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1987-1991 Parley with regards to your 1987 to 1991 Bonneville, Olds 88 or Buick Le Sabre Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 12-05-2005, 10:46 PM   #1
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Default Difficult to start sometimes..

Ok, I've still got my magnavox ignition system in my LeSabre.
I am going to talk to the guys on wednesday about getting me a Delco system for my LeSabre. I haven't changed it over yet, dut to the lack of time, and money, I just finished installing a VERY expensive set of winters. (Dean wintercats) and getting my new exhaust system in.

Problem? When its cold, or the car has been sitting for a while, i'll crank, and just keep it cranking, the engine won't start, or it'll take its time. I'll stop, the car sorta sputters a bit. I'll let the starter rest a second. Second time, it fires right up, and doesn't give a darn problem

Is this normal for magavox'* system? Delco system will elliminate this i'm assuming?
I doubt its the crank sensor, as the tach shows a little movement while cranking. And the engine (and crank sensor i assume) only has 140,000 kilometers on it.


Btw, I suppose you all wanna hear about my exhaust? I went with a stock converter, since its just as good, and is good for 80,000 kms or 3 years. The old converter was still ok, and flowing good, the internals looked pretty good, its just the pipe going to the converter was rotting. I ran a regular pipe, to a camaro stock muffler, for a camaro'* 3.8 It has dual outs. We ran into a little trouble, as the pipe from the engine got in the way, the book was not really that acurate, but it worked in the end.

We used maremont'*, and the new exhaust makes just the slightest noise at 2000 rpm, but i am ok with it. I love the rumble at the wide open throttle, puts ANY 4 banger to shame.. LOL
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:18 AM   #2
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Default cold

How cold is it out there this time of year.
Have you tried going to a lighter oil?
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Old 12-06-2005, 02:39 PM   #3
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I don't think the oil is relavent, and I run 10w30 valvoline with an ac delco filter.

The engine cranks and cranks continuously same speed as it regularly does, oil pressure, is visible while cranking. Unfortunatly, the engine does not turn over at all. When i release the key, the engine will stop, or just sputter.
Second time I crank, it fires right up like normal. I am guessing the cold is affecting the maggie and spark isn't working well, or not firing till the second try.

Temps range from 0- minus 9 degrees celcius, day and night. Sometimes lower.

It only does it when the car is cold.

I am a beginning auto technician, and I know engines and whatnot, and the fact that these cars don't work well with the maggie system in, but I'd rather not spend the cash on the delco if it can be helped. I'm not sure I can get it at a yard, I may have to go with a 300-400 dollar brand new unit, which is pricy. I just want to know if this is common on a failing maggie, and if its not something else ignition related.
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Old 12-06-2005, 03:19 PM   #4
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Have you checked fuel pressure to ensure there is enough to start the car?
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:16 PM   #5
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Will do tommorrow, but when the engine is running, it runs really good. No misfires, nothing, even when I go to empty she still runs well, after it starts, lol.

Has lots of power, enough to make me sure it isn't the pump. Actually, I had the pump out, and replaced the screen filter on the bottom of the pump.
This was august.
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:37 PM   #6
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Default start

Its a toss up. you kinda have to go through each system checking it.
Have you tried testing coil resistance hot and cold or your TPS voltage.
This could effect timing and starting ability. Also remove and clean MAF, IAC and clean per tech info.
All I could say is keep digging, you'll find it.
My moms 88 Park ave (C motor) wouldn't start well when cold out (0-10f) a few years back till I went to a lighter oil and a hotter plug.
She was tooling around town building up carbon on the plugs and they wouldn't fire well when cold. Think they had stock AC'* in there.
Think I went from an r12 to an r14 champion plug although most on the board like NGK Tr55'*.
This did the trick, now she fires right up when cold.
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Old 12-09-2005, 12:00 AM   #7
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A ligher oil? I doubt I ever will, though I may go to 10w30 synthetic at the next oil change which is due arounds may, or at about 266,000 kms. Last change was at 257,000 kms. These engines use 10w30 oil only. If you use a lighter oil, like 5w30, like most service stations use, theres a possibility that you get low oil pressure. It could also be the reason why my rod bearing went, but theres no proof, just the fact that before I blew it, the oil was changed, and pennzoil was used. Yukk.

Anyways, the fuel pump can't be the problem, I had a friend (tech) check it out. Its running smooth as silk. Plus, the problem happens totally random now, no way I can tell whether its due to the weather change. It still happens though. Its awful hard on my starter.

I'm gonna remove maggie, and I've got 3 delco coils handy, so I'll check on a ICM for a type 2 delco, a brand new ICM.. I might as well. Either that, or find one at a yard, which is hard, but theres one yard I haven't checked yet.

Besides, having Genuine Delco is best for it!
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:22 AM   #8
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Default oil

Just relating what worked for my moms car in winter.
Her oil fill cap stated 5w-30 so I tried it in the winter. I am not comfortable using it in the summer though. My SSE also states 5w-30 but I use 10w-30.
It has an external oil cooler.
I know it seems too simple but what kind of plugs are you running.
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Old 12-09-2005, 11:36 PM   #9
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New AC Delco plugs @ 244,000 kms. Gapped to specs, which is .60". Installed NAPA Belden premium plug wires at the same time.
Paper filter installed during summer. Changed tstat in september. Cam magnet replaced at 255,000 kms.

LeSabre Currently has 259,100 Yikes, I rack up like 3000 kms in a month.
I think its time to install another fuel filter. I replaced it already when I replaced the tank, but who knows what could've collected in there. 5 bucks, and 10 minutes of labour, can't go wrong there.

Next Wednesday I will be able to borrow a scanner, and be able to collect a data stream of the car, and just a general idea as to how well the car is doing.
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Old 12-12-2005, 05:48 PM   #10
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Default same problem

My 3,8 does not start when its cold either ! I have chanced all the sensors, 5-30 oil, fuel pump, fuel filter, plug wires, plugs, air filter, And the car does not fires when its colder than 28 f. ( - 2 c ) I am really lost in space now !!
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