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Old 05-14-2008, 11:06 AM
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What am I missing here?

Problem definition: The car is my daily commuter - it is a 1989 Suzuki Sidekick (aka GMC Tracker, Chevy Tracker, Pontiac Sunrunner, or Asuna Sunrunner)

It is a SOHC, 1.6 liter (approx 100 Cu in), 5 spd, 4X4. Throttle body FI (single injector - after all its a small motor) Reliable as the sun, goes pretty good, will cruise all day 70 mph, gets really good gas mileage

Last fall, I had to run the li'l beast through the local smog-check in order to renew my license tabs. Up to that point, she was running like a brand new car!

So, in prep, I gave her an oil change (with filter - all synthetic oil, as usual)

I wrenched in a fresh set of platinum plugs - NGK, identical to what I took out

At the same time, I put in new plug wires, rotor & dist cap

I ran a can of FI cleaner through the system, then when that tank ran low, I fueled up with 10% ethanol gas (lowers combustion temps, reduces NOX outputs) and even added a quart of methyl hydrate to further reduce NOX, then took her through the smog station

My ol girl (which has 300,000 on her) passed with such a clean bill of health that, as a buddy of mine observed, "with readings like this, if you wanted to run it all day in a closed garage, it wouldn't even by possible to kill yourself!" (CO output was zero, at both idle and under load on the mandatory dyno portions of the tests)

When that tank of alky-mix ran through I refuelled at my usual station

AND she turned into a bag of (censored!)

It stumbles, it misses and drops cylinders at idle, it bogs, and generally acts stupid (lack of power etc) but fuel consumption is still unaffected, and highway speed driving is unaffected - still has good power at 70, can pass trucks when needed, etc

Hint: adding another can of FI cleaner makes her run good again, but as soon as I refuel without adding a can to the tank, she goes right back to frustrating me. And since FI cleaner is not real cheap, adding a can per fill-up is not a viable long-term solution

Another hint - after a prolonged highway run - for example when I go to work in the AM, she will run smooth & strong. Smooth idle at the first city traffic lite I come to. Second traffic light she'll start to run a bit rough. Third light, I have to keep the rpm up to keep from losing her. Acts like (in the old days when I drag-raced big block Chevelles)) she is "loading up" and needs to be cleared out prior to launch

hint # 3 - when cold, under the enriched settings, she runs good.

Now, my son has an identical car (with over 400,000 on it) which is running like a dream, so we began swapping parts between his & mine to see what might be the cause

So we swapped his injector with mine. No change. We put in a new fuel filter. No change

Pulled the New plugs, but the old ones back in. No change

Checked for vacuum leaks (Did not find any)

New air filter (no change)

Swapped my coil with his. No change

checked timing - spot on, as per the book

Pulled the wire off the O2 sensor, no change (The wire used to keep falling off before and never seemed to affect anything, anyway!)

She is not putting out any codes

ARRRRGGGGHHHH!

I am now "down for a bit" (recovery from surgery) so I have time to try and understand what she is trying to tell me, but so far she has not yet told me how to help - at least not in a way I can understand

HELP! Ideas, suggestions please!

What am I missing?

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 05-14-2008, 12:35 PM
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Sounds like an Ethenol hangover. Needs hair of the dog. LOL!!
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:48 PM
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Checked for a sticky EGR valve?

Maybe some boogers in it?

Looks like you spoiled it with the alcohol next step ...NITRO!


Soes it have a exhaust damper?





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Old 05-14-2008, 12:53 PM
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1. Check fuel pressure.

2. Pull the O'2 and take a picture and post it.

3. Check the coolant temp sensor.
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Old 05-14-2008, 02:00 PM
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bad gas from the station? Water in the tank may be hanging around, or if you got sediment from the station it could have clogged the filter.
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Old 05-14-2008, 02:44 PM
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RE: What am I missing here?

Sometimes the simplest things in life are overlooked.

Here's what I would do.
Disconnect battery to reset ECM. With the FI cleaner, it may have altered fuel/air to the engine to compensate for the FI cleaner. When cold, it's in open loop, ignoring the sensors till it's up to temperature or a specific time passes.

I'd try that before anything. Then start checking the obvious, fuel pressure regulator, plugged cat, fuel filter...

and after posting this and thinking a little more I added this...

I had a little Nissan 300zx that had a similar problem. Turned out the fuel pressure regulator would start drawing fuel into the vacuum lines AFTER it was driven for a while. Would only leak when it was warm.

Just my 2cents worth.

