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Tim Basham
Tim Basham, ASE Certified Master Technician
Category: Chevy
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Experience:  30 years multi line tech ASE cert master tech ASE engine machinist, 9 years GM dealer exp.
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1987 Chevy: EGR valve..inop..the EGR control solenoid grounded..ECM

Customer Question

1987 Chevy Silverado with 5.7. EGR valve inop. How is the EGR control solenoid grounded through the ECM? The valve has 12.7 volts with key on on the Pink wire with black stripe. It also has 6 volts on the grey wire which should be ground. This is with the solenoid plugged in and key on. There is no vacume at the EGR no matter what the RPM. If the grey wire is grounded, the EGR solenoid activates and the valve opens.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Tim Basham replied 8 years ago.

Exhaust Gas Recirculation


The purpose of the EGR system is to control oxides of nitrogen which are formed during the peak combustion temperatures. The system feeds small amounts of exhaust gas back into the combustion chamber. Feeding back the exhaust gas lowers the combustion temperature which in turn lowers the oxides of nitrogen. If to much exhaust was reintroduced into the intake stream, combustion would not occur or would be inhibited. Symptoms of a open valve would be stalling after a cold start, engine stalls after deceleration, engine surging during a steady speed and rough idle. If the valve was always closed spark knock, engine overheating and possible emission test failure might occur.

The EGR valve is operated by engine vacuum and generally is open only when the engine is warm and is operating above the idle speed. There are three types of valve control systems used to control EGR valve operation in General Motors trucks; the positive exhaust backpressure type, the negative exhaust backpressure type and the ECM vacuum solenoid controlled type. The ECM controlled EGR system is generally found only on trucks built for use in California.

Both the negative and positive backpressure type valves use a thermal vacuum switch to prevent operation before the engine has warmed. The switch prevents vacuum from being applied to the valve when the engine coolant is cold. Both the negative and positive valves are designed to insure that the valve only operates above the engine idle speed and the amount the valve opens is not excessive. The choice of either a positive or negative backpressure valve is determined by measurement of the engine's normal backpressure output. Negative valves are used on engines with relatively low backpressure; positive valves are used on engines with relatively high backpressure. If the valve is to be tested or replaced, it is important to know the type of installed. To identify the type of valve used, look on the top side of the valve. A "P" will be stamped on the valve after the part number if the positive type is used or an "N" for a negative type valve.

The positive backpressure type valve has an internal vacuum bleed hole that is open when exhaust pressure is low. As exhaust backpressure builds, the bleed valve closes allowing engine vacuum to be applied to open the EGR valve. The negative backpressure type EGR valve has an internal bleed hole that is closed when there is low exhaust backpressure. Engine vacuum opens the EGR valve. When engine vacuum increases combined with negative backpressure the vacuum bleed hole opens and the EGR valve will close.

The ECM controlled EGR valve uses a solenoid valve to control the operation of the EGR valve. The ECM monitors the coolant temperature sensor signal and the throttle position sensor to determine when to operate the valve. Based on the coolant temperature and throttle position, the ECM will pulse the EGR vacuum solenoid on and off many times a second and varies the amount of "on" time to vary the amount of gas recirculated. Since the ECM determines when the system operates, the level of exhaust backpressure is not important and therefore the system can use a simple standard ported EGR valve.

On 6-cylinder engines, the EGR valve is located on the intake manifold adjacent to the carburetor. On small block V8 engines, the valve is located on the right rear side of the intake manifold adjacent to the rocker arm cover. Mark IV V8 EGR valves are located in the left front corner of the intake manifold in front of the carburetor.






Fig. 1: Non–ECM controlled EGR valve system







Fig. 2: ECM controlled EGR valve system


TESTING


Non–ECM Controlled EGR Valve


  1. Hold top of EGR valve and try to rotate. If the valve can be rotated, replace it.
  2. Apply parking brake and run engine at idle until it reaches normal operating temperature.
  3. Push up on underside of EGR valve diaphragm with engine idling. The engine rpm should drop if the system is working properly. If the engine rpm does not change, inspect and clean the EGR valve passages of deposits. If the valve is clean, the valve should be replaced.
  4. Increase engine speed to approximately 2000 rpm and note position of EGR valve. Allow the engine speed to drop back down to idle and note position of valve. If the EGR valve moves, the valve is assumed OK. If the valve does not move, go to the next Step.
  5. Disconnect the vacuum hose from the EGR valve and connect a vacuum gauge to the hose. Measure the vacuum as engine speed is increased to approximately 2000 rpm and then returns to idle. If 6 inches (20 kPa) or greater of vacuum is measured, replace the EGR valve.
  6. Check vacuum hoses for leaks or restrictions. If the hoses are OK, a defective thermal vacuum switch is the probable cause.

ECM Controlled EGR Valve


  1. If the light is on, the Engine Control Module (ECM) has detected a problem and this problem must be repaired before proceeding. Refer to "Diagnostic Trouble Codes" in this section for further information.
  2. Hold top of EGR valve and try to rotate. If the valve can be rotated, replace it.
  3. Apply parking brake and run engine at idle until it reaches normal operating temperature.
  4. Push up on underside of EGR valve diaphragm with the engine idling. The engine rpm should drop. If it does not, inspect and clean the EGR valve passages of deposits. If the valve is clean, the valve should be replaced.
  5. Increase engine speed to approximately 2000 rpm and note position of EGR valve. Allow the engine speed to drop back down to idle and note position of valve. If the EGR valve moves, the valve is assumed OK. If the valve does not move, go to the next Step.
  6. Disconnect the vacuum hoses from the EGR valve solenoid. With the engine running, check that the hose connected to the carburetor or throttle body has vacuum. Unclog or replace the vacuum hose if no evidence of vacuum is present.
  7. Bypass the solenoid valve by connecting the two hoses from the previous step together. Accelerate the engine a little while observing the EGR valve for movement. If the valve does not move at all, the hose or the EGR valve is defective, repair or replace as necessary.
  8. Connect a test light across the wire terminals of the EGR valve solenoid while the engine is running at idle and warm. If the light flickers faintly, the solenoid valve is faulty. If the test light does not light, repair the open wiring to the solenoid. If the light stays on steady and doesn't flicker, check the wiring for a short to ground.

    REMOVAL & INSTALLATION


    EGR Valve


    1. Remove the air cleaner.
    2. Disconnect the vacuum hose from the EGR valve.
    3. Remove two bolts from EGR valve. Remove valve and gasket from manifold.
    4. To install the EGR valve follow the procedure in reverse order. Be sure to replace the EGR valve gasket with a new gasket.

    EGR Vacuum Solenoid


    1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
    2. Remove the air cleaner.
    3. Disconnect the electrical connector and the two vacuum hoses.
    4. Remove nut at solenoid bracket.
    5. To install follow the procedure in the reverse order. Torque nut to 17 ft. lbs. (24 Nm).

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Reply to Tim Basham's Post: Unfortunately, we are aware of all the information here. We have tried all these steps prior to asking our question.
Expert:  Tim Basham replied 7 years ago.
be aware on some early systems Gm require speed sensor signal before operating egr system hook a test light up between wires of solenoid and test drive and see if you get a pulsing light. it should occur ussually between 1500 and 2000 rpm

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