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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after changing the front end (recessed grills, cosmetic only) this last weekend and replacing the turbo side charge pipe (not ready for the whole new sensor upgrade just yet) took the car for an hour long drive and it performed flawlessly.
Washed her and let her sit Sunday then off to work Monday.
Gauge was down to a quarter tank so stopped at a new (to me) Shell gas station in Burbank a couple blocks from my office and filled with premium.
Didn’t notice anything on the way home.
The next morning was a rough idle at cold start (just replaced the evap solenoid - top drivers of the motor - a month ago so not that) and then she settled down.
Starting driving to work and about a mile later she started sputtering.
the sputter continued inconsistently (would run fine for a few minutes then revert back to supttering, rinse repeat) all the way to work.
Parked, let her cool down and checked for loose hoses, clamps etc. everything looked and felt perfect. Grabbed some Allen keys from the office and pulled the sensor on the remaining stock charge tube and reseated it.
Drove home later that day and no problems at first then back to the on again, off again sputter.
it seems to sputter at all temperatures.
It seems to sputter at load and with no load.
It seems to sputter at idle.
Again the above is inconsistent where it sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t.

got home and checked the codes and it showed misfires in all four cylinder. 0300-0304 and the always helpful 0000 code.

the only thing that changed from when it ran great and when the sputtering starting was filling the tank.

At home I pulled the sensor from the charge tube and cleaned it and also cleaned the electrical contacts on the plug that goes into it.
I was down a quarter tank from all the sputtering around and topped of with premium gas from my local Mobil that I trust. The problem went away about 90% but I could still “feel” it dancing on the edge of sputtering.


I think only one other time in my life did I have a “bad” tank of gas so I believe it is pretty rare.

I will pull the plugs and clean when I next have the time, until then she will sit quietly in my driveway. I can’t believe all four spark plugs can go bad simultaneously so..

Am I missing something?
How does one ascertain of gas is “bad”?

In the meantime I ordered some heet dry gas and some Techron but not sure what else I should do?

love to hear your opinions and experiences…
Thanks in advance for your input.
 

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when i suspect 'bad' gas i get the 'stuff' at walmart, it cures the problem, whatever it was, it always works so far

Bill
 

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I suggest you drain your tank and store the old gas in some kind of container, then fill up to the max at your trusted station. If the problem is gone you will have ascertained whther gas is the cause or not. I think it's the only sure way.
 

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Burning through a whole tank of bad gas can be seriously bad for the engine. Depends on how bad the gas is. Draining a tank is not fun but may be worth your while.
 

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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Burning through a whole tank of bad gas can be seriously bad for the engine. Depends on how bad the gas is. Draining a tank is not fun but may be worth your while.
Was afraid someone would say that.
Haven’t drained a tank since my late teens.
Needless to say that experience didn’t “go well”.
Back then it was leaded gas so maybe that explains some things about my ga-g-g good brain.
;)
 

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I think the most likely problem with the gas is/was water. It could be some sort of "dirt", but that would clog the filter and would not be likely to go away on its own. Since water sinks to the bottom of the tank, and the pump also draws from the bottom, you have likely already cleaned most of it out.

i would let the car sit for at least a day, then disconnect the fuel line from the in-tank pump, and pump a gallon or two from the tank. Let that fuel settle for a day and see what separates out of it.

The service manual recommended method for draining the tank is to use the in-tank pump.
 

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The service manual recommended method for draining the tank is to use the in-tank pump.
Now this doesn't sound that bad, difficult or messy. Maybe only time-consuming. Storing the gas for a while then checking for decantation is a good way to check for water (and other liquids that are immiscible into gasoline) content.

But, if it was me? Better safe than sorry. Would just drain all of it (or all I could) and refill with a good trusted fuel and maybe adding a cleaning additive too.
 

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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think the most likely problem with the gas is/was water. It could be some sort of "dirt", but that would clog the filter and would not be likely to go away on its own. Since water sinks to the bottom of the tank, and the pump also draws from the bottom, you have likely already cleaned most of it out.
Ahh this would explain it not acting up until the next morning, once the crap in the gas had a chance to settle to the bottom overnight and then right into the motor the next morning.
Boo!

pS> To “use the in-tank pump to drain” it, I assume I would disconnect the fuel somewhere at the motor and grab a bucket?
I don’t have a lot of faith in the service manuals and I am at the airport at the moment, hopefully I can dig into them when I get back to better understand the details of what you are describing.

as far as “letting it sit” after pumping it out, I have only ever put gas in a designated red gas container. Is there something to look for as it settles?
I will see if I can find some Google images later just curious
 

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Now this doesn't sound that bad, difficult or messy. Maybe only time-consuming. Storing the gas for a while then checking for decantation is a good way to check for water (and other liquids that are immiscible into gasoline) content.

But, if it was me? Better safe than sorry. Would just drain all of it (or all I could) and refill with a good trusted fuel and maybe adding a cleaning additive too.
There is the small matter of 8 gallons or so of gasoline to dispose of, but I can't fault you for wanting to be as safe as possible.

Ahh this would explain it not acting up until the next morning, once the crap in the gas had a chance to settle to the bottom overnight and then right into the motor the next morning.
Boo!

pS> To “use the in-tank pump to drain” it, I assume I would disconnect the fuel somewhere at the motor and grab a bucket?
I don’t have a lot of faith in the service manuals and I am at the airport at the moment, hopefully I can dig into them when I get back to better understand the details of what you are describing.

as far as “letting it sit” after pumping it out, I have only ever put gas in a designated red gas container. Is there something to look for as it settles?
I will see if I can find some Google images later just curious
Yes, disconnecting the line going into the HPFP is probably the recommended thing, but I would have to read the manual to be sure since I have only seen that in passing.
I have found the manuals to be pretty good, and while the procedure outlined isn't always the easiest possible one, I have not known of it to be wrong.

