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Check engine light is on. Code is misfire 3 different cylinders and random misfire. I replaced plugs and no difference, cannot find a vacuum leak. Is there an easy way to check the coil on Plug wires without shocking yourself or damaging them by trying to arc the plug against the engine? I just don't want to replace all if I don't have to as their around $200 for the set. Any help appreciated. They are the original plug wires with 155k miles
 

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Check engine light is on. Code is misfire 3 different cylinders and random misfire. I replaced plugs and no difference, cannot find a vacuum leak. Is there an easy way to check the coil on Plug wires without shocking yourself or damaging them by trying to arc the plug against the engine? I just don't want to replace all if I don't have to as their around $200 for the set. Any help appreciated. They are the original plug wires with 155k miles
Did you try to swap coils to different cylinders and see if the code changes?
 

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If 3 out of 4 cylinders are getting random misfire, I would think that swapping coils and wires around might be somewhat inconclusive... at least difficult to logically determine if it's a 'bad part' issue, and which parts are bad.

What I'm trying to say is that if ONE cylinder were giving random misfire, it would be easy to swap coil packs to see if the problem followed it, but with 3 out of 4 giving random misfire, I don't see how swapping coils around is going to tell you much of anything.

In this case, it would probably be better to get a hold of a 'known good' coil pack for reference and swap THAT in and out on various cylinders.

I think this sounds more like a fuel issue...
 

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MM 2005 EX, AT southwest WI
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At 155k I guess we're assuming the valve clearances have been set. Is the idle speed normal and steady with no stalling?
 

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Yeah... could be leaking and/or burnt valves too.

Compression and leak down test are in order.
I would follow Jeff's suggestion, more towards the leak down test. I had the same issue head gasket was leaking. However a number of things could cause the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
At idle the car shakes and tries to stall. Valves have never been adjusted. They are the original coils. Could I pull the plug wires one at a time and see is engine stays same or misses worse to try to diagnose without hurting something like we used to do in the old days.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This my dad's car. Just trying to make safe for him. I do not have a code reader. I had them pull the codes at WalMart.
 

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At idle the car shakes and tries to stall. Valves have never been adjusted.
Have a shop do a CYLINDER LEAKDOWN TEST before you waste any more time with the ignition.

Unlike the 'old days', your car does not have a distributor or 'spark plug wires'. The COILS (one for each cylinder) are under the cover on top of the engine.

Pulling them one at a time is not advisable, IMHO.

Get a leakdown test done and if that's all good, then go from there.
 

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By the way, on our cars it's a fairly simple procedure. It shouldn't take a tech more than an hour. If they want to charge you big bucks (like over say $100-$125) walk away and find another shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Econo lube n tune did a test and 3 cylinders have less than 75% compression. They said I need a valve job and head gasket for $1,300.00. Does this seem right? Or can I have someone just adjust the valves? They said it's not piston rings. Any. Help is appreciated. Could I do it myself. I have adjusted valves on my Harley. I asked them if they could just adjust the valves and they said they do the head gasket whenever they do a valve job.
 

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3 cylinders have less than 75% compression
That's all they told you?

Adjusting valves is NOT a "valve job".

So they did a compression test only I guess.

Leakdown is something more than that. It would allow diagnosis of leaky valve, and/or head gasket.

While it's very remotely possible that adjusting the valves will 'fix' your car, it doesn't sound likely to me. When you have low compression in three cylinders, it means something more than an adjustment will fix.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Econo lube n tune isn't really a good shop for testing these items. I took it there hoping it was just a coil over plug wire. But, they tested good. I will take to my regular shop and have them test a little further. The leak down test. Econo wasn't interested in doing the work. I have a more reputable shop I can have them do a diagnosis and go from there. Thank you for all the help.
 

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Yeah, I wasn't going to say anything about your choice of shops... ;-)

Be prepared though... I am afraid that you are not going to like what they tell you.

If it's just the head gasket, and not any burnt exhaust valves, then consider yourself lucky.
 

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Strategy? If I were doing this myself and was pretty much commited to fixing it one way or another I might do the following:

Leakdown test to try to rule in or out headgasket. If the headgasket is implicated go directly to a complete valve job. If not:

Then, pull valve cover. This has to be done for a complete valve job of course.

Quickly check and set the exhaust valves using the valve adjustment thread pointed out above.

Repeat the compression test. Either you win or lose at this point, and the only extra labor invested is the actual setting of the valves and an extra compression test. Presumably plugs are out already for the leakdown.

If you win, set valves carefully and button it up. If you lose, continue with the complete valve job.

See any big holes in this? Just my cheap self thinking...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Sounds good to me. I will have the shop do a leak down test and use those results to guide my next step. I basically used Econo lube n tune to lead me in a direction. The diagnostics of the ignition and compression test was free. It save me some money as I was going to buy coil over plug wires and give it a shot. I used them before on the same thing for my Jeep Wrangler and that time it was just plug wires. Thanks.
 
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