Won't idle, stalls at 9200 feet - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old September 6th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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Jim Ngo
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Won't idle, stalls at 9200 feet

Took a trip into the mountains over the weekend. The Defender ran well, when moving. But whenever I stopped I couldn't keep it from stalling unless I blipped the throttle. Back in Salt Lake City, 4200 feet, everything is (mostly) fine again. Every once in a while (a couple of times in the few weeks that I've owned it) it stalls coming to a stop when I disengage the clutch. According to the previous owner the fuel filter was replaced in the past few thousand miles.

Any ideas?
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  #2  
Old September 6th, 2006, 01:35 PM
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Stephan Laputka
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This happens a lot to defenders and certainly happened to mine. It was a long time ago and I don't remember what the fix was. (i know i'm not helping) but if you want a temporary fix so that it doesn't stall give the idle knob a couple turns so it idles around a grand. It's not a fix but it will keep it from stalling. I only suggest it because when i had the problem it stalled in an intersection and I almost got hit by a semi.
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  #3  
Old September 6th, 2006, 05:14 PM
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Chris Davis
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I adjusted my timing, and it cured my ills. Don't go overboard or you can damage the engine, but I have mine set at about 10 degrees.
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  #4  
Old September 6th, 2006, 06:14 PM
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Pendy told me to disconnect the battery for a while so that the ecu can reset itself and adjust to the new oxygen levels. I never had to try it, but if youre in the situation again, it would be worth a shot.
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  #5  
Old September 7th, 2006, 10:35 AM
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Jim Ngo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davis
I adjusted my timing, and it cured my ills. Don't go overboard or you can damage the engine, but I have mine set at about 10 degrees.
10 degrees BTDC? What grade fuel do you run with that setting?

I'm still new to D90s but I think that spec is 5 degrees BTDC, right? Funny thing, I was thinking of retarding it, not advancing it, since I was getting just a hint of knocking with 87 RON. Assuming that my D90 is currently at factory spec, I was going to try somewhere halfway between 5 degrees and TDC.

I'll try the ECU reset trick too.
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  #6  
Old September 7th, 2006, 10:51 AM
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Chris Davis
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I run all sorts of octane depending on my $$. In CO, the highest we get is 91, and I sometimes run 85 or 87. Keep in mind, with higher altitudes, you can get by on lower octane and more timing. If you start knocking, then increase your octane (and/or decrease your timing). I have run with 12 degrees quite a bit, but I retarded it a little--not because of any issues, just it felt a bit high intuitively. I am running a low rpm/high torque crowler cam--I don't know if that matters at all, though, just FYI.

Your timing sure seems low to me, though. Really low. I have never run that low. Try bumping it up to 8 DBTDC and give it a listen, should perk up a bit.
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  #7  
Old September 7th, 2006, 01:22 PM
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Jim Ngo
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Ron, I think that your displacement may also be a variable. Is the 4.6 running at the same compression as my 3.9? If it's a slightly lower compression then that would be why you can advance to 10 or 12 degrees.
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  #8  
Old September 7th, 2006, 01:37 PM
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It always takes our Disco - also a '94 - a few stop / run cycles to get accustomed to any altitude. The poor idle is typical for me too.

Runs great here at 830 Feet , would rather be much higher though

KAA
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  #9  
Old September 7th, 2006, 02:30 PM
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Bryan Tate
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My idle issue was the MAF, don't know anything about altitude as I am at sea level

