I was give a 1986 Plymouth Reliant K 2.2L TBI vehicle. I only has 71,558 original miles. All of following happened in two days. I went to dmv in my other car to get title in my name and 3 day pass. Went to emissions in Plymouth. It passed emissions with flying colors. Drove to dmv to get registration and plate. Driving fine. Seemed like it had the right amount of power for a four cylinder. I got home. I was looking at engine and saw it has a distributor cap. Took cap off and noticed that one of the spades was not sticking thru the cap and another was only about 1/4 of way compared to the two that were all the way down. I thought they had broken off so I decided to go to AutoZone and buy a cap & rotor. As I was pulling into AZ, the power loss came on and car lost power. Went in and bought cap and rotor. Opened both inside store. When I saw the cap did not have any metal pieces molded into the cap, I realized the problem. Bought cap and rotor. On way home, the car was running like crud. Power loss light kept going on and off. Car would not idle. Did not want to cross a major intersection like this, so I pulled into a store on the corner. Since I realized the plug wires could be pulled out of the cap, I did that. I spread out the spade end so that when I reinserted into the cap, they would not pull out. Now all four cylinders should be firing. Start up car, still runs like crud. I did not want to cross major intersection like this so I kept making right turns. Did not make it home. Pulled into a YMCA parking lot. Looked underneath the car and the catalytic converter was glowind red. Apparently, raw gas was being fed into the cat conv during the time the plug wires were not correctly inserted into cap. However, I drove about 2 miles with all plug wires correctly inserted in cap. Would cat conv still be glowing red after driving that distance with all four cylinders firing? (Assuming they were.) Remember car still running like crud, however the cat could have been clogged up because of raw gas going into it. Car never would run right. It would start up, just not idle very good and power loss light going on and off.
Left car in parking lot overnight. Had car towed home next night. Still runs like crud. I cut the exhaust pipe behind cat converter. Took exhaust pipe off at exhaust manifold. I can see the back end of cat conv looks fine. A light brown color. Can see into the honeycomb of cat conv. The front of cat conv was black. Looked like it was clogged up. I knocked out cat conv insides. (I was not going to buy a new cat until I know the cat is the problem.) I put back on and still runs like crud. Won't idle good. Have to rev to keep running. Power loss light keeps going on and off as your reving it. What could be the problem? Was somthing else damaged when all four cylinders were not firing?
The catalytic converter was not damaged before but it is now that you chopped the insides out. It was working properly if it passed the emissions test.
When the Power Loss light turns on, there is at least one diagnostic fault code stored in the Engine Computer. Those codes will lead you to the system or circuit with the problem, not necessarily the defective part.
Probably the most common cause of too much fuel is the MAP sensor but also check the vacuum hose going to it for cracks. That sensor has the biggest affect on how much fuel enters the engine. There was a factory modification that involved inserting two tee fittings in that hose, then running a second hose between those two fittings. Be sure to check for leaks in all of the vacuum hoses.
May, 23, 2011 AT 1:23 AM
Thanks for your quick reply. Would not the raw fuel going into the cat damage it? (At least one cylinder was not firing.) Did not start running like crud till after the emissions test. Also, the car is not drivable. Can't go to AutoZone to see what the code(s) is (are). Any other way to get the codes. I vaguely remember another car way back when (at least 20 years ago) had a check engine light on. You would quickly turn the ignition key two or three times, and then the check engine light would start flashing a series of short and long lights and that would tell you the code. Since this car is about the same age, does this car do that or do you need a machine to read the code?
Also, where is the MAP sensor and what does it look like?
Thanks for your advice.
May, 23, 2011 AT 2:09 AM
Chrysler is the only manufacturer that makes reading codes very easy and the procedure is what you remember. Cycle the ignition switch from "off" to "run" three times within five seconds, then wait for the Power Loss light to start flashing the two-digit codes. It will probably start with one flash, a short pause, then two flashes and a longer pause. Code 12 just means the ignition switch was recently turned off. It will end with code 55 which means "end of message" Both of those can be disregarded.
I have to correct myself about the MAP sensor. I was thinking of newer models such as an '88. Yours is a very low-failure style that is bolted into the Logic Module inside the car. That module sits behind the right kick panel just in front of the right front door. You still should check the vacuum hose going to it.
Here is a link to Rock Auto that will show you what the sensor looks like:
I'm using a backup computer and I can't copy, convert, and paste pictures directly.
May, 24, 2011 AT 2:56 AM
The only engine code is the 55 code. Nothing before or after this code is finished. I checked the vacuum hose to the Map and it is okay. In order to check the vacuum lines, I took off the air filter cover, air filter and air filter housing. There was one vacuum hose that connected to the air filter housing that I plugged. All other hoses connected to the air filter housing are non vacuum lines. I did see one vacuum line that was made of plastic, and it was broken. I think it goes to the charcoal canister located right behind the right front headlight. I put a cap on it. I tried to start the enging, and again the same problems as before. However, when I looked under the hood, I saw a pool of gas on top of the fuel pressure regulator right above the throttle body injector. At least I think it is the fuel pressure regulator. It gold/brass colored and has about a quarter inch hole right smack in the middle of the top of it. All that happened last night. Just a few minutes ago, I had my son turn the engine over while looked in the engine compartment to see if I could see where it was coming from. It was shooting up about 2 to 3 inches above the fuel pressure regulator and coming out of the small hole in the top middle of it. It was kind of bubbling out of the hole. I am guessing that this should not be happening whether the MAP is working correctly or not and whether or not there is a hole in the vacuum line going to the MAP.
Eaglerly awaiting your answer.
May, 24, 2011 AT 8:47 AM
You found the problem. The only gas you should see is a thin cone-shaped spray under the injector. GM has a huge problem with leaking regulators, but this is the first time I've ever heard of a bad one on a Chrysler product. Time to hit the salvage yard. In all my years at the dealership I never had to replace one so you're going to know more about it than I do.