First, is your "Check engine" light illuminated? If so, then you need to have it scanned for trouble codes. That will give you a place to start.
Either way, it sounds as if you have a fuel related issue or a vacuum leak. Each one will cause a fuel delivery problem with your engine. Besides being a vacuum leak, it could be your fuel pump, regulator or fuel injectors. Also, one or more of your sensors or even your computer could be going bad.
If your "check engine" light isn't on, then the first place to start is by checking all vacuum lines, then proceed with a fuel pressure check. You'll need a manual for your vehicle that will give you fuel pressure specs.
Hook up a gauge to you fuel rail and read static pressure. Then rev the motor in steps while reading the gauge. The gauge should read within specs. If not, then you'll have to work your way through the system.
That's way too much for me to cover here. But if you perform a simple fuel pressure check and there's a problem, write back and we'll proceed from there.
If you're not comfortable with a fuel gauge, then you'll have to take it to a shop.
This sounds as if your fuel sending unit is sticking. This is located inside your gas tank and is connected to the fuel pump as one unit.
It can be accessed through the trunk, beneath the carpet up towards the backs of the rear seats.
Also, you engine issue sounds like a leaking fuel pressure regulator, though you converter can also be clogged. (I've never heard of the term "Salted Converter")
When your fuel pressure regulator leaks, it pours gas into the intake manifold where it puddles until it ignites. That's where your backfire is coming from. But running your engine for a long time like this will also clog up your converter. (Melt the insides)
You can find your fuel pressure regulator at the end of the fuel rail where all of your injectors are located. To check for a leak, pull the black vacuum hose connected to the regulator and look for any sign/smell of gasoline. If there's ANY, you have a leak.
It's easy to replace. Just pull it off and put on a new one. (There may be one/two bolts holding it on)
Saturday, January 16th, 2010 AT 7:00 PM