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Old 07-25-2012, 05:52 PM   #1
BassHypnotist
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Default Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

I still can't seem to resolve the intermittent hesitation I get when I accelerate. Doesn't do it every time and I haven't seemed to find a common thread. It seems to run fine otherwise although with the A/C on it is extremely underpowered. I blocked the EGR on 4 different occasions and it has never made a difference. Changed plugs, fuel filter (NAPA brand), TPS, ECTS. Wires appear new so I'm assuming they were changed (only has 100,000 miles.) Pulled the front O2 sensor and that didn't seem to make a difference. What is my next step? I nearly got t-boned last night because it wouldn't accelerate when I pulled out into traffic. The whole intermittent thing has me baffled. It only does it once or twice out of 15 starts from a dead stop. If it starts to stumble and I mash the pedal it goes. Any thoughts? Thanks again.

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Old 07-25-2012, 07:28 PM   #2
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Replace the wires and what brand and type of plugs are you using?

Carefully check the wire routing as well.

Ignition wire routing as seen when looking at the engine and coils from the front, hood open, your left to right.

Engine
1-2-3-4

4-1-2-3
coil towers

Connect the matching numbers with a plug wire.

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Old 07-25-2012, 10:47 PM   #3
BassHypnotist
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

I'm using NGK plugs. I would swear the wires have already been changed. They don't look stock although they look OEM since they are exactly the right length. I've only had it 20k miles so I don't know for sure. Is there some way to tell if they are original equipment? Mine are blue/purple in color. They seem in good condition. Is there a particular brand I should get if I do get new ones? Also, I kind of like to understand the science behind stuff so why would bad wires only affect the engine on initial acceleration and not all the time? I was thinking it was a valve or something since it is really bad sometimes and barely noticeable at other times. Thanks again. Can't wait to get this fixed. Then onto the tranny issue. Ugh.

...
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Not sure if this is of any help, but it seems to happen far more frequently after the car has been sitting for a bit after having just been driven...say 20 - 40 minutes. Once I've been driving for a couple minutes it doesn't seem to do it nearly as much.

...
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Quote:
Originally Posted by BassHypnotist View Post
I'm using NGK plugs. I would swear the wires have already been changed. They don't look stock although they look OEM since they are exactly the right length. I've only had it 20k miles so I don't know for sure. Is there some way to tell if they are original equipment? Mine are blue/purple in color. They seem in good condition. Is there a particular brand I should get if I do get new ones? Also, I kind of like to understand the science behind stuff so why would bad wires only affect the engine on initial acceleration and not all the time? I was thinking it was a valve or something since it is really bad sometimes and barely noticeable at other times. Thanks again. Can't wait to get this fixed. Then onto the tranny issue. Ugh.
The potential required to fire the plugs (2 fire at once in this system) increases when you first open the throttle. There are several things that can cause this and failing wires is one of them. There is no definitive user test for failing wires so you replace them. As you have 20,000 on those wires and no idea of how long the original owner pushed them they are probably due for replacement. Any name brand mid priced direct fit wire set should be adequate. Amazon sells AC Delco relatively cheap. The service life of a set of carbon wires is about 60,000 miles and the plugs are 30,000 miles. They last longer or may not.

Do you have a DVM?

When you change the wires clean the oxide off of the coil towers with a damp scotch brite and wipe dry. If you want a very light coat of silicone grease will not hurt but only on the aluminum contact and if you can see it you used too much.

Wires, plugs, coils, and ICM are the most likely causes and aftermarket ignition coils and ICM are of highly questionable quality. So replacements for those parts are sourced at your local J/Y.

Replacing plugs and wires is routine maintenance as they do not last forever.

Check that you do not have oil leaking into a plug well when youchange wires as oil in a plug well causes a hesitation as well.

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Old 07-25-2012, 11:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Great info! You rock! Love your explanation.

I did notice a little oil in the well when I changed my plugs. Is it the oil itself that would cause the hesitation, or is it the cause of the oil getting into the well that causes the hesitation? Why would a little oil in the well affect the spark plug?

Thanks again!!!

...
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Missed your question...I don't know what a DVM is so I doubt I have one.

...
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Digital volt meter or digital multimeter. Something to measure volts and ohms with.

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Old 07-26-2012, 12:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Quote:
Originally Posted by BassHypnotist View Post
Great info! You rock! Love your explanation.

I did notice a little oil in the well when I changed my plugs. Is it the oil itself that would cause the hesitation, or is it the cause of the oil getting into the well that causes the hesitation? Why would a little oil in the well affect the spark plug?

Thanks again!!!
The oil gets pulled under the boot along with dirt and provides a low resistant path to bypass the spark to ground instead of across the gap. The fix is new wires and probably plugs and a nice new FelPro cam cover gasket correctly installed.

The oil has to go away.... If it is in the #3 or #4 plug well it may be spillage from rushed oil additions. You can clean the inside and outside of a boot with CRC QD-Electrical Connection Cleaner and you also have to clean out the plug well and spray off the plug insulator. That would let you test the possible fix. Oil in #1 or #2 is almost always a gasket leak though.

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Old 07-27-2012, 01:31 AM   #10
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Great info. Thanks a ton!

...
RickyHarris.com
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:19 AM   #11
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Changing a cam cover gasket takes some doing and you use a FelPro permadry gasket. Best ordered from RockAuto, http://www.rockauto.com/ FEL-PRO Part # VS50549R

Plastic cover torque is 89in-lb MAX, but 85in-lb will be fine. You will need a torque wrench that is calibrated in inch-pounds or if you use a 3/8 drive wrench that is calibrated in ft-lb the 89in-lb is 7.4ft-lb but set your wrench for 6.5ft-lb and click it a couple of times on a SPARE bolt held in a vice so you know it works. You really do not want to break one of these little bolts off.

intake side
9 5 6 10
3 1 2
8 4 7 11
exhaust side

Plastic cam cover torque sequence. Torque in stages, in sequence.

