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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon all,

I have a bone stock 2000 with 112k on the dial. This morning, noticed an odd thing happen on my way to work, engine seemed to stumble a bit and the CEL flickered (blinking). This happened for a minute or two, then cleared up, engine stopped stumbling and CEL stopped blinking. Happened in fifth gear at 65MPH, after ten minutes of local roads and ten miles or so of freeway.

On the way home, same deal, after a few minutes of local roads and few miles of freeway. Returned with a vengeance. CEL blinked and engine really stumbled, severely lost power. Continued on for about ten minutes, maintaining highway speed. CEL sometimes went solid, then back to blinking after a few minutes.

At the house, hooked to Actron code scanner, showed P0300, P0303, and P0304, with P0303 and P0304 also showing as pending. I cleared the codes, then swapped the coil/injector/plug between cylinders 1 and 4. Misfire stayed on cylinder 4, so I think I can safely rule out a coil, injector, or plug problem. Interestingly, I let the car warm up, the 'running like crap' got much worse, and P0303 then kicked in only after warmup. I let it cool and reheated it, same result (cylinder 4 misfire cold, 3 and 4 warm). Precats appear intact after looking at both through the O2 sensor holes. The plugs have about .0048" gap, exactly what I set when I installed them 12k ago. Grayish coating, appears normal, and not fouled or anything. I also notice, the exhaust 'puffs' when you stick your hand in it. As in, you feel very distinctly that it will jet out exhaust gas and then nothing, then more exhaust, then nothing, repeat. To seek out a vacuum leak, I sprayed air intake cleaner around some of the hose connectors and whatnot, yielding no discernable notice in the running of the car.

Here's what I think I know:
Engine doesn't appear to use a drop of oil, and it remains golden after a thousand miles on this oil change. Coolant level hasn't changed a bit, and still appears bright red. I *think* I can rule out a blown head gasket?
Regarding the swapped components that are cylinder-specific, I *think* I can rule out injector or coil problems?
Being that the misfires are fairly specific to cylinder 4 and less so on 3, I *think* I can safely rule out clogged exhaust or water in the fuel? I would also tend to think the 'puffing' in the exhaust would be somewhat moderated by a clogged exhaust, and thus the presence of the distinct puffing is another indicator against clogged cats?
Reading more about how sensitive the intake setup is, I verified the presence of the vanes, and that the box is sealed properly, so I *think* I can safely rule out wierdness with the intake.
Also, lacking any oddness with the intake spray, I *think* I can safely rule out a vacuum leak.

I'm a little at a loss here how to troubleshoot. I don't have access to a compression tester, unfortunately. What should I look at next?
 

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On my pre cats I discovered the begining of failure around the edge. I had looked the same way you did and thought it was fine. When I switched to the Che header I took a better look to discover failure on the exhaust side of the pre cat. I had an issue when it would drive on the highway, it would sputter slightly during acceleration then go away. Thats what my issue was and after the switch it went away. I suggest gutting the pre cat or an aftermarket header. It helped me with a similar issue. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A Flashing CEL is telling you you have a dangerous situation that is likely to damange you car do not drive it until you figure it out it is generally associated with your CAT.

puffing almost sounds like there is an obstruction in your exhaust - maybe a clogged CAT
I'm on board with that. Should've mentioned, it's taking up residence in the garage until either I get some resolution, or it is on its way to a shop :(

Seems like this really could be a case of precat failure then? I'm not opposed to doing the job, but before I go spending a weekend doing that on a limb, I'd like to have an idea that I'm keeping the motor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
On my pre cats I discovered the begining of failure around the edge. I had looked the same way you did and thought it was fine. When I switched to the Che header I took a better look to discover failure on the exhaust side of the pre cat. I had an issue when it would drive on the highway, it would sputter slightly during acceleration then go away. Thats what my issue was and after the switch it went away. I suggest gutting the pre cat or an aftermarket header. It helped me with a similar issue. :rolleyes:
In keeping with the train of thought above, then, if this really is precat failure on my end then the failure must have happened a little bit quicker to me than it did to you. Went right from starting to fail to... obstruction.

Dammit.

In general to all, if I gut the precats before driving it again, what are the odds that the regular cat is already clogged up and how should I resolve that? Am I in a situation where I should gut the precats and replace the cat?
 

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I'm not going with the Pre-Cat yet.. and you looked at them.. they are still intact..

