94 SSEi cranks but won't start... - Page 2 - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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 11-25-2004, 10:22 PM   #11
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Sounds a lot like a weak or failing fuel pump. Get a fuel pressure guage on the fuel rail schreader valve and get a reading before and during cranking. If you can't get one try this. Get some gas in a spray bottle or a can of brake cleaner or something flamamble like that (gas preferably). Remove the air intake duct and while someone is cranking, you spray the gas into the intake. If the engine starts and runs as long as you supply fuel then the engine has spark and the problem is fuel related. Probably the pump.
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Old 11-25-2004, 10:30 PM   #12
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This is not a fuel issue. Unless you're out of gas completely.

This is an ignition issue. Either the crank sensor, icm, coils, or wires/plugs.

Please check for spark before going any further. (after you charge your battery).
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Old 11-25-2004, 10:33 PM   #13
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Edit: Just saw the replies above, now reading....*this space reserved*

(This had previously been a message asking whether I should just replace all plugs+wires now, etc.)
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Old 11-25-2004, 10:34 PM   #14
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Synth, please check for spark at all 6 before you dump any money into it. It could be the ICM, coils, or crank sensor.
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Old 11-25-2004, 10:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willwren
Synth, please check for spark at all 6 before you dump any money into it. It could be the ICM, coils, or crank sensor.
Alright, I suppose I'll try that tomorrow morning (hopefully I can get someone to help me, who is slightly more knowledgeable than I am).

And yeah, it shouldn't have been out of gas completely - I'd filled up with $20 worth before driving back, so I should have had over 10 gallons in there at the beginning of the trip.
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:16 AM   #16
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Time to bring this post back from the dead....

OK, so what ended up happening was that we had my car towed to a mechanic, and they never could reproduce the "not starting" problem. Not once. And the car was there from Monday to Thursday of last week too. Well, apparently it didn't start for the towtruck driver when he arrived at my house to pick the car up, but after that....it started perfectly every time.

So they go ahead and take care of a few other things that needed to be done anyway - valve cover gaskets or somesuch thing, replaced a transmission mount that apparently had broken a month after they replaced it originally? (but at least they replaced it for free), and they went ahead and installed new plugs and wires as well. I want to say there was something else they did too, but the paper is out in my car, and that'* at least a 5 minute walk away.

Anyways, upon me paying for the car last Thursday, it started perfectly, just as they'd said. I have no clue what had been wrong with it before or why it wasn't wrong now, but I was just happy that it appeared to be working. Of course, nothing can ever be that simple. I should mention that when I got the car back, the "shudder under positive boost" problem was fixed/gone; I don't know if the plugs and wires took care of that or what, but at least that doesn't seem to be a problem anymore as far as I can tell. In addition to that, the temperature gauge in the instrument cluster...seems to no longer work at all. The needle is constantly all the way to the left, and I have no idea why. I noticed that the gauge does "sweep" or whatever it does when you start the car - so it shouldn't be stuck, I would think. I intend to complain at the shop and get them to fix this, but it gets a little bit complicated because I'm back in College Station, ~175 miles away from San Antonio (where the original problem occurred Thanksgiving weekend, and where the car was in the shop for almost four days). So, I'd have to drive down there. But I would have to drive down anyway next week, because the semester is about to come to an end. Which brings me to the current state of the car....

I went out to the car about an hour ago, at 4am. My intention was to go to the store and find something to eat (it'* open 24 hours). It of course didn't start. Same exact problem as before; sounds like it'* trying to start, sounds like it IS starting (engine turning over and whatnot), but the engine will not continue running. Before I forget, I should mention how the car has been the last week. On Monday (I think it was Monday), I went out to run a few errands, and the car didn't start the first time, but it was fine after that. I'd made a few stops at different places, and it was fine starting each of those 2-3 times I'd leave to go to another place. Today (or yesterday now, I guess), I went out again to run some errands, and I made at least 4-5 stops. The car started flawlessly every time (and I was very surprised that it did, to say the least - after the problems it'* been having lately). But of course, that would be too simple, wouldn't it? So back to 4am, I go out and it doesn't start. I try about 10 or so times in all, and it never did a thing other than the usual (starts "in theory", but engine doesn't keep running). Having learned my lesson from two weekends ago, I didn't sit out there for three hours trying to start it, so as not to drain my battery. I have no clue (obviously) why it would refuse to start now, but it was fine less than 12 hours ago. The only thing different now is that it'* obviously "colder", but right now in TX that just means it was 55F outside, so that shouldn't really change much at all.

Edit: Just forgot one detail that may be important - when I was driving around earlier/yesterday, the Service Engine Soon light came on, and remained on until I turned the car off at Target (or wherever it was that I next stopped). It never came on again while I was driving. (The low coolant light briefly came on as well, as it sometimes does, but the fluid level was just fine....) I realize this means there'* likely some sort of (new) code stored, but I've already taken the car to AutoZone once before and they didn't have any luck scanning it (didn't have the right tool perhaps), so I can't really check it easily. Oh, and taking it to AutoZone would kinda require that the car start first....

I am getting more and more frustrated with this car; and every time the car refuses to start (leaving me stranded somewhere or unable to go somewhere), I start to more and more seriously consider cutting my losses with this car and look for another one. Of course, the problem with that is that I'd have to sell my current (not really working) SSEi, and I had a hell of a time finding even that one. And who wants to buy a car that doesn't start anyway, right?

