What could be causing the wandering miss in my Dodge Mirada?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1980 Dodge Mirada with a 318 cubic inch engine. It has a wandering miss during idle, with or without accessories on. The cap and rotor were changed recently. I am getting spark from the plug wires on both ends. I tried changing the timing to stop the wandering miss, but had no luck. Do you have any ideas?

RAY: Is this a Dodge Carmen Mirada, Gary? The one with all the bananas and the strawberries on the roof?

TOM: Actually, if you've checked your spark, and it's OK, it's likely that the wandering miss is being caused by your carburetor. If the carburetor is misadjusted, and fuel/air mixture is too lean, not enough fuel would be getting to the cylinders. So every once in a while, one of the cylinders wouldn't have enough fuel to fire. Because it's caused by a mixture that's too lean, we call that a lean wandering miss.

RAY: My brother and I are both married, but our Producer, Doug Berman, is often seen looking out the window of our office, trying to find a lean, wandering miss.

TOM: Anyway, Gary, you should start by having a professional check out the carburetor. If it's adjusted and functioning properly, get someone to put the car on a scope. There may be something you missed in the electrical system--like a bad wire or a weak coil--and the scope will help you find it. Good luck.

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