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Is This A Schoolbus Or An '02?


jescoba3
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I really don't know much about engine mechanics but from reading, researching, and asking around for a while I think my engine has a misfire and I wanted to get an '02 owners opinion on it. So here are some of the things I've noticed. 

 

-car starts after one or two turns of the ignition and with a pump of the accelerator. it has a 32/36 weber and the rest is stock as far as I can tell. Idles somewhere halfway between 0 and 1k but the car shakes a bit at idle. I'm used to driving a relatively new scion everyday and the shake on the '02 is something I can definitely notice especially when comparing the two.

 

-rhythmic sputtering exhaust. you can see little tiny oil drops coming out and if you put a towel a foot away from the exhaust it will have a light black coating on it

 

-hardly any power going uphill from a deadstop. I live at the base of a hill and going up I can go about 5-10 mph max on first gear with my foot all the way down. If I try to start uphill on that hill it usually stalls.

 

-no smoke at any speeds

 

-engine pulls pretty well once at speed (2nd gear and up). If I were to go up the hill at 15-20mph I can even keep it at second it won't stall.

 

-sounds like a schoolbus moving from a complete stop

 

What do you think? I want to take it to a mechanic about half an hour away but I don't want to drive the car around if it's a big problem. I haven't checked the spark plugs yet. could it be fuel pump related? the weber opens up all the way with the accelerator fully depressed.

Edited by jessescobar
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Something is potentially seriously wrong if you can't get up the hill better than that.   An '02 with weber (just sold mine) should be able to get up the driveway from hell from a dead stop.  Recently did this on my neighbor's driveway.

 

The "rythmic sputtering" suggest at least one cylinder out of whack.  Suggest a cylinder power test to find out which one:  with the engine warmed up and at idle, pull off one spark plug lead at the plug.  (You'll want to wear rubber slippers or shoes, and don't lean one hand on the metal of the car, you'll get a shock)  If the rpm drops quite a bit, that cylinder is good, reconnect the plug lead.  If the rpm doesn't drop much, that cylinder is suspect.  Check all four cylinders, then shut down and let the engine cool.  Remove the plugs and compare them.  If one plug is noticeably cleaner than the others, that cylinder is suspect for a coolant leak (bad or failing head gasket).  If one plug is significantly dirtier than others, that suggests bad rings/cylinder bore.

 

Be sure the drops coming out the exhaust are actually oil, not water with a lot of soot. 

 

If the car's not pushing blue smoke (and you say the plugs are clean) then you likely don't have a rings issue. 

 

Valve guide condition check:  with the engine warmed up, coast down a hill in gear.  When you step on the gas, is there a puff of blue smoke?  This suggests worn valve guides.

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awesome! thank you so much for the detailed explanation. yeah I've been a bit worried about the engine since it can barely clear these baby hills near my house. I can't imagine taking the car to SF any time soon.

 

I've read about the coasting downhill thing and seeing the blue smoke and how it's really common with these cars. I remember trying it out and didn't see it last time I checked. I'll try again this weekend to make sure. The car was driven home about 40mins on the freeway through some traffic without any form of smoke ever appearing. hopefully it's a good sign.

 

I can check the cylinders and spark plugs tomorrow after work since I don't have my spark plug socket right now.

______________________

 

now could this be a problem?...

 

I had some time and checked the spark plug wires for resistance values and cylinder #4 (the one closest to the cabin if i have my numbers correct) had no resistance at all on the contact portion of the plugs unless I put the ohm meter directly on the thin braided wire inside (which should be connected to the plug if I'm not mistaken) on the distributor side of the wire.

 

sorry if this is a really noobish question but could this be what's causing this? Looking at the distributor plugs it looks like #4 is really corroded and it was the hardest of all the plugs to pull out. the one next to it in the picture had nice clean contact points relative to #4.

 

 

_______________________

 

one last question for the night

 

the third picture. What is that on the other end of the wire connected to the middle of the distributor? I have a haynes manual but I don't know what to look up.

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post-45287-0-04760200-1374124570_thumb.j

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The blue cylindrical thing is a coil, it ramps up the voltage for the sparkplugs.

If I were you, I would buy a new distributor cap and rotor, new points and condenser and plugs Its all very cheap and if you want to spend a little more, new plug wires. That way your ignition parts will not be the culprit, and finding the problem would be easier, if the parts didn't solve it already.

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Although, that only helps if you haven't done it already, but you cap looks old, might be time for a new one.

With misfiring, I suspect the ignition first as that has been the culprit a few times for me, but it could also be many other things, most if which are more expensive fixes.

Regards

Jacques

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I'm hoping it's the ignition the problem. I think I can handle bringing the ignition up to snuff on my own. Any site you could recommend to look for those parts? Should I get the Bosch wires or is there something better out there that is more recommended? 

Edited by jessescobar
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I agree, nothing fancy, stock works well. Like eurotrash said, Blunt is our resident parts legend, he can help you.

 

But, I can buy most ignition parts at a local parts store here in South Africa (autozone, etc), so I am pretty sure you can get these parts at a place close to you.

 

Regards

Jacques

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Thanks for all the help everyone! I went to Autozone and ordered some bosch wires for now. they'll come in on saturday and I'll report back.

 

I just recently got the car. The engine was rebuilt by the PO 26k miles ago and sat around for awhile when I bought it running this way. Im going to slowly keep replacing all the worn bits while I have the car (I might sell it to a family member when I go back to college). I just need to figure out a treatment plan of some sort to get the engine solid. Hopefully the engine doesn't need any major repairs.

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update:

 

so I replaced the spark plug wires and the car runs noticeably smoother. some things i've noticed are:

 

-oil started to sputter from the exhaust again at startup but after two or so minutes it completely stopped. holding a towel in front of the exhaust I can feel a rhythmic puffing of air but no oil sputters. Now is this air puffing pattern normal?

-overall car shakiness is much improved at idle and sounds smoother

-engine feels a bit more preppier in the mid rpm range and going uphill it didn't struggle as much

-now idles a little higher around 1k

-I again noticed no blue puff of smoke that Honolulu mentioned

-at first startup while looking at the engine idling it was pretty shaky in the compartment. After a fifteen minute ride I peeked into the engine bay while it idled and it ran pretty calm in comparison. Is this also normal as well?

 

overall I noticed an improvement from the last time I drove the car but it still feels like it struggles taking off on an uphill. I did notice that my temperature guage has the needle always hanging around just a bit above the blue marker. I guess the next thing to do is change the thermostat? (as well as the ignition and spark plugs)

Edited by jessescobar
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