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I am having the same issue as Old Goat posted back in 2017. My 2000 Sportage starts and runs great except on the freeway. It has the 2.0L DOHC engine. It struggles to keep up to 75 mph and drops off to 65 at any lengthy incline. I bought this from my brother who claims he drove it 80 mph on the freeway from Minnesota, some 1700 miles. When I first got it, it ran rough until it warmed up, I found that the output side on one of the coils where it attaches to the spark plug was all burned up. The resistor (not sure what to call it) that makes contact between the coil output and spark plug was burned in half. The harness connecting to the coils was also crispy and fell apart in my hands. So I ordered new plugs, two new coils, two new wires, and the coil harness. Other things I got were new air filter, new fuel filter (and lines because I broke them trying to get the old filter off), and a new OEM muffler. I also replaced the valve cover gasket because there was oil getting all over the spark plugs. Compression test (and I rechecked it today) showed 140 psi dry, 150 wet, consistent on all cylinders, with a variation of only 5 lbs max between them.
Here's what I have done so far: The MAF read very high, from around .06 lbs/sec at idle to over 1.0 at WOT. I compared this reading with another car I have using the same scan tool and it read .01 lbs/sec at idle to about .4 (I don't recall the exact number) at WOT. I purchased a new MAF and now it reads the same as my other car. I looked at the timing belt, which appears to have been changed recently, thinking the valve timing was off, but the marks line up just like they're supposed to. The tension across the top of cams was a bit loose, so I applied some more tension via the tensioner pulley which does not appear to have been replaced. I also gutted the rear cat, and then the front one after my scan tool gave a code of low reading from cat (downstream sensor. I also bought two new O2 sensors on eBay which turned out to be no good - 0.000V on my scan tool, so I put two used ones back in. Now the O2 senors appear to both read normal, fluctuating voltage as they should.

The TPS sensor reads high, starting at 10.2% and only goes up to 82%. I bought a new TPS but it reads very similar. A check with my other car shows TPS at 0% at idle up to 100% at WOT. Why is the TPS not reading properly on my Kia? I tried making adjustements to the throttle cable, as I had disconnected it when I removed the throttle body to replace the valve cover gasket. I have removed the intake pipe and cleaned the throttle plates and verified that they were closing tightly and that the throttle cable was not causing them to hang open (which would result in high idle speed anyway). Idle speed is good, about 1000 rpm at start up then settles down to about 840 after it warms up.

I have checked the air intake pipe and tube for cracks or blockage, checked the IAC passages, even replaced the IAC with another used one. I hooked up a vacuum gauge to check for leaks, it read a steady 15.5 psi (we are at 4200 ft above seal level - the spec is 17 -22 psi minus 2 psi for every 2000 feet of elevation) so that is about right. When I snap the throttle, vacuum momentarily goes to near zero, then back to normal, just like the diagnostic book says it should.
It does not miss, skip, backfire, or anything that would indicate a bad ignition or bad injector. It runs smooth through all RPMs, it just feels like I am dragging a boat anchor behind me when I try to climb a hill on the freeway. It feels like the engine in struggling to keep up and the transmission keeps downshifting to compensate.
I have been trying to figure this out in my spare time, looking for answers on the internet and this forum, etc. Today I decided to go back to basics and recheck the compression which I noted above. I also checked the old spark plugs which were worn to a gap of about .050 on average. I removed the new plugs I had put in and noticed they were gapped at about .035. I regapped them to .042 (spec is 1.0 - 1.1mm which about .040 -.045in). While doing so I noticed a couple of them had started to change color. Two of the bases were still shiny silver, the other two had a golden hue. Now, I don't recall if they looked this way when I got them, but I theorized maybe they were getting hot due to an internal flaw, so I put the old plugs back in reasoning that they were apparently working before. It does not run any better, perhaps a little worse. I checked the new coil harness for resistance - .3 ohms on every wire, I checked the new coils which read a bit high according the spec.s in my Haynes manual. It says .48-.68 primary, 8.5 - 10.2 K-ohms secondary. When I checked the one good old coil, I got .4 ohms primary and about 12.5 k-ohms secondary. The new coils both read .8 ohms primary and a little over 13.2 k-ohms secondary. I tested the wires also. This doesn't seem excessively high to me, what do others think? By the way, I did test each coil with an ignition tester on the vehicle before I installed them the first time. The new spark plugs are clean and dry with no signs of oil, gas, carbon, or water. They all show good color so they appear to all be firing properly.
After another test drive today, the check engine light did not come on and no codes registered.
The one test I haven't done yet is fuel pressure. I plan to hook up a pressure gauge that I can watch while driving. I have been looking back at all the new parts I bought and re-testing them. A fuel pressure test may indicate a faulty filter? I am trying to determine if the lack of power is due to an ignition power loss or fuel pressure loss. Again, it does not spit, sputter, cut out, or backfire. I even checked all four brakes to make sure I didn't have one that was dragging.

