Sudden decrease / loss of power, bucking, stalling, etc - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 04:50 PM
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Sudden decrease / loss of power, bucking, stalling, etc

Figured I'd just start my own thread on this (was trying to piggyback on an ECU code thread, but figured I'd document here).

Started on Sunday. Going along at speed (65), when suddenly the car starts to slow. Initial reaction is to step on the gas...but then you realize it does nothing. Car does not "die", but just continues to slow. Happens and seems to drop speed slowly, each time by the time I got to 30mph realized I better get the F off the road before someone creams me on the beltway.

Pull off the side, seemed to continue to run for a second then shut down. Start up, then would buck and die. Second start would fire up and run fine.

This morning had it out for a long trip (2 hour round trip). On the first leg (1 hour) did some small "bucking" about 6 times or so. Towards the end, almost an hour into it same symptoms as described above where loss of power, you could hear the motor sputtering and gurgling, then got an odor of gas (probably coming out of the back of the tailpipe). Finally fired it up, got to destination. Turned around to come home, was fine for awhile then did the same thing towards the end of the trip.

Threw ECU code "03" during this time, which unfortunately is the way of the car telling you it's not sure why there's a code ('corrupted data, please shut off and try again' or something like that).

Made one other stop around the corner from my house (<1 mile) and took me 4-5 tries/stalls to get home, 2 in my neighborhood.

After got home, let it cool off then decided to take out for another spin. Made it about 15-20 minutes, then had one "bucking" incident but was fine. Drove around for literally an hour - nothing.

Decided to pick the kid up from daycare, and of course shortly thereafter it totally dies in the middle of the road (no ECU code). Whereas it would usually start up right away on 2nd or 3rd try, this took like 8-9 times before it actually started (I thought that was it and she was dead). Got me home, bucked once pulling into my neighborhood.

My list of suspects are as follows:
1) fuel pump (most likely the culprit?)
2) VSS (vehicle speed sensor)
3) stepper motor
4) fuel pump relay (not likely, I can hear the relay click on and pump whir when I turn on the key)
5) fuel filter (not likely)
6) air leak in a hose (plan to start truck and spray carb cleaner along hoses to see if truck will stumble where it leaks and gets sucked in)
7) bad ground cable

Any other thoughts/input? My main concern is not wanting to drop $300 on a new fuel pump, plus the pain in the arse to swap it out, just to find out that's not the issue.
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  #2  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 05:51 PM
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Yeah, its sounds like a fuel pump problem that I had almost exactly. it went on for about three months that way (lol) then it finally crapped out when I was at a stop sign just idleing.
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  #3  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 06:01 PM
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Maybe add check Inertia Switch to the list. I've had weird fuel/runing things happen and it has been the connection on my Inertia Switch. I use a zip tie around it now and even then have to check it every now and then.
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  #4  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 06:01 PM
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I had the exact same problem on a 1962 Ford Falcon. -- replaced the fuel pump and it was back to normal.
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  #5  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 06:02 PM
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VSS (vehicle speed sensor) is easy to test, if you have Diagnostic Scan Tool.

My D1 was doing something like this and at first thinking fuel pump/filter but pressure test was good / and changed the filter,so pluged in the scan tool and had the wife watch the speed, it would jump to 109 mph which is the limit of the ecm.

I got a new vss from autozone (online) for $102 something and got a $25 gift card.
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  #6  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 06:24 PM
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Why is fuel filter not likely? If its not new it could be the cause.
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  #7  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:02 PM
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How much gas did you have in the tank? Are you picking up crud from the bottom of the tank?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:10 PM
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Suspect:
Ignition amplifier module or connectivity.
Alternator.
Vacuum leak.
Fuel pump.

If it starts and runs I would rule out the fuel pump or a clog.
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  #9  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:13 PM
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In my limited experience, I would check the fuel filter based on your symptoms
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leastonce View Post
Why is fuel filter not likely? If its not new it could be the cause.
I wouldnt think a clogged filter would cause that problem. A clogged filter would simply starve the engine, his problem is intermittent.

------ Follow up post added January 23rd, 2013 08:27 PM ------

ok who wants to bet its the pump? $5.00...(paypal...lol)
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  #11  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:29 PM
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I had a 2001 Jaguar XJ8 and I had the same problem. I had to go to the trunk and change a relay. I think it was a fuel pump relay. It could also be bad gas.
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  #12  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:31 PM
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Tank has been full to half full during this.

I'll replace the filter in the morning with one from Napa (they said they stock one for a 90, but we'll see what it looks like when I get there).

Vehicle will - at times - run for an hour or more with no issues at all. I was wondering myself if a fuel pump on its way out would exhibit symptoms like this. Bill Larson said his did...which leads me to believe it could be the culprit.

But I'll check the other items - ignition module, vacuum leak, etc.

Alt is relatively new and has not been exhibiting any behaviors I'd link to it being bad.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Larson View Post

I wouldnt think a clogged filter would cause that problem. A clogged filter would simply starve the engine, his problem is intermittent.

------ Follow up post added January 23rd, 2013 08:27 PM ------

ok who wants to bet its the pump? $5.00...(paypal...lol)
You think pump .. I think air related. Sounds just like the plenum hose being lose.
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Soapy water / KY jelly, etc. is is basically a must. Yes, good idea to remove trim panels - only takes 5 more minutes to do so.
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  #14  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:40 PM
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you guys are no fun....no one wants to bet, instead of money how about parts?
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  #15  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Larson View Post
you guys are no fun....no one wants to bet, instead of money how about parts?
Bill, it could also be the oxygen sensor as well.
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  #16  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by couga861900 View Post
Bill, it could also be the oxygen sensor as well.

Not thinking so...Lav described the problem I was having. I would be very surprised if it wasn't the pump. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but an Ox sensor might cause a mis-fire or bad fuel economy at worst but not the problem currently at hand. Guess we'll find out tomorrow.
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  #17  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 10:23 PM
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Consider to the potential that your coil has lost its coolant and is overheating. Typical symptoms of that is a no start when hot, So your symptoms are not quite in line with that scenario but its worth checking.
That and checking the fuel cap.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 10:35 PM
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I think its the 14CUX, fuel pressure is easy to check assuming you have the valve on the rail. I had a similar issue with my Classic it was the VSS
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  #19  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 10:58 PM
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Check your connectors on the fuel pump. I've had bad harness plugs give me intermittent issues similar to yours.
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  #20  
Old January 24th, 2013, 08:20 AM
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sounds like water in the fuel
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