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Old 07-29-2008, 08:40 AM   #21
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My first thoughts were an 02 sensor, so I think you may have hit on the problem with the downstream 02 sensor being bad. Unless I am mistaken if the downstream sensor isn't sending the correct voltage back to the ECU it causes the upstream sensor to adjust the air fuel mixture. I only have one oxygen sensor on my my '88 Escort, but when it went bad a couple of times in the cars lifetime my FE would drop about 25%. I would definitely check it out and also try to find where the arching is coming from that would explain part of your loss of power and FE both. You can usually tell if a car is running extremely rich by removing the 02 sensors and if they are black with soot it is running too rich. They should have a light tan color ash on them if the air fuel mixture is close to right. Maybe you could find any ignition parts you need in a junk yard. My wife's car is distributor less ignition and I bought a complete coil pack for $50. at a junk yard.
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:46 AM   #22
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OK good news! I checked and there are no foreign objects up my tailpipe! So I must have been right about the back pressure eventually blowing the sticks out!
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:53 AM   #23
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Alcohol does mix with gasoline... In my area you can only purchase blended fuels... 90% gasoline, 10% alcohol. E85 is 85% alcohol and 15% gasoline. Fuel line antifreeze is alcohol as well. Drug store variety isoprophyl alcohol is watered down, so that may not mix with gasoline well. I'm not sure about the nail polish remover. There are other additives in it. These could be interfering with allowing it to mix with the gasoline.
Nail polish remover is watered down a lot. Isopropyl alcohol needs to be about 68% pure or better, methanol needs to be about 95% pure or better, and ethanol 98%ish. Anything lower and they dump the water. Don't know if acetone can hold any. 70% IPA is easy to find, I wouldn't recommend it in winter as solubility drops with temperature, watch out for cheapy 50%, it's okay for cleaning electrics, or prepping for paint or glue, but don't put it in your tank. 99% IPA is available at walmart here in quarts.

Many "fuel system cleaners, emissions cleaners, octane boosters" etc are IPA, those that aren't are close to mineral spirits/varsol and some are pretty close to ATF. Some fancier ones are a blend and have additional cleaners and solvents like 1:1:1 Trichlorethane. But I figure if you can't get it right by trying straight IPA or varsol, then the spendy stuff ain't likely to do anything either. Depending on the promises on the bottle and how shiny the packaging is you can pay $15 for 125ml of isopropyl or mineral spirits. Even if you pay the "expensive" rate of $4 or so for a 500ml/pint bottle of 99% IPA you're still probably paying under half of what the cheaper stuff costs. If you wanna dig out MSDS sheets to see what's in your favourite snake oil, alternate names for IPA are isopropanol and 1:propanol and if it's 99% of that and 1% "Proprietary ingredient" I'd bet on that being water.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:02 AM   #24
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It is killing his power...


Great point about the brakes, though.
It would affect fuel flow not pressure - you could get pressure as normal at low throttle use but when you really open it up at high RPM it would be starved for fuel and bog down. It is very rare for a fuel filter to cause problems - not impossible but very rare.

Checking the plugs again would show fouling right at the cylinder level and even if they are gapped properly if they are sooty then you KNOW the A/F mix is way off.