Last edited by sonicweb; 05-14-2008 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave57210
Problem definition: The car is my daily commuter - it is a 1989 Suzuki Sidekick (aka GMC Tracker, Chevy Tracker, Pontiac Sunrunner, or Asuna Sunrunner)

It is a SOHC, 1.6 liter (approx 100 Cu in), 5 spd, 4X4. Throttle body FI (single injector - after all its a small motor) Reliable as the sun, goes pretty good, will cruise all day 70 mph, gets really good gas mileage

Last fall, I had to run the li'l beast through the local smog-check in order to renew my license tabs. Up to that point, she was running like a brand new car!

So, in prep, I gave her an oil change (with filter - all synthetic oil, as usual)

I wrenched in a fresh set of platinum plugs - NGK, identical to what I took out

At the same time, I put in new plug wires, rotor & dist cap

I ran a can of FI cleaner through the system, then when that tank ran low, I fueled up with 10% ethanol gas (lowers combustion temps, reduces NOX outputs) and even added a quart of methyl hydrate to further reduce NOX, then took her through the smog station

My ol girl (which has 300,000 on her) passed with such a clean bill of health that, as a buddy of mine observed, "with readings like this, if you wanted to run it all day in a closed garage, it wouldn't even by possible to kill yourself!" (CO output was zero, at both idle and under load on the mandatory dyno portions of the tests)

When that tank of alky-mix ran through I refuelled at my usual station

AND she turned into a bag of (censored!)

It stumbles, it misses and drops cylinders at idle, it bogs, and generally acts stupid (lack of power etc) but fuel consumption is still unaffected, and highway speed driving is unaffected - still has good power at 70, can pass trucks when needed, etc

Hint: adding another can of FI cleaner makes her run good again, but as soon as I refuel without adding a can to the tank, she goes right back to frustrating me. And since FI cleaner is not real cheap, adding a can per fill-up is not a viable long-term solution

Another hint - after a prolonged highway run - for example when I go to work in the AM, she will run smooth & strong. Smooth idle at the first city traffic lite I come to. Second traffic light she'll start to run a bit rough. Third light, I have to keep the rpm up to keep from losing her. Acts like (in the old days when I drag-raced big block Chevelles)) she is "loading up" and needs to be cleared out prior to launch

hint # 3 - when cold, under the enriched settings, she runs good.

Now, my son has an identical car (with over 400,000 on it) which is running like a dream, so we began swapping parts between his & mine to see what might be the cause

So we swapped his injector with mine. No change. We put in a new fuel filter. No change

Pulled the New plugs, but the old ones back in. No change

Checked for vacuum leaks (Did not find any)

New air filter (no change)

Swapped my coil with his. No change

checked timing - spot on, as per the book

Pulled the wire off the O2 sensor, no change (The wire used to keep falling off before and never seemed to affect anything, anyway!)

She is not putting out any codes

ARRRRGGGGHHHH!

I am now "down for a bit" (recovery from surgery) so I have time to try and understand what she is trying to tell me, but so far she has not yet told me how to help - at least not in a way I can understand

HELP! Ideas, suggestions please!

What am I missing?
I'd look at a couple things, one is some of these OBD 1 systems have some learning capability, Ethanol in the fuel changes the O2 output which the computer is adjusting for, when switching back to a no alcohol fuel the computer needs time to relearn what the mixture needs to be with different O2 readings. Switching fuels back and forth isn't giving it a chance to catch up.

The second thing is alcohol allows water to go into solution which it can't do with gasoline. It there's water in the fuel tank, with gasohol it goes into solution, or at least some part of it depending upon the relative amounts of water and alcohol present. This solution of alcohol and water will mix with gasoline and flow thru the system into the engine. When straight gasoline is added, the water is forced out of solution and is getting picked up by the fuel pump and injected where it offers a no burn situation, the cylinder stumbles but since it has some gasoline in it the O2 sensor is reading that as a rich mixture and is cutting back on injector duty cycle to lean the engine out.

The other thing is methyl-hydrate is wicked stuff, it is incompatible with many of the synthetic materials used in gasoline fuel systems. There is no telling what damage that could do. If I didn't need it to prevent freezing of the fuel system because of water being present, I surely wouldn't use it.

Bogie
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Old 05-14-2008, 05:52 PM
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What Am I Missing Here?

I guess I should have noted that she has had about 20 tankfulls run through her since I did the smog-check tests last fall. Brand of gas does not make any difference.

I guess my thinking was/is along the lines of :
Since all I did was freshen up the ignition and run some fuel teatments through her, it sorta seems like a weird coincidence that it could be something else that happened at that time. By the way, she had also gotten a new Cat/Con about 6 months prior to the tests, after I ripped up the old one messing around in a field.

Ran great till I messed with it by trying for that extra "edge" going through the smogger tests.

