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    1. Member 85vwcabby's Avatar
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      05-05-2011 01:03 PM #1
      I have the car back together, and tried starting it, many times. It always seemed to want to run, as it backfired. Then it stopped turning over.

      I thought it was the battery, so I went and got a new one. (old one was quite a few years old)

      Turns out it wasn't the battery, cylinders #2 and #4 were filled, I mean FILLED with fuel, not allowing the engine to crank over...

      So I bought a new battery when I didn't really need to, and the car needs to sit for a while so at least some of the fuel can evaporate out of the cylinders and exhaust and where ever else it may be...

      What do I do now? Did I tune the fuel dizzy way too rich or something? Please help me, I've been going crazy over here with all of the sunshine and can't drive the Cabby around...
      1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet 5 speed, powered by the stock JH 1.8L 8 Valve ...... Needs a little work... lots got done...

      1987 parts Cabby The engine from this will be rebuilt/refreshed and push 250-300 hp... then dropped into the 85

    2. Member ih8erickempf's Avatar
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      05-05-2011 01:40 PM #2
      check your grounds... i shorted out my ECU due to a poor ground which caused it to load the cylinders with fuel

    3. Member 85vwcabby's Avatar
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      05-05-2011 02:07 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by ih8erickempf View Post
      check your grounds... i shorted out my ECU due to a poor ground which caused it to load the cylinders with fuel
      ECU grounds... I assume the ECU is the little box mounted to that plate in teh rain tray, on the driver's side... there is a plug that is about 2-3" wide and 1/4" thick... am I on the right track?

      The Bentley tells where the grounds for the ECU are, right? I missed it if it does.
      1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet 5 speed, powered by the stock JH 1.8L 8 Valve ...... Needs a little work... lots got done...

      1987 parts Cabby The engine from this will be rebuilt/refreshed and push 250-300 hp... then dropped into the 85

    4. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      05-05-2011 02:27 PM #4
      You don't have an ECU controlling the injectors if you have CIS. If you've filled the cylinders with gas you'll need to change the oil as some of that gas will have seeped into the crankcase.

      The injectors squirt whenever the airflap on the fuel distributor is "lifted" . I suspect yours is out of adjustment so far that the flap is lifted all the time.

      The proper procedure for adjusting the airflap is to...
      1. Pull the injectors.
      2. Bypass the fuel pump relay so the pumps are running.
      3. The injectors should NOT be squirting.
      4. Turn the adjustment screw clockwise until the injectors start to drip then turn the screw counter clockwise until they stop dripping.
      5. Now put everything back together.
      6. Start car and use the usual fuel mixture adjustment routine.

      If step #3 is not applicable because they ARE squirting (which I believe is the case) then immediately start adjusting the screw counterclockwise until they stop dribbling.

      THE OTHER REASON FOR FUEL IN THE CYLINDERS>>>
      Your cold start injector is leaking. Pull it, disconnect it and watch to see if it drips. If so replace it. If not then reconnect it and see if it drips. If so you have a cold start wiring issue.

    5. Member 85vwcabby's Avatar
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      05-05-2011 02:41 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by Moljinar View Post
      You don't have an ECU controlling the injectors if you have CIS. If you've filled the cylinders with gas you'll need to change the oil as some of that gas will have seeped into the crankcase.

      The injectors squirt whenever the airflap on the fuel distributor is "lifted" . I suspect yours is out of adjustment so far that the flap is lifted all the time.

      The proper procedure for adjusting the airflap is to...
      1. Pull the injectors.
      2. Bypass the fuel pump relay so the pumps are running.
      3. The injectors should NOT be squirting.
      4. Turn the adjustment screw clockwise until the injectors start to drip then turn the screw counter clockwise until they stop dripping.
      5. Now put everything back together.
      6. Start car and use the usual fuel mixture adjustment routine.

      If step #3 is not applicable because they ARE squirting (which I believe is the case) then immediately start adjusting the screw counterclockwise until they stop dribbling.

