2000 Safari: Power loss to no start to starting but rough

2000 Safari: Power loss to no start to starting but rough

Postby orygun [OP] » April 9th 2020, 4:25am

I've got a 2000 Safari with almost 200k on it. Typically it runs fantastic.

I have had an intermittent issue where after driving for an extended period (over 2 hours) and under load, such as when passing, there is significant power loss. As if there is only half the power it should have. The first two times this happened, over the last couple years, it simply went away. The most recent time, a couple weeks ago now, it progressed in to more issues. When the power loss happened it got bad enough I almost didn't hake it up a gentle hill. So I pulled over and waited half an hour. When I started back up, it seemed better, so I drove home. After two days of driving around with more power loss recurring it didn't start one morning. Just barely trying to start, as if only one or two cylinders were firing.

I took off the distributor cap, and did see some corrosion on the points but I've seen worse so I cleaned then and re-installed, to no effect.

I checked for spark out of the coil, looks good, white.

We sprayed starting fluid in the intake, which seemed to make zero difference.

At that point, I read something or other about the Camshaft Position Sensor. I got under the van but didn't do much of anything beside wiggle the wires around.

I then tried to start the van again, but, also important, I floored it this time. I hadn't been doing that before, as I didn't know about the flood-clear mode. After a couple tries, it started up. However it runs shaky. It idles smooth, but when I give it a little gas it shakes a little as if the timing is off.

So, maybe it was simply flooded? But that doesn't explain the power loss that led to the no start, nor the shakiness now. I feel like the timing is off, or the fuel injector is not working right.

- No codes given.
- New fuel pump and filter 6 months ago.
- New distributor 3 years ago.
- New distributor cap, rotor, plug and wires 1 year ago.

I'm just bouncing this off you guys to see what my next move should be.

Could my jostling of the Camshaft Position Sensor have changed how it runs? Should I replace it?
Should I buy a new distributor cap and rotor, even though I feel they are ok?
How about fuel cleaner to clean up the injector?
Clogged cat? Should I pull the O2 sensors to test?

Thanks in adVANce!
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Re: 2000 Safari: Power loss to no start to starting but roug

Postby gman » April 9th 2020, 4:36am

I had a weird stall issue in an 05 once. It also did the same thing, completely cut power before acting like it was only running on a couple of cylinders.
I went under the van and saw that the crankshaft position sensor wires had been melted bare and they were touching.
The wind was blowing in the right direction and I bumped it a couple of times the wrong way I guess, and it just did that.

Started right up though.

Takes just a few seconds to go under there and take a look. It's on the passenger side on the timing cover right behind the harmonic balancer.
You might want to spray a bit of simple green and wipe it off and take a look.
Also, pull it out and check for wear (should be nice shiny bare metal and should have no grooves cut into it).
Though this would usually come up as an engine code.

Also, I've heard that really weird and rough running at highway speed an be attributed to pancake distributor disease there's a guy named AstroWill on the forums, and if you look at the link in his sig it will have a link to what is and isn't acceptable rotor slop under the distirbutor. I guess the engineers made the distirbutor gear much softer than the gear in the engine, so if anything wears you just need to replace the distributor. Just take the cap off and twist-wiggle the rotor. Though it may not be the issue being that your distributor is only a few years old, but I'm not sure when/how the gear wear develops honestly.

Fuel pressure test also wouldn't hurt. Should be close to 60PSI KOEO (Key on engine off) and you might need to cycle it a few times.
Then take the key out, and wait to see if the pressure drops. If it does, you have a leak somewhere. It should hold steady until you physically release the pressure.


You may also have a loose or cracking vaccum line.
Try spraying carb cleaner on your vaccum lines while the van is running. The diagrams of where they are are also in that members signature lol.
I find myself looking at that site very very often these days.

That condition with no codes is kind of weird and just screams intermittent and non mechanical issue to me.
Keep in mind, to throw a code it either has to be pretty catastrophic (flashing SES light), or the PCM has to detect the issue more than once for close to a complete drive cycle before setting it.
You can see pending codes with an OBD2 scanner though, and they just might not have set yet or may never set at all. Might help you.

