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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-23-2014, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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New Injectors = hard start & valve noise? (sometimes)

Hello all.. avid reader, first post.

So I recently got a set of injectors (for my '99, 3.2l), and I've developed an issue with starting.

First thing in the am - no problem, fires right up. Key turn = immediate rev to 1200 & idle & 700 or so.

After driving, & immediate restart - same thing.

After driving and sitting for a bit (30mins to several hours, increasing symptom with time) - it takes longer for the engine to fire up. Sometimes it will catch a little, but the key must be held longer because the rpms will die out before it actually starts.

If the key is not held and it does catch, the rpms will stutter around 500 before choking itself to life and idling. But again, often it just quits before that point.

Now, I've developed some slight, intermittent valve clatter when starting in this condition.

Some history:

Bought it in Vegas with 109k in '08 to get me through college & off the bus. Drove it back home to FL in '12. Lots of parts have kept in it top shape, O/C every 3k without fail & all that, you know.

The main gasket failed over about a week last year - probably my fault for pushing it harder than I should in the months leading up to that. But no fluid cross-contamination, so I felt lucky. Finished that in February with a reputable shop. Cleaning & valve job, but really no new hardware save the water pump, a rocker arm and one entire camshaft. (Which I'm thinking of making a lamp out of the old one.) Bypassed & re-wired the 5V sensor circuit from the schematic diagrams about 18months ago due to a short somewhere, which had to kill the engine in the middle of traffic. So needless to say, along with everything else, I'm not really itching to get rid of it for the sweat equity and sentiment.

But all this starting problem begun immediately after I did the injectors a few weeks ago, with valve noise getting more frequent in the last several days.

This past weekend I went back under the plenum and double checked for seating and leaks in the fuel system - everything seemed A-OK from what I could tell.

I also tried a computer reset by disconnecting the neg battery terminal and holding the key to start for a solid minute, but to to avail.

Aside from this - the idle is smooth and there's no hesitation in the throttle. Power feels pretty good.

So I'm stumped.. I'll write the supplier if I have to, but I don't 'think' it's the parts. But I honestly don't know. Any ideas or similar experiences would be helpful!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-24-2014, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse View Post

After driving and sitting for a bit (30mins to several hours, increasing symptom with time) - it takes longer for the engine to fire up. Sometimes it will catch a little, but the key must be held longer because the rpms will die out before it actually starts.

But all this starting problem begun immediately after I did the injectors a few weeks ago, with valve noise getting more frequent in the last several days.
I think you need to put a pressure gauge on your fuel rail. Good chance that one of the injectors is leaking down (new parts doesn't always mean good parts).

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Originally Posted by Jesse View Post

The main gasket failed over about a week last year - probably my fault for pushing it harder than I should in the months leading up to that. But no fluid cross-contamination, so I felt lucky. Finished that in February with a reputable shop. Cleaning & valve job, but really no new hardware save the water pump, a rocker arm and one entire camshaft. (Which I'm thinking of making a lamp out of the old one.) Bypassed & re-wired the 5V sensor circuit from the schematic diagrams about 18months ago due to a short somewhere, which had to kill the engine in the middle of traffic. So needless to say, along with everything else, I'm not really itching to get rid of it for the sweat equity and sentiment.
Several things that I notice with this paragraph. #1 If the main gasket fails, there is no risk what-so-ever of fluid cross contamination; did the reputable shop tell you that you got lucky? #2 Cleaning and valve job, how/why did this come into play? I see you had the waterpump replaced (hopefully the timing belt was replaced as well), but I've never heard of anyone going as far as to remove the valve cover on a 3.2 when doing a waterpump replacment. And why one rocker arm would be different from all the others and give reason to replace a camshaft says that there's more to that story. And #3 is that a short in the 5v sensor circuit was most likely at the AC pressure transducer. That's the most common one to cause this kind of problem.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-24-2014, 07:57 AM
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One thought that occurred to me while reading was that, as BH said, an injector could be leaking down, letting raw fuel into a cylinder or cylinders of whichever injector or injectors are leaking. Also, the fuel pump check valve or pressure regulator could be leaking fuel back into the tank. Both scenarios result in emptying or partially emptying of the fuel rail.

Since you had just replaced the injectors, it would be total coincidence for the fuel pump area to start leaking down - as you suggested, more likely an injector.

The way to tell which scenario it is is when it's having trouble starting, when it finally does fire up, do you smell raw gas fumes out the exhaust? If yes, then injector leaking fuel into a cylinder (flooding the leaking cylinder(s)) and air in fuel rail (fuel starvation in the other cylinders). If no, more likely the fuel pump check valve or pressure regulator causing air in fuel rail (no flooding, but fuel starvation in all cylinders). (Either scenario would result in sputtering for a few seconds right after it does start while the air in the rail works its way out.)