It currently is running (if you can call it that!) on Esso/Exxon regular grade, but I have tried hi-octane, I have run Chevron, low-cost "budget no-name gas" and have used several different Esso and Chevron stations - all are high-volume stations that are unlikely to have stale gas. New fuel filter went in two weeks ago - just prior to my surgery.

I'll try the fuel pressure tests, and see if I can figure out which is the sensor for the coolant temperature.

My son is using mine to go to work right now, as we have removed so many pieces from his to try out in mine, and he reports that she is getting worse every day, not better. (Besides, until I am back on my feet, I won't be needing her!)

I figure I have about 2 years to go until retirement and I had sorta thought I'd just continue to use ol "Soozy" as my commuter and we could retire together (after being commuting partners for the last 7 years) - and besides - I'm a stubborn ol' cuss! However, I gotta say I am now seriously thinking of just "putting her out of her misery" and getting a "new" commuter since this is driving me nutz!
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:10 PM
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The reasoning of mine for pulling the O'2 sensor is it is very possible the cleaning procedure you did to clean her out prior to smog should have broken a lot of carbon loose in the cylinders and deposited it on the O'2 sensor, causing it to send too cold of a signal to the PCM making it lean it out too much. Since the O'2 is still sending a signal to the PCM, albeit wrong, it will not set a code, or turn on the check engine light.

If it is caked up with a lot of almost white carbon this is your problem. The O'2 can be cleaned using a propane torch turned up high to burn the built up carbon off.

It could be easier to just purchase a new one to replace it.
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:54 PM
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Like one of the other guys posted, I would disconnect the battery to for your computer to reboot with the default emissions settings. The strong alcohol influence may have affected things a bit.

Like the last guy posted, if you have not replaced the O2 sensor yet, get a new one. They are cheap & can cause your car to do wicked things, honest!

It sounds as if your car is running OK when it is running cold (Open loop) without the emissions hardware tweaking your settings, and when it goes into Closed Loop, the hurt begins. Reboot & give it a go, if nothing, then spend the $30 & get a new O2 sensor.
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:34 PM
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What am I missing Here?

OK - this weekend (its cold & rainy out there right now) I'll disconnect the battery and let her sit for a few min, then re-connect it, and I'll pull the O2 Sensor to see what we have there. I'll pop in a new one and try again. (actually, I'll have son do the physical work as I can't bend over a fender just yet - in fact I just got the staples pulled from my stomach area yesterday!)

I have to confess that I am a complete moron when it comes to electronically-controlled, computer-operated FI. Give me an ol' SBC with a carb and I might have a teeny clue (very teeny) but this little commuter "jeep-let" has me stumped. (and there is no way I would even touch the wife's Lexus!)

Thanks for the help - I'll post again when I've tried these things
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:40 PM
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I am sure your son will appreciate it, as he is the one driving it at the moment.
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:03 PM
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Almost the same thing happened to me. I did a tune up on my 96 Ranger 3.0 injected V-6 in preperation for a long trip. Changed the fuel and air filters, Spark plugs, wires and all that. It ran great! At the last minute I decided to run some Sea Foam cleaner down the intake. After that it ran like crap, missing bucking and hesitating. I pulled the plugs and checked them, they still looked new,so I put them back in. after weeks of pulling my hair out I changed the plugs again and it totally cleared up. The best I can figure out, the Sea Foam cleaner desolved something in the manifold or on the valves that somehow coated the spark plugs with something I could not see that caused the missfire. I'll bet the same thing happened to your O2 sensor. Now that I think about it, I probably should change mine as well.
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Old 05-25-2008, 11:44 PM
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What am I missing here - SOLVED!

Just a note to express my thanks to Carsavvycook, Sonicweb, Dencouch, and Wtatman for the advice and assistance.

I disconnected the battery, let things reset and it seemed to work! Then after about 10 or 15 miles, she started right back to being a b**** again.

So, working from cheapest to most expensive, I installed a new set of plugs. No change. So I pulled the O2 sensor, and yes it was partially covered in a white coating of some sort. So I disconnected the battery again, put in the new sensor, rehooked the battery, and BLISS!

Runs like a brand new car.

Smooth idle, pulls power throughout the entire RPM range (well, lets be realistic, how much power will a 1600 cc get anyway? But its a commuter, not my hotrod! )

I took a couple of shots of the O2 sensor, and as soon as I can find my cable to hook the camera to the computer, I'll post them for everyone to see.

Once again, thanks, guys! You Rock!
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Old 05-26-2008, 12:18 AM
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You are welcome.

I can't wait to see the pictures of your O'2 sensor. If they won't up-load email them to me.
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