engine stumbling, no power

engine stumbling, no power

Postby timelessbeing [OP] » August 30th 2008, 8:57pm

Hey guys. Lately I've been experiencing this annoying problem, and it seems to be getting worse.

After starting the van, I put it in gear and hit the gas, but it just doesn't want to go. It doesn't have any power, and moves at about 10 Km/hr. It accelerate very slowly and unevenly, causing the van to lurch forwards. It sometimes sounds like it's going to die, but it never actually does. It doesn't matter if I am pressing the gas lightly, or have it floored, it seems to go at the same speed. It does this for about 30 seconds, and then suddenly picks up and takes off, and everything seems normal until the next time I start it up. The engine starts perfectly on the first crank, every time. It doesn't matter if the van has been sitting a few days, or a few minutes. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
Last edited by timelessbeing on August 31st 2008, 7:27pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby davesyo » August 31st 2008, 3:56am

There are a lot of reasons this could be happening but if it's on the cold start my best guess would be the coolant temp. sensor ? but besides that the best thing may be to hook up a scan tool and check codes
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby timelessbeing [OP] » August 31st 2008, 7:28pm

It happens on a hot start too.
I'm shopping for a PC scan tool right now. Any recommendations?
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby davesyo » September 1st 2008, 4:10am

I have the Actron CP 9180 .Works great
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby timelessbeing [OP] » September 1st 2008, 8:07am

That's not a PC scan tool.
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby timelessbeing [OP] » September 2nd 2008, 9:40pm

I'm not 100% sure, but I think it's only doing it when going uphill. Will investigate further...
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby davesyo » September 3rd 2008, 2:57am

check fuel pressure ?
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby herbal_gardens » September 3rd 2008, 5:01pm

Hi, my 97 used to do the same thing, my check engine light was on and I had it checked, it showed that my cat was nearing the end of its life span.
I chopped it off and welded a piece of pipe in its place. It runs great now.

To break it down, if your converter gets clogged when the exhaust heats the system up the platinum will shrink allowing more flow, (less back pressure). When the system is cold there is too much back pressure which in turn starves the motor for air thus it floods itself out. This explains why the engine wants to die when you give it gas.

I hope this helps, not sure if it will fix your problem but it fixed mine, and sounds like we are having the same issue.

Chris
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby timelessbeing [OP] » September 4th 2008, 1:12am

Very interesting. I DID see that rust was starting to eat through the muffler, so the exhaust must be original. Unfortunately, cats here are law, so probably can't just cut it out. Not sure how long it takes the exhaust to cool, but I've had the problem after the vans been sitting only about 10 mins or so too. I also don't get the SES light, so we'll see. I'm thinking about building an OBD interface. Anyways, I appreciate the very insightful answer and I'll keep it in mind. Thanks.
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby totm12 » September 19th 2008, 7:12pm

i had the same symptoms and cause as herbal gardens did...same fix....replace the cat....would have sworn it was all ignition since i have had those problems...sure surprised to see the cat problem
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby jimnesbitt » September 20th 2008, 1:22am

If backfireing is associated with this problem... check the green wire coming from the knock sensor on the drivers side of the motor near oil filter for route which should be as far away from spark plug wires as possible, to avoid this unshileded wire from picking up leakage from plug wires. Old plug wires will exaserbate the problem.... too large a gap on the plugs will cause the spark voltage to be higher than the wires can reasonably contain... be sure and use proper plug and sicone wires called for in owners manual.. no hot rod junk and or bosh trick plugs etc.

The green knock sensor wire is attached to the knock sensor under the distibutor and if it thinks it is hearing detonation will retard the spark so far as to send flames out the throttle bore to the point of blowing the air cleaner off... spark leakage is interpretted as knocking... detonation... it is trying to keep you from blowing holes in your pistons etc.
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby timelessbeing [OP] » September 20th 2008, 9:49pm

Nope. No backfiring.
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby timelessbeing [OP] » September 22nd 2008, 4:32am

A similar thing happened to me recently, under different circumstances...

