1989 Chevy Celebrity 89 Celebrity turns over but won't star

Tiny
KHATHARR
  • MEMBER
  • 1989 CHEVROLET CELEBRITY
Engine Mechanical problem
1989 Chevy Celebrity 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic

Okay, I'll try to give the full story here.

I have an 89 Checvy Celevbrity Eurosport Staion Wagon. It's the 3.1 Liter with fuel injection.

I've noticed before that when it's low on gas it tries to stall if I make a hard right turn, but generally it recovers after a second or two.

The power steering died shortly after I got it but I'm not really concerned about that. Additionally it won't go into gear unless it's warned up. I'm not concerned about that either at the moment.

I drove the car a couple days ago and it ran without trouble. I parked it in front of the house facing the opposite direction of usual, such that the driver's door is facing downhill. When I started it up the next morning it sounded sickly, but it warmed up okay. I put it in reverse and began to back out and it stalled. I started it back up, let it warm up a little more and then tried backing out again but it stalled again. Now it simply won't start.

The fuel was a little low so I ran to the gas station and brought back a few gallons of gas, thinking that this was the same problem I get when making right turns on a low tank. No dice. It still won't start. I checked the plugs and tried pulling the air filter and shooting some ether in there. Spark plugs are good. The ether makes it hiccup for a second but it doesn't start running.

Does anyone have any ideas about how to get this heap of scrap moving again? I'd really appreciate any advice.
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Friday, October 30th, 2009 AT 12:06 PM

11 Replies

Tiny
JDL
  • EXPERT
Welcome to the forum, I'd use a gage and check fuel pressure. How long since a tune-up? When first turn the key on, no crank, can you hear the pump run for a couple of seconds? Also, you obd1, you should be able to check codes, yourself, if there are any.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/170934_aldl_31.jpg



You place a jumper wire between the A & B terminals, turn the key on till dash lites come on, no crank, the check engine lite starts flashing, you count the flashes to get the codes. Let us know what you find.
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Friday, October 30th, 2009 AT 2:04 PM
Tiny
KHATHARR
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Thank you for responding! :)

Tune up? I usually just cuss at it until it stops acting up.

I changed the oil and filter about a 2 months ago and I occasionally give it fuel cleaner. I check the fluids regularly.

I don't have a gage but I think I've identified the fuel injection system (a black plastic drum about half the size of a basketball under the hood with a fuel line going in from the tank and one going to the engine?). I can disconnect the line to the engine from either end just by tugging on it.

I think I can hear the fuel pump running. I have to have the door closed so I can hear over the bloody warning tone, but I heard something back there creak a little bit that sounded fuel-pump-ish.

I don't know how to interpret this obd1 response.

It starts making a disturbing noise, like a lawnmower at a distance. It blinks a number of times, pauses briefly, blinks a second number of times, pauses longer, then gives another pair of blink-sets. The sets go as follows and then it starts repeating:

12
12
12
35
35
35
44
44
44
44
45
45

If my thinking is correct then those are the codes. Looking on google I see:

12 - No distributor reference pulse (diagnostic test active)
35 - IAC problem or idle error
44 - Oxygen sensor error (lean condition indicated)
45 - Left bank O2 sensor error (lean condition indicated)

There is an occasional idle problem but it's mostly cleared up from the condition it was in when I got it. I think the 02 results may be caused by the ether I was spraying in there earlier, but I can't be certain.

How can I check to see if there's fuel coming through? I can't see an easy way to disconnect the line from the engine going into the black drum and I'm not sure where the fuel comes back out of that drum unles it's the very poorly connected line that runs straight to the block.

Again, I really appreciate your help.
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Friday, October 30th, 2009 AT 3:13 PM
Tiny
JDL
  • EXPERT
Hi, I don't know how you can check for correct fuel pressure without using a gage? Is that the original engine? My info shows a 2.8 v6 for that year? One of my vehicles out front is an 88 chevy celeb, 2.8L engine. The fuel supply and return line are at the fuel rail?


