1988 Oldsmobile Ciera car died suddenly and wont start back

Tiny
TETRA021
  • MEMBER
  • 1988 OLDSMOBILE CIERA
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 98,000 MILES
I have a 1988 oldsmobile cutlass ciera and just recently my car died and wont start back up. It all started when I got home from work and pulled into the driveway. I got out of the car for about 5 seconds with it idling, and it just died suddenly. I tried starting it back up but no luck. When I would keep trying to start it I noticed a small amount of white smoke coming out of my air intake and air filter and I also smell a slight amount of gas from the intake manifold
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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 AT 2:40 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
To determine if its fuel or spark problem do below and comeback with some results this is where we start the diagnosis

Get a carb cleaner and spray into the carb or the throttle body on an EFI. Did it start and die? If not disconnect a sparkplug wire or 2 and ground it to the engine -have helper crank engine over-do you have a snapping blue spark? If so-you have a fuel related problem, check the fuel pressure to rule out the fuel filter/fuel pump/pressure regulator and listen to the injector/s are they pulsing or hook up a noid light. No snapping blue spark continue to troubleshoot the ignition system-power input to the coil/coil packs, distributor pick-up coil, ignition control module, cam and crank sensors- Note: If it doesn't apply disregard it
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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 AT 2:56 PM
Tiny
IMPALASS
  • EXPERT
Hello

If I understand you correctly, the car died just sitting there idling. When you say you tried to start it, the starter was turning over but it wasn't starting? Or you turned the key on, the dash light came on but nothing happens?

I am going with it was turning over (correct me if I am wrong) - you noticed the white smoke out of the intake.

Have you been loosing any anti-freeze? How much is in there now?

If the engine is turning over, then remove the oil filler cap. You need to be able to see inside the valve covers to see the lifters. Have someone try and start the car - the belts should be spinning. While they are spinning look inside the valve cover and see if the lifters are moving up and down.

If you are able to pull codes that would be great. You could go to Auto Zone or O'Reilly's and for free they can pull the codes to the car. Most important. Once they check your codes, if they find something and you don't get it fixed and need to get back with us, please make sure you tell us exactly what the code was, number and all. Example, if the code was E0568 O2 Sensor bad. Then make sure you give us all of that. While there for free also they can bring their tester out and check your battery, alternator and starter.

If not - let me know what you find out with the above. Also, please be specific on your car. There are several to choose from. Is your just a Ciera, or is it a Ciera Cruiser? It is a V6 but is it a 2.8L or 3.8L. Please be specific here.

Thanks and let me know
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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 AT 2:58 PM
Tiny
TETRA021
  • MEMBER
Yeah it just died about 5 seconds after I got out and its a 3.8 v6 cutlass cierra brougham vin 3.

I know im not losing antifreeze tho. I was thinking it was the mass air flow shorting out and causing the smoke in the air intake, its a vane type sensor.

I did check for engine codes however with a paper clip since its an OBD1 system and I never got any codes other than code 12 and ive never had the SES light come on while driving either. It still comes on with the key in the on position tho.

And also I notice a slight smell of gas from the engine after trying to start it a few times.

The car was sitting for about 5 months with a dead battery, but I got the battery charged and started it right up about 3 weeks ago and its been running fine until now
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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 AT 3:46 PM
Tiny
IMPALASS
  • EXPERT
Are you sure you are getting spark to the plugs?

Can you remove a plug wire and have someone start it and have something in the plug end near something metal and see if the spark jumps from the plug wire to the metal.

Did you have a chance to check in the valve cover when cranking?
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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 AT 4:23 PM
Tiny
TETRA021
  • MEMBER
Well I found that my problem might be simpler than I thought. I pulled off the spark plug wires from the coil pack terminals to find out that 2 terminals are completely covered in corrosion. I also found that the wires on this car are original and probably shot anyway. Hopfully when I replace the wires and clean the terminals itll start.
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Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 AT 5:49 AM
Tiny
TETRA021
  • MEMBER
Well I found that my problem might be simpler than I thought. I pulled off the spark plug wires from the coil pack terminals to find out that 2 terminals are completely covered in corrosion. I also found that the wires on this car are original and probably shot anyway. Hopfully when I replace the wires and clean the terminals itll start.[/Quote:d545afde77]
never mind, my timing is screwed up. I guess im taking it to the shop. Thanks for your help though
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Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 AT 7:14 PM
Tiny
TETRA021
  • MEMBER
Oh yeah I do have spark, I used a screwdriver to test it. But I noticed that when I have the throttle wide open when I crank the engine the air intake tube right at the throttle body seems to expand like a balloon. I was told by my uncle that the timing could be screwed up. I found that you cant adjust timing on these cars and that its computer controlled. So now im thinking that it could be the crankshaft position sensor.
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Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 AT 10:12 PM
Tiny
IMPALASS
  • EXPERT
Hello

Here is the info on the Crank Sensor


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/248015_1_30.jpg




http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/248015_2_22.jpg




http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/248015_3_19.jpg



Disconnect battery ground cable, then remove sensor 3-way connector.
Raise and support vehicle.
Rotate harmonic balancer so slot in disc is aligned with sensor, Figs. 30 and 31.
Loosen sensor attaching bolt, then slide sensor outboard and remove through notch in sensor housing.
Reverse procedure to install. Adjust sensor so that an equal clearance exists on both sides of disc (approximately .030 inch), then tighten attaching bolt and re-check clearance. Readjust as necessary.
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Thursday, November 6th, 2008 AT 7:45 PM

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