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I'm a senior citizen with a car mystery.I'm not knowledgeable about cars and it seems no mechanics in my rural area are either. I've taken it to 3 mechanics and all are puzzled about this.

I'm the 2nd owner of a 1989 Dodge Aires ,2.2 liter engine, automatic transmission, front wheel drive, 4 door.( I bought it from a lady in my church) and know it was maintained while she owned it.
The car drove WONDERFUL for about 3 years after I bought it then this started happening...

my problem:


after driving about 5 miles the red oil light goes on... yet all fluids are FILLED! It begins to act like its out of gas and has big troubles if you are on a hill even a small one.
after driving about 10-20 miles it begins to act like its completely out of gas and finally loses power Here's the kicker...you can pull the car over, park and restart it and it will drive perfectly for 10 -20 miles.... like something is resetting then messing up again in 10 -20 miles .
Sometimes it will restart quickly,but s sometimes if you put it in neutral after stopping and apply the gas it will operate OK ...but as soon as you put it in gear it stops again. No one in our area has an older style diagnostic to put it on to test ...so its hit or miss !

Repairs I've made to try to solve this:

1.new electric fuel pump( in fact I've had 2 new ones put on )

2.new fuel filter

3.new transmission filter

4. new catyletic converter

5.fuel tank emptied and checked for rust in gas tank

6. new computer system ( I'm not sure I believe this but mechanic said he did and took new off when it did not help this problem)

7.a reset something ( mechanic said he fixed that?)

I'm Clueless what to try next? so are these mechanics.. in fact one kept it from december til april and it's still doing the same thing.

I LOVE LOVE this car ! It drives great if you don't go over 10 miles LOL

I'm on a fixed income and I'm tired of saving to fix it and throwing more money into a car that is a mystery!

Can someone please suggest what I can do next besides get a new car.. sadly that's not an option)

I want to thank all who respond to my mystery in advance!
 

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Before shotgunning parts you might have been able to resolve the actual issue by pulling the codes.

Check out the link my my signature for a link to codes and how to troubleshoot.

After looking at all the parts you changed the thing that comes to mind might be the HEP or Pickup Coil under the distributor cap/rotor.

Also, how long did it sit before you bought the car. Is it a turbo or not? Is it fuel injected or carb? I can imagine that if it sat for a really long time that it may have clogged injectors or possibly something wrong with the EGR... But, it doesn't make any sense to do much of anything before pulling the codes.

I suggest you run it until it misbehaves and then check the codes. Report the codes here and we'll see if we can't help solve this mystery.
 

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The oil warning light does not indicate low fluid, it indicates low oil pressure. This can happen for 3 reasons:

Oil pressure really is low, due to failing oil pump, engine about to stall, or defective oil pressure sending unit.

When was the last tuneup done (how many miles ago, what timeframe), and what parts were replaced? A full tuneup should be done if it hasn't been done for awhile. This consists of:

New spark plugs, plug wires, distributor cap, ignition rotor, air and fuel filters, PCV valve, breather filter.

You would be amazed at how poorly these cars will run if these are neglected. In particular, these engines eat ignition rotors, they usually are burned by 20,000 miles and can even cause a no-start.
 

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Distributor pickup is a good possibility considering what has been replaced and lack of computer error codes.
Present day mechanics seem to be lacking the skills to diagnose these older vehicles with no OBDII diagnostic port. :)

The oil light may be coming on just as the engine dies. That would be normal.
 

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KOG
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Bad oil pressure switch isn't uncommon and on some cars low oil pressure can shut down the engine
 

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The 2.2/2.5 have a couple of weaker points in the sensor system. The Hall Effect pickup in particular can cause problems like you describe, as people have mentioned. Do your diagnosis though, throwing parts at it will just burn a hole in your wallet. They're cheap individually, but it adds up fast.
 

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A stall will turn on the red oil light. We need to find out why it's stalling. There may or may not be fault codes, but having one may help in diagnosis.
A DRB II scan tool may also show why it is stalling when warm. You may also need an older technician who remembers these cars, although they are quite simple to work on.
 

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HI

Miss please make sure someone that knows what they are doing.check the charcoal canister and purge solenoid!

The way your descibing it.it sounds as the Charcoal canister is plugged up sucking fuel into engine dieing out.

Do you top the tank in this car tippity top, meaning when at gas station,it clicks off,you continue to fill it top full?

This will destroy the Charcoal canister and cause a symptom like this your having. Also ask do you see back smoke

exhaust smells rich?? But its slowly losing power then it dies out,not instant kill. The Hall effect inside distributor

would be off not loss of power slowly then die out. The Charcoal cannister If I remeber correct is on the passanger

side open hood its to your left.three hoses on it. To test,have good guy knows,take the hose from gas tank to canister

off. disconnect Then drive it see. If it stops proves you have a bad canister. This won't cost much anything to check this.

See if this helps ok? I

Jake
 

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I've topped off my cars right to the cap for hundreds of tankfuls, continue to do so. My car takes 2 more gallons after it first clicks off.

It runs perfectly. Last car went 308K miles, ran perfectly when I decommissioned it. It may not be recommended practice, but it doesn't leak, and it has always passed emissions with numbers same as new.

The OP might simply need a tuneup.
 

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Yes I agree a tune is needed if its not been done. But I have seen cars,trucks,vans have this

same trouble it was the canister loaded with fuel.May not be it,but its possible, easy no $$$ to

check it. She has spent enough.

