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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,
My 1994 Sidekick 16v 5 speed has started losing power randomly and through all rpm ranges, not only high rpm which is what I usually associate with a bad fuel filter. It doesn't fully stall though and shifting down and reving it usually helps. The CEL never came on but I did pull a code 44. I reset the codes and it still does it but I only get a code 12 now.
I should also mention that it seems to only do it when warm and today was one of the hottest days we've had in a few months.
I was hoping to get some direction on where to start hunting for the cause. The fact that it's intermittent has me kinda stumped.
Thanks in advance for any help!
Cheers,
Dave
 

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Confirm that your check engine light is on with the key on, and off once the car starts. If you are now getting a code 12, it is possible that the code 44 was in the memory of the computer from a past fault, and was just never cleared. Personally, I would start with a compression test which would confirm the engine/valve timing, as it's normally a good idea to have the confirmation of good timing before you start checking other areas.
You should give details of exactly how the car runs - how it starts up from cold start, cold idle, if/how it warms up, warm idle, etc. Is the loss of power just general, or is it more like bogging? Do you have full power with the gas pedal floored in 3rd gear? Have you ever cleaned the EGR valve, which would be a primary cause of bogging, and a sticking valve would cause the car to stumble at idle, etc. Also confirm the condition of the tips of your spark plugs, and that they are gapped at .028" rather than just used out of the box (gap too wide).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bad fuel is a possibility, I was thinking of throwing some injector cleaner and water remover into the tank for good measure.
I know that the compression in #2 cylinder is kinda low but it has been for long time. The engine starts and idles great, and once warmed up it idles at about 800rpm. Normally it's smooth and runs through the rpm range great. It's just that every once in a while it just loses power. Even right after it happens it runs fine.
 

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We can't see the car, so it is really important for you to describe exactly what you mean by loses power - rpms drop, tranny slipping, engine bogging, engine not responding to gas pedal position - all these things (and more) are caused by different reasons.
It is certainly recommendable to do a compression test - and if you have never adjusted your valves, you may want to do that prior to your compression test. The valve lash affects compression, and if a valve is too loose/tight it will affect that cylinder.
You need to give more detailed info......
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The compression in #2 cylinder is fairly low due to what I think is a bad valve guide but it has been for a while and it's run fine all this time. The valve clearances, timing and spark plug gaps were done about 2 weeks ago.
The power loss I'm experiencing isn't a slipping clutch or anything. It's happened when I've been trying to accelerate and the engine just loses power and stumbles. Other times I'll just be maintaining a steady 60km/h in 4th and just suddenly the engine just stops putting out power. Sometimes it makes some sputtering sounds. Usually shifting to a lower gear and pumping the gas pedal helps get it running again. Also, it's never stopped running completely, when I pull over it still idles well, not rough at all. One of the parts that stumps me is that it's not a constant problem, it happened last night 5-6 times over the course of about 30 kms. I don't know if the fact that the weather was a lot warmer than it has been lately has anything to do with it.
Hopefully that's enough information to go on. Thanks for the help, guys.
Cheers
 

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You never mentioned where you are located...was it raining there last nite?

Something easy to check is to find a dark location with NO lights at all, with engine running lift the hood and check for arcing from the plug wires. Even new wires have been known to arc. You may have to run the engine up to a higher rpm so having a partner could be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'll try to check for arcing from the plug wires tonight. I've had the car for about 5 years and 130 000kms and I haven't replaced the coil, distributor or wires yet, could that be part of the issue? I live on the west coast of Canada, it wasn't raining, the temperature was up to about 23°C after being in the mid teens for the last couple of weeks.
 

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What? It hasn't rained on the west coast of BC! this is a rain forest my friend...

What you describe is consistent with a fuel issue.(starvation).. you need to run a fuel pressure test, check the condition of the fuel (take sample and let sit overnight), and change the filter.....