I was driving along the #1 through the rockies, and after a long uphill I coasted to a stop because of construction. I turned off the ignition. Once traffic started moving again, I once again began experiencing power loss. On a level stretch, I couldn't seem to get the van going faster than around 90 Km/hr. This problem persisted for some time and I seemed to just crawl up the hills. It was very confusing and I couldn't tell if it was something with the motor or transmission, but I THINK wasn't getting 4th gear either. I decided to stop in Golden since I needed some supplies anyways. After that when I got back on the highway, the van started running normally again. I don't even know know if this is related to my original post or not, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby herbal_gardens » October 1st 2008, 3:01am

Just wondering, havent heard anything in a bit, have yousolved the issue?
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby pb940072 » October 21st 2008, 2:48pm

New user here. I hope you were able to solve the problem. A year ago, my 2000 Safari 4.3 did this for about a week (really rough dogging for the first 20 secs or so, then ran normal- and like you said, didn't matter how hard/soft on the gas, same symptoms). But, if mine was warmed up, it didn't seem to have a problem.

For me, the fix: Mass Air Flow sensor. I disconnected the sensor and tried the car (which as I understand, causes the engine to use default settings and not actual readings from the MAF). The engine didn't have the problem.

A very easy part to replace (but costs around $100). If you have disconnected it and suspect a faulty MAF, you can also try to clean it first- there is a spray cleaner that for the life of me I can't currently remember- but if you go into your local autoparts store (I use Autozone- sometimes!), they can prob help. It is designed for cleaning MAFs.

Good luck.
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby quis0505 » October 24th 2008, 12:33am

just wondering if u ever fixed the problem.im having similar symptoms with my 99 stro.in my case the engine kinda chokes out when i accelerate. once i reach about 30 mph it smooths out and runs fine.i notice it mainly when i stop at a light for instance.when i take off it putts/chokes, then takes off. i had a 97 that had similar problems. i replaced the cranchaft position sensor and the knock sensor and it ran like a champ.

im leaning towards the catylitic converter. i hear a leak in the exsaust near the passenger front wheel
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby timelessbeing [OP] » October 24th 2008, 3:46am

Sorry haven't had a chance to investigate the problem yet. It needs more important things right now like steering parts, oil cooler lines and tires.
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby timelessbeing [OP] » December 20th 2008, 7:56am

OK so my SES light began coming on periodically, and then gradually more often. Now I think it's on all the time. The DTC translated to MAF sensor poor performance (or something along those lines). So I took apart the intake and looked inside. I was hoping there would be an easy fix like cleaning off gunk. Here's what I saw ...

Image

So there are thin rails running across the intake body, with tiny thermistors mounted between them, presumably to measure the temperature of the air coming in. What I want to know is, are there supposed to be 3 rails on each side? (which also makes me wonder if it was sucked into the engine.)
Anyways, what do you guys think? Do I need a new sensor and if so how much are they? Would this be causing the crappy engine performance?
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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby astro355 » December 20th 2008, 2:01pm

Good picture. Everything looks right. But yes, if something is wrong with the MAF, that will make your van run crappy. What code is it setting? Is it a solid SES light or is it flashing?
Diagnose 1st, never be a parts changer!

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Re: engine stumbling, no power

Postby timelessbeing [OP] » December 21st 2008, 12:09am

DTC P0101 Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Performance
The light is solid but comes on at random. Sometimes I can get away with making a trip without it coming on, but it does illuminate more often than not.

I had to get my Aircare done today (emissions testing), so I took the van out on the highway to get it good and hot. Then I climbed a steep hill, and boy did it struggle. At full throttle the engine roared, but wouldn't go over 100 Km/Hr, and gradually slowed down. If I eased on the gas a bit, it would drop gears, but then went even slower. The tow/haul switch made no difference. Even when I went back down the hill, it didn't want to accelerate. When the engine is hot, the lack of power problem is definitely worse. Thankfully (and strangely), the SES light never came on and I passed the test.
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