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Discussion Starter #1
Ok boys, i'm hoping someone has some ideas on this one cuz i'm a little stumped.
I have 2003 Chevy tracker 2d4 4x4 2.0l 5sp
the car has 85ish k miles on it, new exhaust, cats, plugs, air filter.
clean little car, runs like a top.
was driving it the other day on the highway and I noticed it was taking a little more throttle and lower gears to keep up with traffic, the wind was blowing like crazy so I wrote it off as that must have been the issue..
the farther I got though, the more powerless the car was.
by the time I got it home it was everything I could do to go 30 mph..
it idled fine, and the trick was to barely give it any throttle and pretty much idle it in like 4th gear to go 25.
if I buried my foot in it it would bog like crazy and you could smell the cat getting hot (lean)

through the whole ordeal I've had no dic's or indications of a problem through the odb port

the first thing I did was replace the fuel filter, then replaced the fuel pump with no luck, I went through and played with different sensors to try and rule out any issues.. tps is good, fuel pressure regulator is good, manifold pressure had no effect but shouldn't cause this problem.. one theory was maybe the maf sensor, its my understanding that you can unplug that and the ecu will ignore its input and run in default.. (that wasn't it)

someone suggested bad gas.. I've never actually seen bad gas but I did add a can of b12 to a quarter tank of gas when this first started. if the gas was bad, then idle should be affected and it's not.

I am stumped.. unless the motor has jumped time, which I don't believe has happened as there should be backfiring and such. I am open to suggestions and ideas.. keep in mind that this isn't a sitting problem, the car went from running great to this in about 20 miles.
 

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You've been through problem solving hell. :(

What about ignition timing? Did you tamper with the Cam Position Sensor? :huh: Idle speed normal?

My other thoughts turn to the Cats. But you replaced them.

Muffler internal baffles broke loose and creating a restriction?

A bashed nearly closed section of exhaust pipe?

Top off the fuel tank with new / fresh fuel, to be on the safe side.

Engine temps normal?

Parked in neutral...does the engine rev freely through to upper RPM? Throttle response normal?

Underway...drive-line binding or brake drag? (she rolls OK without power, coasting, right?)
 

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I'm going to bet on an exhaust restriction.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Update.. I found here where someone had a similar problem and they said it turned out as a bad cam sensor.. I just replaced the cam sensor.. no change..
no drag, or driveline problems, this is a 5speed car so its easy to tell, it rolls just fine.. I can mat it in neutral and the motor still bogs.. (lots of intake noise) muffler, cats and exhaust system is about a year old and in good shape.. any of these problems would have shown theirselves on tuesday in the transition from running fine to not running fine.
no overheating or leaks of any kind.
I haven't fiddled with any of the timing, other than just a few minutes ago replacing the cam sensor.. it idles just dandy.. it's everything above that that has a problem.
sounds also like all of the injectors are clogged up at the same time, but I can pinch the return hose and overpressurize the system and flood the motor while idling..
since I've already changed the fuel pump, I think I am going to fill it up with fresh gas and see what happens..
thank you for your response.. I remain stumped.. but now maybe we're not alone :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
if it were an exhaust restriction, I could blip the throttle and it would jump until it built enough pressure to kill it.. but even in neutral I can blip the throttle and it just kind of falls on its face.. also, if it were an exhaust restriction you wouldn't see (smell) a lean condition when you pushed it.
 

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You'd be smelling the Cat with an exhaust restriction (overheating due to no or low flow).

We'll keep thinking. ;)
 

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Since you replaced the CPS, did you re-time the ignition? :huh:
 

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Check that your plugs are gapped according to the label on your hood.

And for sure double check that timing also meets the spec on the hood.
 

