P0133 error code - Pontiac G8 Forum: G8 Forums - G8Board.com
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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P0133 error code

I have an '09 G8 with 203,000 km on it. I've had it since new and it's been about the best car I've ever owned. Not a lot of problems with it. A couple things here and there and some regular wear-out items along the way.

I need to renew my license plate sticker soon (I am in Ontario) and need to also do what we call a Drive Clean test here. The program tries to keep the badly maintained cars off the road. Anything 7 years old to 25 years old needs the test every two years when you get your plate renewed.

I had an error code come up the other day and so grabbed an OBD2 code reader and checked it out. It was P0021. Some searching on the forum here told me it was something "cam shaft position sensor or solenoid" related. I had assumed it was O2 sensor related, but that's not the case. I reset the code and it has not come back (a few days now). I checked the oil level earlier today and it is fine and full. Eng mode says it is 28% on the oil life so I'll probably get it changed pretty soon anyway.

I checked the code reader again this morning to see if any other codes were lingering and I get one of P0133. This one I can't find an explanation for. It has not lit up my check engine light, but is in the background, so to speak. There isn't anything on a P0133 code on the forum here, and (here's the part that's not my favorite) the thread from years ago that apparently had a code list link in it doesn't work anymore and no one has circled back to repopulate it.

Anyone help me understand what this P0133 code means or have the complete list and can share?

EDIT: I meant to mention my car is a V6 and everything is stock, no mods of any kind.

"Could you describe the ruckus, sir?"

Last edited by DeLorean_G8; 08-04-2018 at 05:38 PM.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 05:59 PM
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With regards to PC0021, it may be the sensor if it is intermittent. Others may suggest the timing chain; which is common enough on sub 200k cars. I don't know a lot about the LY7 in that regard, but it has been an issue for some. I'll defer to others.

The PC0133 is noted as an O2 sensor switching problem. If your sensors are original to the car then you might as well replace all of them. No sense on replacing just one with a 200K+ Mile car. While there could be OTHER problems causing the code, I feel like it would be foolish to go that far when your sensors are probably just defective. Replace them (or have them replaced) and then clear he codes.

It would be helpful to have a scanner that can take some Mode 6 data and look at the sensor switching before and after. It would tell you right away that you fixed the problem.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 06:05 PM
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That P0133 fault is saying your Bank 1 (passenger side) upstream sensor is not cycling its voltage as fast as the ECM expects it to. Bank 2 (drivers side) uses the code P0153 for the same symptom on that side of the engine. Might be a code that is being held in memory for a while (until enough successful engine cycle have been completed). Could be that the sensor is starting to give up on its fast cycling voltage output. May need to replace *both* upstream sensors to restore the fast rate cycling that the ECM wants to see. Sort of like changing spark plugs due to time in service.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for the insight. My "mileage" (pardon the term) was in kilometres, at 203,000 km. This is around 126,000 miles. Would that change any of your assessment?

I have not done spark plugs nor any O2 sensors on the car since new. So they'd all be original. I've done brakes twice (rotors once), cabin and engine air filters, many engine oil and filter changes, a couple of door latches and sway bar end links on the front suspension. I drive the car year round, so that's 9 Canadian winters in those 203,000 km too. I did the main belt at the front of the engine a year or two ago from squeaking. I'm questioning my power steering fluid and/or system as it feels heavy sometimes. I've flushed out/changed out that power steering fluid, but no components or related equipment. A variety of lightbulbs on the car too. Oh, and some donkey took the front passenger corner of the car off in a Home Depot parking lot two years ago. Fender, hood, headlights, front bumper and one rim got fixed/repaired via insurance. $4,000 worth. Nothing noticeably wrong after the repairs, though the CarFax will show the damage if I go to sell it some day.

"Could you describe the ruckus, sir?"
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 08:31 PM
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From the peanut gallery I'd have to say your due for spark plugs.
I did mine at 145KMs. Was told they were the originals and still looked good despite there age.
If you do have to swap out the O2 sensor(s) go with OEM which I believe are Bosch.
There's many thread on here about after market O2 sensors not agreeing with our G8's.
Good luck....at least we don't have to pay for this stupid test anymore....
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 09:33 PM
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You did Say km..... I overlooked that.

