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HELP ressurect my subie from the dead, (electrical problems?)


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21 replies to this topic

#1 gribble

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 07:45 PM

Hello fellow subaholics. I've always ahd great luck with finding help here, so here I go again. Thanks again for your replies and work around here.

I've had my Silver Bullet (1992 EA82 2wd non turbo) off of the road for the past three months, sitting mostly. I started it up last about a month ago, and everything seemed to working fine- even drove it around the neighborhood for a bit. But today she didnt want to turn over.

I'm not sure if it is getting spark or what the problem could be. Are there common problems associated with letting it sit - such as distrubutor or coil problems? Also, I noticed that I lost the rubber dust cover which went over the flywheel/bell housing thing on the top of the motor when I was replacing the clutch last summer. Could this have cause some interior rust or something? Battery and such are fine, the starter cranks well too. Ive checked the basics: electrical connections, fluids, fuel pump fuses, air elements, etc. but wanted some profesional advise before I dig myself a hole I cant get out of.

Basically, Im a college student mechanic, with very little experience with the electrical side of the car; nearly all my previous work has been on drivetrain/mechanical parts.

Thanks for your suggestions

Mike

#2 gribble

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 08:02 PM

Ive been reading about coil and distrubutor problems.
How would I check if they may be the culprit and is it possible without buying a bunch of tools?

#3 pyromanic

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 09:36 PM

I'm no master mechanic, but I'll try to help the little I can. There are a number of ways to check for spark at the plugs. One is to take out a plug, lay it on the block, (it helps to have two people) or better press it the side of it against a good ground and have someone turn the key, crank over the engine. Look for spark jumping. Watch out, ya can get zapped, wont harm, just hurt. Maybe try to do this in a shady spot so you can see the spark, if it's there.

Pyro

#4 gribble

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 07:58 AM

Well, Ive checked out the electrical system: the coil is fine, it is delivering spark to the distibutor. I replaced the rotor and cap, and that didnt help either! I checked to see if all the points are delivering spark and each one is fine too! I dont know what could be wrong but I took off the ait intake with mass air flow sensor and looked down the tube, it smells like gas, so i think there isnt any problems with fuel delivery. however there a small amount of condensation inside so I am trying to let it dry out. maybe there is a problem with air flow? maybe i screwed up the firing order? is this firing order correct

........................1
......................3...4
........................2
................distrubutor
3.....4
1.... 2
front of the car

I put the periods in there so the picture comes out, I hope I didnt confuse matters. Thanks for your help and replies I could REALLY use some advise

#5 Cougar

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 09:55 AM

Hi Mike,

I assume this engine has SPFI instead of a carburator, is that correct? To see if this is a fuel problem spray a small amount of starter fluid into the intake and see if that helps make the engine run briefly. If you do have SPFI, the injector may be not turning on for some reason.

I believe the firing order is correct as you have it.

#6 gribble

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 10:06 AM

one last thing, the rubber seal on the top of the distrubutor cap is located between 1 and 4 in reference to the diagram above.

still no luck, im gonna try a new fuel filter today

Mike

#7 gribble

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 10:10 AM

one last thing, the rubber seal on the top of the distrubutor cap is located between 1 and 4 in reference to the diagram above.

still no luck, im gonna try a new fuel filter today

Mike
it is funny cause only the first time each day that I try to start the bastard, she sounds like everything is ok- but only for a fraction of a second, then it dies out and wont do anything but crank the starter. WOW I AM FUSTERATED!

#8 Cougar

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 10:13 AM

Replacing the fuel filter would be good if it hasn't been replaced in a while. Get some starter fluid also and try that test if the fuel filter doesn't work.

If those things don't get any action then you need to check the compression of the cylinders. A timing belt may have broken.

#9 Cougar

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 10:18 AM

I just read your comment from post #7. The fuel system may be shutting down for some reason. Is this engine carburated or fuel injected?

