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3.8 SC Rough Idle/Stalling Problems
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LoudImpala
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 9:55 pm    Post subject:  3.8 SC Rough Idle/Stalling Problems Reply with quote

Hello folks,

Having some issues with the SS yesterday and today. Hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

Yesterday, I started my car after driving quite a distance after a quick stop to pick up something to drink, and was greeted by a really rough idle. My car usually idles around 700 in park,but on this instance it was chugging and loping around 150 - 200, shooting up to about 1000, dropping back down to 200, repeat. I goosed the gas pedal, and it continued to do this. I shut it off, and started again, problem went away.

I've been struggling with code P0171 lately, coming on at random intervals, then going off by itself. Knowing that one of the causes of P0171 is possibly an injector, I stopped at Autozone and got a bottle of STP fuel injector cleaner, and dumped it on top of a 3/4 full tank of 93. Didn't have the issue again, last night, or today, until I went to Goodyear to have my tires balanced and rotated.

I go in, tell them what I want done, sign the paper, and hand over my keys. He tells me they'll pull it right in, and I go and sit to wait. Not 5 minutes later, the guy comes in and says "Hey man, do you know about the check engine light and the car running rough and all that?" Thinking that he's trying to sell me a service, I told him I was aware of the check engine light, and knew what it was, and just wanted my tires rotated. He says, "no man, it died on me twice in the parking lot. We're not going to work on it, there's obviously more important stuff going on than needing your tires balanced. That engine might be what's causing your wobble at 60-70 mph." WTF, Over?

Anyways, I go get my car, too mad already due to the heat and my AC being broke to deal with these people, and leave. My car starts fine. I pull out of the parking lot, and up to a red light, and the idling thing starts again. I give it some gas, it seems ok, then starts chugging while I'm halfway through the intersection. Kind of like it's not getting enough fuel. I'm pushing the pedal, but the RPM is bouncing like crazy between 200-1000, and finally it stalls in the middle of the intersection. I get it to the side of the road, and start it, it starts fine, then goes into a regular idle for about 10 seconds, then starts the rough idle again, and dies. I let it sit for a minute, start it up, and push the pedal a few times taking the tach up to 4000 and letting it fall back down, and now it's idling fine. I drive about 4 - 5 miles to autozone, to have it scanned again, wondering if maybe they can pull a history or whatever with their tool. The car does fine, no problems whatsoever, the idle problem gone.

I get to autozone, the guy comes out with his tool, plugs in, and gets a "cannot communicate" error 4 or 5 times, and then tells me that usually when they get this error, that it means a wire is loose somewhere between the OBD plug and the PCM. Great, now I can't even get my car scanned to determine what's wrong with it.

Anyone with the 3.8sc ever have similar issues, or anyone with know-how of what might be going on with the idling thing and the OBD sensor not working correctly?

edited to add some quick details -

The car has ~87k miles on it. Last oil change was about 1500 miles ago, Castrol full synthetic 5w30 with a K&N filter. I'm running a K&N air filter that was last cleaned about 10k miles ago. I've never changed plugs or wires. My last fuel filter change was over 25k miles ago (stupid, I know). The car does have new intake gaskets as of about 2-3 years ago, and a new right valve cover gasket changed at the same time.


I've got 1payment left on the car, and the warranty ran out 12k ago. This stinks.

Loud
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PushrodPower
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 10:43 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

your k&n could of mucked up you maf sensor.

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04ImpalaSS wrote:
How much miles are on those seats? How much pounds of ass were applied to the seat during every trip? Lol

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This thread is about *this* far from being about me, all oiled up, eating chili mac in a walmart bathroom.

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billy101
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 10:44 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Sounds like your MAF. Unplug it and see what happens...

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2002 Impala LS 3.8 -121,749 miles 11/13/2011
2001 Impala LS 3.8 - 118,510 miles. 9/2/2011. RIP - 11/12/2011
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 12:08 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Could be a vacuum leak or an issue with the IAC valve. To make matters worse, it could be combination of problems that you need to tackle one at a time to fully resolve.

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habermehl
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 11:20 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

get somebody to rev your car and stand at the exhaust if barely feel anything it could be your cat i had similar issues when my cat was clogged......

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billy101 wrote:
Conner wrote:
how do the dealer's expect us to get the cars there if they don 't run at all?


Tow Truck?
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LoudImpala
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 8:20 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

*****UPDATE******

Drove about 40 miles today, city driving, starting and stopping, absolutely no issues. CEL remains on. Smooth idle, no hesitation, no stalling.

I did stop at Advanced Auto on my way home and used their scanner, to see if the issue was possibly Autozones scanner. Turns out the Advanced Auto scanner worked perfectly.

My car is now throwing codes P0134 and P0135. Indicates bad O2 sensor and O2 sensor heater on sensor 1, bank 1. Is a bad O2 sensor capable of causing these kinds of problems? During my annual inspection, the tech indicated I am going to need a new exhaust pipe before next years inspection, due to rusting and all the salt on the roads up here during the winter. Could that be causing issues as well?

Thanks for the suggestions so far. I plan on changing the O2 sensor hopefully this weekend. I would also like to clean the EGR valve, but am not sure where that's at on the engine. I don't have a factory service manual handy.

It's not throwing the P0171 code anymore, so I guess cleaning the MAF cleared that error.

