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1996 Kia Sephia GS
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just wondering if there is a direction I should start to check in,

The car drives fairly normal, I have pushed the gas down pretty hard a few times, had to give it alot of gas on a few hills but the RPMs have never come close to 4000. In most cars I have owned if you floor it, your rpms shoot up until it shifts and so on.

So basically if I come to a hill the car RPMs stay the same but I drop speed, if I give it way more gas the RPMs go slightly up maybe a few hundred RPM if that and I regain a bit of power.

If sitting in park and giving it gas I can push the pedal more than half way down and the car sounds like its going crazy but the RPMs dont go past about 2500.

Car has normal power until higher gears and thats when this problem shows up more. (in the first few gears the car seems to have more RPM pep between gears when im driving, once it gets a higher gear and that low RPM issue happens it will happen in the low gears as well. Turning the car off and on doesnt seem to make a difference, itll do it or it wont)

Car seems to shift fine when it should and its always been the same in that respect. Vacuum leak maybe?

done plugs, wires, tranny flush, oil change, oil filter, air filter, fuel pump/filter, replaced terminals on battery lines because the negative was bent so always loose.
*edit*
no CEL light.
 

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1998 Kia Sportage 2WD Base Model
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306 Posts
Could be a vacuum leak but my experience and your description points me towards a blocked Catalytic Converter.

You could remove and inspect the exhaust or unplug the upstream O2 sensor and see if this unrestricts a potential blockage and restores engine power.
 

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1996 Kia Sephia GS
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for the reply, I will try to check on the cat today weather permitting.

The car sometimes will run completly normal, no power loss nothing.

We have a 3 or so long block hill near our house, out of about 20 times going up it has driven fine up it ONCE. So I know what the car can feel like when its driving fine.

When the power seems to start to drop I can give it more gas, get more power but I know its not the way it should be. Once this happens it will happen on strait aways, down hills everything then poof itll be gone again. Sometimes it doesnt even take a hill or hard acceleration to start the power loss issue.

Once so far after a 40 minute drive at about 50MPH with the car doing its low power and making more noise (sounds like exhaust is louder) after a 10 minute break I turned the car back on and the idle was loping horrible until I put it in gear. Its only done it that one time and has never had a loping idle before. This was right after we got the car though since then weve replaced all normal maintenance pieces except fuel filter (doing that today)

The last time I had a cat that had broken up inside I had power just fine until the pieces wiggled enough to cause an issue and I lost total power, car did not die just wouldnt accelerate. Pumping the gas would always dislodge the block and let me move again. With the issues I am having now I can still give it more gas and pick up speed so was hoping its not the cat. (thats expensive heh)

I havent taken a look at the O2 sensors yet, they looked new when I checked them. (car was given a full tune up 4000 miles before I bought it, wires plugs and everything still looks brand new but I replaced it all anyway)

Thanks again for cat idea its one of the few im hoping its not :)

Transmission, vaccum leak, fuel filter or cat are my possible culprits now. (dont think its the transmission because its functioning properly but the symptoms I have include a tranny)

*edit*
The spark plugs I removed were the most normal burning plugs ive ever removed, no indication at all of any problem with them. (I know they are only 4000+ miles old but they are burning properly)

Will test the cat by removing front o2 sensor and driving up that hill again.
 

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Caribou, Otter, Buffalo
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Would you consider connecting a LIVE DATA SCANNER to assist in the diagnosis, as opposed to guessing?

Connect a vacuum gauge to the intake manifold, you should see 19-21"Hg(with a dead steady needle) when the engine has settled into a hot idle... Philip
 

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1996 Kia Sephia GS
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I am going to try a compression test with the engine running, has the info in my haynes/chiltons book on what varying results can be. Just have to wait for a day off or a day with no dumping rain.

I can hear a hiss near the cat, but that should have me drop power so much going up hills (if at all)

Went over the brakes completely, cleaned and greased them. The pads are almost new, rotors are fine, no leaking and no binding in the calipers.

Rechecked CV joints for the grinding noise I hear and there is no play still, no leaking, boots look great, no noises when spinning tires.

Is there a common cause for a rhymthic grinding noise that is intermittant? Its most pronounced turning right but it doesnt happen all the time. The only thing I am coming up with is transmission but dont understand how that can be in. The grinding is not in sync with tire rotation, its a few tire rotations per grinding noise.

We changed the distributer advance gained a little more power up hills, it also pulsed when at idle and warm up so I changed it back.

