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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there again guys!
Well, Im back..

I had one of the strangest errors ever yesterday, and it has rendered my tracker unusable for the moment.

About 2 weeks ago, I had an engine issue, the car would "Jerk" everytime I tried to put it in gear, had loss of power, it would shudder and chop, just like it would if you were missusing the manual Trans. Idle was fine, only under load in the 1,2,3 gears
However, It corrected itself two days later, no issues. It has been running absolutely perfect since then, right at 850-900 RPM, no CEL, clutch good, no shudder.

I bring this up, because yesterday, as I was pulling out of the parking lot, and BAM, started again. In 1st/2nd/3rd/4th shudder shudder. Like driving a carnival ride. I managed to get home, and there I checked all fluids, listend for odd noises ect.

Car had a bad idle, and couldn't be driven around without jumping. Power didn't seem to respond to pedal, sluggish.

SO

Last night we replaced all the plugs, (Well past due) cables, dist cap and the "T" piece under it I cant seem to think of.

Now, the Tracker starts fine. But will not stay running! No idle.

If you do not give it gas, it will stall. BUT, if you put your foot on the peddle, it bogs down like it is flooding. Pedal off, revs up, then down rapidly. Still jerking and stuttering if you try to drive.

We pulled the intake, and it looked ok.

PCV valve is very wiggly, I assume it needs a replacement.

Our best guess, was that this seems like a fuel issue, that there is a blockage in the line or clogged filter.


BUT,
Is there any way to test other issues?

I am planning to test the fuel pump tonight for pressure/flow.

But. Could be a blocked EGR?
Would a clogged cat do this?

Any ideas?
Its definitely an odd one.

1.6, 8v, 157000 miles, 5 speed/
 

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Is your check engine light on with the key on and off with the car running? Your 1990, if its a federal car, will not throw an EGR code, but certainly the EGR is the number one cause of bogging. However the EGR is normally not active at idle - you should check to make sure that the diaphragm is not stuck in the forward position, and clean the EGR circuit, particularly if you've never done so.
Have you pulled the spark plugs to see if the car is flooding?? If you rev up the car when the idle is jerking around, can you rev your way out of it? Have you checked your fuel filter (rust particles from tank?). The injector also has a small filter that is easily blocked up by very small pieces. Normally, if the ECU cannot regulate the idle, you will get a 'hunting' idle, as the ECU gains control and loses it.
As usual, I would suggest a compression test first, just to verify your engine timing, before you start looking elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi there! All plugs are good. No flooding previously that I can detect. I am going to check the EGR tonight. Engine compression is good as well.
It COULD be the timing, I will have to look as well.

CEL is working well, and throws no code
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What is good compression?? Does the CEL throw a code 12??
I do not know. I don't have a tester. I meant the light isn't coming on or flashing any numbers. It comes on on start. then goes off.

Compression was in the 145-150 range.

I am thinking this might be a fuel issue. Either the injector or the pump/filter. When I bought the tracker. It had sat for a year. Maybe I am finally starting to see the result of this.
 

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Confirm that the compression test was done with all the plugs removed, the gas pedal floored while cranking, a fully charged battery, and on an engine that was not stone cold. If so, then your compression is a bit low. Under the above circumstances, your compression should be about 170psi, so you may want to check to see if your belt has jumped a tooth. Or maybe just a tired engine.
And in order to check for codes (so you can confirm that you are getting a code 12) you only need a metal paperclip. Instructions here:
Check Engine Light
Have you confirmed your ignition timing, considering that your problem got worse once you fiddled with the distributor? Did you gap your spark plugs to .028"?? What was the condition of the tips of the spark plugs that you removed? Have you ever changed the fuel filter since you got the car, or checked the fuel pressure?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Confirm that the compression test was done with all the plugs removed, the gas pedal floored while cranking, a fully charged battery, and on an engine that was not stone cold. If so, then your compression is a bit low. Under the above circumstances, your compression should be about 170psi, so you may want to check to see if your belt has jumped a tooth. Or maybe just a tired engine.
And in order to check for codes (so you can confirm that you are getting a code 12) you only need a metal paperclip. Instructions here:
Check Engine Light
Have you confirmed your ignition timing, considering that your problem got worse once you fiddled with the distributor? Did you gap your spark plugs to .028"?? What was the condition of the tips of the spark plugs that you removed? Have you ever changed the fuel filter since you got the car, or checked the fuel pressure?
Hi there!
I will re-pressure tonight, but, I do not believe that is the issue. Same for CEL./The spark plugs are perfect. They were correctly gaped per my FSM - .027-.31, set at .28.

