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Old 07-28-2006, 01:47 AM   #1
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Default stalling problem with 88 bonneville...again!

My 88 Bonneville has been a complete money pit. Only 140,000 km on it, but since purchase about a year and a half ago, I'v put a timing chain, ICM, many mass air flow sensors, many crankshaft position sensors, a camshaft sensor, among other things. After the timing chain slipped, I drove it for a month or so, and it started stalling. That is when the ICM, cam sensor, and one of the many crankshaft sensors went in. I drove for about 6 months, then the third (or is it the fourth?) mass air flow sensor went in. Drove for about 4 months. Now it is stalling again. The stalling is a little different this time. When I start it, it seems to be searching for idle, slows too much, stalls. It will occasionally stall at a stop light as well, or just as I am backing out of the drive way. I sense that it may not be delivering the right fuel/air mixture while driving as well, but this is very subtle, and it will idle for the most part once I get it running, although as mentioned it will occasionally stall at stop lights. I think I've been ripped off by the liar who sold the car as being in good condition, but I unfortunately cannot afford anything else at the moment. This $2300 car is already a $5000 car and I need help. Someone tell me this will be cheap fix that the mechanic simply hasn't caught! The last couple of days I've also smelled a solvent like smell almost like unburned gas, but not quite a gasoline smell. Very curious.
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Old 07-28-2006, 07:57 AM   #2
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try replacing the oxygen sensor with a genuine acdelco sensor.

the fuel injectors might be on their way out, mine were bad and would cause the car to stall at idle after putting it in reverse/drive after starting.

is your service engine soon light on at all?
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Old 07-28-2006, 08:19 AM   #3
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Hi and welcome to BC!

It sounds like you maybe could have benefitted by finding BC sooner.

Like DSadow asks above, is your CEL or SES light on? If so, see if you can find a local parts store that will pull the codes for you.

Second question - Have you checked your antifreeze/coolant level? If so, have you been losing any coolant?

I know you've poured a lot of money into it, but help us help you by being as detailed as possible. When were your plugs and wires last replaced and with what brand(*)? Do you know if your O2 (oxygen) sensor has ever been replaced?

Do you know if anyone has checked your vacuum lines for cracks, splits or leaks?

How about your FPR (Fuel Pressure Regulator)? Has that been checked?

We will need to walk through each of these things to eliminate them as possibilities in order to get to the bottom of this. Fortunately, many of these items are fairly low to no cost to check and repair.
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Old 07-28-2006, 09:05 AM   #4
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code retrevial procedure: http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...e=article&k=57

these cars are obd1 lash, no need for a scantool
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Old 07-28-2006, 10:41 AM   #5
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Uhm yeah, DUH!

I get going too fast and miss some details sometimes, sorry...
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Old 07-28-2006, 03:22 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the replies everyone. I'll give as complete a rundown as possible, but I may need to check some things tonight to make sure I haven't missed anything.

Car started stalling suddenly and randomly after purchase. Many hours in garage, multiple replacement parts, no fix, until crankshaft position sensor was replaced by my dad. This was in the fall. The following spring I had stalling problems, took it to a garage and they told me it was the mass air flow sensor. I replaced it, and everything was fine until the summer. Then the car died. The timing chain slipped. Replaced that along with the water pump. A few months later stalling randomly again. Sometimes it didn't even want to start. The garage couldn't seem to find out what was wrong, but replaced the camshaft sensor, crank sensor, and I believe the ignition module. This was October. The car ran until February when stalling happened again. I pulled the code using the paper clip, another mass airflow sensor. Since the October fix, the car was in need of a muffler. It got really bad in May or June so I replaced it. The difference was immense. Car ran much better, fuel economy on steady rise. If I had realised how much of a difference it would make I would have replaced it sooner, I just thought the car was on it'* last legs and that is why it was running so rough. During the period from October until now it was using oil. Also going through antifreeze at a ridiculous rate, despite having had a garage check the system. I finally bought a product full of black tar like beads that promised to plug holes. Worked like a charm, anti-freeze usage problem has been gone for months. I did the same with the oil. Added a product that promised to plug leaks, and it seems to be working but I have only put 1200 miles on this oil change so it is still a little early to tell.

No service lights are on, no codes this time, thus I took it to the garage. The guy ran it a couple of times and told me it wouldn't stall for him. I took it home, ran it twice for a short 3 or 4 mile trip. The third time I get in the car it stalls again. Has been doing the stalling thing daily now. I can change small parts, although the crank sensor would be a problem for the mechanic as I can't get in there to change (although my dad did it without pulling everything apart).

I checked out an autozone website that purports to give all the information on vehicles. They sell subscriptions but also have a couple of example vehicles available for browsing. One is a newer Bonnie, and under crank shaft sensor it describes some sort of learning procedure to follow sensor replacement. Is this necessary with the older Bonnie as well? I'm wondering if this was ever done on my car and whether that could contribute to problems.

I'll check my documentation tonight and give a complete rundown of new parts if I have missed any.

There is also a knock in the engine that is probably a bearing of some sort. I doubt it is worth the money to fix. I just need this beast to run for another 6 to 12 months, hopefully the engine doesn't go.

thanks everyone
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Old 07-28-2006, 03:40 PM   #7
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It sounds like the garage is throwing needless parts at it hoping the problem will go away and it hasn't. Try removing the ICM connector, and clean tighten up on the socket connectors, then apply dielectric grease. You may also do well to check the connectors on the rest of the sensors as it sounds like the ECU is getting an intermitten signal from one of them.
Also check the TPS voltage at idle position, Key on engine off for 4.6v at the signal wire. Also check for smooth operation throughout its operating range or it will have to be replaced. These are just a few of the many reasons a car may stall but you should keep going using the process of elimination.
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:13 PM   #8
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Did you ever determine the source of your coolant leak? Your oil leak?
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Old 07-28-2006, 08:47 PM   #9
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I agree on the TPS Voltage, this needs to be checked, and can cause a lot of fuel dilievery issues as well as idling issues and stalling... all of these almost point to the TPS...

The MAF will generally leave you with a Code 34... Being that you have been through so many MAF sensors it sounds almost as you have a 3.8 instead of the 3800...

Is your Vin 1G2HX--3<---- 8th didget or is this a C?

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Old 07-29-2006, 03:42 PM   #10
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Default c or 3 in 8th position of vin

Hi, thanks for all the help. I'm going to go buy a multimeter in a couple of hours so I can test the voltage on the TPS. I have a 3 in the 8th position of the vin. I take it this means I can expect to replace the MAF sensor every six months? Is this a problem with these engines? Doesn't there have to be some sort of underlying problem causing this? Thanks for your time.
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