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Gene

Help! My '88 Justy Just Keeps On Dying!

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I've got a 1988 Justy 4WD that I bought new. Except for minor things it's been a good little car. In the last couple of years, it has started just suddenly dying. At first it would stumble but come back on and drive fine. Then it just mysteriously started shutting completely down on the freeway. I would pop the clutch and it would start again and then run fine. After awhile, it would just die and I'd have to coast to the shoulder. I would crank for awhile and it would start and then run fine again.

 

Now, it's doing it all the time. In town, on the freeway, whatever. It runs perfect when it runs but you never know when it will shut down on you. Sometimes it'll start other times you have to leave it where it sets for a day or so and then it will start, (eventually).

 

I just changed plugs, plug wires, rotor, distributor cap and the coil. Didn't help. A guy told me the exact same thing was happening to his wife's Ford Explorer and it was the oxygen sensor. Does this sound legit?

 

I live very rural and there are no dealers and the few mechanics here don't know diddly squat about any car newer than about 1975! Help me please!!!

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It's possible that you could have an intermittant ECU failure. I've seen this on other cars - not specifically subaru's, but it could happen to anything really. One of the IC's in the ECU can get a crack in it that only causes a problem when it gets hot.

 

Also check for loose ground connections, and corroded connections - especially around where the battery is located. These can cause intermittant random behaviour as you describe.

 

I would think by your description that you have an electrical gremlin somewhere - since it runs fine when it's running.

 

GD

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ahh my friend, if theres someone around here who understands your plight, its me. i have a 96 chevy pickup that has had similar problems for the last, oh... 2 1/2 years or so. when its warm out, no problemo. but when it starts getting cold, then theres problems. (although the problem didnt appear last winter until the third week in february.. go figger) anyways, what happens is when it doesnt start, there is no fuel pump activation.. eventually it will start, but eventually can be 5 minutes or 5 hours.. the other thing is that it will just lose power all of a sudden while driving..speed doesnt matter..so after i coast to the shoulder, i have to wait a few minutes to start it again as the fuel pump aint a workin. when it cuts out, the gauges also go a bit screwy as well. the shops ive taken it to havent been able to figure it out. the fuel pump is fine, relays and fuses are fine. their best guess is the ecu is bad, but its a bit of $$ to throw at a guess. after i put some new shoes on my new loyale, im going to put a new ignition switch in the truck to see if that helps. good luck. intermittent problems are truly the worst.

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I had a simialr issue with my wagon.. turned out to be the ignition module in the dizzy.. would stall at random times after reaching normal op temperature.. would have to sit for a while to restart.. changed coil , plugs, wires, o2 sensor.. no good.. swapped dizzy and the problem is banished forever.. or until next time.. whichever comes first

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Ditto what Calebz says. I had a 84 Turbo wagon that did the same thing on the freeway. Turned out to be the module in the disty.

Rob

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Thanks for all the thoughts gents. Blue Train, you are SO right when you say intermittent problems are the WORST! This thing runs so good but I can't drive it now because you never know when it will just suddenly die. I did take it to one of the mechanics in my tiny town here who was supposed to be the best. He drove it for about 20 miles and it ran perfectly and said he didn't know what it could be. I went to pick it up and it died 2 miles down the road on my way home!

 

I know where the main fuel filter is under the body, in the rear of the driver's side. I changed that one but does anyone know if there IS ANOTHER one somewhere? I wish I could be so lucky as it being a fuel filter!

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It does sound like it is in the distributor to me, also. But, the only fuel filter is that one above the panel under the driver. That is the fuel pump there with it, as well. If it is bad, there is a universal Purolator electric fuel pump that is almost identical to it.It is 3-5 psi & you just need some minor fitting changes & it works fine, but is noisier than original.

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i had a honda crx once upon a time, and it would do the same thing, cutout while drivin, die at random, EXACTLY like you describe.. it was a bad ignition module in the distributor. for that honda it was about $100 had 4 wires that plugged in, that was it... 10 minute fix..

 

 

i'm not sure how hard it is to change or how much it cost on a subaru though.. i would start there personally..

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Gene, you need to determine if it is the spark or the fuel cutting out.

Next time it cuts off, check for spark. If no spark, the module in the distributor sounds likely.

If you have spark, check for fuel in the fuel line to the carb.

It could be that there is crud in the fuel tank also. I've heard of crud getting sucked up on the intake screen and plugging it so the motor dies, then, after sitting a bit, the crud falls off and allows it to start.

 

Good luck and let us know what you find.

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I've had what sounds like the same problem with three of my Loyale wagons and also my 89 Justy 4WD. With every one of them, the problem was the fuel pump. I now carry a spare. Biggest problem for me was getting the old one out. I live in the rust belt of Central New York State, and usally the cheap little steel plate that holds the fuel pump in is pretty well rotted out.

I tried a few NAPA el-cheapo replacement pumps, and they would not hold up to salted roads and rust. I finally spent the extra money and bought an O.E.M style pump (still from NAPA) and it's held up much better.

For reasons I can't explain, I haven't had a fuel pump go in any of my injected vehicles, yet the pump doesn't look to be of any better quality than those used in the carbed vehicles. Who knows? I wish they had the pumps in inside tank.

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Hi:

 

Intermittant problems stink!!!!

 

I have had that sympton in several cars.

A VW fox and it turned out to be the fuel pump.

A Cavalier and it was the esc electronic spark modual.

A Olds 88 and it was the ecm.

A Camaro, fuel filter, though not identical symptom.

 

Good luck

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Thanks for the advice. I'm still trying to sort it out with no luck. Yes indeed there's nothing worse than intermittent problems! Like I say, I live in a very rural area and the closest Subaru dealer is very far away. I don't want to drive all that way and be at their mercy! I also don't trust them because with intermittent problems, they can charge a fortune for stuff and not even solve the problem.

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Gene, the next time it cuts out, pull the coil wire at the distributor, hold it close to the center tower and see if it sparks when someone cranks the starter. You might want to wear gloves when you do this. Should be a strong, blue spark.

If there is no spark, try replacing the module or the whole dizzy.

If you have spark, then it's probably a fuel delivery problem.

Good luck and let us know what you find!

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Gene, having owned an 88 Justy 4wd for the last 4 years I have done much work on mine in that time. I will try to help you out if I can. You must check the engine for spark and fuel when the car cuts out, intermittent problems are like a bad tooth..They never cause you a problem at the dentist's office! When the car cuts out one of two things is happening.. You are not getting spark (My guess is the ignition module in the distributor is getting hot and going open since you mentioned you did change the coil ) Or the fuel pump is old and as it runs it builds up heat in operation due to high resistance in the motor circuit. This causes the pump to shut down till it cools off. Vapor lock could be a possible cause if the pump is getting hot but, You would be talkin quite a bit of heat and this is unlikely.

 

Your problem seems to be temperature related, Yet you did not mention much about temperatures when the problem occurs.

 

Ask yourself these questions:

 

1.When the car cuts out is it warmed up to operating temp?

2.Does it cut out after a certain amount of minutes of run time regardless of engine temp?

3.What is the outside temp like when it cuts out? Does outside temp increase = Cut out frequency to increase and Length of time I have to wait to restart the car to increase.

 

The answers to these questions will help to narrow down the problem.

 

My guess is you will find a bad ignition module. But, Check Fuel and Spark to be sure!!!. (side note: My car has the original fuel pump and it has 173,000 mi on the clock..Its on its 2nd module)

 

Good luck!

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