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87 GL runs bad


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Carries Car

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 01:44 AM

My wife has an 87 GL wagon 4x4 with a 1.8 liter carbureted engine in it.

out of the blue a couple of days ago it started running bad at higher RPM's (freeway driving) it coughs and chokes and sputters like it's starving for gas, it idles fine and runs fine at lower RPM's but when you step on the throttle (under load), it starts coughing and chocking, it bucks you around pretty good to when it's doing it. I changed the fuel filter, and the air filter, I pulled off the air cleaner housing, double checked everything to make sure the vacuum hoses were hooked up and they were, I got some carburetor cleaner and sprayed the entire can through the carburetor, and that helped for maybe 5 miles or so then it was right back to doing the coughing and chocking again.

The engine was replaced a few years ago and it doesn’t have more then about 45,000 miles on it (the car itself has 207,000), This car has always run perfect, always starts, and ran great up until a couple of days ago, I’m not sure what else to check, could this be a fuel pump problem?

I was even thinking that it might have been some bad fuel that my wife got, but at this point I don't think it's contaminated fuel although it did start running bad, right after she filled the car up on her last trip to the gas station.

It has me stumped, does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks
Stuart

#2 Humble Nuto 53

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 02:20 AM

couple shots in the dark....


there's two filters, one by the pump, and a separator up by the brake booster.

could be the fuel pump going out too....

get a large glass bottle and see how much the pump is putting out, then maybe
test the actual pressure with a gauge. (if you put your thumb over the hose, and spray it like the garden hose might tell you if its got enough pressure.)


might be an ignition problem, like the cap/rotor or coil or ignitor going out also..
pop your distributor cap off and wiggle the rotor, if its sloppy that is probably the issue.
to test coil pull a plug and put it back into the wire, see if youre getting a nice sharp blue spark....
also, memory fails again, but perhaps its a carb issue. if the secondary isnt opening that might cause some hick-coughing... easy to test...

i dont know if the sube carbs have a "power valve" just a tiny pump to give it a squirt every time you step on the gas...

random off the cuff stuff

#3 Carries Car

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 02:32 AM

is a separator going to make much difference?, when I was up at the parts house I was going to buy one, and the guy didn't have a listing for it, I can try a different parts house for the separator.

the cap and rotor have about 45,000 on them, so I can check that, the distributor is the origional one so it's going to have 207,000 miles.

--------------------------EDIT-----------------------------------------

OK, I hope I can describe this where it’s understandable.



I just checked the distributor, the shaft does have some vertical play (not a lot but you can here a definite ‘clunk’ when you move it vertically) It doesn’t have any horizontal play at all (from side to side) but it does seem to have quite a bit of rotational play (about 5 degrees from center both clockwise and counter clockwise)



Does that make any sense?



Stuart



couple shots in the dark....


there's two filters, one by the pump, and a separator up by the brake booster.

could be the fuel pump going out too....

get a large glass bottle and see how much the pump is putting out, then maybe
test the actual pressure with a gauge. (if you put your thumb over the hose, and spray it like the garden hose might tell you if its got enough pressure.)


might be an ignition problem, like the cap/rotor or coil or ignitor going out also..
pop your distributor cap off and wiggle the rotor, if its sloppy that is probably the issue.
to test coil pull a plug and put it back into the wire, see if youre getting a nice sharp blue spark....
also, memory fails again, but perhaps its a carb issue. if the secondary isnt opening that might cause some hick-coughing... easy to test...

i dont know if the sube carbs have a "power valve" just a tiny pump to give it a squirt every time you step on the gas...

random off the cuff stuff



#4 Humble Nuto 53

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 03:03 AM

rotational is normal, its the vacuum advance travel....

(unless your rotor has come loose and thrown your timing off)
ive heard of some distributors having a rotor with a set screw in it
havent seen that yet myself

a timing light would be another quick test you could perform, just to see
where it is...

#5 Hondasucks

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 09:04 PM

If the driver's side timing belt is loose, it will make the timing jump around, but I'd think that if it was loose enough to make it buck and backfire, it would have broken or jumped time by then. My 87 hatchback did this sorta, it would run fine until it got about to about 4500 RPM then it would start to spit and sputter, and the point at which it started to cut out slowly got lower and lower, replaced the fuel filter and fuel pump and didn't have any more problems.

Another thing that could be it is the ignition coil, it takes more energy to fire the spark at higher RPM, plus under a richer mixture (when you stomp on it) so that might be it too. Accel Super Stock coils work great in soobs, run about $35 or so...

#6 Carries Car

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 11:06 PM

My wife is thinking that she got bad fuel, she's just about got it to empty now, so tomorrow she's going to fill it up again and see if it's any better, I have my doughts though.

I'll check the timing belts on it and see how they look.

my guess is that it's in the carb, when I sprayed all that carb cleaner through it a couple of days ago, it ran great for about 5 miles or so, then it was back to it's 'ol sputtering self again. so I'm thinking that a carb rebuild might be in order, I'll keep you posted.

this is our first Subaru, and I was surprised to find that they have sucha following, it kinda gives me the erge to go off roading with it, but then I'd have the wife to contend with, I have a lot of fun off roading in the Jeep, and I think with a little work, that subaru could go just about anywhere the Jeep would.

Stuart

#7 [HTi]Johnson

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 02:24 AM


this is our first Subaru, and I was surprised to find that they have sucha following, it kinda gives me the erge to go off roading with it, but then I'd have the wife to contend with, I have a lot of fun off roading in the Jeep, and I think with a little work, that subaru could go just about anywhere the Jeep would.

Stuart


With a little work, the subaru WILL go FARTHER than the jeep!!!

#8 Snowman

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 03:23 AM

Your car doesn't have the second fuel filter/vapor separator. That was only on the EA81.

Sounds like bad fuel to me since it happened right after it was filled up. Run some Chevron fuel system cleaner through it to help get any residual crap out.

#9 Carries Car

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 06:05 PM

With a little work, the subaru WILL go FARTHER than the jeep!!!


I like the 4WD system on the Subaru better then the Jeep, at least with the Subaru I have a choice of having it in 4WD or not, with the Jeep, it's in 4WD all the time.

My wife is filling up the car today, but at this point, I don't think it's going to solve the problem, I'm thinking I'm going to have to rebuild the carb, but I'll check the timing belts, and change the plugs and cap and rotor first, (it needs that anyway)

Stuart

#10 gbrand

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 06:12 PM

check plug wires with ohm meter and visually too. If the set is old it can cause misfies as well.

#11 Carries Car

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 06:51 PM

check plug wires with ohm meter and visually too. If the set is old it can cause misfies as well.


I was figuring on replacing them.



How much weight can one of those cars pull? I have a utility trailer that weighs about 1,500 lbs loaded.



I'd like to put a hitch on it and use it to pull the utility trailer camping so I don't have to use the Jeep with it's bad gas mileage

#12 Ross

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 07:00 PM

It will tow 1,500lbs fine, as long as the load is properly balanced. These cars are not strong enough in the rear end to take excessive tongue loads from an improperly balanced load.




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