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 FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information

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PostSubject: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:02 pm

Im replacing the O2 sensor near the manifold. I beleive there's 1 of these and the other is near the catalytic convertor. Is removing them a hard job ? Do I need to heat the sensor beforehand or spray it with Liquid Wrench?
I know I need to apply antiseize compound when installing the new one and to stay away from the Bosch brand.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:15 pm

They can be hard, or easy, depending. Do spray with penetrating lubricant 4 hours before removal. If it is still difficult, try heating up the exhaust.

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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:44 pm

you'll need a 7/8 wrench, my o2 socket wasn't long enough....it took me like 5 min to get that one off. spray with oil, cut the engine on(let run for like 10 min), spray more oil on it, grab sum gloves, and take it off. very easy....good luck
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PostSubject: Does my O2 sensor need replaced?   Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:29 am

Found some info on O2 sensors at www.MR2.com:

Oxygen Sensor Information

In response to several requests for more information about Oxygen (O2) sensors, perhaps the following information will help. Comment:
These procedures are only for self powered conventional sensors. Some very new cars are using a different style sensor that is powered. *Many* Oxygen sensors are replaced that are good to excellent. *Many* people don't know how to test them. They routinely last 50,000 or more miles, and if the engine is in good shape, can last the life of the car.

What does the O2 sensor do?

It is the primary measurement device for the fuel control computer in your car to know if the engine is too rich or too lean. The O2 sensor is active anytime it is hot enough, but the computer only uses this information in the closed loop mode. Closed loop is the operating mode where all engine control sensors including the Oxygen sensor are used to get best fuel economy, lowest emissions, and good power

Should the O2 sensor be replaced when the sensor light comes on in your car?

Probably not, but you should test it to make sure it is alive and well. This assumes that the light you see is simply an emissions service reminder light and not a failure light. A reminder light is triggered by a mileage event (20-40,000 miles usually) or something like 2000 key start cycles. EGR dash lights usually fall into the reminder category. Consult your owners manual, auto repair manual, dealer, or repair shop for help on what your light means.

How do I know if my O2 sensor may be bad?

If your car has lost several miles per gallon of fuel economy and the usual tune up steps do not improve it. This *is not* a pointer to O2 failure, it just brings up the possibility. Vacuum leaks and ignition problems are common fuel economy destroyers. As mentioned by others, the on board computer may also set one of several failure "codes". If the computer has issued a code pertaining to the O2 sensor, the sensor and it's wiring should be tested. Usually when the sensor is bad, the engine will show some loss of power, and will not seem to respond quickly.

What will damage my O2 sensor?

Home or professional auto repairs that have used silicone gasket sealer that is not specifically labeled "Oxygen sensor safe", "Sensor safe", or something similar, if used in an area that is connected to the crankcase. This includes valve covers, oil pan, or nearly any other gasket or seal that controls engine oil. Leaded fuel will ruin the O2 sensor in a short time. If a car is running rich over a long period, the sensor may become plugged up or even destroyed. Just shorting out the sensor output wire will not usually hurt the sensor. This simply grounds the output voltage to zero. Once the wiring is repaired, the circuit operates normally. Undercoating, antifreeze or oil on the *outside* surface of the sensor can kill it. See how does an Oxygen sensor work.

Will testing the O2 sensor hurt it?

Almost always, the answer is no. You must be careful to not *apply* voltage to the sensor, but measuring it's output voltage is not harmful. As noted by other posters, a cheap voltmeter will not be accurate, but will cause no damage. This is *not* true if you try to measure the resistance of the sensor. Resistance measurements send voltage into a circuit and check the amount returning.

How does an O2 sensor work?

An Oxygen sensor is a chemical generator. It is constantly making a comparison between the Oxygen inside the exhaust manifold and air outside the engine. If this comparison shows little or no Oxygen in the exhaust manifold, a voltage is generated. The output of the sensor is usually between 0 and 1.1 volts. All spark combustion engines need the proper air fuel ratio to operate correctly. For gasoline this is 14.7 parts of air to one part of fuel. When the engine has more fuel than needed, all available Oxygen is consumed in the cylinder and gasses leaving through the exhaust contain almost no Oxygen. This sends out a voltage greater than 0.45 volts. If the engine is running lean, all fuel is burned, and the extra Oxygen leaves the cylinder and flows into the exhaust. In this case, the sensor voltage goes lower than 0.45 volts. Usually the output range seen seen is 0.2 to 0.7 volts. The sensor does not begin to generate it's full output until it reaches about 600 degrees F. Prior to this time the sensor is not conductive. It is as if the circuit between the sensor and computer is not complete. The mid point is about 0.45 volts. This is neither rich nor lean. A fully warm O2 sensor *will not spend any time at 0.45 volts*. In many cars, the computer sends out a bias voltage of 0.45 through the O2 sensor wire. If the sensor is not warm, or if the circuit is not complete, the computer picks up a steady 0.45 volts. Since the computer knows this is an "illegal" value, it judges the sensor to not be ready. It remains in open loop operation, and uses all sensors except the O2 to determine fuel delivery. Any time an engine is operated in open loop, it runs somewhat rich and makes more exhaust emissions. This translates into lost power, poor fuel economy and air pollution. The O2 sensor is constantly in a state of transition between high and low voltage. Manfucturers call this crossing of the 0.45 volt mark O2 cross counts. The higher the number of O2 cross counts, the better the sensor and other parts of the computer control system are working. It is important to remember that the O2 sensor is comparing the amount of Oxygen inside and outside the engine. If the outside of the sensor should become blocked, or coated with oil, sound insulation, undercoating or antifreeze, (among other things), this comparison is not possible.