I have a 1-liter glass beaker that i would use, but a glass container of any kind would allow you to see the stratification if there is any. Of course where you live that is likely to get you arrested.
 

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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
There is the small matter of 8 gallons or so of gasoline to dispose of, but I can't fault you for wanting to be as safe as possible.



Yes, disconnecting the line going into the HPFP is probably the recommended thing, but I would have to read the manual to be sure since I have only seen that in passing.
I have found the manuals to be pretty good, and while the procedure outlined isn't always the easiest possible one, I have not known of it to be wrong.

I have a 1-liter glass beaker that i would use, but a glass container of any kind would allow you to see the stratification if there is any. Of course where you live that is likely to get you arrested.
Yes, the horror of an open container of gasoline offends the sensibilities.
:)
(Sarcasm)
 

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The problem these days is gasoline doesn't last worth a crap. I used to be able to hold gasoline in containers over the winter months. can't do that anymore. 2 months tops and small engines won't run. With the kappa's being as fickle as they are I would imagine they wouldn't run well either. The best places to get gas are the ones that are the busiest. I know this usually means waiting in line but you know you will not end up with contaminates in the gas or stale gas.
 

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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The problem these days is gasoline doesn't last worth a crap. I used to be able to hold gasoline in containers over the winter months. can't do that anymore. 2 months tops and small engines won't run. With the kappa's being as fickle as they are I would imagine they wouldn't run well either. The best places to get gas are the ones that are the busiest. I know this usually means waiting in line but you know you will not end up with contaminates in the gas or stale gas.
That’s exactly the kind of place I went. Very busy. And a name brand place.
That being said I don’t know if it is the gas yet…
Just order a 1 liter beaker and will try what John mentioned because I really do want to know if that is the issue before I began the new turbo install..
 

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It could also be too high an alcohol content in the gasoline.

you can test that by filling a measured beaker to the 90ml mark with the gasoline and then putting in 10 ml worth of water. cap it and shake for 2 minutes. then open the cap to let the pressure vent and then cap and shake again for another 2 minutes. Set it down for 20 minutes and read the water/gasoline line. If there is 10% alcohol in the gasoline you should see 80% gasoline and 20% water.

It's not a high accuracy test but it will give you the general idea. IDK if they sell anything like E85 where you are. Here in Colorado there are stations that sell it and accidents do happen, if the filling truck operator put e-85 into the premium tank then you would have a high alcohol content which would explain the really high consumption. The ECM is going to do what it can to keep the engine running and in order for an engine to run on e85 it needs a higher volume of fuel then with gasoline.


I would not drive the vehicle if at all possible until you get the problem sorted out. Each time a cylinder misfires from improper detonation or not detonating at all that mean s you are getting raw fuel pushed into your exhaust. That is a catalyst killer, and seeing as how you live in Cali I am sure you don't want to have to buy a 1000.00 C.A.R.B. compliant catalyst.
 

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I always use a fuel stabilizer in my cars ,tractors ,mowers ,etc. Seafoam ,Stabil 360 are the two that I use and I don't have any issues . In the Solstice and Chevelle I add the stabilizer and 3/4 Sunoco race gas before I store them for the winter ,because of the makeup of race gas it can stay in the tank for years literally and not deteriorate
 

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from my experience bad gas is usually water in it.or filled with debris. I dont think you can sniff bad gass from a filling station that has been use since god zilla was a lizzard.for it to "go bad" thats a long term , not what you find at a filling station.but water and **** in the fuel can be found at a filling station. look at the fuel trucks. they have a 5 gallon bucket hanging under the discharge ports so they dont drip on the ground when conecting&disconnection. they bucket always stays there...down dirt roads everywhere it's swining in the breezzee..and when it get used the fuel thet drips/runs into it just gets dumoped into the filling station tanks. yup it sure does,Ive seen it many times and I adked a buddy of mine that drove those trucks for a living. he confirmed it.what else are they to do with the gas in the bucket, after all the filling station paid for it.and yes sometimes the bucket is quite nasty. the pumps have filters...that might get changed once is a few years...for millions of gallons of fuel. so.....it's amazing we dont have a lot more fuel related issues.
 

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... look at the fuel trucks. they have a 5 gallon bucket hanging under the discharge ports so they don't drip on the ground when conecting & disconnection...
Along these lines, never gas up at a station when you see a tanker truck onsite. When he starts filling those underground tanks he stirs up everything inside them. Best to go somewhere else; or comeback a few hours later once any particulates have had a chance to sink back to the bottom of the storage containers.
 

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I have found that fuel stabilizer doesn't work at all, or if it does it doesn't extend the life very long. Take a gallon of gasoline and put some stabilizer in it and set t aside for 6 months. after the 6 months is up open the can and give it a sniff, it will smell like turpentine and not gasoline. I used to be able to get rid of the stuff easily when it did that, I had an 82 Chevy S10 v6 that would burn almost anything you dumped in it. I wouldn't even dare try it in the Solstice and my MKZ I wouldn't do either. My MKS I can only dump 2 gallons in when the tank is almost full otherwise the car runs like crap.
 

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I had this same problem recently. My little car sputtered to a complete stop on a rural highway. I kept trying to start it but it wouldn't run. It'd sputter a few times then quit. I had it towed to the house. My son and I undid the fuel line at the motor and using a 2 liter pop bottle he caught the fuel as I cranked the motor. The first bottle was at least 2/3 water. After several bottles full, it was almost all gasoline that was caught in the bottle. We hooked the fuel line back up and I tried to start the car ... it fired right up. I drove it a few miles and the sputtering completely disappeared. Went to a gas station and filled it up. Haven't had an issue since.
 
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