To test your O2 sensors, just use a scanner.
They should fluctuate from very low voltage to very high voltage. (numbers should go from .00something to .8somethingsomething).
IF they're fluctuating correctly after warmup, then they are probably functioning fine.

You could also use the same scanner to check your fuel trim and base timing from the live data.
Could give you a clue if the numbers are a bit off, but if they were crazy you would be throwing a code.

Could be a valve that gets stuck occasionally.
Whatever it is, it's not throwing an SES light, so it may not be something related to a dead component or a persistent issue.

My guess is it's either a sensor or a vaccum leak.
Just gotta start ruling out problems I guess lol.
Might also want to throw the tranny into neutral if it happens again just to rule it out (though it very seriously doesn't sound like it's related to the tranny).

I'm a total n00b, but I'm just giving you all the easy and free tests that you can do while more experienced members chime in.
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Re: 2000 Safari: Power loss to no start to starting but roug

Postby konybravo » April 9th 2020, 11:51pm

You, or someone familiar with the matter, need to look at the live data, and see, whether it is witin tollerances... 02 sensors, fuel trims, MAF sensor, MAP sensor, IAT sensor, coolant temp sensor(ecu), TPS. If you don't have a scanner, or access to one, you can perform some mechanical tests: disconect the MAF and see if it makes a difference; Inspect all vacuum lines; Spray around the intake, with some propane, break cleaner, carb cleaner, or even deo spray, and see if rpms change. If yes- vacuum leak.Speaking of which- it can be caused by stuck open EGR, so check it. Even if you're sure your wires are new, or ok- spray some water mist allover the ignition system, and see whether spark arcs over, and engine bogs- it shouldn't, even if soaked. Smell the oil. If it has gas smell to it, you have leaking injector/s, flooding the engine, and if not adrssed, it will ruin the engine, since gas thins the oil. If the cam sensor is off, by more, than +2-2°,a P01345 will be thrown. That's what i can think of, from the back of my head. Keep us posted.
Last edited by konybravo on April 10th 2020, 12:32am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 2000 Safari: Power loss to no start to starting but roug

Postby Astro Pop » April 10th 2020, 12:25am

Two areas to check out that give no codes and give grief. MAF and vacuum leaks. Be sure to check the PCV elbow. replace if you find any cracks and the MAF. If you simply disconnect the MAF the computer substitues a default reading. It's safe to drive this way and see what happens. If it stabilizes you know the problem. These two problems combined to drive me knuts (wasn't far to go)!!
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Re: 2000 Safari: Power loss to no start to starting but roug

Postby gman » April 10th 2020, 5:59am

konybravo wrote:You, or someone familiar with the matter, need to look at the live data, and see, whether it is witin tollerances... 02 sensors, fuel trims, MAF sensor, MAP sensor, IAT sensor, coolant temp sensor(ecu), TPS. If you don't have a scanner, or access to one, you can perform some mechanical tests: disconect the MAF and see if it makes a difference; Inspect all vacuum lines; Spray around the intake, with some propane, break cleaner, carb cleaner, or even deo spray, and see if rpms change. If yes- vacuum leak.Speaking of which- it can be caused by stuck open EGR, so check it. Even if you're sure your wires are new, or ok- spray some water mist allover the ignition system, and see whether spark arcs over, and engine bogs- it shouldn't, even if soaked. Smell the oil. If it has gas smell to it, you have leaking injector/s, flooding the engine, and if not adrssed, it will ruin the engine, since gas thins the oil. If the cam sensor is off, by more, than +2-2°,a P01345 will be thrown. That's what i can think of, from the back of my head. Keep us posted.


Thanks for saying this.
I actually sniffed my oil and got a fuel smell, so I'm getting a MPFI injectors (that I found for $99) and giving it that upgrade instead of painting my van.
Even if it's not related to the injectors, the MPG savings will pay for itself over the next few thousand miles and I can always salvage them and re-sell them for probably exactly what I bought them for if anything happens to the van.

It would explain the sootiness of my exhaust, and my curious fuel trim as well (but I don't throw any black smoke).
I don't think that I've toasted my rings yet as the van runs perfectly, but I'm glad it caught it now.

