Question about 1992 Dodge Colt

1 Answer

Loose valve seat?

Runs rough when cold, gets a bit better when warm. Stalls sometimes at red lights even after driving for a bit. Sometimes doesn't have any "pick-up" when I give it gas when the light turns green.

Garage tested compression, which was fine. Ignition wires and plugs tested fine. Replaced fuel injector and didn't solve the problem.

The garage told me they think it might be a loose valve seat. This is big$$$

Does this sound right? Should we scrap the car?

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  • 2 more comments 
  • simon_neufel Mar 05, 2009

    Thanks for the information! Here is what the garage did:
    - (not sure if this applies to this problem, since the car was also being looked at to fix the wiper transmission) Did not find vacuum leaks, and "no codes".
    - ignition parts tested OK.
    - Determined that cylinder #4 is not firing.
    - Decided it needed a fuel injector. Replaced fuel injector, but did not solve the problem.
    - Did a compression test, tested OK (150 PSI).
    - Leak down test tested OK.
    - Tried new spark plugs, ignition wire, cap and rotor, did not fix the problem.
    - Injector driver tested OK.
    - The conclusion was, possible the valve seat has come loose.

    I hope that makes things a bit clearer? I guess my basic question is "if I need to spend over $1000 to fix this problem, will it be worth it for a '92 Colt that is in otherwise good condition?"

    Thanks so much for the wisdom!

  • simon_neufel Mar 05, 2009

    Thanks so much for your insight!
    You're right, the best I can do right now is consult the bank books...
    Thanks again,

  • simon_neufel Mar 06, 2009

    Will do!

  • Steve Allison
    Steve Allison May 11, 2010

    I don't know how carefully the compression check was done but I cannot envision a good compression check with a loose valve seat.

    You didn't mention whether you have a noticable miss at any time which also kind of eliminates a loose valve seat.

    If the ignition wires are originals, I find it questionable that they are still good.
    The normal carbon-treated twine gets brittle and starts to break up eventually weakening the spark to the plugs.

    Have you pulled any of the plugs to check the condition of the tips?The insulator should have a light brown deposit on each of them if combustion is OK and the valve stems & seals, along with the rings are still tight.

    I'd also check the spark intensity visually by pulling each of the wires and allowing it to spark to ground unless you want to pick up a plug tester which creates an extra stretch for the spark to jump.

    I don't really like that 'loose valve seat' diagnosis but can't be there to drive or inspect the car.    



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  • Dodge Master
  • 5,568 Answers

It sounds like the diagnosis was thorough, thanks for the detail.
Tried new spark plugs
While dealing with a 2-year old original set of dying ignition leads on a '95 Saturn we bought new and qualifies as the worst car we ever owned, I also replaced all of the plugs with my preferred brand, Bosch platinum, and was rewarded with a more severe miss on one cylinder. Pulling all plugs again, I found one of them had lost its thin platinum wire (it slipped in the insulator) which ended up sitting on the ground contact. If, in your case, the miss was in #4 before and after all the tests and changes were done and the miss was still in #4, I doubt if that is the problem.
As far as the economics of spending that money on a car 16-17 years old - that's a tough call and would depend (for me) on the overall condition of the in- and outside, the fuel economy the car can deliver and finally, the total mileage. If the car was in fair condition (no structural rust or disintegrating interior), mileage under 150K, I'd probably go for it since replacing it with a used vehicle would leave you with possibly unknown problems and buying new is a decision that only you can make and very dependent on what you can best afford, how secure your employment, and all those other nagging factors. Until my age and physical condition became factors, I did my own repairs after having really bad experience with 'professionals.' This isn't for everyone and requires some mechanical skills, a few specialized tools, a good service manual (I like Haynes), either being self-employed or having two weeks of vacation available (to do it with care) and a modicum of patience. I had those things, and enjoyed the satisfaction of knowing that everything had been done as it should and had only one occasion to redo anything, caused by having been given the wrong gasket set.

Posted on Mar 05, 2009

  • Steve Allison
    Steve Allison Mar 06, 2009

    Between us, this problem has a pretty good history.
    If you have the trouble repaired, please take a few minutes and post the final results back here at FixYa on this same thread since it may save others a good bit of time.

    Thanks -



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