Car goes nuts, intermittently, under weird circumstances. - Pontiac Solstice Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Car goes nuts, intermittently, under weird circumstances.

(I admit that the post title is not the most informative.)

A little background information:

Recently, I installed the A/C delete belt and replaced the oil dipstick tube. Before, there was a horrible clacking sound coming from the engine bay, and I tracked it down to the A/C lines hitting the intake manifold. Looks like the shaft on the compressor is damaged, so I just took it out of the equation. (The compressor is still in the car, just not driven by a belt anymore.)

At the same time, I replaced the engine oil dipstick tube. I had the one from the Malibu (engine donor), but it wasn't the right shape, leaving the dipstick partially covered by the wiring harness. I put a Solstice dipstick tube in, bolted it to the intake manifold and moved on with my life. The dipstick tube is a slightly bigger than the one I removed, though, so I'm waiting for a new dipstick to arrive. (The current one doesn't fit snugly, it's just sitting in the tube.)

Now, the problem: the engine runs *perfectly*, for awhile. The other day, I drove the car around for half an hour without an issue. No CELs, no hesitation or weird sounds. Then, the "reduced engine power" light came on. And, of course, engine power was, in fact, reduced. Still no CEL.

I got the car home, pulled the negative battery cable to reset the computer, started it back up and everything was fine. The next day, I drove it for about half an hour before the problem started again. REALLY bad hesitation, couldn't keep an idle, etc. As long as I stayed out of boost, I was able to drive it, though.

Today, I started it up, and everything ran fine, until I hit the gas (in neutral in the drive way). It revved up fine, but when I lifted it tried to die, basically acting like it was having a seizure. The reduced engine power light came back on. This continued for a few seconds until I shut it off.

Still no CEL.

So, I'm running out of ideas. I suspect there is an issue with the throttle body. When running a compression test recently, I propped open the butterfly valve with a wrench. (In retrospect, this was not perhaps the greatest idea.) The valve seemed like it moved fine at the time, but I didn't spend a lot of time looking at it. If it was the TPS, I would expect a CEL, but those aren't guaranteed by any stretch.

One other thing: every now and then, the air hose connected to the turbo compressor works its way up (and has come off a few times). I have a BOV that's working correctly, though it has a heavier spring than "stock" as I was seeing the valve staying open at idle. Possibly related, but I'm not certain.

Suggestions? The car is an 06 with 55k miles, 8k on the engine, mods in my signature.

Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, GMPP cat-back, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , Stainless brake lines, slotted and drilled rotors, DDM braces, BR Racing coilovers, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, DDM oil catch can, Autometer boost, water and AFR gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-R HID headlights, GReddy Profec @ 13PSI, custom A-pillar gauge pod. Norm's 430 bumper, vented fenders


Currently on engine #4!

Last edited by raygun; 02-08-2017 at 01:56 PM.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 02:20 PM
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Have the diagnostic codes read. Even without the CEL you will find some historic data.

Also, "Reduced Engine Power" has been related to throttle plate position errors.

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnWR View Post
Have the diagnostic codes read. Even without the CEL you will find some historic data.

Also, "Reduced Engine Power" has been related to throttle plate position errors.
Okay. I'll dig the HPT out when I get a chance.

Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, GMPP cat-back, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , Stainless brake lines, slotted and drilled rotors, DDM braces, BR Racing coilovers, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, DDM oil catch can, Autometer boost, water and AFR gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-R HID headlights, GReddy Profec @ 13PSI, custom A-pillar gauge pod. Norm's 430 bumper, vented fenders


Currently on engine #4!
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnWR View Post
Also, "Reduced Engine Power" has been related to throttle plate position errors.
Could you elaborate on "throttle plate position errors?" Is that referring to the butterfly, or something else?

Fun first Google result: https://www.google.com/patents/US5967118

Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, GMPP cat-back, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , Stainless brake lines, slotted and drilled rotors, DDM braces, BR Racing coilovers, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, DDM oil catch can, Autometer boost, water and AFR gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-R HID headlights, GReddy Profec @ 13PSI, custom A-pillar gauge pod. Norm's 430 bumper, vented fenders


Currently on engine #4!
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 06:05 PM
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I'll say the most obvious, how's the battery?

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChopTop View Post
I'll say the most obvious, how's the battery?
I like "obvious" - the obvious things usually don't occur to me.

The battery itself is fine, BUT (and it's funny that you should ask) the negative terminal on the harness is a little messed up. I can't tighten it down securely, and sometimes it rotates a bit on the post and I have to move it to start the car, even though, visually, it seems to have good contact with the post.

Yeah, I know - a little redneck, but it hasn't been the highest priority. It's been that way for quite awhile, I just haven't gotten around to picking up a new terminal connector.

Could that be the problem? :/ (Pardon the silly questions - my brain is saturated with geometry and DirectX12 crap at the moment, writing a presentation for a conference at the end of the month. )

Usually, I only have to move it once and the car starts. Yesterday, though, it took five or six tries.

Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, GMPP cat-back, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , Stainless brake lines, slotted and drilled rotors, DDM braces, BR Racing coilovers, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, DDM oil catch can, Autometer boost, water and AFR gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-R HID headlights, GReddy Profec @ 13PSI, custom A-pillar gauge pod. Norm's 430 bumper, vented fenders


Currently on engine #4!

