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Listening on 141.850 mHz!
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
SOLVED!!! 97 TB: rough idle/dying: can too much STP cleaner hurt??? SOLVED!!!

I've searched high and low and unless I missed something I couldn't find a similar thread.

Last night I cleaned the MAF (it was dirty), and while I was there I used STP throttle body cleaner spray on the throttle body, the intake tube, and the IAC. I think I may have overdone it because although it's now very clean, it runs like absolute CRAP! It wants to die but doesn't, pressing the pedal to the floor does nothing - no response - it's like it wants to backfire but doesn't! It's idling rough and also does it whether the MAF is connected or not. The MAF wires are fine; I cleaned it again.

The last time this happened I had to change wires and plugs. That was July 2003 when I took the car to the self-serve car wash and sprayed down the engine compartment to clean it. It ran badly right when I started it causing me to change the wires & plugs after exhausting every option.

Before I did this tonight I had a check engine light for clogged cats and it pinged VERY badly on acceleration. Now it pings worse, and the light is gone because I pulled fuse 15. I expect the light to come back. Oh yeah, one more thing here: I've got a "burning electrical smell" but I'm wondering if that's the STP burning off. Or something worse.

Any thoughts from anyone? I need to get her back on the road until I can scrounge up enough $$$ to replace the cats with high flows. I'm also thinking of replacing the exhaust system with a single dual in/dual out mid-mounted muffler where the 3rd cat/resonator is now.

That was last night. This morning I started it up, and it runs for about 1 second then dies. Each and every time. I had to take the wife's 01 Windstar SE to work!
When I get home I'll look for more culprits and vacuum leaks but I was wanting to know if anyone had the same problems after cleaning with STP or a similar cleaner.

Thanks for your responses!

EDIT: SOLVED!!! See post 13 JUNE 2005 down below, post #14.
 

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sounds like you got crap in your plug holes. pull the plug wires in order(one at a time) and blow em out with compressed air.
 

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Listening on 141.850 mHz!
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response, that could be a possibility as I didn't remove the throttle body when I sprayed it down. I should have now that I look back. I'll try to see what I can do, but I don't have compressed air! I did take the IAC totally off when I drowned it in STP.

I pulled the plug off the MAF and it ran, a little better but it ran. I plugged it back in and it died right then. Weird, as the MAF was nowhere near where I sprayed and I made sure of that. Could my MAF be bad?
 

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Listening on 141.850 mHz!
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Discussion Starter #4
Still no change - car starts but dies immediately.

The car stays running when I unplug the MAF but still runs rough. As soon as I plug it back in it dies. No vacuum leak that I can tell.

What gives????
 

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If the cats are plugged you're not going to get any air through them causing a lot of loss of power.

When you try to get on the gas do the cats turn cherry red? That's a GOOD indicator that the cats are clogged...

If you DONT have emissions then take the cats down and gut them via a crow bar but if you're worried about sound leave the resonator cat in there (the y-pipe).

- Pelezo
 

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The IAC is probably crap now. You are not supposed to clean them. If it doesn't run above idle either, then something else is wrong.
 

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Listening on 141.850 mHz!
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Discussion Starter #7
It's only running now with the MAF unplugged. As soon as I plug it back in it dies instantly. I haven't had the chance to drive anywhere with it unplugged. I don't know if I should.

So I need to replace the IAC AND the MAF?

EPelezo, I can't tell about the cats, I couldn't keep it running long enough to tell. But if that's what the burning smell is/was, then I need to change them quickly. But I can't yet!
 

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If you suspect the cats are clogged, see if you can unbolt them from the system and then see if it will run. I know, it'll be loud, but it will tell you if the cats are the culprit. As far as STP hurting something, well, I've never hurt anything using it, but I went to Seafoam a while back so it's hard to tell.

I wouldn't push it too hard until you find out what the deal is. Pinging is hard on these motors, and I can't imagine them taking too much of that before you could possibly develop other issues.

Clogged fuel filter maybe??

