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Discussion Starter #1
It's a 1998 5 speed manual, 4wd, EX. Has about 184k miles on it, I've been changing the oil regularly and keeping up with maintenance.

The Problem: I stalled my car in the parking lot and noticed the RPM's were a little weak, and when I pulled out onto the main road and went into second, the rpm's dipped way down even when I gave it gas, I thought the clutch was slipping or something. I stopped and started back up again in first and seemed to be having no issues, but once I got to around 35mph and went into fourth, it dipped again and died. When I tried to restart my engine, the ignition worked fine and the engine started turning over, but once I got it started(in neutral) they started to dip again. I gave it gas and it still struggled, and like a dumbass I put it in first and stalled it again. When I got it off the road, trying to start it a third time started up the engine, but the rpm's went down to as low as a couple per second(I could count them) but wouldn't die, so I shut of the engine. Now when you try and start it, the ignition starts but the engine won't spark.

Things to mention: It's been around 10 degrees Fahrenheit on average the last couple weeks and my car isn't liking it, when it still ran, I would start the engine successfully, except there would be a sort of grating screech for a second right after the engine started fully. It wasn't loud or to terribly awful sounding to me, so I assumed it was the cold, it doesn't do it if the engine has been running and is shut off again. The brake light also doesn't go off in the cold.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm dead broke so I can't even afford to have it towed, it's in a parking lot near where I live now. If this was the wrong place to post this or if there's already an identical thread, I would appreciate being pointed in the right direction. Thanks!
 

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When is the last time you changed the fuel filter?
When you state "the engine won't spark", do you mean it doesn't sound like it is firing or you actually looked at the spark?
It sounds like it could be the fuel filter or a failing ignition coil, but really hard to guess.
It could also be a failing timing belt that skipped some teeth.
You need to do some troubleshooting. Pull a spark plug and see if it is wet. If so, then it most likely is not a fuel problem.
Next, connect that spark plug with its wire and have it properly grounded and have someone try to start the engine.
Take all necessary precautions against shock, moving parts, blow-by coming out of the cylinder whose spark plug you removed, etc and see if you get a blue spark or any spark.
Those are the two easiest things (and free) to do.
Buffalo
 

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If it's associated with the cold, it might simply be water in the fuel freezing and plugging the gas line.

Although perhaps ethanol in fuel should prevent this. Dunno.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think it's the fuel filter, just because of how my Car has been dying and how other people are describing it. When I tried to take it of, the thing was covered with so much grime and the nuts were rusted in place, so it probably hasn't been changed in years. However, after it sat for two nights and my friend and I struggled to loosen those bolts for an hour, it push started and I was able to at least get it home just before it started to die. Does this sound about right to you guys?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, it's in the worst spot to try and get out, I can't get a good angle on it and the nuts are deadset on giving me hell.
 

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Hopefully someone in this forum will give you some hints on how to get those loose.ie: type of wrench or socket or ????
While your waiting, spray some Liquid Wrench, or PB Blaster or similar (acetone with ps fluid) on them and let them sit for some time, or even overnight. Light tapping with something hard (like steel) can also help loosen them up after the soaking by causing vibrations that may loosen rust, etc.
Buffalo4
 

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Great tips Buffalo4. I hope Caeke will keep us advised on his progress. Hoping for his success!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was waiting on a paycheck to go and get some sort of loosener, but of course it snowed two feet the day it finally came. I'll have to head over to the hardware store on foot at some point soon, I'll update you guys when I do!
 

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I changed the front calipers and brake hoses on mine a few months back and found a tiny 6" pipe wrench worked great on getting the one steel brake line nut loose from the rubber flex line so I could reuse it. I believe that is the same type of connector as on the input side of the fuel filter.
 

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Wow, two feet of snow!!! That's what we need for the ski resorts in Colorado since Christmas is near. :D
Nail polish remover usually contains a high percentage of acetone. Add about 50% that to some old ps or atf fluid and use that to bust rust. Damn low cost!! :D (flammable :eek: )
Shryp, I think he is talking about the two bolts that hold the strap that secures the filter.
Buffalo4
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Alright,here's something weird. My car starts every time if it's been left sitting overnight, or even if I'm just shutting it on and off, I took it to a mall parking lot a block away and was messing around with it. I started it five times successfully, and was driving it around in lower gears around 3-3.5k rpm's for around fifteen minutes without any issues. I decided to replicate what started this all in the first place though, and gently stalled my car in second gear, and it died and isn't starting again. I think I mentioned it earlier, but what kicked this all off was me letting out on the clutch rapidly in first while parked(shh, I was distracted). It ran funny for about a half mile and felt weaker than normal, and then died. So now I'm worried that it might not be the fuel filter, seeing as stalling the car is what's causing this, or maybe just going too low in rpm's while driving(Even though it's still above idling rpm's).

Things that were different this time: I filled up the tank with super and poured a bottle of HEET in, a friend told me it's supposed to get rid of any water or impurities in the fuel lines. It also seemed like the steering was less responsive, like, I Had to turn the wheel a little bit more than normal. This same friend told me that one time when he took his car to the shop because it wouldn't start, it was just because it was out of antifreeze, I don't know if that was true or if he was spinning me along. Could the power steering fluid be doing something funky? I checked it and he reservoir was about half full. The steering might have also been due to the snow and ice on the road, but it hasn't felt like that in bad weather in the past. I'm worried this isn't going to be as simple as replacing the filter now.
 
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