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Old 08-09-2012, 01:03 PM   #1
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Default Problem with 02 Alero

My wife has a 2002 Alero with 3.4 liter engine. About a week ago she told me the check engine light was on and the car was a little hard to start and seemed to be running weird. I scanned for code and got P0301. I re-set the check engine light and drove the car the following day and the check engine never came on and I scanned it for codes and got nothing but I could feel the car seemed to be missing or something. Here;* where it starts to get confusing. The next morning I started the car to get the a/c cold while sitting in car the check engine light started flashing, which I know can be bad news. I turned tha car off and scanned for codes and got nothing. Started car backup and the flashing check engine light never returned. Car drove the same way with what seems to be a slight miss. I want to change spark plugs and wires but can't get the wires off from the back plugs as they won't budge no matter what I try so any help with this problem is appreciated. Yesterday when I left work and started the car the check engine came on right away and stayed on the whole way home, I again scanned and again got the P0301 code. I re-set the check engine light again. Started car today and the check engine started flashing and I once again shut it off and scanned for codes and got nothing. Started car again and no flashing check engine light just like before. I did not drive the car to work today. One other strange thing while the car seems to have a miss or something, I swear it seems like it'* getting better gas mileage than normal. Sorry for the long post but I wanted to make sure I gave all info I could. Any and all help and suggestions are greatly appreciated. This site is a Godsend.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:32 PM   #2
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P0301 is cylinder #1 misfire. When was the last time you did a tune up?
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:36 PM   #3
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You have a misfire on cylinder one. Most likely cause is a bad spark plug or a spark plug wire that needs replacing. Use a spray bottle of water and mist the area in the dark with the engine running. Signs of blue sparks indicate a bad wire.

Depending on when the last time you changed them was, I would put in a new set of plugs and wires as a good maintenance step, and the problem may go away. If not, let us know and we will tell you what to check next.

Do not drive the car when the CEL is flashing, or replacing plugs and wires may be the least of your worries.
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:01 PM   #4
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I've only owned the cars for 2 years. The wires on it are Packard brand. Any tips on how to get the rear spark plug wires off as they won't budge.
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:06 PM   #5
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If your going to replace them, then just yank them off. But if your just testing it, #1 cylinder should be on the front side, not the back side.
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:30 PM   #6
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Info I have shows back plug closet to passenger side and the wire hooked up to Number 1 coil runs to that plug.
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:45 PM   #7
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We always have to be aware many of our members are on a tight budget and we try to suggest the least expensive approach. If you can afford it, you should be changing all the plugs and wires.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:11 PM   #8
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I plan on changing both but I'm really having trouble with the rear plug wires as they won't budge and I don't want to rip the wire fromn the boot. I show the number one plug as the rear closet to passenger side, is this correct? Tips on removing those wires are greatly needed.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:20 PM   #9
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nope should be front right. coils are labeled find the one thats labeled #1 and follow it back. you should be replacing all plugs and wires. so grab the set and plugs, then rip the wires off with pliers it wont matter at that point. just be sure to put the plugs and coil ends together with dielectric grease
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:30 PM   #10
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meant front pass sorry
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