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Help with '96 olds. acheiva PLEASE (female here lol)

ts2000ts2000 Member Posts: 7
edited March 2014 in Oldsmobile
ok, so my car won't start and when i can barely get her to turn on righ before she dies she makes a popping sound like backfiring. I've been told that it could be a timing belt/chain? or the fuel pump. My husband has changed spark plugs, the boots? the o2 sensor, oil, he put fuel treatment in her. And he also did the old fashioned way of checking to see if she was getting gas by starting her, holding in the gas to open that butterfly thing and when he did a blue flame came out and about blinded him. Oh and can any one help with telling me where the timing belt/chain is and the fuel pump to fix it ourselves. THANKS A MILLION :)


  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    to change the fuel pump or timing belt after nearly firing himself up -

    And why on Earth are you guys just throwing parts at the car? To spend money??

    Take it to a shop and pay for an accurate diagnosis - even if you don't get it repaired there, you know what's really wrong and can stop rebuilding the car piece by piece until it repairs itself.

    You'd be out another $60-80 bucks, but you'd know what's up instead of guessing.
  • ts2000ts2000 Member Posts: 7
    They were suggestions by a mechanic, because she wasn't acting that bad at first. so he suggested spark plugs, boots, and an o2 sensor. Which it needed all those anyway.
  • ts2000ts2000 Member Posts: 7
    she won't start so we can't really take it anywhere. its stuck where its at so we have to figure it out for ourselves, unfortunately.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    $30-40 for a tow truck to a decent mechanic, good evaluation of your problem - you're out another $100, but you KNOW what's going on!
  • ts2000ts2000 Member Posts: 7
    Ok, so maybe if we lived in the city it would be $30-$40 bucks to get her towed, but we don't. And a certified mechanic told me that more than likely it is the timing chain. And that would cost oh about $1,000 for a mechanic to do it. And for us to go out buy the parts ourselves and have the mechanic come out and fix it, would be much cheaper. So thanks for the help and I guess this topic is closed now.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    you were asking for help on your car, I'm trying to save you money and you're throwing attitude?

    I've been in the car business 13 years and have worked on my own cars (and family cars) for 35 years.

    Take my advice or leave it - I don't care.

    To the matter at hand, I have a very strong "what if" for you.

    "What if" the mechanic, who hasn't seen, heard or touched your car, is WRONG?

    Then, you just spent a whole bunch more money and time for nothing. Then, you go to the guy, and he throws another guess at you.

    If that's the way you want to handle your money, go for it. I gave you a suggestion that would save money and time.

    You talk about being tight on money. WASTING your money doesn't help your situation, it digs your hole deeper.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well don't do anything without good diagnosis first. That's the surest way to disaster. If it's a timing chain issue that can be diagnosed, and if it's a burned valve that can be diagnosed.

    Backfiring is by definition hinting at some kind of timing issue or valve leakage issue, so a compression test and a visual checking of the timing chain & pulley marks is in order here. Also a check with a timing light wouldn't hurt. (that's for ignition timing, not valve timing, but ignition timing could also be an issue here, with a defective distributor).

    What you have here is fuel combustion at the wrong time, so you have to figure out first what's "out of time"....valves, ignition or fuel being excessively lean.
  • ts2000ts2000 Member Posts: 7
    O.k., so I can still get a diagnosis without the car being able to start? The only thing is is that if we take it to a shop and they tell me what is definitely wrong with it but we don't have the money to get it fixed, then it will have to sit there and then we end up paying for storage. But the guy I talked to said he under stands that so he said to buy the parts and he would come out and fix it where it sits. I know that it isn't a guarantee that it is the timing chain but from what everyone is saying thats the best possibility. I appreciate your advice, but thats why I don't want to take it to a shop. P.s. Found out that I can borrow a diagnostics thing from a store, but they said they aren't sure if it will be able to read anything major. Stupid huh.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    WEll you know, I just don't like this idea of what you're doing. It's such a crap shoot.

    Here's what I'm hearing from you:

    "we aren't sure what it is. It could be major or minor; however, we know one thing it could be, so we are going to fix what we know and ignore what we don't know".

    Does that sound about fair an impersonation of what you're thinking?

    Okay, if it does, the problem I'm having is that your approach has about 30% chance of succeeding---so the odds are 1 to 3 against you, with a bet much...$300 bucks?

    Now, what if I could INCREASE your odds to 1 to 1---that is, even money, by having you spend $100?

    So you see my logic here. Spend a little up front, drop your risk, improve your odds.