Where is the bank 1 O2 sensor? Am I right in thinking that our 3.8s have 3 total sensors, 2 upstream and 1 downstream? I can see something that somewhat resembles a sparkplug with wires coming out of it on the rear exhaust manifold before the cat. Is this one of the O2 sensors? I know that downstream would be behind the CAT, but I'm just not sure if there are two upstreams and if what I'm looking at is the O2 sensor.

Loud
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IffyG
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 8:22 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

There is only one upstream sensor on these engines. Its the one sticking up out of the rear manifold right behind the middle plug on the back of the engine.

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LoudImpala
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 8:28 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

IffyG wrote:
There is only one upstream sensor on these engines. Its the one sticking up out of the rear manifold right behind the middle plug on the back of the engine.


Nice.So it's that spark plug looking thing I was looking at. Looks easy enough to get to with the right extentions. I'm assuming they just screw in and out, correct?


Loud
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 9:05 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Yeah, they aren't too bad to do. It helps to rock the engine forward and remove the STB. Might also be a good idea to borrow an oxygen sensor socket from Autozone to tackle the job. Also, make sure to use an AC Delco oxygen sensor, anything else will just cause you headaches later.

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LoudImpala
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

****UPDATE 2******

Changed my bank 1 upstream O2 sensor today. Also took the opportunity to change my PCV while I was under the hood, since I had a new one I'd never gotten around to putting in. Man, that O2 sensor was stuck in there pretty good. Took some work to get it out with the limited space I had to work back there.

Had to go with a bosche sensor, since they did not carry the AC Delco brand. Hopefully I wont regret it later, but if so, I know how to change it now.

After a bit of driving around town, my CEL finally went off, and the car idles nice and smooth. I still plan on changing the MAF soon, since I've thrown that code twice and have had to clean it a couple times. I'm sure it's on its way out.


Loud
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PushrodPower
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 4:08 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

LoudImpala wrote:
****UPDATE 2******

Changed my bank 1 upstream O2 sensor today. Also took the opportunity to change my PCV while I was under the hood, since I had a new one I'd never gotten around to putting in. Man, that O2 sensor was stuck in there pretty good. Took some work to get it out with the limited space I had to work back there.

Had to go with a bosche sensor, since they did not carry the AC Delco brand. Hopefully I wont regret it later, but if so, I know how to change it now.

After a bit of driving around town, my CEL finally went off, and the car idles nice and smooth. I still plan on changing the MAF soon, since I've thrown that code twice and have had to clean it a couple times. I'm sure it's on its way out.


Loud



Ooooff. Should of got an AC Delco on online then. Or a Denso. I've personally had problems with Bosch in the past. They don't last. Sad

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04ImpalaSS wrote:
How much miles are on those seats? How much pounds of ass were applied to the seat during every trip? Lol

wedebrook wrote:
This thread is about *this* far from being about me, all oiled up, eating chili mac in a walmart bathroom.

nightryder wrote:
My c**k broke.
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LoudImpala
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 8:54 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

PushrodPower wrote:
LoudImpala wrote:
****UPDATE 2******

Changed my bank 1 upstream O2 sensor today. Also took the opportunity to change my PCV while I was under the hood, since I had a new one I'd never gotten around to putting in. Man, that O2 sensor was stuck in there pretty good. Took some work to get it out with the limited space I had to work back there.

Had to go with a bosche sensor, since they did not carry the AC Delco brand. Hopefully I wont regret it later, but if so, I know how to change it now.

After a bit of driving around town, my CEL finally went off, and the car idles nice and smooth. I still plan on changing the MAF soon, since I've thrown that code twice and have had to clean it a couple times. I'm sure it's on its way out.


Loud



Ooooff. Should of got an AC Delco on online then. Or a Denso. I've personally had problems with Bosch in the past. They don't last. Sad


I'll keep an eye on it. My primary concern is getting it fixed so I'm not late to work anymore. I was going to wait till the weekend, but after it caused me to be late today and miss work, I decided to go with what was available. If I end up changing it again, or the downstream sensor, I'll definitely look for the AC Delco part.

Loud
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 8:17 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

***UPDATE3******

Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad


Well, the two days my dash was light-less (except for the low fuel light) was quite nice, but I was greeted by my check engine light again today on my lunch break. it came on after I had to punch it to pass another car. Stopped by Advanced Auto, and scanned it again. This time I'm throwing the following codes:

P0134 bank 1 sensor 1
P0135 bank 1 sensor 1
P0171 System too lean

So, from the last time I had P0171, I learned that cleaning the MAF sensor turns this code off. Is that a good indicator that the problem is the MAF, and not an injector or the CAT? Can P0171 trigger the P0134, P0135, even though I JUST changed the O2 sensor? On the display, for the P0134, it's saying something about no connection or something. I checked the harness, and the wires leading to and from the sensor, and all looks ok there.

Any suggestions?

Loud
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00impala123
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 7:35 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

You also JUST replaced it with a Bosch sensor..you could have the same problems with that garbage than with the bad sensor.

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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:27 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Assuming the Bosch sensor is OK (which by the way is a huge assumption), I think you need to be looking for messed up wiring to the oxygen sensors at a bare minimum, possibly major exhaust leaks and worst case scenario a bad PCM.

If it was my car, I'd thoroughly inspect all the wiring harnesses invovled in the system. In the absence of any issues there, I'd get an AC Delco oxygen sensor and install that and then work from there.

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