3800 ECM Code 41 (1988 SSE) - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 02-11-2003, 11:37 PM   #1
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Default 3800 ECM Code 41 (1988 SSE)

Hi,

After pulling the code from the ECM that is causing my check engine lamp to light up, it looks like it is either referring to "Cylinder select error - MEM-CAL or ECP problem" OR "Cam sensor circuit". These codes are from the Haynes manual. Code 41 in Techinfo only mentions the cam sensor.

I guess I am looking for two things. First, which of these two could be (and rough idea on the complexity of the repair) and second, is it a good idea to continue to drive the car.

Some background: While driving the car last night, the check engine lamp came on while I was rounding a corner on to the highway. After stopping and a few restarts, the lamp would not turn off. Seeing that the car was running smoothly, I contiuned. When I arrived at my destination, I again tried to restart the car to see if the warning would go away. It did not, and the car would not restart for 5 mins. It'd crank fine, catch, and die within 1/2 second. After waiting a few minutes, it started fine, and has been running OK since then.

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

-Nick
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Old 02-11-2003, 11:55 PM   #2
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I've heard of this before.....

But before I go on, ANOTHER Ontario? OMG. What are we coming to? Welcome to the forum!

Yes, I've heard of this before. It can be a very costly repair, but your car may also just live with it for quite some time. It may start, it may not......for the life of me I can't remember exactly how the prognosis works out with this one. Have you tried a search of the forum? If you do a search for the code or for 'cam sensor' (all terms) you should nail it. We've discussed this before.
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Old 02-12-2003, 12:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willwren
I've heard of this before.....

But before I go on, ANOTHER Ontario? OMG. What are we coming to? Welcome to the forum!

Yes, I've heard of this before. It can be a very costly repair, but your car may also just live with it for quite some time. It may start, it may not......for the life of me I can't remember exactly how the prognosis works out with this one. Have you tried a search of the forum? If you do a search for the code or for 'cam sensor' (all terms) you should nail it. We've discussed this before.
Bonnevilles can resist the cold and the salt associated with our winters

After reading through some forums, it looks like I need to see if the magnet on the cam sprocket is still there, or if it'* attached itself elsewhere. Else, I could be looking at an $1100 bill to rip 'er apart.

On the plus side, my only real problem, aside from the periodic unwillingness to start, would the warning lamp.

If anyone has other experiences, or if I have this competely wrong, please let me know.

Thanks!

-Nick
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Old 02-12-2003, 12:44 AM   #4
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Hey Nick

I have the exact same problem. The cam magnet is out of position and the sensor is not picking up the signal from the magnet. It causes the code 41 cam sensor to come up. I was told that the price is $1000+....sucks eh?

The Service engine soon light is on and always on. It takes away the "warning system" that was originally designed for the car.

Basically the part is really cheap to fix, but the labour to fix the magnet is pricey. It involves taking apart the camshaft and replace a few chains belts while they are up in there.

Basically, once every 4 or 5 starts, the car sputters off the mark, it runs fine otherwise. I fix the problem, by simply turning off the car and restarting it again. I heard somewhere that this magnet aligns one of the cylinders in order to sequence the fire order. Can anyone else confirm or deny this claim?

Its a common occurance in older 3800, its something I have decided to live with, consider the amonunt that I have spent on other more important upgrades and repairs.
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Old 02-12-2003, 12:01 PM   #5
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...just spoke to a GM service advisor. Just lookin to see if he'* on the level.

* ballparking C$500 to get in there to replace the sensor.
* may be more if they find that the timing chain and cam gears are not worth putting back into the engine (read: trying to sell parts)
* should the magnet have fallen off, the car should not start or would be very difficult to start.

Realizing that I have almost 300K on the engine, I guess that this could be expected. Should the chain/gears need replacement at this point? While everything is off, it makes sense - just want to gauge whether or not it is worth the $$.

...I'm hoping that I'm just dealing with a loose wire or something. For all its strenghts, the Bonneville'* electrical system is a bit of a downer. (But, after ~300K should I care? )

Thanks!

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Old 02-12-2003, 03:36 PM   #6
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Buy your chain and sprockets at the local discount shack. Cheaper than the dealer. If they're in there anyway, now is the time to do it. That'* alot of miles. I think Jr said he got the chain for under 20, can't remember if he did the sprockets.
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Old 02-16-2003, 01:58 PM   #7
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Here'* the strange part from all of this: the car runs FINE. No problems starting, no hesitation, nothing - even though it'* been -10c (and colder) here for the past while.

I thought the PCM may have been having a momentary "brain fart" or something, so I tried clearing the codes (yanking off the battery for 10 mins). The code went away for all of 2 seconds, then re-posted. :(

Since it'* being more-or-less normal, I do have an alternate theory, and want to see if it makes sense. I reviewed the wiring diagram for the PCM on that car (1988 SSE, 3800 engine). The cam sensor is connected by 3 wires to the EI module. The diagram shows that the EI module is part of the coil pack - can someone confirm this?

At any rate, I am assuming that the EI module uses the data from the cam sensor for timing etc. Since thing are running ok, I think it'* safe to assume that the EI module is getting the data it needs from the cam sensor. There is one more wire (black, apparently) running from the EI module to the PCM that is a part of the cam sensor circuit. I think that this wire may either be disconnected at one end (terminal oxidized...) or something of that nature. Does it make sense that this could be the case?

I COULD just put electrical tape on the CES light

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Old 02-16-2003, 02:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
I COULD just put electrical tape on the CES light

Thats what I did...LOL, until I couldn't stand to see ghetto black electrical tape. I was told to ignore the CES light, but the problem is..you lose your warning system when something does go wrong.

What a pisser....oh well, I'll fix it when the money is there. :(
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Old 02-16-2003, 08:49 PM   #9
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That'* fast for such an old guy. How much Geritol did you have to eat afterwards to recharge?
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Old 02-16-2003, 11:26 PM   #10
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Jr?

Should I take a trip down to Florida and have you and your buddy fix this for me? The cost of the parts and the fuel to drive down would be FAR less then the repairs?

I could use the sun too...brrr...its cold up here
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