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To Me it sounds like a air/fuel problem
It runs like a top till you put a load on it
I would start bye doing a fuel pressure check
first thing I thought was fuel filter you did that and the pump
did you check the Fuel Injection Pressure Regulator? http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,carcode,1410501,parttype,6124,a,Search+for+TYC
you can check it bye pulling the vacuum line and if any fuel comes out the vacuum then its bad. That would mean it is sucking fuel out of your injection system and throwing it back in to you intake. You would get a rich smell. if that is good then I would check your fuel pressure
you can check the exhaust bye unbolting it it will be loud but its just a test
 

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You'd be smelling the Cat with an exhaust restriction (overheating due to no or low flow).

We'll keep thinking. ;)
Here you go Max ...

if I buried my foot in it it would bog like crazy and you could smell the cat getting hot (lean)
Ummm - when I first read that line I wondered - I know running rich causes the cat to overheat not the other way around.
 

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I think you are right, "rich" will cause Cat overheating. Probably the most common cause too. :(

Today is a new day.

Let's see if Marty's fresh fuel and answer to how he re-timed the engine after installing that new CPS pans out. ;)

We may have to go all "Phillip" on him and suggest a Live Data Scan, too!
Warranted, no? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
To Me it sounds like a air/fuel problem
It runs like a top till you put a load on it
I would start bye doing a fuel pressure check
first thing I thought was fuel filter you did that and the pump
did you check the Fuel Injection Pressure Regulator? 2003 CHEVROLET TRACKER Fuel Injection Pressure Regulator
you can check it bye pulling the vacuum line and if any fuel comes out the vacuum then its bad. That would mean it is sucking fuel out of your injection system and throwing it back in to you intake. You would get a rich smell. if that is good then I would check your fuel pressure
you can check the exhaust bye unbolting it it will be loud but its just a test
it runs like a top until it comes off idle.. the problem is still there loaded or unloaded.
I've checked fuel pressure as well as regulator.
the smell is the cat (sulfur that is released from higher than normal heat, caused by increased oxygen in the exhaust system from a lean running engine ) not rich from fuel. when the motor goes lean it makes the cats hot and they stink. when the motor goes rich then you're smelling fuel.. sorry for the confusion.
no exhaust restriction, removing an o2 sensor would cause it to act differently and it doesn't. even though the throttle blip test answered the question I still tried it.
 

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OK. No exhaust restriction and plenty of (fresh now I presume) fuel to the injectors.

I'm surprised at no codes. Not even a 0420 Cat Efficiency hit with the reported smell? :confused:

An how did you re-time the engine post CPS install again? :huh:

Have you ever re-booted the ECU through all of this? (removed a battery cable for a couple of minutes). :rolleyes:
 

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....new exhaust, cats, plugs, air filter.

....

the first thing I did was replace the fuel filter, then replaced the fuel pump with no luck, I went through and played with different sensors to try and rule out any issues.. tps is good, fuel pressure regulator is good, manifold pressure had no effect but shouldn't cause this problem..

someone suggested bad gas.. I've never actually seen bad gas but I did add a can of b12 to a quarter tank of gas when this first started. if the gas was bad, then idle should be affected and it's not.
How close were the plugs replaced to this happening and what's the B12 stuff you added just before this happened?

Have the coil pack boots ever been replaced? On a car I had years ago (which ran ignition leads) it would regularly burn out one lead, the car could idle fine but try to accelerate and all hell would break loose! A dodgy coil pack boot could cause similar problems.


Perhaps pull your plugs and check the colour of them.
 

