Stalling issues after replacing the timing belt

Tiny
BIGBAT23
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 PLYMOUTH VOYAGER
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 182,000 MILES
A few weeks ago my timing belt went out. My brother and I changed it. Since then I have been having issues with it cutting off when I start braking. I was driving it carefully having to put it in neutral and give it gas so it wont shut off. Then the check engine light came on. We hooked up his computer to it and it gave me a code telling me I needed to change the o2 sensor. I did that but I am still having the same issue just not so bad. Any idea what could be the problem?
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Thursday, November 10th, 2016 AT 7:19 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The diagnostic fault code did not say to replace a part. They never do. When a part is referenced in a fault code, that part is actually the cause of the code about half of the time. First you have to rule out wiring and connector problems. When it comes to oxygen sensors, there are dozens of fault codes related to them, and they mean very different things. You need to list the exact code number to know where to start.

I suspect you disconnected the battery during the recent service. If so, the engine computer lost its memory. It will rebuild fuel trim and sensor data as soon as you start to drive the van, but it needs to relearn "minimum throttle" before it will know when it has to be in control of idle speed. Until then, you may need to hold the accelerator pedal down 1/4" to get the engine to start, you won't get the nice idle flare-up to 1500 rpm's at start-up, and it will tend to stall at stop signs. To meet the conditions for the relearn to take place, drive at highway speed with the engine warmed up, then coast for at least seven seconds without touching the pedals.
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Thursday, November 10th, 2016 AT 7:49 PM
Tiny
BIGBAT23
  • MEMBER
Thank you for the reply. The code was P0172 fuel system bank 1 sensor 1. It was recommended I change the o2 sensor.
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Thursday, November 10th, 2016 AT 8:00 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
P0172 - System too Rich (Bank 1)

Dandy. You missed the most important part of the code. The exhaust gas is too lean for too long. The gas should switch between "too rich" and "too lean" about two times per second. Oxygen sensors can't measure "rich". They measure oxygen, as their name implies, and they measure lack of oxygen, interpreted by the engine computer as "rich". To get the fault code you listed, the sensor has to be working properly to detect the excess oxygen and the lean condition. You need to fix the condition, not the sensor reporting the condition. Think of an overheating engine. You need to solve the overheating problem. Replacing the coolant temperature sensor is not going to solve it.

You need to look for the cause of the lean condition. The most common is a vacuum leak. That alone will cause a lean condition that, if small enough, will be corrected by the computer by commanding the injectors to pulse on for a slightly longer period of time. If the vacuum leak is big enough, the computer won't have enough control to correct for it. It is also possible the computer can correct it, but if that correction is really excessive, that can also trigger this code.

A spark-related misfire will cause this code too, so consider that when looking for the cause. Unburned fuel and air will go into the exhaust system, but again, oxygen sensors only measure the oxygen in the mixture, not the unburned fuel.
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Thursday, November 10th, 2016 AT 8:26 PM
Tiny
BIGBAT23
  • MEMBER
I have already changed one vacuum hose. The old one was cracked pretty bad. I am not really sure where to check for others.
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Thursday, November 10th, 2016 AT 8:37 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
When we had carburetors, blocking a vacuum leak resulted in reduced engine speed, so it was pretty obvious when we found it. With fuel injection, once the minimum throttle relearn has taken place, idle speed will be held constant by the Engine Computer, so we can't use engine speed for our observation. Instead, we can look at automatic idle speed "steps", but you need a scanner to do that. The computer pulses the automatic idle speed motor with varying polarities and voltages to place the armature at the desired setting. As the armature rotates slowly, it has a threaded shaft that retracts a pintle valve to open an air passage around the throttle blade. As it increases air flow, it also increases the length of time the injectors are pulsed on, so the engine gets more air and more fuel.

There are 256 steps the computer can set the AIS motor to. For a properly-running engine, step 32 is typical. With one misfiring cylinder on a V-6 engine, step 50 is about what you will find. When you have a vacuum leak and the resulting increased engine speed, the computer will close the AIS valve to bring idle speed back down, and you may find it at step 0 to step 10. If you find it is at step, ... Oh, ... 50, 60, or higher, the high idle speed is in response to something the computer is seeing from other sensors, and it is requesting that higher speed.