I replaced everthing short of ECU, found a used MAF for $100 and it solved my problem
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  #10  
Old September 7th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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Chris Davis
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I believe that the compression ratio's for 3.9/4.0/4.6 are all in the 9.3:1/9.35:1 ball park. I routinely ran my 3.9 in the 8d btc range. i live at 5700feet and routinely go to 9K feet. I don't know why you would retard the timing for altitude--I have never heard that being the case...
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  #11  
Old September 8th, 2006, 02:05 PM
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Jim Ngo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davis
I believe that the compression ratio's for 3.9/4.0/4.6 are all in the 9.3:1/9.35:1 ball park. I routinely ran my 3.9 in the 8d btc range. i live at 5700feet and routinely go to 9K feet. I don't know why you would retard the timing for altitude--I have never heard that being the case...
Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll try cleaning the MAF this weekend as well as resetting the ECU. I'll also check the timing. Will report back the results....
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  #12  
Old September 27th, 2006, 04:47 PM
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I was experiencing the stalling more frequently, even while just city-driving around Salt Lake City. It was always a hot-stall problem, never cold, and it always started right up until a couple of weeks ago when I had to let it sit for 5 minutes. These symptoms seem to indicate a temperature-sensitive problem and resetting the ECU by disconnecting the battery hot lead didn't seem to have much effect. It has a fairly new fuel filter and the fuel pump seems to be OK. I've cleaned the MAF sensor and the stepper motor. I was starting to suspect either the O2 sensors, the throttle position sensor or the crankshaft position sensor, or maybe even the ECU itself.

So I dug around on the internet some more and read up on the problems associated with the coil amplifier being mounted on the distributor. Over time, heat and vibration causes symptoms very similar to what I was experiencing, especially when the engine gets hot and there isn't enough airflow to cool down the module. There is an amplifier relocation kit available that moves the amplifier onto the wing and adds a big 'ol aluminum heatsink.

I checked my D90 and confirmed that the old amplifier was still installed on the distributor so I ordered the relocation kit from Atlantic British, along with O2 sensors, just in case. The truck has 99K miles so hell, it's about time they're replaced anyways.

I installed the relocation kit last night. The instructions that came with it were worthless, as was the LR shop manual (sheesh). So far so good.... I'll drive it for a few weeks and report back.

BTW, I checked the previous timing setting and one of the POs had it a tick past 12 degrees--so it was about 15 degrees BTDC! No wonder I was knocking even with 87 octane. I tuned it down to about 9 degrees BTDC. It's less peppy but the knock is gone and hopefully I've saved myself from an early rebuild.
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  #13  
Old September 27th, 2006, 11:43 PM
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Chris Davis
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A lot of the time with a bad ignition module, you will have trouble starting as well (when the engine is hot only). They are notoriously bad and could well be your problem. One thing I really like about the Mallory distributor is that the module is no longer used (it is built into the e-spark sensor). Those damn ignition module parts!....sheeeeesh.
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  #14  
Old September 29th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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Another option that I am looking into for future use is replacing the lucas module with a GM HEI module. Supposedly they are an easy swap, cheaper, and far more reliable. But the relocation kit is also an effective fix. Mine is probably coming due soon as well, just about to hit 100k and it's still the original module mounted on the distributor. So it's probably time to make a decision on what to do.

And regarding the timing issue. When I was doing my head gaskets I actually checked the degree markings in comparison to actual TDC. I found that the markings on the balancer are actually a few degrees ahead of reality. When my engine was physically at TDC, the markings read +3 or so. And from other conversations it does vary from balancer to balancer. So it's something you have to judge based on your own engine performance and possibly test the TDC on your own, which can be done through the spark plug hole with a proper indicator tool.

-Hans
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  #15  
Old October 2nd, 2006, 12:14 AM
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Jim Ngo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans
And regarding the timing issue. When I was doing my head gaskets I actually checked the degree markings in comparison to actual TDC. I found that the markings on the balancer are actually a few degrees ahead of reality. When my engine was physically at TDC, the markings read +3 or so.
-Hans
Wow, really? Probably depends on whether your balancer was made at the factory before or after lunch. You know, the 5-pint lunch at the pub.

Or maybe you're bending space/time, Hans, and the strobe from your timing light travels so fast in your universe that it actually goes back in time?

I went up in altitude this past week (to about 6500 feet) and I had no idle problems whatsoever, so far so good.
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