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Car repair hell
#1
Last Thursday I got into my car with a still warm engine. It would crank but not start. Next morning when it was cold it starts right up. I drive it 1/4 mile to the nearest garage that has loaner cars. They changed the MAF sensor. All seemed well.

Next day the car turns over but won't start. It starts on the 2nd try but farts and runs rough. I take it back and they clean the throttle body, reset the idle and relearn the computer.

I get in the car and guess what, same shit but not quite as bad. 2004 Impala with the 3.8 Series 2 V6 in it.

Other than setting it on fire any ideas? The only thing I did recently was out some Mystery oil in the gas. The car has about 127,000 on it and had a full tune up about 5,000 miles back. It gets regular oil changes with PAO synthetic oils. Mobil 1 EP or Amsoil.
If you live your life using simple common sense you are a now a member of the extreme right.

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#2
Is the engine light on? If so have you had the code ran? If so what's it say? It could be a fuel management issue.
If it runs lean that means the computer thinks it's running too much fuel and will back off the amount. This makes it run rough and seem under powered.
I'd need more info on it.
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#3
I really like the fire idea, I do love burning shit for some reason.. However a vehicle isn't something you should burn unless it really pisses you off.

It is more than likely the crankshaft position sensor. Which if I remember correctly isn't that hard to replace and or that expensive.
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#4
(10-23-2015, 06:45 PM)Motherfucking Don C Wrote: Is the engine light on? If so have you had the code ran? If so what's it say? It could be a fuel management issue.
If it runs lean that means the computer thinks it's running too much fuel and will back off the amount. This makes it run rough and seem under powered.
I'd need more info on it.

The check engine light never came on and they reset the idle. When it did start it smelled like it was running rich. Once it is started and going down the road it runs like a champ. I even tried the old blow the carbon out trick and wound it out to 90 MPH.

(10-23-2015, 06:48 PM)Flintstone Wrote: I really like the fire idea, I do love burning shit for some reason.. However a vehicle isn't something you should burn unless it really pisses you off.

It is more than likely the crankshaft position sensor. Which if I remember correctly isn't that hard to replace and or that expensive.

Thank you. I will keep that in mind and hope to make it to Monday.
If you live your life using simple common sense you are a now a member of the extreme right.

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#5
(10-23-2015, 06:49 PM)Pope Barbie Trollalotta Wrote:
(10-23-2015, 06:45 PM)Motherfucking Don C Wrote: Is the engine light on? If so have you had the code ran? If so what's it say? It could be a fuel management issue.
If it runs lean that means the computer thinks it's running too much fuel and will back off the amount. This makes it run rough and seem under powered.
I'd need more info on it.

The check engine light never came on and they reset the idle. When it did start it smelled like it was running rich. Once it is started and going down the road it runs like a champ. I even tried the old blow the carbon out trick and wound it out to 90 MPH.

(10-23-2015, 06:48 PM)Flintstone Wrote: I really like the fire idea, I do love burning shit for some reason.. However a vehicle isn't something you should burn unless it really pisses you off.

It is more than likely the crankshaft position sensor. Which if I remember correctly isn't that hard to replace and or that expensive.

Thank you. I will keep that in mind and hope to make it to Monday.

I can walk you through checking the crank position sensor if you have an analog multimeter. The sensor is on the back of the harmonic balancer, with the other part on the block of the engine if I remember correctly. Well anyways it sends out two signals and I could look it up.
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#6
(10-23-2015, 06:54 PM)Flintstone Wrote:
(10-23-2015, 06:49 PM)Pope Barbie Trollalotta Wrote:
(10-23-2015, 06:45 PM)Motherfucking Don C Wrote: Is the engine light on? If so have you had the code ran? If so what's it say? It could be a fuel management issue.
If it runs lean that means the computer thinks it's running too much fuel and will back off the amount. This makes it run rough and seem under powered.
I'd need more info on it.

The check engine light never came on and they reset the idle. When it did start it smelled like it was running rich. Once it is started and going down the road it runs like a champ. I even tried the old blow the carbon out trick and wound it out to 90 MPH.

(10-23-2015, 06:48 PM)Flintstone Wrote: I really like the fire idea, I do love burning shit for some reason.. However a vehicle isn't something you should burn unless it really pisses you off.

It is more than likely the crankshaft position sensor. Which if I remember correctly isn't that hard to replace and or that expensive.

Thank you. I will keep that in mind and hope to make it to Monday.

I can walk you through checking the crank position sensor if you have an analog multimeter. The sensor is on the back of the harmonic balancer, with the other part on the block of the engine if I remember correctly. Well anyways it sends out two signals and I could look it up.
I don't even know what a analog multimeter is. I have no tools at all anymore. All I can do is take it to the garage again and tell them to change the crank position sensor. I did just watch a YouTube video on how to do it and it isn't something I would feel comfortable doing. I have not worked on a car since I had a 90 Cavalier.
If you live your life using simple common sense you are a now a member of the extreme right.

