How To Test The EGR Valve (1996 2.2L Beretta, Corsica And 1996, 1997, 1998 2.2L Cavalier, Pontiac Sunfire)

The electronic EGR valve on the 1996-1998 2.2L Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire (1996 2.2L Chevrolet Beretta and Corsica) isn't difficult to test.

Although a scan tool is a handy tool to have, you don't need it to troubleshoot the linear EGR valve.

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to test it with a few basic hand tools and a multimeter.

All of the test steps are explained step by step so you can easily and quickly determine if the linear EGR valve is good or bad.

En Español You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Probar La Válvula EGR (1996-1998 2.2L Beretta, Cavalier, Corsica, Sunfire) (at: autotecnico-online.com).

APPLIES TO: This tutorial applies to the following vehicles:

  • 2.2L Chevrolet Beretta: 1996.
  • 2.2L Chevrolet Cavalier: 1996, 1997, 1998.
  • 2.2L Chevrolet Corsica: 1996.
  • 2.2L Pontiac Sunfire: 1996, 1997, 1998.

Symptoms Of A Bad EGR Valve

Depending on the EGR system failure your vehicle experiences, the engine will suffer an engine performance problem or nothing.

Don't get me wrong, even if the EGR system failure doesn't cause an engine performance problem, the engine will pollute more (and that's not good).

Regardless of whether you see or don't see an engine performance problem, the fuel injection computer will illuminate the check engine light and set an EGR system diagnostic trouble code.

You'll see one of the following codes registered in the computer's memory:

  • P0401 EGR System Flow Insufficient.
  • P1406 EGR Valve Pintle Position.

You may also see one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Rough idle.
  • Really bad gas mileage.
  • Lack of power as you accelerate the vehicle down the road.
  • Vehicle seems to run OK above 30 miles and hour but once you come to an idle, the engine barely stays running.
  • Vehicle runs great, just the annoying check engine light is on with one of the above diagnostic trouble codes stored in the PCM's memory.

EGR Valve Connector Circuits

You've probably already noticed that the EGR valve connector has five wires coming out of it.

In the following table, you'll find a brief description of what each one does:

Wire Color Description
A Grey (GRY) EGR Valve Control (Beretta/Corsica Only)
A Grey (GRY) Chassis Ground (Cavalier/Sunfire Only)
B Black (BLK) Sensor Ground
C Brown (BRN) EGR Pintle Position Signal
D Grey (GRY) 5 Volts
E Pink (PNK) 12 Volts (Beretta/Corsica Only)
E Pink (PNK) EGR Valve Control (Cavalier/Sunfire Only)

Where To Buy The EGR Valve And Save

The following links will help you to comparison shop for the EGR valve of known automotive brands (no knock-off EGR valves):

Not sure if the above linear EGR valve fits your particular vehicle? Don't worry, once you get to the site they'll make sure it fits by asking you the specifics of your particular vehicle. If it doesn't fit, they'll find you the right one.

TEST 1: EGR Pintle Position Signal Test

EGR Pintle Position Signal Test. How To Test The EGR Valve (1996 2.2L Beretta, Corsica And 1996, 1997, 1998 2.2L Cavalier, Pontiac Sunfire)

The linear EGR valve comes equipped with a pintle position sensor.

This sensor informs the fuel injection computer of the position of the pintle (as the computer commands it to open or close).

When the EGR valve's pintle is closed, the pintle position sensor reports a voltage value between 0.6 to 0.9 Volts DC.

So for your first test, I'm going to ask you to verify that the pintle position voltage signal is within this range.

IMPORTANT: To perform this test, the EGR valve must remain connected to its pigtail connector. To access the signal within the wire, you'll need to back probe the connector or use a wiring piercing probe on the wire. You can see an example of this tool here: Wire Piercing Probe.

These are the test steps:

  1. 1

    Place your multimeter in Volts DC mode.

  2. 2

    Connect the red multimeter test lead to the brown (BRN) wire.

    The BRN wire connects to the terminal with the letter C.

    NOTE: The EGR valve must remain connected to its pigtail connector to read the pintle position voltage signal.

  3. 3

    Connect the black multimeter test lead to battery negative (-) terminal.

  4. 4

    Turn the key to the ON position but don't crank or start the engine.

  5. 5

    Your multimeter should display a voltage reading between 0.6 to 0.9 Volts DC.

Let's interpret your test results:

CASE 1: The multimeter registered 0.6 to 0.9 Volts DC. This is the correct and expected test result and it tells you that the EGR valve pintle is in the correct position (not stuck open).

Your next step is to go to: TEST 2: EGR Pintle Position Sensor Performance Test.

CASE 2: The multimeter displayed a DC voltage above 0.9 Volts. This test result usually indicates the pintle is stuck open.

To investigate this further, go to: TEST 8: Checking For Carbon Build Up.

CASE 3: The multimeter DID NOT display any voltage or a very low voltage. This test result usually indicates that the EGR valve is bad.

To investigate this further, your next step is check the EGR valve pintle position sensor's performance. For this test go to: TEST 2: EGR Pintle Position Sensor Performance Test.

Chevrolet Vehicles:

  • Beretta 2.2L
    • 1996
  • Cavalier 2.2L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998
  • Corsica 2.2L
    • 1996

Pontiac Vehicles:

  • Sunfire 2.2L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998