Service info: 1992 SSEI crank sensor - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat
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1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 07-27-2003, 09:31 PM   #1
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Default Service info: 1992 SSEI crank sensor

Having worked as a mechanic for many years, I do all of my own work. I have done various things to my '92 SSEI and plan to do a lot more. I thought I would share what I have learned in the process. I will post a separate info topic for each repair I have made. If the webmaster wants to use some of this for the tech area, please be my guest.

My first big repair was the crank sensor. The car would be going along fine, and then just die. You wouldn't even know it died except for the "ding ding" of the instrument cluster. I used to dread hearing that sound. It would always die about 7 miles from a cold start, about once a week or so. And at first, it would start right back up. Later on, it would take a few minutes to restart. And the last time, it took about an hour of sitting to restart. It would set a code, I think it was 17.... the one that says that the 3x signal was missing. Well I tried cleaning ground terminals, etc. to no avail. I drove around with an oscilloscope hooked to various lines, but that was not very helpful. Finally when it died long enough, I could see that a signal was missing.

The crank sensor is cheap enough, but takes a bit of work to change. I always use the starter to loosen the balancer bolt. Just be very careful. Use a large 1/2" drive breaker bar, pad the handle with some rags and get it up tight against some very stable part of the frame. Take all the slack out of it by turning the engine by hand. For added insurance, wire it there so it can't bounce back. Disconnect the connector the the ignition module so the car won't start, and just bump the starter for about 1 second. The starter is very strong, taking off the balancer bolt is nothing for it.

I am assuming that most will have the manual while doing this. This is done mostly through the wheel well, once you remove some plastic pieces. Once you have it exposed, it is easy to get at.

Pulling the balancer requires the correct tool. Don't use just any old puller. It requires some very long 1/4" fine thread bolts. I found some grade 8 bolts at the hardware store that were just long enough. I suggest buying the exact puller. You don't want to mess up that balancer. If I remember correctly, you could push against the balancer bolt. If you can do it, it is always a good idea to just back off the bolt 1/4 inch or so, and push against it. That way you can't mess up the threads in the crank.

There is a special alignment tool that is specified, but it is very expensive and I was told even the dealer does not use it. If you only remove the clamp bolt, this will help keep your alignment.

Before removing the sensor, figure out a way to measure it'* exact position from the crank. I used a caliper and measured from the edge of the oil seal to a point on the sensor.

When I removed the sensor, I only loosened enough bolts to get it out of the holder.

I installed the new sensor and made sure I had the exact same measurement. It has to be right, or the vanes in the balancer will trash it right away. Even worse, it could trash the balancer.

Once installed, you can partially install the balancer to get an idea of your alignment. It'* not easy to see, but you can see it if you peek in there just right. You need to leave off the sensor cover when doing this. Most likely you have to get out the puller again to get the balancer back off the crank.

Tightening the bolt is no big deal.. I think the book says something like 110 foot pounds and then so many degrees extra. So hold the flywheel with the special tool or a big set of vise grips and torque it up. Make a couple of scratches on the bolt and balancer, and approximate the number of degrees they ask for. Some say to use an impact wrench, but I avoid doing that.

Hope this was helpful.
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Old 08-02-2003, 12:04 AM   #2
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Steve, My buddy and I were outside trying to get this done b4 we gave up for the night and decided to go to bonnevilleclub. This post is very helpful. The biggest problem we were having is we were tryin to get off the plastic sensor cover w/o remvng the pulley bec the manual states not to remove the pulley but to remove the "damper". Steve, what is a damper and where is this balancer. So this pulley does come off then right??
Also I m going to have to buy a puller tomorrow, what do you recommend. One last thing the manual talks abt a "Woodruff key", what is that and do I have to mess with it?
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Old 08-02-2003, 09:51 AM   #3
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A "damper" is the same as a "balancer". It'* the large piece that is on the end of the crankshaft. It is actually two metal rings with rubber in between, one of it'* functions is to damp out vibrations of the crankshaft. Also, on this car the pulleys are part of the balancer, it all comes off together.

I'm very concerned because you are over your head with this job. If you have never removed a balancer from an engine, I don't advise practicing on your bonnie. Removing the bolt, pulling the balancer and putting it back together is definitely not for a beginner.

If you go to a good parts store, they should have a puller by a company called lisle, or possibly others. You would want to make sure they list your exact application, because it is a lot different from other balancers.

The woodruff key is what keeps the balancer locked to the crankshaft.

Again, I do not advise you attempt this in light of the questions you are asking.

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