    Someone could pop the timing case cover off and check the timing marks for chain, cam pulley and crank pulley. If all the marks line up right, then the chain isn't the problem. If they have slipped, then hey, you are already 1/4 done with the job! If not, you button it up and look elsewhere, and you've only spent an hour or two.

    You can ask a shop just to do a diagnosis or you can ask the moonlighter who's coming to your house to do the diagnosis.

    Don't YOU do the diagnosis is what I'm saying, because you don't know what's what.

    If you tell a garage or mechanic to "replace the timing chain" and they do and the car doesn't run, that's YOUR fault, okay?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    "so he said to buy the parts and he would come out and fix it where it sits"

    If the mechanic will come out to your house and diagnose the problem, saying for sure, what's up, and he'll fix it where it sits, great. Unusual, but great. I'm thinking we don't have a "real" mechanic here, maybe a cousin who says "he knows about cars".

    To buy the timing chain and associated parts and have him install them still doesn't guarantee that's what's wrong with it.

    To spend a little money on a REAL diagnosis, at a REAL shop, and not some shadetree guy who's making a guess, you'll be money ahead. You'll know what's wrong, you'll fix what's wrong, and you're not throwing parts at the thing until it runs right.

    If a shop did that, they'd be sued until tomorrow!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    not trying to be funny, but I can't tell you the number of times I've had customers come to my service department, and use their acting skills to demonstrate what their car is doing. Do they actually expect a mechanic to make a pinpoint diagnosis on them saying the car goes "chugga, chugga, clunk"?

    Then they ask "What's wrong with it and how much will it cost to fix it?"

    You gotta be pulling my leg!

    I've had people ask us to do that! Even a 20 year master tech has only a 10% chance of guessing that one right!

    Do the right thing, spend the money, get it checked out, fix it right the first time, and save your money for better things besides keeping the parts store in business - YOU enjoy your money, not someone else!
  • ts2000ts2000 Member Posts: 7
    O.k. I'm going to take it to a shop, get the diagnosis. Thanks again. P.s. It is a mechanic that I do not know.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    Better safe than sorry has never been more true than when dealing with car repairs.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    for the uplifting commentary. Have a bad Labor Day weekend?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    The hosts have been made aware of your cursing and otherwise rude behavior.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    ts mentioned new spark plugs. Is she absolutely sure the plug wires were put back in the right sequence? I've seen new and moderately experienced mechanics overlook something that simple. It would cause the symptoms she is describing.

    Hopefully by the time she sees this, the shop will have allready figured it out.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Message #19 relates to posts deleted for profanity.

    Unless you enjoy writing in rapidly disappearing ink, please strive to remain civil under all circumstances.

    thank you

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Actually mullins has a very good suggestion there!

    Cross-wired or "cross-firing", with the spark jumping either from wire to wire or in the distributor.

    This creates that same "timing problem", in that due to cross-firing or cross-wiring, a cylinder gets a spark before its "time" to have it. So that cylinder's valve is open, probably to permit exhaust gas to leave, and then a spark comes and ignites fuel when the valves aren't yet ready for that.

    May I please add as an armchair mechanic, that pouring fuel into a running engine is REALLY dangerous?
  • ts2000ts2000 Member Posts: 7
    would it affect the car even after having been changed for 2 weeks. she was running great after he changed them. The firing order for our car was checked before putting them in. 1, 3, 4, 2.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    So how about cross-firing then. Did you say cap and wires were new or are they original?

    Cross-firing----due to faulty cap or spark plug wires, the spark transfers or jumps from one wire to another adjacent, unintended wire.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    my first thought was timing, and bad timing caused by spark plug wires in the wrong place is also timing issues. but I gotta go with "see a professional" advice here.

    even assuming the significant other was the architect of this engine, and assuming he had worked on them fifty times a day during initial test and qualification, it's obvious that something is bass-ackwards here. when I was programming and couldn't see what in heck I had done wrong, and had Thoroughly Convinced Myself I Was Invariably Right, I had to have somebody else find my sneakiest pilot errors.

    part of growing up is knowing when you have to slap the table, say you don't have it today on this one, and call somebody over to look at your disaster.

    it's time on this one, call Captain Hook and away you go for a second opinion from somebody with a new outlook and all the right equipment.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    but in this situation, given the same circumstances and the same level of expertise and/or completness of the toolbox as what "ts" has, I'd have to side with swschrad. I'm about to tackle the injectors on my truck. You can bet that if I get into it and find myself over my head, I won't hesitate to call a tow truck.

    With this car being a '96 model and being OBD-II, the first thing I'd do is hook up my scanner to see what turns up. I do know it will show a misfire and tell you which cylinder it is. Again, $60 or so could tell "ts" where to look and save her a ton of money.
This discussion has been closed.