88 Omni, Running issues, Need some advice.
Hi there! Ok so I'm a newb and this going to be a long question. I got this car off Craig's list about two weeks ago. It's an 88 non-turbo omni 2.2L with a/t. I know the forum is for turbos, but in my googling, I ran across the two previous owners that I guess we're on here with it, so I figured I'd start here! :). - tried to post the link the to car from the other two guys, but no links as a newb. It's the grey 88' omni GLS clone in Daytona, fl from December 2012. I guess the guy I bought it from wanted to swap in a turbo but then sold it a month later. Not sure why the guy I bought it from sold it so quick... Hmm. Didn't see the car referenced here til after purchase.
Anyway, the car is pretty clean, and seemed like it would be a reliable daily driver to get me out of my 14mpg jeep while paying almost $4/gal. I used to have an 86 horizon, I loved that car- so when I saw this for sale and in such super condition, yeah- I wanted it.
So- when I first got it, it had a rough idle and a stalling issue where if you took your foot of the gas when coasting to a stop, it's like it would bottom out rather than drop down to the 900+/- rpm it should, and stall. It would start right back up again though. So I figured, the car was reasonably priced, throw some cash at tracking that down, I'd have a good little car for around town. I still don't think it's a big issue- but I'm having trouble figuring out where to look.
First thing, I took it to a shop to get it all gone through as I didn't have time that week to mess with it. I must say, all the shops around here are bupkis when it comes to this car. Three different shops had it two days each, they didn't do anything but mess with the plug wires and clean the throttle body. Did you check the timing? No. Uh, sensors, vacuum? It sounded ok... Seriously, it's a complete joke. I got mad at the last shop for saying they fixed it with new plug wires it didn't need and they said- well how good do you expect an old car like that to run? So it seems, that because I'm female and the car is an omni- I can't get anyone to give it a serious check and am now on my own. Plus, the last place it got it from, did the plug wires without asking me, I now also have a stumble at idle in drive.
So- onto the issues. Currently, I have a rough idle while in gear, tach reads 850-900- not apparent in N or park. Have an intermittent stumble when in gear at idle where it will quickly drop 100-200rpm and pop back up. Sometimes it won't do it for a while other times its 5-6 times/min, still others it will do it once or twice then not. Not sure if its there at speed, if it is, its hardly noticeable. But I do get what feels like a kick down around 40mph/1900rpm- not sure if its just the trans at a shift point or related to this. Exhaust smells like its running rich. It stalls on idle return, like if you blip the gas real quick, or instances like accelerating on a u-turn then off the gas finishing the turn, or pulling into my driveway where I'll be accelerating then off the gas to pull in. Sometimes it doesn't stall and just bogs and catches itself.
I put yet another set of plug wires in to eliminate the possibly that that shop put in a bum set. Did the basic: cap, rotor, plugs, coil, checked for vacuum leaks best I could, new coolant temp sensor, pcv, air filter. Have an idle air valve and tps to put in tomorrow, gonna try to clean the egr. Car was running cold and discovered the thermostat is MIA. Also found that the rad. has a small visible leak, and so slight bubbling at the rad fluid. Had one shop let me use their temp gun and it was 190 degrees about warmed up, so no over heating. I really don't think it's the head gasket, but I have heard they are a common problem on these. No smoke, no water in oil, cylinder compression *should* have been checked according to shop #2 who said it was good (but I don't know if I trust them on that). Also not sure, but might being hearing a water pump bearing going. Lastly, my oil pressure when driving warmed up is 1.5 marks down from the large line on the gauge (not sure the range on the gauge?), it comes down to the middle at idle. Oil level is fine- but pressure seems high?
So, I'm not sure where else to start looking for those issues
Beyond that, it starts right up, doesn't seem to have any power loss other than the fact it's an inherently slow car, all the goodies work and I only found a couple eraser size rust spots that I'm fixing with rust bullet.
I HAVE NOT checked the timing because, well- I'm learning as I'm going and I'm not sure where the timing window is to point the light at! Haha.. So, as an aside, if someone could give me a quick timing check rundown and location for timing check? ::grin:: I haven't had a timing light out for over 12 years. I did briefly check that the belt is running toward the inside very slightly and has more slack in the front than the back.
Ok, sorry that was long! Thank you so much for any help!