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Yesterday I was parked, car idling, it started surging, or actually trying to stall. It would go down, recover, down, recover...and then it stalled.

I restarted it and started driving home. I would go for about a minute and everything would be fine, then it would start to sputter, I would stomp on the gas pedal, and it would seem to recover. What I found is, with the gas pedal floored, it would accelerate. If the pedal was halfway it would want to stall.

Repetitively stepping on the pedal doesn't do much, unless you floor it.

I have noticed a weird smell coming from somewhere lately. Almost as if its burning oil, or plastic. I really notice it when I am going up a hill in 5th.
 

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step 1: get the trouble codes.

step 2: look for burnt/damaged wires. usually that is the source of your burning plastic smell.

there could be many causes for this (MAF sensor, faulty injector, plugs, coils, bad ECU, low compression and the list goes on) so we need to narrow this down to a few options before making any calls on what the problem is.
 

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P0422 is the only code I get.

I have it sitting here...and now it's idling.

I did put a stethoscope up to each injector. They had a nice solid repetitive steady click. None were slower or faster than the other.

As far as that smell...I only notice it under a heavy load, like going up a hill with the throttle open...I'd say 50% or more. I don't think it's wires burning. It could be a mixture thing.
 

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ah great work. that's the kind of info we need, and now i have an answer for you. you might not like it though...

P0422 Main Catalyst Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)

sounds like the cat is blocked up and failed to me. couple the error code with your symptoms and i don't see much else being an option. also explains the burning smell. if its blocked as i suspect, exhaust gasses are moving slower through it causing your problems under load (since higher flow is required than at low throttle) and it also explains the burning. if the exhaust gasses can't get through, that heat can't escape. the cat overheats and you're smelling the cat itself burning a little.
 

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Ahh that makes sense...

I drove it around some more this evening and it acted ok...

Problem I have is in the morning I drive 70 miles to work with it.

It might back up and start acting up again. I will report back and see what happens tomorrow.

I assume I can smack the cat with a hammer? Possibly breaking the platinum inside? I don't have emissions in my town so I'm not worried about that right now.

Thanks for your time. Really appreciate that you are helping me.
 

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but...

Why does it seem to run ok at high throttle? Pedal is pushed to the floor and it runs fine...(cant keep it floored though)
 

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My best guess is under that high load, the air flows through fine. But below that it clogs up and affects the sensor readings. But that's only a guess.
 

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there's several causes to the symptoms. cat could be clogged, even higher pressure/flow could force enough through but you'd still end up with reduced overall power.

another possibility is the mixture is totally wacked due to the cat not functioning correctly, gasses don't get converted right.

smashing the cat with a hammer will only give you a mess inside the exhaust and probably won't remove anything. this is metal remember, its flexible. its only going to bend and deform....at least with a hammer on the outside.

but that aside, emissions testing or not you do have some responsibility to the air everyone else is breathing and your proposing to pollute the crap out of it. its not a small increase in emissions we're talking here.

myself, i had asthma until i was in my early 20s and still have severe allergies. that gets aggravated by smog, and in the past with the asthma i had days i couldn't go outside for long in the summer thanks to smog. this is using the expensive drugs and i did not live anywhere near a city center or big industry.

in short, if you're hollowing out the cat simply because you can i'd love to come over and give you a good crack upside the head for being a dumbass.
 

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there's several causes to the symptoms. cat could be clogged, even higher pressure/flow could force enough through but you'd still end up with reduced overall power.

another possibility is the mixture is totally wacked due to the cat not functioning correctly, gasses don't get converted right.

smashing the cat with a hammer will only give you a mess inside the exhaust and probably won't remove anything. this is metal remember, its flexible. its only going to bend and deform....at least with a hammer on the outside.

but that aside, emissions testing or not you do have some responsibility to the air everyone else is breathing and your proposing to pollute the crap out of it. its not a small increase in emissions we're talking here.

myself, i had asthma until i was in my early 20s and still have severe allergies. that gets aggravated by smog, and in the past with the asthma i had days i couldn't go outside for long in the summer thanks to smog. this is using the expensive drugs and i did not live anywhere near a city center or big industry.

in short, if you're hollowing out the cat simply because you can i'd love to come over and give you a good crack upside the head for being a dumbass.

What's even more irrelevant is the fact that cats only last 7-10 years or 100,000 miles.

My car being a 96 with 180,000 should tell you something. Your asthma has nothing to do with my car or any car for that matter.

Would you feel better if I remove the cat, get $50 for the precious metals inside, and weld a straight pipe in?

Thanks everyone for the help but I'm not putting a $400 cat in a car not worth more than $500.

I did hook up a solus pro to it and noticed some readings were off. Tps for one. I swapped the tps and the maf and it's good to go. My cat which is not working but isn't clogged won't be hit with a hammer just yet. :D
 

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What's even more irrelevant is the fact that cats only last 7-10 years or 100,000 miles.
that is an average lifespan, your car being OBD1 can't figure it out for itself. i have seen many cats last far longer than that, with emissions testing at the tailpipe to prove it.

Your asthma has nothing to do with my car or any car for that matter.
HA! i'm sure you'd love to absolve yourself of any harm to others, but you obviously know nothing about allergy induced asthma or vehicle emissions for that matter. ever see test results from a failed cat? probably not. the most notable change is a very large increase in NOx emissions, otherwise known as smog. when the weather gets hot those NOx emissions in the atmosphere start to drop in altitude and begin to turn that beautiful brown colour - the brown haze you see on hot days. that stuff is well known to not only aggravate allergies and asthma, but also cause them - amongst other suspected health problems.

your car may only be a tiny part of the problem, but its still part of the problem none the less.

Would you feel better if I remove the cat, get $50 for the precious metals inside, and weld a straight pipe in?
obviously not, but i'm sure that's what will happen anyways.

Thanks everyone for the help but I'm not putting a $400 cat in a car not worth more than $500.
then maybe its time for a new car...or a visit to the junkyard. aftermarket cat cut and weld is another option. the old saying of "driving is a privilege, not a right" comes to mind.

I did hook up a solus pro to it and noticed some readings were off. Tps for one. I swapped the tps and the maf and it's good to go. My cat which is not working but isn't clogged won't be hit with a hammer just yet. :D
glad to hear it! at least there's some silver lining to this dark cloud of crap.

gotta love irresponsible car owners. the world is full of them i suppose.
 

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Y'all had me laughing
I actually came here to address him respectfully...

Since my car has OBD 2...not to mention all the non green technology that goes into making a car...far worse than what my single car does.

I normally drive v-8's with no cats and 4-5 times as much horse power...my username should have been a hint.

Anyway, thanks for the help, those that did and hopefully I can help out someone in the future. :)
 

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No cat is still better than my accent. 218k on the odo. Broken flex pipe, burns oil on 2 cylinders and when I idle it (especially on a hot day) I get a go-go-gadget smoke screen out back soon as its back in gear. And I still get 42mpg highway.

Best part is it just passed emissions like that. Burning oil right on the machine they test it on. Pass.

My 97 does something similar sometimes at a stop light but even a little gas corrects it for me. Read somewhere it might have something to do with the charcoal canister but your problem might be worse.
 

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Hi 69 Hugger.

The trouble code could be caused by problems with the oxygen sensors failing. There are some youtube videos with good info for 0422 and 0420 codes. The two O2 sensors and the cat can be cleaned to help overcome the code being set.

You can also search the forum for past posts on the subject.
 
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