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Just barely made it back home...

1292 Views 36 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  atoman
Having a driveability issue.
I fueled $40 in the tank yesterday on way to jobsite. The fuel tanker was dropping off when I was there.

I hope they didn't put E-85 into the reg unleaded tank/pump by mistake. I made it to my destination, normal... about three miles. Then a trip to home depot and back (an additional 28 miles roundtrip) ,

Then on the way home from the worksite, stumble and stall. Seemed to be OK while driving on but rolling though an occasional stumble or hesitation may have been detected. Stalled at lights. Aarg I do remember thinking just prior that the fuel pump seemed loud??

If I shut off the engine and restarted it ran ok until a pause or interruption.

Thinking my Delphi fuel pump replacement less than five years ago (I can hear it running) Have to get fuel pressure test gauge set from AutoZone. Will also take a fuel sample and do the water test for alcohol content.
Years ago around the same time frame, but after the fuel pump, finding that it ran great but then would do similar after spirited driving or hot day. I found with the forums help that if I kept a bottle or pail of water and used it to cool the ignition coil it would start right up and run great until heated again. I installed a heat shield above the crossover pipe after as I felt the pipes heat was soaking the ignition coil and I hadn't had any further issue since then.

I've not even popped the hood yet, I was beat after working in the field all day.

When I first bought the van and joined the forum, I did inspect and take precautions regarding the injector wiring. Perhaps that too...

Was running great and then I put that gas in.... the only thing that changed BUT I did get quite a few miles before failure.

Habia una vez...
I've been studying Spanish on DuoLingo app for free!
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this morning key dance
started like normal
10 minutes 1/2 mile drive normal
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If your van has EGR, check that it's not slicking open...
No, don't have an EGR valve.
Thank you for the suggestions. I have been so busy where I just haven't had time to research or troubleshoot other than ask you fine fellows for help and experience.

OK, so it has been a few short trips since then, operation normal??? (4 times 6 miles each way) Not a stumble, grumble, nor slightest hesitation?

SO as I originally stated in my introduction... the fuel tanker was dropping fuel as I pumped. Is it possible that the turbulence from refilling the ground tanks got some debris and separated liquidus in suspension and my pump slurped some up and into my van gas tank?

This is very far fetched. I would be surprised that in this day and age that fuel storage tanks didn't have a remote tank sump pipe that can remove crap that settles to the bottom...

The CEL extinguished but key dance still shows P0171 and P1684 as expected.

My consternation revolves around the reliability of the vehicle on a hundred, three hundred, two thousand mile trip. Like any intermittent fault, the frustration of not being able to define nor repeat this is driving me up a tree!

I suppose I should enroll in the AutoClub and take a spirited drive upstate to see what happens...
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P1684 is the battery disconnect code. Check battery connections, grounds, alternator, and starter wiring. Get the battery load tested too. There's a chance the PCM itself could have an issue as well.
I am not surprised by the 1684 unless of course I haven't disconnected the battery in quite a while...

Thank you though...

Then again, maybe I shouldn't be so quick to dismiss this as 'expected'

Good point Sienile
How about the fact that I disconnected the battery to install a new one a few weeks ago... I presume (assume) that is what set that. Doesn't it take like 50 restart / drive cycles for that to go away?

I happened to receive a AAA enrollment package in the mail just about a hour or two after I typed that out here... AAA is either monitoring my forum activity or THEY put a cough drop in my gas tank last week and suspiciously mailed a break down insurance solution arriving just today. Google and ChatGP AI has me all figured out...

Interestingly, I think the AAA offer has a ten day free trial period and it seems like a good time to schedule a 400 mile road trip to visit my surviving family.
Up north possible, but in Florida the twin wall tanker can't reasonably get cold enough to condense water out of gasoline...

However, some unscrupulous person(s) could dump some gas and add some water and it can happen anywhere along the "pipeline" (from fuel terminal to gas station)

Or there could simply be a leak in a hatch or pipe somewhere and rain water seeping in.

Either way, water (if present) in the underground tank would get mixed in with fuel so the pickup float would get more or that water (that's why it would have to be a lot of water or nearly empty tank).
huh, please explain the pickup float...
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most modern fuel pumps have a "floating intake" - either fixed above a sump well or lifted up by a float. This design is used to minimize sediment and water pickup
Modern technology

p1684 will only set (while changing the battery) if you left ignition in RUN / ON position... (if the keys were out of ignition, no code should set from battery disconnect - it's a diagnostic code for power loss / interruption issues)
If that is the case then, there is certainly a very important clue that I have been ignorant towards. I assumed...
Old pumps used filters with water separators, but ethanol doesn't let water separate till saturation... (and no one maintains the filters/separators)
Ancient pumps didn't have anything, and old timers tell plugged or gummed up carbs were a real pita.

p1684 is a TCM code and on your 2002, TCM is separate from ECU - it can be a clue that there is/was poor battery connection or dying battery. If you erase the code and it comes back, start looking for cause otherwise chalk it up to a 'fluke' since it's ~50 drive cycle 'memory' code.
Thank you again atoman,
well that is the thing that I am just now realizing thanks to you setting me straight. I have seen that p1684 off and on (more on) since I've had the van. I ASSuMeD that it was from me disconnecting the battery every so often for maintenance where I might arc or spike. It wasn't until this morning that I was educated that was not the situation at all...

