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94 3.8L no power


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05-31-03, 09:56 AM   #1  
NHT44
94 3.8L no power

94 Regal, 3.8L running on 4 cyl. compression fine. Cannot determine codes. When cold will occasionally run on 5 cyl. after warm up only 4. No interrmitten miss just dead cyl. Appears to have spark. Starts fine. 180K miles ran perfect. Could this possibly be the ICM? Crank sensor? Any input would be appreciated. Is it possibly an injector problem?

 
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05-31-03, 10:39 AM   #2  
darrell McCoy
You may have 1 problem or 3 or 4 problems. You really need to have someone read the codes that can determine what they mean, without second guessing, and installing parts that you may not need.

 
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05-31-03, 01:13 PM   #3  
Joe_F
Could be a number of things, such as a bad coil pack....again, as Darrell said, you'd have to get into it a bit and give us some more information...

 
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05-31-03, 04:53 PM   #4  
NHT44
Went to autozone to have codes read. Counterman had what he called a "key" looked similar to a key with two flat vertical prongs. Only problem is this key does not fit into this vehicle as prongs were vertical and should have been horizontal. Any ideas on getting the service engine soon codes diagnosed other than going to a dealer? Need to get this problem diagnosed and fixed ASAP. Not many reputable & knowledgeable garages in this area.

 
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05-31-03, 05:18 PM   #5  
darrell McCoy
If it were me I would head to the dealer. Maybe just for codes you can get by for half hour. Better off to let them diagnos it and repair. Cheaper than mech hoping and trial and error.

 
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05-31-03, 05:41 PM   #6  
NHT44
Spent 20+ years in dealer body shop, most of my experience with service is 85% is trial & error mostly error. Seen many people leave with $800 repair bills for what wound up being a $14.95 failed part.

 
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06-01-03, 06:53 AM   #7  
NHT44 you worked and contributed to the lack of correct repair shop,I would guess the body work there wasn't real good either.I say this because the service and body shops must work together.Never saw a body man run a scan tool like a service tech.Air bags come to mind?Seatbelt pretensioners?How about those abs codes you left behind.How about the ddm.pcm,rdlr,pdm,rim,ipc,bcm,lgm,radio,hvac codes just to name a few, body men leave behind.Don't bad mouth something you know nothing about.If body men finished their work the codes would be cleared to prevent future misdiagnosis.

 
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06-01-03, 08:08 AM   #8  
NHT44
Just for the record seeing as how you insisted on slamming me just because you are a master tech, I am an ASE certified body tech, ASE certified paint tech, ASE certified damage estimator, IICAR certified in all areas of auto damage diagnosis and repair inc, suspension and srs systems. 27 years in the automotive biz as a technician, shop owner and 10 as a collision center manager at a large Ford Dealer with 9 body techs, 3 paint techs, 4 support personnel, 3 damage estimators, an assistant mgr. and a full time receptionist, direct repair facility for Allstate, Nationwide, Geico, Progressive and State Farm ins. companies. Shop consistantly doing in excess of $300K per month in volume. What I stated is my personal experience and is my own personal opinion. I certainly think that my experience and qualifications afford me such luxuries. Just for the record we read and cleared our own codes in re: SRS systems and actually installed our own suspension and restraint systems. There are a lot of things that a qualified body tech aren't qualified to do just as a service tech is not qualified to diagnose, read and repair structural damage, or properly mix the proper viscosity to use HVLP spray equipment. There are many very good and qualified technicians out there and my comments were not so much addressed towards the guys who bust their hump day in and day out but more towards the management and service write up segments of a new car dealership although good technicians are hard to come by and many are no more than parts changers with a certification.

 
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06-01-03, 08:21 AM   #9  
NHT44
Davo,

Just for the record, I have explained the scenario relating to the problem with my vehicle and have not had anyone inc. you be able to give me a probable cause without the aid of computer equipment to diagnose the problem for you. So basically in essence if equipment is telling a tech whats wrong with the vehicle then all a tech has to do is replace the defective part(s) thus the term parts changer. My experience tells me that awards, certifications and all that does not allude to a persons skills in any one area just that they may have attended class and got their certificate. Patches don't make the technician desire and ability does. I personally know of two service writers who became master techs and can't even change their own oil. I'm looking for a solution to the problem with my Buick not getting into a p-----g contest with a chest thumping tech. If you have some valuable input as to the problem I would like to hear it otherwise I would appreciate you not responding to my thread with derogatory comments. Thank you.

