Extremely rough idle

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Extremely rough idle

Post by tuberadiogeek on Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:32 pm

As most of you guys know I have an 88 Buick regal with a 2.8 in it. It has been running decent ever since I have had it. However that changed today. It suddenly started idling very rough to the point where the engine is shaking and the exhaust is starting to smell like gasoline a bit more than normal. I've pulled codes on it a few times by grounding the B terminal to the A terminal on the dionostic plug. It has been giving me code 13 which is the O2 sensor which I have been putting off since I can not afford to get it. So would that cause my issue or should I be looking for another issue? Their might be other codes but I have a hard time keeping up with the flashes of the check engine light. I also just finally had the plugs changed not even a month ago. I had to wait for an opening at the school.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by Motorola man on Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:53 pm

I had a GMC S15 that would act up like that every few years. The first sign would be a strong odor of gasoline on the air filter and then the rough idle. The culprit turned out to be a cracked exhaust manifold. In the time that I owned the truck, I had the manifold replaced three times.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by 35Z5 on Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:14 pm

The computer should revert to a fixed set of operating tables if it looses the input from o2 sensor... In other words I'll bet it has another issue, fuel pressure regulator leaking into intake is one of the most common...
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by tuberadiogeek on Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:21 pm

Ouch!! Thats something I was hoping not to hear.. Where is the Fuel pressure regulator? and would I be able to tell if it is leaking?
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by 75X11 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:42 am

Usually the fuel pressure regulator has a bellows chamber where the engine vacuum interacts to regulate the pressure.  Look where the fuel is distributed to each of the cylinders.  it will be between there and the fuel lines.  If you don't have a haynes manual, you ought to get one.  at least it should have a pic of an example unit.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by mafiamen2 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:58 am

bad o2 sensor will make it run very rich in fuel
you said you changed plugs if it runs rich can foul out plug how about cap rotor and wires ? did you replace air filter and pcv valve
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by tuberadiogeek on Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:55 pm

I do not believe it has a PCV valve since it is fuel injected. I replaced the air filter shortly after I got it and it is still clean. It has coil packs for ignition. Now this is just a thought, could the Mass airflow sensor do that? I was cleaning out the glove box and found a paper that stated the previous owner had it replaced. I don't even think it was a year ago. I did not change my plug wires due to lack of funds, it took the school almost 3 months to get my car in from the time I put the order in. They seem to be ok and not jumping spark.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by 75X11 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:44 pm

I looked up the code online and it is said to indicate a malfunction in the o2 sensor itself. That is capable of altering the burn characteristics enough to get fuel smells at the exhaust and a rough idle.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by tuberadiogeek on Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:22 pm

So, in other words my O2 sensor finally bit the dust?
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by 75X11 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:09 pm

That's what I found in the symptom description for your fail code. Bear in mind that it could also be a failed connection from the harness to your sensor. There usually is a good section on diagnosis in the Haynes manuals. I had to replace a sensor on my Mustang 2 years ago. If it does work out to be the culprit, shop around for one with a decent price.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by tuberadiogeek on Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:39 pm

I think it just needs a new sensor as most components on it are factory which makes them about 26 years old. I took a good look under my hood and located the sensor and it's in the Y pipe just before the cat. I can almost reach it but didn't put my hand all the way down there since the engine and exhaust was still a bit too hot.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by 75X11 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:58 pm

Hope it goes all right.  They make deep well sockets specifically for o2 sensors that have a slot cut in them for the wires to pass through.  That is what I used on mine, along with 2 u-joints and a 6 in. extension between them.  Mad 
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by 35Z5 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:19 pm

tuberadiogeek wrote:I do not believe it has a PCV valve since it is fuel injected

ALL engines from '65 on have some type PCV system(most had it earlier), part of the Fed mandated emission system... Calif had them back as early as '61 or so and were required to be retrofitted on all passenger cars back into the mid 50s...

If the o2 sensor has failed, unplugging it should make it run much better, it doesn't operate when engine is first started and they idle OK then...
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by mafiamen2 on Sat Jun 28, 2014 11:04 am

the o2 sensor tells computer that exhaust is not hot enough for the catalases to burn gasses when it goes bad computer will use more fuel you will get fuel smell from exhust pipe
it can foul out a spark plug causing it not to fire
recheck plug wires in complet darkness look for slight arc to block you may hear a slight tick sound  best to move wires around a little a cracked or torn plug boot will always short
coil pack can go bad it may not have enough power to produce a good spark
you may have 2 problems a mechanical problem will not show on computer  like spark plug or wires
mass air flow sensor is not your problem that just detects air temp and rate  when its bad car will not run right will try to shut off
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by tuberadiogeek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:24 pm

Apparently I do not know what the PCV valve looks like or where it is on my engine..I know where they are and what they look like on older engines with carburetors. My engine runs rough from the time I start it when its cold to the time its hot. I've only been driving it about 12 miles a day since it started acting up. Only because I have no choice right now.
I've always kind of known the purpose of an O2 sensor, but not exactly what they do. I believe my wires are in tact, but will check them again in complete darkness to check for arcing. I'm not loosing power, so I imagine my coil packs are producing enough spark. I've never heard of coil packs going out, only either functioning or not functioning.. and IIRC the only way to test them is with an ohm meter. I didn't think it was my mass air flow sensor, but was not certain. I believe the car wouldnt get up to speed and wouldnt shift when the mass airflow sensor went out. I have the work order in the glove box. I guess my main concern is that I don't want to fix one thing and then start having a chain reaction of other things going out.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by Wildcat445 on Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:04 pm

My Pontiac went thru 6 fuel pressure regulators in a little over four years. The symptoms are the same as you report. To check if the regulator is dumping fuel into the intake, simply disconnect the vacuum line on the regulator and check for the smell of gas. If present, the regulator may be leaking. Good luck.

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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by tuberadiogeek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:23 pm

I got out there while it was cool enough and unplugged the O2 sensor. I started it up and it sounded normal again. No shaking or foul exhaust smell.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by tuberadiogeek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:29 pm

Ok after driving it with the sensor unhooked, it had an improvement but only slightly. I plan to replace the sensor but just do not know when I will be able to.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by 75X11 on Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:56 pm

If the cost of the sensor is an issue, I found mine on Ebay using a vehicle specific search on Ebay motors. They were about a third the auto parts store price, and were Bosch sensors.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by tuberadiogeek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 11:10 pm

I am pretty sure the sensor is only 18.00 at autozone, for a Denso brand and a Bosch is 1.00 more. That is for exact fit ones, there are universal ones for a bit cheaper. I looked on eBay and they were actually more expensive. Averaging about 25.00. I just won't have the cash for awhile due to the school issuing refund checks late since we had a break.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by 75X11 on Sat Jun 28, 2014 11:56 pm

That's fortunate. Mine ran around $75 from the chain stores and $25 on ebay.
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Re: Extremely rough idle

Post by mafiamen2 on Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:50 pm

if you plan on changing o2 sensor best if you spray it with pb blaster or wd40 let sit awhile do it a few times will come out easier use a socket cut wire off main thing is not to strip it installing just snug with wrench
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Re: Extremely rough idle

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