Edmunds Answers



  • zaken1 11/20/11 5:19 pm PST

    The fuel injection system in this car is protected by a fine filter on the fuel line. This fuel filter will clog up long before the injection system becomes plugged. So I would not waste time or money having the fuel injectors cleaned out.

    You can have the fuel filter replaced if you want to; but experience has shown that if a car cuts off while driving, and it doesn't fire after that time; it probably was not caused by a clogged fuel system.
    There are four other, more likely causes for the car cutting off while driving and then not starting:
    1> This car has an electric fuel pump; which can be damaged by running without fuel in it. If you ran out of gas, and then cranked the engine long enough while there was no fuel in the tank; the fuel pump may have been damaged. In that case; the fuel pump would have to be replaced.
    2> The electric power to the fuel pump is controlled by a fuel pump relay. These relays have been known to fail suddenly. If the fuel pump relay failed; it would stop the power to the pump; so the pump would not run. For this reason; it would be important to check whether there was 12 volts at the pump when the key was turned on; before spending money on a new fuel pump. If there is no voltage at the fuel pump when the key is turned on; the problem is not the pump; it is the fuel pump relay.
    3> There also is a ground connection in the wiring for the fuel pump. If the ground wire broke, or the connection for that wire became corroded; it would stop the pump, even if the pump and relay were both good. So it is important to make sure there is a good solid ground connection for the fuel pump before buying any other parts.
    4> This motor has a timing chain inside the engine, that turns the camshaft and distributor. Timing chains are known to break suddenly. When this happens; the motor will stop and not restart. If there was a low fuel level in the tank when this happened; it would be easy to think the car stopped because it ran out of gas; when the real reason it stopped was because the timing chain broke.
    If the chain has broken; the rotor in the distributor would not turn when the starter runs. So you can check for this by removing the distributor cap, and watching to see if the rotor turns when the starter is running.
    Sometimes the timing chain will become loose from age, and eventually jump out of position; but will not break. This will stop the engine, and prevent it from restarting; but when this happens; the distributor rotor will still turn when the starter runs. The way to check for this is to turn the motor until the timing mark on the crankshaft pulley lines up with the 0 degrees TDC mark on the engine's timing cover. Then remove the distributor cap, and see where the rotor tip points. It should point either to the cap terminal for the spark plug wire that goes to #1 cylinder (the front cylinder on the driver's side); or else point straight across the cap to the terminal on the other side that is directly opposite the # 1 terminal. If the rotor points anywhere else; the timing chain has jumped out of position; and must be replaced.


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