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EricFromCT, Auto Technician
Category: Mazda
Satisfied Customers: 3857
Experience:  20 years dealership experienceASE Certified L1-L2
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Mazda: just bought a 2002 tribute. developed low power on hills

Customer Question

just bought a 2002 tribute. developed low power on hills and passing gears
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mazda
Expert:  Randall C replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I realize the symptoms are hard to explain. I know this vehicle better then most, I am a 37 year tech BUT I own and drive a 2002 Tribute each day so know them well, What engine do you have? when this happens is it bogging or kind of feel like may be a cylinder not firing so if say a 6 cyl? you start up a hill, and it runs only on 5 cylinders? loss of power, slight vibration may be felt, regains power on even road or down hill? or something different?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
it is the 3.0 ford V6. no noticeable power problems at highway speeds or level ground. try to pull a hill or slight grade, vehicle slows down, depressing the the pedal, trans shifts into passing gear but doesn't gain any speed, feels like low power. no engine miss, no driveability problems otherwise.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i have read of some plugged cat problems, blowing out the egr valve. don't see any thing there, have heard about this engine in a Jaguar having some motor controlled butterfly valves in the intake or plenum assembly, does this engine have those valves?
Expert:  Randall C replied 2 years ago.
No it does not, I was leaning one way per your description , a VERY common problem but you are not describing that as a possible. Hard not being there, I could shoot thoughts all over but no one solid answer without scanner hooked up, fuel pressure guage etc. I am going to opt out in hopes that another expert has more insight and suggest than I do.,
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
this is my sons car. he said he added a fuel system cleaner about a week before this happened. is there a quick easy test for a plugged cat. i tapped on the second cat and it sounds empty. i have been a mechanic on heavy and industrial equipment, gas, electric, and diesel powered equipment also so i can usually be guided through a repair or trouble-shooting
Expert:  EricFromCT replied 2 years ago.
Hi. There is a way to check a cat quickly. If you purchase an exhaust backpressure gauge it screws into the top o2 sensor hole. You can then check the exhaust backpressure, which would indicate a plugged cat.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
would a plugged cat throw a code/check engine light? would there be a noticeable exhaust sound? any possible relationship to the current problem and the fuel system cleaner added recently?
Expert:  EricFromCT replied 2 years ago.
A plugged cat wont set a code, unless it sets a misfire code. A lot of times there will be a deep tone from the intake with a plugged cat, but on a v6 it is not as noticeable as on a 4 cyl. I dont think fuel cleaner would do anything to damage the cat. If the cat does check out ok, the next thing I would check would be the spark plugs.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I looked at the plugs when we bought the car (the easy ones) they looked good, again wouldn't faulty plugs cause a miss-fire and the a code?
Expert:  EricFromCT replied 2 years ago.
depends how severe the misfire is.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
this thing has no guts pulling a hill, stomp on the pedal, it downshifts into the passing gear but can't gain any speed to up shift, sits there stuck in passing gear at about 3500 rpm, doing 60mph with no additional power on a mild hill.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
do you know what normal fuel pressure and exhaust system back pressure would be? I have a OBDII scanner that has live data, it might read fuel pressure.
Expert:  EricFromCT replied 2 years ago.
Fuel pressure should be around 35-40. back pressure noo more tan 3psi on wide open snap throttle. Maybe you should try replacing the fuel filter.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
okay, are we done? how, when, and how much will I be billed?
Expert:  EricFromCT replied 2 years ago.
Yes we are done whenever you feel you asked me enough questions. You will be billed the amount you signed up for. I think it may be 36 dollars. It will be deducted from your paypal or whatever payment you set up. You will be billed soon, if not already. Thanks for letting me help you. Please rate my service. Thanks.