Anyways...if anyone has any advice, I'd appreciate it as always.
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Old 12-09-2004, 08:51 AM   #17
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The coolant temp light came on? That sensor is used in the fuel calcs. Might be related.

I really wish I was close enough to touch the car...

Think about it for a while, What are the normal conditions when the car won't start? Sitting in the sun? Time since you last drove it? Ambient temp? Recent rains? How much gas in the tank?
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Old 12-09-2004, 05:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damemorder
The coolant temp light came on? That sensor is used in the fuel calcs. Might be related.

I really wish I was close enough to touch the car...

Think about it for a while, What are the normal conditions when the car won't start? Sitting in the sun? Time since you last drove it? Ambient temp? Recent rains? How much gas in the tank?
It'* hard to find a pattern, really...I'll have to go out and try to start it again later today to see what it does too.

Thanksgiving weekend (the Wednesday before) when it refused to start, it was right after I filled up the tank, after having driven it for two hours or so. It was a little cool outside, maybe around 50-55 or so. I'm pretty sure it hadn't rained that day. I had also started the car earlier without problems twice, since I had to drive over to the other side of campus to pick up my brother. Before that, I don't remember really...but generally I tend to drive the car once or twice a week when I'm at school. The days after (Thanksgiving), strangely enough, a friend came over and hooked up jumper cables from his truck just for the hell of it (well, because the battery was drained for one thing), and after two or three tries, the car started. I ran a few errands after that, and it started fine a few times, but then it refused again when I was sitting in front of AutoZone (headed up there to have them test the battery and alternator just in case - they found no problems with either, and neither did the mechanics that tested it when it was in the shop the following week). Once again, we tried to jump the car (no, it doesn't really make any sense, but I was just frustrated at the time and probably not thinking clearly) - after several (many) times, it started, so I drove the car home and left it there. This was Friday night, and was the last time I drove it (the last time I got it to start) until the following Thursday, after the car had been towed to the mechanic and been there for several days.

I should mention too that it looked like the radiator cap was broken when I looked at it Thursday, and I have no clue how that happened. The cap had broken in two or something; the main/larger part had fallen off and was sitting down in the battery tray. I had noticed that the coolant level sometimes would get pretty low, and I suppose this might be why. I can't remember if the coolant level has done the same thing since I got the car back one week ago, but I'm assuming not, because I don't remember adding any more (I keep some in my trunk always) since Thanksgiving. So I of course replaced it (the cap) that night when I was at AutoZone.

That night (last Thursday after getting the car out of the shop), the car was fine...started every time, didn't give me any problems at all during the 175mi drive back to school. And then this past week has been as I described in the last post. Like I said, I'll try to go out and start it in a little while to see if it does anything, but at this point I still can't really get anthing done and go anywhere, for fear of the car randomly deciding not to start when I'm somewhere off campus and elsewhere in the town. The last time I filled up the tank was the day before Thanksgiving, so these recent times it'* been refusing to start, there was somewhere around 1/2 tank I guess (the gauge actually reads 3/4 or so after I drive the 175mi on a full tank, but I don't really believe that). It'* just above 1/2 on the gauge right now, so maybe there'* slightly less than that actually in the tank. I'm not entirely sure, but I know that the gauge likely isn't completely accurate.

jr's3800, I probably could be describing this better, since I'm not really a car person (obviously). Basically, what happens is that it does in fact turn over, and it sounds like it'* going to start, RPMs actually go up to 1k or 2k, but they then immediately go back to 0; the engine does not keep running.

As for the codes, I forget exactly what they said when I got the car back, but I want to say that they'd found a history code about the anti-theft or something. And as for the code that tripped the SES light yesterday...who knows, I haven't gotten that far yet.

I really appreciate the help everyone; if you need me to explain anything more in depth, let me know and I'll give it my best shot!
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Old 12-09-2004, 09:19 PM   #19
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Just to update...I just went out to my car and tried to start it again. Nothing (same as before). I gave it four tries, and then left, disgusted with the thing.

*sigh*....
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Old 12-09-2004, 10:28 PM   #20
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I don't mean to sound rude but you've asked for help, and have done a good job explaining your situation, but you have yet to check for spark as has been asked numerous times. We can only help as much as you're willing to try. One of these times it doesn't start, pull a plug wire, jam a screwdriver (ok, gently place) into the wire socket, and set it very close to something metal. Turn the engine over while a buddy watches and listens for spark. That'll clear up a LOT of possible issues. There are dozens of things that deal with spark, and only a few that deal with fuel. If it has spark we just narrowed it down quite a bit.

That aside, I get the feeling this is fuel or sensor related. Spark has a tendency to either work or not. Not really much of something that'll let it get to 2000rpm then quit. Not to say it isn't spark related, but the odds are against it in my mind. The temperature gauge not working is fishy, but it uses two sensors - one for the gauge and one for the computer. If the one that feeds the computer is constantly saying its cold, it will be difficult to start when the engine is warm. On the other side, if its constantly telling it the engine is hot it will be difficult to start when its cold. Remember though, this is a different sensor than the gauge you're looking at.

Again though, check the spark and we can go from there.
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