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Author Topic: High idle -- needs fixing
Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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The idle on my car has been high forever. Wouldn't be a problem for racing, except that I can't properly set the timing. So I need to fix. Here is the behavior:

1) Idle runs at 1600 RPM hot or cold.
2) Disconnecting the ISC connector increases idle to 1900.
3) Disconnecting and plugging up the fat air hose to the ISC lowers the idle to around 1100.
4) The hot water hoses going to the ISC and air valve are hot.
5) Idle screw is closed down all the way.

There are two air bypass components to increase idle: the ISC, which is the thing under the throttle body with the fat air hose, and the air valve, which is on the intake manifold that has the two hot water hoses going to it.

Since the idle doesn't go down with the engine warming up, I would suspect the air valve on the intake manifold. However, the ISC also has hot water pumped to it, so somehow it is affected by engine temp to.

My questions:

1) What effect does temperature have on the ISC? Why is not all the temperature dependent stuff handled by the air valve?

2) Is the likely problem a bad air valve or bad ISC?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-Juan

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Chris Haldeman
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i too had this problem and solved it by replacing the thermo sensor on the back of the head.it is the sensor that tells the computer the temp.just a thought it was 17.99 at autozone the other parts you mentioned are very pricey

davew Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Has the car been in a wreck that was hard enough to break the motor mounts. If so, the throttle mechanism may have hit the hood and been bent. I have seen this MANY times

Dave

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Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I'm pretty sure this has to do with the bypass air components. It used to be better and has gradually deteriorated over the years. Last time I drove it, the idle decreased down to 1100 after it warmed up.

-Juan

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Bob Thornton - Race Engineering Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
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Is the cable to tight? just a thought.

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oem steve
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Vacuum leak? did you try spraying the intake and related componets with wd-40 while it was running?

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Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Throttle cable is fine.

I would suspect air leak if it wasn't for the fact that the engine speed does not go down even a little bit as the engine warms up.

-Juan

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suck fumes Verified Driver
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Vacuum leak. I know this for sure cause the same thing happened on our car and it turned out to be a hole in one of the rubber plugs on the intake manifold. Look at the little plugs that go over the little intake nipples. One is below the throttle body on the 1999 car which made it hard to see.

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Greg Garneau
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definitely check the vacuum cap at the bottom back side of the intake manifold, I don't know how many times I have found cars with idle problems due to that cap leaking. Its out of sight and all to often gets over looked.

Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I will have another look at the intake manifold.

BTW, do I need to replace the intake manifold gasket if I pull the manifold off?

-Juan

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Bob Thornton - Race Engineering Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
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Juan, the gasket will need to be replaced.
Never reuse a gasket and also make sure that You put the gasket on the correct way as it will leak water if it is not installed the correct way.
Give me a call and I will advise. 704 202 5551

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Dwayne Hoover Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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What you might be missing is that the bypass screw, ISC, and AV are all part of a system to achieve idle speed control.

http://www.miata.net/garage/isc_files/image002.jpg

The ISC is closed loop, but restricted in its authority so as not to cause (or at least never be legitimately blamed for) unintended acceleration, being stalled on railroad tracks, etc.

If everything in your car is healthy, you should find virtually no difference in idle speed with TEN-GND shorted (which eliminates the closed loop control). If shorting TEN-GND has an effect, you can stop looking at the ISC and look for leaks, stuck AV, twisted throttle shaft, idle stop adjusted too high, air screw too far open, etc.

If you take an unmolested healthy 1.6 and tune the AFM, you should find that you need to adjust the idle stop (close throttle plate more than factory spec) to get the idle speed back down to spec.

I have never seen a 1.6 ISC or AV fail.

[ 11-25-2009, 10:53 AM: Message edited by: Andrew Peacock ]

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Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Hey Andrew,

Thanks for the explanation of the system. A few followups, as I'm trying to understand how it all works and what circumstances are consistent with the symptoms.

Shorting TEN-GND has never had any noticeable effect on my engine, and has no effect now that the idle has recently changed to being at 1600 all the time.

