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Oldsmobile Forum: 1995 Olds 88 3.8l cranks/fires then stalls
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Old October 21st, 2017
Armour90 Armour90 is offline
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1995 Olds 88 3.8l cranks/fires then stalls

We have a 1995 Olds 88 Royale 3.8l v6 that will crank and initially fire, but then immediately stalls. Fuel pressure is fine when cranking and there is a good spark even as it stalls. Also, it randomly seems to start and run once in a while. Had a mechanic look at it and they couldn't find the problem. He thought it may be a security issue with the lock cylinder, or possibly a cam position sensor. I get no security dash light though.

Any recommendations would be welcome.
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Old November 1st, 2017
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Look at:
spark plugs
spark plug wires
fuel filter
fuel pump
ignition module
coil packs
crankshaft position sensor
Throttle position sensor

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Old November 2nd, 2017
Armour90 Armour90 is offline
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Thanks for the recommendations. We've looked at everything prior to coil packs. We will keep troubleshooting.

Update...I was able to start the car the other day. It ran fine and drove about 2 hours to get it home. When I got there, it immediately started and ran after shutting down. The next day, it was back to the same issue.
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Old November 3rd, 2017
Cutlass350 Cutlass350 is offline
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Imho, you're likely going to have to "throw parts" at the problems. I generally don't like advising people to do that. But, imho, other than bringing it to a dealer, and spending likely at least $700 (diag & parts), imho that's the best option.

Fwiw, my suggestions - from my experience baby sitting my '92 Olds daily driver (until last year) for many years...
Now, my 2000 Olds is my daily driver. Hey, someone has to be driving an Oldsmobile.

1) The Crank Position sensor on GM cars often fail like you've mentioned. DESPITE the fact that they have two separate sensors in one housing, and should be super reliable.

1A) Buy only 100% GM/Delco sensors, from a reliable source (imho, you local autozone/etc is not a reliable source (they've bought many fake parts over the years).

2) Bypass the security.

3) Replace the cam sensor. Again, GM/Delco-only parts!

4) Replace the coils. Again, GM/Delco-only parts!

5) Replace the ignition module. Again, GM/Delco-only parts!
Note, new is $$$.
Maybe get an used one from ebay?? It'll "likely" be good.

6) Use only the spark plugs that are called out on the emissions sticker. For some reason, GM cars can be super picky with spark plugs. Especially as the engine wears and gets older.
I was lucky in finding "new Old Stock" spark plugs for my '92. That's after $$$$$$ in new coils, ignition module, spark plug boots, coil cover, battery, fuel filter, injectors, etc. The engine had a bad skip. In the winter, with a cold engine, it might even stall. I also tried every other spark plug.
I put in the New Old Stock spark plugs, and I was like "NO F*******ING WAY!!!!!" that was the problem. :-O
I swapped 4 times. With the New Old Stock spark plugs, the engine was okay. Any other spark plug, and it would have skip.
Fwiw, the engine sounds like a very loud old sewing machine. Over 10 years ago, I thought that the heads and valve train had it. Today, It still gets ~28->30mpg, passes smog, etc. But, the uni-body is rusting away to nothingness.
My best guess is that the engine is so worn, it doesn't like the spark pattern of the other plugs.
Btw, the EFI fuel trim is still under 5% - so, no leaks or super bad valves/rings/etc.

7) Do a compression test. Note, regardless of what BS you read on the interweb, compression tests are far from accurate or definitive. They can show bad cylinders. But, cylinders can look good and be bad. Or, look bad and be okay (less likely - but possible).

Good Luck.

Last edited by Cutlass350; November 3rd, 2017 at 03:48 AM.
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