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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This morning i started up my 96 v6 firebird and i immediatly started having issues that were never apparent before. the car was idling very roughly, jerking forward. as i begin to accelerate it jerks violently, as the exhaust sounds like its skipping, kind of like how harleys sound. at idle i noticed the rpms were lower than normal, and the oil pressure was also lower than normal. could it be a loose fitting on my exhaust? could it be a bad cat? this problem was not even apparent yesterday, its very sudden. help please!!
 

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could be TPS....(throttle position sensor)
 

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Sounds like a bad coil pack to me.

Is the SES light flashing?
 

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Check the coil packs. This happened to my car several years ago—it started off on my way to school just losing power around 1500RPM which I figured was a fouled plug, but a few hours later it was jerking and bucking while stopped at a stoplight on my way to get new plugs and wires for it. When the plugs didn't help, I found out I had a faulty coil pack.
 

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I'm gonna add to the coil pack consensus
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
wouldnt it throw a code if there was a faulty coil pack though? i was checking out the engine while letting it idle, and the entire engine shook each time it shuddered. to me, it kind of seems like it isnt getting gas. and yes i lost a lot of power, i pushed the pedal almost to the floor and it hardly even sped up, but the engine still whined and skipped
 

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I believe it will throw a code while you're driving that indicates a misfire. Of course, if you turn the car off and don't read the code before you start it back up, it may have been "soft set" so that it will only code again once it senses the misfire.

Still don't think it'd be a gas issue because the engine probably wouldn't start at all if the flow were choked that much. You can change the fuel filter relatively easily though. I believe most things that could go wrong in the fuel system will set a code, though, because it's basically all electronically controlled/monitored from tank to injectors.

Did you carefully check all the plugs and wires already to rule them out? I have a 95 and it didn't throw a code when my #3 cylinder plug wire was arcing but I also didn't find the bad wire until the second time I looked.

My sister has a PT Cruiser and it lost power suddenly like you're describing (no acceleration, exhaust sputtering like a Harley, engine complaining… additionally, it wasn't shifting until almost 3500RPM because of the reduced power). Hers wound up being a faulty ECM, but the symptoms would go away if she turned the car off and back on; they might come back immediately, or they might leave her alone for a month. Chrysler had her have a mechanic check the engine mounts, change the plugs, coils, and wires, and clean the fuel system before they honored the warranty on her ECM and gave her a new one (this apparently isn't uncommon on PT Cruisers, but she wasn't going to let them swindle her after her warranty expired either).

Can you get a video of how the exhaust sounds and one of what the engine shuddering looks/sounds like? And your SES light doesn't come on at all?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I believe it will throw a code while you're driving that indicates a misfire. Of course, if you turn the car off and don't read the code before you start it back up, it may have been "soft set" so that it will only code again once it senses the misfire.

Still don't think it'd be a gas issue because the engine probably wouldn't start at all if the flow were choked that much. You can change the fuel filter relatively easily though. I believe most things that could go wrong in the fuel system will set a code, though, because it's basically all electronically controlled/monitored from tank to injectors.

Did you carefully check all the plugs and wires already to rule them out? I have a 95 and it didn't throw a code when my #3 cylinder plug wire was arcing but I also didn't find the bad wire until the second time I looked.

My sister has a PT Cruiser and it lost power suddenly like you're describing (no acceleration, exhaust sputtering like a Harley, engine complaining… additionally, it wasn't shifting until almost 3500RPM because of the reduced power). Hers wound up being a faulty ECM, but the symptoms would go away if she turned the car off and back on; they might come back immediately, or they might leave her alone for a month. Chrysler had her have a mechanic check the engine mounts, change the plugs, coils, and wires, and clean the fuel system before they honored the warranty on her ECM and gave her a new one (this apparently isn't uncommon on PT Cruisers, but she wasn't going to let them swindle her after her warranty expired either).

Can you get a video of how the exhaust sounds and one of what the engine shuddering looks/sounds like? And your SES light doesn't come on at all?
yeah those ecm symptoms you described sound very similar to my situation. however i hope thats not the case because that will be an expensive repair.
another detail i should mention is that it usually doesnt start immediatly after i start my car. after i have been driving for about 8 minutes, and usually stopped at a light, the jerking and sputtering will begin. could this also be symptoms of a bad fuel filter?
and no my ses light does not come on, i have been watching for that, but there has been nothing. that is whats leading me to think it wouldnt be a coil pack, or fuel pump, or ecm. although those ecm symptoms are similar to all the problems i am having.

i am going to try and post a video of the sound by tomorrow too. and btw thank you everyone for your help so far
 

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From what you just posted it sounds like the issue startes when the PCM enters closed loop ( the engine is warmed up )

O2 sensors maybe. Clogged catalytric convertor maybe.
Best thing is a real time scan to see what the PCM is commanding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
i havent been able to post a video because since the last time i posted here, because it suddenly stopped happening. this leads me to think there could have been another substance in my gasoline, possibly water. although i have a new tank of gas in, the car started bucking earlier today, however not as violently, and it stopped later in the day... hmmmm
 

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From experience on my '95 I suggest:

This morning i started up my 96 v6 firebird and i immediatly started having issues that were never apparent before. the car was idling very roughly, jerking forward. as i begin to accelerate it jerks violently, as the exhaust sounds like its skipping, kind of like how harleys sound. at idle i noticed the rpms were lower than normal, and the oil pressure was also lower than normal. could it be a loose fitting on my exhaust? could it be a bad cat? this problem was not even apparent yesterday, its very sudden. help please!!
There are many valid recommendations preceeding my entry.

However, I'd suggest you take the path of least (and cheapest) resistance and do the following:

1) If you have access to a scan tool, plug it in as it is always easier to get a starting direction. The Hanes Repair Manual and the GM Service Manual both have a comprehensive list on the error codes.

In the past I have been able to obtain these as well from the internet.

2) Check on the PCV valve. This little and very cheap part breaks/clogs easily causing symptoms similar to what you describe.

It happen to me once, and I have made a habit of having a spare one and replacing it every 10,000 mi.

3) Check and clean the EGR valve (if you knw how to do this) and its sensor/connectors. A clogged EGR or faulty connectors can cause the erratic engine rpm you are finding at low RPM when idling.

4) Are the throttle body and the plenum intake opening clean? Have you checked the air box and air filter?.

Although they will rarely cause symptoms as sever as the ones you describe, dirty or clogged air intake pumbling can and will exacerbate misfirings or rough running issues making it harder to find the problem source.

I wish you solve this quickly and without undue expense.

Best of luck,

The Flash
 
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