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Intermittent Sportage Problem #1104323 05/06/18 09:44 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 5
Squatchout Offline OP
Need a Spot
Hi All,

I really need some advice. I'm getting to the end of my rope with my 1995 Kia Sportage. I love the car and I would say it works trouble free for 2-3 months at a time, however since the first week I purchased it, I have experienced a major stalling issue with some minor hiccups in between.

The minor issue - sometimes as I'm driving, there is a brief but noticeable drop in power as the car is running steadily or accelerating. It feels as though I just took my foot off the accelerator for 1/2 a second. Sometimes I wonder if I did. Or it feels like I hit a small dip in the road. I believe this is related to the major issue but I don't know.

The major issue - every few months as I am driving along or accelerating, the car bucks pretty violently as if the engine just shut off and then restarted or dropped in rpm and then picked up again. This may happen a few times in a few seconds. Usually, the car stalls out completely or within a few seconds of this happening. If I start it up right away, it will sputter and barely have enough power to pull to the side of the road. Sometimes the check engine light comes on, sometimes not. In every case when this has happened, I let the car sit for 10 minutes before starting it back up and babying it home. Then for three months or so it will run like a clock. I'm neither rough nor gentle on the sportage, and though initially I thought this issue might have something to do with a loose connection or failing part that was somehow aggravated by bumps in the road, I don't think this is the case - at least with bumps or rough rough being the cause.

I'm a very amateur mechanic without much ability to effectively test parts. I have a multimeter and some specs from the manual, but nothing ever seems to line up like it should anyway. So yes, I've thrown lots of parts at it based on the trouble codes I've gotten and repair forums.

Here's what I've done:

New spark plugs

New spark plug wires

Fuel Filter - replaced

Fuel Pump - Initially I thought it might be the fuel pump, so I replaced it.

I've tried to clean up all the grounds in the vehicle. I believe I did all of them.

Replaced my battery at the recommendation of a shop test.

The trouble codes I got after one stall indicated the MAF (cleaned old one first), Upstream O2, IAC valve and Vehicle Speed Sensor. I replaced each of these. The IAC I got used.

I noticed the EGR valve was done, so I replaced that.

I replaced the PCV valve.

I installed new hoses on anything that looked questionable. The hose clamp holding the air intake to the throttle bottle was very loose. I removed this, cleaned the throttle body and reattached the air intake and all the hoses.

I checked for vacuum leaks and did not find any.

My air filter is in good shape.

The last thing I replaced is the Throttle position sensor. I thought I had it figured out, but four months later, same issue.

I had the valves adjusted recently and the car passed it's emissions test immediately afterward.

The fun stuff I did includes upgrading the tires to all terrain 235/75/15s as suggested on this site. I also added some Warn Locking Hubs. Jeez, this thing is fun to drive offload : ) I've been considering lifting as most of the suspension probably needs replacing anyway, but I can't do any upgrades until I figure out the intermittent problem.

After a major stall today, I tried wiggling the connector to the TPS, but it made no noticeable difference while the car was idling. I also wiggled the attached injector wires a bit. Nothing. Tapped on the relay box a bit just in case. Nothing.

Any thoughts in the next steps? Maybe the car is haunted....

Seriously I appreciate any info anyone can provide. I want to believe in this pos car, I really do : )

Attached Files
kia1lc.jpg (144.36 KB, 6 downloads)
Last edited by Squatchout; 05/07/18 05:29 AM.

'95 Kia Sportage "Turbo" 235/75/15
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Re: Intermittent Sportage Problem [Re: Squatchout] #1104336 05/14/18 05:28 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,221
logansportage Offline
Body Damage is Cool
When was the last time you changed the timing belt?
Mine does this too every morning, but only right after being started and not allowed to warm up first.
My timing belt is one tooth too far advanced and my problem started then I replaced my timing belt.
I need to reset my timing belt.
Your belt might be stretched and needing to be replaced.
If you have not changed it, it is recommended to change it every 60,000 miles.
You could take it to a shop that has a “dino” and have them check the timing while under load to see if they can see if the timing is too advanced and is causing the problem.
If your KIA is an automatic, it might be going into “limp” mode after experiencing this problem and letting it sit for 10 min might be letting it reset.

Good luck and let us know what you find out.