I just had a thought and it may be way out there - could a non functioning gas cap vent be the issue? I might try driving it with the cap loose.

I know this is lengthy but I wanted to eliminate any "did you do this?" questions. I hope someone out there has some insight or similar experience. Old Goat, did you resolve your problem? Sounds like the same thing.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
 

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2019 Kia Sportage. SX with AWD. 2.0L Direct Injected Turbocharged & Intercooled Gas.
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Good God man...are you a Master Mechanic or auto engineer?
At 20 years old (miles?) Do you think she is just worn out? Could be your bro rode her hard and put her away wet too many times? Pop the cam cover again and adjust the valves. Borrow a dial indicator and measure the cam lift on both intake and exhaust cams. Compair measurements to factory specs. Also, try to install a new pre cat O2 sensor. Ignore the post cat sensor since you already disabled them... don't tell anyone you did this! Keep us posted! Good luck!
 
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The 1G Sportage uses a viscous fan clutch to engage the radiator fan - if the viscous fan clutch is constantly engaged, it will rob power on top end / and hill climbing. Check this also.

re: plug gap / base color change, etc. - Yes, the 1G 2.0L engine runs hotter, vs. many. Color change at plug base after proper installation is normal. I used / and *liked NGK plugs here, that's what I ran when I had the 1G Sportys.

re: vacuum - as a sanity check: make sure -all- ports on the Intake manifold are capped or connected, particularly the port for the 4 wheel drive, at the back base of the manifold / closest to the firewall. The port is not readily visible, you have to feel around back there .. to find the vacuum port. * If 4x4 equipped, check -all- vacuum lines related to 4x4.

TPS should be 10-12% at closed-loop idle (750RPM),
MAF should be .4 lb/hr at closed-loop idle (750RPM),

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Also bear in mind the 2.0L motor/trans is geared for Torque, not speed, and it is powering a 3,800 lb. SUV. You are not going to get passenger car performance, or mileage, from a 1G Sportage.

The MPH #s you are seeing are not much different vs. what I saw here on a properly running 2000 4 dr. Sportage, 5 spd. 4x4 w/ electric fan replacement, and air intake tube mod. / delete -> to the airbox.

Any incline, over say 3% .. would reduce speed also, especially on long hill climbs, w/ the mods. above. Hope the info is useful to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I forgot to include in my post, this is a 2WD, automatic trans, 164,000 miles. The freeway outside of town has two long inclines, definitely 3% or better and each about a mile long. Once I get to the top, it will run 80 mph no problem, but as soon as I get to the next hill, it drops back down to 65, with my foot to the floor. I will check those vacuum ports, and the engine fan. If those check, I will do the valve lift measurement. I also replaced the electric fan that comes on with the A/C engaged. The old fan was locked up but it didn't have any overheating issues so I assume the e-fan just adds extra cooling when the A/C is on?
Maybe this power issue is normal for this car, but it seems odd that it can't maintain highway speed going uphill, unless it meant to be driven only in Kansas!! lol Thanks for the advice.
 

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Update - I have checked everything, including the fan, put the new plugs back in and reinstalled the new muffler (I had removed it thinking maybe it was plugged and was running the car with the old rusty muffler.) Performance did not change much although I can feel a very slight increase in performance with the new plugs. Today it triggered a DTC 0141 - O2 sensor heater circuit bank 1 sensor 2. I had replaced both sensors with eBay units which neither tuned out to be any good (I turned one into an exhaust stream tester as suggested on this site). I put in two used sensors and even though they are both working, apparently the downstream one is not heating up quick enough to satisfy the PCM. I am going to check the heater for resistance and the harness for power. The connectors for the O2 sensors are hard to get to, squeezed between the rear of the engine and the firewall, I am hoping I simply did not get full engagement of the connector when I replaced the rear sensor. Maybe I'll get lucky.

It starts and runs great other than this code and its difficulty maintaining 75 mph going uphill, but perhaps this is normal as suggested here.