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/170934_89_celeb_1.jpg



Do you see C8 in the diagram, underhood, driverside firewall, That is a test connector for the pump, if you use a jumper wire from battery voltage to connector, use inline fuse, you can run the pump without the key, just for testing. Some of the national brand autostores will rent tools, including fuel pressure gage. I haven't rented anything in a long time, last time, I had to put up a deposit, got it back when I returned the tool or whatever it was, don't remember.
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Friday, October 30th, 2009 AT 3:55 PM
Tiny
KHATHARR
  • MEMBER
There was a 3.1 available for the 89 and 90 models in an attempt to boost failing sales. I'm confident that this is the original engine as it looks to have the same amount of cruddiness as the rest of the car and the side of the car says '3.1 Multi Port FI' just like the block.

I can't see the part you're indicating. Here's a look at the monster:


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/428623_left_1.jpg



http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/428623_right_1.jpg



Can you see it there anywhere?
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Friday, October 30th, 2009 AT 4:48 PM
Tiny
JDL
  • EXPERT


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/170934_89_celeb_strut_tower_1.jpg



Behind the driverside strut tower, at the wiring harness on my vehicle. I had to move the harness a bit to find it. A red wire with electrical connector, nothing plugged into it. The layout under your hood appears to be the same as mine. I don't own a digital camera at present. Nice pictures.
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Friday, October 30th, 2009 AT 6:59 PM
Tiny
KHATHARR
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I believe I've located it. I tried running it to voltage and I get a little spark, so it's completing a circuit.

Is there somewhere under the hood where I can open the line to see if there's anything getting up to the engine? I'd think the fuel vapor canister, but the line coming from the tank there doesn't seem to want to come off.
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Friday, October 30th, 2009 AT 7:49 PM
Tiny
JDL
  • EXPERT
Using the jumper, can you hear the pump run? You really need a fuel pressure gage, it screws onto the schrader valve at the fuel rail.

You can take the fuel filter loose, use fuel line hose on the line coming from tank, aim into proper container, use the jumper or cycle the switch, see if any gas comes out. Use inline fuse on the jumper if used, in case something is wrong with the circuit or pump.
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Friday, October 30th, 2009 AT 8:00 PM
Tiny
KHATHARR
  • MEMBER
Okay. You're not gonna believe this one.

I got my dad to come over and help me out for a minute. I got under the tank and had him connect the test lead and I heard the pump making a gurgling, lapping sound. So I cussed a little and opened up the schrader valve and pressed it a little with my thumbnail and sure enough air came out.

He had brought his jeep, so I had him tow me up the hill and I rolled down to a level surface and ran the pump for a minute. Sure enough it started right up. Apparently the $5 of gas I put in wasn't enough. :|

It sounded a little ill so I put in some injector cleaner and $15 more gas and it seems to be doing okay. From now on I park with the pump on the downhill side.

Thank you very much for your advice and for your patience. Now that I've got a working vehicle I can go to labor ready tomorrow and start generating some income. Once I have two pennies to rub together I'll be sure to make a donation. Lol, if I ever get back on my feet maybe I'll try to tackle some of the other wonderful quirks on this rolling scrapheap.

Thank you! :)
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Sunday, November 1st, 2009 AT 2:33 PM
Tiny
JDL
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Sounds like you got it going your way, good job.
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Sunday, November 1st, 2009 AT 2:43 PM
Tiny
FAISAL_ACOUSTIC
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Hi, I just saw this post and I have the same car and I was wondering if anybody knows where this hose connect to. It's a vacuum hose and when I bought my car it wasn't connected to anything so I think it's causing problem.
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+1
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 AT 12:27 PM
Tiny
JDL
  • EXPERT
It may go to the vacuum modulator on the transaxle?
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Saturday, December 24th, 2011 AT 9:00 PM

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