Another point: When it has trouble starting, turn the key to Off for a couple of seconds, then to Run for a couple of seconds, then repeat. (Cycling the key like that causes the fuel pump to run for a second or two and then stop - the PCM doesn't run the fuel pump again until it detects that the engine is actually running. The purpose of the cycling is to get enough fuel back up into the rail to partially fill it back up and pressurize it)

After at least 2 cycles of that, *then* go to Start. If it does fire up (even if it sputters after starting), that would pretty much prove low fuel in the rail (due to either injector, fuel pump check valve, or fuel pump pressure regulator leak down). If it doesn't start up after that, then that's likely not the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BH199
...And why one rocker arm would be different from all the others and give reason to replace a camshaft says that there's more to that story...
There may indeed be more to the story, but I have vague recollection of reading a few threads discussing it not being uncommon for the 3.2/3.5 cam and rockers on one side (forget whether it's always driver or passenger side) needing replacing. I believe someone posted experiencing this and also, being a frequenter of salvage yards, that they had observed the same thing on many engines seen in salvage yards - one side good, other side bad, and always the same side bad. Maybe someone else recalls what I'm talking about, 'cause I sure don't know.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-24-2014, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the replies.

BH: good suggestion. I'll get a gauge to see what the pressures are doing / remove the guesswork and supposition.

I got a MIL code just today as a matter of fact. Damn if I didn't note it, but MAP Circuit Range was indicated (per Bluetooth OBD interface to Android), and I sent the clear command without thinking about it, but it didn't come back.

I replaced the MAP a few years ago with non-OEM parts, so that may be burning out already. Plus it got soaked with oil when the plenum came off for the injectors the first time. I didn't consider it until later on & shot some carb cleaner into the sensor head - but the second check on the injectors gave me an excuse to finally get the plenum good & cleaned out.

For the shop - I had only considered coolant getting into the oil myself, which I understood can't be completely reversed and can cause premature main bearing failure over time. The shop simply said 'no' when I asked if this had occurred.

When the heads came off, I indeed had the timing chains replaced as well - and I suppose the cleaning was routine. My coworker referred me to his nephew's shop - a few generations old with a Napa sponsored racing & machine setup, so I was comfortable with their work. Took a while, but I was pleased in the end.

The cam had some pitting on one of the lobes, so we changed it out and the corresponding rocker as well. I asked about re-machining the cam, but it wasn't the best route.

-> The transducer has been finicky only in the last few months actually from what I've been able to tell from direct observation. Not so much recently, but I had some issues with AC overpressure and belt squealing due to the fans not kicking in from that switch. Cleaning it out and re-seating it have been effective, but I've been keeping an eye on the fans nonetheless.

The electrical short itself was quite a mystery. But re-wiring the sensors back to the computer was necessary since the +5V lines were dead at every terminal. It took a few days but it's been fine since Jan '13.

I have been toying with re-doing it since the patch wires I used weren't aparantly rated for under-hood use and are becoming stiff.

Peva: Indeed, the key-cycling is something I had begun to make an effort in doing initially. But honestly, I gave it up for my lack of patience and regular use of the vehicle. Although to be fair, a closer examination of the effects would be helpful as it seemed to lessen the starting difficulty.

I too had considered the fuel pump - but like you mentioned, a heavy coincidence. & that unit is pretty hard to reach as it's inside the tank - but it has the regulator, filter, and related parts built right onto it - so fortunately that would be a pretty comprehensive, all-in-one repair if I had to dig into it.

---

So I'll start & get that pressure gauge and see what's going on there. I've read up in a few places about expected readings under different conditions, so we'll see how it goes. Thanks for the input!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 07:29 AM
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You seem to know your way around a car. No doubt you'll get to the problem.

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...When the heads came off, I indeed had the timing chains replaced as well...
Obviously you meant 'belt'.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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bahaha.. yes. losing my edge I guess. I do have new distributor caps on all the spark plugs though..

(lol, that's all kinds of wrong)
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 12:14 PM
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Yeah - make sure you replace your ignition wires.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Long day..

I decided to forego the pressure gauge. On Friday I realized the symptoms were probably consistent with injector leakage - causing a flooding condition, & increasing over time, until the pressure is gone and then it eventually evaporates - allowing for a seemingly normal start from sitting overnight.

So I got a new set locally - and my theory seemed pretty accurate once the plenum was off. I could see what looked like liquid fuel stains coming from at least two of the injector port areas, down the side of the intake manifold walls above the valves. Not the typical, even, hazy pattern as seen in the others. It was obvious more than one had distinct discoloration with clear edge lines going down the intake wall.

I took the empty rail inside after a good soak of carb cleaner and sun drying & installed the new set.

Prepped the cylinder head port seats with c/cleaner on q-tips, followed with a light film of clean oil.

Dropped the assembly in, and connected the rail back to the main fuel line - and before anything else, I pressurized the line and carefully bled it out. It took three or four times with priming it with the fuel pump. But I let it sit for half an hour or so and everything was still dry.

Long story short, all issues are completely resolved after everything was buttoned back up and the PCM reprogrammed itself for proper idle.

What are the odds of multiple defective injectors though? Damn..

Now I have to hope my RMA request for the old ones is approved. :/
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 09:01 AM
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You seem to know your way around a car. No doubt you'll get to the problem...


Congratulations!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks!
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