The ones I removed were absolutely gone. Huge gaps, and very worn, but nothing to indicate flooding or non-firing cylinder.

Fuel filter is being replaced tonight, As that is what I believe to be causing the issue. I have not yet pressure tested, as the FSM shows a unique fitting that I am not sure I have, and will look tonight when old filter is off. Fuel is reaching the intake in a steady drip, but that doesn't mean it isn't under pressure.

The engine just won't stay running.
It will start right up first turn, sound great, then try to high-idle (Cold) and start to sputter and die. Pressing the pedal appears to cut it worse, releasing the pedal brings it back for an instant, then starts dying again. I can keep it at 2000rpm if I just tap the pedal about an inch in and out as fast as I can, but it was fleeting.
 

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If it was the fuel filter I doubt it would do this...
It will start right up first turn, sound great, then try to high-idle (Cold) and start to sputter and die. Pressing the pedal appears to cut it worse, releasing the pedal brings it back for an instant, then starts dying again. I can keep it at 2000rpm if I just tap the pedal about an inch in and out as fast as I can, but it was fleeting.
esp. the high idle and start right up.

I know your gonna do the filter and it prob needs it but if it is the crank bolt then you are wasting your money putting parts into this engine. So maybe check that first?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If it was the fuel filter I doubt it would do this...

esp. the high idle and start right up.

I know your gonna do the filter and it prob needs it but if it is the crank bolt then you are wasting your money putting parts into this engine. So maybe check that first?
How would I check this? I don't have my FSM handy at work, but, I can snag it when I head home.
Wouldn't that cause more serious issues then what is going on?
 

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How would I check this? I don't have my FSM handy at work, but, I can snag it when I head home.
Wouldn't that cause more serious issues then what is going on?
Well you would need a torque wrench and a socket. I believe it should be at 94 ft/lbs but please research it.

How much more serious do you want the problem to be? IF I understand correctly you risk suicide trying to get out in moving traffic the way it is?

Do a search as much has been written about this torque or lack of. I hope that's not your problem as (I think) it is a very serious problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well you would need a torque wrench and a socket. I believe it should be at 94 ft/lbs but please research it.

How much more serious do you want the problem to be? IF I understand correctly you risk suicide trying to get out in moving traffic the way it is?

Do a search as much has been written about this torque or lack of. I hope that's not your problem as (I think) it is a very serious problem.
AH!
I have a Dodge Ram and a metro to back me up :)
No risk of dying in traffic as it sits.
If all that I need is a wrench i'm good!

Honestly, I'm pretty good with welding and body work, but I have never studied engines. That I think is my issue.
 

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Your car is an early model is there a fuse you put in or do you use a paper clip? When you put the new rotor in the distributor did you install it correctly? Some rotors will fit in several positions but only one is right. Are the plug wires on correctly? I would check wiring order and fuel filter before I dickered with the crank bolt to much. The car ran fine before and all you did was replace plugs and play with dist and wires.
 

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Riley makes a point about the wires. Just because they are new does NOT mean they are not defective (or part of the problem).

Last month there was a post where someone had wires defective, right out of the box.

Something else you can do before you spend more money.

Find a dark place to lift your hood, let your eyes adjust for a minute then check your wires for arcing with the engine revving a bit.

Edit:
btw - obd1 you won't get a CEL from either wires misfiring or crankshaft keyway moving.
btw2 - dont forget to check the spark plug wells for arcing where you can't see it.
 

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Presumably you also know that the rotor in your distributor rotates clockwise, and the car fires 1-3-4-2.
The crank keyway issue is basically for cars where the crank pulley has been removed during a timing belt install, and then the bolt is not torqued to 94 ft/lbs. If you find that yours is torqued properly, then this most probably is not the issue.
Is the compression numbers that you gave from a test that you have done now, since you have had this issue? And when you did the test, were all plugs out, and your gas pedal floored while cranking? If no to any of these, run the test again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey guys,
Ran some checks from the FSM, we put a meter on the wires to read the fuel tank, as we heard no noise on start.

