1996 Pontiac Firebird Ignitions problems

Tiny
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  • 1996 PONTIAC FIREBIRD
Engine Performance problem
1996 Pontiac Firebird V8 Two Wheel Drive Automatic 108k miles

Bought 96 trans am 3 months ago and had to do some repairs, new radiator, new water pump, distributor, spark plugs, wires. Basically I got the car running. No problems what so ever. 3 week ago we had a huge thunder/rain storm coming to town and on my way home I rant into a couple water puddles but the was no problem, I made a stop, shut the car down bought what I needed and left, after I started the car and was about to take off the car died, it just died like when someone in the Matrix get suddenly unplugged. Anyway I got the car starting and I made it home and it died again right when I was pulling in the driveway. I figure something got wet so I decided to leave it set. The next day the car started normally and went to work, 5 hours later the car wouldnt start and I was getting a p1371 code. Ever since that day I have manage to start the car a couple of times, Driven the car around the block, flooring it to high speed on the back road near my place, let it idle for as long as possible, but the car always dies, the same way I mentioned above. I have cleared the computer many times, sometimes the code comes back right after the pcm has been cleared. So right now the car is just sitting because it not realiable and I have run out of options. I have installed a new ignition coil, a new ckp sensor and the last thing I put in was a brand new wire harness that connect the opti-spark to the ECM after a tech at the dealership told me that the harness might be a proble if the resistance was off range. Also 1 out of 10 times I getthe car started it dies like if it was chocking and I smell gas (i figure the plugs arent getting a charge) So my question is, Did I have bad luck and the sensor inside the distributor got damage with the water and I need to replace it again? I cant drop more money into the problem without getting results.
thanks for your help.
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Thursday, June 19th, 2008 AT 2:52 PM

14 Replies

Tiny
DOCFIXIT
  • EXPERT
After p1371 code did you replace Ignition Control Module?
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Thursday, June 19th, 2008 AT 3:37 PM
Tiny
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No I didnt, that would have been the final thing I would do before replacing the distributor. Should I go ahead and get a new one?
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Thursday, June 19th, 2008 AT 3:52 PM
Tiny
RHALL77
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First I would check and see what your loosing when it dies. Are you loosing injector pulse, spark, or fuel pressure. Figure this out then you will be in the right direction. Let me know what u find
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Thursday, June 19th, 2008 AT 3:53 PM
Tiny
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How exactly do I do that? And wouldnt teh computer give a code for any other problem?
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Thursday, June 19th, 2008 AT 3:56 PM
Tiny
RHALL77
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Not really. These are the basics for the car to run. To check spark you need a spark tester hooked up to the spark plug wires. To check injector pulse you need a noid light connect to you fuel injector connector for one of your cylinders. And for fuel pressure you need a fuel gauge to see if you have fuel pressure at the fuel rail. You can find this stuff at your local parts store. Trouble codes can help but this problem, I think you need to start with the basics and see what you are loosing before you start to throw parts at it. That could get expensive.
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Thursday, June 19th, 2008 AT 3:59 PM
Tiny
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Well it way past expensive lol but I will do that and get back to you. Is gonna tae some time since im kinda low on funds. Thanks for your help
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Thursday, June 19th, 2008 AT 4:21 PM
Tiny
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Forgot to ask. The key must be on one during these test right? Do I test all the spark plug wires? And where in the fuel line do I put the fuel gauge? By the way. I forgot to mention, I installed a brand new fuel filter when I did the repairs.
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Thursday, June 19th, 2008 AT 4:26 PM
Tiny
RHALL77
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Check what ever is easier for plug wires. You will need to crank the starter to check for spark. The fuel pressure test there should be a port on the fuel rail. For that all you will need to do is turn the key on and see what it reads
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Friday, June 20th, 2008 AT 2:45 PM
Tiny
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Today is Sat Jun 21. I went down and decided to give the car a try (havent bother to start it for a week now) the car started rought but it started, then it died again after 35 secs running. I kept trying to start it and it would try to start (like it was choking and not getting a spark) after a few atempts the engine died and tons of "smoke" came out of the intake. This is the exact thing the car was doing before I replace the distributor the first time which it didnt do anymore. Im really considering converting the ignition system to a LS1 type and use coils. Should go ahead and do this or should I try and replace the Ignition control module (which is the only thing that is original parts) and see what happens?
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Saturday, June 21st, 2008 AT 12:31 PM
Tiny
RHALL77
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Are you sure you have the firing order right.
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Monday, June 23rd, 2008 AT 8:01 AM
Tiny
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When I did the first repairs back in March I did cross two of the cylinders wires but the auto hobbyshop tech connected the computer to the car and found out the misfire issue, So I lifted the car again and check the wires and connected them the right way ( I had 4 and 6 crossed). The car ran without a problem and the computer showed everything was in order (firing sequence etc) after that the car never died or gave me any problems until the saturday of the storm.
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Monday, June 23rd, 2008 AT 3:54 PM
Tiny
RHALL77
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Did you check the distrubitor for water
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Monday, June 23rd, 2008 AT 3:59 PM
Tiny
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Well I installed a new ICM and the car didnt start until the third time, and it was running excellent, shut it off and it would start any more. I notice that a few times I heard the crankshaft moving a couple times. And the air pump/blower start when I turn the ignition to on and runs again when I stop trying to start the car. I have a Dynaspark distributor at home right now so I hoping that will fix the problem. I did get another code besides the p1371. But it was also about the the opti-spark sensor missing pulses. So we will see.
Thanks for your help. I will be back onec the distributor is installed.
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Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 AT 3:42 PM
Tiny
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Thank for all your help. I found out that the raplacement distributor that i had installed 3 months ago was wet and had develope some kind of corrosion inside(here is a picture) I installed a dynaspark distributor and the car has been running fine.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/203727_SNV11117_1.jpg



http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/203727_SNV11114_1.jpg

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Friday, July 25th, 2008 AT 10:24 PM

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