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Curmudgeon
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Got the car running today!
How did you do that? Did you get a new ECU already?

It runs really poorly, but if I kept it just above idle it wasn't so bad
How is your battery voltage? I know that was a concern a while back, if you're not getting enough voltage the car will run poorly. Just a thought..

I heard what I thought was fuel returning after I stopped cranking
It is possible to hear the fuel running through the lines when testing the fuel pump, especially on the TTs.
I've never heard it when the car is off or the pump powered down.
If yoou're low on coolant I suppose it could have been water running back into the radiator.
 

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1991 Dodge Stealth Base SOHC ATX
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Turns out my coil wire came unplugged at the coil.I don't know why. And it has a film on it now, I don't know if that's just from sitting out or from when it popped out. I'll attach a picture.
I drove the car around the block, it didn't like going into drive and nearly stalled, but I kept the rpm up and it ran noisily back home. Very bad exhaust leak but that's the least of my worries.
I'll still do a compression check soon, I need to get a gauge. But I'm thinking maybe it's flooding? That might explain the low rpm weakness, the smell and occasional backfire. After driving it for a minute a check engine light came on (duh) so maybe a sensor or something is out causing it to run rich? Or can injectors cause that? I cleaned the front bank of injectors earlier with carb cleaner for the heck of it, because they're easy to get to.
There wasn't much smoke this time, but still lots of smell.
Did you get a new ECU already?
Yes! I go the one white recommended and it shipped in a couple days.
How is your battery voltage
That's a good point, I'll check on that too.
Let me know if you think I'm off base with anything, if it sounds like it's running rich or something else.
Also: I put in the amount of oil prescribed on AllData, but its up about a millimeter or less past the full line. I didn't think that was enough to be an issue but worth mentioning.
 

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93 NA ATX 3000gt DOHC
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I guess you still have IAC unplugged, which might be cause of trying to stall when placed in drive, that’s kind of function the IAC corrects for.

Any chance the smell is like rubber burning? Wondering about mechanical timing of cams to crank, if few teeth off that might account for low RPM weakness as well as occasional backfire.
 

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1991 Dodge Stealth Base SOHC ATX
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I guess you still have IAC unplugged, which might be cause of trying to stall when placed in drive, that’s kind of function the IAC corrects for.

Any chance the smell is like rubber burning? Wondering about mechanical timing of cams to crank, if few teeth off that might account for low RPM weakness as well as occasional backfire.
Is there a way to manually adjust the idle air valve? The IAC is still unplugged, and I cut the melted connector to replace in case it was shorting.
The factory marks on the gears are still lined up.
Actually the smell is similar to rubber burning, but it smells kinda like fuel out the exhaust.
 

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93 NA ATX 3000gt DOHC
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No way to adjust the IAC, it will just need to be replaced but it not working would only cause a idle issue, nothing to worry about right now.

When the cam marks line up is harmonic balancer notch on the “T” (top dead center mark) on belt cover?

You might also check you have all plug wires correct for firing order, that also would cause low end torque problems and backfire.
 

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1991 Dodge Stealth Base SOHC ATX
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No way to adjust the IAC, it will just need to be replaced but it not working would only cause a idle issue, nothing to worry about right now.

When the cam marks line up is harmonic balancer notch on the “T” (top dead center mark) on belt cover?

You might also check you have all plug wires correct for firing order, that also would cause low end torque problems and backfire.
Turns out I did have 2 plug wires switched, that's embarrassing. No more backfire and it will now idle! I drove it around town today, but it's super gutless, especially down low, and really heats up (although if you believe my temp gauge it's not close to overheating). I also made sure the cam and crank are lined up and it looks like they are.
I did a compression test and got at least 130 psi on all cylinders, most were around 150 so all good there. The plugs were fouled though, they had a white film on the tip. So maybe it's actually running lean.
Now that I drove it a CEL popped up again, and I actually got it to read a code, 2 long sweeps and 3 short. According to the guide I found online that means a TDC sensor failure. Not what I was expecting, but I'll look into that.
Edit: is that the same as the CAS? If so, that doesn't make much sense... I have a brand new distributor.
 

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93 NA ATX 3000gt DOHC
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Now that I drove it a CEL popped up again, and I actually got it to read a code, 2 long sweeps and 3 short. According to the guide I found online that means a TDC sensor failure. Not what I was expecting, but I'll look into that.
Edit: is that the same as the CAS? If so, that doesn't make much sense... I have a brand new distributor.
I’ve seen factory references to cam sensor as TDC sensor on DOHC engines. Wondering if your base ignition timing is off enough to trigger that CEL, did you set your base timing with a timing light?

The heating problem could be air bubble in system which is common on these cars when coolant has gotten low for some reason. Also if base ignition timing is retarded enough it will cause quick engine heating and even the gutless performance you describe.
 

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1991 Dodge Stealth Base SOHC ATX
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I’ve seen factory references to cam sensor as TDC sensor on DOHC engines. Wondering if your base ignition timing is off enough to trigger that CEL, did you set your base timing with a timing light?

The heating problem could be air bubble in system which is common on these cars when coolant has gotten low for some reason. Also if base ignition timing is retarded enough it will cause quick engine heating and even the gutless performance you describe.
I bet that's it! I haven't used a timing light, I just set it as close as TDC as I could. I haven't done mechanical timing before, this is my first distributed project. Any guides on how to time a stealth? I haven't found one yet.
Edit: I did some research and I think I understand how a timing light works, there's no numbers on the pulley but there is a guide above the pulley form 0 to 30 degrees BTDC, and I can make a mark on the belt where the notch in the pulley is and see where the notch is for timing.
 

