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Oldsmobile Forum: Whats wrong with my car?
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Old January 5th, 2014
v0rschlaghammer v0rschlaghammer is offline
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Whats wrong with my car?

I have a 1992 Olds Cutlass Supreme, V6 3.1L

For about the past 2-3 weeks it's been idling rough, high idle it seems like, revving on it's won occasionally at red lights, etc

So I figured it just needed a basic tune up, I took it to a friend of mine whos a mechanic (I couldn't reach the back spark plugs against the firewall for the life of me), we replaced the plugs, wires and filter, everything seemed alright, so on my drive home home I stopped to get some food and after I turned off the car I never got it back on again, it turns over, runs for about a second and cuts off immediately.

The only thing that'll keep it running is if I give it gas and then it's extremely rough and un-driveable, on top of that the exhaust smells extremely rich.

Any ideas on how to fix this?
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Old January 5th, 2014
199098RB 199098RB is offline
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Sounds like a sensor of some sort, first one to check is the Mass air flow (MAF) sensor. Usually a good check is to simply unplug it. It will set a check engine light, but if it runs smooth again with the sensor unplugged, then that's your problem.
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Old January 19th, 2014
revon revon is offline
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199098RB has a good point, though if memory serves me correct.... if you can get the car to idle, use the handle of a screw driver, and give the mass air flow sensor a good whack. If the maf sensor is bad, the car will usually start running like crap. You may also have a bad O2 sensor which could be causing it to run rich. Sound like you need to put it on a scanner that will record while the car is running. It'll check all systems in the car and give you readings that will point you in the right direction. Just so you know..... the crank position sensors on the 2.8, 3.1 and 3.4 for example, will fail in such a way that it won't always throw a code. I've seen them lose half the engine, meaning not fire 3 out of the six plugs, keep running, smelled rich, and made the cat glow bright red under the car!
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Old March 21st, 2014
Olds65 Olds65 is offline
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Hmm. I have the same car and have had a similar problem where it would rev on its own on a stop.

Check for vacuum leaks. Ive had that a problem before. An easy tip for this would be spray some starting fluid on the engine and if it revs up then you can find the vacuum leak.

Also, this may not be the problem but another thing to check because it happened to my car was the fuel pressure regulator. Mine completely quit on me, so bad I had fuel in my air filter box even. Thats located under the upper intake plenum.

These two situations did NOT throw a check engine light on my car. OBD1 isnt very sensitive, but if if your car is throwing a check engine light then find out the code.
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Old March 30th, 2014
negolien negolien is offline
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1st thing to check for would be watery oil if concerned about head gasket.
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Old April 7th, 2014
Mission Mission is offline
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Idle Problems

Check and clean or replace the idle air solenoid. I don't know your mileage, but this gives the same symptoms with mileage. It gets carboned and hangs up. I found this problem on my 99 Alero.

Last edited by Mission; April 7th, 2014 at 12:42 AM. Reason: added: or replace
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Old December 8th, 2018
woodyBR549 woodyBR549 is offline
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I know this is an old thread but... The problem is very common on the 3.1. Most likely the problem is the MAP sensor (Manifold Absolute Pressure) not to be confused with the MAF sensor(Mass Air Flow). The MAP sensor is a small, black or gray rectangle shaped module located in front of the coils. It has a flat 3-pin connector which is green, and on the bottom is a rubber vacuum "T". Two long 7mm screws hold it on the bracket. Also, the high idle issue is the TPS(Throttle Position Sensor). Two 15 or 20 torx bit screws hold it on the throttle body. You didn't mention if the tranny was shifting funny or won't downshift back into 1st gear when you stop. If you have that symptom it's most definitely the TPS. Try this before you replace the TPS: with the engine and key OFF, push the gas pedal to the floor and release quickly 10 to 15 times. Then drive the car. If the issue improves then the TPS is the culprit. These two units have a frequent fail history so welcome to the club! I have never seen an IAC(Idle Air Control) or a MAF(Mass Air Flow) sensor actually fail. Yes they get dirty and a good cleaning brings them back to life, but I have never replaced one with less than 250K miles.
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