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Stupid car. I appreciate any advice you guys can give me. Please refer to my earlier thread. I just started a new one to refer you guys to the old one. Actually, it has been in the last 8 months that the car has displayed intermittent symptoms of what feels like tranny slippage. However, it did not happen everyday. If you look at my previous posts, we agreed it was most likely electrical as the computer threw codes at random and the idle was funny at times. The idle and stumbling or loss of power seem related. Well, today the idle got real luggy and felt like the car was going to quit at times. Added to that, I had to drive through heavy horrible traffic through West LA to deliver paperwork. All this lugginess lead to unusual tranny shifting as I slammed the gas petal. Finally, the unthinkable. The car was idling real rough when the engine just turned off. I was stuck in heavy traffic. I turned on my emergency lights and restarted the car. No problem. But the car on accelerating had the same bogging down symptom where it felt like it was going to quit. I hit the gas petal whenever I felt that symptom as I think the car may have tried to quit on me more than once. I made it back to the office. Now, tommorrow I am going to try the auto electrician specialist. Gas mileage is decent between 21-27 mpg and almost everything has been replaced on this electrical gremlin. I hope that whatever is wrong can be fixed and the problem can be determined. Otherwise, I am going to have get another car and retire this baby. To be honest, I got ripped off $800 by a mechanic and have nothing but my credit card with which to pay for the repair. Unless the car is fixed for good tommorrow, I am going to have to start shopping. And, I am hoping to get this thing fixed for under $300. By the way, I am still planning to take auto class next month

Hi Wizard, here is a simple basic list of what is happening and what has been done

November 2006: Car passes emissions with no problems. Flying colors and said to run like new. It did when I got it.

December 2006: I start noticing that on startup, the car is spewing black soot from tailpipe in the morning with gray smoke. Never has idled smooth in the morning. Rough to lugging idle is developing during warm stops. Gas mileage still fair between 21-27mpg

January 2007: Symptoms are getting slowly and intermittently worse. Intermittent loss of power while driving with a mimicking of tranny slippage symptoms. Engine does not quit, just stumbles. This intermittent loss of power is still present almost a year later and now threatening to stall the car while driving.

February-March 2007: Car becomes an expensive experimental for two mechanics. Almost everything imaginable is replaced. One person banged on the gas tank to get it to restart in the morning. One mechanic says the computer module is installed incorrectly and looks corroded. Computer not replaced. It is only 5 years old. Finally, after $800 dollars of work and hoses replaced, I went to a strange mechanic where he cleaned the fuel system. Car started stalling out during idle. He replaced the fuel pump and set the IDLE higher than factory specs. It ran smooth for a few days with gas mileage near 30mpg at times, and then the same bad idle started all over again.

March-April 2007: Mysteriously, the car decides to stall out a few mornings on initial startups. I have to rev the petal to get it to stay running and a HUGE plume of black carbon comes out of the tailpipe and coats the concrete. I shirk it off as bad buildup from earlier and assume the car is okay. It is old, don't worry about it. This phenomenon has not happened since. Car still maintains steady between 21-27 mpg most of the time when warmed up. Car continues to give off a small area of black soot since.

March 2007: Check engine light immediately goes crazy a day after I have the fuel pump replaced. It burps out codes 31, 37, and 25. I ignore them. I have no money and thought this car had been tuned up. In fact, every sensor including oxygen sensors has been replaced, all hoses replaced, fuel pump replaced, gas mileage still good. What can be wrong, I am not going to worry about it.

March 2007 to present: Same symptoms as mentioned above continue indefinetly with little change. Last week, car took a turn for the worse. The gas mileage would be 18mpg one week and then 25 the next. I had EGR valve cleaned of carbon a few weeks ago, no improvement. After resetting the computer a month ago, check engine light codes 31, 37 return. Still here. 25 has nor returned. Check engine light has flashed on and off intermittently since March 2007.

November 2007: Intermittent loss of power becomes severe. Rough to stumbling lugging idle while stopped. Last two days the loss of power has become severe. Gas mileage still mostly over 20mpg. Car DIED on me while idling in heavy traffic. Engine just turned off. I was able to restart it in park, not in drive.

Long story short: From 2003 to 2006, this was a great car. It ran well with plenty of power. Oddly enough, it still has plenty of acceleration. 2007: This car has been POS. It has run well most of the time, but with some deep bad intermittent problem. Yet, it passed emissions well. In 2005, the EGR and catalytic converter clogged. Again, everything was replaced then, including the 02 sensor. It ran its best between 2005-2006 with absolutely no engine problems. It had 75000-85000 miles then. Now, it has 111,000 miles. Compression and power checked out very well earlier this year when tested. I put 60,000 miles on this car since I purchased it in 2003. It ran somewhat rich than until 2005.

Also, the engine on this car likes to shut off for no reason.
2005: Just before catalytic converter clogged, motor turned off. Took 20min to make it restart.
2007: Mechanic put a bad hall effect sensor in. Motor turned off 4-5 times. It took an 20mn each time or more to make motor restart.
It died yesterday. It was the first time that it died where it actually restarted immediately. Mabye the two previous times were related to something else and "fixed"

I have found a mechanic in Pasadena who works on the 82 Wagon of one of my club members. He even works on a couple 1980s K cars. I will see him Monday.