1) What should happen to the idle if you completely block the air going into the ISC? In my case the idle drops from 1600 to 1100. Should the engine die altogether for lack of idle air?

2) The ISC has the electrical connection for the closed loop operation. But it also has hot water going to it. I'm puzzled about why it needs the hot water, as any temperature dependent bypass seems like it would be redundant with the air valve function. Do you know?

3) How do you adjust the idle stop? I suspect you don't mean the idle adjustment screw on top.

4) The way my car used to work was that when it got up to around 175 degrees, the idle speed would suddenly drop presumably from the cold fast idle down to the normal idle speed. So was this was the closed loop system via the ECU shutting down the bypass air? Is that system supposed to work in some kind of proportional way, or is it just a switch -- fast idle down to normal idle?

5) In the picture of the ISC system, it shows two air bypass paths from the ISC. One goes directly to the throttle body at the butterfly, and the other goes to the air valve and then to the middle of the intake manifold. I don't understand why there are two paths, and what the difference is between the two.

See the behavior I posted originally. If I understood how the system is supposed to work, it should be really easy to narrow down the exact failure that would cause that set of behaviors.

Bob, thanks for the answers. I'll take you up on your offer and ring you up.

-Juan

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Dwayne Hoover Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I'm not smart enough to deal with inline quoting.

1) No, the engine should not die. The idle speed control is designed to be a fine adjustment, not capable of causing unintended acceleration (+ rpm) nor stalling (- rpm). Your test does not isolate the ISC from the AV. Disconnect the ISC and retest. Block the AV and retest. The AV has a molded rubber gasket, you can take it off without needing a new gasket.

2) The electrical connection is for actuation, not for sensing. The "sensing" is done by the coolant temp and is open-loop "assumed" to be symbiotic with the temperature known to the ECU via the thermo sensor. Pins and solenoid/motor drivers on the ECU were (apparently) too expensive in 1989 and thus the fan and AV are driven directly by thermostatic devices not known to the ECU, despite that the ECU knows what the temperature is. Probably has to do with some last minute realization by the design team that they would have to meet varying emissions requirements on 3 continents, plus the People's Republic Of California, before the OBD2 days.

3) I mean the screw physically limiting how closed the throttle plate is. It is a flathead screw jammed in place by a nut. It is a joy to adjust, can only be done with the throttle near WOT, and requires 3 hands and tools not always found in the Father's Day Gift Pack from Sears. Don't undertake this job with Erik Stearns as your helper unless you want to spend an hour staring at his sketchy Freddie Krueger thumb. If I recall, you need ignition wrenches and/or 1/4" extensions with the "just right" socket. Expect to drop things several times. (Do not do over grass).

4. Yes, the cold temp "fast idle" transitions abruptly somewhere in that 160-185 degree range. The "curve" is in the FSM. However, again, the ISC/AV is only allowed to have a small effect for safety reasons. If you have large sensor mismatches or large air intake mismatches (vacuum leak or throttle shaft twisted) the ISC/AV will not be able to correct the idle.

5) The AV is able to actuate independently as a function of coolant temp. It is ALSO able to be fed air by the ISC for "electronic reasons".

The AV is "open" when cold to provide cold fast idle, but can additionally be commanded open when needed by the ISC via the ECU as a function of rpm, A/C switch, etc.

You've already proven 500 rpm of the mismatch is due to the ISC/AV.

If you block the AV and the idle drops, you know the AV is partially open.

The throttle plate should stick closed ("seal") were it not for the idle stop holding it open. If it doesn't seal with the stop out of the EQ, then the shaft is twisted or you have a big vac leak, sensor FUBAR, etc.

Add this to the book of reasons to race an OBD2 car despite that the 1.6 is an overdog. [Smile]

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Dwayne Hoover Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Let me guess ... your gas pedal doesn't hit it's WOT stop before the throttle plate bracket/pulley hits its WOT stop.