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#7
If it smells rich then it thinks it's running lean. The fact that when it's colder it runs better backs that up. Cold air is more dense than warm, and that would cause a more even mixture in the engine.
This indicates that the computer is confused on inputs from all the sensors and shit on cars now.
You could also have gotten fuel with water in it and it's tainted the fuel system. The cheap route would be.
-Change the fuel filter.
-Run a tank of premium fuel with a good dose of injector cleaner. Use Lucas oil fuel system treatment.
-Do a sea foam treatment to the vacuum system. There are multiple youtube videos on how ands it's actually very easy.

My 97 mercury grand marquis had similar symptoms as yours and I did the above in that order and it worked!
One odd thing I noticed with mine is that if I ran the air conditioner it would run better and not hesitate to the point of chugging. This was because changing the vacuum direction around made a different pathway for the engine to breath.
That led me to an obscure forum from years ago where some dude had the same issue with his mercury. I tried what he did and it actually worked.
Cars many time's will have the same issues over time. Like your impala is famous for the fuel gauge to stop working around 100k.
Google the year, make and model and symptoms. You'd be surprised where it can lead you.
I wish I could help more :(
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#8
Fire!
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#9
(10-23-2015, 07:30 PM)Motherfucking Don C Wrote: If it smells rich then it thinks it's running lean. The fact that when it's colder it runs better backs that up. Cold air is more dense than warm, and that would cause a more even mixture in the engine.
This indicates that the computer is confused on inputs from all the sensors and shit on cars now.
You could also have gotten fuel with water in it and it's tainted the fuel system. The cheap route would be.
-Change the fuel filter.
-Run a tank of premium fuel with a good dose of injector cleaner. Use Lucas oil fuel system treatment.
-Do a sea foam treatment to the vacuum system. There are multiple youtube videos on how ands it's actually very easy.

My 97 mercury grand marquis had similar symptoms as yours and I did the above in that order and it worked!
One odd thing I noticed with mine is that if I ran the air conditioner it would run better and not hesitate to the point of chugging. This was because changing the vacuum direction around made a different pathway for the engine to breath.
That led me to an obscure forum from years ago where some dude had the same issue with his mercury. I tried what he did and it actually worked.
Cars many time's will have the same issues over time. Like your impala is famous for the fuel gauge to stop working around 100k.
Google the year, make and model and symptoms. You'd be surprised where it can lead you.
I wish I could help more :(

Thank you both. I will try the fuel filter first. This all started after using Marvel Mystery Oil in the gas. I am wondering if it knocked dirt loose in the tank and has caused a clog in the filter.

I just was off doing the Google search on Impala starts on 2nd try and I am not the only one with the issue. Sadly no fix was mentioned, just possible fixes. One post said to put the key in the on position to prime the fuel pump before trying to start it but that doesn't seem like the problem. I think I will rake it down the road now and try it with the AC cranking and see how it runs.

In the google search I saw a post advising not using premium because it can foul the plugs on an Impala.
If you live your life using simple common sense you are a now a member of the extreme right.

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#10
(10-23-2015, 07:44 PM)Pope Barbie Trollalotta Wrote:
(10-23-2015, 07:30 PM)Motherfucking Don C Wrote: If it smells rich then it thinks it's running lean. The fact that when it's colder it runs better backs that up. Cold air is more dense than warm, and that would cause a more even mixture in the engine.
This indicates that the computer is confused on inputs from all the sensors and shit on cars now.
You could also have gotten fuel with water in it and it's tainted the fuel system. The cheap route would be.
-Change the fuel filter.
-Run a tank of premium fuel with a good dose of injector cleaner. Use Lucas oil fuel system treatment.
-Do a sea foam treatment to the vacuum system. There are multiple youtube videos on how ands it's actually very easy.

My 97 mercury grand marquis had similar symptoms as yours and I did the above in that order and it worked!
One odd thing I noticed with mine is that if I ran the air conditioner it would run better and not hesitate to the point of chugging. This was because changing the vacuum direction around made a different pathway for the engine to breath.
That led me to an obscure forum from years ago where some dude had the same issue with his mercury. I tried what he did and it actually worked.
Cars many time's will have the same issues over time. Like your impala is famous for the fuel gauge to stop working around 100k.
Google the year, make and model and symptoms. You'd be surprised where it can lead you.
I wish I could help more :(

Thank you both. I will try the fuel filter first. This all started after using Marvel Mystery Oil in the gas. I am wondering if it knocked dirt loose in the tank and has caused a clog in the filter.

I just was off doing the Google search on Impala starts on 2nd try and I am not the only one with the issue. Sadly no fix was mentioned, just possible fixes. One post said to put the key in the on position to prime the fuel pump before trying to start it but that doesn't seem like the problem. I think I will rake it down the road now and try it with the AC cranking and see how it runs.

In the google search I saw a post advising not using premium because it can foul the plugs on an Impala.
Well I can tell you I've had two cars with that same 3.8 engine and it's one of the best v6's ever made. The first one was in a 97 Oldsmobile 88 which gave up the ghost at 270k and I bought this spring my wife a 97 Buick park Avenue ultra with the same engine only hers is supercharged and has 203K and runs perfect. It's a fantastic engine. And I'm a Ford guy saying this. 
The premium fuel thing is no issue with it. Just do it for a fuel treatment. The higher octane will make it run a tad hotter and Wil help the detergents in the cleaner break up the clog in its throat so to speak. Just one tank won't hurt a thing.
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