1991 Camaro has issues

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Hello everyone...first time posting here except for the Introduce Yourself Page...Anyway...I got a Problem with my 1991 Chevy Camaro RS 3.1L automatic... Heres a little history...Bought the car in June 2002. Only problem at the time was the horn didn't work. Got that fixed (ended up having to replace the pressure plate and some stuff in the steering wheel). Didn't have any problems out of the car until September 2003 when it started leaking oil...put it in the shop to get that fixed...while in the shop it had the intake manifold gasket replaced, rear main seal, front main seal, a transmission seal replaced, the timing chain replaced, and the Oil Sending Unit Replaced. Car ran perfect!! In February 2004 the Check Engine Light Came on..Put it in the shop...Turned out to be the O2 sensor. Had that replaced along with the Serpentine Belt and the Fuel Injectors cleaned. Car ran Great!...Now here is the current problem...this may be a little long...Sorry..

On the 10th of June it rained really hard here in my neck of the woods in Virginia and my street flooded (and of course stupid me parked my car on the street and didn't move it when the street started to flood...duh). The next day on the 11th went to take my son to school that morning and it wouldn't start...it would crank but not catch...waited til later that day and retried starting it...same thing...crank but no catch...so I had it towed to the shop (needed it fixed fast as it is my only means of transportation).

They call me later that day and tell me that my distributor is bad.. I said okay fix it.. So they put the distributor in, a new distributor cap and rotor, new plugs and wires, and cleaned the fuel injectors (no charge for the fi cleaning). Car started now but was running really rough and had no pick up or power to her. So the shop set to resetting the timing which was 2 teeth off. Still no change in how the car was running. Now the techs are stumped..so they call in the Master Tech.... He says it's the EGR Valve and some sensors (replaced at no charge since they have now had my car for a whole week and a half)..Still no difference... So they take the exhaust off the car and blow out the tail pipes and everything, even have the Catalytic Converter tested (which tested good)..Still no difference...They check the Transmission fluid for water (the water did get really high the night it rained) but alas that wasn't the problem...THey replace the O2 sensor (no charge since it was still under warranty)..no difference...Now they bring in two other people one to check the tranny and the other to check the electrical system...both check out fine...So then they put a new computer in the car in the happen chance that it got wet..no difference..put old computer back in...A friend of mine who has worked on it in the past goes up there today and takes a look at it...goes to test drive it...he won't even take it out of their parking lot due to the lack of power and pick up..lol...tried to warn him...Anyways...today they are putting some dry gas in the tank and a octane booster plus of course a tank of gas cause by now they have gone through the half a tank of gas that was in it (In the four or five test drives the car has been on)..and are supposed to let me know if that takes care of the problem...If it doesn't the mech. mentioned something about a Knock Sensor, but he hasn't been able to find it (and it's not listed in the Haynes Manual I own)...So my question is " Where is the Knock Sensor usually located?" Now I called Advance Auto and they have a listing for it but can't replace it until it's found...Any ideas about how to find this Knock Sensor?
BTW I am not a whole lot mechanically inclined here so I am not even sure what this Knock Sensor does...Any help would be greatly appreciated...Thanks In Advance and sorry this is soo long but I wanted to let you all know what all had been done to it in hopes of maybe finding the cause of the problem....ItsMe...aka Stephanie

posted by  ItsMe

First things first. Next time, take it to people who knows what they are doing.(can be hard to find, i know) :ohcrap:

Second of all, I can't tell you the answer to your question. Although I do have a suggestion to what your problem might be, even though I don't think you asked for one. :laughing: :laughing:

Check the spark plug gaps. Very well could be your problem. And if they had the timing "two teeth off" they obviously don't know how to time it correctly so check that if you know how when you get it back.

posted by  DodgeRida67

a knock sensor usually detects hard jolts inside the engine . it is usually difficult to find sometimes in motor or outside on engine housing, go find the replacement part look at it (IMEAN REALLY LOOK AT IT) remember what it looks like and searche the outter parts of your engine for it it should look pretty much the same. if you dont see it its internal and thats where my skills end sorry

posted by  colinlesser

Yep...turned out to be a fuse that supplied power to the left side of the engine...haha...now just got to get the car to stay running in Drive :banghead: ...I was so thrilled when I got her back..then sitting at a light in drive she stalled...go figure...so back to the shop we go :cussing: ...Hopefully they will get their heads out of their you know where and figure out what's causing her to stall when she is in gear...had the tranny checked (road test, scan test etc) and it checked fine..so my guess is since she is idling erratically that it is a fuel problem...maybe a sensor or something...Let you all know...thanks for the advice...ItsMe

posted by  ItsMe

Stephanie, first of all I think you are on the right track with your problem and getting it resolved..... :thumbs:

Secondly, I would just like to let you know that people like me LOVE people like you that come in here and give us the WHOLE deal of what is happening with the car and the history rather than most ignorant idiots that just basically enunciate that they ca' ain't workin' what be wrong? I GLADLY read your ENTIRE write up and I just wanted to give ya a HIGH FIVE. And don't take this the wrong way AT ALL, but you are female and I am even MORE impressed that you had the gumption and brains to write all that!! You'd make half the MALES that know not 1/16th of what you know about cars through this experience look like school age girls with that KICK assed posting. YOU GO!!! :-)))) :thumbs:

posted by  cmeseadoin

Oh I forgot to ask........You said the road flooded in your neck of the woods in Virginia. Where in VA. are you? I live in Richmond Va. in Henrico county. I am just curious!! :-)

posted by  cmeseadoin

right outside my house...lol...I live in Norfolk Va. I did replace the fuel filter but she's still stalling :banghead: :cussing: ...So I think I am dealing with a plugged fuel line (maybe) and I am just hoping that it isn't the fuel pump (as that would be a pain in the butt to change-- dropping the exhaust and the gas tank does not sound like fun..lol)...However I am going to regap the spark plugs check the wires and replace the pcv valve...It will eventually run right...just got to trace the problem down...but I do really think it is a partially plugged fuel line..so I am gonna see if I can get to that tomorrow and check it out...Have a happy fourth of July!! Stephanie

posted by  ItsMe

we need more die-hard chicks :P

in fact, i need one of those for a girlfriend. all my other ones just complain that i love the car more than them (if they stopped b****ing, i wouldnt love the car more).

anyhow, its odd how even an electrical "expert" was brought in and he didnt even notice it was such a simple problem...... even worse when the whole problem was just a simple fuse :banghead:

i would force them to give me free service for a whole year for that screw up

posted by  Inygknok

Wow! Does this story sound familiar! My 91 Camaro RS is doing the same thing. Been to 3 shops and there is a lot of head scratching going on. My problem is a little more intermittant. Its OK in the morning and then acts up when its hot in the afternoon. The shop replaced the "M.A.P. sensor and it seemed to run fine for a few days, then started back again with the idles but no power symptoms.
PLEASE let me know what you find out and I will do same.

posted by  sleepyaligator

Two teeth off - sounds like the new distributor may not have been installed correctly to begin with.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Well...Lets just say....the car still has issues...Took it to the place that set the timing on it...cause it's stillll stalling... :banghead: So they recheck the timing...and Surprise: It was advanced... :doh: ...so they reset it yesterday...and today...well damn car is doing the same thing again....Me thinks that they may not have installed the distributor correctly or that it is a bad distributor...Everything I have read in the Haynes Manual says it all goes to the Electronic Spark Timing or the ECM or the Knock Sensor but all in all it relates back to the Distributor....hmmmm...Got to take the car back up there today at 4:00..I think I am going to make mention (and bring the book) that they should make sure to check the distributor out...I know they will LOVE that...but since my last posts have put more new parts on it....Lets see...new fuel filter, new vaccum lines, new ignition coil, new tps, new Idle Air Control Valve...hell at this rate everything under the hood is gonna be new besides the engine...although at this rate by the time we figure out what it is exactly I may need a new one of those too...Oh and I put a new set of Spark Plugs and wires on too...so lets see that's two sets of wires and plugs in two weeks, a whole slew of new parts (although must admit that the more interesting one was the Ignition Coil as it was the Original Equipment---it was still riveted onto the car...) and a whole month since she originally broke down...this sucks!! :cussing: ...although I must admit that my dad has a point...at this rate I'll have a couple thousand dollars worth of work and parts done to her and she is only worth almost 3000...I'll have a 7000 dollar car but not be able to get that much for her...but that is the way with all the used cars anyway...(sorry a little irritated today...tiny vent).... Oh well off to the shop she will go...now just got to figure out why the "brat" isn't holding time....Oh yeah the electrical shop said she was losing spark....hmmm....Maybe it is the Electronic Spark Timing system...Or the Electronic Spark Control System...Well when I find out what's wrong with her I will be sure to let you all know...Must admit that this has been a learning experience...Maybe I should have just taken it back to the guy who had my car a whole month only to work on it for 4 days....at least I didn't have any problems with it until the 02 sensor went bad in it almost six months after he did the work....but I was trying to be slick and have my car back up and running in less than that...and instead she's been down longer this time than she was that time....Go Figure! Here's Hoping you all are having better luck with your cars than I am with mine...ItsMe...aka Steph :smoke:

posted by  ItsMe

Well yesterday took car back to shop...had new computer put in...Car ran great for less than 24 hours...lol..Check Engine light came on and stayed on for about 30 minutes today...took it to the mechanic's again...by the time I got there the light had turned off...what was weird was the car was running like crap...no power...brake assist was out and my spedometer wasn't working until the light turned off,...then car started running fine...Maybe a short...but where??? Tomorrow it goes and gets another O2 Sensor as the one that is on it is giving out a funky reading..and then I guess it will have to go to the Electric Shop...Not even sure what's shorting out but just know it sucks... :screwy:

posted by  ItsMe


I wander if these yo-yo have checked the grounds from the ECM to the chassis and checked the power supply to the ECM to determine if it is actually getting 12 V?

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Really Good Question!!! I did take it back to Tidewater Auto Electric (actually had it towed..didn't feel like breaking it again..lol) Tuesday night and they got the keys first thing Weds. Morning...Haven't heard anything yet...but when I know something...I'll be sure to let you know...Steph.

PS...thanks for the suggestion... :thumbs:

Oh yeah btw the computer that got put in on Saturday "died"...On Tuesday Service Engine Soon Light came on (like it did on Sunday and Monday) but did not go off...Hooked it up to scanner and the computer wouldn't communicate with the scanner...but that's okay I guess since there weren't any codes in it on Sunday or Monday...but I hope to hear something soon from the Electric Shop...me is thinking of a short too...in the dash or by the Firewall...

posted by  ItsMe

I am writing First of all to let you know that you are not the only one with this problem. My wife has a '91 RS camaro with the exact same symptoms. She has had it since '91 and in the past two years it has started gradually getting worse and worse. We have tried many of the same things that you did and have not yet had luck. I did recently find a post on a web site again someone listing the same problems and they were given a possible cause of "Lock-up convertor". With the symptoms described for the converter I thought quite possible. I tonight did the test and saw imrovement. The test is to disconect the speedometer sensor on the tail end of the transmission. My wife will drive it tomorrow to see if it is indeed better then We will check into a fix.

here is the site with the advice arrow down to get to the '91 camaro....


Jason :thumbs:

posted by  Denasboy

You may be on to something - I read somewhere else the lock-up torque converter solenoid sometimes sticks on these cars.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

but I have had my tranny checked...they did a scan test on it and a road test and from what they say it is in good working order (first thought of original mechanic was the lock out silenoid)...I did get it back from the Electric shop (Tidewater Auto Electric) and I will not take it back to them again....They wanted to recharge me a diagnostic fee (which I originally paid not even a month ago) to rediagnose what's wrong with my car... :fu: well needless to say told them to kiss my ass :fu: ...Not to mention they told me that my EGR valve was leaking (which it wasn't before it went to them as I was under the hood the day/night before it was towed to them and it wasn't leaking nor was it loose) but took it to shop that put in the new EGR and low and behold somebody had loosened it...They also said that when I got that fixed that it should cure the erratic idling and stalling (which it hasn't)....So now back to square one...they didn't even check the grounds out or anything...I am sooooooo mad I could just spit fire...but I will get over it and eventually the car will run right,...just got to figure out what's wrong with the damn thing :banghead: Although they did say that the computer isn't communicating with the scanner..which is the problem I had with the old computer and I am wondering if they even put the right PROM in or if that is where the problem lies...or maybe the ALDL is grounding out somewhere which is why they can't communicate with the computer...who knows...blooming idiots....Stephanie

posted by  ItsMe

Sounds like these folks are a PITA (Pain in the a$$)

If you have the car @ home, make sure the battery is charged good, follow the instructions I am going to link below, then get back with us with your codes if any.

http://www1.autozone.com/servlet/UiBroker?ForwardPage=az/cds/en_us/0900823d /80/16/37/9c/0900823d8016379c.jsp

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Use a small jumper wire to connect Terminal B of the ALDL to Terminal A...