The pedal should go metal to metal on the adjustment bolt and still leave some play at the throttle plate.

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Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Andrew Peacock:
Let me guess ... your gas pedal doesn't hit it's WOT stop before the throttle plate bracket/pulley hits its WOT stop.

Andrew, I wasn't able to check this yet. But why do you suggest this? Are you thinking he throttle body was stressed, and this resulted in air slipping around the butterfly?

So I was able to adjust the throttle stop. Actually it was pretty easy with a ball head 2mm allen wrench, and I could do it with the engine running. I got maybe 100rpm reduction in the idle by backing off the screw fully. And I did check to make sure the dashpot wasn't holding the throttle open. So I don't think the throttle butterfly is the problem.

-Juan

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Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I looked for a vacuum leak as many have suggested and found none. I checked the nipple in the back, the one in front, the brake vacuum line, and the PCV valve. Blocking off air to the PCV valve does decrease idle, but only by 50-100rpm.

I also replaced the Air Valve on the manifold, and the behavior did not change. The air valve was out of a used engine, and I have no idea how good it might be. However it seems unlikely that two of these would be broken in exactly the same way.

It seems the only thing that lowers the idle anywhere near the right amount is closing off fat hose supplying air to the ISC and Air Valve. So it's really looking like the problem is in the ISC. I was unable to check the resistance yet (my kingdom for an ohm meter that actually works!) Actually, I have a whole other throttle body and ISC that I can bolt on to give it a try. That's my next step, unless there are any other suggestions.

-Juan

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Dwayne Hoover Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Juan Pineda:
So I was able to adjust the throttle stop. Actually it was pretty easy with a ball head 2mm allen wrench

Ahhhh, that's right, that's the critical tool I couldn't recall ... the setcrew is internal hex but you need the ball end to get the right angle. My doomsday depiction of the job was based on doing it in the paddock with a normal allen wrench and needlenose pliers.

Sounds like you've honed in on the problem.

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Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Some progress! I found that two wires going to the tranny were cut. Once I connected those, the engine speed drops to 1300rpm once the temperature reaches ~160 degrees, the way it used to work. I believe those wires signal the neutral status of the tranny to the ECU.

Now I'm still stuck with a high idle of 1300rpm, but that has been the case for a long time. That problem is presumably due to a separate long existing problem, like some bypass air in the throttle body or air leak from some gasket.

I've ruled out all the common air leaks at this point or problems with the air valve. I've even replaced the temp sender as techchris had suggested with no effect. My next step is to swap out the entire intake manifold with throttle valve and ISC. I am hopeful that will restore the factory idle. Not much else that it could be!

-Juan

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TexasHammer
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Just out of curiosity. Is the a/c switch on? I noticed that this will have an effect on the idle as it should, if the compressor was still there. This is to compensate for the additional drag on the engine by the compressor.

Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by TexasHammer:
Just out of curiosity. Is the a/c switch on? I noticed that this will have an effect on the idle as it should, if the compressor was still there. This is to compensate for the additional drag on the engine by the compressor.

I love the idea! However, the A/C switch was off. Toggling the switch doesn't seem to affect the idle.

-Juan

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Dusty Bottoms Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I think there is a similar function as A/C idle bump for the power steering right?

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Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Antonio Garza:
I think there is a similar function as A/C idle bump for the power steering right?

Good one Antonio, another one to check. Looking at the factory manual, the ECU has the following similar inputs, although I don't know if all affect idle:

1V Starter (only on AT)
1P Power steering pressure
2H Federal California (select vs Canada?)
1U TNS relay, i.e. lights
2Q Water thermosensor (at back of block?)
1N/2L Throttle sensor (WOT?)
1R Cooling fan relay
1O Stoplight switch
1J A/C relay
1S Heater blower
1Q Heater thermoswitch in dash (G-03)
1V Transmission neutral and clutch switches

I know at least some of these do affect idle: turning the lights on or turning the heater blower on both increase idle. Although it seems to be momentary, after which the idle goes back down. Depressing the clutch seems to increase the idle a bit, but I think that's likely a consequence of the friction in the tranny.