If my compression looks weird after I do the test (not expecting it because of no misfires and nothing wrong) i'm sure it'll extend the life of the motor one way or the other, and, again, they are salvagable if the van goes kaput.

Do you know where I can sell my poppets for a core charge?
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Re: 2000 Safari: Power loss to no start to starting but roug

Postby konybravo » April 10th 2020, 8:35am

gman wrote:I don't think that I've toasted my rings yet as the van runs perfectly, but I'm glad it caught it now.

Do you know where I can sell my poppets for a core charge?

The rings are your least problem. The lack of proper oil film, btwn krank/cam and bearings, may seize the engine, or spin a bearing.
I don't know where you can sell the poppets for a core charge, since I'm over the ocean, and am not familliar with the US market, but you could try disassembling them, clean them, and if they start working again, sell them on Ebay. Verry often they get stuck, due to carbon, and debris build up.
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Re: 2000 Safari: Power loss to no start to starting but roug

Postby gman » April 10th 2020, 9:31am

konybravo wrote:
gman wrote:I don't think that I've toasted my rings yet as the van runs perfectly, but I'm glad it caught it now.

Do you know where I can sell my poppets for a core charge?

The rings are your least problem. The lack of proper oil film, btwn krank/cam and bearings, may seize the engine, or spin a bearing.
I don't know where you can sell the poppets for a core charge, since I'm over the ocean, and am not familliar with the US market, but you could try disassembling them, clean them, and if they start working again, sell them on Ebay. Verry often they get stuck, due to carbon, and debris build up.


When I bought the van I did notice that the oil was a tad thin, but because it wasn't coolant contaminated and it wasn't dirty I didn't think much of it.
Now I know to smell/check for fuel contamination.
I actually just got a new filter and a 5 qt of oil to do an oil change soon so this is perfect timing.

I'll do injectors and oil change.

I heard that fuel can wash down cylinders and prevent proper lubrication of rings, so I was worried about ring wear.

I knew it was running rich, and I saw soot in the tailpipe, but I couldn't think of anything other than bad tuna and sensors.

Don't mean to hijack the thread, but what else can cause fuel contamination besides leaking injectors/regulator?
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Re: 2000 Safari: Power loss to no start to starting but roug

Postby Leeann_93 » April 10th 2020, 11:22pm

Poor/missing spark.
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Re: 2000 Safari: Power loss to no start to starting but roug

Postby orygun [OP] » April 11th 2020, 7:43am

Welp, I even though I deemed the distributor cap and rotor to be fine, I wanted to be thorough, so I installed new a cap and rotor today. And... it runs great. No sign of the issue at first run. :oops:

I've yet to drive it and give it more of a chance to act up. I'll report back if something comes up.

I'm really kind of shocked, the cap looked good.

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't have other issues lurking. And I don't understand how the power loss issue could appear suddenly like that, and be a distributor issue. The power loss has been like a light switch. Sudden. Under load. After running hot (full regular operating temps) for at least an hour. I'm not sure if I'm out of the woods. I may do some vacuum hose sleuthing and look in to code reading as recommended.

Thanks to all for the input.
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Re: 2000 Safari: Power loss to no start to starting but roug

Postby gman » April 11th 2020, 7:55am

orygun wrote:Welp, I even though I deemed the distributor cap and rotor to be fine, I wanted to be thorough, so I installed new a cap and rotor today. And... it runs great. No sign of the issue at first run. :oops:

I've yet to drive it and give it more of a chance to act up. I'll report back if something comes up.

I'm really kind of shocked, the cap looked good.

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't have other issues lurking. And I don't understand how the power loss issue could appear suddenly like that, and be a distributor issue. The power loss has been like a light switch. Sudden. Under load. After running hot (full regular operating temps) for at least an hour. I'm not sure if I'm out of the woods. I may do some vacuum hose sleuthing and look in to code reading as recommended.

Thanks to all for the input.


Did you check for rotor slop while you were in there?
https://sites.google.com/site/astrosafa ... or-disease

Also,check the crank sensor plz.

Also, like other's have mentioned, try disconnecting your MAF to make the van run on a default table to rule out a LOT of stuff.
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