#10 gribble

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 10:49 AM

Fuel Injected Single Throttle Body EA82,
Now I removed the rubber hose on the top of the manifold, then manually pull the throttle cable and rotate that thing inside there(which looks like a carb) so that i can see inside the manifold, then spray starter fluid there? Let me know if this is the correct interpretation of that trick. Sorry about the lack of technical terms, Im self taught and never have had to deal with these sorts of problems.
Mike

#11 Cougar

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 10:56 AM

You can spray the fluid into what ever point you like, it will get into the engine. Just don't spray a lot, no more than a 2 second shot of fluid. I suspect the engine will try to run with this test. I suspect the injector is not being turned on. The thing that looks like a carburator is called a throttle body.

#12 gribble

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 10:27 AM

So yesterday, I figured out that the problem lies in fuel delivery. The engine ran fine off of the starting fluid, verifying the timing belts are ok.

Next I proceeeded to listen for the fuel pump. I located it, but am not sure if it is turning on. Also Ive read some articles on the fuel pump relay, but before I tear into these parts, I checked the fuel filter. When I removed the fuel filter, a whole bunch of fuel came out it and some out of the hose connected on the inlet side. Some rust and sludgy stuff came out of the outlet side of the filter.

Can I check the fuel pumps operation by putting the inlet hose of the fuel filter into a glass bottle, then turning on the key to see if fuel comes out. Does this work, or is there some pressure requirements-and is this safe?

I am without a multimeter or fuel pressure gauge, and am looking for some simple fuel diagnostic posts. Also, think I should get a new filter?

#13 Cougar

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 01:21 PM

It sounds like you should purge the fuel line before installing a new fuel filter. You can usually listen for the pump to turn on for a couple of seconds when you turn the key to the 'run' position. You should hear a low hum from under the right rear passenger seat. If that action happens, then the circuit to the pump is ok. Place a container under the hose end to catch the fuel and debris. If you think you need to repeat the cycle then turn the key back to 'off' and then to 'run' again. There are also test connectors near the drivers feet or under the hood that perform some tests when they are connected. They are usually colored green, and black. They put the ECU in a maintenance or test mode. One of the modes at least, maybe both, will make the pump run constantly. But I don't think you need to mess with those right now, just something to be aware of.

One other thing that needs to be checked is the fuses, make sure none of them are blown, especially #5. Make sure the horn works, because I think that it is on a circuit that also supplies power to the fuel system.

If these tests prove out ok then see if the car will run. Hopefully the problem was just a clogged fuel filter.

#14 gribble

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 09:45 PM

Thanks Glen for all your help.

Unfortunately I havent got it started yet. I heard the fuel pump turn on only the first time after the battery was installed, and fuel came out of the fuel filter inlet hose. Thinking things where as normal I installed the new filter and tried to start it. sounded like that it kept on starting briefly. Tried feeding it for awhile and killed the battery, gotta recharge for the night.
So I know that the pump somewhat works, it turns on (i heard it) once right after you hook up the battery. This has got to be an electrical issue, or so I pray because I cant afford a pump. Im gonna try dropping the fuel pump and cleaning it up tommarow, also Im reading up on the Fuel pump relay article posted in the repair and mod forum. In addition, I can hear the fuel relay click when the fuse it pulled out and put in.

has anyone encountered this problem before? Is it a ground issue? After all these new parts, Im gonna be psyked to see her run again.

#15 gribble

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 09:46 PM

I feel like Im so close I can taste it too. Thanks again Glen, couldnt have got this far without your help.

#16 Cougar

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 11:36 PM

Your welcome for the help. Before long you will be another happy Soob owner driving down the road.

Just my opinion but I would leave the pump mounted so you don't have a lot of gas leaking out. I would think you could purge the debris out by cycling the pump. I just don't like dealing with fuel because of the danger.

As far as listening for the pump, if you turn the ignition on, listen for the pump, then try cranking the engine briefly, and then turn the ignition to off, you should hear the pump again when you turn the ignition to on again. Cranking the engine does something to let the pump run briefly when the key is cycled to off and turned to 'run' again. Maybe the pressure drops. This will verify the pump operation, including the relay.

Did you check the fuses and horn? If they are ok and the pump works ok then the next check is the injector. It will either be bad or the signal to it will not be getting there for some reason.

#17 torxxx

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 02:58 AM

is the cel on?

