1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice! - Turbo Dodge Forums : Turbo Dodge Forum for Turbo Mopars, Shelbys, Dodge Daytona, Dodge SRT-4, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Omni and more!

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post #1 of 10 Old 08-19-2019, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!

Hello fellow members, here is what I am dealing with which has me rather stumped and I am looking to see if one of your insightful brains might be able to point me in the right direction (and I'm sure some of you may point me to the nearest scrap yard).

I have a 1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Wagon 2.5L non-turbo, automatic – in overall great condition. Odo reads ~75K (probably 75,000 or 175,000 miles judging by the overall condition of the interior (gas pedal, brakes, steering wheel) and how many of the parts under hood seem to be original OE parts). I've owned this car for about a year now and currently I have driven it only last year because I am having a few things worked on.

The things in which I have replaced under-the-hood so far (to my memory) are as follows (no specific order):

-Heater control valve (non-OEM replacement) because of failure

-Thermostat (non-OEM replacement [Failsafe brand])

-Vacuum hoses checked and fixed (assumable)

-New Battery

-Plugs, wires, rotor, cap (about a year ˝ ago)

-Temperature sensor near thermostat (unsure the part)

-Radiator (non-OEM replacement [radiatorexpress(.)com]

-Head gasket (unsure the part) because leaking anti-freeze into cylinder(?)

Here are the current issues I am having:

The radiator cooling fan kicks on IMMEDIATELY when the car is turned on which prevents it from getting to an efficient operating temperature.

The car will turn over fairly well on a cold start but it has trouble turning over if turned off/on shortly after and a rough idle. (It takes me putting the gas pedal straight onto the floor while turning the key for it to turn over.)

Some other symptomatic things I've noticed:

Black smoke is sometimes seen out of the exhaust

Odd clicking sound coming from somewhere near timing belt area close to A/C condenser (which is inoperable & lacks belt)

Surging noticed slightly in the speedometer (no RPM gauge)

Catalytic converter has a “loose membrane” and rattles

Some codes being tossed: Code 21, 22, 52

I have read up online on various websites about some things that could be potential issues regarding some of the issues I have mentioned above. I do not know how these may apply to my vehicle specifically but I think they helped me ball park some things that might be of issue. Some of my findings led me to conclude the following as potential issues... pickup shutter wheel for contacts improperly working, worn/damaged timing belts, ignition coil, replacing temperature sending unit and wire resistance, clogged exhaust, fuel pump / fuel pressure, MAP sensor.
I know it might seem like I know what might be the issue but I could use a bit more direction as to if my findings are accurate to the issues I am seeing or if there are any other possibilities for what else could be happening. Or, what other things I should check in order to properly diagnose the issues I am facing. Please help me because I really have been putting good care into this car in hopes to get things in proper working order. Any help or guidance and advise is highly encouraged!!
Thank you!

PS: I may have neglected to mention some other things but if I remember I will add on to this ASAP.
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-19-2019, 10:30 AM
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Re: 1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!

Right now we are not going to concern ourselves with previous repairs, we are going to focus on the fault codes and then proceed from there if you are still having issues.

If the power loss/check engine light is illuminated then the car is in "failure/limp in" mode meaning that there is a "hard fault", when that happens the engine controller brings ignition timing to "base" and turns on the cooling fan for safety reasons.

You need to start by diagnosing and repairing the fault codes that are stored.
You always start with the lowest number code which may be causing the other codes, repair that, clear the codes, run the vehicle and see if the others come back.

On a 86 the engine controller is not very smart and "limp in mode" only allows the engine to barely run on basics to get to a repair facility.
As controllers evolved they got smarter and if the CEL came on (depending on the actual problem) you may not even notice a difference in running condition.

CODE 21 OXYGEN SENSOR CIRCUIT
Fault Code 21

Probably a bad O2 sensor, a non-heated, single wire O2 sensor has a life expectancy of about 50,000 miles but if t is contaminated by other chemicals such as coolant it may/will fail sooner.

CODE 22 COOLANT TEMP SENSOR CIRCUIT
The voltage from the CTS is high (open) or low (shorted).
Backprobe the CTS connector with backprobe pins (paper clips will work) and connect a digital voltmeter and see what the voltage is reading, if the voltage is not correct replace the CTS.
If it is correct at the connector then further diagnostics are needed.
1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!-backprobing-cts.jpg

1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!-cts-voltage-chart-2.jpg

CODE 52 RICH EXHAUST INDICATION
Code 52 means that the oxygen sensor voltage is latched above .450 volts (rich) and the controller fuel adjustments have failed to get the voltage to change.
This code is probably being caused by the code 21/code 22.

Depending on how rich you are running right now you may have to clean/replace the plugs again if they are fuel/carbon fouled and change the oil/filter again if the oil is fuel diluted, pull the dipstick and smell it, do you smell fuel?

The Cat may also be causing driveabilty issues if it is restricting exhaust flow, if you are still having issues after we diagnose and repair the fault codes then I would recommend replacing the cat as the next step.

