Are exhaust leaks dangerous
Solstice - Can an exhaust leak cause (really bad) hesitation?
My solstice says hello everyone. Keep going.
I've had some very difficult beginnings in the last month. I hadn't had time to really look at it until a few days ago when I noticed the downstream O2 sensor harness was cut. I'm assuming it is some kind of street garbage, although I'm not sure how.
Yesterday I swapped out the sensor and harness connector (which were melted while hanging freely next to the turbo / exhaust manifold) and lo and behold, my CEL is gone and the car starts much smoother, if not perfect.
The other (possibly related) problem is that under WOT, the car hesitates to the point where it feels like fueling degradation. It is intermittent but common.
While changing the sensor, I noticed that the gasket between the turbo and the exhaust manifold was burned out. There is a gap of about 2 mm between the turbo flange and the manifold at one corner, and a piece of the seal protrudes.
I ordered a new gasket and plan to install it this weekend.
Can a large exhaust leak cause this type of hesitation? It hesitates, sways, sounds very bad and I have to lift and then gradually accelerate to get it to stop. No fun, a little dangerous the first time.
It may not be worth anything that this only started a few days ago before I changed the O2 sensor. I think the car was running fat before (makes sense since the control unit couldn't read anything from the downstream sensor), possibly messing up the connectors. Too many things to check! The result is the service manual, diagnostics section. : /
Update the 2nd.
Pulling out the battery for half an hour regarding: @ Paulster2's suggestion seems to have (so far) fixed the gross startup problem, but the strange hesitation with WOT is still there. I haven't tried the tape yet. I did notice, however, that my AFR meter reads around 10.0-10.2 when it happens, which is typical of this tune (although it seems a bit over the top to me). That leaves air and sparks. I'll be checking the plugs as they seem the most likely culprit.
So this is not what is commonly meant by a "boost leak" - a boost leak is on the compressor side of the turbocharger. Compressed air that was supposed to get into the engine leaks out before it gets there. What you have is an exhaust leak in front of the turbocharger.
Even so, I don't think your exhaust leak would cause the behavior you described (but it should still be fixed immediately). The reason I think is because I would expect the leak to potentially limit, but not fluctuate, the boost that can be achieved. Depending on the volume of the leak, it may have no effect at all - especially with WOT. I think you could confirm (or reject) this with a quick and dirty test with some duct tape. It doesn't even have to be heat-resistant tape, I think you can spot it before the tape burns off. Just wrap the joint tightly with several layers of duct tape and take it for a ride. That would either rule out the leak as the cause of the problem or prove me wrong.
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