How can I test my O2 sensor?

They can be tested both in the car and out. If you have a high impedence volt meter, the procedure is fairly simple. It will help you to have some background on the way the sensor does it's job. Read how does an O2 sensor work first.

Testing O2 sensors that are installed:

The engine must first be fully warm. If you have a defective thermostat, this test may not be possible due to a minimum temperature required for closed loop operation. Attach the positive lead of a high impedence DC voltmeter to the Oxygen sensor output wire. This wire should remain attached to the computer. You will have to back probe the connection or use a jumper wire to get access. The negative lead should be attached to a good clean ground on the engine block or accessory bracket. Cheap voltmeters will not give accurate results because they load down the circuit and absorb the voltage that they are attempting to measure. A acceptable value is 1,000,000 ohms/volt or more on the DC voltage. Most (if not all) digital voltmeters meet this need. Few (if any) non-powered analog (needle style) voltmeters do. Check the specs for your meter to find out. Set your meter to look for 1 volt DC. Many late model cars use a heated O2 sensor. These have either two or three wires instead of one. Heated sensors will have 12 volts on one lead, ground on the other, and the sensor signal on the third. If you have two or three wires, use a 15 or higher volt scale on the meter until you know which is the sensor output wire. When you turn the key on, do not start the engine. You should see a change in voltage on the meter in most late model cars. If not, check your connections. Next, check your leads to make sure you won't wrap up any wires in the belts, etc. then start the engine. You should run the engine above 2000 rpm for two minutes to warm the O2 sensor and try to get into closed loop. Closed loop operation is indicated by the sensor showing several cross counts per second. It may help to rev the engine between idle and about 3000 rpm several times. The computer recognizes the sensor as hot and active once there are several cross counts. You are looking for voltage to go above and below 0.45 volts. If you see less than 0.2 and more than 0.7 volts and the value changes rapidly, you are through, your sensor is good. If not, is it steady high (> 0.45) near 0.45 or steady low (< 0.45). If the voltage is near the middle, you may not be hot yet. Run the engine above 2000 rpm again. If the reading is steady low, add richness by partially closing the choke or adding some propane through the air intake. Be very careful if you work with any extra gasoline, you can easily be burned or have an explosion. If the voltage now rises above 0.7 to 0.9, and you can change it at will by changing the extra fuel, the O2 sensor is usually good. If the voltage is steady high, create a vacuum leak. Try pulling the PCV valve out of it's hose and letting air enter. You can also use the power brake vacuum supply hose. If this drives the voltage to 0.2 to 0.3 or less and you can control it at will by opening and closing the vacuum leak, the sensor is usually good. If you are not able to make a change either way, stop the engine, unhook the sensor wire from the computer harness, and reattach your voltmeter to the sensor output wire. Repeat the rich and lean steps. If you can't get the sensor voltage to change, and you have a good sensor and ground connection, try heating it once more. Repeat the rich and lean steps. If still no voltage or fixed voltage, you have a bad sensor. If you are not getting a voltage and the car has been running rich lately, the sensor may be carbon fouled. It is sometimes possible to clean a sensor in the car. Do this by unplugging the sensor harness, warming up the engine, and creating a lean condition at about 2000 rpm for 1 or 2 minutes. Create a big enough vacuum leak so that the engine begins to slow down. The extra heat will clean it off if possible. If not, it was dead anyway, no loss. In either case, fix the cause of the rich mixture and retest. If you don't, the new sensor will fail.

