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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone! Back with a couple questions about my old s10. I bought it about a year ago for $1000. 5 Speed/Ext Cab/250k miles. Since then I've replaced a horn fuse, wipers, front brakes/rotors/calipers and wheel bearings, fuel filter, tires, oil pressure sending unit, some vacuum lines (but probably not enough), etc. It still has no A/C, a bad EGR, some vacuum leak somewhere, a worn carrier bearing, worn differential, worn rear brakes, worn steering box, poor alignment, the list goes on. I've decided it's not worth it to try and fix everything wrong with it and just fix major things as they come up.

Well in the past month some major stuff has come up. About 3 weeks ago I went to start the truck, only heard a solenoid click. No crank. I've found that by turning the key repeatedly it will always catch eventually, after 1-10 turns. Seems to only happen if the trucks been on within the last hour (roughly). I can't figure why it's willing to catch and start fine, but only after several attempts, and was wondering if anyone had theories on that. I'd rather not replace the starter and find it was some other weird part going bad.

I've also been noticing a strange phenomenon, where when I take a gradual turn to the right at high speeds the rear right wheel squeaks constantly, like the brake is dragging. I feel like this may be because the diff is so worn that there's excess endplay and the drums are in fact contacting the side of the shoes, but have no idea. I do suspect my rear brakes are worn almost out, but that shouldn't make it squeak when turning (I don't think).

Most seriously, today I think I lost power on a cylinder, or worse I might have timing/valve problems. I was on the highway and got pissed at a guy so I put it to the floor (a futile effort in a 2.2 but whatever). I hit whatever 85+ speed was possible (speedometer ends there), I'd guess 90-95. Probably the fastest it's ever gone. All of a sudden I felt a vibration that I initially thought was bumps in the highway, but then I noticed the truck was even weaker than normal uphill. Once I came to a stop later it was idling very rough, and the whole damn truck shakes when launching from a stop. I got where I was going and parked it, then got back in and drove home with the same symptoms.

The exhaust sounds different, its got like a puff sound to it, and I smell what I think is unburned gas. So I figure this could either be plugs/wires (unlikely, I think they only have 50k on them), one of the coil packs, the ignition control module, or engine control module (because maybe I hit the governed speed limiter and the ECM messed up after that ???). Or maybe I jumped time or something. Which would suck. I also considered the EGR, because I know for a fact it's bad, but I don't think so because it's been just as broken for a year and given me little trouble.

Here's how the exhaust sounds:

And the engine revving:

I'm thinking about starting by spark testing at each plug and going from there. But the exhaust sound almost doesn't seem congruous with a misfire, it almost sounds like timing/valve issues. That could be a totally wrong assessment, I'm an amateur, but just a thought.

Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts or advice they'd like to share about any of the issues, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update:

Checked plug at all 4 coils - good n hot. Decided to replace plugs and wires. Didn't help a bit, still runs like crap. But I did find a new problem :).
One of the wires was burned partway through, and the plug on that wire is suggesting something's wrong (I don't know if that could be related to the wire or not).

Automotive tire Household hardware Finger Thumb Engineering
Automotive tire Finger Thumb Engineering Nail
Hand Automotive tire Wood Nail Auto part
Textile Automotive tire Wood Pattern Electric blue
Hand Automotive tire Wood Gesture Finger


The other plugs look fairly normal, except one that is whiter/cleaner than the others.

So now I'm afraid I have a few issues. Clearly the cylinder with that nasty plug is burning something (unless the wire damage pictured could have influenced that somehow). The whiter plug maybe isn't burning enough (maybe injector on that cylinder dirty? IDK...) and it still runs bad, which means I may have jumped a tooth or something. I don't know what else would cause it to run like this, and considering it happened during a high RPM high stress run I'm afraid it might be the case. I didn't hear any strange noises but I guess there might not be any noticeable noise jumping 1 tooth.

This isn't looking great... may be time for LS motor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Update again: Just drove it around for an hour out of curiosity. Aside from being rough at low RPMs and acceleration everything else is normal. No check engine lights, gas mileage seems roughly normal, engine power seems at least 90% if not the same. Normal oil pressure and temps. Engine revs without hesitation. In fact the engine smooths at high RPMs. It even starts normally. But at low RPMs its very rough. It feels like I have an unbalanced single cylinder engine or something. I'm stumped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update: decided to test compression.
Not so good. 160 cylinder 4, 150 cylinder 3, 140 cylinder 2, 0 cylinder 1. My valves apparently aren’t doing so hot. I don’t think that it’s bad head gasket cuz it’s not using a amount of coolant and oil consumption is same as always. And AFAIK a blown head gasket/worn rings/even cracked head would read some compression. So cyl 1 valves are shot. Why this happened so suddenly I don’t understand, but hey, guess I got a project now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
rent a leak down tester from autozone and verify what is the issue.
That’s a good idea. Unfortunately I’m a university student and don’t have access to an air compressor at the moment. It’s looking like I’ll have to limp the truck 4 hours home with only 3 cylinders, in order to do the diagnostic and testing it needs. If I unplug the injector and keep RPMs high to avoid excess vibration from imbalance should I be ok? I guess it may run too rich but I shouldn’t wash the cylinder that’s dead if it’s unplugged and my cat is already definitely junk from the oil I burn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Have you checked the timing chain?
I understand the thinking there, but I think it's almost impossible for that to be the cause. Simply because the other 3 cylinders are making great compression and running like they're supposed to, and the engine still starts in the same amount of time. I can still reach speeds of 70 MPH on flat ground and faster downhill. So the other 3 cylinders are still making full power. I will say, though, that if I find out my problem is valves and decide to fix it (I'll trash the motor if the piston's burned, not worth rebuilding a 2.2 IMO) then I'll probably go ahead and do timing chain/tensioner while I'm in there for peace of mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm 99% sure I know what it is now. I did the "dollar bill test," by holding a bill up to the exhaust and seeing what happened. Sure enough, it gets pulled in violently and pushed back out. Which means I'm sucking air through the exhaust. Which means my exhaust valve is toast. So I guess next free weekend I have is gonna involve a fan puller tool, head gasket, coolant, machine shop trip, valve from rockauto, intake and exhaust gasket, water pump, and a lot of other goodies. Thanks everyone for the guidance!
 
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