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I looked up the B12 stuff they make a whole line of stuff its made by Berryman
your only instructed to use this with a full tank
https://www.google.com/search?q=b12+fuel+treatment&oq=B12+fule&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l5.16731j0j8&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8#q=b12+fuel+treatment&tbm=shop
it seams to have good reviews and some bad just like everything out there

here go's a video of a guy using a cheep plastic cup but just so you know gas would do the same thing

add video
Berryman B12 Chemtool HEST Test » Fuel System - BRY - Fuel Treatment - Carburetor Cleaner » Video | O'Reilly Auto Parts
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I've used b12 since I was a little kid, it is a solvent, it is great for cleaning out carbs and injectors, sea foam is good too, sea foam is a softer, solvent that binds to carbon, it also has an oil in it that works kind of like a surfactant they both work good.. active ingredient in sea foam is naptha, the active ingredient in berrymans is xylene.. the guy in your video is pouring xylene into a cup that's made of styrene plastic.. there is a really big difference in styrene and rubber (or neoprene), he is likely un-qualified to give advice on how to clean fuel system components, and should probably stick to things in his area of expertise like window treatments, or designer jeans.
I've had to move on to some other stuff for now and will get back to the tracker.. I think i'm gonna dig deeper into the plugged exhaust theory (for lack of anything else to find wrong) I pulled an o2 sensor between the two cats I was gonna do a pressure test but couldn't find a fitting to get a gauge in there.. I did try to run the car and gun the motor with the opening but found no difference.. what I did find, however is the pup cat (first one after the manifold) has a direction arrow on it, and it has apparently been installed backward.. i'm not sure how much of a difference that will make, but it is the first thing I've found wrong.. the other thing I see is both the cats are stamped with their manufacture dates. one is 7/13 the other is 8/13 so they are both very new.. the guy I bought this car from had a new exhaust system put on it right before I got it..
when I get back to this, I plan to remove the exhaust and investigate further.
when I get in there, I will provide updates.. it seems you all are as curious about whats going on here as I am, and I certainly do appreciate your interest, feedback, insight, and comments.
thanks, talk to you soon.
 

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The exhaust is just made up of a few flanged sections (if it's still stock). I might try unbolting the flange after the cat, move the cat back section out of the way and take it for a quick spin. If your power is back, then you know it's your muffler causing the restriction. You could even remove the secondary cat completely just for testing purposes. It will be loud, but it should help eliminate possible problems.
If it turns out to not be the exhaust, it could be ignition related. When my LT1 Camaro needed a new optispark distributor, it had the same symptom. Let out the clutch and ease into the throttle, it was fine. Press into the throttle, it would fall flat on it's face. Not sure how a Distributorless system could cause the same problem without a misfire code, but anything's possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
i'm back sorry to leave you all hanging.. I've been away for a bit
you were right, it was exhaust.. the previous owner had had a new exhaust system put in, the muffler shop instead of just buying a pup cat that fits the car made up the flanges and welded a tiny walker universal cat in then added a second walker cat behind it.. walker stamps the manufacture mon/year on their cats and these cats were dated 7 and 8 of 2013 so they were well under warranty (walker has a 5y warranty) according to walker I would have had to have the warranty registration or receipt or some proof of purchase, I contacted the original owner and it was a buddy of a buddy of a brother-in-law who has a muffler shop.. so.. no receipt..

now that some more of the fun is out of the way.. as I mentioned earlier the pup cat had a direction of flow arrow (that was pointed in the wrong direction). I disconnected the cat at the manifold, fired it up, and wrapped the motor a few times. the motor wrapped up like a top.. (I was sure that plugged up it should have wrapped up and then bogged, but I was wrong), so viola problem found..

once I got all of the exhaust off, I found that the pup cat had fallen apart on the inside and dumped all of its guts into the second cat.. so the pup is ruined but since I cant get the fine particles out of the honeycomb of the second cat it's ruined too.

my solution was to order a new pup cat and main cat (magnaflows this time) for more money than I wanted to spend on this problem.. but I finished putting it all in and welding it up this morning (this time with the right springie hardware bolt things) and it should all be good to go.. plus I have the warranty certificates for both cats and, since all of the trackers are toys for making me smile, I don't see selling it anytime soon.. so hopefully all is good..

I would like to thank everybody for coming together with me and helping figure out what the issue was.. and once again.. the most logical explanation, however unlikely, is usually the correct one..

Thanks again.. hopefully I can help one of you out one day..
 
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