EGR Problems and Solutions??? 97 Camaro 3.8
This has developed into a very bad situation, and financially we are unable to combat it all, concindering a Catalytic Converter is $200 installed and a new EGR Valve is $250 just for the valve, so I need to try and find out a way to make absolutely sure before spending anymore money scanning/guessing if this is what's happening.
Basically the car idles rough, but doesn't die. It has never stalled, only the hesitate and lurch (And what feels like a misfiring engine.) Acceleration is near non-existant, and reaching even 55MPH is a chore if even possible (Which it isn't at times it appears)
2 Error codes get returned on the engine, Catalytic Converter and the EGR Valve.
Now from my understanding of the EGR Valve part, it wouldn't cause the car to be unable to go over 30 or more MPH. If it is stuck open it would cause stalling or the engine to die at idle, which doesn't happen. The car doesn't stall or die, it does however idle rough. It's the lack of ability to reach speeds that bothers me most. And if the EGR was stuck closed the car should potentially run fine, correct? But would more than likely develop the knock or "ping" because of the excess heat... Which also doesn't happen. There is no knock or ping, and the car obviously won't drive fine.
Now what the Cat can contribute too I'm more sketchy on, so I don't really know there.
The other odd part is, if you disconnect the neg terminal to clear the engine codes from the computer and get the Check Engine Light off. The car will start running perfectly fine again as if nothing was wrong for a few days until the light comes on and then its a gradual return to the previous issues. (Not a sudden return, it happens over time getting worse as it lasts.)
So the main question is. Is there something else going on (That doesn't have a code) that could be taken care of cheaply that could be causing this issue and making the EGR and Cat call bad? (Although Cat probably is for sure, there is a definite rattle from the undercarriage). I've heard of carbon buildup on the EGR. How would you clean the electronic EGR Valves in the 97 3.8 Camaro?
Is there any cheap DIY method of checking the eletronic EGR Valve on the 97 Camaro's to see if it definitely bad or just blocked (Or some other issue?) I pick things up easily and retain what I hear a lot, but I freely admit I am no mechanic.
Which of these parts is the most vital to be replaced (Since we are flat broke heh) that is more than likely responcible for the more serious aspects of the issue? I can deal with the rough idle (And to some degree performance loss, as long as I'm not damaging the engine) but not the inability to reach higher speeds, or even drive the thing as it has become almost undriveable. Is it possible to leave in a bad EGR Valve for a while without damaging the engine since it is more than likely not stuck closed (Leading to detonation and engine stress), or can it be safely disconnected completely with the aformentioned detonation/knock but for all intents and purposes normal driving without severly damaging the engine. (Basically how serious a problem IS the detonation/knock that comes from no EGR Valve/Stuck EGR valve on damaging the engine?) If so, how can this be done?
Sorry, long post, I know. We are kind of desperate though. I could give you horror stories of the last 7 years heh.