Vacuum leak or idle air control problem. To locate a vacuum leak many automotive repair shops have a machine that generates an inert non flammable low pressure smoke that looks similar to cigar smoke. The intake manifold is sealed off, and smoke is put into the engines intake manifold. The smoke then fills the engines crankcase and if there are any vacuum leaks from gaskets, hoses, or housing smoke emits from the source of the leak. Some mechanics will use propane or aerosol carburetor cleaner, with the engine running they will spray the cleaner or propane around the intake manifold and vacuum hoses. A leak will cause a "lean mixture" condition, when the flammable fuel (carburetor cleaner or propane) comes in contact with the source of the vacuum leak the engine idle speed will raise as the engine has received "fuel". this method of finding a vacuum leak works but is not recommended as it can easily cause a fire.
Well I have seen a couple of these cars do what you are talking about. First, is the check engine light on and codes for timing issues ? If so I bet you need and exhaust cam pulley. If not then my guess is that the idle air bypass is not working correctly