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Thread: Random bucking and stalling

  1. #1
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Random bucking and stalling

    Having a little trouble with the van I just bought. 1995 Trans Sport, 3.8. Prior to this, the check engine light would come on randomly when starting the van. Shutting it off and restarting would turn the light off. Recently though, the engine will cough while driving and turn the light on. Last night, when going to a job, it stalled while idling in my parking spot, then when I was waiting at a traffic light, it died and wouldn't restart for a while. This of course upset the people behind me, but what could I do? I got it started again and moved to a nearby parking lot, where it stalled twice more while just idling. I tried tapping on the MAF sensor and the coil packs to see if they're at fault, but I got no immediate response.

    I'm a little baffled. I know it's not transmission-related, since it happens both in drive while moving and in neutral while stopped. I don't know how to read check engine codes from a '95. The "paperclip trick" probably doesn't work, huh? I don't really have any money to pay for a diagnostic at a shop. Any ideas?
    Daniel
    Kaiser George IX: 1996 Buick Century Special wagon. 214-SFI. 201k miles. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. Transmission time, again. First documented LX9 swap in an A-body! Click here to read my build thread!
    Goldilocks: 1992 Buick Century Special sedan. 204-MFI. 132k miles. Current DD.
    Susana: 1993 Buick Century Custom wagon. 204-MFI. 121k miles. Garage ornament. Waiting for an LR4.



  2. #2

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    Check the wiring harness....the section between the engine and the radiator where it loops down by the starter. The harness at that section is exposed to the elements and is a source of corrosion. Pull back the plastic sheathing over the harness and take a look at the individual wires. If one is broken or swollen, cut out the bad section splice in a new section.

  3. #3
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    Go to an Autozone or somewhere they will scan it for free. It could be a number if things.
    -Andy

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    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Have Auto Zone scan it - defore you do anyting else.

    If I had to guess I would say ignition module, or crank sensor may be getting intermittent.

    David

  5. #5

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    I don't trust those scans....I had virtually the same issue in my '95 and the code came back on cam sensor and egr valve. It was several corroded wires in that section of the harness. Bad wires gave bad codes.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    Autozone won't scan it unless it's '96 or newer—basically it has to be OBD2. That's why I asked about the paperclip.
    Daniel
    Kaiser George IX: 1996 Buick Century Special wagon. 214-SFI. 201k miles. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. Transmission time, again. First documented LX9 swap in an A-body! Click here to read my build thread!
    Goldilocks: 1992 Buick Century Special sedan. 204-MFI. 132k miles. Current DD.
    Susana: 1993 Buick Century Custom wagon. 204-MFI. 121k miles. Garage ornament. Waiting for an LR4.

  7. #7

    Pontiac6ksteawd's Avatar
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    The can scan it, as long as it has a OBD2 plug. If it has a OBD 1 plug, then its a OBD 1.5, which is still scannable, but you have to buy one for it.
    Brian - Carpe Diem

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  8. #8
    Senior Member Prospeeder's Avatar
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    Try unplugging the maf and starting it, *most* cars will run with it unplugged, Iv diagnosed quite a few MAFs by just unplugging them and driving them
    "Pontiac, Of Course"
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pontiac6ksteawd View Post
    The can scan it, as long as it has a OBD2 plug. If it has a OBD 1 plug, then its a OBD 1.5, which is still scannable, but you have to buy one for it.
    Actually, some GM cars used the OBD2 plug even when they were still OBD1.5

    The van is OBD1.5 with the ALDL, But you have to have a cable and tool capable of reading the GM 1.5..... Some will read the Odd ball 94-95 GM's other will not..

    I think there is another issue with this van, but it does need to be scanned to at the very least point us in a good direction.... This could be anything from a bad PCM, to a bad wire... Crank sensor or the EGR.... But we need to know what the PCM is seeing and can hint at...

  10. #10
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    Van died on the freeway today. Freeway Service Patrol was kind enough to confirm that there was no spark whatsoever from any of the coils while cranking. I made it to a junkyard and grabbed a module and a set of coils. Hopefully that will cure this, and it's not, like, the crank sensor.
    Daniel
    Kaiser George IX: 1996 Buick Century Special wagon. 214-SFI. 201k miles. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. Transmission time, again. First documented LX9 swap in an A-body! Click here to read my build thread!
    Goldilocks: 1992 Buick Century Special sedan. 204-MFI. 132k miles. Current DD.
    Susana: 1993 Buick Century Custom wagon. 204-MFI. 121k miles. Garage ornament. Waiting for an LR4.

  11. #11
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke George V View Post
    ....no spark whatsoever from any of the coils while cranking....
    Crank sensor, probably. Each of the 3 coils is a separate system. They share a crank sensor, power supply, and SOME of the logic circuitry in the DIS module. At cranking speed the ECM is not involved in producing a spark.

    David
    Last edited by turbokinetic; 09-17-2010 at 02:03 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    No problems to report. I replaced the coils and ICM as a set from a dead '92 Bonneville, and drove it most of the day for work without incident. I'm glad it doesn't seem to be the crank sensor; I've heard it's something of an ordeal on this engine.
    Daniel
    Kaiser George IX: 1996 Buick Century Special wagon. 214-SFI. 201k miles. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. Transmission time, again. First documented LX9 swap in an A-body! Click here to read my build thread!
    Goldilocks: 1992 Buick Century Special sedan. 204-MFI. 132k miles. Current DD.
    Susana: 1993 Buick Century Custom wagon. 204-MFI. 121k miles. Garage ornament. Waiting for an LR4.

  13. #13
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    Actually its not an ordeal... Remove the belt, yank the crank bolt.... Use the proper puller to remove the balancer... and the Crank sensor on 93-09 3800's are all set it and forget it as they do not need any adjustment.. Reassemble and be happy... Air tools do make it a lot easier tho...lol

    Glad you got it fixed, the ICM is another common problem with high miles... Been through a couple myself..

  14. #14
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    And I'm a liar. As I said before, the replacement parts I got were from a '92 Bonneville. Yesterday the van failed to start at all, so I figured that the parts I bought were already nearly dead. I just got back from the yard, having procured a set from a '99 Park Avenue, slapped 'em on... and nothing. Does this mean it really is the crank sensor?
    Daniel
    Kaiser George IX: 1996 Buick Century Special wagon. 214-SFI. 201k miles. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. Transmission time, again. First documented LX9 swap in an A-body! Click here to read my build thread!
    Goldilocks: 1992 Buick Century Special sedan. 204-MFI. 132k miles. Current DD.
    Susana: 1993 Buick Century Custom wagon. 204-MFI. 121k miles. Garage ornament. Waiting for an LR4.

  15. #15
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    Do you have spark at all? The ICM actually controls the spark for the start, if you have no spark then the Crank sensor may be the culprit...

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