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Discussion Starter #1
Like the title says, ever since Ive owned the car (going on 6 months now) the engine has experienced ping/detonation when shifting to third during "spirited driving". If I'm in it hard and wind third past 4000 rpm or so and shift into third it does it for a second and clears right up. The car runs great otherwise so I have no clue what it could be. I have no warning lights on and I've tried using gas from the different stations in the area but it doesn't seem to matter. I always use 93 octane as well. If anyone has had this problem or has any ideas I would be happy to hear them. My car is bone stock to my knowledge. It may or may not have been tuned by the previous owner as I would have no way of telling. The boost has never gone above 17 or 18 lbs at full throttle so I doubt it. Any ideas would be welcome. Thanx
 

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Like the title says, ever since Ive owned the car (going on 6 months now) the engine has experienced ping/detonation when shifting to third during "spirited driving". If I'm in it hard and wind third past 4000 rpm or so and shift into third it does it for a second and clears right up. The car runs great otherwise so I have no clue what it could be. I have no warning lights on and I've tried using gas from the different stations in the area but it doesn't seem to matter. I always use 93 octane as well. If anyone has had this problem or has any ideas I would be happy to hear them. My car is bone stock to my knowledge. It may or may not have been tuned by the previous owner as I would have no way of telling. The boost has never gone above 17 or 18 lbs at full throttle so I doubt it. Any ideas would be welcome. Thanx
I won't be much help here other than to tell you that I believe we have the same situation, I've noticed what I think is the slightest ping at higher rpm with more "spirited" (get on the gas and get that boost going) driving, and it only lasts a second. Ours is an automatic, and it must be at a higher RPM to do this. However we've only had the car a month, so I need more time to really confirm this. I'd bet you are stock as well, no tune, since even the GMPP tune that is on our car allows me to get to about 21 pounds or so (have yet to actually floor it wide open the car is so new to us and so low mileage).
 

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A couple of thoughts

first, the ECM dials back the tune on the car when you cruise it for a period of time. It is very normal to experience a second or two of ping if you have been cruising for an extended period and then hit the throttle hard, as in passing another car. This happens so frequently that it is considered normal.

if you are driving the car at high throttle and RPMs and have been for a few minutes, it should have dialed itself back up to performance mode. In that case pinging is not desirable nor normal.

Extended pinging is death to these motors.

It is possible that a previous owner drove the car too conservatively or with insufficient octain rated fuel and as a result it has built up carbon in the head and / or on the valves. In that case, there are treatments that have been used with success that remove the carbon. They are described in a few threads on this forum. Basically you take your car to the tech, he inserts the special solvent into the combustion chamber, lets it sit for the proper period of time, then they burn the deposits out of the combustion chamber.

Pinging is neither normal nor good so have it looked at.
 

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I had the same problem a while ago. I have a stock Redline with the exception of a K&N drop-in air filter and the BSR Tune. When I gave my car the Seafoam treatment, I noticed a big difference. I now have very little if any audible knock.
 

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A couple of thoughts

first, the ECM dials back the tune on the car when you cruise it for a period of time. It is very normal to experience a second or two of ping if you have been cruising for an extended period and then hit the throttle hard, as in passing another car. This happens so frequently that it is considered normal.

if you are driving the car at high throttle and RPMs and have been for a few minutes, it should have dialed itself back up to performance mode. In that case pinging is not desirable nor normal.

Extended pinging is death to these motors.

It is possible that a previous owner drove the car too conservatively or with insufficient octain rated fuel and as a result it has built up carbon in the head and / or on the valves. In that case, there are treatments that have been used with success that remove the carbon. They are described in a few threads on this forum. Basically you take your car to the tech, he inserts the special solvent into the combustion chamber, lets it sit for the proper period of time, then they burn the deposits out of the combustion chamber.

Pinging is neither normal nor good so have it looked at.
This is what we are likely experiencing. It's so minor. The other issue I had not thought about is that the vehicle was driven at more or less sea level or so since it was a Georgia vehicle, and has been mildly driven here in Denver for only 315 miles at this point, no battery disconnect or whatever was done to reset the computer. and as you know Rob, we've got 91 octane here as our premium.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanx guys for the great input. Im not sure how the car was driven previously but I drive 15 miles one way to work and I live in the country and I drive aggressively partly because the roads are twisty and partly cuz Im occasionally late for work...lol. I dont beat the car but on more than one occasion I have wound it out. I would think by now that the computer would have adjusted to my driving style.

My concern is that I plan on getting the Trifecta budget tune and if this was to be a mechanical issue, that causes a lean condition, loading a more aggressive tune would worsen the problem and possibly damage my engine. I guess I will run some seafoam cleaner through my fuel system and see if that helps.
 

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Pinging is detonation. There is nothing normal about it. It's an engine killer. When you crank up the boost with a tune, you better throw more octane in it if the gas pump isn't getting the job done or lower the boost. 1 octane for every 1 pound of boost increase according to "TURBOCHARGERS" by Hugh MacInnes.
 

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I had ping problems under heavy pulls after the GMPP Tune kit was installed. If successive runs were made, the car would dial in the tune for WOT without ping, but it makes one nervous getting to that point.

