2.3L ('83-'97) Updated - Cylinder Wall Marks? Should I be worried?


CAJones

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1997 Ranger with 150k on a rebuilt engine
Code 0171 and 0420 (420 code is old)
I noticed the truck having a hard time starting, I ran two errands (20 miles of driving) and on the way back home it starting running really rough and lost some engine power. Since the CEL was already on, I plugged my scanner in and code 0171 popped up. Don't know when it turned on as the CEL was already on.

Symptoms:
Blew air (my mouth) into the throttle body and found air coming out IAC. Apparently this is a one way valve that only allows air out when the pressure increases in the throttle body. This is according to WVE, the company that I bought the IAC from on RockAuto.com.
Live data says that the short term and long term fuel trims are high (40%)
Sometimes stalls at idle unless I give a bit of gas, you can hear it about to die
Hard time starting, but has started every time so far I have been troubleshooting/learning
Hooked a vacuum gauge up the port to the brake booster:
-At idle the vacuum gauge reads 13 in. Hg and bounces very quickly up and down 2 in Hg
-Engine smoothes out when I increase RPMs to 2,000 and the vacuum increases to a steadier 16 in Hg +/- 0.5 in Hg.

I Googled vacuum gauge readings explained and the worn valve guide is what closely matches my experience.

Any advice on what to check/do to see if that is indeed a worn valve guide? Or is it something else?
 
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Dirtman

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If you have a scanner with live data bring up the PID for long term fuel trims. Slam the gas up to 2500rpm and watch the fuel trims. If they drop way down from what they are at idle you almost certainly have a major vacuum leak somewhere. 150,000 miles is not high for a 2.3 Lima, they are fairly indestructible so I'd be inclined to think vacuum leak before worn valve guides.
 

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@RonD

Have a look through the Tech section here since it has so much info about these trucks but I will ask for the engine size you have since it is not in your post or your vehicle specs?

For ease of us regulars and any other posts you may have please go to your profile page and enter your full vehicle specs into it so we know what you're working with at a glance so we don't need to ask these type of questions when you accidentally forget to mention it. (y) Engine size, transmission type, type of cab (super or regular), 4x4 or 2wd ect.. Thanks
 

Dirtman

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As for the bouncing needle at idle. Were you holding the guage in your hand or resting it on the engine?
 

CAJones

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As for the bouncing needle at idle. Were you holding the guage in your hand or resting it on the engine?
Was sitting on the window, but when I picked it up and held it in my hand, it made no difference.

Started the engine again, idling at ~800 RPM the short term fuel trim is +30%, vacuum at 13 In Hg +/- ~1.5.
Slammed on the gas to get the the RPMs up to 3,000 RPM and the fuel trim dropped to -1.9 but then came up to ~5 and bounced around a bit from 2 to 10%. Vacuum read a steady 20 in Hg.
 

CAJones

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@RonD

Have a look through the Tech section here since it has so much info about these trucks but I will ask for the engine size you have since it is not in your post or your vehicle specs?

For ease of us regulars and any other posts you may have please go to your profile page and enter your full vehicle specs into it so we know what you're working with at a glance so we don't need to ask these type of questions when you accidentally forget to mention it. (y) Engine size, transmission type, type of cab (super or regular), 4x4 or 2wd ect.. Thanks
I am confused, who is RonD.

Added the engine size in my profile, it is listed in this post as I had to enter it as a prefix before I could post?
 

Dirtman

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RonD is the resident genious here. When you put an @ in front of someones name it send them a message to check out the thread. So Bgunner was calling RonD for you lol.

Those fuel trim numbers point to a vacuum leak. Run the engine till its fully warmed up and then uplug the IAC valve. If the RPMs dont drop to nearly stalling you have now confirmed a vacuum leak.
 

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I don't always, my bad, look at what section the post is entered into and this is where the info on the profile helps. Thanks for adding the info. I agree with Dirtman to pull the IAC wiring connector to see if there is a change in idle speeds.

If no change there is either a Vacuum leak or the IAC has issues.

