93 cutlass supreme stalling

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hi everyone

I have a 93 cutlass supreme that is stalling when its warm(at idle or while driving). I had it at the dealer and they said it couldbe the crank sensor or the ign modual, so I changed them both along with an O2 sensor , fuel filter,spark plug and ign wires, now I'm at a brick wall. Any one fomiliar with this?


posted by  dman32

Yes, as someone who encounters "this" on an almost daily basis I am intimately familiar with "this". "This" is throwing parts at a car hoping to fix it with no diagnostic strategy. "This" is what happens when people are either too cheap to pay for a technicians knowledge, experience and equipment or too lazy to learn the correct procedure and purchase the required tools. "This", more often than not, costs more in the long run than simply having a professional do the job from the beginning. While we're at it, "this" can also make it harder for said professional to diagnose when you finally throw up your hands and take it to them.

Let me share with you my most recent (yesterday) brush with "this". A customer brings in his '92 Bronco complaining of poor drivability. He and his hired shadetree have replaced in no particular order plugs, wires, cap, rotor, distributor, ignition module, throttle body, MAP sensor, IAC motor, ECM, alternator, TPS and maybe one or two more I don't recall. Do some quick math on those parts plus what he paid his "mechanic" for doing it and he's well over $1,000. He finally gave up, that's where I came in and guess what?
Less than $150 later, including a full computer diagnostic he's on the road running like new. The cause of the drivability problem? A damaged upper plenum gasket caused by the plenum bolts coming loose. I bet he feels stupid about now, don't you?

So ask yourself this. How much more money are you willing to waste before you fix your car?

posted by  vwhobo

Well vwhobo prior to posting the original post I had the so called GM pros do a complete engine scan, I even left the car with them till they said they found the problem. They were the ones who said change all those parts, and were going to charge me an arm and a leg to do them, I asked them if I do everything and it still happens do I get a refund and you put all the old parts back, they said NO. So I wouldn't be any better if I let GM do the work except be out 1000.00+ dollars. But I brought it back saying its still doing it and if they can take another look now and see if anything shows up, they said its probably electrical and a min. of 400.00/per 4 hours. Now would you or anyone else know a common electrical problem that'll give these stalling sympthms as I mentioned in the first post?


posted by  dman32

"This" that you are speaking about happened to me in reverse order, Mr. Mechanic. I took my car to the mechanic - he said since the part "ain't broke" they can't diagnose the problem. I say try anyway, something is wrong. Well, he has my car for two weeks and still can't diagnose the problem, and then he changes a few parts and "this" is still happening and he lost money on the diagnosis! Sometimes even mechanics can't fix stuff!

posted by  olddude

Maybe your bifocals are broken and you had trouble reading what I typed or maybe you're just not real smart. What happend to you isn't the rerverse order of "this", it's exactly "this". He's still scratching his head and shotgunning parts. Just because someone calls themselves a mechanic doesn't make it so. I have said over and over ad infinitum in these forums, but admittedly not in this thread, the key is a competent tech. That's someone with the proper training, equipment and most importantly ATTITUDE.

The person who worked on your car may be the best radiator replacer in the world but he is obviously not a skilled diagnostition. All drivability concerns are repairable and parts should only be replaced when they test bad. This requires time, effort, tools and the wisdom to not jump at the first part whose name you can identify through a DTC.

Here's another quick story to illustrate my point. Last night I got a midnight call from a friend heading back to Vermont after helping family with hurricane damage in Florida. On his way north his '97 E350 (5.4l, 175k miles) threw on the MIL and started running like crap. He was just outside of Jacksonville and not knowing anyone took it to a Ford dealer. One MAF sensor, one EGR valve and four O2 sensors (yes, all four) later he's back on the road. Don't forget his wallet is now substantially lighter too. Guess what? It started doing the same thing north of Savannah so he limped it into me. In less than an hour with my scan tool and some investigation it was fixed for... well I don't know exactly what the part is going to cost because I stole it of a friends identical van. But the vacuum fitting shouldn't cost more than $5 even though it's a dealer only item. If it was a customer car in one of my shops the tab would have been well under $100.

Moral of the story? Well, there's alot. Just because somebody owns tools doesn't make them a mechanic. Just because someone can do brake jobs doesn't mean they can work driveability issues. Just because you go to a dealership doesn't mean they can repair your car. Just because someone has a $10k scan tool doesn't mean they know how to use it. Just because a shop seems expensive initially (like all of mine) doesn't make it a bad deal. I could go on but you should get the point.

posted by  vwhobo

how about the throttle postion sensor?

posted by  gtmarko

Did you not read posts #2 and #6 in this thread... or about a zillion other posts I've made on this forum? Please tell me it was just an oversight and that you're not really that stupid. :banghead:

posted by  vwhobo

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