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Help! Dodge Colt won't run.

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Eric R Snow, Mar 11, 2005.

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  1. Eric R Snow

    Eric R Snow Guest

    I'm getting desperate. I'm on an island. The car is a '92 Dodge Colt.
    The import car fixer says my car isn't "foriegn" enough. The other guy
    says it's too "foriegn". Here's what it is doing. Not running. It has
    spark, compression, fuel pressure, and the timing is correct. The
    manual says that if the car runs while starting and then dies when the
    key springs back to the ON position then the fuel pump relay is bad.
    But there is no relay where the book says to look and none anywhere I
    can see. The dealership doesn't list one. He said to bring in the old
    one and they would match it up. The car ran fine to work in the
    morning and wouldn't start in the evening. The computer said it was a
    bad mass air flow sensor. A new one is 400 bucks so my son went to the
    wreckers and picked up a couple for twenty bucks. We put one on and
    the car started but ran poorly. I was able to drive it about 1/4 mile
    before it died. And while driving it would act like it was leaned out
    real bad when I floored it. That was yesterday. Today it won't even
    try to start. No matter which mass air flow sensor is connected. The
    computer only returns the code now that says all is good. Any help
    greatly appreciated.
    Eric R Snow
  2. Art

    Art Guest

    May want to actually have a automotive technician check the thing out. That
    is one who is familiar with these MGA/Dodge mixxes.
  3. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    If you have a way to get to a large public library, they might have a
    Chilton's or equivalent.

    One thing you could try is: Disconnect the NEGATIVE battery cable. That's
    the black one. Leave the red one connected - what you've done is take
    everything out of the circuit, and it's safe to touch the chassis. Let it
    sit for 10 - 15 minutes - have a cigarette, doobie, cup of coffee, beer,
    or cocktail, or any of the above - I don't know about trying to have a
    nooner in that time frame, but 45 minutes to an hour or so should do no

    This might reset the processor.

    Then, reconnect the negative battery cable. Test the car.

    If it's still broke, either get a qualified mechanic or go to the library
    and get Chilton's or equiv.

    Good Luck!
  4. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

    Aren't we all...
    What you're now experiencing is the pain of the transition from human
    control of the machines which get us from place to place to the
    control of the machines by themselves after we've made them
    autonomous. That is, if your car cares for its life and your want for
    transportation is deleterious to its survival in terms of what it's
    been told it should supply, it will balk at your attempts to fool it
    into thinking that it's something other than what it is and will stall
    soon after you ask it to start.
  5. Doesn't sound like the problem. Compared to the other hardware on a vehicle
    relays are quite reliable, and if the fuel pump relay was toast then you
    wouldn't be getting fuel pressure and you wouldn't be able to start and run
    the car even 1/4 mile (albeit poorly).
    Could you describe what "started but ran poorly" means in more detail? In
    what way did it run poorly? Did the engine feel really rough, like it was
    significantly unbalanced or something? Did the engine appear to have
    significant problem trying to maintain a steady idle, like it was always on
    the verge of stalling? When you drove it the 1/4 mile did it act seriously
    underpowered? Etc.

    It seems unlikely to me a bad mass air flow sensor would prevent the car
    from starting at all. A bad mass air flow sensor would likely harm
    emissions (especially when the car operates in open loop mode, shortly after
    first starting up), and may conceivably cause the car to run poorly, but if
    you have changed it and your problem remains, I doubt it is the source of
    your real problems.

    Presumably when you replaced the mass air flow sensor you disconnected power
    to the car's electrical system or otherwise did something to clear the
    trouble code from the ECM's memory. The ECM won't necessarily reregister
    the problem (even if the problem still exists) until the car has been driven
    for several miles. It is possible you still have a problem here, but I
    rather doubt it. More likely to me the mass air flow sensor was already bad
    before your most recent set of problems, and you just never noticed it until
    now? Was the check engine light on before your recent set of problems?

    It is impossible to tell with certainty where your problem lays given your
    description, but my suspicion is you may have some problem with your
    ignition system, even though clearly sparks are being generated. How many
    miles are on the car, and when last was the distributor cap and rotor (I
    assume this car uses a distributor, but I'm not specifically familiar with
    this car), ignition wires, and spark plugs last thoroughly checked and/or

    When the car ran the 1/4 mile, did the car run like it was not running on
    the full complement of cylinders, and did the exhaust smell like raw fuel?
  6. Eric R Snow

    Eric R Snow Guest

    Thanks Fritz and all the others who responded. I actually meant to
    post this on another group but the car IS electronically controlled.
    Anyway Fritz, the car idled roughly, then went from fast to slow idle
    back to a normal idle. When driving the car ran well for a little
    while but I was going slow. I dropped a gear to see If I could get the
    engine to rev fast. It acted like it was leaning out. Then, it would
    run normal at a lower throttle. It just occurred to me that the
    problem may indeed be with the distributer cap or rotor. Years ago I
    had a car that would only run with the timimg way advanced. Turned out
    the new rotor was shorting to the rotor shaft. With the advanced
    ignition there was less resistance so the spark could occur in the
    combustion chamber. I wonder if my car is doing what my old mazda did?
    I'll replace the rotor and cap.
  7. John G

    John G Guest

    I think I would be looking at the FUEL Filter.

    You say it has fuel pressure but that does not mean it can keep up the
    flow to a running engine.
  8. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Be sure to also replace the plug wires and coil wire. I had one that
    acted like this, and finally wouldn't start, and I had it towed, and
    it was a $3.50 coil wire.

  9. Eric R Snow

    Eric R Snow Guest

    The fuel flow observed is AFTER the fuel filter. And it sprays out
    FAST. However, I have not measured the fuel pressure and will make up
    a fitting today to do just that.
  10. Eric R Snow

    Eric R Snow Guest

    There is no coil wire on this car. Instead the coil is located under
    the rotor and there is a solid connection from the coil to the
    distributer cap. So replacing the cap will also be replacing the coil
    to cap connection.
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