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Thread: 1989 olds cutlass ciera wont start

  1. #1
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    Default 1989 olds cutlass ciera wont start

    I have a 1989 Olds cutlass ciera with a 3.3, distribuless ignition. It will not start, it is getting fuel (almost caught the car on fire), it has plenty of spark, has new spark plugs, new control module, all three coil pack are firing. It acts like it wants to start but doesn't. I also chage the crank sensor with a new one. How can I check the timing on this car with no distributor or timing marks, without tearing down the front end and checking the timing chain? Any help is greating appreciated.



  2. #2
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    Ignition timing isn't adjustable, and I dont believe there are timing marks on the harmonic balancer (atleast I don't remember seeing any when I replaced mine.) Try starting it with the pedal to the floor. This will put the ECM in clear-flood mode and stops fuel but continues spark. If it run's, it's getting flooded.

    If you have spark (make sure its good at the plugs! you could have fouled them just by flooding it repeatedly) and fuel, I would suggest removing the Oxygen sensor to eliminate the possibility of a clogged exhaust (restricted cat converter.) If it runs with the 02 sensor out you've the found problem.

    Next step is compression check. If you have a valve issue, or piston rings or anything internal it will show up here.

  3. #3
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    I tryed holding the pedal to the floor it tries to start but will not. Its getting great compression. I haven't tried the O2 sensor thing yet. But as of now its a no go. I have changed plugs twice because I thought the first new set was fouled.
    Thanks for your suggestions. Any others would be greatly appreciated.

  4. #4
    Senior Member dcjredline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CieraSL92 View Post
    Ignition timing isn't adjustable, and I dont believe there are timing marks on the harmonic balancer (atleast I don't remember seeing any when I replaced mine.) Try starting it with the pedal to the floor. This will put the ECM in clear-flood mode and stops fuel but continues spark. If it run's, it's getting flooded.

    If you have spark (make sure its good at the plugs! you could have fouled them just by flooding it repeatedly) and fuel, I would suggest removing the Oxygen sensor to eliminate the possibility of a clogged exhaust (restricted cat converter.) If it runs with the 02 sensor out you've the found problem.

    Next step is compression check. If you have a valve issue, or piston rings or anything internal it will show up here.
    Yup, bet anything this is it. Sounds EXACTLY like what I did with my STE a couple years ago. Try it!!!! LET US KNOW!
    1989 Formula 350, 2002 Bonneville SE
    DON
    "The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised."

  5. #5
    Senior Member TonyBuick's Avatar
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    Ive never heard of an exhaust clogging to the point where the vehicle wont start. The best way to check for a clogged cat converter is to take it off and shake it and see if anything comes out. if it was the cat coming apart it would have run like ass before it got to the point of being fully clogged. But if you have the cat removed and it starts youll know.Is it No Crank No Start or is it Crank no Start?
    TonyBuick- (92 Century Custom T-Type,92 Century Custom PARTS CAR, and 88 Buick Electra Park Avenue)

  6. #6
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    The cat CAN clog to where the engine can't start. If there is a missfire and unburned fuel/air mixture is entering the exhaust system, it can burn in the catalist. This heat will melt the catalyst material and the pores will clog up and melt together.

    Removing the oxygen sensor provides the exhaust gases another way to escape without going through the catalytic converter. If the engine starts like this (O2 sensor port wide-open) then the cat is clogged and needs to be repaired or replaced, depending on emissions testing in your area.

    Does air come out the exhaust when it "tries to start?" If there is good airflow through the exhaust pipe whenit is cranking - then the catalist is not plugged.

    How bad is it flooding? Is fuel leaking out the exhaust manifolds? Can you explain more about how it almost caught fire? I think you have an engine control system problem causing the engine to flood out and not start.

    Thanks!
    David

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    Also ohm check the injectors. One shorted injector can cause a no start and it's becoming a common problem on these cars after 20 years. If you have an injector showing less than 10 ohms unplug it and see of it starts. They should be around 12 ohms. Check all of them, they're easy to check on the Buick motor, much easier to check than the Chevy motor with the plenum that covers everything.

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    I sprayed either in the intake plenum, car would not start. It cranks but will not start. It backfires through the intake and catches the fillter on fire. i haven't tried to take the O2 sensor out yet (we have had bad weather here in NC and I haven't had a chance to work on it outside--no garage) On my next clear day i'm going to try the suggestions. the first one being to take the O2 sensor out and try starting it. Then go from there. Thanks to all for everything. I will post again when I figure out what works.

  9. #9
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    Any updates on the solution to your problem?


    I think my cat is a possible reason for my occasional start and instantly stalling issue. And mileage hasn't been the best either.

    The only definite test would probably be a pressure check. (Since the Cat is still original, being welded in).

    Any other tests that I can perform?

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