Just as a side note - I also purchased a set of four hubs with ABS sensors for another car I am working on. I began having ABS problems, i.e, the ABS kicking in during slow speeds and light braking. After many hours of diagnosis and several more dollars making mechanical upgrades to the brakes, including pads, rotors, etc. I finally resorted to buying a set of used hubs from a salvage yard car and bingo - problem solved. Even though I tested the ABS sensors and all 4 showed AC voltage, they were of inferior design and apparently the readings were inaccurate, fooling the ABS controller into thinking the wheels were spinning or locking, causing the symptoms of rapid tire lock-unlock and pedal vibration. It did not set a code or turn on the ABS light.

Beware of eBay parts!!
 

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01 Sportage convertible 4x2 auto
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I know this post is a month old but I wanted to make ONE suggestion. I had pretty much the same problem as you on my 01 Sporty. Make sure the insulation under your hood isn’t falling and blocking your air intake. I battled this problem for almost a month until a friend stood in front of the car and said “Hey, look at this”
 

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2019 Kia Sportage. SX with AWD. 2.0L Direct Injected Turbocharged & Intercooled Gas.
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Yes, any positive outcome??
 

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01 Sportage convertible 4x2 auto
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Yes, any positive outcome??
Yes indeed !! Turns out that the insulation was sagging down and apparently the air intake would suck it up at higher rpms. Thus causing the engine to loose power and not be able to gain speed. Once I cut away a portion of the insulation, it ran GREAT. It’s worth looking into if you’re still having the same problem with yours. Good luck and let me know what happens!!
 

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Yes indeed !! Turns out that the insulation was sagging down and apparently the air intake would suck it up at higher rpms. Thus causing the engine to loose power and not be able to gain speed. Once I cut away a portion of the insulation, it ran GREAT. It’s worth looking into if you’re still having the same problem with yours. Good luck and let me know what happens!!
Thank you thank you, a thousand times thank you!!! I got some time off from work, thanks to COVID-19 so finally got to take a look and sure enough, it was the hood insulation!!! I could even see the imprint in the insulation where it was being sucked into the air intake. I cut out that section and added some more attachment points to hold the insulation more firmly in place and PROBLEM SOLVED!! It now does 80 mph up the same freeway incline that I could only get 60 mph out of it before.

The reason my brother (whom I bought it from) did not experience this problem was because there was a large hole in the bottom of the air intake, thus allowing air to bypass the front opening. I had replaced this air intake duct with another one from the salvage yard - turns out I am my own worst enemy!!
 

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01 Sportage convertible 4x2 auto
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Thank you thank you, a thousand times thank you!!! I got some time off from work, thanks to COVID-19 so finally got to take a look and sure enough, it was the hood insulation!!! I could even see the imprint in the insulation where it was being sucked into the air intake. I cut out that section and added some more attachment points to hold the insulation more firmly in place and PROBLEM SOLVED!! It now does 80 mph up the same freeway incline that I could only get 60 mph out of it before.

The reason my brother (whom I bought it from) did not experience this problem was because there was a large hole in the bottom of the air intake, thus allowing air to bypass the front opening. I had replaced this air intake duct with another one from the salvage yard - turns out I am my own worst enemy!!
WOW! I'm glad that fixed it for you. Sometimes the biggest problems can have the most simple solutions. Aren't you glad you didn't tear the engine down?
 

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That is something I never would have thought of, thank you again for your suggestion. It seems an odd place for the air intake, right on top of the radiator and so close to the hood insulation, I wonder why they didn't design the air intake to bring air in through the grille or somewhere alongside the radiator? Did they redesign this feature on later models?
 

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By the way, I originally bought this car because a friend of mine was looking for a small SUV. That was back in June 2019. I didn't want to sell it to him until I was confident it would run properly. Luckily, he is still willing to buy it after all this time.
 

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By the way, I originally bought this car because a friend of mine was looking for a small SUV. That was back in June 2019. I didn't want to sell it to him until I was confident it would run properly. Luckily, he is still willing to buy it after all this time.
Don't understand that - why wouldn't your friend go out and buy one for himself instead of you buying it?

If a friend has his eye on something why would you go out and buy it?
 

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2002 Kia Sportage
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Had the insulation issue on my son's 02 sportage that killed its power and coded the check engine lights to missfires. I trimmed the insulation from around the intake and bingo runs like a rocket now. I had posted this fix a few months ago.
 
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