Testing O2 sensors on the workbench:

Use a high impedance DC voltmeter as above. Clamp the sensor in a vice, or use a plier or vice-grip to hold it. Clamp your negative voltmeter lead to the case, and the positive to the output wire. Use a propane torch set to high and the inner blue flame tip to heat the fluted or perforated area of the sensor. You should see a DC voltage of at least 0.6 within 20 seconds. If not, most likely cause is open circuit internally or lead fouling. If OK so far, remove from flame. You should see a drop to under 0.1 volt within 4 seconds. If not likely silicone fouled. If still OK, heat for two full minutes and watch for drops in voltage. Sometimes, the internal connections will open up under heat. This is the same a loose wire and is a failure. If the sensor is OK at this point, and will switch from high to low quickly as you move the flame, the sensor is good. Bear in mind that good or bad is relative, with port fuel injection needing faster information than carbureted systems. ANY O2 sensor that will generate 0.9 volts or more when heated, show 0.1 volts or less within one second of flame removal, AND pass the two minute heat test is good regardless of age. When replacing a sensor, don't miss the opportunity to use the test above on the replacement. This will calibrate your evaluation skills and save you money in the future. There is almost always *no* benefit in replacing an oxygen sensor that will pass the test in the first line of this paragraph.

Rick Kirchhof Austin, Texas

Link: http://www.mr2.com/TEXT/O2_Sensor.html

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'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180º t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
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EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:25 pm

'96reese wrote:
you'll need a 7/8 wrench, my o2 socket wasn't long enough....it took me like 5 min to get that one off. spray with oil, cut the engine on(let run for like 10 min), spray more oil on it, grab sum gloves, and take it off. very easy....good luck
I hope it is this easy! thumbsup
This is my next project on the Riv I just bought. I have already gotten the sensor just not sure I’ll be able to get to it this weekend. The dealership had told the guy I bought it from that he needed a catalytic converter, it does seem kind of loud, kind of like it has been punched out or something? I had the codes read and they came up with: Bank 1, P0420, Catalytic System problem? It seemed kind of strange sounding so I got another opinion, and that guy said the same thing, the O2 sensor in front of the catalytic converter, so I am going to do it as soon as I can. Hopefully it will turn off the SES light and help with the gas mileage. My first tank full I got just under 21 MPG and over half of it was highway miles, I need to get it up where my other Rivs are?!? cheers
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:47 pm

the rear sensor doesnt effect gas mileage. it doesnt comand anything, only whether or not you pass emissions.

i am getting a new upper 02 installed soon too. i plan on getting the DENSO sensor from rockauto for $34. is the delco one better/worse for $10 more?
are they all heated regardless of brand?

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PostSubject: o2 sensor question   Thu May 08, 2008 11:04 am

so a quick question about the o2 sensor in my 95 riv(114,000M)...
When i hook up the scan tool and run the car, the section for o2 RICH/LEAN seems to shift between lean and rich like twice a second nonstop. The actual numbers for the o2 shifts from 100 to 700 in the same rapidness. o2 sensor going?gone? i think this is not normal? I'm pretty sure that its the origional o2 sensor. There are no engine codes short of the infrequent EGR pintle one that popps up now and then and goes away for a month with a re-clean. should I replace the o2?

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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Thu May 08, 2008 11:25 am

The behavior you describe is normal for an O2 during idle and cruise, although I'd guess it should go higher than 700. 900 at least. At WOT, the O2 should read steady anywhere from 920-940 if the air/fuel mix is correct.

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'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180º t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Thu May 08, 2008 12:01 pm

ok, thanks, I was just wondering it it was normal. Ill give it a check sometime at WOT and see if its in expected numbers.

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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Thu May 08, 2008 1:28 pm

You described exactly the way an O2 sensor works. You can't digitally read an O2 sensor because of the quick fluctuations in voltage. Every exhaust pulse sends a little voltage spike. The PCM watches for "cross counts" or each time the voltage passes 450 or 500 mv. When you get into heavy throttle the cross-counts happen so fast the PCM can't even read them, it appears as a steady voltage (but isn't), which is why there is no fuel correction from the PCM at heavy throttle.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Thu May 08, 2008 2:20 pm

ah, ic. Cool! Learn something new everyday!

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PostSubject: O2 sensor general knowledge information   Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:24 am

I left out a very valuable piece of information that probably most of us take for granted in handling an Oxygen sensor, I was asked to point out where a sensor was on a buddy's car and left it to him to replace with some minimal instruction...it's a job most people can do HOWEVER...it's very important to "NEVER TOUCH THE SENSOR ELEMENT WITH YOUR FINGERS" it's not poison or anything but what happens is the oils in your skin are transferred onto the element and burn at a different temperature as the exhaust gasses pass by...this in turn burns the sensor out much faster than it normally would.