      THE OTHER REASON FOR FUEL IN THE CYLINDERS>>>
      Your cold start injector is leaking. Pull it, disconnect it and watch to see if it drips. If so replace it. If not then reconnect it and see if it drips. If so you have a cold start wiring issue.
      Ah, I didn't know about that six step pre-tuning process. There's likely the problem. When I pulled the plugs and saw that fuel, I thought I tuned it way too rich. You confirmed that's likely the case.

      I will do an oil change once I get it running and pick up some more oil.

      It does have the CIS system.

      Also, they tested the old battery, and it was shot, so I didn't 'waste' that 80 bucks on a new battery. That's kinda comforting.

      I'm just glad the thing couldn't start... if it did and enough fuel was in the cylinders, then I'd probably be dealing with a bent connecting rod or two.
      1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet 5 speed, powered by the stock JH 1.8L 8 Valve ...... Needs a little work... lots got done...

      1987 parts Cabby The engine from this will be rebuilt/refreshed and push 250-300 hp... then dropped into the 85

    6. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      05-05-2011 03:36 PM #6
      The backfiring is a problem as well. Sounds like you have a big vacuum leak or the timing is off. Make sure and check/correct those as well.

      What did you do in the way of work on the engine prior to this?

    7. Member sehaare's Avatar
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      05-05-2011 03:47 PM #7
      the fuel plunger in the dizzy could also be stuck. When I put a new, bigger fuel distributor on my car, when I first pressurized the fuel system I head a metallic tap and then the cylinders flooded like you describe. What i heard was the fuel plunger hitting the top of the fuel dizzy and then sticking wide open.

      If it is stuck then the adjustments that Oran describes will not affect the fuel flow.

      If the adjustment do affect the flow, then when you are done slowly raised the air flap with a magnet and verify that the fuel flow starts and changes smoothly with the height of the flap.
      Enjoy every sandwich - Warren Zevon

    8. Member ih8erickempf's Avatar
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      05-05-2011 03:51 PM #8
      Silly me assumed digi not cis... not like his name gave it away or anything

    9. Member 85vwcabby's Avatar
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      05-05-2011 06:46 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Moljinar View Post
      The backfiring is a problem as well. Sounds like you have a big vacuum leak or the timing is off. Make sure and check/correct those as well.

      What did you do in the way of work on the engine prior to this?
      All of the work I've done so far is replace every vacuum line, other than the big funky one that goes from the valve cover to the airbox, and the brake booster check valve and plastic line that go to the booster.

      I've cleaned out the throttle body, (removed and reinstalled with a new gasket, tightened down good and snug) replaced the injector seals, lower insulator cup seals, and I also cleaned the grounds on the frame in the engine bay, and the cold start valve grounds. (you know, that clump of grounds from various other stuff all grounded to the cold start valve)

      I cleaned out and basically 'rebuilt' the fuel distributor. It is clean. 99% sure on that. (and put back together right. I checked the action of the lever and it moved the needle smoothy, from what I could tell. Pressure on it, that's a whole different ball game, it's a slight possibility that it's sticking as sehaare said.

      Battery terminals are sparkling clean, the battery is fully charged and brand new. The fuel pumps work fine.

      Is the firing order from the laft terminal on the cap, counterclockwise, 1, 3, 4, 2? Or is the firing order clockwise? I don't remember what the Bentley said, I put the wires on a while back. (old ones, new ones are gonna have to be re-ordered, as I ordered the wrong ones. )

      The distributor cap and rotor are brand new Bosch parts, as are the plugs.

      I think I'll replace that funky hose, if the hose I have will work... It might not, as it is a thick wall rubber hose.

      Run a vacuum line to the booster, without the check valve. I might try and see how I like the brakes without assist, if it's not hard to stop the car without the booster, I'll get rid of the boost line altogether and put a warning post-it note on the dash.

      The booster valve does have hairline cracks in it. That may be the problem or one of the problems.

      I've got the injectors out (man are they easy to pull now!! ) and in mason jars awaiting the set up of the mixture screw. I was dropping by to see what the steps were again...

      The timing belt has been done too. The original had 157,000 miles on it... too many for my taste.

