open air filter that caused us all trouble. The problem that this filter gave was with the MAF, if T8 thinks something is wrong it shuts everything down to "help" us. When I had this problem, sometimes it happened with a CEL, and sometimes it didn't. Whenever i unhooked the battery and reset everything it would run fine for a couple of days, since you unhooked your battery already and said it was fine for a while, maybe this is it.

I would try checking out your MAF. You may get lucky and only have to clean it(you can get electical cleaner spray at your local parts store), but if it does need replacing you can buy one from your dealer's part department for about $90.

You definetly want to get this taken care of, I was almost slammed by traffic in downtown new haven traffic during rush hour. Although not a large city, merging into traffic going 5 miles per hour is a good way to get yourself killed.

Hope this helps. At the very least you can add one more things to the list of problems that it isn't and work from process of elimination. Good luck.
 

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So you had a code for SAI and water in the pump. How did that resolve? Did you replace the SAI check valve?

The reason I ask is because a leaking check valve can allow wet exhaust gas to recirculate through the intake. This deposits exhaust soot and water vapor on the MAF.
Higher rpm --> higher exhaust pressure --> more exhaust leaking --> NOT GOOD!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you for the replies.



I am considering the MAF and probably will have a look at it tonight. I also have not ruled out ignition as stated above because just before it goes in to "limp mode" I do feel an ignition like hesitation or slight "bucking" as I've heard it called here.

Ctrlz,
I know this sounds like a line but I was actually thinking that exact same thing as my head hit the pillow last night! I know the valve is leaking. After getting the codes read, I saw marker lights (grrr), and SAI air flow codes - that's it.

I did a little reading (much thanks to your detailed write-ups), pumped a ton of water out of the system and the light stayed out for several days. Now, there's a bunch of water in there again. I ordered the valve a few days ago so it should be here soon.


Incidentally, the air filter was damp in a few areas, so this really could be it.


This may even be affecting the MAF reading too. Therefore, you'd both be right.


I really need to get rescanned. I have a hard time believing that limp mode would not set a light. (I did see it with my own eyes over the tech's shoulder though.) I'm considering buying a scanner. I'm sure it'll come in handy.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll keep the forum updated in case someone needs this info in the future.
 

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How are you blowing water out of the SAI pump?
Forward direction or reverse?
Compressed air or vacuum from a shop-vac? (actually you can use most shop-vacs as blowers now too)

I had posted some ideas of how to do this a while back, but never actually had to do it myself. If you've done it twice already you must have an established method.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
1) Pull hose from check valve

2) Pull hose from air box

3) Hook "blower" side of shop-vac up to air box side of system...My vac has this reducer attachment that fits perfectly in to the hose

4) Turn on shop vac and watch 1/2 gallon of water (not really) come out of system! :p :evil:

 

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I would suggest replacing the valve, clearing the pump, and driving the car. Fix what you know to be broken first, then reassess the situation.

Your description sounds like everything might be due to the leaking valve.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Troubleshooting 101 - you're right.

The valve will be here on Tuesday. I'll let you all know how it goes. Thanks for the input so far.

(Join Date - July 2003 - FINALLY 100th post. I'm terrible.) :roll:


ctrlz said:
I would suggest replacing the valve, clearing the pump, and driving the car. Fix what you know to be broken first, then reassess the situation.

Your description sounds like everything might be due to the leaking valve.
 

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tbully said:
The valve will be here on Tuesday.
Hey, it's Valve Day already. Thank God I shopped early to avoid the lines!

Before you toss the old one, why don't you use your vac to blow through the exhaust side? I would be interested to know the magnitude of the leak. I'm not sure if these valves fail because the soot builds up, or the diaphragm mechanism corrodes/breaks. I think a soot leak would be a small crack, but a mechanism failure could create a substantial shunt between the exhaust and intake.
 

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ctrlz said:
Hey, it's Valve Day already. Thank God I shopped early to avoid the lines!

Before you toss the old one, why don't you use your vac to blow through the exhaust side? I would be interested to know the magnitude of the leak. I'm not sure if these valves fail because the soot builds up, or the diaphragm mechanism corrodes/breaks. I think a soot leak would be a small crack, but a mechanism failure could create a substantial shunt between the exhaust and intake.
The valve arrived and I installed it late last night. There was water in the system again so I blew it out per the procedures found here.

I also checked the old valve and (not surprisingly) found I can blow air from the exhaust side up through the fresh air (pump) side. I could see a lot of soot but no physical damage.

Does anyone know "when" the PCM calls for SAI? Is it on every cold start? The reason I ask is I could not feel the pump pull air (or hear it run) today. I immediatley thought "pump failure" but it never set a CEL. It is warmer in the Detroit area today than it has been since all of this started happening.

The car ran fine all the way to work, btw. (fingers crossed)
 
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