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Thread: 1990 cutlass ciera sl check engine light problem

  1. #1
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    Default 1990 cutlass ciera sl check engine light problem

    its a 1990 oldsmoblle cutlass ciera sl 3.3L

    just started happening a couple days ago. what happens is probably about when it shifts into second gear around 45mph ish the check engine light comes on and then when i slow down usually to 30 mph it shuts off. a few times i noticed it also started like vibrating when i would accelerate every once in a while. any help with this issue would be greatly appreciated



  2. #2
    Senior Member SCREECH's Avatar
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    You'll need to post your code(s) for us to help you further. Thankfully, being a pre-'94 A-body you can get the codes from your ECM easily with no special tools in a couple minutes. Get yourself a paperclip. That's about all the "tool" you'll need. Under your dash on the driver's side, somewhere just below where the steering column goes into the dash, you'll find your ALDL (assembly line data link) connector. There are two "pins" next to each other, usually in the top right corner of the ALDL connector, pins A & B. They should be fairly easy to spot as most of the other slots will be empty - no electrical connector in them, except for one or two. Bend your paperclip into a "U" shape so that you can stick one end into the A & B connectors of the ALDL. Then turn your key to the ON position, but do not start the engine. Your cooling fan will come on, and your check engine light will begin to divulge any stored error codes in your ECM.

    It will "flash" each code 3 times, so don't worry if you don't catch one on the first time around. If your ECM is functioning properly it will start by flashing 12 three times, which just indicates that the ECM is in diagnostic mode. The check engine light will flash once, pause for a second, then flash twice in faster succession. That makes a 1 and a 2, or 12. After it does this sequence three times it will begin displaying the stored codes, if any are present - if it pauses for 2 or 3 seconds and then flashes 12 again, this indicates that it has not stored any codes. Let us know if this is the case. Otherwise, with pen and paper handy, write down any codes that are displayed other than 12. For example, if it displays a code 42 it will flash four times in quick succession, then pause, then flash twice in quick succession. Once it has finished displaying any stored codes it will flash 12 once again and start the process over. Make note of any and all codes and report back to us.

    For additional info, see these links:
    http://www.troublecodes.net/GM/
    http://www.troublecodes.net/GM/89-91_33N_mfi.shtml
    http://www.screech.ws/
    01 Chev 2500HD (4x4), Vortec 8100, 496ci BBC, 3.73 gears, CCSB
    98 Chev K2500 (4x4), Vortec 350, 4.10 gearing, ECLB 155.5" WB
    98 Chev C2500 (2wd), Vortec 350 w/SFI kit, 3.73 gears, ECLB 155.5" WB
    89 Olds Cutlass Ciera W45 Int'l Coupe
    76 Olds Cutlass Supreme Brougham BBC
    95 Pontiac Trans Sport SE (US Model), 3800HO
    92 Pontiac Trans Sport GT
    92 Pontiac Trans Sport SE, S1 3800SC L67 - R.I.P. 2010-09-09

  3. #3
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    So with this you can solve any problem but my guess would be hard knock
    Quote Originally Posted by mechanizeddeath
    I mean there's a lot more than can go horribly wrong with car than when your iPod dock stops working due to a solder job so bad that my dog could do better.
    " Since little or nothing is known about the principles involved in magneto reluctance, diagnosing faults can be a problem ... "  & " treat all other problems as if they do not exsist . "

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    if i counted correctly it was a code 27

  5. #5
    Senior Member SCREECH's Avatar
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    Well, the standard description on the GM Trouble Codes listing of the links I posted says "3rd gear switch was closed or grounded for 10 seconds when vehicle was in 3rd gear, or drive gear was open when engine was first started." I don't know any more about it at the moment, but I will get you more info for it from my factory service manual as soon as I can. I've got one for my '89 Ciera, but it will be the same info for the '90. Still, if you are planning on keeping the car for any amount of time, it would be beneficial for you to check on eBay for a factory service manual for your car. It is the best repair and diagnosis manual you can buy for your car, bar none. It was written by and for the people that manufactured and serviced your car when it was new. They're usually a couple inches think and include wiring diagrams, detailed descriptions and troubleshooting procedures for every possible trouble code for your model, etc. It's quite an invaluable resource, and is usually one of the first things I buy for a new vehicle (well, one that's new to me, anyway!).
    http://www.screech.ws/
    01 Chev 2500HD (4x4), Vortec 8100, 496ci BBC, 3.73 gears, CCSB
    98 Chev K2500 (4x4), Vortec 350, 4.10 gearing, ECLB 155.5" WB
    98 Chev C2500 (2wd), Vortec 350 w/SFI kit, 3.73 gears, ECLB 155.5" WB
    89 Olds Cutlass Ciera W45 Int'l Coupe
    76 Olds Cutlass Supreme Brougham BBC
    95 Pontiac Trans Sport SE (US Model), 3800HO
    92 Pontiac Trans Sport GT
    92 Pontiac Trans Sport SE, S1 3800SC L67 - R.I.P. 2010-09-09

  6. #6
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    what about a manual like from haynes or chilton.


    i saw a few service manuals on ebay. ill check that out this weeked. thanks

  7. #7

    Pontiac6ksteawd's Avatar
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    Stay away from Haynes and Chilton.. They might be able to repair your car in minor detail, but when you get down to it, a manual that was specifically written for your car, vs a manual that was written about a whole generation of cars. Which would you rather have? FSM is the way to go..
    Brian - Carpe Diem

    I dont have to love my president, or any god, to love my country!!
    More people have died in the name of "God" than in all wars combined thruout history
    90 Pontiac ASC McLaren Turbo Grand Prix 128k - 01 Pontiac Aztek GT AWD 96k - 04 GMC Envoy SLT XUV 121k

  8. #8
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    yeah ill get the service manual and check it out. i used to have 1997 chevy lumina and used the haynes manual for repairs if i had the tools and was able to do it myself and the book didnt always help and thats were friends who were mechanically inclined came in lol.

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