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Yesterday I spent a few hours on further cleaning the garage. I filled the trash barrel the rest of the way and found the spare EGR tube for the Fiero.
Otherwise, you can not tell that I did anything at all. Not from casual inspection, anyway. If you lived here and saw the garage several times a week you might see a bit of difference, but I sure as heck can't and I know what I did.
I paused in my cleaning to see how badly stuck are the nuts holding the EGR tube on the EGR valve. One took a bit of muscle, then went pop and turned with just enough resistance that it'll take a wrench to get it off; the other one is being more stubborn. It loosened slightly but was too hard to turn, and I could feel the bolt flexing, so I squirted more PB Blaster on it and left it alone. There's a way to fix the valve if the bolt breaks but I'd rather not do that if I don't have to.
Once I can get the new tube in I can then see if that's why the car was running so badly. If that doesn't fix it, then I've got a couple of other things to try--running a new ground strap to the engine block, and replacing the air temperature sensor.
Also, I want to see if the cold start injector is leaking. The thing only opens when the engine is cranking, but if it's leaking it would make the thing run rich on the rear cylinders, which is similar to the behavior I've seen. I believe I have a spare, but if I don't I can try cleaning it or maybe just block the damn thing off until I can find one cheap.
I did find the spare fuel rail and injectors. I don't remember from whom I bought them but the price was right and they look like new, so if I have an injector problem it won't take much to replace them.
The other thought: it wouldn't take much to get a PROM for the engine computer with "EGR delete" code, and then I could block off the EGR entirely--but I'd prefer to have the engine look and work in totally stock fashion, if I can. (Which is why I don't replace the ignition system with DIS, as good as it would be for performance.)
Getting the EGR tube off is the next step; then install the new one and test, and see what happens.
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I can't believe I was able to find this first-year Garfield on-line:
Somewhere around here I've got a first-edition print of the first Garfield collection, autographed by Jim Davis, and it contains (among others) that comic strip. I laughed at that one quite a bit in 1979.
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That's just about all I've got. I'm too tired to think of anything else.