      Thanks for the help guys. I owe all of you a beer.
      1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet 5 speed, powered by the stock JH 1.8L 8 Valve ...... Needs a little work... lots got done...

      1987 parts Cabby The engine from this will be rebuilt/refreshed and push 250-300 hp... then dropped into the 85

    10. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      05-05-2011 07:42 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by 85vwcabby View Post
      Is the firing order from the laft terminal on the cap, counterclockwise, 1, 3, 4, 2?
      Cabby-Info.com -- Your online guide to VW Cabriolets/Rabbit Convertibles
      Old Blue's Blog -- The adventures of a 1990 Westfalia
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    11. Member 85vwcabby's Avatar
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      05-05-2011 09:32 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86 View Post
      There's my backfiring problem. #3 is where #2 is supposed to be, and vice versa. Only #1 and #4 are where they're supposed to be.

      I'm gonna have to print that out and put it in a plastic sleeve, then keep it in the car at all times, like my Bentley manual.

      Thanks again Kammy. I did check the timing, and it looks to be where it's supposed to be. About 6 degrees BTDC.

      The left edge of the rotor is about on the mark that is cast into the housing... is this before or after TDC? Just want to check my memory and correct it if need be... gas fumes and carb cleaner fumes ain't doing me any favors. Barn's filled with carb cleaner fumes... about 78% of the time. Gotta get that ventilation system set up.

      Here is the pic... the cast mark is at the top... rotor is sweeped to about 1:00 from that mark, which I'm calling 12:00. Piston #1 is at TDC.



      Siphoned some more fuel out of cylinder #4... moral of this story, DON'T PUT THE CAR BACK TOGETHER UNTIL YOU FOLLOW THE STEPS TO SET THE FUEL DIZZY AS IN MOLJINAR'S POST!!

      Yes, I leaned out the dizzy as much as possible. I will set it tomorrow when there's light out. Hopefully this miserable POS will run...
      1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet 5 speed, powered by the stock JH 1.8L 8 Valve ...... Needs a little work... lots got done...

      1987 parts Cabby The engine from this will be rebuilt/refreshed and push 250-300 hp... then dropped into the 85

    12. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      05-06-2011 09:32 AM #12
      Normally you don't have to readjust the fuel mixture unless you've moved it in the meantime.

      Old tech once told me there was no reason to ever set your timing , unless some damn fool set the timing.

    13. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      05-06-2011 10:16 AM #13


      That's wrong.
      Correct is when the center of the rotor lines up with the 'notch', cam dot lined up with the top of the valve cover, flywheel TDC marks lined up.
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    14. Member 85vwcabby's Avatar
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      05-06-2011 11:40 AM #14
      Okay, so the dizzy timing needs to be set... is it possible to do it without the flywheel timing mark or is that simply not gonna work. I don't have the tool for unscrewing that little flywheel inspection plug.

      IIRC, there's some driveway timing method someone did somewhere else... I think I'm gonna need that. I might have to go buy a timing light... or see if my neighbor has one.
      1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet 5 speed, powered by the stock JH 1.8L 8 Valve ...... Needs a little work... lots got done...

      1987 parts Cabby The engine from this will be rebuilt/refreshed and push 250-300 hp... then dropped into the 85

    15. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      05-06-2011 12:11 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by 85vwcabby View Post
      IIRC, there's some driveway timing method someone did somewhere else... I think I'm gonna need that. I might have to go buy a timing light... or see if my neighbor has one.
      http://www.mikegabriel.net/vw/badhab...it/timing.html
      Cabby-Info.com -- Your online guide to VW Cabriolets/Rabbit Convertibles
      Old Blue's Blog -- The adventures of a 1990 Westfalia
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    16. Member 85vwcabby's Avatar
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      05-06-2011 12:34 PM #16
      While I am waiting for an answer about timing... I went ahead and did the fuel set up as posted by Moljinar, and then followed through as suggested by sehaare, and found injectors #1 and #4 to have poor patterns... so I took injector #1 off of it's feed line and tried to clean it out with the carb cleaner trick... it doesn't work... Yes, I had the straw all the way into the back of the injector, all it does is fill up, leak out the back and doesn't dribble or spray at the tip at all.

