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Latest Chevrolet Lumina Repair and Headlights Installation Advice

CarJunky AutoAdvice

1998 Lumina barely runs. Help?!

Showing 8 out of 8 Posts
Question From aspire2create on 1998 Lumina barely runs. Help?!

1998 Chevrolet Lumina: 170,000 miles. Former fleet vehicle, purchased at 130,000 miles. I have performed regular maintenance (oil changes, plugs, filters, fluid flushes, etc.) as described in the owners manual. Replaced battery and alternator around 150,000 miles, and water pump, radiator, hoses, and seal in rear of engine around 160,000 miles due to leaking coolant. The problem now might stem from an incident that happened a long time ago: Hit a raccoon around 155,000 miles, it ripped out the driver’s side plastic wheel well insert. I picked it up from the side of the road and put it back on. The car got horrible gas mileage, cruise control did not work, and the heat did not work well for a couple months. When the weather warmed up, I found a broken vacuum line (no idea what it was attached to), so I capped it. The heat and cruise control began working again, and the car ran much better. However, it would die if idling for around 5 minutes or more. The engine seems to idle so slow that it would die, and acceleration was poor. Since I usually take the bus and do not use the car very often, it hasn’t been much of an issue over the past couple years. Yesterday, after not driving the car for a month, I started driving and it shook as I drove down the road. When I stopped, the engine seemed to pulse as if cylinders were not firing or something. The headlights pulsed as well from bright to dim and back. The battery seems to have plenty of charge, and the alternator is not very old, so I don’t think either of them is the culprit. Today I replaced the air filter, checked the spark plugs, and added complete fuel system cleaner to the gas in case it was due to gunked-up injectors. Now the Service Engine Soon Light is on, and it is running worse than ever. It died 3 times during the test drive, and I had to keep my foot on the gas when I stopped to get back home. As a college student, I don’t have a lot of money, so I would like to do the repair myself if possible. Also, I don’t want to spend money buying any more parts to fix it until I know what the problem is. Any idea what the problem is, or where I should start?

Response From steve01832

Start with checking spark at all cylinders. If you find two cylinders dead then you have either a bad coil or module. Swap the coil with another coil and see if the dead cylinder(s) move with the coil. If the problem moves with the coil swap. bad coil. If the problem doesn't move with the swap, bad ignition module.


Response From aspire2create

Checked the ignition coils and module for spark as you suggested. There is spark on all cylinders. Any other ideas?

Response From steve01832

The next things to check would be fuel pressure and injector pulse. With a fuel pressure guage connected to the test port, we should have a key on engine off pressure between 41 and 47 psi. With engine running pressure should be down between 35 and 40 psi.
You will need to install a noid light into each injector connector and start engine. Make sure the light flashes. Do these tests and post back with the results.


Response From aspire2create

Solved it! I found someone with a code reader and found out it was the EGR valve. It was stuck open. Replaced it and all my problems went away. Thanks for your help!

Response From Loren Champlain Sr Top Rated Answer

aspire; An EGR valve caused all of those symtoms??? I seriously doubt it, but, glad to hear that it is behaving, now. Thanks for letting us know. Next time I hit a racoon, that'll be the first thing I check. LOL. Have a great week.

Response From aspire2create

LOL. I don't think the problem had anything to do with hitting the raccoon. Its probably just a coincidence that the EGR valve started sticking around the same time I hit it. The EGR had never been replaced before and was totally caked with soot so it would not move at all. Had I known it was such a simple repair, I would have done it a lot sooner.

Response From steve01832

Thanks for posting the follow up. Glad to see it is running well now.