Okay as far as car electronics are concerned I am a idiot (yes I can admit when I don't know something)...So my question is what kind of jumper wire do I need and where can I get one?? (Yeah okay that is a stupid question but I don't need to screw it up and make my current problems worse)...Thanks for answering my little question...Steph...aka ItsMe

posted by  ItsMe

a bent paperclip works fine - besure to follow the instructions exactly - grounding the wrong terminals can damage the ECM

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Well here is what came up.... 22, 45, and 46...thats all (geez ain't that enough??)...I can't find my book so I can't look them up...So any help would be greatly appreciated...Thanks In advance...Steph...

posted by  ItsMe

Now wishing I hadn't.... :banghead:

Code 22: Throttle Postition Sensor: Sticking or misadjusted TPS; poor electrical connection, open or short in circuit; defective TPS; defective ECM.
***Has new TPS... :banghead:

Code 45: Rich Exhaust: Rich Condition caused by restricted air filter, fuel in evaporation charcoal canister or crankcase, malfunctioning carburetor/fuel injector, high fuel pressure, etc: defective TPS; defective MAP; defective oxygen sensor; defective ECM.
***Has new Oxygen sensor..could car have two of them??...new TPS...new fuel filter...could be fuel injector.,,has tick...Has new ECM X2... :banghead: :banghead:

Code 46: Vehicle Anti-Theft System (VATS) : Poor electrical connection, open or short in circuit; incorrect ignition key or starting procedure; defective VATS module; defective ECM...
***this one has me stumped... :banghead:

posted by  ItsMe

put the car in the shop with the same mechanic who fixed it back in September...Had to do some major butt kissing but thankfully he was willing to take a look at it...so here are his thoughts from test driving it...1. Wrong distributor...2. Memcal is fried...3..Bad computer...4. Timing is advanced again...

Here is what led him to think of the distributor...My rpm gauge is way off...It is saying the car is idling at 3000 rpm's but doesn't sound like it is idling that high...plus how she is running...

So he is going to look into her and give her a good look over and let me know what the final verdict is...So I am on Mechanic number 4...Hopefully he will be able to figure out what the hell is wrong with her...ItsMe...Stephanie :banghead:

posted by  ItsMe

did you ever get the knock sensor fixed?? i have a caprice classic same year and while doing diagnostic testing i found i needed to replace my knock sensor to fix a similar problem. my car would stall out and run rough and lose power but it was intermitten. mine was only failing but if yours is runied it can really screw up the electronic ignition control.

posted by  jelleroll

I took it back to the mechanic that worked on it in Sept. 03...He's checking her out now..haven't heard from him yet but he said that more than likely the other places were telling me I needed parts that I more than likely didn't need, blah blah blah...And let me tell you he was might bit pissed that I took it somewhere else in the first place...So I had to do some :oops: MAJOR butt kissing :oops: ...and as long as I have been without my car right now it was not beyond my capabilities to do the butt kissing...I'll let you all know what he says but for now I am just waiting patiently to find out what he says :thumbs: ...Steph

posted by  ItsMe

Just got off the phone with Mechanic...He had to replace starter cause when (Tune-Up Plus) put in my manifold (they had to replace it cause they broke it) they didn't make sure the wires from my starter weren't touching it...Fried the starter...He said he for now doesn't think it's going to need another computer (after resetting a whole bunch of things that were way out of whack like, idle and timing and a few other things)...and has narrowed the problem down to one section (however he didn't tell me where)...He says he doesn't want me to have another 1000.00 bill like I did last time he worked on it and I told him it didn't really matter as I have already sunk over 1000.00 into it since June and I need a CAR...but I understand where he is coming from and am willing to be patient while he figures it out..I'll let you know how it goes but for now I got to come up with the 200 I owe him for the starter and labor...Let you know more as I find out more...Stephanie aka ItsMe...

PS..when I find out what section he is talking about I'll tell ya...

posted by  ItsMe

Hi Stephanie,

I've been having the exact same problem with my '91 Camaro. My car started losing power a week after the starter was replaced. My mechanic has been working on it for 3 weeks now. :ohcrap: They tested everything and replaced numerous parts. He called me today and said the problem came down to injectors. The car has 6 and they had to replace 4. The injectors tested fine 3 times but they finally determined that they were shorting out. He also replaced the fuel filter, did an oil change and replaced the spark plugs. The plugs got fried during this time. Luckily he's only charging me for 3 hours of diagnosis time instead of 30. It's costing about $1500 but he's giving me a 1 year warranty on this repair and is confident, like he wasn't before, that they fixed the problem.

Hope this helps :heh:


posted by  Debbiekins

That might have helped her.....three years ago. :thumbs:

posted by  Cliffy

Maybe it will help the next person since I just found her post 2 days ago :wink2:


posted by  Debbiekins

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