Any questions/concerns/problems Please feel free to ask.
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-21-2019, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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wow thank you NAJ, seems like approaching these issues as a punch list is the path of least resistance.

I assume at this point I will need to replace plugs, probably best to do so after I do switch out the sensors so that the car isn't in "limp in mode"

also, regarding the temp sensor I am aware that there are two temp sensors so for this case which one assumably do you think is the problem. the one to the ECU or gauge.

I'm currently away from the vehicle until following the weekend but I'll try back probing when I truth to see what results occur.

I'll provide updates then.

also, any O2 sensor brands recommended or will they all pretty much accomplish the same thing. thanks
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-22-2019, 10:45 AM
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Re: 1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!

The Code 22 is being set due to a problem with the CTS for the engine controller, not the gauge, it is a two wire sensor located in the cylinder head behind the thermostat housing.
Be sure to actually check voltage as I posted above to be sure the sensor is actually the issue.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...067778&jsn=568



Over the years I have used SMP and Denso O2 sensors without issue, I have heard that NTK is also very good.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/...2)+sensor,5132

Once you know the vehicle is running properly and the power loss lamp is not illuminated then you should replace the plugs and change the oil/filter.
If the plugs are so fouled that they are preventing the vehicle from starting or making it run very poor you may have to change the plugs before.

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post #5 of 10 Old 08-23-2019, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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Suppose it wouldnt to do it simultaneously as i replace the o2 and temp sensor (if that comes out being the issue). as for the cat illnhave to wait honestly. right now im facing an issue with the car not passing inspection because the parking/emergency brake cable is not releasing properly. i believe the cables are corroded and hold the brakes a little so there is resistance when reversing and somewhat going forward initially. my mechanic suggests to replace the entire cable system yet finding the parts seems to be tricky and i assume its a laborious task. what are your thoughts? could there be another way to fix this without full replacement?

again thanks for the help. you seem to have a wealth of information and it is highly apprecaited
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-23-2019, 10:11 AM
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Re: 1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!

With a faulty Cat you will not pass inspection.
You can install a universal cat yourself.

Before I can honestly answer your brake question...
Are you able to or willing to do any of the brake work yourself?
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-23-2019, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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it was rejected for a few things but there was no mention on the cat. although I am willing to replace it when/if I can. Never done exhaust work as I am novice to mechanics work despite my willingness to learn and do so. I do not own a lift, so that may pose a challenge for the cat repairs and the cables for the parking brake. could it be accomplished with jacks? my assumption is probably not nor would it be ideal. thoughts?
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-23-2019, 11:57 AM
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Re: 1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!

I replaced my entire exhaust with the car on jack stands in a garage, doing the brakes and cables is the same, jack up the car high enough for you to get under and place jack stands under the rear axle and front frame if you have four.

I am assuming your vehicle has drum brakes.
1)Where the front and intermediate/rear cables meet there is a long threaded section with a nut, this is the adjustment for the parking brake.
Remove the nut and separate the cables.
(You may have to soak it with a Rust Penetrate such as PB Blaster and hold the cable with a pair of vise grips/pliers while loosening)
Depress the park brake pedal, does the front cable move freely?
2)Disconnect the intermediate cable from the rear cables.
Can you move the cable freely?
3)Remove the rear wheels and brake drums.
Attach a pair of vise grips to the end of one of the rear cables and pull on it, does it move freely and does the brake shoe move with it?
Repeat for the other side.
If any of the cables do not mover freely you will need to spray the cable casing liberally with a Rust Penetrate and attempt to move the cable back and forth, repeat until the cable moves freely.

If you cannot get the cable(s) to move freely all of cables are available.
You only need to know if you have 200 mm (7.87") or 220 mm (8.66") brakes (Measure the brake drum diameter) and the length of the intermediate cable.

Park Brake Cables
https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/...ake+cable,1696

Here is info from the 1990 FSM, your brake system will be similar to one of the two shown.
1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!-img_new.jpg

1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!-img_0001_new.jpg

1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!-img_0002_new.jpg

1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!-img_0003_new.jpg

1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!-img_0004_new.jpg

1986 Chrysler LeBaron T&C Issues hoping for advice!-img_0005_new.jpg

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post #9 of 10 Old 08-23-2019, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Hmmm.. this is what I was thinking could be a potential option. I think it is 50/50 so I'm willing to take that chance because to be fair I don't want to replace the whole system and the mechanic is having a hard time finding the parts.

I will have to buy a second pair of stands. how high is too high when I jack this puppy LOL I'm skinny but I've got long arms.

as for the brakes, I'm certain they are drum brakes for the rear. I have a trusty Haynes manual that will help guide me through disassembly. I assume I have to completely remove the drum brakes in order to loosen the rear cables? or is there a stopping point in which the cable will be removed/free play prior to complete removal of the drums, saving me time and headache.

do I need specialty tools? could it be tackled in a day by a novice?
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-23-2019, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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also I forgot to add, when back probing the CTS how do know the temperature of the engine, especially if the fan is constantly cooling everything. should I wait for operating temperature? seldom does she manage to reach it. but I just replaced the stat so maybe she'll reach temp now.
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