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Old 08-04-2009, 01:44 PM   #1
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Exclamation Hard to start, running out of ideas

Ok.... Ive got a 97 2.5 wrangler with almost 190k on it. (rebuilt engine, trans, and as of last month rear axle) It's slowly getting worse. It's been hard to start for a while now, but now when it starts it misfires and wants to stall and runs really rough. After keeping it alive for a min I can usualy get it to smooth out and it's driveable. Sometimes wants to stall at idle still. Ive tested and replaced just about everything on it and I don't know what to check next.

Recently Ive replaced....
cap/rotor
plugs/wires
coil
fuel pump/pressure regulator
crank sensor
tps

Ive tested the coolant and air intake sensors and they checked out ok. I also tested the MAP and it was slightly out of the specs in my book, but very close.

Also.... Im not sure if it's a related problem or something different, but when Im on the gas any more than about 90% throttle, it's a total dog, no power.

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Old 08-04-2009, 01:46 PM   #2
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anyone ever had a problem with clogged injectors?

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Old 08-04-2009, 03:22 PM   #3
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Have you checked your fuel tank for water?
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:49 PM   #4
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Never crossed my mind. Ive been driving it and it's been hard to start for almost a year now. Ive driven tanks upon tanks of gas through it. I filled it up this time, went camping this weekend (150 miles round trip) drove around a little, and now this. Ran fine all weekend, still on the same tank. It just seem to me that it's been happening for too long and Ive run too much gas through it for that to be the problem.
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:08 PM   #5
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what about the fuel filter? it could be cloged just trying to help
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:24 PM   #6
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I have the same problem with my 2002 2.5L right now. Randomly it will not start and when it does it may die or idle fine; you never know.
With mine it has battery power, then when I turn the key all power is lost. I just turn it a few times and it finally starts.

I have thought about replacing the fuel filter, but haven't. Has anyone ever replaced their fuel filter and had improved results?
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:16 PM   #7
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There is no inline fuel filter. There's a screen filter on the fuel pump (replaced when I replaced the pump) and the fuel pressure regulator/anti drainback valve has a filter in it (which has been replaced) no improvement.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:01 PM   #8
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I can't believe Im back to page 3. Does anyone have any other ideas? I had to get out and move the jeep today... So I got it started, ran really rough, tried to revv it up, wouldn't go past 2k rpm. After a while of backfiring and sputtering it finaly started to respond, I got it moved and it actualy ran at idle. I let it sit, got out and popped the hood. Played around a little bit wiggle testing wires and vacuume hoses. I played with the throttle a little bit and it revved ok but stumbled a little while returning to idle and wanted to stall. It wasn't too responsive until I got it over 1500 or 2000.

Does this sound like clogged fuel injectors....
hard to start
rough idle
low power
random backfires on shifts

Almost every sensor has been replaced or tested
Almsot every part of the ignition system is new (coil, cap, rotor, plugs, wires)
New fuel pump and pressure regulator/filter

I REALLY need to get this thing back on the road!!!!
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Old 08-06-2009, 09:51 AM   #9
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Try something - get it started - put a CLEAN rag over the throttle body, choking it for air. You might have to diddle the trottle a little to keep it running.
If it "likes" the choking it's getting air in from somewhere else - lean.

Let us know.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:44 AM   #10
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How's your fuel pressure at the rail? I dunno if the 2.5L has a Schraeder valve like the 4.0L does on the fuel rail for checking fuel pressure but I'd try to see if you're getting adequate fuel pressure. 49 psi is about right for TJs.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:21 PM   #11
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The 2.5 doesn't have a schraeder valve. And I don't have the little in-line adapter to hook up my pressure gauge.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:36 PM   #12
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OK... I got it started it actualy idled alright. I pulled the air box off the TB and put a rag over it. It ran pretty smoothly, idled ok, and revved ok when I eased into the throttle. Not much different than without the rag, but it actualy did seem to help a little bit. The only real difference is with the rag it didn't seem to stumble/hesitate as bad when I tried to rev it. It seemed to run ok when I eased into the throttle (with and without the rag) But stumbled/hesitated bad when I snapped the throttle (with or without the rag)
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:48 PM   #13
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Unplug the upstream 02 sensor and see what happens.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:52 PM   #14
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It sounds like it's very lean, your rag test shows it.
Unplugging the upstream O2 sensor will help prove it - it'll run much richer unplugged.

Look at the sticky posts - or do a search for "propane trick." It will show you how to make a simple but handy tool for finding air leaks - vacuum leaks and false air.

Lean can be from several problems, low fuel pressure is one, cracked or loose hose, leaking throttlebody gasket, manifold gasket, brake booster - the propane trick helps find it.
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Old 08-07-2009, 01:02 AM   #15
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I made a post a few months ago.... "Vacuume leak???" about this same problem... I know about the propane trick, I've just never done it.

1. The upstream is the one right after the manifold right????
2. The cat has been removed (before I bought it) and I don't see a second O2 sensor on the exhaust..... is this any cause for concern? It always ran fine before
3. I didn't think the O2 sensor did anything until the engine got up to temp and was running in closed loop????
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:18 AM   #16
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"""""I made a post a few months ago.... "Vacuume leak???" about this same problem... I know about the propane trick, I've just never done it."""""


Oh, then you must like the problem! If you don't want to find it, why do you ask?

