: Too broke to fix

08-25-07, 01:21 PM
Hey guys,

My fleetwood is dying on me... literally. Its been running rough for about two months but i can't find problem. oil level is slightly lower than usual, but i don't see any leaks. trans does leak, though, like a bitch! anyway, it idles rough on start up and feels like either starving for fuel or too much fuel when im driving slow (5-20 mph). it runs better on the expressway, but yesterday i was driving and when i floored it, it wouldn't accelerate. i heard a hard knock from either under the hood or under the car. couldn't really tell.

its killing me cause not only is this car my baby, but also my daily driver. i don't tend to her as i know i should, but i do keep fresh oil and coolant in her as well as other small things to keep her calm. i don't have any money to take her to a mechanic, and i know my way under the hood as a novice. but where should i start the diagnosis. i cant go buying parts all willy nilly on a trial and error.

I appreciate any advice guys.



08-25-07, 03:14 PM
How many miles on the car? How does the exhaust look? Black/smoky? Lots of soot around the tailpipe or on the rear bumper over the tailpipe? That knocking sound makes me think of rings gone bad. Do a cylinder compression test, check the timing, the basics. Also, when did you last change the fuel filter? That's about all I can think of right now. Good luck with tracking things down.


08-25-07, 04:00 PM
just ticked 180,000 miles on. fuel filter was changed around 10,000 miles ago or so. no black smoke, no real sign of unburned fuel.

i did have a similar situation a few months back where i had rough idle and no acceleration. it was a bad cat according to my mechanic. even though these are similar symptoms, it can't be a bad cat again, can it?

08-25-07, 04:18 PM
I don't see the cat going out again like that unless it was somehow defective, and that seems unlikely. I'd still do a cylinder compression test. Other possible culprits are bad lifters, connecting rods, or some sort of valve trouble. You really need Night Wolf for this one, he's a right master at dianosing these things. Try PMing him with your situation.


08-26-07, 01:20 AM
If it isn't setting any codes, then most likely it isn't a fuel issue. The ECM will set all kinds of codes for when a carb, or especially a fuel injected motor, is really going and you'll know. Seafoam it if you're really worried.

The real tell-tale sign of bad piston rings is what the oil smells like and what the spark plugs look like. If the oil smells like gas, you know.

Catalytic converter has nothing to do with how well the car runs unless it's poorly designed, goes, and then you have a blocked off exhaust passageway. Fun way to turn off your car is to put your hand in front of the tailpipe. It forces exhaust gas back into the cylinders when the exhaust manifold opens and without O2, well, no reaction.

Check for oil leaks, bad spark plugs, plug wires, distributor cap, etc.

If the engine RPM increases without increase to the car speed, then the transmission is broke somewhere.

Do the following:

*Check your transaxle fluid 5 times while it's running. Look for any signs of burnt fluid, debris, and especially brown/black fluid. If it comes out very dirty pr burnt, replace the fluid and monitor it closely.

If you get a droplet of brown/black fluid, replace the fluid and look for more. If you have a significant amount in the pan then it's time for a new radiator; the radiator is leaking coolant into the transmission. If the fluid is completly brown/black or there's a lot in there the trans is fried. If you find debris, which will seem sandy or with tiny metal bits in it, the trans is fscked.

*The hard knock I've had before; it's what happens when the torque converter lockup isn't working properly and either locks up too soon or won't unlock. Basically, in any automatic transmission there's a torque converter that uses 2 trans fluid driven fin-filled plates to transfer energy from the engine to the transmission via the movement of the fluid. After a certain point, generally around 40MPH, the energy can no longer be transferred between the engine and trans by fluid so a solenoid is actuated to lock up the torque converter; it physically locks the transmission and engine together. T

The solenoid actuates via the ECM or TCM (transmission control module) telling it to electronically, generally the ECM tells it when. When the car slows down, fluid pressure is lost, or the brake pedal is pressed, the torque converter unlocks.

First thing to do is take the car over 50MPH-60MPH, and tap the brake pedal not enough to brake at all. If the switch is good you'll feel the torque converter lockup deactuating.

If it won't stay actuated, say under 40MPH you hit the gas hard it runs great but after 40 it won't accelerate worth shit, then more than likely the solenoid/wiring is bad and needs replacement. In some instances, the torque converter itself needs replacement.

