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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
ok so a few weeks ago, (maybe 2) i was leaving my house for school and i got close to exiting my neighborhood and i had noticed my rpms would hit about 3k and stop but didnt think anything of it. as i headed toward the main road, i looked in my rearview mirror, low and behold theres this massive smoke coming out of my exhaust. i was afraid it was my engine so i brought it back home and left it till after school. when i was home i turned my car on with the hood open and left it in neutral (i have a stick) and revved it. it began to bog down again at higher rpms so i held it revving and after several minutes (5-10) it stopped completely and i had full range of rpm and no more smoke. never smoke from the engine, only a "steam" like gas out of the exhaust. i say steamlike because my friend smelled it and it was not oil/gas, although could be mistaken, im open to suggestions.

the only modification is a cold air intake (2007 ZX4 2.0L Duratec). i came to the conclusion that it was water (it had rained heavily the night before) and that it was in the piping. it happened another 1 or 2 times after heavy rains overnight sitting in my driveway since then. not sure how many times its rained since the upgrade so i wouldnt be able to correlate it to a timeframe.

last night however, it dropped wayy below freezing, but it hadnt rained for a day or so and i had driven it so i thought it would be ok. but no, as i went to start my car this morning, it wouldnt start, once it did, only with gas from me. then it wouldnt idle, it would always bog down and turn off unless i held the rpms which i didnt care to do cause it would always die. again afterschool i kept the engine revving and eventually it cleared up. could this have been water on the filter element that froze and restricted airflow? please provide any input to the problem as the weather will only continue to deteriorate.

[idea]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
well as of now my plan is to remove the filter within the next day or so and do a complete filter cleaning/recharge (its early but still) and let it dry completely. i should be getting a k&N drycharger tomorrow which i will put on. hopefully, if i was correct, it will protect the filter element from future problems.

anyone else have any ideas on what the problem could be? i want to cover all of my bases in case its something unrelated.
 

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its possible you got water in there...water breaks down carbon, so it may have been smoking b/c you were shooting out all the carbon buildup (basically cleaning out the intake manifold). id rec. an outerwares pre-filter, to keep it cry/clean. the water freezing can cause those bogging/not running issues.
 

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You could try some MAF cleaner and disconnect the neg battery cable and see if that helps. Not sure how water would get in there if its not submerged or in direct rain.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
yeah thanks. today again when i first started it up (to got to autozone actually) it would shut off if i didnt hold the rpms at idle till it warmed up. maybe i need oil for the engine or driveshaft (i dont know) maybe anything that rotates could be freezing up? the rpms just drop all the way down, so i thought of unplugging the battery just to reset the computer and maybe it would give more juice to the idle. im gonna clean and cover the intake filter tomorrow probably if its dry outside.
would it be advisable to try starting up the car (maybe for a few minutes) without the filter to and just the intake pipe and see if thats helps on an initial startup?
thanks for all the help, ill keep you all posted.
 

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yeah, try it with no filter, but be CAREFUL. make sure nothing is getting sucked up!!!!!!!!!! other than air of course. again, use caution. i think ur MAF could be dirty tho too.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks guys... its supposed to rain so im gonna wait until tomorrow to do any work.
would the tube or the sensor be dirty? also how would i go about cleaning it?
 

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You can pull the whole CAI out and then pull the 2 elbows apart and see if there is anything in them. The maf would need to be pulled out of the housing and cleaned with maf cleaner. Also if you have carb cleaner you can clean out the TB, I prefer to use a rag and spray cleaner on it then open the TB anb clean the butterfly and the housing around it. Also when was the last time you changed your fuel filter and how many miles do you have on the car?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
well ive only got about 15 thousand miles...
 

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fuel filter should be fine then, unless ur usin a lot of ethanol (some manufacturers say to replace at 15k with that stuff runnin thru the filters). yeah, the maf cleaner or rubbing alcohol with a qtip works well...take the maf sensor out and you will see some very thin wires (filaments). they are the sensing parts of the sensor. VERY delicate. u can clean from 2 sides, there are holes on either side. a dirty vs. clean maf sensor is actually pretty obvious, as you clean it. neat to see the change. again, delicate.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
ok i took off my filter today and it was disgusting... and soaked. mind you the temperature was hovering in the high forties, low fifties today, but i feel that it could have seriously impeded the airflow. there is muddy water inside and i cant even clean it. should i just get a new filter? there was even dirt in the pipe going to the engine. dirt and water must be seeping down the car in rain and saturating the filter. hopefuly the drycharger will keep it clean, it wont keep it completely dry though. anyone know of an aftermarket case for the intake maybe like the steeda cover? but to protect against the elements.
 

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yeah, so that sounds a lot like that is the cause of your probs...MAF sensor is most likely a mess too....check it out.

the outerwares keep them clean, and pretty dry...they use them in rally, mudding, etc.

you can also get a shield (metal or plastic) that connects at the base of the filter at AZ/advance, etc.
 

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You could see if you could mount an 03-04 air filter cover on your car? That should keep it nice and dry.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
what about just putting in a heatshield over it? i dont care about the heat part, aluminum heatshields on ebay i can put over it for 20 bucks. if i ever decide to go short ram (via not steeda=cutting my tube) then id have a heatshield anyway, better than none.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=360119087766

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=180310661201

would the second one be better? cause it looks like it doesnt wrap as far around the filter= less restricting to air-flow? or does it not really matter.
 

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those are what i was talking about....the second one, i had myself...its sharp tho, so be careful handling it...i bloodied my hands on it, trying ot maneuver it around.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
ok that second ones a good size though? the guy hadnt gotten back to me i assume he will by tomorrow. i have a 5 inch long filter, 6 in widest at the base, and the pipe area of the filter is for a 3 inch pipe i belive so maybe 3.25 or 3.5"?
 

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dont go on me, but i would think it should be fine. i took mine off when i got the FS...but it did a great job when the filter was down lower.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
ok ill probably order it once this guy gets back to me.. theres only 1 cheaper on ebay but its aluminum (the first one posted, like most of em on ebay) and i just realized that this one was stainless steel. ill probably end up getting that second one.
 

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sounds good; is the car running better now that you have cleaned all that stuff up?
 
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