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1996 Grand Am Died - no spark

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Anonymous Poster

Aug 18, 2006, 4:01 AM

Post #1 of 5 (2667 views)
1996 Grand Am Died - no spark Sign In


I have a 1996 Pontiac Grand Am with a 3.1L and 208,000 mi. It just stopped running on the highway at normal highway speed. I noticed as I as drifting over to the shoulder the tachometer was erratic moving back and forth from low to high. It would not start so I had it towed. I didn't have any OBD II codes, no blown fuses and has no spark. Any idea what this problem is? Crank position sensor, ing. module, or coil?

Any way to test these componenets?

I also did a compression test to verify that the timing chain didn't break and the compression is good.

Thanks for your help!

New User

Sep 11, 2006, 9:38 PM

Post #2 of 5 (2647 views)
Re: 1996 Grand Am Died - no spark Sign In

    you could try the ign. module or maybe even the rotor button which is inside the distributor. i had a similar problem on a camaro. we replaced the ign module, rotor button, dist cap, we replaced all kinds of stuff and still didnt get anywhere. we later sold the car for $350 and found out from the new owner that it was the timing chain.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Sep 12, 2006, 2:15 AM

Post #3 of 5 (2645 views)
Re: 1996 Grand Am Died - no spark Sign In

I believe that the 3.1 is an interferance engine and will self destruct if a timing chain breakes but probably would survive jumping a tooth or two. Never heard of one breaking as so many cars here rust out before they wear out, T

New User

Sep 12, 2006, 11:59 AM

Post #4 of 5 (2640 views)
Re: 1996 Grand Am Died - no spark Sign In

    also if the timing chain has got some teeth missing it could just be off time.


Sep 12, 2006, 6:48 PM

Post #5 of 5 (2636 views)
Re: 1996 Grand Am Died - no spark Sign In

Usually a crankshaft sensor will set a code. I usually use a scan tool and oscilloscope to test but you might not have any of those tools. You could try testing the crank sensor with a digital multimeter. If the sensor is hard to get to you could try testing it at the ignition control module. If I'm not mistaken a purple or yellow wire, look for wire colors at crank sensor and follow to control module....Hope this helps....Mike

  1. Turn the ignition key OFF.

  2. Unplug the sensor electrical harness and check the terminals for corrosion and damage.

  3. Check the sensor wiring harness wires for continuity and repair as necessary.

  4. Attach the sensor harness making sure it is firmly engaged.

  5. Using a Digital Volt Ohm Meter (DVOM) set on the DC scale, backprobe the sensor signal terminal (terminal A) with the positive lead of the meter and backprobe the sensor ground terminal (terminal B) with the negative lead of the meter.

  6. Have an assistant crank the engine and observe the meter.

  7. You should have approximately a 5 volt reference signal pulse. If not the sensor may be defective.

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