I don't know what made my stupid car a lemon. It would run well 99 percent of the time, and then just run rich again every 6-10 months. Yet, everything has been replaced on this machine. Every invoice back to 88 shows a tune-up every six months for this stupid electrical sensor hose stuff. There is something wrong here when I can't even get a well maintained car to run properly and reasonably. I will not junk this car because I like it. I will try to learn some basic auto stuff next month. However, if this car can't be fixed properly Monday, I am retiring it and getting something else. I"ll let it sit on the street and drive it just to car shows, if the stupid thing can make it. I guess Alan the K car is not such a good K car after all. Yes, I put in over $4500 in the last four years.
 

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I think your first problem is that the people you took the vehicle to are not familiar enough with these vehicles and how computer controlled systems operate so they throw parts at problems not actually knowing why they are doing it other than it has worked in the past and eventually they will get it right. There are a lot of them out there and in 30 years I have seen and worked with my share and have had my share of arguments with managers about how to go about diagnoising driveability concerns,they want to take your money and throw parts at it and get you in and out as quickly as possible and then sell you more stuff not even related to your problem and I want to correct the problem.When I went to work for Chrysler 13 years ago all of that stopped and now I can do my job.My son followed in my footsteps and works for Goodyear and they still throw parts at cars and when it does not fix it they give it to him and if he cannot figure it out I get a phone call and he always says the same thing" Hi Dad,I have a question"
except his questions are usually related to imports and Fords.
I do not think you have a lemon, I think your problem was never corrected.
You came to the right place if you want to get the problem corrected except that I probably cannot help you do that by Monday but you never know.
Do you have or have access to any tools at all such as a timing light, digital multi-meter and vacuum gauge
I am assuming this is a TBI car?
Your codes are ;
31 Purge Solenoid Circuit
37 Partial Throttle Unlock Solenoid(for the lockup torque converter)
Your first clue is the black smoke,does it only blow black smoke on startup in the morning or does it do this while you are driving and while the driveability concern is present?
The second clue is loss of power,these 2 symptom's may be related or they could be 2 seperate concerns.
These engines are not that difficult to diagnoise.You only need to follow an organized diagnostic sequence,strting with engine basics which will lead you to the cause,the biggest problem is I am in N.J. and you are in CA, so we have to do this via the internet which takes longer.If you would like to try to do this we are here to help,if you take your car on Monday and they tell you something and are not sure of what they tell you ask us,just be sure you ask how they arrived at the conclusion they did.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks NAJ. No, I don't have any tools. When I mentioned the smoke, it seems to only grow or be readily visible if I floor the gas petal on start-up. I really don't know if anything is visible from my tailpipe while I drive. Than all this black powdery soot comes out onto the pavement. The smoke looks gray and no black or blue. Someone told me a hose could have been misrouted causing the carbon blowback. But, I can't find the thread that told me that. Also, after going through this yearlong fiasco, I blamed the computer and wiring as everything humanely possible "seems" to have been done. Yet, that mechanic messed with my idle and the other guy threw so many sensors and stuff at the car that I am not sure what I actually have in the bay. All hoses were replaced, but someone must have messed up somewhere along the line or just compounded the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Tommorrow, I will have someone drive my car and follow them. I will see if I see any tailpipe smoke. I will do it in the day when it is warm because cold weather always leaves something to follow.
 

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My first thoughts when you described the loss of power was that the timing belt had jumped,1 or 2 teeth off will create al of the power loss conditions you are describing and checking cam timing is relatively simple and is part of basic checks with a 2.2/2.5L.
 

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Wow, I see what you are saying. The timing belt was replaced by that mechanic. Could the timing belt make a car run rich? Is there a way I can visibly inspect the belt and see if it looks cockeyed.
 

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Oh, I forgot to mention, once when I had parked the car a few months back, I heard was sounded like buzzing from the engine bay. It sounded like electrical buzzing. Also, that mechanic did steam clean my engine. Maybe that has something to do with my problems.
 

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If cam timing is off it will affect everthing.
The way to check cam timing is very simple.
You have to bring # 1 Cylinder to TDC on a compression stroke. Remove the spark plugs and connect the coil wire on the dist cap side directly to an engine ground.(out of the way so you do not get shocked)
Have an assistant "Tap" the ignition key while you put your thumb over the spark plug hole for #1 cylinder, when you feel abit of air push your thumb away you are on the compression stroke
Then you have to rotate the engine by hand until the piston is all the way up.
On the top of the transmission there is an opening(there may be a rubber plug in it) with #'s written next to it,you will see a mark on the torque converter, line that mark up with 0 that is how you are sure the piston is at tdc.
Go to the R/S of the vehicle(Pass side) and in the upper timing cover there is a round plug,remove that plug and with a flashlight look inside. On the cam sprocket there will be an oval shaped slot,that slot must be at 12o'clock with the centerline of the cylinder head.Bear in mind that the cylinder head is on a slight angle so be sure it is aligned with the center of the head. If it is not your cam timing is off and must be corrected.
 
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