Anywhoo, 126k is still a good bit of mileage on them, but perhaps not exactly a "must replace" mileage per se. Though, that is about typical for replacement.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 03:47 AM
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At 126,000 miles would recommend replacing the spark plugs and perhaps the upper intake manifold gasket. Typically, try to get between 75,000 and 100,000 miles of usage from a set of spark plugs before replacing. Be sure to change the oil well before it is indicated by the oil life monitor (olm), which (for me) translates to around 5,000 miles. In my very humble opinion, the oil cavities on the LY7 are too narrow and infrequent i.e. extended oil change intervals increase the likelihood of sludge formation which can lead to a whole slew of other problems. Regarding the P0133 code, installing a new set of oxygen sensors may or may not be a long-term solution. Bear in mind, carbon is a by-product of combustible engines and over time soot accumulation coats exhaust walls and the exposed portion the oxygen sensors. This film has the potential to trick/fool the computer by reporting properly functioning oxygen sensor(s) as defective (ask me how I know). Here, many people use a product called RXP to pass emissions testing which is essentially an engine de-carbonizer and emissions reducer. Lately, have been using One-N-Done by Gumout with good results and it claims to help pass emission testing as well. In both cases, use one full bottle per full tank and deplete the gasoline down to around 1/4 before refueling. Questions. What brand of gasoline do you typically use? How often (interval) and which oil (brand/weight/type) do you use for oil changes? The P0133 code could also be caused by a dirty mass airflow sensor (unlikely since the sensor has its own set of codes), a vacuum or exhaust manifold leak. Good luck.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 09:42 AM
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PONY MAN, One thing to note Ontario switched from the sniff test to a code reading test looking for bad CELs.
This bloody money grab is a pain in the *ss as CELs in some cases can flunk the car even if its not engine related.
My nephew had a trans CEL, no pass....cost him like $4K in trans work, he got gouged, to get a pass and the engine ran like a top no CELs at all.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 05:44 PM
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I will agree on the oil it should be changed out at 7 or 8000 kms which is almost 5000 miles. Being a higher mileage it would not hurt to change it at 6 or 7000 kms.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 10:35 PM
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BAS G8 that's crazy and presume vintage/classic automobiles aren't subjected to such tests since many of them (age dependent) don't have on board diagnostic ports. Are there other specific requirements for this type of vehicle?

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 11:22 PM
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Brand new cars are exempt for seven years then code tested every two years. Used to cost $35 now its free.
There are provisions for cars built before 1988, hot rods and cars plated Historic. However, they can be sent for testing as the discretion of any police officer if in his opinion they are polluting.
As far as I know its a visual test.
My son had a Duramax diesel, guy at drive clean stared at the exhaust pipe at idle for 90 seconds, no black smoke....no white smoke in 90 secs....PASS.
Don't know if its the same for rods and historic's unless they still have a couple of sniff locations still open.
If it does flunk you can get a conditional pass by spending $450, I think its $450 in repairs with a receipt.
Like I'm not pro-pollution or any thing like that but this is crap and was/is a money grab, whether or not it did clean up or improve the air could/will be debated for decades.
And it was not province wide only southern Ontario, northern Ontario was exempt from testing too boot.
I'm sure there's more....
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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Hey, I missed some replies, sorry about that. Long weekend here in Ontario.

No worries on the peanut gallery or anything else. I like hearing some ideas that aren't my own. Glad you mentioned the spark plugs and other stuff.

Ok... fuel I use is always the 87 octane regular. I don't tend to stick to one gas station or brand, maybe some of the major ones versus one-offs though. Esso, Pioneer, Petro-Canada. Those are the ones there are lots of in my area, so that's where I go. Most have the "up to 10% ethanol" blurb on the pump, so I'm at the mercy of that kind of blend.

I use the regular oil in the car, not synthetic. 5W30. And admittedly, I go past 5,000 miles in between changes. Not down to when the oil life monitor warns you (never actually seen that warning come on, but assume there is one <10%). Looking back at my notes, I last changed the oil in January (7 months ago) and about 9,000 km ago. Previous to that was about 8 months and 13,000 km, and 8 months and 11,000 km before that one.

Last time I got an oil change done, the shop put some kind of additive can in with the oil. This being the one that adds $20 to your bill and the one they profess is great and we always use it. They put it in before asking me, as I was also in getting the original error code I had looked at (ABS sensor back then). That irked me about not asking, so I've not gone back. I don't imagine the additive was awful, waste of money maybe, but it might have loosened something up. Not sure really.

You're right about the emissions program being mostly cash grab. And yea, it didn't apply to smaller communities north of the big cities. I guess their air is good enough as is? I don't know all the details about what happens if/when you get a fail or conditional pass. There's some kind of "spend a certain amount of money to show you tried to fix it" routine, so $450 could be it. If it's $4k, the car will be going bye-bye.