So now I have something to be on the lookout for. Since my transmission rebuild, she has ran, really, pretty darn good and reliable. I even blasted up to LI in the winter a few years back without a hitch.
The looks I got at NJ Turnpike rest stop walking through snow slush in my shorts, t-shirt, sockless Sperry Top Siders...
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p1684 is a TCM code and on your 2002, TCM is separate from ECU - it can be a clue that there is/was poor battery connection or dying battery. If you erase the code and it comes back, start looking for cause otherwise chalk it up to a 'fluke' since it's ~50 drive cycle 'memory' code.
So basically an interruption in power to Trans Control Module?
and wring out all the TCM wiring and sensors?
IPM check?
So todays antics included a full tank (14.5 gallons) of Sunoco reg e-10 followed by a spirited 93 miles south down the turnpike. I was late for an important meeting. The van performed flawless and with gusto.
Worked all day out of the van with the doors open and the courtesy dimmer off. 9 hours @ 83degF
Found Marathon fuel south for $0.14 less as I was departing so topped up 4.5 gals (20.67mpg by math)
On the way home, a more relaxed (3:30 weekend dinner rush traffic)(and a bunch of self important Tesla fux in the left AND middle lanes just tooling along like the pace setters) I digress
Elon should teach that car to yield to faster traffic as per Florida statute, I digress again...

So, I start to feel a little grumble in the pedal, then it is really starting to hesitate at the most inopportune times. 56 miles to home... no CEL just a little indigestion.

I discover for whatever reason it runs better the faster I trot. 78-85 is the sweet spot although at the top range of my comfort level. Coasting is Achilles heel but as long as the momentum keeps the rpm's up I can seem to get it to catch and then slowly accelerate back up to 75+. Now 32 miles to home, I am now North of little NY so traffic is more favorable...

I continue on and make it off my exit and then real trouble. Lucky me as I am coughing down the ramp, the empty traffic light gives me the green arrow and I am on the home stretch.... BUT I certainly can't (well, shouldn't) do 85 on a 35 and especially past the middle school.

2.3 miles to home. CEL illuminates

rattle and sputter but I am determined. Only 3/4 mile and one left turn then three blocks with one red octagon in my way.

it died 75 yards from my turn

BUT it started right back up after two key on 'pump primes' *chirp I cross two lanes and cut off across a solitary Honda Element

sorry %#@^ "serves you right for driving a toaster"

Neutral at the stop sign, keeps idle and I chug into driveway.
It was a long day, but I made it.

Key dance P1684 and P0171 (same though never cleared)
5 minute rest and then started right back up and idles smooth. I bet she'd make a run to the border for a Burrito Supreme.
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Reflection, TPS maybe? to me it seems like a certain pedal position is sweeter than others and maybe it isn't calculating the injectors quite right. That may also account for break up at certain speeds (throttle positions) while the position (speed) less traveled seems to be better..

I am looking for power and ground discontinuities but just thinking out loud.

THANK you all so very much. Like atoman say's
"Fix it if you can"
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Again, thank you all for continuing to help me figure out this intermittent frustration and potentially stranding let alone perhaps dangerous situation. Everyone's input is helpful and considered.
"The van that the internet repaired as a community" We may even be able to solve world hunger...

These alternators are externally regulated and are very easy to test (only 2 field coil contacts), if you can't / have no desire you can simply unbolt it and have it bench tested.
I hadn't considered alternator, low voltage or AC ripple for this, I am interested in this as a possibility. Cheers
TPS can be tested with a multimeter too, but TPS can't overheat the coil pack.
After my hours long test drive and observations, I am thinking that my P0171 perhaps may be something else such as the TPS, [or a friend suggested (MAF) but I think that is a different technology to calculate and control injector squirt] contributing to this happening. While I did put a heat baffle as a test a few years ago, over my exhaust cross over pipe that then since become a permanent contraption, AND I do (did) believe that to have had cured the very similar intermittent 'poor running' what ever it was has returned.

Now that you mention it, when I rolled into the driveway the day before yesterday, I left the van running a little rough and I poured a room temperature 20 oz water bottle atop the ignition coil, hoping to notice the engine to start running better as the coil cooled. Alas, no change in idle performance noted. and I was too tired from the day to try to make it around the block.

