89 LX 2.3L Sputter at certain RPM range


Sep 25, 2012
89 LX 2.3L hatchback.
Within the first 5min of driving, typically I notice that it will start sputtering with loss of power between RPM range 2000 to 3000RPM. Below or above I do not have the sputtering issue. After driving for 5min or more, the issue disappears. Until I let it sit for an hour or two and drive it again. And when this happens, if you have the windows down, you can smell very rich exhaust. Which obviously tells me it's not firing and burning all fuel when it happens. No colored exhaust either.
Runs alright other than this.

Example: I can drive to my parents house (12min away) and it will typically sputter shortly after leaving the driveway of my house. This happens in all gears (5 speed) between RPM of 2000 to 3000. Worst over 2500 to 3000 RPM and in third and fourth gears. If I go above or below that, it stops. If I push in the clutch, it idles fine. I can be at my parents house for an hour or so, start'er up to go home and get a couple miles down the road and it will sputter slightly. Seems like it is worse the longer it sits. Cold or hot outdoor temps don't seem to make a difference.

One time this week, after it sat for maybe a week, the sputter was so bad the entire car bucked when it lost power.

Plugs? Distributor? Injectors? Something else?
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