Water in the exhaust is NOT a great idea if the exhaust valve is open and you crank the engine it can draw the water into the cylinders and . . . need I say more? Normally when the engine is running the flow is for the most part always out of the cylinder by the exhaust but under low speed conditions it can backflow a little. . . . ASK ME HOW I KNOW!
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:04 AM   #25
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ok I have purchased 2 quarts of 70% IPA this morning and put in my tank. I put it in my tank this morning but I didnt get much sleep so I am afraid to drive. So what I did to get around driving sleepy but running it hard was putting it in [P]ark and then using a combination of my "gas pedal depressor" air conditioner, headlights, all interior lights, rear defogger, 2400 watt power inverter with several electric heaters and hairdryers plugged in, and everything else I could think of to load the engine down, then I used my gas pedal depressor to hold it at 2500 RPM parked for a while and run that 70% IPA through the fuel system. I did it for a while until the engine temp began to rise then I cut back on throttle and load, and a few minutes later I turned it off and stopped, figured if ANYTHING runs the heck out of it and blows carbon/gump out then that did very well! But I dont know what the results of this will be yet because I first need to figure my mileage, which will take another week at least.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:07 AM   #26
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Water in the exhaust is NOT a great idea if the exhaust valve is open and you crank the engine it can draw the water into the cylinders and . . . need I say more? Normally when the engine is running the flow is for the most part always out of the cylinder by the exhaust but under low speed conditions it can backflow a little. . . . ASK ME HOW I KNOW!
Yes I know I know.... Waterlock can occur because water dont compress. Dumb idea anyway
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:21 AM   #27
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That "run" must have REALLY HEATED UP THE CAT!! YEAOOOOOWWWWW and that is not recommended because it can cause fires under your car - man you are really dangerous!!! ha ha ha.

Sounds like you don't have a scan gauge . . . I hope you are not calculating the fuel mileage wrong . . . seen that happen before too.

Well if anything you cooked the cat really well maybe burned off any contaminations that were inside it.

Just so you know I run acetone in my xB and when it is all warmed up and idling - if you take a whiff of the exhaust you can't smell anything but warm moist air coming out the tail pipe.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:50 AM   #28
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That "run" must have REALLY HEATED UP THE CAT!! YEAOOOOOWWWWW and that is not recommended because it can cause fires under your car - man you are really dangerous!!! ha ha ha.

Sounds like you don't have a scan gauge . . . I hope you are not calculating the fuel mileage wrong . . . seen that happen before too.

Well if anything you cooked the cat really well maybe burned off any contaminations that were inside it.

Just so you know I run acetone in my xB and when it is all warmed up and idling - if you take a whiff of the exhaust you can't smell anything but warm moist air coming out the tail pipe.
You are right, I dont have a scan gauge, I cant afford it, but I am pretty sure I am calculating my mileage properly. I fill up full, and when I get gasoline again, I fill up full again, and I see how much gasoline I used, and I divide the number of miles traveled by gallons of gasoline. That is how I get my mileage. Well I wasnt really so sure that it could catch on fire, but at least its clean now! A question I have for you is if it can catch on fire like that going that RPM with those light loads, then why can it not while driving (which is a MUCH heavier load)?

Also I wonder if anyone has any other ideas on anything else I can do? Anything else it could be?

I really appreciate everyone's help with this! I wasnt expecting THIS much help and support thanks!
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:55 AM   #29
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Just so you know I run acetone in my xB and when it is all warmed up and idling - if you take a whiff of the exhaust you can't smell anything but warm moist air coming out the tail pipe.
SHEEEEEWWW I just smelled my exhaust after warming up at idle, and OMG its TERRIBLE! My nose is STILL burning! Maybe that could indicate something.

Edit:
I forgot to tell that now that I have put some 70% IPA in my tank my exhaust seems to have beads of water condensed inside!
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:39 AM   #30
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Yup when sitting still there is not much air flowing past the CAT to cool it so it gets extra hot - not recommended to even idle the car in traffic for too long either or drive over grass. My BMW R100S pipes get glowing RED hot in a minute if there is no breeze cooling them and you just throw a few revs - more noticeable at night in the dark.

Yeah it sounds like the cat is fouled up and not reacting with the fuel properly but it could also be the engine. Another way to tell is to measure the voltage on the O2 sensor and see what it is. That will tell you what the engine and ECU is doing to the fuel mixture.

My exhaust stings a little when warming up but after driving and checking it - smells like clean fresh air.

One other thing people forget sometimes is how is your oil consumption - is it using a lot of oil and is the oil clean and full.
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