If there is no change and you have a piece of hose, or I prefer vacuum line, hold one end to your ear and go over all vacuum lines, connections, and all intake gasket areas with the other end and listen for a leak. Using this method will help spot where the leak is located. IF no leak is found ( you will hear it through the hose with out a doubt ) then in my feeble wisdom you may be looking at an IAC valve being bad. But this is why I summoned the resident genius to be sure you get a solid diagnosis through the proper steps.
 

CAJones

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Got the engine up to temp, well sort of. 65 C or 150 F on the engine coolant temp, doesn't seem to get much warmer than that. Unplugged the IAC sensor, RPMs dropped to 550 sounded like it really wanted to stall. So much so that lights in the truck was flickering with the RPM due to the low power. Plugged it back it and instantly picked up in RPM. The IAC is brand new, so that shouldn't be causing issues.

So the change in RPM is good? That means a vacuum leak?
 

Dirtman

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Yes that change in RPMS is good. It's what is suppose to happen. But now it does point away from a vacuum leak which is bad because the other options for what may be wrong aren't great...
 

CAJones

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Yes that change in RPMS is good. It's what is suppose to happen. But now it does point away from a vacuum leak which is bad because the other options for what may be wrong aren't great...
Yeah, that is what I was afraid of.

Forgot that when I fill the gas tank up, some fuel spills on the ground. Since signs are pointing away from a vacuum leak, could this be an issue? Should I investigate the EVAP system?
 

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Code 0171 means lean code on bank 1 but being a 4 cylinder it just means a lean code. this means extra un-metered air is entering the combustion chamber. have you tried running a hose over the IAC valves connections to the intake to be sure there is no leak there? Also please check the intake gaskets for leaks as mentioned before by using a shorter hose to your ear listening for a hissing ( actually its a, sucking, sound that is quite distinguishable from all other sounds through the hose ). Be sure to go from the air meter to the heads on the engine to besure there is no leaks adding air to the system after the meter.


EDIT: You can use the longest vacuum hose you have for your meter to do this with. That's what I use but I need a stool because my hose is short and I need to get to the firewall in the center of my truck.
 
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Dirtman

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The evap system is a calculated vacuum leak. if there was a problem with it, it would show as a vacuum leak.
 

CAJones

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I used the hose from the vacuum gauge and couldn't hear any leaks. It is really hard to hear over the stumbling engine. Also, do I really know what I am doing and looking for...probably not. So just because I couldn't find an issue doesn't mean there isn't one lurking somewhere.

The exhaust is noticeably pulsing, when I put my hand over the exhaust you can feel pulses. No idea if that means anything.
 

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The pulsing means the engine is not running smoothly, common in your situation. I understand how you are hesitant on saying if you hear a leak. Like I said you "WILL" hear it as long as you move the end over it even over the stumbling because as you move away the sound will change dramatically.

Side note on sounds, When I first started driving, 16.5 years old and in a vocational school for automotive, I knew about bearing noise but because I had never heard it before I didn't know exactly the sound it makes. Well I had a 83 Chevy S10 2.8 built at the time and I sent it down to my step brothers shop to have something fixed, so many years ago I can't remember what it was but, He asked me if I hear the U joint bad? OF course I said "no" only because I knew what the teachers described but never heard it myself till I was a senior when a bearing went in the spare car, yes I was privileged as a kid with a spare care for the family when one went down there was an extra till the broken one could be fixed, but I heard the sound finally and it was pointed out this is a bearing noise.

My point is that I get you're not sure for what you are hearing. Like I mentioned before it is a hissing sound, but it is sucking. Take the hose and put it near your house vacuum's hose and listen for the sucking sound then go over the gaskets again be sure to go over all of it, this means around each port and between ports. This will help you understand the sound you are looking for. Don't put the hose inside the home vacuum hose but on the out side next to it. You hear a hissing sound, gets louder the closer you are and softer the further away you get. of course there are different sounds from a motor but the hissing sound will be about the same so you have some Idea of what you are listening for.

Also as an alternative, loosen one the vacuum lines on the truck and create a vacuum leak. this will give you the sound you are looking for and have the background noise of the engine. Here you can stop it and start it to really know what to listen for as you go over all the gaskets listening.

Hope this description helps you. if no vacuum leak is found you may need to wait till RonD is on for step my step, well explained instructions can be given on what is next to fully determine if your diagnosis is correct on valve guides.
 


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