My car wont stay running for more than 5 secs

I have a 2006 mitsubishi lancer ralliart 2.4L 4G69. I’m almost positive it’s my ignition coils. My car decided to no work one morning, I warmed it up and after about 1 min it just bogge dout and died. So I knew it was fuel, air or spark. I could smell the fuel and whenever I pushed the gas pedal it just bogged out. I unplugged my mass airflow sensor and tried to start the engine but it would not start or just ran at about 100 rpm and died. So, I thought probably ignition. I had bought 4 new spark plugs and a spark tester. I tested the spark but not realizing my testers light was broke I thought all 4 ignition coils were shot or just the plugs. I replaced all 4 plugs and the #1 plug was in good shape but #2-4 were pretty black, indicating change. All plugs though weren’t even gapped right. They are supposed to be at .44 and the old ones were at .3 -.25, coming from the dealership. So I gapped the new ones to spec and fired up the engine. it fired just fine and after about 20 secs it bogged out and died again. So, I tested the spark on all 4 again with the new plugs and the light on the tester flashed normal at a rapid pace but only until the car died again after 5 secs. The car has only 54k on it. I haven’t tested the ohms yet and don’t want to buy the tester. The engine will start everytime but only for 5 secs or so. What do you think is the problem??? I’m assuming it’s my coils or a few coils bad. Anybody know???

Do some fuel system diagnosis before any more parts are replaced. Test the pressure under load. Do you have at least a Haynes manual? How about a one car Alldata subscription? You seem to know enough to make it worthwhile.

Did you recently change the air filter and forget to reconnect the electrical connector to the MAF (Mass Air Flow) Sensor?

Maybe the fuel pressure regulator has gone south and is dumping raw fuel into the intake which is then loading up the engine and causing it to die.

I would also point out that continuing to operate an engine with badly fouled and misfiring plugs can also kill the coils.

You should also consider the possibility that the engine is running initially on the fuel pump prime that occurs when the key is first turned on. If a problem exists in the fuel pump control circuitry (which is operated by an ignition pulse) then it could be that the fuel pump is not operating after the initial prime.

I’d like to hear clarification about the plug gap. You’re missing a “0” in there as .44 is almost half an inch.

oh ya the gap is .044 . Ya I’m not too sure why the old plugs were only gapped at .030 - .025. Ya I was thinking that it’s probably a fuel issue now. Unfortunetly I have no manuals on the car but I’m good at doing my own work and figuring it out. The only thing is unfortunelty I have no idea with using an ohm reader to check my coils. I know the spark tester is working and I’m getting spark to all 4 plugs but until it dies. Do you think that the plugs #2-4 being pretty black and burnt and only #1 being good is a good indication of bad coils?? and if #1 is still good then 2-4 are bad coils? How would I test to see if the fuel pump is good or bad also??

Ya the thing that sucks is I have no manual on this car. I have had DSM cars for along time so I know a bit. I have checked out that AllData and was looking up prices on actuall manuals… pricey for this car. I’ll have to check out the subscriptions though and maybe just go with that. I was thinking it’s a fuel issue now. Just not too sure where in the fuel line it is. I’m thinking fuel pump but not too sure yet. I appreciate the reply and advice for sure. How do i test the pressure under load??? Do I just use a fuel pressure gauge?

Since you said that you smell fuel and that a few of the plugs were black, I wouldn’t necessarily be looking at fuel first. Both of these things indicate an abundance of fuel.

If you go register at Autozone’s website you can get free access to their online repair manuals. These very well might give you the specs for testing the coils - a basic digitial multimeter can be had for cheap. I have a generic one that I got for $10 and has fixed/checked everything from my broken stove (220VAC) to auto components (all the way down to fractions of volts & ohms). Also just give the wiring a close inspection.

I also have to wonder about the idle air control valve (IAC). If you give it just a little throttle will it continue to run? If so, it may indicate air starvation from an IAC that either has no power and/or is stick closed. Carefully inspect its wiring and check it with the multimeter - specs are also likely available at Autozone - and you can pull it and clean it in the space of about 30 minutes with a little carb or throttle body cleaner. Have a new gasket or some gasket material handy to cut a custom if need be.

While you’re at it check the wiring for & clean the MAF - but get MAF cleaner for that, not the tb/carb cleaner.

That’s my best advice for now anyway.

Is the check engine light on? If so, the codes would go a long way toward helping you sort it out.

Almost all of the possible troubleshooting involves taking ohm and voltage measurements on sensors and control valves. Since you don’t have an electrical multimeter, and won’t get one, and won’t (can’t) use one, you would be much further along to take the car to a mechanic who does have, and uses, a multimeter. The mechanic would save you hundreds of $$ in NOT changing parts willy-nilly.
You, evidently don’t have other basic test tools that you sorely need, such as: a fuel pressure test gauge, nor, a vacuum test gauge.
Being able to change parts is a necessary skill; but, a bigger necessity is knowing when NOT to change parts. You gotta “give’em a fair trail before you hangs’em”.

Hey thanks for the advice especially about autozone. I did check the the plug for the MAF and it was clean. I did unplug it and start the car and it idled at very low rpm’s for a sec before dying again so it works. When I do give it throttle it bogs out like the cyls are flooding with fuel and dies. My check engine light isn’t on. Only the service engine soon light comes on with key on and shuts off when I start the engine. I’ll have to get a digital multimeter and check my coils. Thanks for the advice.

Well, you’re obviously getting spark. Why do you think the tester stopped flashing when the engine stalled? Maybe… because the ENGINE STALLED! I don’t care if you’re smelling fuel or not, the first thing to do is to check fuel pressure, and then tow it to a PROFESSIONAL.

Most of the stuff that everybody has been telling you, is generic and applies to almost any car made within the last 13 years. The generic areas of those repairs manuals, likewise, will cover checking those areas on your car. So, if you can’t get a Mitsubishi repair manual, of some recent year, get a repair manual of some other car make.

If you think the engine is running rich (black, sooty spark plugs) and you want to start it, disconnect a small vacuum hose and attempt to start, and or, crack open the throttle a little during start; and or, disconnect the vacuum hose which goes to the fuel pressure regulator and check it for gas. Leave it disconnected and attempt to start.

The engine coolant temperature sensor (ects) may be sending a "I’m freezing! " signal to the engine computer, which, then, sends more fuel injection into the engine. Disconnect the wiring connector from the ects and note the results.

If the engine is possibly lean, spray some Starting Fluid into the engine intake during start attempt.
Let us know the results of these experiments. We got more ideas, I think. Maybe. Possibly, I think.