My belief that my ignition coil was failing when too hot, a few years ago, may have just been my "Analysis Paralysis"
Again, I don't like the lean code and coil pack overheating, it could be a strange coincidence but likely not.
What could it be?
Please help me focus on Lean Code p0171 I am not certain about hot coil. I I now believe that I may have been kidding myself with that BS
fuel delivery (pump/regulator - pressure, filter or injectors - flow)
Now, years ago when this first started happening to me on my road rage spirited drive home while crossing state ( I am sometimes ashamed that I let inconsiderate and offensive drivers get me wrapped around MY axle) I am trying to remember the timeline, but I checked fuel pressure (and I don't remember if it was part of diagnosing this or if I found low pressure or IF the van just outright died on me another time) Perhaps I (and now that I think of it) I remember hooking up the FP test rig two times. I digress... I found a blown fuel pressure regulator in the tank pump assy. Replacement was required and the preferred wholesale parts house was two days for my preferred Denso/Walbro pump assy or they had a Delphi pump assy in stock that day.
The Delphi pump, I did note after R&R was audibly louder than the OEM pump.
Yes, I did also replace the fuel filter 'spider' assy.
Last week when I thought I had gotten a bad fill of fuel and that was what was making this fault start running rough and stalling, I remember thinking, that the pump did sound louder than I had been used to these past few years since replacement.

I intend on returning the AutoZone loan a tool inner tie rod tool kit and borrowing the fuel pressure test kit once again...
emissions controls (overcompensating for o2 sensor defect)
I did replace the upstream o2 sensor BUT I didn't follow the forums recommendation of using a Denso and NOT using a Bosch (or perhaps the other way around) I think I used Bosch, I'll have to research further... [YET ANOTHER time when I kick myself for not keeping a maintenance LOG BOOK in every vehicle glove box to refer to]
No code or reason for the replacement of the o2 sensor other than parts canon to get improved fuel efficiency. I understand (or believed something) I read about the fuel efficiency getting worse over time as the o2 upstream o2 sensor started to age?
Lean running engine will have a different torque 'curve' - it will have easier time with higher rpms (until it burns the valves).
Flying by the seat of my pants??? I have seldom been able to feel much. Though I do feel it when it starts to run rough and/or hesitation.

I should pull and read the plugs, at the very least the front easy ones, as asides from a 20 second idle restart test, it is as it was when I had my trip two days ago.

I know I use a lot of words. Thank you for those who take the time to read all my BS and to those who don't have the time or interest... I do understand.
I am just trying to provide thorough information and observation so YOU CAN HELP ME and also to let folks (both present and future) view my thought process and diagnosis steps. Not everyone has exposure to diagnostic thought logic.

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And after all that I forgot to ask. The P1684...
I know this is going to sound out there, but is there any reason why the TCM reporting 'interrupted power'... there is no reason that the TCM (transmission control module) should or could make the engine run rough, right?

I ask because either OMC or perhaps Yamaha outboard engines have a momentary if not imperceptible ignition disruption when you shift from forward to neutral or reverse to soften the 'hit' on the gear train. I didn't know if that technology may have made its way into our automotive drivetrain technology.

I want your help to define if both codes are possibly related or if I am seeing two different faults.
...just another thought bouncing around in my head like a pinball.
Theoretically, if TCM loses power for just long enough, it could loose and re-engage TCC and you would feel that (but it would probably drop into "Limp" mode and need a restart)
Crappy power supply or ground can also undermine (throw off) sensor feedback and chances are if TCM power is interrupted, so is ECU and other modules.
So YES, the P1684 'clue' COULD be associated with the rough running, loss of power, stalling, bucking, etc...
AND when I coast to the side of the road, shut off the ignition and then immediately restart, it will run ok for a minute or even a mile or two because I reset the TCM by ignition cycle.

OK thanks for clearing that up. Well, in theory, it could be possible.
I am leaning towards the p0171 being reported a symptom of the underlying cause.

All this talk and feedback is great but it is going to be actual hands on searching, inspecting and testing that hopefully finds my cure.
The theoretical mental masturbation will open my eyes to possibilities I might miss if looking with blinders blocking my view.
Thank you.
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I haven't had any time to investigate or look into it further yet,
But I can say that she starts right up, runs smooth, gets me where I am going around town and back several local jobs without a *hiccup

What I am experiencing when it acts up is perceived as engine running and loss of power. If it felt anything transmission related I would report that. Someone mentioned TCC and that appears to operate normally. MYSELF, I don't detect anything that would make me believe (other than the P1687 code) that makes me think anything transmission.

If it were outright dead I could likely find it but when it is running like it is, I got nothing other than flipping the ipm over and pulling on wires till one falls out.

Now I could believe the wiper on the TPS could have some malfunction. Does anyone have guidance on testing that. Isn't it something like checking for smooth change in resistance over a range?
[acceptable range]
[pin to test if not obvious]

It may also be time to go back and inspect the condition of the injector wiring harness again. Perhaps I didn't do as good a job of insulating and repositioning away from the heat as I thought I did...
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It has been running fine these several days. CEL extinguished on its own.

Very busy these past few months and it is the squeaky wheels are the ones that get the grease.

If only it can stay together for another few months until I anticipate having more time for love and affection.
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