      I'm getting very frustrated. What makes it even worse is the damn injector, when the straw moved a little bit, it spat carb cleaner right into my face... Seems like this thing is out to piss me off. God help it if it does set that final straw on the camel's back...

      So I'm here to say that carb cleaner trick doesn't work... and two of the damn injectors aren't working right.
      1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet 5 speed, powered by the stock JH 1.8L 8 Valve ...... Needs a little work... lots got done...

      1987 parts Cabby The engine from this will be rebuilt/refreshed and push 250-300 hp... then dropped into the 85

    17. Member 85vwcabby's Avatar
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      05-06-2011 12:35 PM #17
      Thanks Kammy.
      1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet 5 speed, powered by the stock JH 1.8L 8 Valve ...... Needs a little work... lots got done...

      1987 parts Cabby The engine from this will be rebuilt/refreshed and push 250-300 hp... then dropped into the 85

    18. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      05-06-2011 01:35 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by 85vwcabby View Post
      Seems like this thing is out to piss me off. God help it if it does set that final straw on the camel's back...
      Give this a read:
      http://www.mbca.org/forum/cleaning-m...ossible-things

      Trying ^that ultrasonic cleaner method is cheaper than buying new injectors.

      Also, take a deep breath, put down the tools and go do something else for awhile. Don't the blame the car for all these issues, blame the previous owners for their lack of maintenance and not caring about the car's well-being.
      Cabby-Info.com -- Your online guide to VW Cabriolets/Rabbit Convertibles
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    19. Member 85vwcabby's Avatar
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      05-06-2011 02:39 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86 View Post
      Give this a read:
      http://www.mbca.org/forum/cleaning-m...ossible-things

      Trying ^that ultrasonic cleaner method is cheaper than buying new injectors.

      Also, take a deep breath, put down the tools and go do something else for awhile. Don't the blame the car for all these issues, blame the previous owners for their lack of maintenance and not caring about the car's well-being.
      Yeah, it really ain't the car's fault, the stupid previous owners and the previous mechanics are the ones to blame...

      I did get those injectors cleaned out, and they work better... hope the carb cleaner and compressed air technique didn't hurt the screens... I didn't even know the screens were way down there... I thought they might've been removed from the top of the injector, where the fuel line bolts onto it. The patterns are much better now, still not perfect, but seems to be good. I suspect a real good cleaner like seafoam or techron will take care of the rest, if I fill some of the tank with that for the next few fill ups.
      1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet 5 speed, powered by the stock JH 1.8L 8 Valve ...... Needs a little work... lots got done...

      1987 parts Cabby The engine from this will be rebuilt/refreshed and push 250-300 hp... then dropped into the 85

    20. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      05-06-2011 02:51 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by 85vwcabby View Post
      .......

      IIRC, there's some driveway timing method someone did somewhere else... I think I'm gonna need that. I might have to go buy a timing light... or see if my neighbor has one.
      Static timing thread.......
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?3281138
      Do read all the way through. The beginning of that thread refers to DigiFant and 16V ignition systems, not CIS.
      CIS ignition works bass ackwards from DigiFant, corrections for CIS ignition are down the page a bit.
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    21. Member 85vwcabby's Avatar
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      05-06-2011 05:50 PM #21
      I've got it back together again... and it cranks over, almost catching a few times, but still refuses to start up and run...

      What now? I've got the problematic brake booster line disconnected for the moment, and the line for that on the intake is plugged right now. That big funky hose that runs from the valve cover to the intake box has not been replaced yet, as the hose I have doesn't like to flex that much...

      WTF did they have it come off of the valve cover towards the back of the engine bay? It makes much more sense to me if you ran it straight at the airbox... they must've been smoking crack when they thought that up...

      Also, the timing currently is at 0 degrees... I'm letting the battery pick up some juice on the charger right now... Beating the hell out of a brand new battery probably isn't good for it, but I do have a 1.5 year warranty on it...

      What do I do now?
      1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet 5 speed, powered by the stock JH 1.8L 8 Valve ...... Needs a little work... lots got done...

