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86 Olds Cutlass Ciera no start help
03-20-2011, 05:16 AM (This post was last modified: 03-20-2011 05:23 AM by platinumfossil.)
Post: #1
Question 86 Olds Cutlass Ciera no start help
i'm in central AZ with a 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera with 2.8L fuel injected engine and auto tranny. i've had this car for a little over a year now as a daily driver of about 30 miles/day and decided it needed a little TLC with the oil change that was due. changed the oil 9 days ago and went to napa website and found the correct spark plugs, wires and distributor cap for the make/model/engine i have. picked the items last weekend and the car ran normally to the store and back. before the work the car ran pretty good for me with the occasional stall (once every few days at most) whether hot or cold engine; figured this was a minor idling issue. after the work the engine is missing and the car stalls pretty much anytime i slow down for a turn unless i keep one foot on the accelerator and one on the brake to keep the rpm's up. starts ok but will stall if i don't keep the rpm's up. i found the firing order on the autozone website and confirmed that i have the plug wires on the correct posts on the distributor cap. also noticed that my "service engine soon" light pops on after a mile or so of driving and stays on. and now the cruise control won't engage; i've never had an issue with it before. i'm about 40 minutes away from the nearest parts store so i'd like to try to figure this out without making that trip, plus my weekend is now over and i need to go to work for the next 5 days and don't want to drive the car in it's current condition. thanks in advance for all advice and suggestions, please help me out!

i spent some more time under the hood and found one vacuum hose totally off of its connection and another hose that had either been beat up by me or had just worn out. either way it was in pretty bad shape with some good splits running down the sides so i got it replaced and the other one i knocked off put back on.
i did some google work and found out how to get the check engine code with a paper clip and found out it was a 32. this code is: EGR vacuum switch was closed during start-up or idle, or EGR vacuum switch did not close when EGR solenoid was commanded to close by ECM for 5 seconds.
i don't know what the EGR vacuum switch is but with the help of some searching i figured out what the solenoid is and the one bad hose i replaced was connected right below it. i disconnected my neg cable on the battery for about 30 seconds to clear the code then went for a drive. i drove about 15 minutes with no check engine light so i think i've got all the vacuum issues taken care of. tomorrow will be the best test since i have to drive about 20 minutes each way to work.
the main issue now is that the engine is still a little rough. not as bad as before i got the vacuum hoses back in place but she still likes to stall out when slowing to a stop. it will idle better now but is still rough and it will still die sometimes. i'm debating whether i should use one of my old spark plug wires to try to find if i have a bad new one, was also thinking about doing the same thing with an old plug. basically my plan was to swap the new ones out one at a time with an old one and go for a short drive to see if there is a difference. this will be pretty time consuming and was hoping there would be an easier way to find out if there was a plug misfiring and which one? thanks for the help to all.

i went to autozone yesterday and bought an ignition rotor (p/n DR923), ignition coil (p/n C846) and a pick up coil (p/n DR132). installed the ignition rotor and coil and pulled all of the plugs and plug wires back off to inspect them and check the gaps on the plugs. the wires are ok, no melted areas at least; i don't have a multimeter handy or i would check the wire resistance. the plugs weren't fouled, the gaps were good at .045, and none of the porcelain was cracked.
i couldn't get the pick up coil changed because i couldn't get the original one out. i dont know how to pull the shaft out that the pick up coil sits around, i did a google search but the one hit i found that was related to my situation said that i just had to pull the shaft out up and out. i did some tugging on it and it really ain't budging so i gave up on the pick up coil until i get my haynes manual. ordered one the other day online but it hasn't shown up in the mail yet.
so basically all i've done today is the ignition coil and rotor and checked the plugs and wires. reinstalled everything and now the damn engine wont start! it turns over and over but wont fire. i swapped back to the original ignition coil and rotor and double checked my firing order and tried again. no start!
i'm guessing i have an issue with the distributor now but don't know how to figure it out. any suggestions or ideas would be most appreciated. thanks!
sorry for the ongoing thread...i've been trying to get help on another forum and can't get much good advice so i copied my posts from there over to here hoping for more help. the top post is from last weekend when i started with what should have been a simple oil/plug/plug wire/distributor cap change just because i wanted to give the car a little TLC.
the second post is from last sunday night after several hours during the weekend banging my head against it.
the last post is from this afternoon, i'm totally stuck now with a car that won't start and no way to get to work tomorrow morning. thanks to anyone who tries to help me out with this.
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03-20-2011, 11:30 AM
Post: #2
RE: 86 Olds Cutlass Ciera no start help
You have done so much that you are frustrated and not thinking calmly. Take a couple of minutes to clear your thoughts and then start with the basics.
Are you getting spark at the plugs?
Have you checked the fuses?
Are you getting fuel at the proper pressure?
You need to know what needs repaired before you can repair it. You may have a perfect ignition system and find out the the fuel filter is plugged or the fuel pump quit on you. If you don't have spark you may find that you damaged something in the distributor while attempting to change the pick up coil. If I remember correctly you have to pull the distributor out, remove a drive pin from the plastic gear on the bottom of the shaft, remove the gear from the shaft, and then the shaft will pull up through. From there you can change the pick up coil. You need to mark everything before doing this so it all goes back in the same position so the timing doesn't get changed. I usually take the cap off and turn the engine by hand until the rotor is lined up in a position that I can easily mark, i.e. straight forward or straight toward the fire wall. Mark the position of the distributor housing before taking the hold down bolt out. Once all of that is marked and you are ready to lift out the distributor, keep you marker in reach. As you lift you will see the rotor turning about a 1/4 inch. You will want to mark where it stops as this is where you will want to start when putting it back in. However, if you have spark at the plugs, don't fool with that right now. Find the problem so you have a car to get to work for the week.

Please keep us posted. I'll be out for a few hours so may-be someone else can help too? For now, stop, breathe, and go to the basics to find the problem.

Thanks for using the forum,

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03-20-2011, 12:26 PM
Post: #3
RE: 86 Olds Cutlass Ciera no start help
Garner is correct in pulling the dist to drive out the roll pin and then the shaft comes out. He's also spot on with marking things BEFORE taking it apart as it's easy to get things 180 degrees off.

That said you likely damaged something inside the dist while trying to pull it apart so start with the basics of what's missing (spark or fuel) and go from there.

When that part is sorted out you might try cleaning the IAC (Idle Air Control) for the stalling issue. It's real common and fairly easy if you have soem carb cleaner handy.

I'll check back later today to see if you need "walking through" for cleaning the IAC.
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