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Old 12-04-2019, 12:32 AM   #1
Rez
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1996 SW2
Default P303 code with exhaust smell

Hey, everyone. I noticed a little while ago that my idle was somewhat erratic. Not too long after I started my car one day and it started stumbling really bad and threw a blinking CEL. Whenever I hit around 30-45 mph there was very strong shaking, but if you gased it it went away. I got the CEL read and it showed a P303 code. I replaced the IAC, the plugs (#3 was very black), put on new wires, a new coil pack on #3 and still a code - replaced the fuel injector as well and no luck.

I checked the new plug on my 3rd cylinder today and it was already black on the ceramic after a day - maybe too much fuel is fouling it? When I ran the heater on the way home I noticed a smell in the cabin (smelled somewhat like exhaust). I'm trying to narrow my problem down and I can't really tell if this is an exhaust leak issue or a fuel issue or what. I can't keep throwing parts at it with the holidays right now. I haven't checked for exhaust or air leaks yet and I have a compression tester I'll use tomorrow, but given what I've told you I'm looking to get some ideas. Thanks!
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:14 AM   #2
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2002 SC1
Default Re: P303 code with exhaust smell

Cylinder 3 is the most common one to burn a valve on the DOHC engine. This results in a severe loss of compression in that cylinder with accompanying misfires. The compression test will tell you if that is indeed the issue. Look up OldNuc's procedure for doing the compression test.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: P303 code with exhaust smell

Well, not what I was hoping for. All cylinders are to spec, except #3 - 0 compression. What options do I have with this except for a valve job or engine swap?
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: P303 code with exhaust smell

Options are few. The head needs to come off and be rebuilt or replaced with a rebuilt or used head.
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:40 AM   #5
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1998 SC2
Default Re: P303 code with exhaust smell

I had the machine shop rebuild my head as well as doing all the other machine work. Came out great.
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