 
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06-01-03, 08:40 AM   #10  
If it were me I would run a compression test just to rule out any major problems. Then if there is spark I would be inclined to think maybe an injector/circuit problem. During cold start you would have more injector pulse width, thus more flow, kinda like a choke. After warm up, it may just be enough to cut the fuel flow down to kill that cylinder also. Just a guess on my part. Can you tell anything by looking at the plugs for those cylinders in question?

 
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06-01-03, 08:52 AM   #11  
Originally posted by NHT44

If you have some valuable input as to the problem I would like to hear it...Thank you.
When I moved to Clearwater my Buick started eating coil
packs for no particular reason. Since you have 2 cylinders
not firing, check and see if they're not on the same coil pack.

In my case you could clearly see/hear them ticking as they
shorted to ground instead of firing the plug. They are
inexpensive, easy to replace, and the heat in Florida is
not thier best friend, IMHO. You might want to replace all
three if the mileage is up there.

Christopher

 
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06-01-03, 09:27 AM   #12  
NHT44
Chris T,

Thanks for the input!! Now that's some valuable input. One of the coils for sure is bouncing fire all over the place with coil wire off naturally, but appears to be firing erratically. I believe this model 3.8L double fires in sequence whereas the two opposing cylinders fire together i.e. 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6 etc.. Plugs for the 2 & 4 cylinders were black but not apparently oil fouled, seen a whole lot worse. Thought at first because it's the 2 & 4 cylinders that are dead it might be a head gasket but compression test ruled that out, no water in oil or vice versa either. I live in a little town about 35 miles west of Gainesville and short of going into Gainesville there's not much qualified mechanical advice here except AutoZone & NAPA which I don't consider qualified.

 
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06-01-03, 09:35 AM   #13  
NHT44
Stevo2,

Thanks for the input. Last week the fuel pump went out and after replacing it the car ran better albeit not perfect but had a lot more power for maybe 50 or 60 miles then started getting progresively worse. You can actually hear the pump running when engine is running which I thought was strange, when the ignition is first turned on the pump runs a few seconds then shuts off which I guess is normal. Not a vehicle I want to pour a thousand bucks into especially with 180K on it but still a decent ride that RAN great, used no oil and except for an alternator and water pump hasn't cost be any $$ in repairs in 2 1/2 years.

 
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06-01-03, 09:38 AM   #14  
Originally posted by NHT44
Chris T,

Thanks for the input!! Now that's some valuable input. One of the coils for sure is bouncing fire all over the place with coil wire off naturally, but appears to be firing erratically. I believe this model 3.8L double fires in sequence whereas the two opposing cylinders fire together i.e. 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6 etc.. Plugs for the 2 & 4 cylinders were black but not apparently oil fouled, seen a whole lot worse. Thought at first because it's the 2 & 4 cylinders that are dead it might be a head gasket but compression test ruled that out, no water in oil or vice versa either. I live in a little town about 35 miles west of Gainesville and short of going into Gainesville there's not much qualified mechanical advice here except AutoZone & NAPA which I don't consider qualified.
On my 96 3.8 they are paired 6-3, 2-5, and 4-1. Email me at
[email protected] and we'll figure it out!

Christopher

 
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06-01-03, 11:12 AM   #15  
Joe_F
NTH:

Go about three posts up and you'll see I said to check the coil packs . Common GM failure item.

A couple of things:

You are tarring all dealers with the same brush. There are competent dealers, there are ones that are as good as caveman with one tool in his toolbox going "Me fix car". The secret is how to disseminate between the two.

Your experience seems to be with the latter group of folks. Doesn't mean that all dealers use trial and error. Just like saying "All Home Depots are bad". There are two in my area, the competence of help there is like night and day. That's coming from someone like me who worked in paint/plumbing/hardware for 7 years afternoons/weekends during my high school and undergraduate college years. I'm no novice at that stuff. LOL.

I could run circles around some of the "professional folks" at these other stores, simply because I would listen to the customer and ask appropriate questions.

Yes, the OEM contributes to the problem by putting unreasonable demands on dealers and requirements. But that doesn't let the dealer off the hook for being competent. The dealer has all of the factory literature, bulletins, and support of the OEM car maker, which the average Joe does not.

The point of all this is that there are good and bad dealers and body shops. None of which use "trial and error" methods. If you paint a panel by trial and error method the worst you've done is made a bad color match. If you do brakes or suspension by trial and error, you could kill your customer.

ASE doesn't guarantee anything, but it DOES lessen the chances of the consumer getting screwed as those shops tend to be on the more up and up side.

Remember that no one here owes you an answer but plenty have provided it. Tarring our profession by bad comments won't bode well with those thinking of offering a solution to your problem at hand. And yes, computer equipment IS required to diagnose modern car problems. Such is the ways of OBDII.

