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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone,

Last summer I replaced my distributor and the positive terminal on my battery cable and have run into an issue ever since:

Car

2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT (3.0L)

Problem

At first, the car seemed to be running perfectly fine but then (while driving) it suddenly died. I called a toe truck and they attempted to jump the car but it couldn't start.

It go towed for about 20 minutes and when it was pulled off the truck, the car started back up perfectly and could drive around my driveway.

I've now found that after allowing the car to run for some time, the car will die and refuse to start (acting like it doesn't have gas). Then a few hours later/the next day it will start up perfectly fine.


Analysis
The steps I've taken to troubleshoot so far have been:

1. Checked the fuel pump, ran direct voltage from the battery to it during the starting issue and it was fine. Found that the fuel pump wasn't starting because it was only receiving about 10 volts (indicating a short circuit somewhere).

2. Checked the battery terminal, and this appears to be a solid connection.

3. Checked the MFI relay, it actuates totally fine (found that it wasn't actuating on start because of the voltage from to about 10 volts). I found its resistance to be 133 ohms and read somewhere that it should be about 70 ohms -might find one at a store to check the resistance just in case.

4. Tried to check the resistance of the distributor cap but for some reason I was getting varying resistance through my multimeter?

5. When troubleshooting, I somehow managed to leave the car in a state where the relays were all energized after an attempted start. (not sure how this happened, the key was left in the ON position but I wasn't able to replicate this later; however, it did show me that the short circuit issue doesn't seem to be due to the relays)

6. I hooked up an inline spark checker and found that the distributor isn't firing during the time when the car refuses to start and otherwise consistently fires.

7. I've measured the battery (during the times the vehicle is running) and its voltage will be at about 14.5V -indicating to me that the alternator should still be functioning fine (plus I drove about 200 miles on the alternator without issue)



Relevant Work Done

A few weeks before replacing the distributor, I had to replace the alternator because of a voltage regulator failure. Unfortunately, I had to drive the car for a little while on the bad alternator and I think the overcharging led to some failures in electrical components.

I replaced the alternator and then had to immediately replace the crankshaft sensor on the car. I drove the car for a while and then received a random misfire code -which led me to replace the distributor. Unfortunately, I did have to drive my car across the state of New York while it had the random misfire code (though no flashing engine light).

I replaced the battery shortly after (the distributor) encountering the spontaneous stalling and not restarting issue.

I live in NYC and have my car stored on the other side of the state so I hadn't had the chance to do work on it for the past year. However, this week I found that I also had to replace the EGR solenoid after a spontaneous misfire code popped up again with a EGR short/open circuit and reduced flow code. The EGR solenoid seems to have fixed these issues.



Conclusion

Overall, I feel like I've isolated this problem to be a short circuit somewhere within the ignition system. It seems like this short might be triggered either randomly or as a result of the temperature change within some component after the car has warmed up.

I'm currently planning to get a new distributor cap and measure the resistance to see if this might be the issue, but I'm skeptical since this distributor was new. The battery is brand new and I've been making sure to not over-drain it and recharge it back to 100% as I try to test my way through problems.

Otherwise, I'm kind of running out of things to check aside from the ECU (which I'm not sure how I'd check that in the first place?).



Questions

1. Should the distributor cap be giving varying resistance values when measured? The Hanes manual claims this should be 5k ohms.

2. Could this possibly be a starter issue? (I'm skeptical of this since the car will die on its own and not just have trouble starting)

3. Could this be an ECU/ECM issue? (I don't really know what else to check)

4. Any other suggestions/ideas???

I've spent the past few days Googling and researching but I'm starting to run out of ideas. I'd very much appreciate someone's help with this!
 

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I would suspect a crappy distributor, this is a common fault with Toyotas where the aftermarket units fail when hot. If you have no spark when the distributor is hot, but spark when it is cold, and you have fuel injector pulse at all times then the problem seems clear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I would suspect a crappy distributor, this is a common fault with Toyotas where the aftermarket units fail when hot. If you have no spark when the distributor is hot, but spark when it is cold, and you have fuel injector pulse at all times then the problem seems clear.
Well I pulled the distributor I had put in and measured the primary and secondary resistances. The primary was a tiny bit high while the secondary resistance was about 20% high -so I was thinking that I found my culprit.

I just put in a new distributor (after measuring both of its resistances) and let the car idle up to temp...things seemed good at first and then it died suddenly. I was able to start it up immediately after and it idled for a bit more then slowed down and died again. Now it is back to not wanting to restart.

