Lean On It

1 own a '00 Celica with basic bolt-ons that include an intake, header, and exhaust. The car has 125,000 miles and has been flashing a lean "cylinder bank #1" check-engine light (CEL). My friends and I sprayed soapy water around the engine while running to see if there's a vacuum leak, but the results were inconclusive. The engine doesn't stall, but I'm beginning to suspect the problem lies with a faulty

02 sensor or a bad catalytic converter. I figured I would ask the pros before buying any replacement parts I might not need.

-Ahmad Carter Duluth, GA

The first thing to do is check the engine's compression with a compression tester. While the spark plugs are out, you should also check your plugs and make sure they are all a similar color. You say you're getting a "cylinder bank #1" code, but there's only one bank on an inline-four engine. If it does really say "bank ft1" then it is likely the short-term and/or long-term fuel corrections are beyond the ECU'S ability to correct. You can view these OBDII parameters in real-time if you have a capable scanner. This could be because of the modifications you made to the car, or a bad oxygen sensor, bad MAF sensor, or other mechanical issues like a collapsed catalytic converter or a vacuum leak. Unfortunately, there's no way to correctly diagnose the car via email, so I would recommend you take it to a knowledgeable mechanic for a proper diagnosis.

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