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Go Back   3800Pro.com Forum > Engine > DTC's, Problems & Troubleshooting

DTC's, Problems & Troubleshooting Getting an engine related DTC? Check here for assistance.

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Old 12-29-2009, 02:44 PM
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1998 Olds 88 Wont turn over

Hey all hope you can help me with this head sratcher...Sorry if I have posted it in the wrong spot.

My wifes Olds 88 suddenly for no reason would not crank at all as of about 3 weeks ago. The car never gave any sign of having anything going bad and otherwise had always started great.

The car will not crank at all but the battery is still fine, no dimming of the headlights when cranking and all accesories work.

I read up on the VATS problems that these cars can have so I had that disabled by a mechanic and it seemed to fix the problem. We got the car back and the next day my wife took it on erands. Car started right up a few times but then left her stranded again. We got it towed back to the same mechanic. He calls me the next day to say that it keeps starting for him all the time. So again we go pick it up...it starts...wife uses it the next day and finds herself stranded again.

This last one happened Chrsitmas eve so we just left it in the grocery store lot for a few days to see if it would randomly be ok again (to save a tow). Well after checking it for two days I descided to just get it towed back the the mechanic. He isnt back to work until the new year so I thought I'd ask some of you folks if you have any ideas. Im mechanically inclined and used to do all the work on my own cars until moving to an appartment. The loss of a garage, being very busy at work and also loosing the use of my dads tools has hampered any progress I can make.

Sorry for the long post but basically after reading here for a bit Im thinking cam or crank sensor or maybe some sort of grounding problem?

When the car does run it is its old awesome 300 thousand km self. Maybe I should mention its an L36.

Car was scanned and other than a too long shift code that always comes back there is nothing.

About 2 months ago I got PO302 for cylinder #(not sure) misfire.

Thats all I got.

Thanks very much in advance for any help you can provide!

- Marten
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Old 12-29-2009, 05:48 PM
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You've got a few different things in there:

Just to clarify, if the engine 'won't crank at all', I take that to mean that the starter won't energize and engage; no rotation of the engine.

If that is the case, then start with the starter circuit. Check for battery voltage at the b+ terminal of the starter, while trying to start the engine.

Check for a b+ at the start wire on the starter, while trying to crank the engine.

If both those are good, then you need a starter.
If the main b+ goes away while trying to start, then you have a bad conection (most likely) or a bad cable.
If the b+ never gets to the start wire on the starter, then its things like the neutral-start switch, ignition switch or relay. (not 100% sure that there is a relay in there). If you have an alarm or command start, they could both be possible casues of no power to the start terminal...


If the engine is cranking, but won't catch and run, then I'd suggest checking for spark while cranking. If no spark, then go after crank senors etc...

If you have spark, then check for fuel. No fuel means fuel pump is most likely, or pump resistor.


Hope this helps...
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:42 PM
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Sorry I could see how some things in there could be confusing...

As far as cranking...he car will not crank at all..engine does not turn over...dead...nothing, no rotation.

I also forgot to mention that the mechanic who bypassed the VATS also tested the starter and found it to be OK.

So from what you said it I think will check (or ask the mechanic to check) for battery voltage in the locations you have mentioned and go from there...

Thanks very much. I will be sure to update with any further progress.

As a side note what are the failure modes of a crank pos sensor or cam phaser?

- Marten
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:15 PM
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It probably is the starter. They often develop dirty contacts and start working intermittently. As for your mechanic saying it checked ok - It will check ok unless the problem is occurring during the testing. You have to have test equipment connected to the car and then test it while it is acting up.
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