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'96 Sportage P0303 Mechanical or Electrical? #976855 12/18/09 02:38 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 7
P
PatrickB Offline OP
Need a Spot
Hi All,

My '96 2.0liter 4x4 Sportage with 55,000 miles is running on 3 cylinders. Dealer says a valve is leaking causing the plug to foul with oil and not fire. Dealer wants $2,500.00 to repair.
I decided to take a look and found plug 3 loose, not even finger-tight after dealer had car. Plug is sooty, not oily like I expected based on dealer's description.

Can you help me troubleshoot please? I don't want to remove the head and replace/reseat valves if the problem is electrical. I don't want to touch the electrical and potentially damage it if the problem is mechanical.
Is there a way to prove that the plug is firing? I was thinking of removing the plug, holding it to earth and seeing if it sparks when I turn the engine over.
The ignition coils and plug wires were replaced last year when engine ran on 3 cylinders after a rain storm. I noticed a little oil near plugs 3 and 4, but I don't believe enough to cause mis-fire problems that I've read about from others.
Is there a way to prove that a valve is leaking? I was thinking of a compression test, but don't want to spend money on a compression tester from AutoZone if it will not correctly diagnose the problem.

Do you perhaps have a soft copy of the technical manual for the '96 2.0litre Sportage 4x4 please? I have been using kiatechinfo.com but would prefer something that I can more easily search. If so, please send to me at kia@GoVIRTUAL360.com [large files are not a problem]

Thanks in advance.

Regards,

Patrick
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Re: '96 Sportage P0303 Mechanical or Electrical? [Re: PatrickB] #976856 12/18/09 05:16 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 616
Iron Offline
Rock Warrior
A P0303 is a misfire in the #3 clyinder, the Kia Tech site list the possible causes as:

Faulty spark plug or wire
Faulty coil (pack)
Faulty oxygen sensor(s)
Faulty fuel injector
Burned exhaust valve
Faulty catalytic converter(s)
Running out of fuel
Poor compression
Defective computer

A compression test will tell you if there is a pressure leak in the clyinder, but not if it's from a valve not seating correctly, a burnt valve or piston ring issues. You can get a compression tester for around $30

I had my entire top end rebuilt, all 4 intake, and 4 discharge valves replaced and re-seated, new guides, skimmed the head, new head gasket, water pump and timing chain etc! for less than $2,000 at my Dealer and thats Canadian $$ so that would be around $1500 to $1800 USD.

You can make your own spark tester, to see if a spark is getting to the plug, and for the actual cost of a new plug I wouldn't run the old ones. Sprk Tester

A tell tale sign that a valve is not seating correctly is a ticking sound from the upper engine, excessive oil and or gas comsumption, black soot in the tail pipe and black or gray smoke in the exhaust. Not all these signs would be present at the same time unless both a intake and discharge valve were faulty!

If it were me, and it was a few years back, I'd make a spark tester to see if the coil pack was firing, if it was then I'd change the plugs (and the seal) If it wasn't I'd change the pack then change the plugs and see what happens!


08' Jeep Wrangler
64' Plymouth Sport Fury 383
58' Triumph TR-3A
Re: '96 Sportage P0303 Mechanical or Electrical? [Re: Iron] #976857 12/18/09 06:30 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,224
Everet Offline
Body Damage is Cool
I don't believe you have to buy a compression tester, AutoZone has a program where you put a deposit down on a credit card and they let you use the tool then return it in good condition, and they remove the deposit hold on your card.
If KIA thinks it's a valve, (I would ask how they came to that conclusion, and ask for #'s) you should be able to see that real fast with a compression test.
Ask around (friends, family, autoparts counter people) for a trusted mechanic if you aren't comfortable doing the work yourself.
I just had my mechanic send a head out for a valve job, then r&r the head, change the H2O pump, timing belt, oil & coolant change, plugs, coils, wires, basically everything and all together it was less than $850. I did supply all the parts so that meant that there was no additional markup.

If you live around Los Gatos, I'll send you his info.

Unless you still have a warranty, I would steer clear of dealers because of cost and their lack of knowledge from what I have read here in This forum and heard from others elsewhere.


