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    Thread: Running rich...

    1. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      02-25-2012 12:34 PM #1
      So Ive been reading, and searching but still not sure what to try next so Im asking for help. The car is an 89 golf gti 16v. Supposedly only 78,xxx on the odo, 5 spd ect.... What I have done to the car includes:

      O2 sensor, spark plugs (e3 plugs), Bosch wires, Pertronix coil, new car and rotor, air/oil/fuel filters, coolant temp sensor, timing belt, all vacuum lines and coolant lines ect...

      Took it to smogg and Hc at idle were in the 400ppm range but passed across the rest of the board. Im wondering if the Fuel distributor is out of adjustment (the car was completely molested when I bought it). What I need to know I guess is what I should be adjusting and how do I know if its doing any good or not?

      Thanks for your time

      -Mario

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      02-25-2012 01:47 PM #2
      Don't know just how off you are with 400ppm so I will just say this. Research how to and build or if you like buy a test harness for checking the mA signal to the DPR. They are easy to make if you have some old connectors hanging around and the cost of a new one might be like $20 or $30 if that's better. Once you have that you can set your own mixture easy and even tune for better performance. Plus if it ever comes time to troubleshoot the system there are good tests to run for ECU vs. mixture problems in areas like cold start, warm-up, etc. If 400ppm is just over the limit for you than you could just turn the mixture screw say 1/8 turn leaner, out, and try the test again (if it is free).

    3. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      02-25-2012 02:44 PM #3
      the smogg guy was saying it should be in the 180ppm range iirc. Ill have to look more into that test harness you speak of, and I was gonna check the fuel pressure itself and see if I have an injector staying open or opening and too low of pressure or something?

    4. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      02-27-2012 02:54 PM #4
      To add to my issues, it does have a bit of surging at idle, the fuel pump is loud in the mornings until I prime it a couple times, and need to crank it a couple times and give it a tiny bit of gas to get it to catch. My issues are all only at idle, under light, moderate and hard acceleration it goes like a bat out of hell the the fuel smell is enough to make your eyes and throat burn, and gas mileage is HORRIBLE. Could this be a leaking injector im having an issue with or any other thoughts? Gonna be making the test harness today or tommorow so Ill post what results I get from that. Again I appreciate all the help guys and gals!

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      02-27-2012 03:18 PM #5
      pull the injectors, see if all 4 spray nice atomized streams..

    6. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      02-29-2012 02:45 PM #6
      So made a trip to the wrecking yard yesterday, got the electrical connectors and made the test harness and put it inline with my DVOM set to 20mA. Start the car after driving for over an hour so I know the car was hot and the fan cycled many many times, and all I got for a reading was a 1 to the far left of my meter. Turn the adjusting screw c-clockwise (about 1/8th turn at a time, removing allen wrench and snapping the throttle a couple time in between) and no change in reading. Do the same thing clockwise, eventually by the time the car stumbles hard with each snap of the throttle I get some very eratic numbers ranging from .3XX mA up to 20mA and the car ran like isht... Am I doing something wrong here or am I looking at a bad DPR? I re adjusted it as far lean as I can go withouth it dying or stumbling, installed a used/cleaned ISV and seems to run ALOT better now...

      Thanks again for everyones time, cant wait till this things runs good enough to smog!

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      03-01-2012 03:56 AM #7
      Idle mixture - Idle speed - ignition timing all have to be adjusted together. Have you checked the ignition timing now that the mixture is reading on the scale? A DPR can go bad but it seems that it is working as the numbers have started to fall onto the correct range. The DPR reacts to input from the computer and not on it's own, so before damning the DPR be sure the computer is recieving correct input, basic settings are correct and the computer is spitting out correct output.

    8. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      03-01-2012 01:03 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by WaterWheels View Post
      Idle mixture - Idle speed - ignition timing all have to be adjusted together. Have you checked the ignition timing now that the mixture is reading on the scale? A DPR can go bad but it seems that it is working as the numbers have started to fall onto the correct range. The DPR reacts to input from the computer and not on it's own, so before damning the DPR be sure the computer is recieving correct input, basic settings are correct and the computer is spitting out correct output.
      I did not even to think to double check the timing at the same time, I was planning on doing all the timing,fuel,and idle adjustments today but its pouring down rain and I have no cover. Thank you for bringing that to my attention and Ill do all that as soon as the weather breaks

    9. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      03-05-2012 08:08 PM #9
      So I got the chance to do some adjusting yesterday. Got the DPR numbers withing a pretty acceptable range, timing seems to be dead on with the mark on the flywheel, adjusted the idle down as low and smooth as I can but it does still run rough from time to time. Did the parts cleaner spray down on all the gaskets and hoses and as I spray over #1 injector it dies immediatly, problem found! Got all new injector seals coming overnight and we'll see how it goes tommorow. Already have my smogg appt set for thursday wish me luck

    10. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      03-09-2012 02:36 PM #10
      Bumping this thread again with more info/ questions...