Playing games with us?
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:45 AM   #17
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I thought it may have been a vacuume leak... but after I made the first post all kinds of other ideas were thrown out there and I guess I ended up going the wrong direction. I thought it was the FPR, but now I know it's not. I'll try and get my brother in-law to bring his small propane torch over (mine ran out) and see if I can figure this thing out.
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:59 PM   #18
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Step # 1 ALWAYS

FUEL OR IGNITION?

step # 2

Once you know the answer to # 1, take steps to diagnose THAT.

If it is fuel, the propane will help you locate it. BUT - you have to modify the torch a little - no going back after it's modified. Your brother in law will be mad at you when you ruin his.

Propane bottles are about $1.95. If you are broke after buying all the wrong stuff blindly (shotgunning,) ask him for the cash.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:10 PM   #19
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I didn't know you had to modify the torch. What do you need to do to it? I have one, it's just out of propane.... so I'll modify mine and use his bottle. Yea... Im pretty broke right now, I just ran to the gas station and bought a beer and pack of smokes with change.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:16 PM   #20
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One more idea... the distributor can somehow get out of time but it can be re-timed using a method I've read about but not familiar with. I know several with strange problems like yours ended up having the dealer re-time the distributor and it cured their problem. I'm not saying this will cure yours but it's something new that hasn't been tried yet.
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:03 AM   #21
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One more idea... the distributor can somehow get out of time but it can be re-timed using a method I've read about but not familiar with. I know several with strange problems like yours ended up having the dealer re-time the distributor and it cured their problem. I'm not saying this will cure yours but it's something new that hasn't been tried yet.
Im so glad you mentioned that.... Now that I think about it, when the original engine was replaced around 120-130k is really when the problem with this car really started. I remember trying to adjust the timing but finding that the distibutor couldn't be turned. And the problem Im having now seems exactly like a timing problem.... hard to start... falls off at top end... rough idle. Do you have any idea what they did to solve it or where I might be able to look to find it? Do you think any of the dealer techs would be able to give me some advice if I asked them???
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:59 AM   #22
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Check This

I did not see anywhere that you checked the cat. converter. If it is clogged, it will run exactly like you are describing. With that many miles, this is a real possibility.
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:32 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Broncodriver View Post
Im so glad you mentioned that.... Now that I think about it, when the original engine was replaced around 120-130k is really when the problem with this car really started. I remember trying to adjust the timing but finding that the distibutor couldn't be turned. And the problem Im having now seems exactly like a timing problem.... hard to start... falls off at top end... rough idle. Do you have any idea what they did to solve it or where I might be able to look to find it? Do you think any of the dealer techs would be able to give me some advice if I asked them???
I dunno, it has something to do with getting the camshaft position sensor and distributor retimed together, the dealers know how to do it. I doubt the dealer would tell you how to do it though, they're in it to make $$$, not tell their customers how to do it on their own. I'll look in my FSM today and if it describes how to do it, I'll post it.
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:03 PM   #24
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broncodriver View Post
I made a post a few months ago.... "Vacuume leak???" about this same problem... I know about the propane trick, I've just never done it.

1. The upstream is the one right after the manifold right????
2. The cat has been removed (before I bought it) and I don't see a second O2 sensor on the exhaust..... is this any cause for concern? It always ran fine before
3. I didn't think the O2 sensor did anything until the engine got up to temp and was running in closed loop????
No cat. Thanks for all the help guys, hopefully I'll be comming back soon to close this damn thread for good
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:04 PM   #26
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So let me make sure I've got this all straight. If in fact this is my problem the injector timing is off. I looked in my factory service manual and found absolutely nothing about indexing the cam sensor. Any place you look in the manual where it talks about timing, ignition or fuel, it just says it's fixed and there's nothing you can do to change it.

Should I do what they did in the link above.... cut a window in an old cap, modify the fork on the bottom of the distributor, and use a feeler gauge to set a .020" gap between rotor and contact point when no 1 is at TDC?

Id also still like to know what I need to do to my torch to use it for finding vacuume leaks...
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:26 PM   #27
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For vac leaks just use a can a carb cleaner it will work just as good.
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:10 PM   #28
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So let me make sure I've got this all straight. If in fact this is my problem the injector timing is off. I looked in my factory service manual and found absolutely nothing about indexing the cam sensor. Any place you look in the manual where it talks about timing, ignition or fuel, it just says it's fixed and there's nothing you can do to change it.

Should I do what they did in the link above.... cut a window in an old cap, modify the fork on the bottom of the distributor, and use a feeler gauge to set a .020" gap between rotor and contact point when no 1 is at TDC?

Id also still like to know what I need to do to my torch to use it for finding vacuume leaks...
Does anyone have any input on this????
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:50 PM   #29
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I tried using carb cleaner.. didn't have much success. Either I don't have a vacuume leak or I need another way to test it. Maybe I'll try and scrape some money together and invest and a gauge.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:15 PM   #30
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So let me make sure I've got this all straight. If in fact this is my problem the injector timing is off. I looked in my factory service manual and found absolutely nothing about indexing the cam sensor. Any place you look in the manual where it talks about timing, ignition or fuel, it just says it's fixed and there's nothing you can do to change it.
From what I have been led to believe, the factory does indeed have a distributor/camshaft position sensor timing adjustment they can do. I'd call the dealer and after finding someone more technical than the usual service writer, see if they know how to do it.

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