1997 Millenia S stalls only under load - Mazda Forum
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post #1 of 109 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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1997 Millennia S with 194,000 miles. I am the original owner. A month ago it was running great. My wife heard a loud noise when pulling out of the driveway 3 weeks ago, and decided not to drive the car. I looked under the hood and saw sparks coming from a loose accessory drive pulley. The pulley actually came off the tensioner and was rubbing on the oil dipstick tube. Had the car towed to the local mechanic to get the pulley replaced. Turned out that both tensioner pulleys were bad. They were replaced for mucho dollars (about $390 each, plus new belts and labor). But now, though the car idles just fine, as soon as you turn the wheel when stopped, turn on the A/C when stopped, the car stumbles and dies. Only under accessory load. It will idle with the A/C on in Park, but once I shift to Reverse or Drive, the engine hunts for an idle speed and then stalls out. No codes are thrown. There was no problem before the pulleys/tensioners were replaced. Car runs like a champ when moving down the road with A/C and all accessories on. Here's what they've done:

1. There are no codes thrown.
2. The plastic hose from the MAF to the throttle body is not cracked.
4. They tried an ECU and a Idle Control Valve from another Millenia S. (Tried to get a used TPS but no luck.)
5. Vacuum hoses and tree are all intact.

I replaced the spark plugs and fuel filter at 180K miles.

So, the car does not stall when the TPS is disconnected and A/C on or turning wheel when stopped, but with it disconnected codes are obviously thrown and the TCS light flashes. At least I will be able to get the car home. They tried disconnecting the battery and driving for 10 miles with no change in the stalling under load. I just drove 15 miles to work with no change in the behavior.

Mind you, all was fine prior to replacing both tensioners. Car has been in the shop for the last 3 weeks waiting for parts, etc.

Any ideas?
A new TPS is around $300, I am told. Currently, the old one appears to be working. Or maybe not. Is this a fuel pump problem? They called Mazda and the tech though it might be a timing belt jumping a notch or two. Don't want to spend another 1200 bucks to fix that. There is a thought that the SuperCharger is going bad, as that would not cause a code to be thrown and could cause stalling under load. Just wondering why all this went bad after replacing both accessory tensioners. Car runs great and engine is fine when it is moving.
I bet it is the TPS.


Thanks for your help.
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post #2 of 109 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 03:50 PM
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1997 Millennia S with 194,000 miles. I am the original owner. A month ago it was running great. My wife heard a loud noise when pulling out of the driveway 3 weeks ago, and decided not to drive the car. I looked under the hood and saw sparks coming from a loose accessory drive pulley. The pulley actually came off the tensioner and was rubbing on the oil dipstick tube. Had the car towed to the local mechanic to get the pulley replaced. Turned out that both tensioner pulleys were bad. They were replaced for mucho dollars (about $390 each, plus new belts and labor). But now, though the car idles just fine, as soon as you turn the wheel when stopped, turn on the A/C when stopped, the car stumbles and dies. Only under accessory load. It will idle with the A/C on in Park, but once I shift to Reverse or Drive, the engine hunts for an idle speed and then stalls out. No codes are thrown. There was no problem before the pulleys/tensioners were replaced. Car runs like a champ when moving down the road with A/C and all accessories on. Here's what they've done:

1. There are no codes thrown.
2. The plastic hose from the MAF to the throttle body is not cracked.
4. They tried an ECU and a Idle Control Valve from another Millenia S. (Tried to get a used TPS but no luck.)
5. Vacuum hoses and tree are all intact.

I replaced the spark plugs and fuel filter at 180K miles.

So, the car does not stall when the TPS is disconnected and A/C on or turning wheel when stopped, but with it disconnected codes are obviously thrown and the TCS light flashes. At least I will be able to get the car home. They tried disconnecting the battery and driving for 10 miles with no change in the stalling under load. I just drove 15 miles to work with no change in the behavior.

Mind you, all was fine prior to replacing both tensioners. Car has been in the shop for the last 3 weeks waiting for parts, etc.

Any ideas?
A new TPS is around $300, I am told. Currently, the old one appears to be working. Or maybe not. Is this a fuel pump problem? They called Mazda and the tech though it might be a timing belt jumping a notch or two. Don't want to spend another 1200 bucks to fix that. There is a thought that the SuperCharger is going bad, as that would not cause a code to be thrown and could cause stalling under load. Just wondering why all this went bad after replacing both accessory tensioners. Car runs great and engine is fine when it is moving.
I bet it is the TPS.


Thanks for your help.[/b]
You can confirm if it's a misaligned timing belt with a cylinder compression test.


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post #3 of 109 (permalink) Old 12-30-2009, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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You can confirm if it's a misaligned timing belt with a cylinder compression test.[/b]
Thanks for the suggestion. It drives so well when moving. It's just not great and pretty annoying if it stalls at an intersection. Today, driving on the interstate, I floored it . The tranny will not kick down, RPMs won't go above about 3500, then I hear a grinding sound, and the engine stalls. I can rev it to the redline in neutral while moving down the highway. Shop manual says the lack of kickdown could be from a faulty TPS as the first thing to check. Tranny otherwise is great. I have no way to get tranny DTCs w/o taking it to the dealer. I don't know what the grinding sound and inabilty to achieve higher RPMS is all about.