Last edited by raygun; 02-09-2017 at 12:31 PM.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 04:28 AM
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The cars are notorious for having issues with bad batteries. Fix the terminal and retest

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 05:16 AM
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I'm with Rob....fix the battery issue first.

On a neat sidenote: A feature of our ECM is that it stores ALL historical data. Everytime you've had a CEL, it's still in there, even if it's been "cleared", you just can't access it with an over-the-counter code reader. When I was first trying to figure out if I was tuned when I bought my car, a buddy that is an engineer at the proving grounds hooked his GM computer up to my ECM to pull my program part numbers (the ECM has 4 "Part numbers" that make up the tune within the ECM). When he hooked up his work computer, he was also able to see that my ECM had been flashed (tune adjusted) 6 times and that I had several CELs in history relating to the O2 sensor.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 05:59 AM
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Historically if there is any issue with the DC voltage supply the BCM and ECM have evidenced erratic behavior. You need to make sure that the voltage supply from the battery is clean and consistent to eliminate that as a potential problem.

The problems you are having could be a result of several different causes. It could be the throttle valve is sticking / dirty and causing erratic performance. It could be that one or both of the cam servos are failing and the cams are not responding as required. It is less likely but you could have an issue with the high pressure fuel pump. Check the oil for fuel contamination and verify that it is operating correctly.

Following down the path of fuel delivery you can check the in tank fuel pump to make sure its delivering fuel properly to the HPFP.

There have been instances where fuses have had connectivity issues that have caused strange and hard to diagnose issues. Some have had positive results from removing and reinserting fuses to re-establish good contact.

Good luck

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 10:15 AM
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Computers use "0" and "1". Ground = "0". If Ground <> "0" computer goes spastic.
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 10:26 AM
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I wouldn't rule anything out, and you should certainly fix anything that is obviously wrong, ie: the battery terminal.
I mentioned the throttle plate (AKA butterfly) because it is a known cause of this fault and because you said that you moved it with a wrench.

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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks to everyone for the input. I picked up replacement terminal connectors at lunch. It needed to be fixed, anyway, and isn't a bad place to start. This really feels like an electrical issue.

The battery is less than two years old. It looks fine. I really wish these things had a battery meter. Probably should've picked up one of those, as well - could just install it in the glove box.

While I'm replacing the terminals, I'll pull the LH intake stuff off and clean up the throttle body. I happen to have two more TBs and intake manifolds. They're inconveniently located about ~100 miles away, but, if this doesn't fix the problem, it's a straightforward task to swap them out. (Also, on a slightly related note, the easiest way to get at the starter in my experience.)

Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, GMPP cat-back, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , Stainless brake lines, slotted and drilled rotors, DDM braces, BR Racing coilovers, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, DDM oil catch can, Autometer boost, water and AFR gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-R HID headlights, GReddy Profec @ 13PSI, custom A-pillar gauge pod. Norm's 430 bumper, vented fenders


Currently on engine #4!
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickenwire View Post
Computers use "0" and "1". Ground = "0". If Ground <> "0" computer goes spastic.
Sure, but the system is grounded to the frame. You can completely disconnect the battery with the car running and it will happily keep going as it's running off of the alternator.

Of course, "ground' is a relative term - it's not actually 0V, just ~12V less than the input voltage. I could potentially see an issue with an intermittent negative battery cable connection, shifting ground and causing some high-frequency noise on the line. I could just put a low-pass filter over by the battery. (OR - and I know this sounds crazy - fix it.)

Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, GMPP cat-back, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , Stainless brake lines, slotted and drilled rotors, DDM braces, BR Racing coilovers, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, DDM oil catch can, Autometer boost, water and AFR gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-R HID headlights, GReddy Profec @ 13PSI, custom A-pillar gauge pod. Norm's 430 bumper, vented fenders


Currently on engine #4!
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 12:09 PM
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DDM Works sells a replacement A pillar trim piece that mounts two gauges. Many of us have installed them and like the functionality they provide. I have oil pressure, coolant temperature and voltage gauges.

Rob the Elder

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Green Dragon's chief mechanic
Carol's husband for 48 years

Secretary Rocky Mountain Solstice and Sky Club
Punisher's story
http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/f62/punisher-65168/
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob the elder View Post
DDM Works sells a replacement A pillar trim piece that mounts two gauges. Many of us have installed them and like the functionality they provide. I have oil pressure, coolant temperature and voltage gauges.
Yeah, but I just made that fancy single-pod A-pillar, then made a fiberglass version, then made another fiberglass version after I destroyed the first one getting it out of the mold.

I'm tempted to install a PC in place of the head unit, or one of those Pioneers that mirrors apps on your phone to the head unit. Run Torque or DashCommander or somesuch. I assume voltage is available via ODB-II port but, then again, trusting a voltage reading from the computer, which is itself subject to fluctuations in said voltage, seems a little... crazy. And overkill.

Thus, the glove box.

Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, GMPP cat-back, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , Stainless brake lines, slotted and drilled rotors, DDM braces, BR Racing coilovers, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, DDM oil catch can, Autometer boost, water and AFR gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-R HID headlights, GReddy Profec @ 13PSI, custom A-pillar gauge pod. Norm's 430 bumper, vented fenders


Currently on engine #4!

Last edited by raygun; 02-09-2017 at 12:38 PM.
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