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Idles rough in N & P, much worse in D & R

 
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 12:41 am
mnahmnah's Avatar
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Default Idles rough in N & P, much worse in D & R

Hello...
Ok so this is what you get when you want all the information the poster can give. Ha!

I have a 2001 LE 2.4 basic PT no mods just a crappy running car. 128,700 miles. I'm currently not driving it because sometimes it stalls and is hard to keep the idle high enough in drive gear to get back home.


This shuddering and stalling started on the way home from a trip, and I couldn't get it repaired in the middle of nowhere, but I got some fuel injector cleaner into the tank at a mini-mart, and kept pushing it. After about another 45 minutes, the shuddering stopped and it ran like "normal" - which isn't probably ideal condition but it was driving smoothly. No check engine light, and no codes.

Car drove out of town again a couple times with no problems, and we're talking about 300+ miles.

I filled up at a USA gas station that I frequently go to. Put a whole tank of 87 regular in. I couldn't even get 15 miles before I had to sputter off the road into another mini mart and tried some more fuel injector cleaner. I don't know how long that takes to run through, but the previous tank should have cleaned them already? Bad gas? Stirred up sediment? I had to return home (scary putt-putt stalling out driving).

I've changed the plugs and wires. Car still runs the same. I've driven it only about 5 miles total, one trip was to a top notch lube shop where I had them change the trans fluid (ATF not dexron). Car still runs the same after flush.

Conversation with the guy doing the trans fluid, he said try removing the battery cables and depressing the brake for a minute, leave the battery unconnected for about 15 mins and reconnect. Might reset the system. I haven't tried that yet because I wanted to try a scanning tool first, and I'm afraid it would get rid of any hidden codes I might get with it. (update: there are no codes.)

A couple days ago on a hunch, I went out to check the gas cap. It wasn't clicked all the way. But it never turned the engine light on, which is strange? It's tightened now, but it doesn't change the way it runs rough and shaky. I've run it at idle and doing some rpm's just to run some of the treated gas through it, but it's not improving.


Would a gunked up fuel filter resolve itself like that for a few days? Might that last full-tank fueling have stirred up sediment that clogged the filter?


Using the dashboard code retrieval trick, I don't even get any dashes... just the word 'done' immediately. No flashing or delay.

Additional info, there's a lot of noise at the exhaust, and some water sputtering out, but not smoke/clouds, just spritzes of water it chokes out. I have no idea this is normal or not, but it sure is noisy now.


(Tonight I sat in it and let it warm up in park. I only gave it a little gas to get it started, then didn't touch the pedal for about 10 minutes.
It seems to run better when cold. When cold, it idles between 1,000-1,100 and isn't quite as rough.
Once it warms a little bit, the rpm's go down to 750. Car shakes a little more when warm.
Also, though it also shakes in neutral and park, it is much rougher in drive and reverse. It bumps out of drive to neutral.)

So, I breathlessly await all your valuable expertise and thoughts on this matter. Ask whatever I left out. Thank you in advance.
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2001 LE, 168,000 miles.
One of the split seats went into a dumpster in Tulsa. The arm rest unscrewed and fell off. It's on its 2nd timing belt. Surviving the Upper Peninsula winters.

Last edited by mnahmnah; 20 Jan 2013 at 01:20 am.
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 04:26 am
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Default Re: Idles rough in N & P, much worse in D & R

I know it's a lot to read. If it sounds logical the fuel filter clogged up, I'd like a second opinion to confirm, before I have to have someone drop the tank. I can't do it. And it's full of fuel.
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One of the split seats went into a dumpster in Tulsa. The arm rest unscrewed and fell off. It's on its 2nd timing belt. Surviving the Upper Peninsula winters.
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 09:36 am
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Default Re: Idles rough in N & P, much worse in D & R

I would look at another fuel additive that address water in the fuel and drive some of that fuel out and if it gets better. Top it off with high test and keep using it. If it clears up stay with places you are familiar with on the gas thing.;)
If that is not a help. I would get that throttle body off and clean that iac valve. ;)
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 10:41 am
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Default Re: Idles rough in N & P, much worse in D & R

Quote:
Originally Posted by Busted_PT View Post
I would look at another fuel additive that address water in the fuel and drive some of that fuel out and if it gets better. Top it off with high test and keep using it. If it clears up stay with places you are familiar with on the gas thing.
If that is not a help. I would get that throttle body off and clean that iac valve.
Partly agree. There used to be "dry gas" that was for water in gas. The part I don't agree with is using high test - high test is actually harder to ignite than regular - it is for high-compression or turbo engines and will not help the running of cars designed for regular.
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 11:20 am
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Default Re: Idles rough in N & P, much worse in D & R

Yeah, because something's been nagging at me about how it re-occurred immediately after fueling up.

