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Discussion Starter #1
US 1996 Sidekick Sport, 1.8L DOHC 4WD
No engine lights or codes, no dash light warnings at any time (except for Shift Solenoid check-engine-light that happens about once a year)

When the car is dead cold, it runs fine. As soon as it warms up a touch, say about a mile down the road, there is MAJOR hesitation and loss of power unless you stomp on the gas. Idle is very rough to the point of nearly stalling.

Turning on A/C full blast does not change anything. Turning on "Power" mode changes nothing. Turning off Overdrive changes nothing.

However. Once the engine is fully hot, everything seems pretty much normal again.

I'm taking this puppy into a shop tomorrow anyway and will post updates, so this is post is as much a reference FYI as it is a request for help in the event the shop has no clue.

Thanks for any help.
 

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Ah, the Sport, so not so well supported....of course, your check engine light should be on with the key on, and then off once the car starts, and dash warning lights should be on with the key in the on position as well. In any event, hopefully the shop will first confirm your timing and tuning will check your fuel pressure, etc., as you need to know that these things are good before diagnosing further. With the A/C on, the idle actually (at last on the 1.6) should increase slightly - done by the idle speed controller that is meant to maintain idle when an additional load is put on the engine. The shop will probably check your EGR valve as well for sticking (which can cause bogging). Since we don't get a lot of info about the Sport, it will be interesting to see what tests the shop performs, as well as what they find, so looking forward to your update.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Huh. Didn't know that these were somewhat rarer.

Shop was busy today, so I'll bring it in again on Monday to check the source of an oil drip. Might even have them do the serpentine belt while there.

Yes, the regular lights turn on and off as usual, but as I was going to the shop today, the service light did come on. My scan tool indicated a misfire in cylinder 2, so I went home and changed out the spark plugs for some Champion Iridium (on sale at Pep Boys for $4 each). The old Autolite Platinums in there looked perfectly fine, as far as I could tell, though cylinder 2's plug did look like it had extra corona discharge at the ceramic. Took the opportunity to de-crud the contact points between the coil pack and the boot, as 2 of them had contact screws inside that looked kinda crusty.

Fired her back up and so far everything is fine. Will update again if anything changes, but THANK YOU FOR THE REPLY!!!
 

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My truck has a similar issue, mine missed in cylinder 3. I swapped the coils on mine to see if its the coil that causes the problem. check your spark plugs after a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Brought my truck to the shop and didn't follow through with diagnosis, since everything seems ok now. The old plugs looked for the most part fine, so I don't expect these ones will be much different. They previous ones had been in there a good 7 years already.

SuperMario, did you ever locate the source of your misfires and have it fully remedied? I know those coil packs are expensive, so it's not something that I plan to go replacing willy-nilly unless it's a guaranteed fix.

I wonder if my turning the sensing unit at the back of the engine had affected anything (it was done years ago and I don't remember how I got the idea that it advanced timing, since the Haynes manual doesn't seem to say that anywhere, and besides, the timing is automatically advanced anyway.)
 

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The factory service manual for your car is pretty similar to the 1996 Tracker FSM, which is free to download over on Acks FAQS. The differences are then published in a small supplement (Sport Supplement) that you can find on ebay occasionally. The Haynes is really not recommended, and filled with misinformation. In any event, to simply check your coil pack for the cylinder you have a problem with, simply change that coil pack to a different cylinder, and see if the problem stays with the cylinder or follows the coil pack.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, Bex.

Having never bought one of these manual sets, I have to ask: is it necessary to get the exact model year? I noticed that the 97 and 98 ones on ebay show text that says one should refer to the 96 or 97 supplements, respectively.
 

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DL1,

I use Ack's FAQ's site as well. I use anything 96,97,98 with the 1.8L.
I revived a 96 from near death. I rebuilt the top end and the manual transmission.
Fixkick.com has some good info. as well. Chilton and Haynes I've been told are not good but there are some pays sites that have great manuals but I don't recall what they are at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good to know, Hutchers. Time to check ebay.

As for online, I saw somewhere Mitchell was mentioned and I found
Service Manual Mitchell 1

However, clicking through their links seems to indicate a rather expensive sign-up of around $160 a month for their Pro service. And that doesn't seem to indicate whether you have to be part of a shop or what.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hutchers,
Also, I still can't tell what's in those updated manuals. I.e., is it just differences or are these manuals able to stand on their own for that particular model year?
 

