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A real head scratcher

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 27 Mar 2011, 09:18 pm
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Default A real head scratcher

Vital Statistics: 2001 PT 2.4L non-turbo MT 135K

OK, so I spent the day replacing the radiator in my daughter's PT. Aside from an aggravating hour spent re-replacing the poorly designed thermostat, all went fairly well. Now that everything except the water pump has been replaced, I'm waiting for that to blow up now, hopefully that happens before the timing belt goes, that sounds like a job and a half.

Anyway, while I'm letting the car idle up to operating temperature I hear a sucking noise. After a brief search, I see that the hose between the PCV Valve and the intake manifold has a significant little hole in it and it is drawing air from the atmosphere, thus the sucking noise. When I put my finger over the hole the car spat and sputtered for a second and then resumed it's normal idle. After a quick trip to AZ, I had my new PCV Valve and a new hose concoction. (Has anyone besides me noticed how hard it is to get replacement hoses that make the tight little turns around the engine compartment?)

I installed the PCV Valve and the hose(s) and went to fire up the car. BOOM!! Now the car won't hardly idle at all, when it does it idles at around 450 RPM and extremely rough. The MIL immediately illuminated and the code was P0201. The book says the code is Injector 1 Control Circuit. I checked and nothing seems to be amiss or unplugged or anything.

I'm at a loss as to what's wrong. How is it that fixing an obvious vacuum leak can take the car from running perfectly to barely functional? I even went so far as to put back the old PCV valve and broken hose, it runs a touch better but not much, certainly not normal like it was before, mostly because the suction line on the intake manifold is breathing. If I leave the vacuum port open, it runs almost normal, if I plug it, the car dies immediately, if I partially plug it the car runs progressively worse the more I close it.

Anyone have any idea what I did to piss off this car?
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Old 27 Mar 2011, 10:34 pm
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Default Re: A real head scratcher

Maybe the computer has learned to run with the vacuum leak and now that it's fixed it is out of whack. I would try disconnecting the battery for 30 min or so to reset the computer.

Worse that can happen is that it doesn't work.
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Old 28 Mar 2011, 05:25 am
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Default Re: A real head scratcher

Good answer. Try the battery disconnect and come back to tell us if that worked.
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Old 28 Mar 2011, 09:58 am
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Default Re: A real head scratcher

I thought about the same thing myself but I figured it was too goofy of an idea. Seriously, computers aren't THAT smart, are they?

I'm headed out to do it now, I'll get back to you.

If this works ......
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Old 28 Mar 2011, 11:24 am
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Default Re: A real head scratcher

Well, that didn't work.

I reconnected the battery cables and started the car. It's still running rough and code P0201 popped up after less than a minute.

Any other ideas?
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Old 28 Mar 2011, 12:36 pm
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Thumbs up Re: A real head scratcher

go to the top of this page and click on search type in your code P0201, there are some good write ups on this code
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Old 28 Mar 2011, 01:17 pm
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Default Re: A real head scratcher

I did that, there wasn't much specific to the code P0201 other than it's an injector circuit fault in cylinder 1.

No troubleshooting advice or anything like that.

My next step is to run down the injector circuit and see what I can find.

I still can't understand how repairing a vacuum leak can expose an electrical fault, it just doesn't make sense.
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Old 28 Mar 2011, 02:16 pm
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Default Re: A real head scratcher

Got this from PT Do-It-Yourself.net

There are 2 misfire codes for Cylinder #1 - P0201 and P0301. P0201 indicates that the injector circuit has a problem, while P0301 indicates that the cylinder isn't making power. A simple defective spark plug or wire could be the cause. You are supposed to change the plugs at 30K miles. You can swap the plugs and wires from #1 to #4 without difficulty. Swap them and determine if the P0301 changes to a P0304.
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Old 28 Mar 2011, 03:15 pm
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Default Re: A real head scratcher

Thanks for your advice Crewzin'!!

Given my thermostat re-installation and its proximity to the fuel rail as well as your advice, I decided to go back and try to lay eyes on every injector connector, just to make sure I wasn't going crazy. BTW, that's not as easy as you may think. Anyway,

Pazahh!! CRISIS AVERTED!!!

The injector for the #1 cylinder (of course) was unplugged. Apparently, during my thermostat cluster@#$%, I had inadvertently unplugged it. It didn't help matters that the safety clip mechanism is gone, therefore, I can only hope I was able to press it on sufficiently.

Amazingly, I give a secondary assist to my idea of bungeeing the hood to the sunroof opening so it would be out of the way enough that I could contort myself into many unnatural positions in order to see the injectors between the gaps in the intake manifold.

The car is now running fine, I've reset the codes and I'm waiting for the readiness monitors to report OK so I can take it and get the emmission inspection. I'll drive it around today and that should reset the monitors so I can get it inspected tomorrow.

P.S.: The new PCV Valve and hose(s) seem to be working fine, no problem at all.

Unless someone has more to add, I'll consider this thread closed. Thanks again for all your help.
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Old 28 Mar 2011, 03:20 pm
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Default Re: A real head scratcher

Always good to hear a satisfactory conclusion. Thanks for getting back to us.
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