I also had the added issue of the loose gas cap (that strangely didn't trigger the MIL...) that could have allowed some of the foggy wet air (100% relative humidity) to mix with the ethanol? Which the ethanol here in Cali is 10% everywhere.

Is it okay to just drain off down to 1/4 tank and refill with better quality gas? What would I do to dispose of the gas? (Lesseee... do I have anyone I'd want to donate that to...? )
__________________
2001 LE, 168,000 miles.
One of the split seats went into a dumpster in Tulsa. The arm rest unscrewed and fell off. It's on its 2nd timing belt. Surviving the Upper Peninsula winters.

Last edited by mnahmnah; 20 Jan 2013 at 01:21 am.
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 12:13 pm
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Default Re: Idles rough in N & P, much worse in D & R

Quote:
Originally Posted by Busted_PT View Post
I would look at another fuel additive that address water in the fuel and drive some of that fuel out and if it gets better. Top it off with high test and keep using it. If it clears up stay with places you are familiar with on the gas thing.
If that is not a help. I would get that throttle body off and clean that iac valve.
It still has most of a tank of fuel left in it. I didn't get far at all. Not even close to 3/4 tank...

So what exactly is a high test fuel?

I sure hope it does help - because taking the throttle body off involves that bolt I couldn't tighten all the way! I don'wanna!
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2001 LE, 168,000 miles.
One of the split seats went into a dumpster in Tulsa. The arm rest unscrewed and fell off. It's on its 2nd timing belt. Surviving the Upper Peninsula winters.
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 12:49 pm
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Default Re: Idles rough in N & P, much worse in D & R

just throwing some info out there. (someone can help if they have had this issue before) could it be possible that the throttle position sensor is faulty??
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 12:51 pm
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Default Re: Idles rough in N & P, much worse in D & R

Premium as for being harder to ignite. There is maybe a line there somewhere. I only know that when I run it in something. I get better fuel milage and the but dyno say it runs better. Just not enough difference to pay the extra price for it. Never had a vehicle perform less with it. Just not a financial gain. Jmho. You could drain it. But I would be more inclined to try and run it out if you added a good cleaner already. Is possible that the fuel is not the problem. Timing makes one think. They fuel cap I would just through that out of the mix. No evap codes no problem.
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 02:22 pm
mnahmnah's Avatar
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Default Re: Idles rough in N & P, much worse in D & R

I tried to pick what I thought was the strongest-sounding one on the shelf. I ended up with a $5 bottle of STP injector cleaner. Driving it around sounds like a bad idea, it's real rough... I could do it but it'll take a long time to run out over 10 gallons going around the block and idling in the driveway.
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2001 LE, 168,000 miles.
One of the split seats went into a dumpster in Tulsa. The arm rest unscrewed and fell off. It's on its 2nd timing belt. Surviving the Upper Peninsula winters.
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 02:32 pm
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Default Re: Idles rough in N & P, much worse in D & R

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdskinner731 View Post
just throwing some info out there. (someone can help if they have had this issue before) could it be possible that the throttle position sensor is faulty??
Ya know, a sensor of some kind was my guess the first time it happened and resolved, because it happened after a big dump of a rainstorm. I thought maybe something got wet. It feels like the same problem both times, that's what's stumping me. With 300-400 good miles and 4 days in between.

I bought a basic scanning tool (as opposed to just a code reader) and hopefully it can narrow down the area to focus on? I bought one off Ebay for 75 bucks, an Actron CP9575 OBD II.
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One of the split seats went into a dumpster in Tulsa. The arm rest unscrewed and fell off. It's on its 2nd timing belt. Surviving the Upper Peninsula winters.
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