Engine Running On 2 Cylinders Only?, Shaking engine!

My Engine started up fine today and about 10 minutes later started shaking and reving very low and not moving very far when I pushed the accelarator down.

I called out the AA and their guy said the car was running on two cylinders instead of 4 - he towed me back to my local garage (who were closed for the night!) but when he started up the car to park it the engine was running fine on full power!

Whats going on? he seemed to think that it may be the engine coil? and once it cooled down it was ok but because I was stuck in traffic it got hot?

Is that what it is? how much would that cost to fix in England? Thanks.

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Spinstorm wrote:

I would say you're right in that it's probably ignition related, but probably not the coil since two cylinders are firing. Could be bad plug wires arcing to the engine, could be a bad cap and rotor. Is your car old enough to have ignition points? If so then that is the most likely suspect in my mind. Your points may be not opening and closing correctly and need to be adjusted/replaced. You really should have a dwell meter to do this, but you can fake it without one....just make sure they just barely open for each point on the distributor cam.

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Im sorry I failed to mention any information about my car!

Its a 1998 Volvo S40 and has done 156,000 miles approx, and it has been serviced etc up to date as well.

As I said before when he fired it up 45 mins later at the garage it was running fine? is this symptomatic of the cause you mentioned?

And what about price? is it a big job or a simple one? thanks!

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Spinstorm wrote:

Ah.....much newer than what I had thought....

I don't know much about the newer volvos except I'm sure you don't have points. In any case I would still say it is probably spark related....other than that I really couldn't tell you much.....I don't know what kind of ignition system your car has.....

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I had the same problem with my '97 S40!!! he runs on 2 cylinders and later goes normal!!! you have to replace the transformator for the cylinders that are not working!!! they are easy to find under the engine cover!!! i payed for my about 150euro

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Drazen Pranjkovic wrote:

Those cars have 2 coils, each one does 2 cylinders. Each coil is mounted on a spark plug, with an ignition wire going to the plug that is opposite it (i.e. 1-4 & 2-3) in the firing order. If 2 cylinders are not working, then I'd try swapping the coils. If the problem remains with the original cylinders, then what triggers the coils, or the low tension wires would be the problem.

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Mike F.
Thornhill (near Toronto), Ont.
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it' the coil 100% because the wires are OK if the car works normal, but good suggestion about swapping the coils, to see, but i'm sure its the coil!!!

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and, did you had success, is the car running well, my 1998 s40 has about 180,000km, without any serious service except changing brakes and camshaft belt, filter... theese cars are AWSOME!!!

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The garage put two new coils in at a cost of 100 which was a good price it seems and so far I have had no more problems.

I hope that fixed it as they could not actually find anything wrong with the car the entire week they had it! not once did it do the same thing as when it broke down - so if it was the coils that is fixed now - if it wasn't then I guess I will find out shortly if it breaks down again!

I do have another problem with my car I am going to post a new thread on in a minute - although it does not seem a serious issue at this time I am wondering what it is!

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