Date: Mon, 07 Dec 1998 14:56:03 -0800
From: Justin VanAbrahams <jvanabranopsamnet>
Subject: Re: Coughs and splutters when setting off

> On Sun, 6 Dec 1998 18:44:22 -0000, "Robert Booth" > <> wrote: > > >Can anybody point me in the right direction to solve the problem I have on > >my '89 900S 16V. > >Recently when I come to a stop at a junction or set of lights when I press > >the accelerator to set off again the engine will cough, splutter and > >occasionally backfire and generally run very roughly. The only way I can get > >on the go again is to keep pressing the accelerator until the revs build up > >(this doesn't happen immediately - it revs slightly then splutters and so > >on) and then wheelspin across the junction - not good for tyres or police > >attention!!! Its like when you press the accelerator the engine revs just > >die. I thought it might have been a combination of the recent cold weather > >and the fact that it hasn't run for about 2 weeks but when I eventually got > >it on the motorway it seemed to have a slight misfire even doing 70 mph. > > I had a similar problem a few months back but that time the engine would > >die completely (mainly at junctions, but did do it on normal roads just > >driving along), the check engine light would illuminate, and the car would > >be very, very difficult to restart - if at all. This seemed to be cured by > >taking the throttle position sensor off and spraying contact cleaner into it > >(its the switch type sensor incidentally). > > If I had to guess anything, I would guess that your ignition wires are old. As they age, the insulation wears off and the tendency for the wires to arc to the engine is higher... At low revs it takes more energy to make the spark plugs go, so you get more juice going down the wires and the likelihood of arcing increases; at high revs it takes less energy so there is less (if any) arcing going on... This exact same condition happened on my friend's Miata at about 100,000 miles and new ignition wires solved the problem... I replace mine every 50k so I've never experienced it personally. -Justin

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