Hey all. I have a long story for you.
About a month back my wife and I were on our way home from dinner and when we exited the interstate I heard an awful rubbing sound coming from the engine compartment. I wasn’t quite sure what it was or how to describe it. I was concerned it was the timing belt right away. I limped it home sputtering and misfiring and listened for a moment before shutting it down.
The next day I checked all the accessories. Nothing wrong there, so I realized it must have been the timing belt. I began striping the rest down and confronted carnage. One of the bearings had gone on an idler pulley and the gear was riding the bolt. the belt had moved out of position and began to cut into the backside of the plastic cover. By some miracle it hadn’t completely snapped or jumped timing.
I replaced all pulleys, the tensioner, the water pump, and the belt. After my buddy and I got it back together it seemed fine aside from a slightly rough-ish idle for a day or two, but then the misfire got quite bad. I chugged it up to my wife’s parent’s place. We borrowed a car from them, and then I went into repair mode again. I reasoned that perhaps the plugs had fouled when the belt was messed up initially, so I replaced the plugs. Didn’t have wires on hand. Fired it back up. No bueno. Same misfire and chugging. Still borderline driveable.
So, I tore down the belt again to find that the intake cam on the passenger side was about 5 teeth off. Seemed further out than my friend and I would have left it, but I got it lined back up within a tooth and put it back together. Still no good. Still misfiring. So we tried it a couple more times. One of my helpers started to doubt the cause, but I talked him into helping me with one more reset. This time I wanted to get everything absolutely perfectly lined up. We did. I fired it up. Silky smooth, ran like a sewing machine. Put it back together and everything seemed fine. For a day or two.
The misfiring began again. It bothered me that I hadn’t managed to take care of the plug wires. I had the codes pulled and I had a steady misfire on … I think it was 4. I replaced the wires on that side and everything was back to normal. Silky smooth operation. For a couple days.
I was on my way to work and had to brake very hard to avoid an accident. Like from 70 to 0 wheel-lockingly hard. Immediately a misfire at idle returned. Doesn’t seem to be an issue when not at idle, but it’s hard to say. I guessed that it was the plug wires from the other side. I replaced those today, gave it an oil change. Still misfiring. I dropped by autozone. Codes read - misfire everywhere but 3, and I’m guessing that maybe a sensor for 3 is just messed up. The coil pack looked suspect, and I thought I’d do the PCV valve while I was at it. After replacing both the misfires continue.
I’ve yanked the battery to encourage the computer to reset. I’m at a loss at the moment. The only think I can guess is that perhaps my new tensioner is poop and I’ve jumped a tooth or two somewhere? I’m looking for guesses and wild theories here. Anything to try. I’m going to reconnect the battery shortly and if it’s still misfiring, which I’m assuming it will be, I’m going to have codes pulled again, and I’ll post them here.
Just to head this one off at the pass - I believe I got extremely lucky and did not damage the valves with the timing belt nonsense. Compression seems good, and I doubt it would have ran as well as it did as long as it did with valve damage.
Give me ideas folks! I need some help here!