White 1998 4 door KIA Sportage 4x4 w/Eibach 2.5 spring lift and TJ rear coils, 4crawler 1.5 body lift, Monroe Sensa.trac shocks, Bosch 4+ plugs, Eaton LSD, 31x10.5x15 BFG KM tires, 2.5 cat back exhaust w/SpinTech muffler
Re: Intermittent Sportage Problem [Re: logansportage] #1104337 05/14/18 07:13 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 5
Squatchout Offline OP
Need a Spot
Hey thanks for the input!

Well I've never had the timing belt replaced myself, but the previous owner was it's first and only owner. He said that it was replaced at 60k, then again after it failed but miraculously survived at 120k. Currently it's around 142k. Considering that this issue seems to occur only a couple of times every 3-5 months would you still think that this is a timing belt issue?

Those in between times are great and the car seems to run perfectly then. After replacing the ignition coil, camshaft sensor and crankshaft sensor, it is still hiccuping a bit - just a brief hesitation a couple of times a day but enough to keep me off the interstate as I'm expecting it to stall out at any time. After reviewing all the electrical quirks it has, I'm thinking it may be a short in the wiring or a poor connection somewhere. I started writing them down and realized - jeez this thing is screwed : )
The horn works sometimes. Maybe on the first try a bit but not the second.
I have to jiggle one of the connectors on the steering column to get my dash to light up after fiddling a bit with the dimmer switch.
I got some codes indicating MAF, O2, and vehicle speed sensor were faulty but none were the problem as I discovered after replacing them.
The speakers sometime buzz and sputter a bit when the stereo is on - like just randomly and then they're fine.
The rear drivers side tail light sometimes doesn't work. It's been a while but sometimes.
The ROOM fuse burned out on me once. I replaced it. Seems ok.
The tachometer used to cut out randomly. It's been a while since that happened.
The dimmer switch - wow that thing, I have to jiggle it constantly to get the dash lights on at night. I tried switching it with another salvaged one and had the same problem. Maybe I'll try that one again.
The left front speaker doesn't work.
The drivers side front passenger window button puts the window down but not back up again. Same for the rear passenger window.
The defroster doesn't work.

Obviously I have few requirements for the vehicle that I drive - but driving it is one. I can live with that other stuff. So I've cleaned up most if not all of the grounds and today went through most of the engine connectors and tried spraying some automotive electrical connector cleaner in them. I realize that's a long shot and maybe anathema to some folks, but I don't have much to lose at this point. I'm going to recheck the grounds tomorrow. And maybe look for some connectors down low or beneath the car that may have gotten oil on them. I don't know if I can justify taking her in for a pro diagnosis.

Thanks again for your input. I'm trying to get as much info as possible so I appreciate it.

Also, it's a manual transmission.

Last edited by Squatchout; 05/14/18 07:19 AM.

'95 Kia Sportage "Turbo" 235/75/15
Re: Intermittent Sportage Problem [Re: Squatchout] #1104338 05/14/18 01:43 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 387
4runnernomore Offline
You mentioned replacing the fuel pump, did you have the tank thoroughly cleaned at the same time? I have heard in the past of forein particles in fuel tanks preaching the pickup causing similar issues as you describe, car stalls out, foreign matter resettles and car restarts like nothing is wrong.

Could be worth checking out at no cost to you just time over a weekend.

I had similar issues with the dash lights, ended up been the combination switch on the steering column, replaced that and all good afterwards no more issues with dash lights that also affected my tail lights.

Have you traced the loom to make sure their are no rubbed through wires causing the car to short out? Constantly read about our Kia's with electrical gremlins. Do you know some else with one that you could try a different ECU to see if that fixes the problem.

It is a shame as they are a fantastic little run around, I love mine to death and have modded it as far as I can without losing drive ability and keeping it legal for the road. As my youngest son uses it for his daily driver most of the time and I use it for highway work occasionally it must be reliable above all else. My biggest problem with mine is the fuel economy, it is woeful.

Good luck with it and I hope you find out what it causing the electrical gremlins, make sure you post up your findings.