      First off,Replaced all the injector seals, got everything adjusted to the T of what Im told it should be, the DPR is readin from 7.9 mA- 12.1mA and you can watch the digit go up and down in sequence (8-9-10-11-12-11-10-9-8). The o2 sensor is showing a good, steady cycle, timing is still dead on the mark. Sprayed the engine down again with cleaner and does not die anymore, and the idle is smoother than it has ever been however it does occasionally die when I come to a stop and the IAC seems to struggle catching the idle on deccel, stopping or just pushing the clutch in. I have 2 IAC valves both showing the same exact continuity between the center and outside pins... so either I have two bad ones or theyre both good

      As far as the smogg goes, took it back yesterday. Original Hc was 358ppm (max 120ppm) yesterday it was 280-300, fluctuating with the idle wich only fluctuates between 980-1000 rpm after it gets past its occasional hesitating.

      What am I missing here, is there something I am overlooking that should be checked? Is there anyone local to me that I can pay to come give me a hand who thinks they can figure it out? Im at a complete loss and am so ready to drive this thing off a cliff! Have SOOO much money tied up into what feels to me like nothing But I love my little GTI and really dont want to give up on it.

      Thanks again and again for everyones help here, it is GREATLY appreciated!

    11. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      03-09-2012 05:58 PM #11
      No one really has anything else to chime in on for me? You guys gotta understand living were I live I have no gurus or really any enthusiasts around me so I kinda rely on the vortex for the last 3 years and 2 cars!

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      03-10-2012 02:05 AM #12
      Is the 89 a 1.8 or 2.0? If it's the 1.8, you may need to loosen the idle screw a bit to dial the baseline idle up a bit. If the o-ring goes bad, you'll have a vacuum leak there, and the screw can wander, often going full tight, causing your idle issues.

      Have you pulled the plugs to examine them? How does the car drive otherwise?

      How fast is the DPR / o2 sensor oscillating? Do you feel the exhaust sputter at idle if you put your hand in front of the tailpipe?
      Last edited by ziddey; 03-11-2012 at 03:07 PM.
      I really suck at smog.

    13. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      03-10-2012 01:06 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by ziddey View Post
      Is the 89 a 1.8 or 2.0? If it's the 1.8, you may need to loosen the idle screw a bit to dial the baseline idle up a bit. If the o-ring goes bad, you'll have a vacuum leak there, and the screw can wander, often going full tight, causing your idle issues.

      High HC is usually rich mixture. Have you pulled the plugs to examine them? How does the car drive otherwise?

      How fast is the DPR / o2 sensor oscillating? Do you feel the exhaust sputter at idle if you put your hand in front of the tailpipe?
      It is the 1.8l, it was built on 6/88. I have definatley adjusted the idle screw quite a bit out, made it idle smoother but still rich. I also sprayed it with brake-cleen and didnt affect the way it ran at all, and it has good tension to it (slightly firm to turn by hand.) It does sputter and yes you can feel the sputter at the tail pipe. Other than idle I feel the car runs great (keeps up with my friends turbo crx), emissions are in passable range off idle as well, and never falls on its face except off idle.

      I pulled the plugs and they were very clean, (only have about 500miles on them), what I question is they had a yellow/green tint to the tips, but no signs of being wet or fouled. They are e3 plugs and I have recently ran a fuel system cleaner through it so Im assuming that was the strange color tint to the plugs.

      The cycling of the DPR and o2 are steady and quick, but slow enough you can watch the digits go up and down one-by-one.

      Im gonna be ordering a new cat for the exhaust and hopefully that cures my issue long enough
      to pass Like I said Im about at a complete loss with this thing, and again thank you all for your help with this, it is beyond appreciated!

    14. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      03-11-2012 01:12 PM #14
      I know this is probably annoying alot of you by now, buit Im bumping for a response

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      03-12-2012 02:05 AM #15
      If you are getting a direct replacement cat, it'd be a good idea to swap back your dead one after smog. You still have issues, and if you keep it as is, the cat will surely be bad by the next smog.

      So it still runs rough at idle despite proper dpr oscillation? I don't know anything about E3 plugs, and while they may or may not be a gimmick, they should be fine. Most people go with straight up regular Bosch copper plugs though. Cheap, works well, and it's not like plugs are hard to change on these motors. May be worth a shot, since it sounds like you're experiencing misfires. What were your CO/NOx levels for your last test? O2%?
      I really suck at smog.

    16. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      03-12-2012 07:45 AM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by ziddey View Post
      If you are getting a direct replacement cat, it'd be a good idea to swap back your dead one after smog. You still have issues, and if you keep it as is, the cat will surely be bad by the next smog.

