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1989 Oldsmobile 88 wont start

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New User

Feb 5, 2017, 6:59 AM

Post #1 of 4 (671 views)
1989 Oldsmobile 88 wont start Sign In

This car is an old lady church car.. it has 65,000 original miles. It ran great until a month ago when it left me stranded. This is a 3800 3.6l fuel injected engine. It wasn't getting fire to the plugs so i changed the coil pack and it cranked right up so i was on my way again. Ten miles down the road, dead again. Pulled the codes and got 44, 42, and 41. Changed the cam sensor and crank sensor and O2 sensor. Cranked it right up and i was on my way. While on my way home from work the same day... dead again. Pulled codes again and i'm still getting 41 which is cam sensor signal not received. Read that it could be the misplaced magnet on the timing sprocket. Pulled and changed timing chain and sprocket and magnet. All new parts. Ran for about 15 minutes... dead again. Then i changed the Ignition Control Module. Still not fixed. So, then i started thinking maybe i got some factory defective parts. I changed the Cam sensor again. No luck. I changed the Crank sensor again. No luck. I changed the Coil Pack again. It ran great for a solid day. Then dead again. I'M SO FRUSTRATED... its a relatively new car considering the 25 years of being garaged. Still getting a 41 code and now i'm getting no spark at all and engine wont start. What am i missing??

I'm not a mechanic so I don't know if the following is relative or not but the radio and the cigarette lighter in the dash don't work and the fuses are all good also the power windows are VERY slow to roll up and down. These are both electrical so I don't know if they are pertinent.

(This post was edited by Frustrated2017 on Feb 5, 2017, 7:06 AM)

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Feb 5, 2017, 8:00 AM

Post #2 of 4 (654 views)
Re: 1989 Oldsmobile 88 wont start Sign In

Are you ever getting a code 12 at the beginning and again at the end of checking? Doubt it.

It's IMO just not communicating quite possibly bad grounds to body metal and to dash metal done usually by assertive ground straps all over the vehicle but many in view if you look.

Super shape and all has the time on it. If it's going to play hide and seek just add grounds right from battery to body metal as a test while dead. Add more or another to dash metal from like the striker post where door closes on body metal.

I'm just talking adding grounds to what is just supposed to be ground. Might be enough to light up a test light or show voltage but isn't getting the full power thru.

Rare side other is the rubber block at firewall factory greased I think with one bolt holding it can lose it over time and would be a tad heat sensitive in this case first likes cold then doesn't and now nothing much at all such that weak power noticed high amp items like cigarette lighter and power window motors.

It would help prove my point if just testing cig lighter with like a phone charger or an LED test light bet it works and can't do the massive draw to heat up a lighter hot to glowing rather shuts off any ground it might have had?

Strong guesses. Easy just tossing stuff as there's enough defective things out there can cause the confusion. Plug to under coil pack must also be a great connection and greased with electric grease sold as bulb grease the common name of it,


New User

Feb 5, 2017, 8:11 AM

Post #3 of 4 (648 views)
Re: 1989 Oldsmobile 88 wont start Sign In

Yes I do see the 12 code three times before the 41 three times and then the 12 again to finish it off. So, you believe it might be a grounding issue? I was thinking a broken or exposed wire somewhere in the harness.

This rubber block at firewall sounds interesting because when it was running and stopping i could sit and wait ten minutes and it would start again and go for another few miles. That's how i have had to get it home a FEW times.

(This post was edited by Frustrated2017 on Feb 5, 2017, 8:15 AM)

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Feb 5, 2017, 8:38 AM

Post #4 of 4 (641 views)
Re: 1989 Oldsmobile 88 wont start Sign In

It all matters right down to right at battery the side post cable negative if an extra wire right there follow it as it goes to body metal and others throughout the vehicle.
All the connections and relays have sat some time - some will not behave as intended again, some will but you know it's not running so any that are weak for anything to do with engine running suspect.

All this best tested while it's happening so you are much more sure you've hit the right spot. Jiggle test connections at plugs to things. IDK - I routinely drive and have forever cars this old or older myself not suggested for everyone. WD-40 everything as prevention followed by now PB products makes thick Silicone spray and check WD-40 brands for other than just the stuff we all know.

Note: Adding grounds you can use just good alligator clip jumper wires or better for strong power jumper cable used just ground to ground making sure you really have bare metal. Hmmm - found up under where parking brake mounts side panel up under dash and so on.

Said door striker usually a good choice if the ground even got there which is body metal.

Another whacked thing is some of these came with an oil pressure switch that if connection was weak or switch faulty you'd lose spark and fuel pump!

When I suggested the "wiggle" test just push on the plug in things or tap on mounted things like relays that have points inside can do this crap.

Yes - this bull can cause hair loss and the frustration you are going thru many times not a real broken something just a lousy connection.

The weak high amp (electrical things that use more power) like the cig lighter and window motors is a strong clue. If not used to this vintage vs actually older the windows weren't fast to begin with new but use of them would dim other things or shut them off!

Really hope for you that you have it DEAD while trying ONE thing at a time so you know which area makes any difference or you'll never know for sure if you do many at once which one was the culprit now. Then proactively go after other things that may come up later while they are still good.

Good luck. Can be a real hair puller if it decided to work and you didn't do a thing!


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