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twinky64

Rough Idle

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I installed new OBX Iridium sparkplugs that I bought off ebay. They work fine and all but I think they might be improperly gapped. Anyhow, on the way to school this morning, my engine was acting funny. I pulled up to a red light and I idle rough and my car shakes like a tank. Similar feeling when you let off the clutch and your about to stall and the car vibrates or shakes, very similar. This doesn't happen every time but maybe only 5%-10% of the time I come to a stop. I haven't checked the gap nor seen if it needs to be regapped. Does this problem mean:

 

1) improper gap

2) bad plugs

3) none of the above

 

I know the spark plug wires are good, few miles, new and from autolite. My old sparkplugs ran fine with them. Its just these OBX's are giving me issues. I accellerate fine and cruise fine. After class I turned on my car and heard random clicking from the hood. Later I turned on the car again and it was no longer there. Please help, what should I do?

Edited by twinky64

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trap

I totally agree with NILLINOIS - get them pulled and see if they need to be regapped. If the OEM ones ran fine with the OEM wires and new wires, swapping the plugs for these OBX ones started problems - then it sure makes the plugs look suspect.

 

If you do pull them out - read the plugs (check to see that they all look the same in color, overall deposits, etc.). Then check to make sure that the gasket is OK and not too distorted, letting combustion gases escape. Sounds like the plugs are fouling or missing (giving you the rough idle) - then clearing out and then fouling again. Could be either:

- wrong gap

- broken electrode

- loose plug

- wrong plug specs (too cold of too hot)

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Nillinois, I have a 98 toyota corolla ce, ergo, no vvt

Thank you both. I will sure do that. I thought it might be a high probable cause of the gap of the sparkplugs. I just thought I'd run it by you guys first. Thanks much.

 

2nd question: I won't be able to take care of this for at least a day; maximum 3. Will my engine get severely screwed up if I run it in the mean time?

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Probably not - but things do happen. Best to get to it as soon as you can.

 

At least it is not as bad as some Ford trucks (Triton powered V10 usually) - owner hears a weird clacking/ticking noise, power it down a bit and engine stumbles from a stop. Usually very soon afterwards - blows a sparkplug out of the head.

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I was told by a mechanic that iridium plugs "don't work" in my corolla, my corolla (98 ce) asks for platinum or double platinum. He said that iridium plugs are hotter and that is what is causing the extreme rough idle, tanklike shaking. He said that I could return them or run on them for about 30,000 miles and then get them changed. He also stated that it wouldn't harm my engine, just making the driver uncomfortable. What do you guys think? I thought iridium plugs are better and longer lasting than platinum. As an analogy, I thought it doesn't matter what type of oil change you get, regular or synthetic, only that one is a better quality oil than the other. Does the same apply for spark plugs?

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Mechanic is full of it - you are correct in your analogy.

 

There is no different in the heat range of the plug, unless they sent you hotter plugs. Iridium plugs only last longer in operation - the material is harder to erode away in normal use. Kind of like when they started marketing platium plugs - they were just made of material than was tougher than the copper electrode plugs.

 

The OEM factory plugs on your car are double electrode copper plugs - some dealers installed platinum plugs for reduced service interval - but some didn't. Using Iridums, of the correct heat range, would have no affect on drivability.

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hmmmm....I just drove another 150 or so miles since the mechanic gave me his opinion on saturday. My engine ran smooth. I was in traffic alot so I've had more than enough times to see how my engine reacts to idleing in traffic. Results were no shuddering, everything "felt" nominal. I dunno....wierd. Like I wrote, its rare that it happens, maybe once or twice every 5-7 days. I doubt a cold start up has anything to do with it though.

 

O yea, that mechanic was going to charge 40 bucks to regap my already existing plugs. WOW, I could get a full tune-up for that much if I shopped around carefully. Problem is, I dont know how to take my plugs out, and I don't have the proper tools to gap. I guess I'll continue to ask around and if its too outrageous, I'll just buy the damn tools myself. Just afraid of screwing something up if I do it myself.

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hmmmm....I just drove another 150 or so miles since the mechanic gave me his opinion on saturday. My engine ran smooth. I was in traffic alot so I've had more than enough times to see how my engine reacts to idleing in traffic. Results were no shuddering, everything "felt" nominal. I dunno....wierd. Like I wrote, its rare that it happens, maybe once or twice every 5-7 days. I doubt a cold start up has anything to do with it though.

 

O yea, that mechanic was going to charge 40 bucks to regap my already existing plugs. WOW, I could get a full tune-up for that much if I shopped around carefully. Problem is, I dont know how to take my plugs out, and I don't have the proper tools to gap. I guess I'll continue to ask around and if its too outrageous, I'll just buy the damn tools myself. Just afraid of screwing something up if I do it myself.

 

Your mechainc is wrong about the plugs, copper to platnium, platnium to iridium are simply upgrades that last longer. If it is indeed the plugs I would say it it the gapping of the plugs. Gapping is important, because if the spark doesn't "jump" correctly it can cause problems with making the car run. I would get this checked if the car continues to idle poorly. If the problem gets better with time, I'd monitor it and take it in only if it doesn't improve to the point where the problem is gone.

 

If they problem is intermittant as you say it is, it may be an ECM issue. I would first try resetting my ECM. To do this you simply disconnect the negative battery cable for 5 or 10 minutes and then reconnect. This will clear the program stored in the ECM that is adaptive and allow the car to revert to the factory original programming and then let the car re-adapt to your driving. Note that this may cause rough idling for a while because the ECM will need to "re-learn" its idle. This could fix your problem, it might not. However it is worth a try if the problem doesn't get better and the plugs are indeed gapped correctly.

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Thank you contour,

 

How long do you think this "re-learning" period is? I have disconnected the battery probably like 500 miles before it. Maybe 2-3 weeks ago.

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Thank you contour,

 

How long do you think this "re-learning" period is? I have disconnected the battery probably like 500 miles before it. Maybe 2-3 weeks ago.

 

You have to disconnect if for 5-10 minutes. Anything less will not reset the ECM. After you reset it, it takes maybe 2 hours of driving for it to relearn enough. So if you changed the plugs after you unplugged the battery last it may be worth trying it again.

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My idle was kind of irregular. I changed my plugs (gap of .032), PCV, and oil/filter yesterday, and my idle is sooo much smoother, the whole car accelerates smoother, and when floored has much better throttle response.

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