1989 Dodge Shadow

Engine Performance problem
1989 Dodge Shadow Two Wheel Drive Manual 172000 miles

The check engine light has been coming on randomly and we dont have a clue why. We have replaced the, fuel pump regulator, fuel filter, spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor, vacum hoses, and fuel injectors. Recently when the check engine light comes on, the car loses power and once the clutch goes in, the car dies. If you force the car to run, it will do so until the clutch is pushed in. I have been told that the turbo is going out, but I rather not spend hundreds of dollars to find this isnt the problem. Please Help, its been a pain! I dont know if this is relevant, but the car burns through a quart of oil about every 2 weeks. The tech I took it too said the turbo seems to be leaking oil. They didnt touch the car, they looked at it as a lost cause.
October 7, 2009.

I need you to check for the engine codes that are stored in the computer. THe codes will be 2 digit numbers. DO NOT START THE ENGINE: cycle the key from the of to on position three times. THe third time, leave it in the run position. THe check engine light will begin to flash. Count the flashes. Remember, the codes are two digit numbers, so count the flashes, there will be a short pause, then it will start again. After you get the two digit number, there will be a longer pause and it will move on through all the codes. When you hit #55, that means it's done.

Let me know what you find. How many miles are you putting on the car in the two weeks? Are there any strange sounds coming from the engine? Finally, it's not a lost cause. Most of the turbos did leak.

Thank you for replying. We did the manuel code check before. I cant remember which number it was, but it told us to check the vaccum hoses and or the map sensor. Both of which we have replaced. I used to be putting on 40 + miles a day, now that I have moved, its around 10. There are noises. They are hard to explain. On the left side it sounds like clicking, but I was told it was the CPU. Then on the right side it makes a noises like a peice of the tire is hitting the engine when im going 25-35 miles an hour, after that, it goes away.

Oct 8, 2009.
Have you checked the CV joints?

I have not checked the cv joints. Could that possibly be the noises? I ran the codes. I got a 12, 13, and 15. The 13 came up before and the vaccum lines and the map sensor are brand new, so im not sure why that is still popping up. Then #12 has come up before and we are not sure what to check there. We have checked the battery connections and those are fine. #15 is a new one and we dont have a clue what to do there. Thank you for your help.

Oct 8, 2009.
First, I'm glad to help. I enjoy helping good people. Now for the code 12: •12 Battery or computer recently disconnected (will occur on most cars most of the time, it indicates a low / missing battery happened in the last 50 key starts. Don't worry about it

As far as the noise, a CV joint will make a clicking sound when you turn if it is bad. Also, if the boot is ripped on one side, it may be hitting something as you turn. Also keep in mind, there is a plastic belt shield on the passanger side behind the tire. It was very common for them to come loose and rub the tire. Check that too.

Now, the code 15 has me concerned. THere is a speed / distance sensor that is very easy to replace that will cause the problem you described. Have you done anything with that? Here are the directions to replace it: Park on a flat and level surface. On a TBI car, pull the air intake hose off the airbox and move it out of the way. Then reach down behind and under the airbox, following the wires that go down that way. In the end of the transaxle just behind the bellhousing, you'll find the speed sensor at the end of the wire. (This is easier to do than describe.) Disconnect the connector by pulling the tab out from the connector body and pull the connector out. Feel around the connector for the bolt. This is a 10mm bolt. Remove the bolt, then gently pull up and/or twist the speed sensor and it will pop out. If the transaxle is not overfull and you parked on a flat surface, no transmission fluid will leak out. The speedometer pinion will be snapped onto the end of the sensor. Remove it and reattach it to the new sensor. Then reinstall the sensor, twisting as necessary to mesh the speedometer pinion with the drive gear. Put the bolt in and tighten (doesn't have to be really tight), reconnect the wire, put the air hose back in place and go wash up.
If you're slow and it is the first time, it will take a half-hour. I can do this in less than 10 minutes, having done several now.
You can test the sensor with an ohmmeter before getting a new one. Remove the sensor as mentioned above and connect the ohmmeter to the two terminals on the sensor. Rotate it. You should get 8 pulses of zero resistance, and infinite resistance in between. Anything else, and the sensor is bad. You may want to check this, and look for chafed wires, etc. Before replacing it to be sure of the cause of the code 15. I suspect the most common reason for the sensor to go bad results from the wireing coming out of the sensor, fraying and breaking. Depending on how the main harness is routed, the wire has to make a very sharp 90 degree bend right at the sensor. The junkyards are full of sensors with broken wires, but good ones can be found. This also saves you money and lets you experiment with pulling the sensors on a car you don't care about.

Let me know what you find. If everything is good here, then we need to check engine compression and reconsider the turbo. Also, make sure the crank sensor is clean.