For your situation where the only symptom is the fault code and a lean condition detected by the computer, you can still use the idle steps to show if you change something that affects the air / fuel ratio. You don't have to search through every vacuum hose. There are only two or three origination points on the intake manifold for all the vacuum-driven stuff. One will be the large one for the power brake booster, and it will usually have a tap on the check valve for a hose to the cruise control servo. A leak in those hoses will usually include the symptom of hard brake pedal, or hard pedal after the first or second pedal application in rapid succession. For the smaller vacuum hoses, pinch one off near the intake manifold, then watch what happens to the idle steps. If you blocked a leak, the steps will need to go up to bring the idle speed back up. When you find a hose that appears to have a leak, follow it to where another hose branches off, then pinch each of them, one at a time, to see which one has the leak, then follow that one.

You can also watch the exhaust gas switching rate. It should be switching between "rich" and "lean" about two times per second. With a vacuum leak, it will tend to stay lean a lot more and it will only occasionally go rich. That will change when you block a vacuum leak.

Simple fault code readers don't provide sensor data. Some of the newer readers DO provide data, but they have a serious drawback. They take a reading, analyze it, then display the results for up to three to five seconds while they analyze the next set of readings. That major time delay makes it not very valuable for this type of problem. Professional scanners update their displays multiple times per second, so it is very unlikely you will miss a tiny glitch or change in a reading. Most scanners also have graphing capabilities. That makes looking for changes in air / fuel ratio real easy to spot. If you have a scanner that can graph up to four things at once, you can graph air / fuel ratio and manifold vacuum, and compare the times they change to see if one correlates with the other.

If you find your idle steps are close to normal, you may have a vacuum leak that is intermittent. Erase the fault code, then watch how long and under which conditions it sets again. For intermittent leaks, we tend to think of a cracked hose that opens up when the engine rocks during acceleration, but we forget that some circuits turn on and off at various times. Two of the more common ones are the EGR valve and the charcoal canister purge valve. The EGR valve will not turn on at idle or low engine speeds because that would cause a rough-running engine. The purge valve typically only opens at higher speeds where the increased fuel vapors entering the engine can be more easily compensated for by the computer. Both of those systems open up additional vacuum hoses when their valves open, and that may be the only time the leak shows up.
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Friday, November 11th, 2016 AT 3:14 PM
Tiny
BIGBAT23
  • MEMBER
Well I took my van in to have a diagnostic check and guess what they said? NOTHING. He said he couldn't find anything wrong with it. So now what to do? So frustrating.
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Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 AT 2:24 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Yep, it sounds like you guys got the timing belt off one tooth. Please recheck the belt timing, I think this is where you will find the problem.

Let me know what you find,

Best Ken
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Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 AT 3:02 PM
Tiny
BIGBAT23
  • MEMBER
Thank you for the reply. Well I just went and picked up my van. I asked the guy if he checked the timing belt, his reply was "It's not the timing belt" followed quickly by I have 2 transmissions to work on. I just can't spend anymore time on it. Here is a pic of the position of the cams now. Can you tell anything from the pic?
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Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 AT 3:47 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Check that the crank gear is on its timing mark and the two notches on the cam gears should be aligned, you pic shows the engine not at TDC where it should be to set the timing correctly.
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Thursday, November 17th, 2016 AT 3:47 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Are we still working on the stalling at idle problem? Did you do the relearn procedure?
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Thursday, November 17th, 2016 AT 10:43 PM
Tiny
BIGBAT23
  • MEMBER
Yes it is the same problem. I did do the relearn procedure. I plan to redo the timing belt this weekend.
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Thursday, November 17th, 2016 AT 10:46 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Keep us updated.
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Thursday, November 17th, 2016 AT 11:36 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Hey,

Did you ever get the problem fixed?

Best, Ken
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Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 AT 6:09 PM

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