Hi car experts, I'm hoping you can help me fix my car. Below is a description of my problem, and things I have already tried--thanks, Beth.
My well maintained 1998 Buick
Century, with 160k miles, is idling funny, but only when warmed up. If I start the car when it is cold, starts fine, runs great. If I start the car when it is already warmed up, like after filling up with gas, then it might not start on the first try. And once it does start easily, or may start and die, and once I get it started the idle goes way up and down. I've tried to fix it myself as I don't have a lot of money, and would like the car to keep running for a few more years. After reading, and trying lots, I came to the conclusion, since it runs so well at other times, that it might not be a serious problem, but a sensor that is giving the car bad info. I read to unplug sensors
one at a time to figure out which one might be bad. When I unplug the MAF sensor, the problem goes away--I felt pretty proud that I had figured out what ails the car. I bought a new MAF, installed it, but the problem is still there. Aside from the MAF being bad out of the box, what might be my real issue? Could another sensor or problem be hidden when I unplug the MAF?
What I've tried:
Car has good compression. I tried what I saw on youtube, and sprayed carb cleaner on all the hoses while it was running, to check for vacuum leaks, this did not change the idle speed, and visually, despite their age, they all look good. I have put in new spark plugs and wires. The check engine light is on, but the folks at Autozone say it is only the evap
system--I tried a new fuel cap, that didn't make it go away. Could the evap
system cause idle problems such as this? And if so, why does unplugging the MAF make the problem go away?
The only problem that exists with the MAF unpluged, is when I first put it in gear to drive, the car loses power when I go to step on the gas, but only the first one or two times, after that car runs totally fine--is this what the car should act like with the MAF unplugged? But if I plug in the MAF, the car doesn't lose power when I first step on the gas, but once heated up and I restart it, it does the crazy idle.
Any help or thoughts are appreciated,