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Old 03-11-2013, 11:38 AM   #1
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College student, Engine Trouble

I picked up a 2001 zx3 over the summer and it was working fine. I am now at school and my engine has started sputtering and it has a rough idle, as well as turning off mid drive. With in the last week I have done the following to try and fix the issue:
  • Fuel System Cleaning
  • New Spark plug wires
  • I put new spark plugs in back in August

After the above list was completed my car was working fine for maybe 2-3 days then the rough idling started again. Any suggestion of where to start looking for the cause of this problem?


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Old 03-11-2013, 05:16 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Dirty Dan View Post
I picked up a 2001 zx3 over the summer and it was working fine. I am now at school and my engine has started sputtering and it has a rough idle, as well as turning off mid drive. With in the last week I have done the following to try and fix the issue:
  • Fuel System Cleaning
  • New Spark plug wires
  • I put new spark plugs in back in August

After the above list was completed my car was working fine for maybe 2-3 days then the rough idling started again. Any suggestion of where to start looking for the cause of this problem?

Maybe fuel pump?
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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02? Any check engines? Reset the ecu
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:08 PM   #4
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coil pack could be bad
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:29 PM   #5
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coil pack could be bad
thats what I was thinking
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:12 AM   #6
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If I remember correctly on my friends old focus he had to have the fuel pump replaced under a manufactures warranty cause the pump was faulty. I believe it might be a recall as well. We found this out after it had a rough IDEl and would not exceed 4000 rpms.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Dan View Post
I picked up a 2001 zx3 over the summer and it was working fine. I am now at school and my engine has started sputtering and it has a rough idle, as well as turning off mid drive. With in the last week I have done the following to try and fix the issue:
  • Fuel System Cleaning
  • New Spark plug wires
  • I put new spark plugs in back in August

After the above list was completed my car was working fine for maybe 2-3 days then the rough idling started again. Any suggestion of where to start looking for the cause of this problem?
You have a 12 year old car and you do not know it's maintenance history. Try these items first:
- Replace fuel filter ($10)
- Clean the MAF ($12 for CRC MAF Cleaner)
- Check the Air Filter

These are cheap, and you need to do them so you know when they were done.
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:31 PM   #8
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Before you do anything check to see if their are codes stored, this may give a clue

Intermittent problems are difficult to fix but they can be fixed, Focus on fuel flow 1st most people forget abought the fuel filter it is hidden behind the tank, replace that ist, if that does not fix it next check the fuel pressure ( you will need a fuel pressure gauge) If all ok and it is still not running, Next focus on electrical and good luck.
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:40 PM   #9
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Fuel system cleaning never solves any problems with cars. Seriously, you're a college student, don't waste your money.

Typical issues:

PCV vacuum line decays, or splits. Your symptoms are more like a split. That would cause some sputtering, but there are other causes.

The coil pack is one of those. If it is the coil, you will soon have issues starting the car. When that happens, do a quick fuel pump test: key off, turn key on, and listen for the short buzz of the fuel pump. If you hear that, then the problem is most likely spark- the coil pack.

Sputtering and cutting out can also be a sign of bad battery connections or a bad alternator. You can check your alternator output using the electronic odometer trick. Key off, press and hold the trip odo reset button, turn key on, continue to hold button until the odometer reads [test]. Release the reset button and now you're in test mode. You will remain in test mode until your turn the key off, so you can start it. Each time you press and release the odo reset button you'll scroll through 1 of 30 test functions. Look for the one that reads [bat 12.1] or whatever your battery voltage might be. When you start the engine that will give you alternator voltage, so you can observe it while you drive. Less than 13 or more than 15v is bad.

Another thing to check on the coil is the plug-in connector. Pull on the individual wires going into that connector, sometimes that connector loosens up, and those wires will pull out. That causes sputtering, and can kill the engine.

Good luck, these intermittent problems are a bitch to figure out.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:30 AM   #10
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Any Focus I've seen the fuel filter and pump and coil cracks will show up under hard load first, then migrate down lower in engine performance. Except the coil connector from that, it can show up at any time. The cracks are easy enough to find by pulling coil and cleaning it and then looking close at the plastic for cracks, if it's cracked they'll be everywhere.

I'd be checking the pcv hose entry into back of intake manifold, you describe the symptoms perfectly and they all do it sooner or later. Look for bubblegummed up hose right where it goes into intake or a couple inches down. Very common on these.

I'll second that fuel system cleaning statement in a heartbeat, I've never done it ever and see no need in a long string of cars, of course watch that all change tomorrow. Mostly a gimmick to take easy money.
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