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Old 11-09-2009, 02:13 PM   #1
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Stalling at idle when warm

Hello everyone!

So this car never really idled nice and smooth; it's a 4-cylinder so I never expected it to, really. But recently the idle got very rough, to the point of stalling, when warm. The car runs fine off-idle and even idles fine when cold but as soon as it warms up, it idles very poorly.

I have done the "Stumble Fix" found here and it greatly improved the weird "surging" at cruise, also it greatly reduced the frequency of the motor stalling at idle but didn't take care of it altogether.

I've also inspected and re-seated the hoses on the intake under/behind the throttle body; all appear to be sealed well and I can disconnect the opposite end and block the line without affecting the idle. Great tips on this thread, too!

So now I'm at a loss... It has a new fuel pump, new battery, new TPS (got raped for that one; $30 for a rheostat? jeez)

I was thinking maybe fuel filter, but wouldn't that affect all running conditions, not just idle? Same with ignition parts.

So how does this motor even control idle? I pulled the throttle body to clean it and I can't find an idle control valve or even a vacuum solenoid that might help control idle speed... is it ignition timing only?

Any help would be appreciated... I hope it's clear I've done some research and tried everything I could think of; thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

-Deek


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Old 11-09-2009, 02:29 PM   #2
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Have you tried disconnecting the battery for about 10 minutes, while its unhooked clean the MAF sensor, then hook it back up. Start the car and let it idle for about 5 minutes before you ever touch the gas this will give the ECU time to relearn the idle and "should" take care of it.
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Old 11-09-2009, 03:02 PM   #3
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I'll give that a try tonight... is carb cleaner okay to clean the MAF with?

Nevermind, I see there is MAF cleaner available. I'll pick some up after work.

-Deek
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Last edited by SquirtMyZX3; 11-09-2009 at 03:09 PM. Reason: Found information I was looking for
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Old 11-09-2009, 03:24 PM   #4
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MAF cleaner, brake cleaner, carb cleaner, ect are all pretty much the same.
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:00 PM   #5
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Hello! Tried cleaning the MAF and let the car sit with the battery disconnected for about 30 minutes while disasembled the air intake pieces and cleaned them all.

As soon as I started it up, it started idling rough just like before.

The MAF was dirty; both wires were sort of gray and dull looking... after cleaning they're nice and shiny.

One clue; if I spray the carb cleaner around the area behind/below the throttle body, the engine races momentarily. So there's a leak there somewhere. I'm going to pick up some vacuum line plugs and port caps tomorrow and block them all off and see what I can see with the carb cleaner again. I'm thinking throttle body seal or cracked intake manifold now. (Unless there's a vacuum port I'm missing)

As an extra added bonus, it's also picked up a new annoying habit. The thing shifts HARD. It's an auto, and when it does the 1/2 shift, there's no easing into it at all, it's like dumping the clutch on a manual. The 2/3 isn't quite as bad, but still quite a jolt.

I'm going to do some searches for reasons for that particular malady now... I'm beginning to think there's something seriously wrong.
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:09 PM   #6
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Sounds like a vacuum leak to me. Trace what line is causing the idle to jump when you spray it, remove the line, inspect carefully for tears, cracks, etc. There is a vacuum routing line diagram under your hood, make sure you check each and every one of them listed, that will be helpful. If your manifold was cracked, Id imagine you'd be throwing codes, maybe a "faulty manifold pressure" one or something similar. Is your CEL on? If so, what code(s) is it giving?
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:14 PM   #7
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CEL is on, but it's always on!

It's because I did the stumble fix that disconnects the EGR valve... I'll scan my codes and see if it's throwing anything else.
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Old 11-11-2009, 06:57 PM   #8
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Well, I found my vacuum leak.



That's the intake side of the crank case vent hose. (I think)

At least it's not hard to get to. It turns out there are a few cuts in the hose from rubbing in various places, so I have to take the whole thing off... I couldn't figure out where it connected because it seems to disappear UNDER the coil bracket.

So after taking the battery, airbox, coil and coil bracket off, here's what I find:



It's just slipped over this metal tube, which I think is the crank case breather tube.

No diagram of vacuum hoses in the engine compartments, in the owners manual or even in the Haynes I have.

So just slip it off and replace it, right? Well the side on the metal tube was completely melted (or something) onto the tube and I had to cut it off with a razor blade. The end that's (still) attached to the intake is fastened with a crimp-type clamp.

So I guess I'll Dremel off that sucker and replace it with a screw-type.

I'm really starting to hate this car.

Thanks for listening! I'll update this thread with the results of replacing that tube.

Any suggestions for replacing (whatever) while I've got it torn down this far?
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Old 11-12-2009, 07:19 PM   #9
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Okay! Replaced the hose with a generic piece of hose (the molded one wasn't available anywhere... even the ford dealer said "uh... hmmm.... don't see that one in the system..." and I had a part number!)

Purrs like a kitten. It's quiet enough now I can hear that I have an exhaust leak right in front of the muffler.

Thanks for all your help. I'm not finding much information about the clunky shifting on this site, though... I'm going to replace the filter and fluid tomorrow (and maybe add some of that magic oil stuff too) so hopefully that will take care of it.
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