Something very odd has been happning to the 1ZZ here and over the Pond.. the Crank Position Sensor is having Issues at the Higher RPM range..

The Fix so far has been Removal, Cleaning the Crud off, and Re-install of the Crank Position Sensor... To me this is like Cutting a Body Open to let the Evil Spirits out.. But if the Guy gets up and walk out of the Room.. it was a Success.. Who am I to Argue..

The Brits have been having Missfire's at Random Above about 3K rpm.. not load related.. sometimes it's as high as 5K RPM.. and driving them Bug Shit Crazy trying to figure out..

You have done GREAT job of research and Troubleshooting.. so you are a Few Days up on this Troubleshooting thing.. Congratulations.. !!..

I Still do not understand the CPS problem.. one guy replaced his with one from a Core Engine.. and his Problem went away..

Electrically I can understand Failures.. but this Intermittent Krap will drive a Person Crazy..

I agree that it is not an Injector.. Or Coil.. or Plug.. Intake sounds like it's tight.. and I Think the Car Still has good 'Get up and Go' untill it starts to Fail..

It wont Likely be a Cam Sensor.. Put you could pull the Plug to prove that.. It won't hurt anything.. Also COULD be a Flaky Throttle Position Sensor.. ( Dropping in and Out causing Irratic Running ).. to prove that.. pull the Plug on the Sensor.. it's still run OK.. acceleration will be a little 'Thin'..

If you've yanked all the 'Upper Sensors', and nothing makes it run good.. try the Crank Sensor..

Under the Car.. Next to the Serpentine Belt Pully of the Crank..

So far you've done good.. let see if We can steer you in the Right Direction..

Good Luck..

Cap
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the pointers, Cap!

If I'm following correctly, try pulling the plug on the TPS, then drive the car around the block? I should be seeking "thin" acceleration? What could I deduce from the presence or lack thereof, of a difference in acceleration?

Then, try unplugging the Cam Position Sensor and listen for a change in the idle of the motor, repeat for Crank Position Sensor?

As you can see, my internal engine diagnosis isn't my strong point here, I've been fortunate enough up to this point in my amateur wrenching career never to have to get into unplugging sensors to troubleshoot!
 

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A Functioning TPS will not cause a Problem,. A DEAD Tps will cause a Cell Lite after a while, and a Lean Acceleration.. but Steady Running is Fine..

An Intermittant TPS that is Giving Bad or Conflicting Siginals to the ECU will cause the ECU to toss all sorts of fuel at the Engine at Various times.. then Not.. So you will get irratic Performance.. Do not know if it will toss a missfire code for it.. If you just Pull the TPS Wires ( The Plug Actually ) and the problem of Irratic Running ( Missfire Codes in this Case ) goes away, then the Problem LIKELY is in the TPS.. if you pull the TPS wires, and you still get the Intermittant Running, then the TPS was not your Problem..

AND.. a Cam Position Sensor is the Same way.. the Car will run without one.. but if the Cam Sensor is Intermittant then LIKELY you will get a Cell for VVTi problem.. or some such problem.. but I can not prove that.. so if you pull the Cam Sensor wires ( Again the Plug. as the Wires are hard to stuff back in :) ).. and the problem is still there.. then the Cam Sensor is not your Problem.. I do not think it is.. but I've been wrong before.. same with the TPS.. I do not think it is.. but not hard to check it this way..

All of that is just the easy trials, to see if it's something simple.. if it not the Upper Sensors, then I'd be Zeroing in on the Crank Sensor.. Seems Strange that you are havine Cyl 3-4 problems.. or at least the ECU is Calculating that it's a 3-4 problem.. Missfire Calculations are not always Spot On.. but usually are.. so if you moved all of the Active Components out of One and Into four.. and Four is still flagging as Bad.. then LIKELY it's not Four.. but the Crank Sensor that is used as the Time Base for the ECU Calculations.. Just a Thought..

And with the Brits having simular issues and the Crank Sensor fixing the problem, it not a big leap to think that your 'Irratic Problem' might also be a CPS Problem..

Cap
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok, there was no discernable change after unplugging the TPS, nor the CPS. However, I did spot something worthwhile:

I believe I may have screwed up when I swapped the injectors. Number four is leaking fuel onto the manifold, and number one is now showing a misfire. Looks like I may have a dead injector after all. The misfire stayed on four because it was improperly installed, and then went to one after running a few minutes because one (originally on four) was my dead/dying one.