In his case a new $70 O2 sensor only lasted 3 weeks (must have handled it alot) so thinking the original code was incorrect he took it to the dealer and another one was installed at 3x the cost of the first one...i feel bad because I knew but forgot to tell him...Riv brothers take note.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:42 am

BKRIV wrote:
I left out a very valuable piece of information that probably most of us take for granted in handling an Oxygen sensor, I was asked to point out where a sensor was on a buddy's car and left it to him to replace with some minimal instruction...it's a job most people can do HOWEVER...it's very important to "NEVER TOUCH THE SENSOR ELEMENT WITH YOUR FINGERS" it's not poison or anything but what happens is the oils in your skin are transferred onto the element and burn at a different temperature as the exhaust gasses pass by...this in turn burns the sensor out much faster than it normally would.

In his case a new $70 O2 sensor only lasted 3 weeks (must have handled it alot) so thinking the original code was incorrect he took it to the dealer and another one was installed at 3x the cost of the first one...i feel bad because I knew but forgot to tell him...Riv brothers take note.

By the way if you accidentally touch the sucker you can clean it off with a paper towel moistened with dry gas (grain alcohol). Do not wet the sensor so much that alcohol goes in the openings. And be sure to put a little antiseize back on the threads if you should clean that off as part of getting your pawprints off the sensor...

Also be sure not to drop it.

If you want more here's a good post by Rich Kirchof on the MR2 site.

http://www.mr2.com/TEXT/O2_Sensor.html

And for you electronics hobbyists, another good post by Bob Blick (former HS electronics teacher, now an engineer with LaserLine. One can only wish more HS science teachers actually knew their stuff this well):

http://www.bobblick.com/techref/projects/o2sensor/o2sensor.html

"happy motoring..."

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PostSubject: O2 sensor   Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:38 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm in the market for an oxygen sensor and I'm aware that it's recommended to stay away from Bosch. I'm going for an AC Delco or Denso. My questions is, what are the reasons to stay away from the Bosch brand of an O2 sensor? Just curious because I never knew. Thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:44 pm

im curious too. i have a bosch in my 95 and ..it looks to be working..
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:27 pm

I've read of premature failures, but have no personal experience with them. I went with Denso a couple years ago, no problems so far.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:20 am

Denso O2's are E85 safe 8)
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:38 am

A lot of people have had issues with the Bosch sensors. That's the only reason.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:48 am

I've seen Bosch sensors go bad and toast the cat on a few L67s. It seems to be more of the norm that they don't work well on these cars. Denso seems to be the best.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:23 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone. I THOUGHT I had heard somewhere before that for wahtever reason they go bad sometimes on our engines, but I wanted more opinions. I'm convinced smile . I wonder WHY they tend to go bad on the 3800s though...
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:26 pm

maybe they fry more frequently on the 95's because there is only 1 as opposed to 2 on the later years? i don't know..could be. my legend with v6 had 2 and the Bosch sensors lasted for years...
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:29 pm

I don't think having 1 sensor instead of 2 would be a factor. Most of the complaints I've read pertained to newer model year vehicles.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:51 pm

I am a partsman by trade I sell bluestreak (standard), and Bosch O2 sensors all day long. No real legitimate reason to steer clear of Bosch aside from personal preference. Maybe a few people have experienced some issues with them but it depends on what they got. Both Bosch and Bluestreak offer a OE type, and a universal type maybe it was a universal type and the person had some wiring issues or difficulties? That said, I would recommend a Bluestreak over a bosch simply because most bosch items are done by drop ship (depending on the business) warranty is much better to deal with on a Bluestreak. Hope this helps.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information   Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:31 pm

Certainly does....I guess it does all roll down to personal experience in the end. Thanks for the info!
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PostSubject: omg..and the benefit of oem   Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:50 pm

my Bosch oxy took a dive on me yesterday and my tech buddy ran a (free) diagnostic with a tech 2 scanner. of course it showed a bad oxy and i said ill go get another Bosch.."what?' no he says, "get a ac-delco bite the bullet and be done with it!" OK man but they cost so much more? so what he sez "it was made for the car and don't fall for the Bosch hype!" OK.
so I'm at the gm dealer and the parts guy hands me a bill for $140 ! aghh..crap!what ya do just pull it out the oven or what? well i walked out there $140 poorer but i got a free riviera gm key fob thrown in for free.
let me tell anyone interested that oem makes a huge difference! night and day.
the car has not run this good since the day i picked her up from the gm lot.
go oem on the electronics..how can you go wrong!
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» Engine Warning Light - P0135 Oxygen Sensor Heater
» FAQ: O2 (Oxygen) Sensor Information
» 4AFE O2/Oxygen Sensor Location
» O2 Sensor location

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