      So it still runs rough at idle despite proper dpr oscillation? I don't know anything about E3 plugs, and while they may or may not be a gimmick, they should be fine. Most people go with straight up regular Bosch copper plugs though. Cheap, works well, and it's not like plugs are hard to change on these motors. May be worth a shot, since it sounds like you're experiencing misfires. What were your CO/NOx levels for your last test? O2%?
      Ive been contimplating the plugs being a problem, I ran them in my vr6 I had and it loved it, but that was a different motor with a ford coil conversion on it as well. I dont remember the exact number on the co/nox levels, I just remember him telling me theyre almost dead on what they should be (just going by what my smogg guy says).

      im going with a universal cat cause unfortunately its the only one I can find for my car that is Calofornia compliant but luckily where I live you only smogg the car once when your buy it or if you sell.

      I do have a couple other things Im questioning: one was the plugs but you already suggested giving them a try, its worth the $3 each. Two, even though it is new, could I have a bad o2 even though its giving decent readings? And lastly, possibly my ECU, just because everything else seems to be functioning more properly than not and Im still haveing such random idle issues?

    17. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      03-12-2012 07:25 PM #17
      Ive been told to double check my o2 sensor heater circuit as well in another forum, but I tested my ICM today at work and it failed the test 3 times. Is it normal for the car to continue running and running pretty decent with a bad module? Can this be why my tach hasnt been working as well?

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      03-13-2012 06:53 AM #18
      Should have nothing to do with the tachometer. The ICM could be an issue as it seems you have an engine miss at and/or just off idle. Higher then normal HC and more or less normal other readings indicates incomplete combustion in one or more cylinders. It does not mean the mixture is too rich, just not being completely burned. A mis-fire due to ignition problems is one cause. Bad wire, cap, rotor, sparkplug, wrong heat range of plugs, etc. are some of the common ignition problems. Uneven compression due to any number of problems like valve sealing or valve timing or a vacuum leak can also cause the problem. It is also possible that the CAT is lacking and seeing as you are going to replace it, I would not tinker with anything until you do that and see if the numbers come down.

    19. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      03-13-2012 07:39 AM #19
      well my main thing is I want to avoid a new cat, especially if the car still has a misfire and could destroy the new cat (I dont really have money to burn like that), so I want to fix the running condition first. If I still need a cat after its running right and the misfire and all thats gone then Ill fork out the cash... California really limits me to whats available and what is avail is expensive as isht just to have go bad in a year or less. The module is only $30, so if that fixes the mis-fire, naturally will fix the rich condition as well.

      plugs,cap,rotor,wires,coil,o2 sensor, cts, timing belt/timing, vacuum lines, leaking gaskets, o-rings, air, oil, and fuel filters, along with a ton of other non-tune up parts have ALL been replaced in the last 500 miles. I have to be getting close to getting this right lol

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      03-13-2012 08:59 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by oldskoolracer View Post
      well my main thing is I want to avoid a new cat, especially if the car still has a misfire and could destroy the new cat ... California really limits me to whats available and what is avail is expensive as isht just to have go bad in a year or less. The module is only $30, so if that fixes the mis-fire, naturally will fix the rich condition as well.
      Maybe I was not real clear, you are not as I see it running too rich. If the mixture being measured was too rich it would have a high CO reading as well. What you have is "in-complete" burning of the mixture.

      A misfire is not going to ruin a CAT, but I can understand not wanting to spend more than you have to. Just how have you tested the ICM if I may ask? I have a Bosch testing device to test them but without that I don't see a very clear test. Have you tested the compression? If you have a slightly burnt valve or broken valve spring or something else not letting things seal completely none of the above will fix things.

      Don't understand what California has to do with buying things? I know their testing is the pits, strict, but purchasing things should not matter where you are? Use the Internet if it is a matter of local stores and their prices. Just don't understand what you siad there.

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      03-13-2012 11:38 AM #21
      California has some insane rules on catalytic converters, especially as of a few years ago. Last time I needed a cat, I had to have it shipped to my friend out of state and have him mail it to me.
      I really suck at smog.

    22. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      03-14-2012 01:37 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by ziddey View Post
      California has some insane rules on catalytic converters, especially as of a few years ago. Last time I needed a cat, I had to have it shipped to my friend out of state and have him mail it to me.
      Ziddy hit the nail on the head with cali. Im understanding it not physically running rich wich is why Im trying to track a misfire. As of the ICM, we have a module tester here where I work, however I tested the new one and it failed as well so Im not trusting the machine...

      Gonna borrow a comp. tester hopefully today or tommorow and double check that as well. Gonna try a new dizzy and module as well just for the sake of saying I did...

