I'm pretty good on the maintenance, so I don't think its that. Here's the list I found after doing a search. I've updated it with my car specs:
air filter - recently cleaned my 3" K&N cone intake filter
fuel filter - replaced this past summer
fuel injectors (clean or flush) - not cleaned since bought the car 4 years ago
PCV valve - not replaced since bought the car
check and replace if necessary O2 sensors - replaced this past Nov.
spark plugs - replaced 3 months ago
spark plug wires - replaced 3 weeks ago withn 8.5 mm MSD wires
distributer cap and rotor - replaced 2 years ago with along with the entire faulty distributor
throttle body cleaner (de-carb) - never done
calibrate throttle position sensor (TPS) - never done (how do you do this?)
adjust timing - done last November
check VRIS solenoids are working properly - never done (I might try the paper test next week)
Oil change - done 2 months ago
All fluids checked and topped up 5 months ago
have you done any removal of the timing belt? put on new pully ect..? I would set your car on base timing... this is completed by opening up ur hood there is a little plastic box beside your fuse box.. this is a ("pin connect" location) used to scan the car.. get a nice size paperclip and put between pin 10 and ground on this connector.. this will not let you have good power but check to see if that "lag" is still consistant in 1st gear... remember this is BASE Timing so be gentle! if so this might not be a timing problem.. scrape ur rotor in dist.
Have you checked your VRIS connectors at the back of ur manifold? make sure all the vacume lines are connected, and even check to see if they are opening or not- (car running)
have you installed any aftermarket fuel mod? does the exhaust smell ritch? You say the cars timing was adjusted a year ago... the cars timing runs off the crank position sensor so im not sure how u "timed" it ?? how is this crank sensor? how does the car idle? no backfires?
Haven't checked the VRIS connectors. I will later this week.
No aftermarket fuel mod. I timed it with a timing light and shifted the distributor (with the gnd 10 pin diagnostics connected with a paper clip) until it read 10 degree below TDC. Car idles great (600-800 rpms) - no backfires.
My clutch in a Clutchmasters stage 1 and its only been on for 30,000 km. I never drop the clutch and I don't really ride it, so I don't think it's already slipping (god I hope not...)
And yes, I think I'm running rich. The exhaust smells bad (but it isn't oil, cause I smelt that exhaust prior to changing my VCGs) and I just barely passed my recent emissions because of borderline high hydrocarbons (even after changing both my 02 sensors and catalytic converter a week before the test).
How would I determine if I'm truly running rich? I have an autometer air fuel gauge, but it still seems to give the same readings as it always had (ie. just shooting back and forth between the red lean indicator through the yellow stoich to green rich indicator).
If this is the case, what should I be changing/fixing?
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