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I have a Kia sorento 2003, so 3 months ago the car was running fine. My dad did a valve cover gasket replacement on it since it was leaking oil. He replaced the valve cover gasket and left the intake manifold off for like a 4 weeks with the hood closed. Ended up doing the job 4 weeks later and it crunk and turned back off. Then just stopped working on it and put it on the side of the street for two months. Then he gave it to me and now I’m trying to resolve the issues, the car catalytic converter was stolen. But it should still start without one in my experiences. I tried cranking when I first got it and it just cranked sounding like it wants to start and smoke coming out of the exhaust. backfires every now and again when your cranking the smoke smells like gas and sometimes smells like gas but not as strong.

So what I’ve done: Cleaned the spark plugs and reused them. Air filter was filthy I took it out and tried to start it without it and still the same problems. Redid my fathers work to make sure he didn’t miss anything still the same problem. Fuel pump only comes on when you try to start the car but not in acc.

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  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! It sounds like there's a problem with timing. I don't know what you'd check directly to see what could be wrong there. What engine is in the vehicle? Commented May 17, 2023 at 22:27

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Someone may have mixed up the spark plug wires. If so, some of the cylinders won't get spark at the proper time and will simply pump gasoline vapors out the exhaust. And if the spark occurs when an intake valve is open, you could get untimely smoky burning of vapors, with smoke coming out the throttle body. That would be a completely messed up timing.

Use the diagram below to verify the routing of the three passenger-side spark plug wires, which travel behind the engine and are connected to coil packs on the driver's side of the engine. In summary:

Passenger side front cylinder connects to driver's side middle cylinder.

Passenger side middle cylinder connects to driver's side rear cylinder.

Passenger side rear cylinder connects to driver's side front cylinder.

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