I'll get the oil changed this week, with regular 5W30 no additives (unless told otherwise?) and I'll also do the spark plugs. I haven't searched yet, but assume changing spark plugs on the V6 G8 is not too difficult? I do absolutely everything I can on my DeLorean (hobby and all), but rarely do much on my own on the G8. Not because I can't, I just never tried to much before. I don't have any tech manuals or shop manuals for the G8 like I do the DeLorean. Spark plugs shouldn't be too tough, assuming not too much has to come off the top of the engine to get to them? I see 2-packs of Bosch Iridium spark plugs for $20.99 at Canadian Tire. They look about like what the originals were, yes?

"Could you describe the ruckus, sir?"
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 10:22 AM
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Fuel, I stick to Shell or Esso in a pinch. My G seems to run like crap on any other brands....this may also be a mental issue....
Oil, I've only used Mobil 1 synthetic oil in my G typically changing at +/-7000KM.
Additives, NO.
Emissions, don't get me going again....
Spark plugs, you have to remove or raise the plenum to get at them which is a pain because one bolt at the rear is under the cowl. I took mine to the dealer because of my luck with this kinda stuff and wanted the car to run again....went with AC Delco's.
Where are you located?
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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I'm in Guelph.

Good call on understanding what needs to be removed to get to the spark plugs. I just watched a YouTube video of a guy explaining what has to come out. I'll have to go look at my own car to better visualize how that all goes down.

One limitation for me is that I can't get both my cars into the garage at the same time. So the DeLorean goes on the driveway if I need to work on the Pontiac. And the DeLorean is a circus for attention you just can't turn off. Annoying doesn't even begin to describe it. I don't know about any of the rest of you, but having an audience of curious onlookers when you're fumbling with something rusty or in a hard to reach spot or just something that is not going well is not something I'm a real big fan of. Hard to keep your cool or patience, for me anyway. I'd rather not bark at someone walking by that's gawking in ready to ask you about your car. Call it a bit of evolution that hasn't caught up to today's technology. No one is comfortable or enjoys being watched. It used to mean the ole saber tooth tiger was about to come eat you and your caveman family. And it still makes people anxious.

"Could you describe the ruckus, sir?"
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 01:27 PM
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10-4 I'm in Guelph daily on my courier run in thet 6N and Laird area.
Seen a couple of G8's in the area, there's a SBM on Hanlan Creek most days.
Talked to the owner, his problems seem to be suspension related.
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 01:38 PM
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The stock spark plugs in the G8 V6 are platinum AcDelco (41-990). Have tried a whole slew of oil additives and, in my very humble opinion, most of them are snake oil. However, was told about a crankcase cleaner produced a long time ago by GM Goodwrench and it actually works, but can only find it on "fleabay". Regarding gasoline. Try to stick with the same brand right down to the same gas station. If running low, will add just enough of a different brand only to finish refueling at the preferred station. Agree. When people stare it is both annoying and rude. However, will stare back in order to figure out what the heck they are staring at? LOL

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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Agree. When people stare it is both annoying and rude. However, will stare back in order to figure out what the heck they are staring at? LOL
Wow, that is exactly right. "It's rude to stare." Weren't we all taught that as kids? Like you're in some restaurant and staring at some dude a few tables over because something about him looks a little unusual, and your Mom snaps you back to attention with a "HEY, don't stare, it's rude!"

And I've never put 2 and 2 together with that for the DeLorean. So many people (the peanut gallery that is bothersome, lol) when I talk with them about how challenging the attention is with the DeLorean, shrug it off with a "you should have expected that... it comes with the territory" type comment. Like it's ok for this kind of thing. And I've had people follow me home and park in front of my house, walk up the driveway and into the garage to announce how they just stopped after following me home so they could see the car. Good grief. Maybe it's just me, but that ain't cool.

I sure hope the it's rude to stare lessons aren't lost on the current generation. And not by age either, like an era thing regardless of age. Maybe it's from how we all seem compelled to try and get noticed and attract attention like it's the most important thing in life. "Broadcast yourself" to borrow from the YouTube slogan. Another troubling sign that the world seems to be in the toilet.

"Could you describe the ruckus, sir?"
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-07-2018, 10:58 AM
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....well....so much for me giving advice....checked the archives, my oil has over 8k on it, that I can live with.
The fact its been in the engine for almost 14 months is in-excusable.
Parts Source has Mobil 1 Synthetic 5W30 in a 4.4 liter jug with a bonus 1 liter bottle on for $32.99 this week.
Brought two of em to remedy this situation.
Whadda maroon I am....
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-08-2018, 11:39 PM
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Heres a video of a quick run down on doing the plugs. I made the vid for another guy.
I use Iridium plugs in mine and they have been great, I drive mine pretty hard.

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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 08:15 PM
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https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4F...w?usp=drivesdk

Here's a link to the Manual for our cars. It lists all the Problem Codes. The PDF is around 600MB XD Huge amount of Detailed Information in there.
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