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93 NA ATX 3000gt DOHC
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I haven’t seen any guides for ignition timing for SOHC engines with distributor, nor any spec’s for base line timing of those. But DOHC engines have base timing of 5 degrees BTDC and I suspect SOHC would be the same, as almost all stock internal combustion engines are in same general area for base timing. It’s not complicated and I’ll try to explain if my writing ability doesn’t confuse things.

First a little understanding is needed. You don’t need to mark any belts; you just use 0-30 guide you mentioned (0 = TDC) and the notch on pulley (harmonic balancer). It sometimes helps to put small amount of white paint or chalk in notch of pulley to make it more visible with timing light flashes. Basic operation is with timing light attached to battery for power and inductive clamp attached to #1 cylinder wire, with engine idling you will need to turn distributor to where pulley notch lines up to 5 degree BTDC mark when viewed with timing light flashes. If you don’t have enough travel in distributor slot you may have to jump distributor one tooth where it engages cam gear allowing you to achieve that.

Procedure: As I would do it.
  • Connect timing light, start engine and check if it works to point you can even see where notch is located with timing light. This is just to check light works. Stop engine.
  • Ground the round light brown (tan) connector located between battery and wiper motor. This is to keep ECU from advancing timing. Connector may have cap that will have to be removed to get to wire terminal inside. Picture attached at end of this post.
  • Start engine, loosen and turn distributor to get pulley notch to 5 degree BTDC on guide. Tighten distributor so it can’t move and stop engine.
  • REMOVE the ground from tan connector wire. That’s it you're done.
3K  test connectors.jpg
Click on image to expand
 

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1991 Dodge Stealth Base SOHC ATX
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5 degree BTDC
I adjusted the timing, assuming I did it correctly it's now around 5 degrees BTDC. I was really hoping that was it, it seemed like the perfect solution, but it's running about the same. It's idling lower now, but still has the same power troubles. I'm still getting the CEL as well.
I can rev the engine in neutral, but in drive it's painfully slow to rev, that's why I'm assuming it's a fault with the engine being down on power.
 

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93 NA ATX 3000gt DOHC
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You did remember to remove ground wire from tan connector, right?

Also you didn’t sound to sure about pulley notch being on “0” of guide when cams were on marks. Maybe because I referenced “T” instead of “0”, that was because most of DOHC engines have a “T” instead of “0” on guide to indicate TDC. In either case like to know you’re sure they are correct.

Since the compression is OK and we now know ignition timing is correct, if mechanical timing of crank and cams is for sure correct about only thing left is fuel delivery. But that doesn’t explain the CEL about TDC sensor. Not sure will have to think on that one awhile.

Edit: An after thought check ignition timing with light again when idling to see if ECU advanced it to ~ 15 to 20 degrees BTDC since ground was removed from tan connector. Also see if it moves up towards 30 degrees when engine is revved in neutral. Just a way to confirm ECU is controlling spark advance.
 

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1991 Dodge Stealth Base SOHC ATX
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You did remember to remove ground wire from tan connector, right?

Also you didn’t sound to sure about pulley notch being on “0” of guide when cams were on marks. Maybe because I referenced “T” instead of “0”, that was because most of DOHC engines have a “T” instead of “0” on guide to indicate TDC. In either case like to know you’re sure they are correct.

Since the compression is OK and we now know ignition timing is correct, if mechanical timing of crank and cams is for sure correct about only thing left is fuel delivery. But that doesn’t explain the CEL about TDC sensor. Not sure will have to think on that one awhile.

Edit: An after thought check ignition timing with light again when idling to see if ECU advanced it to ~ 15 to 20 degrees BTDC since ground was removed from tan connector. Also see if it moves up towards 30 degrees when engine is revved in neutral. Just a way to confirm ECU is controlling spark advance.
I did remove the connector, and the notch is at 0. The timing does advance when the engine is revved.
The car runs much better now, it doesn't stall or stumble. I observed while my brother drove it and somehow it started revving in gear, except it was hardly moving. So I checked the transmission fluid and it was very empty. I filled it and it drives much more normally now. I don't understand why it wasn't revving in gear before, but that is fixed now. I did check the transmission fluid before, but I think once it went through the gears the fluid settled so the level was lower than the first time.

The only things concerning me now:
1. I seem to have only one drive gear, acceleration is slow and 50mph = 3200 rpm. Shifting into L or 2 doesn't change anything at any speed. It also slams pretty hard into reverse but reverse is strong.
2. There's still noise from the engine, but it sounds like it's coming from the head, not the crank or pistons. Maybe even a pulley or something.
 

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1991 Dodge Stealth Base SOHC ATX
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Should I start a new thread now that I fixed the no-start issue? 😬 This is my first forum, going too far off topic might be frowned upon.
 

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93 NA ATX 3000gt DOHC
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Should I start a new thread now that I fixed the no-start issue? 😬 This is my first forum, going too far off topic might be frowned upon.
That would be considered proper as keeping threads on topic is considered the way to do it. But will say only having one forward gear in an automatic is often caused by TCU (transmission control unit), which also has problems with capacitor failures. Can be discussed in your new thread and you can also search "ATX limp mode".
 

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That guy ^^^^^ (Don), knows his SH$T about auto trannies in our cars, so I would pay careful attention to what he says in your new thread....

Bob.
 
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