Question about 1984 Plymouth Reliant

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I recently replace my distributor cap and rotor on my car (1984 Plymouth Reliant 2.2 liter 4 cylinder . And now it doesn't run, drive or sound right. And it starts to over heat but then cools down. I guess you can say i did the process of elimination. I had the firing order wrong but then i corrected it. Took out all of the moister from the distributor. And pretty much have done anything anyone else would do. I even had ppl that knew what they were doing with cars come and look at it and it stumped them even. So if someone can give me any other ideas on what it could be that would be great. THANKS!!!!

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  • Phillip Anderson Jan 03, 2011

    I had enough of this car really. I won't give up on it. But i'm going to see if i can make it to an auto repair shop where a good buddy of mine works. When they tell me whats wrong with it i'll let you know what it was. Cause i have done all the things you have stated to do. I have a feeling its my carburetor thats causing the problem either that or the timing chain.


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Wow, I am impressed that the vehicle is still around. The engine is a German VW design. You will find the VW circle stamp in the casting on the block. My father had an 82 model Reliant K I use to work on.

If you are sure you have the fire order correct, I would look for other reasons why it is overheating. You might have disturbed something near where you were working and need to make sure all is OK and back to the way it was. A wrong fire order will not make the vehicle over heat. It will just make it run bad or not at all.

I would suggest making sure your engine cooling system is OK and that you have the correct amount of radiator fluid. Please be careful checking this. Do not check the level in the radiator directly when hot. Hot fluid can shoot out and burn you. Check the radiator overflow reservoir can and see if it is at the correct level. If not, fill to the correct level. (Use Prestone 50/50 fluid) With the engine cold, remove the radiator cap and see if you have fluid up to the top. A worn or bad radiator cap can cause you to loose fluid over time. They are $5 to $10 at a parts store. Not a bad idea to replace. Install the cap and start it up. Turn the interior heater on as well. Let it idle long enough and see if your dash gauge moves to the normal area you remember seeing it at. If it moves up and down a lot, that would tell me that you have low fluid or need to have your cooling system flushed. (air bubbles moving past the temperator sensor causing large movements) If it is not too cold outside, your radiator electric fan should also cycle as needed. In the winter, this may not happen to often.

I think this may have been a problem that came to light due to your attention to the tune up you did. I don

Posted on Jan 01, 2011

Testimonial: "You say if the firing order is wrong the car will barley run or not run at all,Thats my problem the firing order is correct.But it doesn't want to run"

  • Phillip Anderson Jan 01, 2011

    It will run. But very rough and does not want to go or run like it used to before i replaced the Distributor cap and rotor.

  • Train Guy Jan 02, 2011

    It appears that your trouble with the smooth running engine happened after you did work on the distributer. I would reexamine it again and double check that the correct spark plugs are connected. The new rotor and cap might be defective also. The spark plug fire order for a typical 4 cylinder engine is 1-3-4-2. Did you use a timing light to adjust the distributer timing when you finished replacing it? You might have disturbed the position of the distributor in relation to the spark advance which can affect the performance.

    I would also make sure you know which one is spark plug number 1 on the cap. Some caps have this printed on the cap. You will also have to observe which way the distributer rotor rotates when it runs so you know the plug order number on the cap. (Pop the cap off and have someone crank the engine and watch the rotor turn). Once you know which way is turns, you then can number the wires off the cap and check and see if the correct plug are connected to the wires. The number one plug on the engine head is the one closest to the accessory belts.

    If you have that done, you should be back to where you were before you started. Please let me know what you find. Also, for reference, a good Haynes manual for your vehicle will be a great assistance as it has pictures and specific information on your engine to help you. They are available at auto parts stores.



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