Only stupid questions i have are twofold: could a dead/dying injector cause that puffing in the exhaust? And I have seen referenced in the past a company that can clean/test the injectors that's kind of a sendaway service. I'll do some looking for that link (the search function here is atrociously primitive) but anybody have it handy?
 

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Puffing Exhaust is USUALLY a Flat or Non Running Cylinder.. so Yes a Clogged Injector can give the 'Puffing'..

www.witchhunter.com $100 and one week.. BTDT

Glad you found it..

Cap
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the pointers, Cap. Witchhunter should have my injectors in their capable hands tomorrow.

For the general good, and in hopes of avoiding a similar situation when I have known-good injectors back in my amateur hands, what are some pointers for dealing with the fuel injector install? Should I install them on the rail first, then lower the assembly into those PITA holes? Or should I drop each of them into the holes, then install the rail on? Anything else worth knowing/doing, for someone who has never handled injectors before?

As a brief aside, since I have the car down anyways, I used this as the chance to get off my lazy butt and do my precats. The removal wasn't bad (the lower bracket bolts, 12mm and 14mm, were actually more difficult than the Three Amigos). I sheared the heads off the top two heat shield bolts. The innards were still intact, which is a good sign, I believe that means at the very least if I've misdiagnosed this so far then I shouldn't be dealing with precat failure. Questions about that job, though: is there any harm in leaving the upper heat shield off? I can secure it with the lower two bolts, but I'm guessing it would rattle. Any reason to keep the lower shielding on either?
 

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Thanks for the pointers, Cap. Witchhunter should have my injectors in their capable hands tomorrow.

For the general good, and in hopes of avoiding a similar situation when I have known-good injectors back in my amateur hands, what are some pointers for dealing with the fuel injector install? Should I install them on the rail first, then lower the assembly into those PITA holes? Or should I drop each of them into the holes, then install the rail on? Anything else worth knowing/doing, for someone who has never handled injectors before?

As a brief aside, since I have the car down anyways, I used this as the chance to get off my lazy butt and do my precats. The removal wasn't bad (the lower bracket bolts, 12mm and 14mm, were actually more difficult than the Three Amigos). I sheared the heads off the top two heat shield bolts. The innards were still intact, which is a good sign, I believe that means at the very least if I've misdiagnosed this so far then I shouldn't be dealing with precat failure. Questions about that job, though: is there any harm in leaving the upper heat shield off? I can secure it with the lower two bolts, but I'm guessing it would rattle. Any reason to keep the lower shielding on either?
One of mine broke so I drilled it and tapped it. I think it helps keep the engine bay cooler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
One of mine broke so I drilled it and tapped it. I think it helps keep the engine bay cooler.
Done and done. What a PITA! I'm thinking I might have been smarter to just heat wrap the manifold instead.

Got the exhaust manifold put back on last night. None of the tech articles explain what an enormous pain it is to line up the bracket that holds the manifold to the engine (the 14mm and 12mm bolts). Yikes!

Witchhunter confirmed a dead injector and serviced the others, I have the others and a brand new one getting delivered today, hopefully to go back together tonight. Any pointers for reinstallation of the injectors and rail? Want to make sure I don't ruin the fresh equipment.

Thanks!
 

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Use a Mirror, and check the 'Pocket' thst the Injectors will press into.. Hope you put new O-Rings down there.. If not.. well leaks are possable..

Seat the Injectors in the Lower Holes, and Nestle the Fuel Rail back in Place.. Really simple as I remember..

Yes the Exhaust is a Pain.. they all are.. the Only good thing about the Spyder Exhaust, is the System is short.. so your problems do not go on for a long time..

Cap
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Excellent. Everything went back together smoothly. I had new 'donuts' for the injectors where they come into contact with the head, so I used mirror & length of wire (and a lot of patience and some Dogfish 90 Minute) fishing out the old ones at that funky angle that makes it not so easy to see/work.

Gave the fuel system a minute to pressurize, cranked for a few seconds and turned right over, no codes to speak of. Appears no fuel leaks, so I might be home free.

I do have a bit of gray smoke coming from around the exhaust gaskets while the engine is running, my assumption is that I went a little overboard with antiseize and it's just the excess burning off. If it doesn't stop in a few days, I may be back with more questions! But otherwise, thanks all for the assistance.
 
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