1991 Chevy S-10 Idles/runs good until warm

Tiny
KEN96
  • MEMBER
  • 1991 CHEVROLET S-10
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • MANUAL
  • 250,000 MILES
My truck starts up well, idles, and seems to drive (afraid to really take it out since this started) normally until it warms up. After about 10-15 minutes, it suddenly begins to idle very rough, with rpms going up and down, and black smoke coming out the tail pipe (and I think from holes in muffler too). When throttle is applied, the engine just sputters hard and eventually quits. The next day, it will start and run fine briefly as already desciribed, with the same things happening again. The "Service engine soon" light is on throughout. I have a feeling the catalytic converter and/or muffler is shot, causing some type of restriction when warmed up. I would appreciate some input from professionals on this, however. Thanks very much in advance.
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Monday, September 28th, 2009 AT 8:23 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
It could be a few things. THe catylatic converter can cause this as well as a bad ignition module, fuel pump. If the check engine light is on, there is a code stored in the computer. What I need you to do is take it to a nationally recognized parts store and have them scan the computer for trouble codes. Most of the stores will do it for free, and then we will have a better idea where the problem is coming from.

Have that done and let me know what you find.
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Monday, September 28th, 2009 AT 8:35 PM
Tiny
KEN96
  • MEMBER
The parts stores I went to told me they don't test the computer -- the thin black plastic box mounted near the driver's side wheel well. They do test the ignition control module, but not for trouble codes, just if it's good or bad. They also have for sale a little black plastic (about 2"x2") device that supposedly plugs in somewhere under the dashboard and will give trouble codes that can be interpreted using a code pamphlet that comes with the device.

I think the fact that it starts running lousy and emitting black exhaust once warm is some kind of clue that should narrow it down. Can any of those possibilities you mentioned in your first reply to me be ruled out by this?

I just started it up again, crawled under and found that most of the exhaust is exiting through rusted, corroded out holes in the muffler. Could this be the cause of running well until warm?

The ignition control module checks out OK, and I replaced the distributor cap and rotor, which were both toasted looking. However, it still did the same thing after idling smoothly for around 20 minutes.

I guess my next step is to maybe buy the trouble code tester that plugs in under the dashboard, or just give in and take it to a shop.

Thanks very much.
Ken
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Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 AT 2:47 PM
Tiny
KEN96
  • MEMBER
Hi,
I bought a code reader, used as directed, and got two ECM codes -- 15 and 33.

For 15 the booklet says, "Coolant temperature sensor or circuit fault -- signal voltage high."

For 33 it says, "Mass air flow (MAF) sensor -- signal voltage or frequency is high during engine idle, " and "Manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor -- signal voltage is high during engine idle (Note: Engine misfire or unstable idle may cause this code."

I erased the codes in the computer as directed, and attempted to start the engine again for more testing, but it won't start now. Definitely related to procedure above because it started easily, and without fail many times before I did this.
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Thursday, October 1st, 2009 AT 2:54 PM
Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
Ok can you tell me do you do you not have spark? Simply pull a spark plug and put a screwdriver in the end of it and put it near the valve cover and crank it over, do you have spark?
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Friday, October 9th, 2009 AT 10:16 AM
Tiny
KEN96
  • MEMBER
This is too funny. It seems a former member of my household was using my truck as a gas station and auto parts store. I put some gas in it and replaced fuses that had been taken out, and the truck is basically fine. The code reader indicated the need for a new coolant temp sensor, which I replaced, and that made a big difference.

Now, I need to replace the exhaust system from the catalytic converter back and fix some small things like back up light switch and instrument cluster lamps.

Thank you, guys, for your help. I'll write back if I get stuck on something.
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Sunday, October 18th, 2009 AT 4:38 PM

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