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What needs to be done if your car feels like it is running on 5 cylinders?

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2005-11-30 18:07:57
2005-11-30 18:07:57

I posted this question because I thought it would help a whole lot of people with this elusive problem. I have a "96 Buick 3.1 six that I love. Recently it started runing terrible with the dreaded "check engine" light FLASHING!! Most people don't know that a steady check engine light usually has something to do with an emmissions control device failure...Usually the car can be driven without damage until its checked out. A flashing check engine is a different story! BAD NEWS!!! Don't drive the car much furhter..why you ask? because it typically means that raw unburned gas is being sent into the catalytyc (sp?)converter and will quickly destroy the converter which costs big ,big bucks. I stopped at the local Auto Zone and discovered they offered a free service. They connected an OBD II scanner to my car's computer ( a jack under most dashboards) and it gave me a "P0301 code" which means cylinder 1 misfire. Then the fun started. The most common causes of this failure are: bad spark plug (fouled, broken, bad gap, etc) - $ 1.25 bad spark plug wire (set of wires costs around $28) bad coil pack ( around $80 bad ignition control module (around $100) Here's a quick way to test ALL of the above at the same time. 1.Unplug the spark plug wire from the plug in the cylinder in question 2. Insert a spare plug in the spark wire and connect a ground clip from the threaded portion of the plug to any ground available. 3. Start the engine and if the ignition system is working you will see the exposed spark plug flashing like crazy. BE CAREFULL not to touch it while it is sparking as that could be lethal. My problem was none of the above... so now what? COMPRESSION TEST!!!!!!! this cylinder had only 40psi because there was a broken rocker arm stud rendering the valve inoperable.. a real pain to replace but that's what fixed the problem...good luck RONCO

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