Followed the lines to the controller under the dash, jumped per FSM, reading 12v to the pump. Dropping tank now. Going to check the pump, but following the FSM, it seems either no power from the hanger to the pump, or bad pump.
 

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You don't get the three second prime on a '90, you need to crank it when you're checking the pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
You don't get the three second prime on a '90, you need to crank it when you're checking the pump.
Ah..
Im not so sure about this.

We did do a test with cranking it over. Before this step. But, just as a note, when I start my car, on but not cranking it over, the fuel pump does turn on, and makes it nice whirrrrrr.

However, it did not fix my (Overall?)issue.
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Basically, the motor went from being 100% one day, to sitting overnight, and when started in the morning, jerking when it was put in gear.
Drove about 40 miles, made it home, jerking all the way, and parked it.

We replaced the wires, plugs, dist cap, and the T thing inside, who's name escapes me atm. Rotor? In the same positions as the old one. This caused the car to act no better than before, except now, it would not idle, but start right away, climb rpm to 2000-3000, then crash right down, slowly and steadily.

Rapidly spamming the gas pedal will allow you to keep it running at 2000, but never over 3000.

Pressing the pedal decreases RPM, with brief increases as it is released. Damn peculiar. No chance of idle, the rpms die right down.

The engine also appears to be miss-firing during this process, but otherwise runs ok.
Adding fuel directly to the intake, allows you to push RPM's higher, (I stopped at 4000) But otherwise fixes no issue.
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Last night/this morning, we didn't hear any noise from the fuel pump. The engine would also not start, but would only crank. We checked the motor and wires as stated, and did the jump/bypass on the controller, nothing.

We removed it today and found this:


HOWEVER, once removed, it ran, and we re installed it. Now the car will start, but, will repeat the same error as above.
Day wasted? 50/50. Not sure
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We are currently looking at a timing issue, I know this was suggested above. Can't seem to find the notch.
An issue with the fuel injector.
An issue with fuel pressure
Engine runs very hot, wondering if it is flooding?
An issue with the ECM, giving bad info
An issue with Compression, I believe this to be unlikely, but will check again, Very hard to keep engine going long enough.
An issue with keyway

Any ideas are helpful. Just glad I didn't buy a new pump beforehand. One in there is a carter.

I plan on taking a video tomorrow if I can't fix it.
Probably going to the shop soon if I can find an decent close one.

Exhausted from a day in the sun working on the car :)
But, was cool to see how everything worked down there.
 

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If your car is a factory 1990, that has no modifications, the fuel pump will not prime unless the car is cranking. And the ignition timing is not governed by the ECU, but by the distributor only. Can you look up under the dash and see what your ECU model number is? Did you ever do the compression test since you began having this problem? And actually, since you replaced your rotor, etc., in the same place as it was AFTER your problem began, this would not have alleviated your symptoms if they are based on ignition timing. Have you actually checked the ignition timing to make sure that it is factory spec? Checked that your rotor, wires, etc., are set to fire 1-3-4-2, with your rotor turning clockwise? And that ignition timing is done to cylinder #1, while valve timing is done to cylinder #4 firing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If your car is a factory 1990, that has no modifications, the fuel pump will not prime unless the car is cranking. And the ignition timing is not governed by the ECU, but by the distributor only. Can you look up under the dash and see what your ECU model number is? Did you ever do the compression test since you began having this problem? And actually, since you replaced your rotor, etc., in the same place as it was AFTER your problem began, this would not have alleviated your symptoms if they are based on ignition timing. Have you actually checked the ignition timing to make sure that it is factory spec? Checked that your rotor, wires, etc., are set to fire 1-3-4-2, with your rotor turning clockwise? And that ignition timing is done to cylinder #1, while valve timing is done to cylinder #4 firing?
I definitely can take a look!
That is a good point about the rotor being out of place in the first place.
Timing is proving to be a bear, due to the mark being either obscured or missing, but, I will confirm the rotor firing order tonight.
Timing is where I move in from here.

You guys that are still reading these walls of texts are troopers!
 

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The timing mark is only a very small notch on the rear edge of the pulley, you may have to clean off dirt and rust to see it.
 
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