Don't know why the ECU would be interested in the cabin temperature (thermoswitch.)

-Juan

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JD Morris Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Since you already verified the throttle butterfly closes, I would guess a vacuum leak. Maybe the idle control screw doesn't seal (never seen or heard of that)? If you turn off the ICV (not sure if disconnecting is sufficient) and the idle control screw is all the way in I'm guessing it should stall (hot, when thermal valve is closed). Otherwise, there must be a leak. Maybe it's still the throttle butterfly or a leak in the brake booster line or corrosion under one of the rubber caps? Was the old trick to spray carb cleaner around and look for a sudden rise in idle? How about spraying around the throttle butterfly (if you can avoid the bypass path the idle adjust screw controls)? I think I remember our throttles having plastic coatings to fully seal them that wear out allowing leaks past the butterfly. I once had that problem and swapped throttle bodies.

JD

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quote:
Originally posted by JD Morris:
I think I remember our throttles having plastic coatings to fully seal them that wear out allowing leaks past the butterfly. I once had that problem and swapped throttle bodies.

JD

Yes, the butterfly has a sealant around the OD causing it seal with the bore. Carb cleaner supposedly eats the stuff of and causes a high idle. Sounds like trying another known good TB is worth a try.

Dusty Bottoms Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I remember that now. I have reapplied this bead with my finger using RTV. Works pretty well.

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Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Thanks for all the suggestions. First, great idea Antonio! Grounding the unplugged PS plug increases the idle significantly. Unfortunately for me, this isn't my problem, as the plug which is normally connected to the PS pump is unplugged all the time.

To answer JD's suggestions: there is no air leak out of the idle screw as I can cover it up with no effect. I have the idle screw in completely, and it does feel like it's seating. When I completely block the ISC/Airvalve air supply, then engine does not die, but rather lowers the idle from 1800 to 900rpm. Brake booster is not a problem as I completely disconnected it, and idle was unaffected.

Unfortunately, the spare throttle body and ISC that I was thinking of trying are really sketchy. The ISC water passages are completely blocked with dried coolant. Not sure I can fix.

Antonio, did you allow the throttle to close on the wet RTV? Or did you hold it open until the RTV dried?

ONE REQUEST for experiment: could someone with a good idle try disconnecting the fat air hose that goes to the ISC (to the passenger's side of the throttle body) and plugging it up, and tell me what happens to the idle. Is the idle completely unaffected, or does it go down, and by how much? I found a magic marker to be the perfect size to plug up the rubber hose. You also have to plug up the tube from which you pulled the hose. Just use your finger there. You can pull the hose off and plug while the engine is running.

-Juan

[ 12-03-2009, 09:33 AM: Message edited by: Juan Pineda ]

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Dusty Bottoms Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Juan, I closed it just to see how thick it had to be but I didn't let it dry like that. IIRC, the whole inside was caked in deposit so I cleaned it...really well. I didn't realize there was a bead of stuff that was supposed to be there. I don't think I ever ran the car without the bead.

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Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Fixed! [rockband] Now the engine dies with the air bypass screw turned in completely. Sweet.

I replaced the intake gasket with no change. Wasn't a complete waste of time, as it made replacing the starter really easy.

The final solution was to swap out the throttle body and replace the gasket. I suspect the gasket more than the throttle body itself. I found that spraying carb cleaner around the gasket between the throttle body and intake manifold caused the idle to decrease slightly. Note that this is the opposite of what everyone reports should happen. But I think it actually makes more sense. What is happening is that the fluid is blocking the gap, and so reducing the errant air.

So finally, I can measure my spark advance: 17 degrees. No wonder my engine totally lays down on warm days, and is awesome on cold days!

Thanks everyone for the ideas! I learned a lot.

-Juan

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www.ArtOfRoadRacing.com Race Craft Clinic - Thunderhill - 30 Jan 2011

   

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