Cheers, Chris,

97 Sporty, snorkel, K&N filter,chipped, ext forks, 40mm Dob Springs, KYB struts, 35mm Jeep TJ Springs, RAV 4 OME shocks, Kaiser Locker 5.38 R&P's, 1&3/8 body lift, 245/75 R16 D674's Sports steering wheel, bullbar, extractors & 2 1/4 exhaust engineered.
Re: Intermittent Sportage Problem [Re: Squatchout] #1104339 05/14/18 06:58 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 5
Squatchout Offline OP
Need a Spot
Hi Chris, Thanks for adding to the conversation! Your ride sounds like a killer : )

I have considered the possibility of debris in the tank, but when I removed the fuel pump I took a peek inside the tank and was surprised at how spotless it was. I didn't see any debris and honestly it looked as if it was brand new. It's possible that I missed something but I also ran the tank down to near empty without incident on one trip and I'm assuming any debris would have had an effect. Again, I cant be 100%. I am currently going through the wiring right now - my project for the week. I'm double checking all my grounds (sanding if needed), cleaning the connectors and searching for exposed wiring. Are there any specific places you know of where the wiring is often stressed or rubs?
If I go through all the electrical and still have an issue, I'll reconsider the tank for sure.

I don't have access to another ECU unless anyone knows someone in the Portland, OR area with an extra. I saw that the "U pull it" has a 2000 in the yard. But I assume I'll need a similar model 1995?

Speaking of the ECU - I have yet to really get into the wiring in that area but I understand that the ECU is grounded via the G103 location which is the plate attached to the G104 ground but does this also attach under the dash somehow?

If the main or fuel pump relays are faulty - would that be an intermittent problem?

Maybe I'll check to see if I can use the combo switch off the 2000 in the junk yard.

Thanks again for your help!

'95 Kia Sportage "Turbo" 235/75/15
Re: Intermittent Sportage Problem [Re: Squatchout] #1104340 05/14/18 11:39 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 387
4runnernomore Offline
The relays must be OE and not aftermarket. Plenty of writ ups with people having issues with aftermarket relays


97 Sporty, snorkel, K&N filter,chipped, ext forks, 40mm Dob Springs, KYB struts, 35mm Jeep TJ Springs, RAV 4 OME shocks, Kaiser Locker 5.38 R&P's, 1&3/8 body lift, 245/75 R16 D674's Sports steering wheel, bullbar, extractors & 2 1/4 exhaust engineered.
Re: Intermittent Sportage Problem [Re: Squatchout] #1104341 05/16/18 04:22 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 5
Squatchout Offline OP
Need a Spot
I don't know that I solved any problems yet, but the kia seemed noticeably peppier this evening. In fact the radio even sounded better to me. I revisited G100, 101, 102, 104, 200, and 201 with some sand paper and dielectric grease. Honestly I never before thought to check out what was happening under the battery tray or the three individual grounds at G103. The plate beneath the battery was all heavily painted. It seemed like a bad way to ground the battery. I mean this thing has been running for 23 years, so it can't be that right? Anyway I took the dremel sander to the body and the plate that connects to the battery ground (G105?) and then made sure to disconnect each of the three G103 wires and sand that plate and each connector a bit before reattaching. I have previously done this for G200, 201, 400 and 500 as well. I didn't realize there was a G401 (defroster), so I did that too. I also used some connector cleaner for just about every accessible connector near the engine including three fuel injectors. Then I did some inside as well - mostly under the dash.

After putting the battery back in the car, I drove around a bit and something felt strange. After a few passes around the block, I parked and the CEL came on. I turned the car off. Then restarted. 30 seconds, then CEL. Then I remembered removing one of the plugs I put on a random port on the intake manifold. After replacing this, the car ran well. As I said before, it felt noticeably more responsive. Of course, since it is often months before I get this intermittent issue as described earlier it will be hard to know if I helped the situation.

Here's a few questions -

Would voltage drop due to poor grounds and/or bad connectors cause something like the fuel pump to momentarily stop working and then start again? Or cause, I don't know, say the ignition coil to quit for a second?

On a few occasions when the car has lurched, the engine kept running but it was sputtering in a weird kind of way - it felt like a bizarre electrical thing with the ignition. Could a poorly powered fuel pump cause this?

Finally, what's with the random port on the intake manifold? What's that for? It's very close to G104. Seems odd that it's there.

Chris, I picked up some relays from the PickNPull yesterday. I haven't tested them yet, but I will. The main and fuel pump relays in the car are the yellow ones I've seen online. They say "kia" so I'm assuming these are OEM. But just in case, I have these others. I suppose if I determine that the salvaged ones are ok, it will be worth a try to switch one out at some point if it's still acting up - just to see if that makes a difference.

Last edited by Squatchout; 05/16/18 04:27 AM.

'95 Kia Sportage "Turbo" 235/75/15

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