New gasket installation.
The gasket has to be installed into a clean dry groove with no sealant. To install you poke the tab into the 2 left end corners and the the 2 right corners. back up to the right end of the long side where they turn outward and tuck those corners in. The corner tuck is maybe an inch to an inch and a half. Now go to the middle of any run and tuck in another inch. Keep splitting the difference until all is tucked in. What you are attempting to accomplish is to compress the gasket linearly was you press it into the grove. Turn cover face down on a clean smooth surface and press down all around the edges to seat the gasket. Turn it back over and wipe the gasket face of with acetone and wipe off the mating surface on the head. Apply 2 1/2" thin blobs of sealant(RTV) across the timing cover./head joint. Set in place and torque bolts in order in stages to 85in-lb.



How to check for a warped black cover.
First get the gasket surfaces clean, carb cleaner, purple power, flame thrower -- whatever works.

Set cover right side up on a clean flat surface such as a table saw table or known flat surface. Now check all around the cover and verify all the perimeter gasket surface is touching the flat surface, if not the cover is warped or racked and not going to seal. Next turn cover over and lay a straight edge along the front, back, and left end to see if the gasket groove is not either bowed inward or outward. Pay particular attention to the left end as it is where the cover usually bows out and leaks. If it is bowed it will not seal and will leak.

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Old 08-07-2012, 08:03 PM   #12
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Default Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration...still

I changed the wires today and the problem is still there. It bogged after I pulled out into the street about 3 out of 10 starts. Doesn't seem to do it when it is cold, only when the car is warm and has sat for 20 minutes or so. It is maddening since it doesn't do it all the time. If I mash the gas, the car jumps to life and takes off.

Another quirk I noticed is that the blower/fan for the A/C runs slows sometimes when the car is not moving. Once I get moving, the fan will speed back up. Doesn't do it all the time. Could they be connected? Perhaps a voltage/power issue? Would a fuel pump issue be occasional?

Thanks for your help.

...
RickyHarris.com
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:39 PM   #13
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Go to the parts store and have the alternator and battery tested. Low voltage will cause your symptoms and the slow blower is low voltage.

Verify correct plug wire routing.

Ignition wire routing as seen when looking at the engine and coils from the front, hood open, your left to right.

Engine
1-2-3-4

4-1-2-3
coil towers

Connect the matching numbers with a plug wire.

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Old 08-09-2012, 12:34 AM   #14
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Plugs wires are in the correct order (used the order you posted earlier). Went to the parts store today. They said the battery and alternator were good. Alternator was putting out 13.6 which was on the very edge of the green "good" zone. The car "stumbled" on me several times today. Seems to only do it after starting the car when it has been sitting after having been recently driven although that could be a luck of the draw thing since it only happens 30 - 50% of the time. When the fan is on full blast, it drops to about 60% when the car is sitting at a light for a bit, then goes back to full blast when I pull away. Any thoughts? Next thing to check? My son is getting his license soon and I am afraid to let him drive it with this stumbling/hesitation issue. Thanks again for all your help.

...
RickyHarris.com
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:40 AM   #15
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Did you rev up the engine slightly when they checked the alternator? What you are describing is a very weak alternator and that will upset an electronic car.

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Old 08-09-2012, 12:45 AM   #16
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Nope, didn't rev it. Was I supposed to? I turned everything off and let it idle to get a baseline. I can try to find time to get it tested again tomorrow. What should I do and for what should I be looking?

...
RickyHarris.com
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:15 AM   #17
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Run the engine at 1500 RPM and the alternator output should be 14.2v to 14.7v when tested. At idle 13.8v is as low as you should see with everything shut off. Your hesitation does sound like an electrical issue as you have gone through the rest of the logical possibilities.

Do you have a voltmeter? If you do check the terminal voltage on the battery before starting that car after it has set overnight.

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Old 08-09-2012, 03:23 PM   #18
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

Bought a voltmeter and tested various situations. It seems I am on the low side for some things but low enough to be causing problems? Not sure. Bringing the RPMs up never seemed to make much difference.

Battery alone 12.98
Car idling 14.32
Fan/Heater on full blast and headlights on high beam 14.22
@1500 RPMs 14.2
A/C on 13.45 (fluke?)

After idling 5 - 10 minutes the numbers seemed to drop a bit...
Car idling 14.02 - 14.08
Fan/Heater on full blast and headlights on high beam 14.0
@1500 ~14.0
A/C on 13.89

Let me know your thoughts. Thanks again for all your help.

...
RickyHarris.com
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:05 PM   #19
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

When did you check just the battery? How long had it sat with the engine off?

Looking at the numbers it does look like the alternator is not in the best of shape. Need to know how long the battery sat with the car off when you read the 12.98v.

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Old 08-10-2012, 01:47 PM   #20
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Default Re: Intermittent Hesitation on Initial Acceleration

I re-ran the voltage checks this morning after the car sat all night. Here are the stats.

Engine off 12.67
Engine idling, no accessories on 14.63
Engine idling - heat, lights, etc on 14.43
Engine @ 1500 RPMs, no accessories on 14.44


Is there anything else it might be? MAF sensor perhaps? Maybe the ECTS-like sensor in the tranny? I don't have the money for an alternator, especially if it isn't a definite issue. I haven't cleaned the MAF because my sockets aren't magnetic and the bit falls out when I try to remove it. Guess I can remedy that I try to clean it tomorrow after buying some spray. I'm starting to lose my mind...

...
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