Anyone think this could be tranny related?
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post #4 of 109 (permalink) Old 12-30-2009, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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You can confirm if it's a misaligned timing belt with a cylinder compression test.[/b]
Thanks for the suggestion. It drives so well when moving. It's just not great and pretty annoying if it stalls at an intersection. Today, driving on the interstate, I floored it . The tranny will not kick down, RPMs won't go above about 3500, then I hear a grinding sound, and the engine stalls. I can rev it to the redline in neutral while moving down the highway. Shop manual says the lack of kickdown could be from a faulty TPS as the first thing to check. Tranny otherwise is great. I have no way to get tranny DTCs w/o taking it to the dealer. I don't know what the grinding sound and inabilty to achieve higher RPMS is all about.

Anyone think this could be tranny related?
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post #5 of 109 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 10:28 AM
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Tranny codes are accessible through the OBD interface, but without a flashing HOLD light, there probably aren't any stored codes unless there's a past code. Could be a mechanical fault or hydraulic abnormality with the transmission. How's the ATF look and is it close to the top notch when hot and idling in Park?


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post #6 of 109 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Tranny codes are accessible through the OBD interface, but without a flashing HOLD light, there probably aren't any stored codes unless there's a past code. Could be a mechanical fault or hydraulic abnormality with the transmission. How's the ATF look and is it close to the top notch when hot and idling in Park?[/b]
I just refilled the transmission fluid in August. when I replaced as much of the vacuum tubing as I could with Samco silicone tubing. The transmission fluid is nice and clear red and at the proper level with engine warmed up. Today, the kickdown is working perfectly. No problems with acceleration. Car still stalls with A/C on and with turning steering wheel hard to left or right. If it ever warms up here, I will try to fiddle with the Closed Throttle Position sensor, though the mechanic said that was properly set. IAC valve was cleaned as was the throttle body by the mechanic. I cannot find a used TPS for the 2.3L. Cheapest aftermarket TPS is still $217. I may check the EGR and try to clean that.
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post #7 of 109 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 02:31 PM
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What is your idle speed with no accessories running? Was the idle speed adjustment procedure performed after the IAC valve was cleaned? An over-zealous cleaning of the ISC valve can kill the stepper motor. You might try increasing the idle speed by turning the IAC bypass screw counter-clockwise one or two rotations to see if things improve if you're certain that all vac hoses and intake parts are connected, correctly routed, and well sealed.


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post #8 of 109 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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What is your idle speed with no accessories running? Was the idle speed adjustment procedure performed after the IAC valve was cleaned? An over-zealous cleaning of the ISC valve can kill the stepper motor. You might try increasing the idle speed by turning the IAC bypass screw counter-clockwise one or two rotations to see if things improve if you're certain that all vac hoses and intake parts are connected, correctly routed, and well sealed.[/b]
Thanks for all these suggestions, and Happy New Year!

Just tried turning the IAC bypass screw a few turns. I does increase idle speed initially. But it doesn't make a difference with the stalling under load. Idle speed with nothing running looks to be about 600-650 RPM or so. It does speed up when a load is put on, then the engine stalls after hunting around for an idle. Everything looks well sealed.

I tried to test the closed throttle position switch. It's tough to get my multimeter pins on pins C and D of the conenctor, since the connector angles down into the engine bay. I know there is continuity with the throttle closed. I put in a .35 mm and then a .40 mm feeler gauge, and there is still continuity. Spec is for no continuity at .37 mm. (That's tough to do with only two hands, beleive me.) So maybe the TPS needs more adjustment or is broken. When I move the throttle cable by hand the car speeds up normally. The mechanic said that the IAC valve is working just fine. A replacement IAC valve made no difference, either. And there is no problem adding a P/S or A/C or other load with the TPS totally disconnected, other than flashing lights everywhere. I wish the TPS were only $50 not more than $200, then I would just replace. How do I adjust the TPS if I get another one?
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post #9 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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I confirmed that the Closed Throttle Position switch is a little out of range, but it does indicate the throttle is closed (Terminal C and D are connected when the throttle is closed).

Today, the lack of kickdown when flooring the gas pedal occurred again. It only occurs at 35-40 mph, and not every time. Above that, the kickdown occurs. Below 40 mph, the car stumbles and makes that grinding sound. The idle speed does increase with the car idling when I turn on the A/C, and then it slows when the A/C is turned off, so I think the IAC Valve is working. After I move the gear selector to drive or reverse from park, the engine hunts around for the idle speed. If I put it back in park, it still hunts around for a steady idle. Engine idles just fine when I start it warm or cold. If I rev it, it settles at an idle after hunting for a second or two.
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post #10 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 07:09 PM
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What is your idle speed with no accessories running? Was the idle speed adjustment procedure performed after the IAC valve was cleaned? An over-zealous cleaning of the ISC valve can kill the stepper motor. You might try increasing the idle speed by turning the IAC bypass screw counter-clockwise one or two rotations to see if things improve if you're certain that all vac hoses and intake parts are connected, correctly routed, and well sealed.[/b]

the idle screw shouldnt be moved the shop had the screw all the way almost falling out and the car idle isnt correct.
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