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Old 01-10-2002   #1
GTA Member
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Canada, BC, Surrey
Posts: 93

engine problem

ok... i have a huge problem with my engine. about a month ago when i was driveing to work, my car all of a sudden started spewing black smoke and surgeing back and forth. i was told the heads were screwed and needed "repair". so i took my engine appart, took the heads off and had them re-done. after a painfull re-assembly, my car wouldnt stay running for longer than 10 seconds. so i screwed around with some stuff (timeing, wires, plugs, cap/rotor, etc....) and finaly got it to run for mabey 1 minute. my friends dad (ex mechanic) told me to replace the pick up coil. so i got a new distributor from a junk yard for like $40. now it runs semi-decent but only for about 5minutes, then it starts sounding like it wants to stall and sometimes does. if i rev up the engine, it sounds ok, but it smokes alot. right now the exahst system from the exahast manifold's down arent connected properly. my newest possibly lead is the charcoal canister. i dont know if one of those could cause this much problems, but i dont want to replace it unless im sure. what ive replaced are: MAF, MAF relays, TPS, spark plugs/wires, cap/rotor, PCV valve, numerous vacume hoses, all intake gaskets, injector O rings, EGR valve, head gaskets/re-done heads, air filter, knock sensor, fuel filter and valve cover gaskets. i feel like im almost there, but something just isnt right.... the engine sounds ok so i dont think it could be anything major. the smoke colour is grey its neither white, blue or black. any ideas?
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Old 01-10-2002   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: chalfont PA
Posts: 18

Unhappy Engine

89gta, sounds like a nightmare. I would look at my electronics. The reason for the statement is that the car seemed to run better when the electrical system was "played" with. Is your car showing any codes?

I would also check my timimg chain and gears to make sure they are not slipping.

It does not sound like a mechanical engine failure. Removal of the heads would more than likely have shown this. Were the heads ok, outside of normal wear? I assume that no antifreeze was in the oil and that the block is not cracked.

I would focus some efforts with the computer and other sensors. Just my .02, hope it helps.
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Old 01-10-2002   #3
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Had a similar problem once,everything was fine until it was warmed up then it started to do goofy things. turned out the computer was a goner
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Old 01-10-2002   #4
G-Body Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Peoria, IL
Posts: 49

I new pickup coil is under $10 for a new one. I just changed mine a couple months ago. Much more reliable than a used distributor.

Check the EGR valve and associated hoses/wiring. The EGR valve is supposed to be closed at idle, but if it is stuck open, you will get too much exhaust in the intake at idle. I have seen EGR valves on carb'd cars make it idle rough. When you rev it, you get enough clean air to mix with the exhaust to run better.

Check the timing chain. It is a pain, since you have to drain the anti-freeze and remove the water pump, etc., so save it for last. I always do the easiest first.

I don't think the charcoal canister would cause that. I think the canister is to purge gas fumes from the gas tank. Check engine codes would be a big help here. write down all the codes currently in the computer. Disconnect the battery to erase the existing codes, then start it and see what active codes comes up. Some of the old codes may be in memory for quite a while, so get them out of the way.

Or as Roadmouse said, check the computer. If you can, try to borrow one first to see if that is the problem before you go spending money on a new one. Good luck.
There is no such thing as too much horsepower, as long as you can put it to the ground!!
1987 Monte Carlo SS
305HO, K&N, cam, High flow cat, Hooker Super Comp. Cat back, all CC stuff intact and working
In the works: roller cam 350, 12"brakes and rebuild suspension
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Old 01-14-2002   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Canada, BC, Surrey
Posts: 93

Unhappy car

its not giveing me any codes at all. (yeah i know how to check them) the timeing chain is makeing me wonder though.... but thats gona be a huge job to change/check. the heads were in ok condition, no cracks in the block or anything either. if its not the canister, than its probly the timeing chain or the ecm i would guess, because ive pretty much ruled out every other possibility. man these are expensive cars.....
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Old 01-15-2002   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 139

There is a method to check your timing chain for extra play without opening it up....it's on Bob Hewitts auto repair page.
You put the timing mark at the pointer (by hand) and then turn the balancer in the reverse direction until the ditributor rotor turns, mark the blancer at the pointer and measure the distance. (I'm recalling this from memory..best to check that site). There is a certain amount of play allowed.

I changed mine anyway at 200,000 km, and there was no visible stretching when compared to the new chain.

Have you checked the resistance of your injectors?

Spark and fuel delivery do not necessarily show codes when they fail...my injectors failed, no codes, car ran like crap. If you have access to a scanner check the integrator values, if its lower than 128 (mine was 98) and O2 sensor is reading rich, one or more injectors may be shorted out (common problem if injectors are Multec style)
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Old 01-16-2002   #7
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Canada, BC, Surrey
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Question injectors

would shorted out injectors cause a large amount of smoke? also, how do i know if my injectors are "multec" style? i suppose something could have crawled up the injectors and died while i was fixing my car, or mabey some moisture got in them, cause they were inside a shed with no door. if i do take a look at my timeing chain, what exactly am i looking for, and where? like overly shiny metal? metalic flakes?

hey, just out of curiosity.... what about my knock sensor? i noticed that during my engine repair, i some how broke off the plug for the knock sensor. i went down to the local auto wreckers and got one off some other 350 engine and soldered it on to the wire. when i pluged this one in, nothing changed. it didnt run better or worse. what gives?

Last edited by 89GTA; 01-16-2002 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 01-19-2002   #8
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Location: Prince George, B.C. Canada
Posts: 334

I beleave the multec's have a gray top and they came in are years.

If I were you I think I would maybe try the computer, seem like the only thing left.
89 T-Top GTA 5.7L T-56
ATI Procharger D1SC, AFR 195 Eliminator heads, Mini Ram, ZZ9 cam, AS&M Mono-blade TB, 60Ibs injectors, Stainless Works LT 1 3/4 headers, Mufflex 4" catback with Magnaflow race muffler, McLeod Street twin clutch, Moser Ford 9" with 3.70, DIY Prom with Code59. Stock short block

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