Alright so, I bought a used 2008 Pontiac Torrent 3.4 last year. Couple swore up and down it was a great car just needed fluid changes. I was in desperate need so I took them for the word because they did have a nice home, new cars, seemed like it was legit. Wrongo.
Anyways, a year later, I have had to replace pipes, have the exhaust put rewelded back on, had the head rebuilt twice because when I got it, it kept overheating after changing out just about everything along those lines that would cause an overheating issues.
Now, ever since the head was finished tho I have kept a P0303 error for a misfire. The most I would notice driving would be the rpms hover a bit. The check engine light would come and go, and if idling too long when starting or setting somewhere would flash at me.
Well, I went and had spark plugs replaced. Nope. Wires. Nope. Flushed the systems several times between all this btw.
As times gone on, I do notice a loss in power occasionally, after recently doing an antifreeze flush, I started getting a lean bank 1 codes as well which was new, but it seems to perhaps resolved itself (perhaps I had some trapped air I assume didn’t burp it long enough) but it seems to have disappeared finally
Anywho…^this is what my code reader is pushing out.
What can anyone make of this?
I am ultimately stuck with the vehicle as I am on disability.
I recently spoke to a mechanic at advanced who is suggesting change out the coil pack, and rechange spark plugs, so before I order those I wanted to see what the community thinks about this freeze frame data first. Anyone have any clue? Would you start with the coil pack with these? Or start elsewhere?
I have already taken it to two separate mechanics is the issue and neither of which fixed it. I’m at the point of fixing it myself because that exhausted all my spare funds back on the head getting repaired. This guy at advanced surprisingly does know what he is talking about, I had several people point me in his direction and said he’s like a car guru. He was able to break it down and explain how its more likely the ignition coil as I was planning on changing an entirely different part.
He’s not seen this freeze data yet tho so, I’m hoping maybe I can get a few different opinions at least know where to go hunting.
A p0303 code is a Misfire Detected Cylinder 3… I would probably first check the coil connector and wires going to it. if they look ok then I would replace the coil.
A vacuum leak around cylinder 3 can also cause a misfire
This engine has a coil pack with 3 coils. Each coil fires 2 cylinders. If you have a P0303 (misfire cylinder 3) you should also have a second code for its paired cylinder. You don’t, so I believe the coil is OK.
Pull the #3 plug and look for oil fouling. If you see any, run a compression test on all 6 cylinders. That will likely confirm whether this is an ignition problem or a compression problem.
The last number says which of the 6 cylinders is misfiring. P030X with X being the cylinder number.
If it was a bad coil in the coil pack, you’d likely get a P0306 misfire code as well as the P0303 because they share one coil in pack of 3 coils. The computer will store several identical codes so having two P0303s just means the computer has seen and set the code at least twice.
Oh okay, that makes sense. So, when this code started, that’s what I did was took it to the shop, the first shop broke a plug off, and had to have the head taken back to the specialty head repair shop here to have it drilled out, they replaced those plugs, it didn’t fix it. So I took it to another shop, because I was getting skeptical about the one we had been using, plus it was closer and highly awarded shop in our area and I had him change out the wires. It still didn’t help tho. Something that mechanic state stuck with me tho, because I purchased the new plugs myself, the 2nd mechanic said they were different sizes or something?
I have a set of identical spark plugs, perhaps I guess trying to replace them again first seems the best bet.
The mechanic had to eat the cost the 2nd time because it didn’t fix it. I got it down the road and it started over heating same day I got it back from him. He had my car for nearly 3 months thanks to covid.
Which is why you should not bring in your own parts. If the mechanic supplies a bad part, they will a\warranty it and the work. They won’t do either if you bring your own parts.
It is also why should not buy cheap parts over the internet because they may be counterfeit and not work like the proper plugs.
Another point… if you TELL the shop to change wires, they will. If that is not the cause of the problem, that is money wasted. If you tell the shop the problems you are having, they will diagnose the problem and fix it. Far more likely you’ll get it fixed and also spend less money overall.
I didn’t tell the shop what to do, they hooked it up. I only told them what all it had already had replaced. Hence they stated to do the wires. I’ve also heard to change the fuel injector. You’ve got to understand I am from a very small area. Very few shops in my town in the first place, you take it where you have to take it.
Also I bought my parts from advanced, not online, I might be a woman, but I do know how to order the correct parts and this was all based on the direction of the mechanic. They’re the ones who told me to go pick them up. Small town mechanics don’t really follow warranties. They only eat the cost like he did because I hadn’t even gotten 5 mins down the road before I had to turn back around.
just an FYI: a misfire and running lean condition will not be fixed by flushing the coolant. If you continually need to flush the coolant, you may have a separate issue. If you are flushing it to try to fix the misfire and lean condition- you can stop that. If you are flushing to top off the coolant, then you may still have a head gasket leak.
I will echo that AdvanceAuto parts counter people are not mechanics. Take their advice with a grain of salt. they may be right, or they may be wrong, but they have no personal investment in getting your car running properly, other than selling you parts.