Jake
 

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The canisters are poorly placed on some vehicles, not so (I would imagine) on others. Another weak point could be your MAP sensor, those give you loss of power, sometimes they fail with no code, but will also typically cause black smoke. The canisters are very expensive compared to the sensors, I would check the electronic bits out first, HEP and, if that's OK, the MAP.
 

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OK I CHECKED THE CODES... I THINK IT IS A 32 OR 33 I'M SORRY I CANT DO BETTER .,,MY MIND NOT FUNCTIONING AT THE BEST YET IF EVER.

TO ANSWER RANDY:
YES THE DISTRIB CAP HAS BEEN REPLACED., BUT AS FOR A HEP BEING REPLACED I DONT KNOW.
IM SO STRESSED OUT OVER THIS. WE HAVE AN OLDER TRUCK WITH OVER 200,000 MILES ON IT ,LIVE IN RURAL AREA OF HILLSBORO OHIO WHERE OBVIOUSLY THERES NOT A REAL MECHANIC IN THE TOWN THAT KNOWS HOW TO FIX IT.THEY JUST TRY THIS AND THAT AND I DONT HAVE THE $ TO PLUNGE INTO IT. MY HUBBY NOT WELL ENOUGH TO FIDDLE WITH IT.

THE LAST PLACE WE TOOK THE CAR TO THE TUNE OF $385 TOOK IT ON THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING RETURNED IT IN APRIL AND SAID HE DIDNT KNOW WHAT IT COULD BE,
HE PUT ON A NEW COMPUTER ( I MADE HIM TAKE IT OFF) AND A NEW CATYCLATIC CONVERTER..
THEN HIS PARTING WORDS WERE "THERES A LOT OF RELAYS LEFT TO TRY...."
WHY DID HE NOT TRY THEM IN THE 6 MONTHS HE HAD THE CAR?
I SO WISH ONE OF YOU MEN LIVED MY WAY
SO WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST I DO NEXT?


THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR INPUT!~
 

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Code 32 is a failed ECR valve. It's probably stuck open. It may have melted at the black plastic transducer if the catalytic converter was previously clogged.

Costs between $50 and $80, and is easy to replace, 5-10 minutes tops.
 

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KOG
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One oddity of the ignition system on these engines is that the rotor has to be grounded. If the distributor shaft is rusty and the rotor does not have a good ground it can confuse the hall effect sensor. This is noted in the shop manual and just about nobody in the world seems to have ever bothered to notice this. Causes all sorts of odd ignition failures which you cannot trace or predict.
 

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Here's what I would suggest. I'll send you a good used HEP and before you do anything else just swap it in and see if your problem is resolved. I have a 1989 Omni with the same HEP that I don't drive much but I will run it with the spare that I have for a few days to verify it is good. It is sandwiched between your distributor and distributor cap and has a plug in connector. As your distributor cap has been changed the 2 Phillips screws holding it on should not be a problem as sometimes they sieze into place. Do you think you could find someone to help you or do you think you might like to give it a try your self?? Do you have access to a camera to take a picture of your distributor cap??

Thanks
Randy
 

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KOG said:
One oddity of the ignition system on these engines is that the rotor has to be grounded. If the distributor shaft is rusty and the rotor does not have a good ground it can confuse the hall effect sensor. This is noted in the shop manual and just about nobody in the world seems to have ever bothered to notice this. Causes all sorts of odd ignition failures which you cannot trace or predict.
??? The ignition rotor is not grounded to anything. It's electrically isolated from the distributor shaft. It conducts the spark from the center (coil) wire to each spark plug wire. If it were grounded, the spark would not reach any of the plugs.

Perhaps you are talking about the shutter plate.
 

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Yes the shutter vanes must be grounded, not the spark delivery portion of the rotor.
Some early aftermarket rotors had no vane wheel grounded to the distributor shaft and the floating potential on the vanes could transfer high-voltage into the Hall-effect plate and then into the PCM, eventually damaging them.
Later 2.2L/2.5L distributors had the shutters and HEP pickup moved to the lower body away from the high-voltage. Her '89 should be the newer style.
I remember in high school auto shop class we had a see-through distributor cap on our test stand V8 engine and the spark seemed to be scattered everywhere inside that distributor when it ran at higher speeds.
 

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KOG
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Yep, shutter plate (which is part of rotor) must be grounded, distributor shaft must be clean and free of rust in order to ground it. You can check shutter plate for ground using an ohmmeter to be sure.
 

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The shutter plate is integral to the distributor. It's swaged on to the shaft on my '95. The rotor is the piece that's on top of the shaft. Either way, if the only thing that the grounding does is prevent damaging voltages, I doubt it's the OP's problem. I posted some pretty basic instructions on the other thread on how to get the HEP out. Is there any way to merge the threads or close one so that we're all working on the same one?
The EGR is probably a secondary issue to the oil light and dying issues.
 

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Bob, you mentioned the EGR (I believe), which, once the engine reaches operating temp, could cause a fault and shut down, shutting off will reset and run again for a while. I don't believe it is ignition problem, it starts back up too easily.

There are sensors that kick on after a length of time and can be doing this, the computer allows the engine to warm up before it turns one of them on or off, then she dies. I think a scan tool may be needed to determine which one it is.
 
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