I also had a question, does anyone know if the lifters on the 1996 kia sephis are adjustable? I have a nock and would love to fix it :p

Thank you again for your ideas :)

*edit*
Have not had a chance to test the cat yet, plugged the exhaust and heard a hiss from near the cat. Something in it must be working atleast a little as there is the water droplets coming out the exhaust. It also looks like someone tried to jack the engine up near where it comes from the engine, there is a large U bolt bracket there. They dented that upwards pretty good, doesnt seem to be an issue but that may be why there are exhaust leaks.
 

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2000 Sportage 4x4 , 1998 Saturn SC2
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65 Posts
I you don't fix that cat ..it will damage your engine ...no exhaust flow will give the engine a blown head gasket if you are lucky....
 

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1996 Kia Sephia GS
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Cat is letting air by, its got the water droplets at start and plenty of air flow coming out. If its blocked at all it must be just partial. I am going to take it into a muffler/exhaust shop next payday. Atleast they can weld the crack and check the cat. (I know I checked it but its not like I do it for a job) The exhaust being cracked is probably from the idiot who had the car before me. They jacked the car up near where the exhaust connect to engine with the big U bolt and dinged that up good, I am guessing thats how I got the split in the exhaust pipe. Atleast its not too bad and takes awhile to heat up before its noticable.

I still cant find any reliable information about the lifters. I saw at kiatechinfo there is a hydralic lash adjustment but I have no idea if that adjust the lifters or something else. Its what popped up when I looked up lifters.

Thanks cncman :) Good info is always nice.

I am stuck thinking my grinding noise is driveshaft or U joint even though they looked fine. The grinding not being in tune with spinning of the tires and me checking bearings, brakes, cv joints, boots and joints which were all fine leads me to driveshaft.
 

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2000 Sportage 4x4 , 1998 Saturn SC2
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We are in S Portland Oregon, when you buy used then you get that problem the previous owner had and if you can successfully fix it , then you will have a good car, be persistant and dont drive it hard and long until you figure out that rpm issue. Sounds like the exhaust is restricted flow with that hissing sound. I have seen clogged cats destroy engines , so take it easy on it....Good Luck...
 

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1996 Kia Sephia GS
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I am going to buy a tool this week to test the cat pressure or see if someone I know has one. I am in SE Portland :)

I did have a question

Could the compression ring on the inside of cv/axle being loose or not present cause intermittant grinding? (ie like its pulling itself out slightly)

I am to the point I am going to take each piece of individually and check them out.
 

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2000 Sportage 4x4 , 1998 Saturn SC2
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Yes , that retainer ring holds the halfshaft in place and if its not there or not locking, the halfshaft will try to come out. Do or can you see it good enough to tell if it has a gap between it and the tranny ? Try pushing it in untill you feel it lock in place.
 

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1996 Kia Sephia GS
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
It looked tight at the transmission, similar to the videos ive been watching on youtube. I could not get it to pull out at all tugging a little but I also only had the 1 tire up. (its raining so I was in a hurry)

I was just trying to think of a reason the grinding is not all the time, not a speicific speed. I came up with some kind of retainer ring being broken. Made sense to me the car would drive fine until something happen to push it slightly out of sync. This still may not be the cause but something to check off my list. Wednesday I plan to pull the entire suspension system apart. Atleast this way I can rule out more things by taking them out and inspecting rather than just trying to wiggle and look at while on the car.

It still sounds like a handful of marbles being rolled around in your hands when I am in the garage at work (quiet with walls so sound bounces back great) but I cant see any indication of wheel bearing issue. This car is a pain in the ass :) But atleast once all the problems are figured out Ill know it inside and out.
 

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1996 Kia Sephia GS
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Did a cat pressure test today, it wasnt a lower end one and was meant for fuel injectors but I think should still work? The gauge didnt move at all, its the kind that goes up and sits until you release the pressure with a bleed off valve. (This type may not work I dont know) But it never registered any back pressure at all.

I did realize I can rev it as high as I want in park but once in gear it feels like its bogging down and will not go past 3000. :( When in park the power feels very light and peppy once I put it into gear ti feels very heavy. I was really hoping it was the cat just to get this done with. Maybe still could be cat, im not 100% that a bleed off gauge works the same as a regular one that bounces all over.
 

