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Back To Basics

Quite often a problem is a small thing that should have been checked in the first place. We have to get Back To Basics.
» Part 1: Back To Basics
» Part 2: Air And Fuel
» Part 3: Spark
» Part 4: Engine & Electrical


The air intake system is pretty simple to check. The first, and most obvious, thing to check is the air filter. Some air intake systems are designed in a way that small animals like to move in and call it home. I have pulled real rats nests out of some air cleaners. I had one customer who wrapped window screen around the air intake to keep squirrels out. It only takes a few minutes to check an air filter. If you hold it up to the light and you can't see through it, throw it away and put in a new one.

Another thing to check is the tube that connects the air filter housing to the intake manifold. It is designed to flex and over time they dry up, get brittle and crack. Look for small cracks at the bottom of the bellow folds. Cracks there will allow un-metered air (air the computer doesn't know about) into the engine, causing a lean condition.

Further up the line is the throttle body. A lot of air gets worked and routed in here. It is also a great place for gum, dirt and varnish to collect and clog up small air passages. Believe me, a lot of driveability problems are fixed just by cleaning the throttle body.


In the fuel system the fuel filter is the weak link in the chain. Fuel filters will cause all kinds of driveability problems that you may not relate to at first thought. If you have a driveability problem such as loss of power or stalling, one of the first things to do is replace the fuel filter. It's a simple thing to do and could very well fix the problem.

If the car doesn't start, check the battery. The battery has to be good and fully charged. More often the question is "Does it crank?" but "Does the battery voltage stay above 9 to 9.5 volts while it is cranking?" Most fuel pumps will not run on less than 9 or 10 volts. Check the fuel pump fuse. Is it blown? If it is, that's an excellent reason for not starting.

» Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3       » Part 4
Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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