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Playin' In The Dirt Again
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello Forum.

I would like to get some opinions from the experts here on MTF about a car I have, and which I have not driven in two years.

The car is a 93 Oldsmobile with 45K miles. The engine is fuel injected gasoline, six cylinders, about 3.8 liters. The car has been parked.

Okay. The battery was low, so I jumped that and let my little Isuzu diesel pickup's battery and alternator charge up the battery on the Oldsmobile. After a while I tried to start the Olds. Nice winding of the starter motor as it turned the engine over. Not even a hint that it would want to start though, even with almost a full minute of starter action. When I parked it two years ago, it ran fine.

What things would you do to bring the car back to life? What do you think might be causing it to not start? How would you rank order the corrective actions to take?

Thanks.

:Tractor2:
 

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See if you can get into the intake system and prime it with some fresh gas. That way you'll know if you have a fuel or ignition problem. You could also listen for the fuel pump when you turn the key on.
 

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Do you hear the fuel pump run for a few seconds after you switch the ignition on? If not, the relay may be stuck, or wiring chewed through by some stinkin' mice.
 

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We have had many fuel Pumps go from sitting, check for a humm when the key is turned on. You can also check and see if it has a test port on the fuel rail, you could really test it from thier.
 

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Playin' In The Dirt Again
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Guys, for the help.

@Fcubman
Do you hear the fuel pump run for a few seconds after you switch the ignition on? If not, the relay may be stuck, or wiring chewed through by some stinkin' mice.
I'll check it and pay attention. Thanks for the tips.

@rscurtis
See if you can get into the intake system and prime it with some fresh gas. That way you'll know if you have a fuel or ignition problem. You could also listen for the fuel pump when you turn the key on.
That fresh gasoline in the intake... is that like a gasoline soaked rag near the air intake or some such thing? Not sure just how to do it right. How would you do it?

@davidg
old bad gas would be the first thing that comes to mind. dirty injectors or rodent chewed wiring would be the second.
I will check for rodent damage. I guess I can just siphon out all that old gasoline and put in some fresh.

:Tractor2:
 

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If you have an extra pump type oil can, fill it with mixed fuel. The oil is needed to lubricate the pump in the can. It's a handy way to troubleshoot a lot of different equipment.
 

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We had a Mitzubishi Eagle at the junkyard that sat inside the garage for 3 years,that was a nice running car--when we finally got the title for it,we tried starting it up so we could put it out for resale..it would just crank,not a poop out of the exhaust or intake though,despite it having excellent spark,fuel getting to the plugs,and spinning over fast enough..we were stumped!..

Then I mentioned I thought it sounded like it was spinning over too fast without any resistance,like it had no compression..my co-workers agreed..we thought maybe the rings stuck from sitting or maybe the valves stuck open..we did not hear any unusual noises during the cranking though..

I decided to tale out the plugs and do a compression test,all of the cylinders were low,less than 50 psi...I dumped some drain oil into the cylinders and tested again,and most had well over 100 psi then--but it still refused to fire up ,run,or even backfire,even with a healthy dose of starting fluid..

I tiik the plugs out again and filled all the cylinders with oil,till it overflowed,and let it sit overnight..the next morning when we craked it,it actually fired on a few cylinders,then started slowing down..we put the charger back on it andonce again I filled the cylinders with oil,let it soak awhile,then spun it over again..after about a good two minutes of cranking,it finally started firing on two cylinders,and eventually ran long enough to clear out all the oil that probably fouled the plugs,and it started running better and better--it smoked like crazy for at least a half hour,and it took a good 5 mile blast up the highway to finally clear all the oil from the catalitic converter & exhaust pipes...it ran nicely after that,and we sold it a few days later,after the boss drove it several days with his dealer plate to see if it was going to "live"!....never saw it again!..

He was ready to crush it,i was the only one persistant enough to keep trying to get it to start..everyone else thought it was a hopeless cause...surprisingly it had nearly a full tank of gas,and once we got it to run,it didn't seem to bother it,it was stale,but evidently still had enough octane to work good enough!..I've had gas go sour in 3 months and gum things up so bad they had to be replaced..had one car at the yard the gas soured in,it had injectors SO gummy they couldn't be taken apart and cleaned,even the fuel rails had rubber cement looking goop in them..had to swap parts off another engine onto it to get uit to run..
 

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Playin' In The Dirt Again
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194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you have an extra pump type oil can, fill it with mixed fuel. The oil is needed to lubricate the pump in the can. It's a handy way to troubleshoot a lot of different equipment.
Hello rscurtis.

Is "mixed fuel" something like the mix I put into a weed eater or chain saw motor? I'm a little confused about that. I can get an extra such can just for the purpose. BTW, I've noticed that at least one sample of the cheap Chinese pump oil cans would not prime and pump, even with thick oil. The American ones always work, as far as I can tell.

Thanks.

:)
 

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Playin' In The Dirt Again
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hello TractorHolic.

Thanks for sharing that marathon experience with the Mitsubishi Eagle. Lordy, how I hope I'm not in for an experience like that one. But at least I have learned what you did and got some ideas just in case.

Congratulations on your having the insight to save it and not crush it.

:)
 

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You can use WD-40 down the intake to see if it will fire. Remove the air intake tube, open the throttle wide and give it a good 4-6 second squirt. Let the throttle close, and try starting it up. You likely have some gummy injectors. If it fires using the WD-40, or starting ether if you really want to tempt fate, you can have the injectors cleaned using a super concentrate that connects to the injection rail, and supplies the fuel-cleaner mix from a container. The factory fuel supply is disabled, and only the concentrated mix is flowed through the injectors. You could also take them out and clean them by hand. There is a fellow in Indiana that will clean yours or send you a set on an exchange basis.
You likely do not have a distributor, but will have a cam or cam and crankshaft sensor on the front timing chain cover. The 3.8 was known for eating the cam position sensor as the chain loosened up, but the with the mileage you report there should be no problem with that. I watched a guy crank his 3.8 over and over and over after his wife ran it out of fuel. He cranked it so long I thought he'd cook the starter. It finally did start, and he drove off.
tom
 

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Try starting a car that was put away with a full gas tank over 15 years ago. Crank, crank and crank again. Pulled the plugs, all new plugs and were gapped exact. Checked the wires, all okay. Distributor, clean. Didn't check the compression. Changed the oil and filter, too. Didn't need radiator fluid either.
Dropped some 'new' fuel down the throat, it sputtered to a stop. Wouldn't start again.
After a month, tried it again. Didn't hear that familiar 'wrrrr' from the gas tank. Fuel guage read "E". Hmmm. Added 5 gals of new fuel, hit the key, "wrrrr", sputter, sputter, roar.
It's running fine now, with a shot of Sea Foam in the tank and some fresh fuel.
Put it in gear, frozen brake shoes snapped free. All lights work, horns work, A/C is cold. Good paint, newer tires (16 years old) with the nubs still on them, full of air. No strange 'smells' or knocks.
Now, how to get it to the inspection station to see if it will pass inspection. It's sooo old, no exhaust test needed. Only a safety check (brakes, lights, & horn).
Its got the shift lever in the console between the seats, so I gotta find out where the clutch is hiding.

Can't keep old vehicles hiding forever!
 
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