1992 Cutlass Supreme

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  #1  
Old 06-06-06, 08:59 PM
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1992 Cutlass Supreme

Engine: V6 3.1 Liter
Trans: Automatic, Front Wheel Drive

I need help with 3 issues, I'll go in increasing order of severity
If nothing else, I need to resolve the last problem in this post, as it seems like it may lead to immobility (I don't do WALKING).

When accelerating, a liquid noise is audible within the dash. It sounds like coolant is percolating or squirting into the heat system, as if the heater core were severely damaged, but the heat works EXCELLENT, and there is none of the antifreeze odor usually associated with damaged heater cores. There is no evidence in the cabin of any leaking fluid either, i.e wet floorboards or sticky carpet by the lower vents. A friend has postulated that there is air in the cooling system, I am doubtful (wouldn't it work out of there within an hour of driving?). The noise is present at every moderate-to-heavy acceleration, either from standing or from low speeds.

I just bought the car a few months ago, and it was driving fine. After a few weeks, it started to develop a loud hum originating from the front passenger-side tire, but only when the wheel is angled to the left. On left turns, the noise grows louder, and it either completely stops when angled to the right, or it quiets below the cabin noise.

Another problem has began, and I am not sure if it is related, but it may be an extension of the first issue. The car rumbles and runs rough during low acceleration and hill climbing. It feels like the engine is running very rough, but if you pop the car into neutral and rev (in the midst of the bucking), the engine will rev up clear as a bell with no hesitation, so I am of a mind that it isn't an engine problem (could be wrong), but rather a drive train issue. The problem seems nonexistent or very reduced during heavy acceleration, and reduced in severity at speeds above 60 or so. Occasionally, if I try to accelerate rapidly, the car will buck or pause violently, then "catch" and accelerate. It has stalled a few times in the morning when it is first put into gear (with or without warm-up time), but it has not stalled once I am out and about.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, THANKS!
 

Last edited by AgentA; 06-07-06 at 06:38 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-07-06, 04:37 AM
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I'll start with the easy one and let the pros handle the other two. The gurgling under the dash can be an air pocket in the cooling system. Try this: Park the car on as steep an uphill incline as you can find - driveway, hill, etc. Remove radiator cap (after allowing time to cool so it doesn't blast you). Start engine and allow to warm up. As it does and the coolant begins to expand it will begin to slowly overflow from the filler neck. Let it keep flowing until the thermostat opens - top hose wil get hot, the coolant flowing out will be considerably hotter and you SHOULD get a big burp of air followed by the level in the radiator going down. Immediately top off the radiator and put the cap back on. Should take care of the noise.
 
  #3  
Old 06-07-06, 06:13 PM
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Thanks for the advice on the cooling system. I found the solution to both other problems through a few friends, and spent all day working on that stuff, so I couldn't get to the liquid noise thing. I'll let you know if it works.

As for the other problems:

Front wheel vibration - Wheel bearing assembly. I found the instructions here: Autozone Instructions for repair
It set me back $100 from Advance Auto Parts, the job was fairly easy, although there are 3 uncommon tools involved:
30T Torx
36mm 6pt socket
Axle pulling tool

I ended up buying the Torx and the socket, and borrowing the puller from Autozone.

Rumble and shaking running under load - I started at each spark plug and traced the wires to the distributor. One of the rear plug wires (transverse engine) was misrouted near some heat, and had apparently melted and exposed the bare wire, way in the back and safely out of sight. Which of course arced and burned away, leaving me with a 5 cylinder engine. Replaced the wire, problem solved.
 
  #4  
Old 06-08-06, 04:49 AM
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Nice troubleshooting, AA; wheel bearing or cv would have been my guess on the front end noise. The rough running would have had a pretty long laundry list of possible causes.
 
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