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Car sometimes loses power to almost shutoff, no pedal response


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I have a second gen. 1995 legacy, engine EJ20 (from japan to southamerica) with automatic 4EAT stock and front wheel drive, 216.000 km. Some time ago the car started to randomly lose power, like it was going to shut down, even if i was idling or in the road. When it happens in the road (low highway speed, over 40 mph) the accelerator pedal doesn´t response and the rpm drops to almost zero (even if i put the foot down it´s like it was turned off, but the radio keep working) for like a second or two. But when i´m idling or driving slow, the car won´t recover the rpm and it shuts off the engine, but it will start again without problems, and without check engine warning.

 

This happens randomly, some days yes some days no. But it happens more often when i´m with the A/C on, or when the car is hot (it has been driven before) The idling is normal, and the trans is also good.

 

What i´ve done until now:

- Clean CPK, valve position sensor, and tps (cleaned the connector with electrical contact cleaner, it moved fine) Also cleaned the MAf, and the air filter is fine. After all, i disconnected the battery for a night.

 

When the problem started, i´ve had done nothing to the car (so it could be because something went wrong)

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I can think of a few things that would shut the engine down like that, but I think it would have to be electrical if it starts back up easy.

 

Ground connections in the engine bay. Do you call them earth down there?

Electrical connections at the igniter and coil. Connections at the cam position sensor and crank position sensor. Connections at the three connectors on the right side where the engine and trans join. Connections at the computer in the right footwell.

 

Do you have some kind of service book to work from to help locate these items?

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I can think of a few things that would shut the engine down like that, but I think it would have to be electrical if it starts back up easy.

 

Ground connections in the engine bay. Do you call them earth down there?

 

Yes, those are called earth here, they seems to be ok.

 

Electrical connections at the igniter and coil. Connections at the cam position sensor and crank position sensor.

 

I´ve cleaned those with electrical contact cleaner, they fit firmly, not loose.

 

BUT, the crank position sensor does have something like a little dent (between the flat part and the cylinder surface) it´s not broken, but something hit it. It had a litle gunk in the flat surface, i cleaned easy, it came out just by wiping it.

 

Connections at the three connectors on the right side where the engine and trans join. Connections at the computer in the right footwell.

 

I don´t know where are those, i´ll check them later.

 

Do you have some kind of service book to work from to help locate these items?

 

I do have the service manual and the haynes manual for the model.

 

 

Could it be the ignition coil, that sometimes missfire or "miss the signal"? Because few days ago the engine had a weird sound, like a buzz from what it seems to be the ignition coil.

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I just remember, the starter engine was rebuilt in december-january, maybe a month before the problems started. Could it be the source? I didn´t change any wires, but because of the position of the solenoid, it´s now more tense or straight than before (but as i said, since it was rebuilt i never had a problem starting the engine again)
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Highly doubt that is it.

 

It would be useful to know if when it dies you are without spark or without fuel or both. Given how it happens, I'm not sure how you would know which of these is happening.

 

I have a fuel pressure guage so I could probably figure it out, but I have a bunch of sensors added to mine that normal people don't have or want.

 

You could maybe rig up a guage for during testing. I had a mechanical 25mm one on the end of some high pressure fuel line. It doesn't rain here very often, so I routed it out from under the hood and wired it to the wiper blade so I could watch it while driving.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yesterday the car ran worse than ever. For a trip less than 3 miles, it shutoff almost 5 times, mostly it was like it lose power (rpm drop to almost 250) sometimes it could catch up and kepp working, and other times it shut off and i had to start it again. It started fine, but quickly lose power again.

 

But for what i could see, it was like it had a misfire, with 3 of 4 cylinders working (was" in 3 legs" like we say here) Earlier that day i saw the spark wires, the are fine (no cracks on the outside) but the cylinder next to the battery had little oil on the tip, it was kind of gluey so i don´t think it was new. Last year i changed the spark plugs, and that same spark plug had a little oil too, i think it may be passing some.

 

But i don´t know if because of 1 faulty spark (random time, not always, like today in the morning the car had no problem) the engine can quickly shutoff? (from normal to off in less than 2 seconds).

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Also, just now i manually check the check engine light (with the black connectors under the steer), it gave me code 23 and 32, according to Legacy Central it´s oxygen sensor (¿1 or 2? i don´t know) and maf. Could it be because of the maf? if it works normally almost all the time.
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If the MAF is not working the engine will definitely shut off. Perhaps you have a corroded connection or a broken wire. That would let it work until it sometimes didn't. Both can be more likely to fail when you come to a stop in an auto trans car because the engine is fighting to move the car and the brakes prevent it so the engine leans in the mounts and changes how the bad connection sits.
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Can i use the MAf from a 2.2 engine on a 2.0? i think i can because the internal computer reads and calibrate the amount of gas based on how much air is coming to the engine, and he MAF just reads how much air is enteing, am i right? Because i found a few maf on amazon for under USD$50 but they are all from a 2.2 engine, and mine is 2.0 (same 4 cylinders, non-turbo, without EGR)
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I don't know if those parts cross. You have to have the same connector shape, the same pinout in the connector, and the same calibration to the sensor. The 2.2 MAF can measure up to something like 150 g/s whereas the turbo one will measure up over 300 g/s. I don't know if the 2.0 is the same calibration as the 2.2 or 2.5.
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I don't know if those parts cross. You have to have the same connector shape, the same pinout in the connector, and the same calibration to the sensor. The 2.2 MAF can measure up to something like 150 g/s whereas the turbo one will measure up over 300 g/s. I don't know if the 2.0 is the same calibration as the 2.2 or 2.5.

 

 

At least the OEM part number was the same, i checked with the one wich was in ebay uk (they had the same engine there) and the one in amazon for the 2.2 and 2.5. The connector shape and pins are the same too.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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