No I do not have a CEL. To clarify issue we replaced plugs coils and coil pacs to try and smoth out idling and dying engine. This did not fix the problem. We then changed the computer and the car backfired now it won't start at all and the radio and door locks are not working. Please let me know if you have a solution. Thanks.
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Re: Pontiac 2001 Clarification
If you just replaced the computer. you may need to put the PCM (Power Train Control Module) in the 'learning' mode to allow it to access all the parts of the car. Everything not working, and not starting after a computer change is sometimes normal if the PCM is not in the learning mode. To put in a learning mode you need an advanced OBDII 1 or 2 reader. It allows you to control parts of the PCM. let me know if this helps.
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does the spark tester test for spark or the strength of the coil? an over the plug coil should be able to jump a 40kv gap on a gap spark tester. since the misfire is intermittent then it may not set a misfire code,but it will show a failure record in mode6 of the scan tool on test 53.
Older VW's and Audi's are notarious for this type of behavior. You actaully need a Vag or good diagnostic tester to tell you which plugs are mis-firing. You will need to replace a coil-pac or two. VW's issued a recall notice about 3 months ago about this issue and intends to re-imburse owners on certain models and years for coil-pac repalcement. After market coil-pacs should cost less than $50.00 each. Hope this helps.
if the other coils are functioning, then voltage to the coil pack is ok. removing the spark plug wire from the suspected bad coil with no change in engine performance is a reliable procedure to check for a bad coil.
may need 1 0r more coil packs replaced,or it could be what happened to my 2000 4.6---1 lifter expanded out and wouldnt collapse,causing the rocker arm to fall out of place and the valve could never open...try unplugging 1 coil pack at a time while running and listen for a change in the way it runs,if there isnt a change then its probably a bad coil pack,find a cylinder that runs and swap the coil packs,if no difference then its probably the valve staying shut.
They spark on a quad 4, 4 cylinder engine is distributed through a coil housing taht is mounted to the bottom side of your ylinder head cover. This housing has thin lead that run trough it to distribute the spark to the boots which fit down over the sparkplugs. Close examination of this coil housing will reveal tiny crack in the plastic along with carbon tracking, and these combined can cause misfire and/or no start condition. I do not recommend replacing the coil pack without replacing this coil housing. ( times out of 10 it is the fault of the coil housing anyway.
I also have a 2001 SLK 320 with same issue. It is definitely a lifter problem due to the fact that it is occasional. Also, if a coil were bad then it would trigger an engine code ('check engine' light), plus it would run rough for longer. Try some oil treatment first, if that does not work for you then you'd have to replace the lifters. Honestly, it's a lot of work. I am not sure if I am going to keep it or not. I honestly absolutely love my car but I just don't know now.