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Thread: 1990 Cutlass Ciera S 3300 stalls at stops

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    Default 1990 Cutlass Ciera S 3300 stalls at stops

    After sitting for a day the car will start and idle rough, but as it warms up the idle gets rougher. Eventually it stalls, even in park. In traffic it stalls any time you let off the gas. To get it to start again you have to press the gas pedal.

    I have been looking for vacuum leaks. Smoke comes out the rear valve cover, and I also hear a metallic hissing on that side, both when the PCV and breather tube are blocked. So maybe the hissing is a valve stem seal?

    If the valve cover leak is the issue then I would expect the PCV valve to limit the severity of that issue. Of course it has to be fixed, but I want to have a strong diagnosis before wasting any money.

    I replaced the top coilpack which was not giving spark. Previous mechanic had overtightened the coilpacks, and I suspect the cracking plastic this caused ruined the coil encapsulation.

    When the car is running and I take off the oil cap, I hear a chuffing noise from one cylinder and there is blow-by. The drivers side front engine mount has completely disintegrated and it missing from it's housing.

    It had flash codes 12 and 34. 34 is MAF sensor signal low. I tested it with a multimeter and the output is around 30Hz which seems right, although the idle is so choppy it goes all over the place. The code 34 could be from when I unplugged the MAF sensor to try and troubleshoot.

    With the key off I heard the IAC motor clicking for a while, would this indicate an IAC problem? It was covered in carbon but with a shiny oblong wear mark through the carbon on one side, so it at least appears to be working.

    I've considered a TCC issue, but I don't know where exactly the TCC is on this car.

    The car has basically been used as a backup car and outdoor shed. A year ago the alternator died and then the battery went. The alternator failed due to fatigue in the rotor coil at the coil bobbin strain relief. I think it was just wound too tight, so I carefully soldered the wire back as well as I could, and now it charges and works like new. And so at least for the moment I can try and get the rest of the car working.

    I plan to rent a fuel pressure gauge, and maybe do a pressure drop test on the injectors to see if they are all working right. Both belt side injectors have been replaced but the others have not.



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    I should have mentioned I heard the IAC clicking through a stethoscope while it was on the engine.

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    Senior Member 85_Ciera_Rebuild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keantoken View Post
    I want to have a strong diagnosis before wasting any money.
    Vehicle maintenance has been neglected for years, and we don't know what Tom, Dick, and Harry twitched, nor if mice/rats have chewed on various wires.

    >Eventually it stalls

    There is an idle relearn process, but I don't know specifics for your engine.
    https://www.a-body.net/forums/showth...control)-valve

    Throttle plate must be adjusted to OEM's specs, PERIOD. And air passage way to intake must not have mice/rat nest, etc., in this passage way.

    See Turbokinetic's comment: https://www.a-body.net/forums/showth...ll=1#post65089


    Also, if cat is plugged...stuff happens

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    Thanks for your help. Can I assume that since the exhaust doesn't sound muffled it probably isn't clogged? It's pretty boomy. Or do I need an exhaust pressure gauge?

    Exhaust usually smells like gas.

    What would be a normal reaction to disconnecting one of the injectors? I notice sometimes it seems to help, but it's not always the same for a given injector. It doesn't at all behave like this:

    https://youtu.be/kPbZEpQRP5o?t=55

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    I would use a multimeter and check all the coil packs, see how they compare. Pull the spark plug wires and check ohms between the posts. You said they were all overtightened and cracking. Gas smell in the exhaust is due to either too much gas or not burning the gas that's there. Could be lots of things but checking the other coil packs is a good place to start. Check when cold and when hot. Coil packs and ignition module often have problems that get worse with heat. Heck it could even be the plugs or wires themselves, I've had issues with all those on separate occasions.

    If you're trying to bring this car back from the dead and make it a daily driver, I'd go through everything. Check wires, connectors, vacuum lines, everything you can.
    1989 Celebrity CL 4 door, 3.1 MPFI, 4 speed auto, summer daily driver
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    Previously several Celebritys, 6000s, & 2 U-vans

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    I've replaced almost every vacuum line, the ones left don't have a leak that I can tell although they definitely need replaced. The coilpack in/out resistances all measure fine. I get ACV on the DMM when I rest the probe on all the coilpack boots, which is how I identified a bad coilpack in a Ford I worked on which had no voltage on one coilpack. I have been meaning to measure spark plug wire resistance but I actually remember replacing the wires and checking the spark plugs last time I worked on this car.

