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Discussion Starter #1
For the past month my GT has been running rough (spitting, sputtering, terrible gas mileage, exhaust smell, black smoke out tailpipe). I mean it was barely getting me to work. I'd have to play with the clutch and accelerator anytime I got into traffic just to keep it from dying on me. So I parked the car for about two weeks before I had a chance to work on it. Then yesterday, I couldn't get it to crank at all. So I sprayed starting fluid in the throttle body and got the car to running for about five seconds then it shut off. I just need some opinions from you guys.

Side note: About the car running rough, I changed the plugs, wires,Egr and distributor cap and button. Nothing fixed that problem so I ended up putting it in the shop. The mechanic told me it was the alternator? I thought that was odd but hey whatever they did fixed it and it ran ok for about a month then it gradually started doing the same thing again. Codes I've pulled are for two O2 sensors, a EGR, and a misfire. But anyway, right now I'm concerned about getting it to crank and run and I'll work on the rest later. Thanks in advance for any advice.

update: Also, I've replaced the fuel pump.
 

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You said you have O2 sensor codes, but didn't mention you changed the O2 sensors. I'd try changing those out and see what that gets you. You're describing a car that is running very rich.

Also, when a mechanic gives you a funny diagnosis, don't be afraid to ask him to explain how he came to his conclusion. If he can't explain it in terms you can understand, he's either bullshitting you or not a very good mechanic. Either way you don't want him messing with your car.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you! I haven't replaced O2 sensors yet. I appreciate your advice!
I've been told all my life that O2's aren't a big deal if they go out. So I've kinda neglected that for a long time. (It's been pulling O2 codes for years now)
So right now, after changing the fuel pump this past weekend, the car does at least crank and start. But is still idling rough, spitting/sputtering and black smoke with exhaust smell.
 

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Ah OK. Yeah it depends on which O2 sensors are throwing the codes. If it's the ones closer to the engine, they very well could be causing your problem because they directly affect fueling. If they are the ones after the cats, they are only important if you need to pass emissions.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok thank you, I'll try that. I can't remember right now which O2's are bad, but I know there are two O2's that I'm pulling codes for.

This may be a silly question and I apologize if it is, but do you know of any way to test the O2's? Or is that just one of those things I just have to replace and see if it works?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think I'll just take the faulty O2's out and try to clean them and see if that helps. And if need be, I'll replace them. I read earlier that soaking them in gasoline overnight will clean them, so we'll see.
Thanks again for your advice.
 

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Make sure your PCV is working too. I probably would just change it out if it hadn't been changed lately. My car was acting like this due to my catalytic converters being clogged. It ended up causing what I believe to having a cracked head. O2 sensors failing will cause the car to run in an open loop circuit thus using excess fuel.
 

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I think I'll just take the faulty O2's out and try to clean them and see if that helps. And if need be, I'll replace them. I read earlier that soaking them in gasoline overnight will clean them, so we'll see.
Thanks again for your advice.
I don't think that works and is likely to damage O2 sensors. However, yours are probably toast so I guess you can't break them more. Or you can and it'll make your car even wonkier. Let us know what you find! It should be noted that O2 sensors can fail for other reasons than simply being dirty and cleaning them won't bring back an otherwise destroyed O2 sensor.

Also the only way I know to test the O2 sensors is to get a code reader that can read them with data logging while the car is running. Even still, that's not a complete test. Only sure way is to get new ones and put them in. O2 sensors are disposables. Even though they last a long time, they don't last forever. Like spark plugs or other ignition parts.
 
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