Since then we've moved from an area that had 91 octane to our new home in Maryland with 93 octane. I've been running 93 octane since December 2011 and it's been ping-less under WOT since the octane boost.

Octane really does make a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well you are correct jeff detonation is unhealthy which is why I need to get to the bottom of it before I perform any mods. Would hate to put a hole in a piston on an engine with less than 40,000 miles on it. I would hate to think this is a common problem that everyone just tolerates or has accepted to be normal. If that were the case you'd think the factory would have done a better job of programming these cars or that the aftermarket tuners would have figured out a way to tune around this problem. Im sure if it is a common issue it would show in their datalogging. I think I need to do abit more experimenting to determine under what exact conditions this occurs cuz it seems to be a very isolated issue. I have not had any "audible" ping under any other condition than the hard shift to third.

Anyhow, I plan on checking my whole intake system for issues. I dont seem to have any leaking under boost and if I did, I would think the leaking would cause a rich condition not lean. So, it brings me back to my earlier idea that its a programming issue. I wish more would chime in so I could see just how common a problem this is. Also, I wonder if the cobalt guys have the same issue?

If all else fails I do have a Snow Performance stage 2 meth kit sitting in the closet. I guess I could toss that on and dial it in until the issue is gone. Instead of getting a mailorder tune maybe I should get it tuned on a dyno where I could datalog it while the problem is occurring. Oh well, I guess I will just have to figure it out before I can load an aftermarket tune.
 

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An air/fuel ratio gauge would be a good interior addition. More fuel delivery by upgrading the injectors for the extra air pumping in.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have an AEM wideband air/fuel ratio gauge I used in my last 2 boosted cars. Im not new to cars or boosted EFI cars. Been tuning EFI Mustangs for years. Also, I dont think the direct injection injectors need to be upgraded for the Trifecta tune.
 

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I would be willing to bet the previous owner grandma drove the car to much and you have carbon deposits on the the valves. Try running some seafoam through the intake and then after the treatment, go spank it good.

As Rob said: These cars will advance timing to get max efficiency during a long steady cruise situation. (I will experience this when I drive back to NE from CO, about a 5 hour drive) If I just cruise for the whole trip with no spirited driving, then upon arrival go WOT through the gears; it will ping the first time. After that, it is fine. So if you take a long cruise, it is best if you ease into the first couple WOTs after, to prevent the pinging. After that, it will be fine.

But what you are describing sounds more like a mechanical issue to me. And we have had a couple incidents of carbon build up on the valves causing this problem, as reported on the forums. And some folks have had success with doing a seafoam, or similar, treatment to get rid of the problem.
 

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Simplest thing to do is try some octane booster, Chevron makes a good one and drive it like you stole it. Sea Foam works.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanx fellas I planned on running a can of seafoam fuel system cleaner though her starting today. I'll try that and report back.

GS, what exactly do you mean by seafoam through the intake? Do you mean literally put it down my intake through a vacuum line or something or like I plan on doing by putting it in my gas tank?
 

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Thanx fellas I planned on running a can of seafoam fuel system cleaner though her starting today. I'll try that and report back.

GS, what exactly do you mean by seafoam through the intake? Do you mean literally put it down my intake through a vacuum line or something or like I plan on doing by putting it in my gas tank?
That's not how you decarbonize an engine. I'll give you a tip, do it in a well ventilated area and don't piss off the neighbors when you do it. I won't tell you how its done since you probably know more about fuel management and delivery than I do. Good luck with the pinging. Been going on for 6 months now, it'll eventually STOP.
 

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ChiTown,

After your cleaning you may want to consider the datalogged tune instead if you go with Trifecta. We can read fuel, knock etc. in the logs and see what all the parameters are when you knock. We could log your stock tune and check before loading the custom tune. If everything okay, we can adjust custom tune if necessary.
Of course, we can't fix a mechanical issue with tune and don't want to adjust to cover one up but we can at least have visibility as someone can with HPTuners. I don't believe a dyno is necessary or recommended to safely tune your car.
 

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GS, what exactly do you mean by seafoam through the intake? Do you mean literally put it down my intake through a vacuum line or something or like I plan on doing by putting it in my gas tank?

Do a search on the forum. If I remember correctly someone even posted a how-to-video. There are couple different ways to introduce directly into the intake. But be very careful, do some research first. And have someone helping you. Because you really need to keep RPMS up enough, while pouring in the seafoam, to prevent a stall and hydro-locking the engine. That would be very bad and potentially damage the engine.

Just running it through a tank of gas will probably not make much of a difference; if indeed you do have a carbon deposit problem on the valves bad enough to cause engine knock. But I have had great luck with other cars, running it though the gas; to clean up fuel systems and minor carbon deposits. (not bad enough to cause engine knock)
 

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There is a product called seafoam Aerosol.

It comes with a small red tube. There is a video on their website. Its easier to use, just undo the clamp on the throttle body elbow and insert the red tube. This was cleans the throttle body and the intake valves.

One thing that might be beneficial to you would be to reset the ECM by disconnecting the battery for 30 minutes and then let it learn your driving style.

You can do this on top of everything else
 
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