If it stays actuated during deceleration then you get a real treat; the engine, which is hooked to the trans, which is hooked to the rapidly decelerating tires, all slow down and the engine is literally forced to stop violently. What you get is the car comes to 5 or 6 MPH, it shakes very very violently as the engine works against the brakes, and then the engine stalls and dies. It won't kill the engine but it isn't good for it.

08-26-07, 08:33 AM
Do yourself a huge favor and take it to my buddy Rob I told you about.

TEPCO TUNE-UP & AUTO CARE. 3810 W. Belmont (773) 539-1998

He is a great mechanic who specializes in Small Block Chevys. His prices are great, but you have to pay cash to get the discount.

Tell him you know me, Elias and he will hook you up.

Hope this helps,

08-26-07, 11:07 AM

You have no idea how much i appreciate your help.

She sat in the garage all day yesterday, as I was to scared to take her all the way to indiana. Just waking up now, so after i eat, I'll check those fluids and see what it tells me.

Gwok, that info really helped me out. you're a smart dude. i wonder if the leak has gotten so bad that it's caused all this other stuff to go bad.

Elias, i live right by there. Is he open on Sundays?

Thanks guys,


08-26-07, 08:19 PM
No Sundays, Monday-Saturday yes.

Give him a ring, he is a very nice guy and has a AutoX, SCCA, and Drag Racing award winning '96 Impala SS.

08-27-07, 12:13 AM
*reread original post*

Forgot about the leak, lol.

Transmissions shift gears and gauge speed, torque, shift point, etc by fluid pressure. A leak anywhere in the system at a sensitive point can and will cause the trans to shift weird. Low fluid level will cause the trans to shift weird. Improper engine temperature will cause the fluid to oxidise (burn) slowly, causing a burned smell and causing the fluid to lose it's ability to hold pressure will cause the trans to shift weird. When the fluid smell old I generally change it out; it will still work and work well but there's a turning point where transmission fluid begins to get more and more shit in it and turn dark red and eventually black and you want to change it out WAY before it gets to that point. On a transaxle there's usually 3 places where it'll leak; pan, hookup to the engine, and hookup to the tires. For a RWD trans it's easy but for a transaxle anything but the pan, if it has a pan, is a bitch and a half. I'm not too familiar with transaxles but with transmissions and even 4WD I'm pretty good.

08-29-07, 02:01 PM
So i took the car to the shop on monday. $400 later, and still got the same problem. The car still stalls and dies when i accelerate. The $400 went to a new ignition coil, O2 sensor, outer tie rods, trans filter and gasket, and oil change. I know, it sounded steep to me, too. But what the hell? i don't have time to fix it, and i need it fixed.

The car rode well out the shop and on the way home. But this morning, as I'm getting ready to jump on the expressway to go to work, the car stops accelerating. after about 25 mph or so, the car doesn't want to move anymore. I thought she just needed some gas and tried punching it. next thing i know, the loudest bang i've heard in a while comes out of my exhaust! Scared the crap out of me and the people on the street. I had to turn around and take my wife's car to work. I called the mechanic but he was off today. So now I have time to think about what it could be. He mentioned the next thing I should fix are my injectors, cause I'm running real rich.

My questions to you all is, would running rich cause my car to backfire like it did? What else could it be?

Any answers or opinions is again much appreciated.



08-29-07, 02:41 PM
Insure it to the hilt and leave it in a beer joint parking lot with the keys in it.

08-29-07, 03:30 PM
Did you take it to Rob?

08-29-07, 04:30 PM
Yeah. He figured it was the ignition coil, which made sense. then he spotted a bad O2. ok. But the initial problem wasn't fixed. I couldn't even make it to work. Here's the kick in the ass. It only chokes when there's a load. Only in drive, and a little in reverse. In park or neutral, the thing sounded like a beast through high rpm's. I don't get it. Isn't the same amount a fuel shot at the same rpm's, whether or not there's a load?

08-29-07, 04:35 PM
Damn, sorry about that.

Rob has worked on my LT1, 5.0 TBI, and 307 motors before when I can't figure it out. He is really good.

Hopefully he can figure it out tomorrow :thumbsup:

08-29-07, 04:46 PM
He did an amazing job with the other stuff. Very clean job. How should i bring up the fact that now I cant afford to get the original problem fixed because my money went to the other stuff he though it was?

08-29-07, 04:58 PM
Just tell him straight up when you talk to him on the phone tomorrow. He is a reasonable guy.