.... Philip
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Lol, Phillip, it is a rain forest but I live near Victoria which is the Florida of Canada!
It does feel like a starvation issue or else misfiring. I think I will change the filter and take a fuel sample while I'm at it. I think a good egr cleaning and double check the timing and such will hopefully help it
 

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I'll try to check for arcing from the plug wires tonight. I've had the car for about 5 years and 130 000kms and I haven't replaced the coil, distributor or wires yet, could that be part of the issue? I live on the west coast of Canada, it wasn't raining, the temperature was up to about 23°C after being in the mid teens for the last couple of weeks.
I think you got your moneys worth... so did you replace anything when you 1st bought this truck?

could that be part of the issue?
If not it could be THE issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Since I bought the truck it's had a few sets of spark plugs and air filters. 2 new fuel filters and 2 new fuel pumps. I think the last time the pump went was somehow related to the gas tank getting dented when I bottomed out on a nice rock. And to be honest, when the last pump went it gave very similar symptoms, I just have a hard time believing it is the fuel pump again.
 

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If the tank bottom is dented, it may be too close to the pump inlet and cutting the suction...

Philip
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The dent doesn't seem too close to the pump intake so I don't think it's cutting off flow. I haven't had too much time to look at it today but I thought I'd have a go at testing the egr since it seemed quick and easy. With the engine idling (while cold) I pressed on the diaphragm in the egr and nothing happened to the idle at all. I'm not sure if it has to be done warm or not. Also, the cat has been removed so I don't know if that affects the test results or not.
 

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With the diaphragm pushed forward, if your idle doesn't reduce/stumble, it normally means that the ports going to the EGR as well as the valve itself, may be blocked with carbon. You should remove the EGR valve, clean it with carb cleaner so that all openings are clear, as well as clean/ream out the intake and exhaust ports you see when the valve is off the car. Remove the valve carefully, particularly if you have the paper gasket, if its re-usable.
 

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I have never understood the push for a timing check when you state that it runs good until this random issue happens.
Running good is relative. And there have been plenty of 20 page posts here where it's suddenly found that the timing is off. It's always good to have/know the foundation of proper timing.
 

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Yes, Ed, this is a forum and not a one man show. However, without diagnostic testing, there is really no shortcut between A and C. You appear to continually have a problem with some of my posts - if that is so, then PM me with your difficulty. Otherwise, please keep your personal comments and jibes out of your posts.
 

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It would appear to me that you are having a fuel issue, either supply from pump or injector. When you had the same problem before with the pump did you remove the dent in the tank when you replaced the pump? If not that would be a place to start. If the car runs good at times is there a connection between fuel level in the tank and performance?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So tonight I finally get a chance to work on the truck. The timing is still spot on so that's good. I got a new filter I'm installing, new wires, distributor cap and rotor ( haven't done it since I bought it 130 000k's ago so I thought it was a good idea anyway). And I just pulled the egr valve and it's completely clogged with goo which would explain why when I pressed the diaphragm when running it made no change in idle speed. So I guess I've got to pull the intake manifold off to give it a good clean too. I also am planning on running some injector cleaner through the tank and also adding a little methyl hydrate incase of any water in the fuel just in case. Wish me luck! Thanks for your help guys. I'll let you know how it goes. Although the problem is fairly intermittent so even if it isn't fixed it might take a while to show up.
 

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So tonight I finally get a chance to work on the truck. The timing is still spot on so that's good. I got a new filter I'm installing, new wires, distributor cap and rotor ( haven't done it since I bought it 130 000k's ago so I thought it was a good idea anyway). And I just pulled the egr valve and it's completely clogged with goo which would explain why when I pressed the diaphragm when running it made no change in idle speed. So I guess I've got to pull the intake manifold off to give it a good clean too. I also am planning on running some injector cleaner through the tank and also adding a little methyl hydrate incase of any water in the fuel just in case. Wish me luck! Thanks for your help guys. I'll let you know how it goes. Although the problem is fairly intermittent so even if it isn't fixed it might take a while to show up.
It should run like a new truck ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I hope it runs well. I was just reading up some more on the egr "stall test". Apparently it should be done while the engine is warm which it wasn't when I did it before. But also, I read that the test doesn't work if the catalytic converter has been removed. And that the egr system needs back pressure from the cat to operate properly. Can anybody confirm or deny this? The previous owner removed it and I was hoping I didn't have to go through the expense of having it replaced.
 
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