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Caribou, Otter, Buffalo
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You need a gauge that reads <5psi... a good reading at the B1S1 O2 bung, will register +/-2psi at 2500rpm. ...Philip
 

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2000 Sportage 4x4 , 1998 Saturn SC2
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The cat is bad and the left front wheel bearing is about to come apart. Put a jack under the lower control arm and raise the tire a little off the ground, now you can check the wheel bearings for play by holding the tire on opposite sides and pushing and pulling to see if tire wobbles. I had this same problem 3 yrs ago on a 98 saturn..They are not easy to change but you can do it.
 

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1996 Kia Sephia GS
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thank you both for the info :) Its really hard to find anything thats not years old online so live help is very appreciated.

When I took the upper o2 sensor out I accidentally unplugged the wrong wires and did the ones that go to the tranny. So that test I did was moot (the car barely moved and just got loud) didnt have time to retest, had to get my kid from school :( I am going to take the o2 sensor out again tomorrow and just leave the wires alone see if that gives some more power or lets me rev past 3000.

Ill also run to harbor freight and get a low end pressure gauge if they are cheap enough if the above does not work.

I was jacking both sides of the car via the books jack points (which suck) to get both tires off the ground at once.
I keep thinking its that bearing too but there isnt any play to it and no grinding noise when spinning it. (although the sound/grinding doesnt happen that I can notice under 20MPH) It sounds like rolling a handful of marbles in your hand worse on the right side (not sure if its back or front) If I can find some bearings maybe I should just replace all of them. My dads got a press that will work for it and I hear thats about the worst part to changing them.

Thank you both for the help! Itd be awesome to have this car running well, will save me hundreds a year in gas over my last car :)
 

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2000 Sportage 4x4 , 1998 Saturn SC2
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You may want to have a look at the rear wheel bearings before diving into the front ones..they will make noise as well...sound can be deceptive as to where its comming from. Also, do you know how to check the CV joints ? While backing up , turn the wheels almost all the way and listen . if you hear a low clicking sound, the CV joint are getting worn. do this in both directions , just normal backing up , not fast or under a heavy load...
 

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1996 Kia Sephia GS
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Exhaust place tested the cat and exhaust no restrictions. Took it to a car repair shop, they test drove asked me what was wrong with it because they couldnt find anything.

So its not the cat or exhaust system. The guy at the exhaust place said its fine but when he lets off the gas the gauge spikes in the wrong direction (so something after I let off the gas?) he thought it may of been EGR. Auto shop said EGR is fine though.
 

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1996 Kia Sephia GS
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
So I got my car back today, no luck on power issue. The guy I was supposed to test drive with today isnt working so were doing that later in the week. They said I need new bearings, struts, strut mounts and have a loose tie rod, thats why ive got the intermittant grinding. Their cost is too high so Ill have to do it myself on a day off to replace.

Taking it back Monday hoping we can sort out the power issue.
 

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2000 Sportage 4x4 , 1998 Saturn SC2
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http://kiatechinfo.com/

Go here and join free, this is the Official Kia website. After joining go to " Service Info ", then select " model ", " Year ", ...Have you looked here yet ? It's a Free Shop Manual..

I thought those spindle bearings were going bad, and it can be dangerous to drive so go very easy on the curves until you get that fixed.

Also you can test that EGR but not everyone here will agree on this one. Go to the website above and look in Emission control system/ Exhaust Emission control system/ Description and Operation. Here is a diagram of the EGR system and controls. Now this is the part most people screw up by just disconnecting the EGR vaccum hose and not the position connector ( wire to PCM ). The PCM or ECU ( computer ) has to see the EGR is not connected so it will not compensate for it working when its not. This condition will cause Detonation , which is where the timing is improperly adjusted and the spark for the spark plugs is advanced too far and the explosion of gas in the cylinder is too far ahead of top dead center. This will blow a head gasket pretty quickly , about 1oo miles or so.
On your model, it should have given a Check Engine light. Make sure the Engine light works when you turn the key on. If it's burnt out, you need to go to Autozone or some Auto parts store who will scan it free, to see if any codes are present.

But if you want to anyway, Disconnect the vaccum hose and the electrical connecter on the EGR valve, and remove the EGR. This is for test only and I would replace the EGR if this proves its bad. Get some kind of aluminum can and make 3 gaskets for the EGR without the air flow holes to cap off the EGR . Bolt it back on with those 3 gaskets, plug the vaccum line and do not connect anything to the EGR, leave the electrical connector off and away from any heat source. Drive the car and see if it runs good up hill and at higher RPM. If it does, get another EGR and install it normally. If it stiil wont run good, you may have a clogged fuel filter or weak fuel pump. Hope this helps...Oh, during the test, the engine light will come on, if it's not burn out from being on a long time.
 
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