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#4639321 - 01/18/18 09:21 PM Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power
wtd Offline


Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 1915
Loc: southwest Mo.
This is on my 92 Cavalier with the 2.2L/auto with around 225,400 miles on it.

Today I headed out to go to Walmart which is about 3 miles from the house. The car starts and runs normally until I stop at a stop light that is only a few blocks from the store. The idle suddenly drops and the car acts like it's going to die and the engine is running very rough.

When the light turns green, I turn toward the store and the car has no power and is still running very rough. I get to the parking lot and park. I rev the engine a little bit and it sounds funny through the exhaust. I go feel the exhaust and it is coming out strong but is very hot and it's kind of popping. I pop the hood and the engine is shaking very badly and it sounds rough but it doesn't really sound like it's missing.

I do my shopping and head home and the car barely has any power but it does finally get up to about 55 mph. I finally get it home.

The CEL never came on. My initial thought with the power loss was that my Catalytic converter clogged up or something but with the exhaust coming out so strong, I'm not sure about that anymore. I had the original converter replaced at about 77,000 miles so the replacement has some miles on it.

Does anyone have any ideas what else to check? The plugs only have about 16,000 miles on them. Muffler only has about 20,000 miles on it. Fuel filter has less than 2,000 miles on it. I put in re-manufactured fuel injectors and a new fuel pressure regulator at around 130,700 miles. Pretty much all of the sensors have been replaced over the years. The car had 76,600 miles on it when I bought it.

Thanks for any ideas on what could have caused this all of a sudden.

Wayne
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2014 Mustang GT
1998 Chevy K3500
1998 Chevy K1500
(2) 1992 Cavaliers
1970 Monte Carlo

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#4639326 - 01/18/18 09:26 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: wtd]
dishdude Offline


Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 8732
Loc: Phoenix
Even though you said it doesn't sound like it's missing, the symptoms sure sound like it's running on 3 cylinders and a misfire won't set a CEL on pre-OBD2 vehicles. How old are the wires?
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#4639329 - 01/18/18 09:28 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: wtd]
FermeLaPorte Offline


Registered: 07/25/17
Posts: 469
Loc: Texas (south)
do a dry and wet compression test
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#4639337 - 01/18/18 09:43 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: wtd]
Cujet Offline


Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 7145
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
Wonder if it has water in the gas.
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#4639339 - 01/18/18 09:44 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: wtd]
clinebarger Offline


Registered: 12/19/13
Posts: 1902
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Check Fuel Pressure first! Is it TBI or MPI?
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#4639365 - 01/18/18 10:01 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: wtd]
VeryNoisyPoet Online   content


Registered: 12/16/17
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
Compression test is a good idea, but a basic power balance test doesn't involve undoing spark plugs and is a good first step. Unplug one fuel injector at a time. If the rough idle gets worse or the engine stalls, that cylinder is producing power. Plug the first injector back in and unplug the next injector. If the idle does not change when an injector is unplugged, you have found your dead cylinder.

Check for spark at each of the plug wires. Remove wire from plug with engine off, prop wire end near the frame or block, and crank engine. Investigate if you get no spark or weak spark.

If you have an infrared thermometer, when the engine is warmed up, see if the pipe after the catalytic converter is super hot at idle compared to the pipe ahead of it. That suggests lots of unburned fuel getting into the exhaust, which could explain unusually hot exhaust you felt. In extreme cases, the cat and the pipe downstream can glow red.
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"Be nice. The alternative involves an air horn and 7000 lumens of high beam."

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#4639374 - 01/18/18 10:09 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: wtd]
dishdude Offline


Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 8732
Loc: Phoenix
This is just a TBI motor so I'm doubting it's on the fuel side, my money is on secondary ignition. Possible bad head gasket considering the mileage, but OP didn't mention it overheating recently.
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#4639376 - 01/18/18 10:13 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: dishdude]
VeryNoisyPoet Online   content


Registered: 12/16/17
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: dishdude
This is just a TBI motor so I'm doubting it's on the fuel side, my money is on secondary ignition.


Interesting. Wikipedia claims '92 was when they introduced multiport on the 2.2, but that can always be wrong info. Up to the OP to let us know what is the case on this car.
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1998 V70 GLT / 187k miles

"Use yah blinkah!"

"Be nice. The alternative involves an air horn and 7000 lumens of high beam."

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#4639377 - 01/18/18 10:14 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: wtd]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
Sounds like a ruptured/failed diaphragm in the fuel pressure regulator
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#4639378 - 01/18/18 10:15 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: VeryNoisyPoet]
dishdude Offline


Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 8732
Loc: Phoenix
Originally Posted By: VeryNoisyPoet
Originally Posted By: dishdude
This is just a TBI motor so I'm doubting it's on the fuel side, my money is on secondary ignition.


Interesting. Wikipedia claims '92 was when they introduced multiport on the 2.2, but that can always be wrong info. Up to the OP to let us know what is the case on this car.


I guess I could be a year off. smile
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#4639379 - 01/18/18 10:16 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: wtd]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
TBI fuel pressure regulator tips:

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"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."

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#4639380 - 01/18/18 10:18 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: wtd]
das_peikko Offline


Registered: 01/01/18
Posts: 501
Loc: San Antonio, TX
You're going to need a spark tester, a fuel pressure tester, an exhaust back pressure tester, and a compression tester.

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#4639384 - 01/18/18 10:20 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: wtd]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
_________________________
"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."

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#4639449 - 01/18/18 11:26 PM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: wtd]
wtd Offline


Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 1915
Loc: southwest Mo.
I installed new plug wires when the car had 130,400 miles on the car so they have roughly 95,000 miles on them.

This car has four individual injectors on it. The injectors are almost impossible to get to with the intake manifold in place and I don't believe that I can unplug the wiring to them to see if the car runs any different with them unplugged one at a time.

Car has never overheated and the head gasket was replaced when the car had 82,500 miles on it. I will check the condition of the oil tomorrow to see if it looks like any water is in it.

This engine has no distributor and uses an Ignition Control Module and two coils. The ICM was replaced at 130,100 miles and the two coils at 126,600 miles. I do have a spark tester so I will use it to see if I'm getting fire to all cylinders.

I did do a wet and dry compression test several years ago but I don't remember the mileage on the car at the time. One cylinder was a little low but still within normal range.

I have all of the testers mentioned above except the back pressure tester but there is no fuel pressure port and If I remember correctly, you have to have some special setup to test fuel pressure on this car. Fuel pump is original as far as I know.

I do have an infrared thermometer so I will check readings before and after the cat.

Thanks for all of the replies and I will try testing the things that were suggested.


Edited by wtd (01/18/18 11:33 PM)
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2014 Mustang GT
1998 Chevy K3500
1998 Chevy K1500
(2) 1992 Cavaliers
1970 Monte Carlo

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#4639472 - 01/19/18 12:47 AM Re: Car suddenly starts running rough and has no power [Re: wtd]
Nick1994 Online   content


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10097
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Pull one spark plug wire at a time and see if it changes how it runs.
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