Backfiring is a very broad term. Backfiring usually occurs out the tail pipe and is by a malfunction of the ignition system or engine timing. This would point to the plug wires, carbon tracking in the distributor cap or a problem with the crankshaft position sensor or ECU.
The other condition often called "backfiring" is "lean coughing" which usually shows up as poping back into the intake system or air cleaner, sometimes showing up as black residue in the air flow meter and intake duct work. If this is the case, and by your description, I would say your engine is running lean. The first I would is change the fuel filter. If you have already done this then, as mentioned above, it could be one of your sensors or the ECM. Any of these should show up as a trouble code and a check engine light.
Sunday, September 28th, 2008 AT 3:30 PM