Good luck and keep us posted.

Everet
<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/patriot.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cheers.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />

Last edited by Everet; 12/20/09 09:26 PM.

WWW.UPYOURKIA.COM White 96,4x4, man.hubs,K&N filter,3row rad, twin 16" fans, 3" body lift, 4" UPYOURKIA LIFT KIT,265/75 16 TreadWrights on DC2 wheels,140 amp alt. dual batts.
Re: '96 Sportage P0303 Mechanical or Electrical? [Re: PatrickB] #976858 12/19/09 05:08 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 4,497
Axe Man Offline
Kia Moderator Emeritus
If the plug was loose you most likely had a compression leak past the plug which could cause a misfire and the sooty deposit on the plug itself.

Perform the simple steps first. Change out all 4 spark plugs with new ones. At the very least replace the plug wire on cylinder 3 because it's probably damaged from the blow by. At most change both coil packs and both plug wires.

If it fixes the misfire code you just saved almost $2300.


1998 Sportage - Gone.
2004 Honda Civic Coupe.
2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara - She got it.
Re: '96 Sportage P0303 Mechanical or Electrical? [Re: PatrickB] #976859 12/20/09 06:27 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 616
Iron Offline
Rock Warrior
After thinking about it for a while, I think the first thing I would do, would be to ask the dealer why he think's it's a valve issue, what tests did he do etc?


08' Jeep Wrangler
64' Plymouth Sport Fury 383
58' Triumph TR-3A
Re: '96 Sportage P0303 Mechanical or Electrical? [Re: Iron] #976860 12/20/09 07:39 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,396
DennisThompson Offline
Body Damage is Cool
I will always preach this, If and when you change you spark plugs ALWAYS use anti seize compound on your plugs. If you don't all the heat a cool down cycles will destroy the threads on your aluminum heads. That could be why you had a loose spark plug. I would start with the plugs first, do a resistance check on your wires and coils, then do a compression test. If you didn't have oil on the pulg I'm sure it is somthing electral.

Good luck, Dennis


95 Sportage, gone but not forgotten.
98 Jeep TJ, 4" Zone springs with RC Long arms, Ford 8.8", 4.56 gears & Detroit locker rear, D30, 4.56 & Detroit Trutrack front.
Re: '96 Sportage P0303 Mechanical or Electrical? [Re: Iron] #976861 12/21/09 02:10 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 7
P
PatrickB Offline OP
Need a Spot
Thanks for the help Iron. I proved that there is a good spark at cylinder 3. I put in a new plug and that made no difference.

Regards,


Patrick
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Re: '96 Sportage P0303 Mechanical or Electrical? [Re: Everet] #976862 12/21/09 02:17 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 7
P
PatrickB Offline OP
Need a Spot
Hi Everet,

Great idea about the compression tester. Once I proved that there's a good spark at cyl 3 I went to AutoZone and loaned their's with a $40 deposit. I found that cyl 3 is only at 30 pounds/sq. in. where cylinder 2 is at 75. I tested by removing ht from cylinders 2 and 3 and then using the starter to turn the engine over for about 5 seconds.

I spent today trying to get the cylinder head out. I found I need a special tool to remove the cylinder head from the block.

Regards,


Patrick
-------

Re: '96 Sportage P0303 Mechanical or Electrical? [Re: Axe Man] #976863 12/21/09 02:20 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 7
P
PatrickB Offline OP
Need a Spot
Hi Axe Man,

Thanks for the help. I found the HT coil and cable to look very good. The coils and leads were replaced about a year ago so I believe them to be good, hope I'm not wrong after spending most of today working on getting the cylinder head out.

I now see why they charge so much... nasty job on this vehicle. :-)

Regards,


Patrick
-------

Re: '96 Sportage P0303 Mechanical or Electrical? [Re: DennisThompson] #976864 12/21/09 02:24 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 7
P
PatrickB Offline OP
Need a Spot
Hi Dennis,

Great advice on the anti-seize for the plugs. My number four plug is seized. I was lazy last service and sent it to a dealer. I'm afraid of pulling the head-thread if I force #4 out, so I've left it for now.

Regards,


Patrick
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