#18 SkankinPickle

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 03:47 AM

just something to check, i was having the same problems on my 83 wagon--thought is was the pump, then the relay, then the wire harness shorting out--turned out to be the ignition switch. it was worn out on the inside so that it only made a connection for the fuel circut if i wiggled the key just right.

sounds to be most likely a F.I. or ECM problem though, good luck.

#19 Hank Roberts

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 07:08 PM

I don't have an answer, but this sounds familiar -- you said you'd killed the battery and were going to recharge it.

I'm facing _exactly_ this problem now with my 1969 Dodge. Gone through all the same steps, recharging repeatedly. Currently, unless I've missed a block in the fuel line (tomorrow's task) -- the best current guess is simply that I have a weak battery, that when "fully" charged turns the starter over but can't simultaneously make reliable ignition sparks. A "Duh!" if true.

If not that (sigh) you'll be where I was last week with my friend's '88 GL --
You'll want to read up on all the ECM (Engine Control Module) postings.

(This seems to be the dark secret of all post-1983 or so automobiles, they have computers in them and no absolutely certain way to test them, semiconductors being quantum mechanical things that get vaguely off spec so odd things happen).

Seems to come down to (my amateur newbie ECM summary):

ECMs usually don't go bad, and can be obtained cheap(!) from junkyards -- and swapping one in can resolve problems if yours has gone bad, but(!) they will help only after you've made all the input sensors work right. Otherwise, they'll tell you the same problems.

Older ones (pre 88??) erase themselves; later ones hold old codes in unerased memory forever until cleared so you have to swap the ECM, clear it of old codes, then (uh, I dunno, run the engine a while, off and on, which won't help you much!) get them to take readings on your current car.

MAYBE, if it's an engine control problem, "garbage in garbage out" then a replacement ECM would tell you engine to wake up and run right.

They're computers. Check all the grounds and connectors for sensors, ground wire connections.

Find out what your particular model's ECM does -- whether it's just making idiot lights to warn you of things or it's actually changing how your engine operates (which they do, more and more, for later years). I haven't found a good source for that year by year but am assured that by my 1988, having an unreliable ECM means having an engine that's sometimes confused.

Little stuff

-- you have a fire extinguisher handy working with fuel, eh?
-- and eye protection around the battery, and someone within hollering distance? Forgive me saying the obvious but a spark around a battery can splash acid everywhere.

-- starter spray is very volatile ether, you can spray it into the air intake opening, leaving the air filter on (avoids having the engine open, less risk of fire where you don't want it) -- it has to mix with air on the way in, but you don't want evaporating out all around your face when you crank the engine.

#20 Hank Roberts

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Posted 07 April 2005 - 02:48 PM

So, did you get yours running?

I solved my '69 Dodge van problem -- it was sitting on about a 4 degree slope, gas tank end downhill. The fuel pump of course is on the engine end -- uphill. Way uphill.

After I added the sixth gallon of gas to the tank, the fuel level was high enough in the fuel line that the fuel pump was able to suck.

Runs fine now. D'oh. And no, the gauge hadn't said empty ....

#21 KStretch55

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Posted 07 April 2005 - 03:08 PM

Gribble,

Sounds exactly like my '91 acted after it had been sitting for a long time. I heard the pump initially, but then no more.

Take a small hammer or screwdriver handle and rap on the pump a few times. Turn the key and see if the pump runs briefly when you go to the "run" position. I wish I had thought of rapping on mine before I pulled it out, might have saved me some time. My theory is that they get gummed up or something when allowed to sit. I ran some MMO through mine while I had it out and it's been consistently working ever since.

To be honest, I still haven't completely figured out the pump circuit. There's a twist in it somewhere, in that the power comes from the battery through a fuse on the panel and the relay, but somehow it appears to me that the ECU will not power the pump until it detects coil voltage. Can anyone help me understand this better?

Stretch

#22 Cougar

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Posted 07 April 2005 - 03:21 PM

You are correct KStretch55. The ECU needs to detect the ignition circuit working, by seeing the firing pulses to the coil, before turning on the pump circuit. I'm not sure about all models but I think most at least, the pump is controlled by making the ground connection through the ECU to turn the pump on.




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