2000 Kia Sportage Performance Problem

I was wondering if anyone might know what might cause a severe performance problem that I am having with a 2000 Kia Sportage that I own.

The check engine light is on and sometimes the light flashes while I am driving it.

I have noticed that when I start the car and start out it often acts good for a minute or two, but after that it starts to lag in pick up and power big time. It is a 5 speed manual transmission and it often has problems getting up the power to get out of 1st or 2nd gear, but sometimes it will get past that.

I have had people tell me that it could be the catlytic convertor, while other people have told me that it might be the fuel pump or the injectors.

I have run the codes on the car to try to analyze and isolate the problem, but so far I am no closer to solving the issue than I was at the begining when I first started noticing the problem.

I have been fighting with this car for a long time and frankly I am starting to get very tired of it and I am hoping that someone out there might be able to tell me what is going on with the car or at least point me in the right direction in resolving this problem.

I have replaced the spark plugs, coils, wires, O2 sensor, gas cap, the lower catlytic convertor, battery, and the fuel filter.

The fuel pump has allegedly been tested and supposedly reported to be good and the exhaust manifold has been removed, rewelded and replaced.

The car has failed emissions and it has been acting as if someone had put something in the tank, but it has been doing this ever since I got the car.

I have never been able to get above 65 on the highway and I have had times in which I have suddenly lost power while driving down the road, but not to the point where the car quits.

It is not an alternator issue as I can run all of the accesories and the radio.

I have been receiving check engine misfire codes of P0300, P0301, P0302, P0304. I have received those codes during normal diagnostics with a regular OBDII scanner.

I have also hooked up a software program called Auotap and received the code of P0604 ‘Internal Memory Module Error’ as a possible problem, but it does not say for sure if that is the problem or not.

I have been racking my brains on this issue trying to figure it out, but at the moment I have not been able to figure it out and I’m hoping that someone here might be able to help me to figure out the problem or at the very least to point me in the right direction.

If there is anyone here that might know how to figure out what is wrong and that might know how to fix it, then please let me know as this has been going on for a long time and I am now starting to get desperate in trying to solve the problem as I need this car for work and business.

If there is anyone here that can help, then please let me know.


If the light is on, your computer is trying to tell you something is wrong. If the light is flashing, it means it is really bad, and you should shut it off. If the only codes you get are those mis-fire codes, I’ll bet the problem is the ECM itself. A flashing CEL means there is a whole lot more happening than simple mis-fires.

If the code P0604, then this confirms my suspicions. You’ll probably need a replacement ECM. The other problem, is the new ones are flash programmable, and there is no chip to swap to keep the correct program for your model. This may be a ‘dealer-only’ solution unless you can find an independant mechanic that specializes in Kia’s.

Thank you for the information. That is very insightfull.

I was wondering as to what can happen if I continue to drive it the way that it is and as to how I can find out whether or not it is ECM.

Is is possible that the ECM can cause all of these problems or is it possible that it could be something else and if it is something else, then when would you suggest that I start looking to find out what the problem is?

Continue to drive the way it is will most likely force a mechanical problem to go with the ECM problems. The ECM (Engine Management System) controls too much of the required engine functions to just let this sleep. The ECM controls fuel flow through the injectors, ignition timing, ignition sequence, and even transmission shift points in the automatic transmission. An ECM malfunction will sooner than later force mechanical problems that could cook your engine and transmission. Get it fixed NOW, or it will be more expensive. PERIOD.

The ECM is telling you it is the problem, with codes like P0604 and a flashing CEL. Ignore them at your own peril.

A steady CEL indicates a problem that may cause excessive emissions. You may drive the car with a steady CEL, but you may suffer poor fuel economy and poor performance. You should get it fixed.

A flashing CEL indicates a problem that is causing actual damage to your car! You should (have) pull(ed) over immediately, switch(ed} off and have(had) the car towed to where it can be repaired!

You may have already caused serious damage, and it will only get worse. You say you need this car for work and business… You wont have it usable at all if you carry on not fixing it. I seriously doubt you have the knowledge or skill to diagnose and/or fix it yourself, or you wouldn’t keep driving a car with a flashing CEL.

Thank your for your response and I agree with you that it is not a good idea to drive it until the problem is fixed and that is why I am keeping the car parked as much as possible and it is why I am trying to find out what is wrong with the car on my own if possible, but at this point in time it is starting to look as though I am going to have to take it to a shop to find out what the problem really is.

I have called a Kia dealership and I tried to explain the issue to them, but unfortunately I could not get much information out of them as to what is causing the problem. I have also called another shop that does diagnostics and they are telling me that they are going to have to put it on an analyzer to find out what the problem actually is.

According to the dealer that I talked to they were indicating that it may not be the ECM that is the problem and that it is something deeper that is causing the ECM to activate the codes, but at this point no one has been able to tell me as to exactly what the problem is or what could be causing it.

Ever since the CEL light came on I have been trying to find the source of the problem and correct it, but so far as to date none of the alleged causes and repairs have solved the problem. I have had a number of people tell me that it could be one thing or another. One dealer said that it could be the timing while Autozone said that it could be the injectors. I have also been told that it is the catlytic convertor while other people have told me that it is the fuel pump.

The car has two catlytic convertors on this car. One by the exhaust manifold while the other is near the muffler. The one near the muffler has been repalaced and has been tested and found to be good while the other catlytic convertor has not been tested as of yet.

The fuel pump has allegedly been tested and found to be good from what I am told and the fuel filter has been replaced. I have also replaced the spark plugs, coil packs, and the coil wires as that was supposedly the problem and it did solve it but only for a short period of time.

Prior to replacing the spark plugs, coil packs, and coil wires as well as the catlytic convertor the car was not able to pass the emmisions test that is required in my area. At that time it was only giving codes that we knew of as P0300, and P0301.

Those were the only codes that we knew of at the time and that is based upon tests that were done by the emissions station and by checker auto. I did not get the codes of P0302 and P0304 until after the spark plugs, coil packs, and wires were replaced and shortly after they were replaced we thought that we had fixed the problem. That was the day that I was able to get the car to pass the emissions test.

After it passed the emissions test. I treated myself to Baskin Robbins. When I came out and attempted to leave the car started stalling big time and I was not sure if I was going to make it out of the parking lot at that time. That was prior to replacing the coil packs and wires.

After that incident I concluded that the coil packs and wires were bad as that is one of the other items that Rich Kia mentioned besides the timing. As a result I went and bought new coild packs and replaced them thinking that was the cause of the problem, but that did not help.

The car was into a shop and they found that the wires were bad and they replaced them and that is who told me that the catlytic convertor was plugged. As a result I took the car to another shop that tested the catltyic convertor near the muffler as that is the one that I was lead to believe to be bad. I was told that it was plugged because of the misfire even thought it was new, but that was tested and found to be good.

This problem has been very elusive ever since the begining and that is why I am trying to find the problem right now as I know that I can not solve the issue without knowing what is wrong with it. I have looked for a repair manual for this car, but so far I have been unable to find any that are made for this car. Normally in the past I would purchase a repair manual for my car, but this is the first one that I have ever owned that I have not been able to get a repair manual for or to accurately locate the problem.

If you or anyone else may know what it might be if it is not the ECM, then I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know as I am trying to keep costs down as much as possible by doing what work that I can on it, but it is very difficult when you do not have accurate information as to what the problem could be and it is starting to get very expensive as I have been throwing a lot of parts at it, but with no real results.

I will look forward to hearing what ideas and speculations that people may have regarding this issue as I want to resolve it just as soon as possible if I can.