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The 1996 Geo Tracker will cover about 85% of your car. The rest is covered by the small Sport Supplement. I would not use Chilton/Haynes for anything. There is no substitute for the FSM - the Sport Supplement comes up on ebay now and again, and is worth the purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Bex,
Thank you! Wasn't sure if I should spring for the Tracker manuals.
I just bought the 1998 Suzuki 1800 supplement off ebay. I'm hoping that's going to be usable.

Yes, the Haynes has been a sorry disappointment. Especially after (of course, this is talking about 20 years ago) someone told me to buy Haynes and not Chilton.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So if I need replacement coil packs, does anyone have tips on good sources for good parts for the DOHC 1.8?

Recently had more stumbling issues after washing the engine bay, despite taking pains to keep water off the valve cover. Seems the slightest amount of water turns to steam and freaks out the coil packs.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, I guess I would have found that had I bothered to check the sticky.

Any experience with these non-Suzuki manufacturers? Granted, I could buy a whole set of 4 for the price of one OE part...

United Ignition Wire
Ultrapower
Airtex / Wells
Beck - Arnley
Standard Motor Products
 

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Hutchers,
Also, I still can't tell what's in those updated manuals. I.e., is it just differences or are these manuals able to stand on their own for that particular model year?
For the "less supported" Sidekick Sport, each year they changed a little bit. Think of it as steeping stones to the Grand Vitara released in 1999.

Two changes I know right of the top of my head are: The computers for the engine and transmission were combined (97?) and the igniters were combined into the coils in 98. There are other changes so it is far better to get the manual for YOUR year. The fact that the 1800 supplement is almost the size of the base Sidekick manual says how much they are different from the base model.

Rule good of thumb for parts on a Sport is: "If it is in front of the firewall or under the floor boards... it is different." :huh:

Did you swap the coils from cylinder to cylinder to see if the problem followed the coil? If it does... a new coil should fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
For the "less supported" Sidekick Sport, each year they changed a little bit. Think of it as steeping stones to the Grand Vitara released in 1999.

Two changes I know right of the top of my head are: The computers for the engine and transmission were combined (97?) and the igniters were combined into the coils in 98. There are other changes so it is far better to get the manual for YOUR year. The fact that the 1800 supplement is almost the size of the base Sidekick manual says how much they are different from the base model.

Rule good of thumb for parts on a Sport is: "If it is in front of the firewall or under the floor boards... it is different." :huh:

Did you swap the coils from cylinder to cylinder to see if the problem followed the coil? If it does... a new coil should fix it.
Alright, well I've got the Tracker manuals on the way for that model year. Now just have to wait for the Sport supplement to show itself.

I didn't swap the coils at all, since while I was replacing the plugs, I cleaned out the philips-head screws inside the coils from 2... they were corroded. I'm guessing that was a big part of my problem. It doesn't seem wise to go about swapping the old plugs back in just to see if that was really the problem, since everything is running fine so far. But by the same argument, does it make sense to go ahead and buy the cheap aftermarket coil packs? And if so, is there a difference in quality between brands?
 

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... since everything is running fine so far. But by the same argument, does it make sense to go ahead and buy the cheap aftermarket coil packs? And if so, is there a difference in quality between brands?
If you can not pin point a bad coil (coils), why would you replace one? If you are not replacing a coil you shouldn't NEED to buy any. (Unless you find a smoken hot deal!)

A general comment about brand/non-brand items: While you might not always get what you pay for, you pretty much will never get what you DO NOT pay for. :huh:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
If you can not pin point a bad coil (coils), why would you replace one? If you are not replacing a coil you shouldn't NEED to buy any. (Unless you find a smoken hot deal!)
Mostly because I can only get rid of so much corrosion without unscrewing the contact (and I don't want the coil to go bad when I'm out of town and my mother needs to borrow the car). This begs the question: is that contact screw removable/replaceable without adversely affecting the coil?

I guess if it looks like a screw head it should be removable, but being that it's otherwise epoxied together, perhaps there is some kind of hermetic seal that would be broken by mussing with it...
 

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Mostly because I can only get rid of so much corrosion without unscrewing the contact (and I don't want the coil to go bad when I'm out of town and my mother needs to borrow the car). This begs the question: is that contact screw removable/replaceable without adversely affecting the coil?

I guess if it looks like a screw head it should be removable, but being that it's otherwise epoxied together, perhaps there is some kind of hermetic seal that would be broken by mussing with it...
Was wanting to hear an answer for this question also
 
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