Jay
 

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Faster than Porkchop
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Try getting a used maf ,sounds llike something hapened when you cleaned the MAF.
your kind of hinting to this.

cjchevez
 

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Listening on 141.850 mHz!
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Discussion Starter #10
Still no change. It sounds like I have the same problem as Kodiak kid in his "car won't run without a MAF" thread. But all I did was clean the IAC and the other intake stuff. I've done it exactly the same way before and NEVER had a problem. It ran great! But back then I didn't have a Check Engine light for clogged cats.

I went to 2 muffler shops today and got 2 different prices:

$1120 for true duals, H-pipe, high-flow cats, 2-chamber Flowmasters mounted side-by-side mid-body, welded together, pipes and labor. WAYYYY too much!

The second place will do the same for me, $700-$750. This guy said he would mount the Flowmasters at the rear of the car instead of in the middle because he said having them too close to the cats would "burn them out". I never heard of that! I still think $750 is a bit on the high side, and he mentioned he would ditch the 3rd cat and place eliminators to have all 4 O2 sensors read the same.

So the only way I can run the car is with the MAF unplugged which I DON'T want to do. I think it's the cats that are too far gone now causing my problems but I want to make sure. What if I get all this custom exhaust work done and I still have a problem? I told both places of my bad idle and what I did.
 

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That's why you unbolt the exhaust and see if it will run fine like that. You need to eliminate the cats to see if they are clogged. A lot cheaper than $1,000 worth of custom exhaust just to find out that they aren't the issue. Don't start throwing $$ at it hoping you'll hit on the issue. Properly diagnose, narrow it down, and then try and replace it. No sense wasting all that money for nothing. Heck, if it is the cats, then you can just gut em for a temp. solution until you can get new ones in there and THEN have your custom exhaust done. Try getting a used MAF that is known to be good, clear the CEL's and fire it up. If it still won't run right, then try the exhaust idea.

But then again, it's your money, so that's just an opinion

Jay
 

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Listening on 141.850 mHz!
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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Jay,

Problem is I've never unbolted cats before. I don't even know if I have the right tools! How do I take them off, what tools do I use, and once I do have them off how do I go about "filling the gap" where they were? I don't have spare pieces of piping in my garage.

I at least have ramps but no jackstands.
 

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It's really easy, actually it's not. Wear safety goggles so the crap off the exhaust doesn’t fall into your eyes because it’s hard to get out of them.

Remove the o2 sensors first off from the harness, keep them in the exhaust or take them off, your option.

You're going to have to remove the back half of the exhaust first, unbolt the clamp towards the midsection and bang that mother hard with a hammer (if it's rusted) and undo them from the rubber pieces in the back and it should drop (watch your head, sharp metal leaves scares, don’t ask how I know).

So now that the back half’s off, go to the header exit (where the cats meet the headers) and unbolt both sides from the right hand side and un bolt the left hand side (one nut on the left hand side, two on the right) and go up top and get a lot of universal joints and go at the top bolt on the drivers side header with an impact gun, torque wrench, whatever.

Then bang away with the hammer again, watch out for the cats they are sharp. You know have straight headers and you can run it like that but be forewarned, it dumps a LOT of heat at the MLPS and what not so don’t run it too long like that.

- Pelezo
 

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Listening on 141.850 mHz!
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Discussion Starter #14
Solved!!!

I must have had a bad MAF. I bought a refurbished MAF at AutoZone ($89.99 plus $30 core), placed it in, pulled fuse 15, cranked it, replaced fuse 15 and started it up.

Barely a shudder at all, didn't take long for the computer to recognize the new MAF. Runs like a dream, no missing, no more rough idle, not even any check engine light for the cats! All that trouble was due to a bad MAF which was clean to the eye but must have been worn out.

I still plan on doing my exhaust system soon though.

Thanks again to all who posted their ideas - you were all VERY helpful!
 

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I'm curious how you "cleaned" the MAF at the beginning. Eh?
 

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Listening on 141.850 mHz!
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Discussion Starter #16
I cleaned it like I've always cleaned it in the past, just like how I read to do it here: Windex and a Q-Tip, and being VERY gentle with it.

I'm guessing now that there's probably another way to clean the MAF, huh? I don't want a repeat of this episode again!
 
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