You can check the numerous links I have in my signature file for some ideas for starters.

 
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06-01-03, 11:44 AM   #16  
NHT44
Wow Joe,

Didn't think I was tarring and feathering all car dealers and if that's what it sounded like my apologies. My only contention is that just because you have a patch on your sleeve does not make you competent. Unless you've been in upper management at a new car franchise you wouldn't know what actually goes on. And yes the OEM does put a lot of constraint on the dealer. Most technicians want to do the proper thing and most do to the best of their ability as mgmt. will let them. Just for the record as I stated I have 27 years exp. in the automotive field which does qualify me as far as exp. goes, I did not start this bashing nor do I intend on continuing it, I came hear looking for a solution other than going to the local Buick dealer. Also, if a body technician does faulty repair work i.e. improper welding of structural components he can also KILL his customers and be held personally liable as well as the repair facility. Seen it happen!!

Enough of that, heard this bantering between service & body shop for over 20 years, one of the main reasons I am in the mortgage industry now, no cooperation from either side.

# 2 & # 4 are not firing at plugs, fire jumps from coil with wires off however. 2 & 4 have seperate coils.

 
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06-01-03, 11:57 AM   #17  
Joe_F
You mention a couple possibilities yourself in the original post, have you checked them out? Did you have Autozone or a shop scan for trouble codes to see what, if any, are stored? I assume the check engine light is on.

As for tarring, lol, you said that about 85% was trial and error. That lumps a lot of parts changers with real technicians . Also, there is no "magic machine" that tells the technician what parts to change. That is the job of the technician to understand what the tools are telling him/her and where to look .

If there were such a machine, you could hire kids out of high school for 10 bucks an hour with one foreman controlling it all. LOL.

 
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06-01-03, 12:08 PM   #18  
NHT44
Well guys I have had enough of your wonderful forum run by ASE certified almost world class parts specialists and technicians. Looking through past threads I noticed one thing, no real help from most of you. A real mechanic would have been able to tell me it's either this or that without strutting all his qualifications. Typical dealership egomaniacs!! Good luck to you.

 
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06-02-03, 03:40 AM   #19  
Joe_F
What a trip:

1) You were furnished free links and didn't use them. They likely have the answer to your problem.

2) You think 85% of dealer work is "trial and error". In reality, it seems that your career with various dealers has been that.

3) You bash the profession of half the people here and then ask for help. If you worked for a dealer as long as you said you did, you'd HAVE the needed information to repair the vehicle.

Shame on you---you should have the factory manual or an Alldata subscription and should know better.

4) You spout off more hot air than a zeppelin and then come here to blame us about how your problem is dealt with when YOU won't help yourself with the suggestions provided.

5) You tar everyone with the same brush and then deny doing so. 85% of all dealers doing "trial and error" is pretty much a majority isn't it?

Thank goodness you're out of the industry. It's folks like you that make me wonder why it's gotten this bad when it doesn't have to be. Sigh.

Bail out and have the dealer fix it for you---you're not appreciative or capable of fixing it yourself, it's pretty obvious.

When they hit you with a 600 dollar bill for true diagnostics you'll wish you were a bit more courteous here.

 
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06-02-03, 06:37 AM   #20  
NHT44
Love these moderators. Great folks here! I shouldn't shoot my mouth off!


Last edited by Joe_F; 06-02-03 at 08:09 AM.
 
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06-02-03, 06:44 AM   #21  
NHT44
And Joe, I really envy your ASE skills as well as everyone's here on the forum. I wish I could screw a license plate on without assistance!!!

And I now realize what a blow-hard I have been because people are trying to help me and I do not appreciate it. Also, I realized that I spent my years at a dealership that wasn't the norm! After all, trial and error is not 85% of dealer work!

My bad!


Last edited by Joe_F; 06-02-03 at 08:15 AM.
 
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06-02-03, 07:56 AM   #22  
Joe_F
I'm not wrangling with your comments anymore.

Trust me, this forum has much more collective experience, cooth, and smarts than you'll ever have.

The NY attitude you claim I have is 100 times smarter than your wise ass comments. Besides, I have 15,000 posts helping folks every day on this forum as do other folks, what color is the sky in your world?

Newsflash: I'm not a parts man. Read my profile and learn what I do before casting any assumptions. I DO KNOW that you don't appreciate anything nor are you much more than hot air.

Also, why are you out of the automotive industry? Can't cut it ?

P.S. We're the 15% that "do it right". Too bad you're not among them.

Toodles. Post closed. Do us a favor and don't breed. Junk the car and take the bus, save us all the trouble.

Sucks being the bug on the windshield, doesn't it ?

 
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