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    Senior Member 85_Ciera_Rebuild's Avatar
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    I'm not an injector expert, but considering engine goes dead when that one injector is plugged in suggest something.

    I would ohm spec that injector. I don't recall if GM used high (saturated fuel injectors) or low (peak-and-hold injectors) impedance injectors. If low impedance, there is a resistor pack for them.

    I'll be gone for a week

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    That's not my car. I believe his engine stops because that injector coil is shorted and the ECM kills it. But if the injector coil is open I don't think the ECM does anything. What I meant was, that is not how this engine responds to unplugging injectors. Most of the time It hardly makes a difference, but one of them changes the rhythm of the engine. They all click on a stethoscope, but perhaps with varying loudness. Eventually I will have an injector tester and fuel pressure gauge and will do a pressure drop test.

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    Senior Member CorvairGeek's Avatar
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    What you are describing sounds a lot like a set of worn out set of first generation Multitec injectors. This was the case with our '92 3300 engine at almost 200K miles. I could hear the variation in the clicking of the injectors at at idle as well. They are known for the coils shorting (sometimes completely, as in the video), due to the coils contact with fuel (by design). The worst injectors will have lower resistance. Good ones (for our '92) measured 12.8 - 12.9 ohms on my Fluke 77 DVM. I had some as low as 6 ohms, but I changed the entire set. The performance difference was like night and day.
    Attempting to clean or repair these early injectors is a waste of money (IMHO).
    Jerry

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    Yes, that is what I was thinking. I can find remanufactured sets on ebay for $65, do you think they are any good?

    The recommended Bosch III replacements are $240 which seems too much to be worth it.

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    Senior Member CorvairGeek's Avatar
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    I don't have any idea on replacements. The quality of replacement parts is pretty poor in general for our cars, at this point.
    Jerry

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    I think I will go for a set of Ford injectors that I've seen to work with the 1989 Buick Century which I think has the same fuel system. Today I will rent a fuel pressure gauge and see if I can spot any obvious issues without an injector tester. But I suspect to really see the problems I would need to test at a low pulse width.

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    They will work, but they do run at a different PSI rating. But your ECM should be able to modify the fueling table itself to compensate. I ended up putting some L67 injectors on my 3.1. It took the computer about 3 drive cycles to get it learned out, and running fine.
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    Good to hear. I have been down the injector rabbit hole lately. I'm mainly worried about reports that new low-mass injectors open too fast for this ECM. One member here used those and his car ran rich at idle, and the suggested fix was to reprogram the ECM. I want to avoid that if possible.

    I worked on the car a bit more today. Gas cap seal is dry rotted, but I didn't see significant vacuum leak coming from the EVAP system. Still, I want to get a new gas cap.

    Temperature sensor measured 5.14Kohms before starting.

    Fuel pressure right after priming drops to 10PSI or so and continues to drop slowly, but I don't know how much that is due to a leaking injector and how much is due to the pressure regulator on the fuel rail.

    When idling while cold the fuel pressure is 34PSI.

    All injectors measured 12.5-12.7ohms except one OEM Rochester 5235367 which measured 11.5ohms.

    The oil smells heavily of gas, so I think an injector is leaking. The oil was overfilled, so I drained some out and there were tiny fragments of metal. I suspect the oil is heavily diluted with gasoline. One the upside this seems to have resolved a lifter tick. It was also nearly out of fuel so I filled it up with a 5 gallon container with some Techron and Marine TC-W3 oil, which I figured would not be as hard on the fuel system as a powerful solvent like Chemtool. Tomorrow I want to take off the fuel rail and see if I can see an injector leaking.

    I read that if the throttle is 80% depressed the ECM goes into vapor lock purge mode, but that doesn't seem to be the case with this car. Either that or the cylinders were so swamped that they ignited anyway.

    I didn't get to check out the injector voltage waveforms, I had hoped to identify broken injectors that way. But of course that doesn't necessarily clear them of evil. It doesn't feel right to buy new injectors without actually seeing a failed injector yet.

    3 of the injectors were replaced with injectors marked 01d0728 which I can't identify. Perhaps the actual part number is somewhere I wasn't able to see.
    Last edited by keantoken; 01-07-2020 at 05:38 AM.

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    If you want, you could just replace the one bad injector with a used one from a salvage yard. Would be cheaper in the long run. But the injector would have to come from the same engine to match the other injectors.
    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
    01 Pontiac Aztek GT AWD 125k - 04 GMC Envoy SLT XUV 192k - 05 Buick Rendezvous CXL Sport Plus 61k

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