      1987 parts Cabby The engine from this will be rebuilt/refreshed and push 250-300 hp... then dropped into the 85

    22. Member 85vwcabby's Avatar
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      05-06-2011 09:16 PM #22
      Alright, I've ****ing had it.

      I believe the aux. air valve is bad, I cannot get to the one on my parts car because the damn engine is pushed into the firewall.

      There probably is another ****ing vacuum leak somewhere, I have no idea where the hell it is, as I have replaced everything that I found to be an old hose.

      Finally starts, but then stalls at idle... won't rev up at all.

      If someone wants to fix the damn thing for 300 bucks, that'd be great. otherwise, I'll probably sell it or scrap it.

      I'm done chasing my ****ing tail on this car.
      1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet 5 speed, powered by the stock JH 1.8L 8 Valve ...... Needs a little work... lots got done...

      1987 parts Cabby The engine from this will be rebuilt/refreshed and push 250-300 hp... then dropped into the 85

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      05-06-2011 11:19 PM #23
      Have you cleaned the screen material on the warm up regulator?
      If you put a rubber band or some tape on the WOT enrichment switch will it correct the vacuum leak enough to let it idle while you troubleshoot?

      Will it stay running if you keep your foot on the gas? If it will have someone hold the pedal just open enough to keep it running and spray carb cleaner along all of the vacuum lines, then along all 4 injectors and along the base of the intake manifold. When the idle jumps up you've found your leak.

      Have you done injector seals yet? Did you replace the holders when you did the seals? Have you replaced the o-ring on the idle adjustment screw? I've never had a CIS car that didn't leak at least a little at the idle screw when I bought it.

    24. Member 85vwcabby's Avatar
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      05-07-2011 01:18 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by happybunny View Post
      1. Have you cleaned the screen material on the warm up regulator?

      2. If you put a rubber band or some tape on the WOT enrichment switch will it correct the vacuum leak enough to let it idle while you troubleshoot?

      3. Will it stay running if you keep your foot on the gas? If it will have someone hold the pedal just open enough to keep it running and spray carb cleaner along all of the vacuum lines, then along all 4 injectors and along the base of the intake manifold. When the idle jumps up you've found your leak.

      4. Have you done injector seals yet?

      5. Did you replace the holders when you did the seals?

      6. Have you replaced the o-ring on the idle adjustment screw? I've never had a CIS car that didn't leak at least a little at the idle screw when I bought it.
      1. No. Forgot about that contraption.

      2. Probably not, may try this weekend or sometime next week.

      3. Nope.

      4. Yes, main injector seals, and lower insulator/holder cup seals. Did not find air shrouds in the insulators or on the injectors, so I assumed this car came without them, as it technically is an 84 1/2, not an 84 nor 85. Kind of a PITA year.

      5. No. Will order those when I order the correct plug wires.

      6. Brand new idle screw... fresh from the stealership last fall.
      1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet 5 speed, powered by the stock JH 1.8L 8 Valve ...... Needs a little work... lots got done...

      1987 parts Cabby The engine from this will be rebuilt/refreshed and push 250-300 hp... then dropped into the 85

    25. Member 87Cabriolet's Avatar
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      05-07-2011 01:36 PM #25
      Mine was doing the same thing.

      I did find that the boot on my throttle body was cracked badly when I took it off and saw cracks between the ridges. Something to consider...

      What I would do is have someone cranking the car over (in neutral, parking brake on of course!) and then just turn the distributor slowly one way or another, probably counterclockwise to advance it as someone is cranking it. The car will just barely run at 0 degrees so you can fine tune it, but if you have a vacuum leak you may not even be able to get it to run at 0 degrees...?

      Also, you mentioned you replaced the idle speed screw...I would probably have to mention that if its adjusted wrong you could have the idle issues where it started and dies after. It would have to be really out of whack, but it is possible...

      So it starts, but then dies immediately? No idle, no giving it gas keeps it going? You did say you checked the spray patterns on the injectors, did that plate move freely when you manually moved it?

      Ive been there with being frustrated to the point of sending the car off, and I bet I will be again and again as I work on getting it running sometime soon...

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