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I'm looking for any comments or ideas on all the issues regarding my dad's '89 3.8l wagon before we bring it to the mechanic. Hopefully we will have a better idea of what may be wron with it when we bring it in. Here's a quick story on the car: The car he had died. His friend happened to mention it to a neighbor who was about to donate his old car. He offered to give his worn old '89 wagon to my dad to use until he found a good car. My dad took the car and then found it needed a new cat to pass inspection, which he was told would cost over $1000 to put in a new cat. My dad found a mechanic who knew what he was doing, and got the new catalytic converter, plus some other needed work. After this, the only problem the car had was over 150000 miles, not so perfect maintenence, rear brake piston leak, bad left CV joint, power steering that worked but didn't feel like it, feedback through the steering, and an annoying shudder when you came to a stop. this sounds like a complete basket case that should be parted out. Now almost all those problems are gone, only the steering and the shudder remained, although ome new BFG touring T/As on the front reduced the feedback. The car was pretty good, and I'd be bringing up the idea of checking out the bushings and joints in the suspension to see if replacing some of those would eliminate the feedback and the shudder. Now I will stop and get to the problem.

My dad took the battery out to turn over the engine of the motorcycle he and his cousin were trying to fix. Somehow, my dad wasn't paying attention to what he was doing when he returned the battery and put it in backwards. As he touched the positive wire to the negative terminal, the diodes in the alternater blew. Aid auto wanted $80 for a new one, so I stopped at the junkyard to pick one up. After poking around and paying $20 for one from a 3.0l wagon and switching the pulleys, the car seemed to work fine. Then we noticed electrolyte coming out of the battery. My dad got a new battery, a bigger one of the correct size. That leaked electrolyte too, so we replaced the voltage regulator after finding that it was fried too. Then the car seemed okay, only the tail lights and dims didn't work, and replacing the fuses only left us with a bunch of burned out fuses. The car still ran fine, until one morning it wouldn't start. This is were I really need help, because my dad tried to spray starter fluid into the engine, and it didn't start. He's done this successfully once before with this car, but this time it didn't fire. It has spark, so I imagine that it should start. The only thing I can think of is that air is somehow not going into the cylinders. My dad sprayed it into the throttle body, which he held open. The car cranked fine, but didn't fire. Any ideas on what could be wrong? It isn't so easy for us to go pick up another car now, especially after spending a few thousand dollars making this one run nice, Otherwise we'd just dump it. I didn't like the idea of progressivly fixing up a basket case, we didn't even plan to, it just sort of happened, and was working out well. Any ideas on the problem are greatly appreciated.
 
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