Hesitation while accelerating

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I have a 2001 Saturn SC1, (Small engine), manual transaxle, with 83,000 miles (drove it lots on the hwy). I've never had any problems with my car, change the engine oil frequently, check fluids often, etc. In the past two weeks, when accelerating, my car hesitates, it kind of feels jumpy, or hoppy. I put some gas cleaner in with a full tank of 93 octane gas, (i usually use 87 octane) thinking that would help, and it seemed to for a few days, but it's doing it again. I'm not sure if I need new spark plugs, a new fuel filter, or to try fuel injector cleaner. Maybe I am off base and it is something totally different.

Can someone please help? :)


posted by  Teresa2001Satur

Manual transaxel, and its jumpy/hoppy. Lets go all out today and lets think maybe it's clutch problem. :doh:

Does it feel like a slipping clutch or are you not sure?

posted by  DodgeRida67

I don't know what a slipping clutch feels like, but it is while i am accelerating, not shifting gears.

posted by  Teresa2001Satur

Well a slipping clutch is like a bucking/jerking feel.

At 83,000 miles your well overdue for ignition replacement. If you havnt already, it's time for new ignition wires and spark plugs.

Also you need to replace oxygen sensors. Well overdue for them.

If it's not a slipping cluch its probably ignition wires, or the spark plugs since they're well overdue at 83,000 mi.

posted by  DodgeRida67

What effect would the ignition replacement have? Sorry if I seem so dense, it's because I don't know much about this stuff.

[edit] DUH :banghead: Sorry, I didn't know that was the same as spark plug wires. :oops:

posted by  Teresa2001Satur

Change the fuel filter...sounds like your starving the engine when you accelerate...had this problem b4... :wink2:

posted by  geden

I commend you for keeping the oil changed. Although it may not be directly associated with hesitation, you will be surprised at cars which are not maintained.

Although many GM cars have spark plug change intervals approaching 100K listed in the owners manual, most cars could benefit from a good tune-up well before 100K (more like 60K - 70K)

Assuming the "check engine" or "service engine soon" light is not on, lets do or have done the following since most of it should be done @ around 60K anyway as part of routing maintenance

replace spark plugs

replace high voltage plug wires if your car has them (many cars built since the mid 1990s have ignition coils attached to each individual spark plug and will not have high voltage plug wires)

replace fuel filter

replace air filter

inspect/test the EGR system

check electrical connections @ various computer sensors

cleck vacume hoses, intake and throttle body gaskets and fuel injector o-rings for vacume leaks

clean the MAF sensor (there are cleaners available @ autozone and NAPA - don't use carb cleaner)

obtain the trouble codes from the computer

A comment about 02 sensors - if you chose to replace the O2 sensors, you car will have two since it is certified OBDII conpliant. The front one provides input to the ECM for engine management. The rear one provides input to the ECM to determine if the catalytic onverters are functioning properly.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

I strongly believe this would be secondary ignition as someone said earlier.

Likely the cap and rotor and the plugs all have caked on carbon and when the motor is spinning fast, the spark is not always making it through each time.
This condition happens like every 30,000 miles to all cars.
So, what can i say, cap and rotor and all plugs. While youre doing this, youll feel like a dummy if you do not replace the wires because they could go any day as well, and for that matter they could be the problem and cause similar symptoms. However they last a lot longer ive noticed, more like 50-60k miles depending on the brand.

So dont worry about anything else. As a matter of fact, you cant even diagnose anything until you have examined the plugs and the cap and rotor. Its possible to just clean these things in an emergency, but dont. Go get new ones.

Especially the cap and rotor, even modern cars kill these things quickly and dirt forms on it.

posted by  stamar

I am not familiar with the older Saturns - does it have HEI with a distributor or DIS or C3I with the distributorless ingnition (coil packs and waste spark)

posted by  tbaxleyjr

DIS dude :screwy:

posted by  DodgeRida67

I thought so - Most GM cars was going to C3I and DIS in the late 1980s-early 1990s - I knew I smelled something funny earlier in the thread

posted by  tbaxleyjr

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