    23. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      03-15-2012 03:07 PM #23
      So my boss was nice enough to allow me to try out a new dizzy and module, still didnt change. Seemed to have ran better for the first few moments of running but the just went back to a hard hesitation off of idle. Still havnt found a compression tester to borrow and cant afford one right now but definately on my to do list! Double checked, cleaned and repaired every ground I can find and nothing shows over .8-1ohm resistance.

      I have battery voltage to the o2 heater, and .6 volts on the other white heater wire with the engine running, and o2 signal varied from .3v-.8v and cycled very smooth and consistantly...

      With the conditions Im having will a new cat-converter force it to be clean enough to pass smogg? Or should I continue to try and figure out the misfire? Is it possible the cat can affect idle but allow the car to have great power and no hesitation under load? I can go up just about any hill without downshifting and no more than 1/2-3/4 throttle... I need to smogg just once where I live and Ill never have to worry about it again unless I sell it...

      Thank-you again for your help, and hopefully Ill get this figured out and you guys wont have to hear from me about this anymore!

    24. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      03-19-2012 08:13 PM #24
      Checked out a couple more things while waiting for my new cat and muffler to come in. Pulled the injectors again to check the flow/spray pattern. Jumped the fuel pump relay, have 74psi of fuel pressure to the distributor, no injector sprays or leaks at all, not even a tiny little seep. Slowly pull the air plate up and all four spray pretty evenly, just a smaal squirt all the way to a full high pressure cone with the plate fully lifted, close it and all completely shut off. So Im sure I can eliminate them from being an issue.

      Found a huge crack on the bottom the air boot an the dizzy No wonder I cant get things right. Wrapped in duct tape (temporary fix till I get another), Idle is WAY smoother now, still smells very rich in fuel, and the idle surges (tach doesnt work so I dont know what RPMs its jumping) for the first couple moments bringing it back to idle but eventually smooths out, and throttle response has greatly improved.

      Gonna get a new boot for both ends of the intake tube, new cat and muffler. Can anyone think of anything else to check on this thing? I feel I am soo close to getting this right. This CIS crap is ridiculous to figure out!

    25. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 06:04 PM #25
      Well after all this time I tracked the mifire down to the head gasket, blowing all sorts of pressure through the coolant. Time to park it, tear it down, replace all the gaskets and bearings. Thanks for all your help guys and hopefully I can get this done in a timely manner and get it back on the road!

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      04-04-2012 09:19 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by oldskoolracer View Post
      Well after all this time I tracked the mifire down to the head gasket, blowing all sorts of pressure through the coolant. Time to park it, tear it down, replace all the gaskets and bearings. Thanks for all your help guys and hopefully I can get this done in a timely manner and get it back on the road!
      prolly just needs the head gasket replaced, not a complete engine rebuild..

    27. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      04-06-2012 01:20 PM #27
      Im not doing a full build, the oil pan was smashed along with the exhaust and most of the underside of the car so I want to pull it apart and make sure theres no mechanical damage and replace the pump/ pickup tube as well. I just want it to be legit and a safe daily when it is finally on the road

    28. Member oldskoolracer's Avatar
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      01-31-2014 07:43 PM #28
      Bringing this thread back from the dead cause I didnt want to start another... So its been almost 2 years now since I started this madness that is the 16v mk2...

      Heres were I am at now. The engine has been overhauled, replaced all gaskets and seals from top to bottom, new injector o-rings, shrouds, and inserts. Surfaced the head and block, lapped in the valves to make sure they had good clean faces and seal 100% now. All new coolant sensors, oil press sensors, knock sensor, o2 sensor, and as mentioned before all the filters.... In the process everything got painted, the car got a wire tuck, partially shaved bay, and replaced all the suspension, steering and brake components.

      Got it up and running again, have gone through all the wiring, check power, grounds, and continuity in the electrical. It starts and idles at one speed now, got the DPR reading within specs of the Bentley, and the o2 sensor is cycling from a little over .1 to .8v steadily and consitant so Im on the right track... The misfire is still there but I think I have narrowed it to being the coil finally... I used a universal Pertronix canister coil... Couple things Ive learned here, 1: get one that is within the same specified ratings (VW recommends .5-.8 ohm resistance on the primary side for "PL" engines, my coil is 1.5ohm) 2: DO NOT mount an "oil-filled" coil on its side, causes them to leak, vibrate, and cause them to over heat...

      Just wanted to share my findings and to let you all know that I havnt given up and Im still lurking through the forums and hope the info helps someone having similar issues. Hoping to have it all wrapped up and smogged soon. Then I can finally get around to doing the body work and paint. Thanks to all of those who worked with me on here, and Ill be posting more as I go, hopefully starting a build thread soon Heres a couple pics for kicks anyway right now!



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