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Rough idle and poor acceleration

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1992 Loyale, 1.8L SPFI, 3-speed, 185,000 miles


First, the power steering pipe got loose, and all the fluid burst out of there. I didn't know and drove like that for maybe 60 highway miles. I did notice that turning was different, harder and I knew it had something to do with it but I wanted to get home first.


Next, I add some regular power steering fluid. Then I realize it takes Dextron ATF fluid but haven't drained it yet. Right now when I turn, it makes these noises.


The next day, the idle is rough, the tach is jumping up and down and acceleration is poor and it does accelerate in a strange fashion, the tach kind of moves up and down.


I am only writing about the above power steering because the fluid was sprayed over everything in the engine bay and I wonder if it got somewhere where it shouldn't be. Or could it be that the power steering pump is gone and it somehow interferes with driving?


But, it does sound like an ignition problem and just happened to coincide with above. What could it be? I am ruling out EGR valve and O2 sensor, I think these make a difference at higher speeds, not at idle/15mph. Could it be the catalytic converter? The car has 185K miles on the body and parts, 90K on the engine and 20K on tranny. Even if EGR/O2 sensor are bad, it is doubtful they are root cause because this happened so suddenly.


The other thing that I did before this idle/acceleration started, I checked compression in the cylinders and I accidently left a brass fitting from the end of the compression tool hose screwed in the cylinder. Then I screwed in the spark plug into that fitting, with the plug wire and tried to crank the engine. It made this strange noise. I realized the plug didn't look right - it sat too far out, so I removed it, then unscrewed the compression tester fitting and re-installed everything correctly. (After this BTW, the compression tool ceased to work and registers 0 on all cylinders.)


Could I have messed up my timing somehow? I get knocking at higher speeds which I didn't have just the day before? Does bad timing cause rough idle?


Also, I replaced the big rubber thing (Air intake) which fits on top of the throttle body, which says "Subaru FI" in big letters. The old one was cracked on top.



P.S. I think it might be missing, because the exhaust sounds a bit different, sometimes irregular.

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It's poss. that the TPS got contaminated with the PS fluid, but it sounds more like igntion than anything else. I would check the timing, and make sure that all the plug wires are secure @ each end. Bad timing can give U the high end knock, and mess up your idle reall bad.

If U have any vacume leaks any where, or a leak in the air intake hose, it could have sucked in enough of the power steering fluid to foul out a spark plug too. I would pull them all and have a look at 'em.

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I will be darned -- I pulled the plugs as it just had to be ignition and found out that I bent one of the spark plugs so that there was no gap _at all_. I gapped it to 0.040 per owner's manual and it runs great, as well as 1.8L can run. (their range was 0.039-0.043")


I don't know how it happened, I don't recall dropping it.


I think I am going to check the other 3 plugs.



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