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fix it man
fix it man, Master Technician
Category: Kia
Satisfied Customers: 13598
Experience:  ASE MASTER CERTIFIED, AA DEGREE AUTO/DIESEL
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2002 kia spectra: smooth..neutral..fuel filter, cleaned injectors

Customer Question

hello,

I have a 2002 kia spectra that idles rough only in drive and reverse when car at stop. Idle very smooth in neutral and park under no load. changed plugs and wires, fuel filter, cleaned injectors. Any ideas what would cause this condition?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Kia
Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
Hello JACUSTOMER, is the check engine light coming on? How many miles are on the vehicle?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
the engine light is not coming on. I have 68000 miles on the car
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
the engine light is not coming on. I have 68000 miles on the car, also changes all motor mounts
Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
Okay. It sounds like you may have some carbon build up in the engine. You need to clean this out. It is better to have this professionally done but it can be expensive. Start by cleaning out the throttle body. This is where the plastic intake tube connects to the engine from the air filter housing. Remove this and spray it out with throttle body cleaner. Wipe it clean with a lint free cloth. if the problem continues then run the engine and continue to spray some more of this cleaner into the engine while reving it up.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
when you say in the engine, do you mean carbon buildup in the intake/exhaust valves, etc, or only the throttle body?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
when you say in the engine, do you mean carbon buildup in the intake/exhaust valves, etc, or only the throttle body?...........also can I rule out any sensors, eg air idle control, throttle position valve, defective ignition coils, etc?
Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
The carbon build up can be from the throttle body all of the way to the valves. The easiest place for you to start is the throttle body.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

can I rule out those other things I've noted? thanks

Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
You can rule out most sensors as they will typically throw a code. The idle control valve may be carboned up also. The only other issue that can cause this without a code is a fuel system issue which is seems like was already rules out.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I cleaned the carbon buildup on the idle control valve with mass air flow cleaner, But I also read online that my problem could be caused by faulty ignition coil, causing engine to skip under load. Does this sound possible? Also can I use regular carb/injector cleaner to clean throttle body?
Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
You should use throttle body cleaner. You can use the cleaner you have if it is sensor safe. It can be an ignition coil but it is rare for the coil to fail and not throw a code.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thanks, i'll clean the throttle body and let you know if that fixed the problem

Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
Okay. Let me know what happens and we can go from there.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I cleaned the throttle body very well but the rough idle still persists. any other possible causes?
Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
Did this just start all of a sudden or did it progressively get worse?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
it's always existed for the short time that I've owned the car. bought car w/ 63000 miles, now have 68000.
Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
See what the vehicle does if you turn the a/c on or unhook the idle control valve.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

the idle becomes more rough when I turn on the a/c. As for the iac, should I unhook it while engine running or b4 I turn engine over?

Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
Unhook it before starting it. The next thing you may want to do is have the computer reprogrammed by the dealer. There are some programming issues that can also cause the vehicle to run this way.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I unplugged the iac and didn't make any difference in idle, also check engine light didn't go on.
Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
The check engine light should come on when this is disconnected before start up. This is starting to sound a lot like the internal carbon build up issue. What does the vehicle do under heavy load?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It runs fine when driving around town or on highway, plenty of power and runs fairly smooth. where in the engine would internal carbon buildup occur? Could iac be defective?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

how do you test car for internal carbon buildup? eg compression test?

Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
The iac can be defective. As for the carbon build up you can remove the intake and look at the valves or see if compression is higher than normal which indicates carbon build up.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
what do you recommend to clean valves, ie, if they have excessive carbon buildup? Also would'nt the car knock or ping when under high load, eg, driving up steep hill if this were the case? thanks, I know I'm keeping you buzy. lol
Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
You would not typically hear knocks or pings unless it is very bad. The best way to clean it is with top end cleaner.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I cleaned the intake, throttle body, intake valves, piston tops with seafoam cleaner directly into the throttle body. This actually worked for a short period of time. The engine finally idled smooth when in drive and with a/c on. I applied more of the cleaner a second time same results. Do you have any ideas why this works temporarily? could it be that this momuntarily cleared clogged cat or o2 sensor? thanks

Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
This is possible as it may be changing the oxygen sensor reading. Because of the mileage on the vehicle your oxygen sensors may be getting lazy. The only way to know for sure would be with a scan tool that reads data.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I had a scan done about a week ago, but no codes came up. My friend who did this noticed however the the downstream o2 sensor lacked the fluctuation movement of the upstream sensor and advised to change both. I will replace both tomorrow and keep you posted. If this doesn't work would the cat be the culprit?
Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
Yes, if the O2 sensor still does not cross back and forth rather quickly then the cat is more than likely failing.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

hi there,

 

I changed both 02 sensors but rough idle still persists. I would guess it's a clogged cat. what do you think?

Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
It is possible, but it should also have a loss of power. You should have an exhaust shop check it before replacing it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I really don't know the extent of the factory spec power since I've owned the car a short time. But I'm going to disconnect the cat tomorrow and test rough idle that way.
Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
Okay. Let me know what you find out.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I replaced the cat but problem unfortunalely persists. Yhe only other thing I can attibute rough idle to in faulty iac valve, clogged fuel injector. those are my next tests. any other suggestions. By the way, its running a lot stonger with new cat, even though it wasn't clogged or melted.

Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
What is the idle speed?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
don't have a tac, but it's about normal, the speed it's been all along
Expert:  fix it man replied 2 years ago.
Did you pull out the injectors and inspect their nozzles for debris?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
will look into it and get back to you. However I have been using lucas fuel injector cleaner on regular basis.

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