Hard to start, acts like it's flooded. Also high engine idle--3,000 to 4,000 rpm


Asked by Mar 12, 2013 at 01:35 AM about the 2000 Saturn L-Series 4 Dr LS Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Have trouble starting half the time. When this occurs I have to hold accelerator down all the way as when an engine is flooded. When I come to a stop in gear it idles at very high rpm

17 Answers

your check engine light tells us what? Bad O2 sensor?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Your 2.2L I4 DOHC 16V FI Engine is designed to start by just turning key without you foot on gas petal.The ECM knows what to do. Same even of you have the higher end LSX with the 3.0L. That may be the problem right there, do not press the petal. If you must for it to start there is a fault in the ECM possibly, that could also explain the high idle, but that is one of many many possibilities, the O2 sensor just as Bob said, the list is too long to go through here

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

The O2 sensor is not a possibility. Engines start using the open loop which is a rich fuel mixture. After ten - thirty seconds, the O2 sensors come in when the ECU switches to closed loop operation. I would look for a vacuum leak which would lean out the starting mixture and cause high idle RPM. As David said, it could be many other things. It wouldn't hurt to get the engine codes read at the parts store.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Engine doesn't go into closed loop until both the engine hits an operating temp of about 160 and the O2 sensors have warmed up. Tenspeed is correct its not the O2 sensors.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Sounds like a vacuum leak. Flooded engine will idle rough not high.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

Thanks John. Good to see you again.

Really..welcome back

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Been working


I know the OP's problem has been solved, but I'll add a couple clarifications for the benefit of others who, like I've just done, stumble upon this thread after the fact: 1) A vacuum leak often DOES yield a high idle: in these cases, the leak prevents operation at normal idle speed, so the ECU compensates by increasing idle speed to whatever point is capable of maintaining a sufficiently smooth and sustainable A/F mix. 2) On many vehicles, the ECM will remember a bad 02 sensor reading such that the reading DOES effect engine operation right upon the very next ignition attempt -- not several seconds or more afterwards.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

sounds like OBD-II you're describin' there~

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I have a 2001 Saturn SL1 and it is very hard to start. When it is cold it starts right up but after the engine is warm it takes forever. Once it is running it seems to be running OK. I have changed the Fuel Filter, the Plugs, Plug wires and PVC Valve.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

Any other symptoms like check engine light, engine running rough, etc?


the service engine soon light come on momentarily. Also, when it starts it runs rough at first, the smoothe. I read another post that said the problem could be the ECTS... what do you think?


John, obviously I meant the service light comes on momentarily, (right after the engine starts) Sorry


Coolant temp sensor trends to make a warn engine idle rough all the time, it keeps the ecm in open loop using more fuel and causing the engine to idle rough on the rich mixture. It's a possibility that yours is bad. It also sounds like you may have a slow leaking injector. Child be a handful of things, get the codes scanned and see what comes up if anything.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Will do John, thank you.


Thanks everyone for all of your suggestions. Had my mechanic diagnose both the hard to start and racing idle problems yesterday and the solutiion was replacement of the engine coolant temp sensor. Works fine now. zylicz

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Your Answer


Looking for a Used L-Series in your area?

CarGurus has 444 nationwide L-Series listings starting at $1,995.


Saturn L-Series Experts

  • #1
    Ephram Rubin
  • #2
    Tom Demyan
  • #3
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Saturn S-Series
663 listings starting at $2,990
Used Ford Focus
740 Great Deals out of 52,632 listings starting at $1,000
Used Toyota Corolla
872 Great Deals out of 56,853 listings starting at $1,099
Used Pontiac Grand Prix
27 Great Deals out of 2,684 listings starting at $1,500
Used Ford F-150
2,243 Great Deals out of 179,993 listings starting at $1,300
Used Honda Accord
1,033 Great Deals out of 60,523 listings starting at $999
Used Nissan Altima
987 Great Deals out of 74,663 listings starting at $1,500
Used Toyota Camry
1,045 Great Deals out of 68,981 listings starting at $295
Used Chevrolet Silverado 1500
2,101 Great Deals out of 167,326 listings starting at $1,888

Used Cars For Sale

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.