I checked the resistance of my front 3 fuel injectors (and managed to get to my back left one as well) and they all read 15.9 ohms.

I've also noticed that my engine seems to make a fairly distinct clicking noise when running and I can't remember if it always did that or if that's a symptom.
 

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Is there no spark when it's not starting now? Likely the bulk of the replacement distributors that are cheap or rebuilt are poor quality. Check coil resistances when the car isn't starting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Unfortunately, I'm still not seeing any spark through the distributor. It also doesn't seem like the voltage is dropping as much as it did before when I attempt to crank my engine. Both distributors I purchased were brand new.

The first was a WORLD POWER SYSTEMS DST45427 from Rock Auto

and the one I just installed today was:

Duralast Gold New Distributor ADLG-DG29 from Autozone

(I usually avoid Duralast parts but this was literally the only distributor I could find in town)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yesterday, when it was able to run (and the car was set to ON), I tried to check the resistance of my alternator and distributor/connectors.

While checking the resistance of pins 1 and 2 of the distributor, I heard like a sudden fast clicking noise that seemed to be coming from near my throttle position sensor/IAC valve. The noise stopped after a couple of seconds and then my car refused to start.

So I tested the resistance of my IAC motor and that seemed find, tested my TPS and that seems fine, and tried running my car with the IAC motor disconnected but had no luck. I wasn't liking the sound that the IAC motor was making but it was consistent each time the car turned on and I'd assume a short would be removed if it was unplugged.

I just tried to start the car this morning and it rev'd to about 1500 rpm for a second and then died. Now it's refusing to start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok, check for injector pulse with a noid light.
Not getting any injector pulse either. Strangely enough though, I took a video of it and it seems like there's a bit of injector pulse that happens only when I go to turn the car off after trying.
 

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EVAP code unrelated to not starting. If no spark, no injector pulse, AND no RPM signal then suspect faulty CKP (CranKshaft Position) sensor, replace sensor or check CKP sensor with a scope for signal.
 

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Reading through your post brings back some very frustrating memories with my 02GT. I don't believe I troubleshoot the amount of things you have but were having the exact same symptoms with the random shut offs. Turned out to be the reluctor wheel inside the distributor. Here's a link to a post I made after figuring that little known fact out and got it running again only to have transmission senor troubles.

I tried attaching the link and evidently my post count isn't high enough to add a link. The post title is "Never ending problems" if you put that in the search I think you'll be able to find it.

The reason I had to do a head job on it was because the incorrect reluctor wheel would make it misfire and throw the timing. I'd tear it apart, reset the timing and put it back together just to have it happen all over again until it bent multiple intake and exhaust valves. I'd suggest ripping out your dizzy, tearing it apart to figure out which wheel is in yours. Good luck
 

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Reading through your post brings back some very frustrating memories with my 02GT. I don't believe I troubleshoot the amount of things you have but were having the exact same symptoms with the random shut offs. Turned out to be the reluctor wheel inside the distributor. Here's a link to a post I made after figuring that little known fact out and got it running again only to have transmission senor troubles.

I tried attaching the link and evidently my post count isn't high enough to add a link. The post title is "Never ending problems" if you put that in the search I think you'll be able to find it.

The reason I had to do a head job on it was because the incorrect reluctor wheel would make it misfire and throw the timing. I'd tear it apart, reset the timing and put it back together just to have it happen all over again until it bent multiple intake and exhaust valves. I'd suggest ripping out your dizzy, tearing it apart to figure out which wheel is in yours. Good luck
Your ignition timing bent your valves? :scratch: I buy the reluctor wheel causing the engine to die, but I think you had more problems than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just wanted to update everyone on this:

I sent it to a mechanic that I had recommended to me and:

1. After a bit of testing, he found out that the ECU wasn't providing enough voltage to the distributor. I ordered an ECU and he had to get it taken to a dealership to get reprogrammed. The dealership then programmed it and said that the crankshaft sensor wasn't working. (The mechanic and I had both originally verified that it was working)

2. He replaced the crankshaft sensor and then things were good to go!

To get it inspected, he had to also replace my fuel pressure sensor and brake light switch.

Overall, it seems like the faulty voltage regulator on my alternator probably messed up a bunch of electrical components...or messed up the ECU which then messed up other components.

Either way, things seemed good!


Except for the potential oil pressure problem I started to encounter midway through my 5.5 hour drive from the mechanics shop. (But I'll start a separate post on that one if I can't figure out a solution)
 
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