1994 Olds Cutlass Cruiser (Ciera wagon) power cuts out


#1

I have a 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser 3.1 with an intermittent engine power loss during acceleration. Usually it occurs just after leaving a stop sign or light once or sometimes twice in a row. It is not a hesitation - it is a very abrupt loss of power. I've kept up on the standard maintenance very well and the car has 80,000 miles, so I would not suspect spark plugs, wires, or fuel filter. It does not have a tachometer, but I am 99% sure the transmission is not slipping or jumping out of gear, but that the engine is actually loosing spark or fuel. This problem is very intermittent, but it has triggered the check engine light a couple of times. The check engine light does not stay on, and when I took it to my mechanic he said to keep driving it until the light stayed on or the problem was more easy to replicate. Right now, if a mechanic went for a test drive, there is a good chance it would not show any symptoms. My mechanic did mention that it may turn out to be an ignition module. I can get an ignition module for about $100 at my local parts store. Is it worth just putting this in and hopping it fixes the problem? Or should we just take the mechanic's advice and risk getting stranded with our 1 and 3 year old in the car with us?

-Tim from Spokane, WA


#2

I did not get any response and I'm wondering if I did not provide enough info, or I suppose this is not a problem anyone has heard of before. Here's more info in case it could help:

My mechanic said to keep driving it because he cannot read a code in an older (1994) GM if the check engine light is not currently on. This has been a daily driver for the past 6 years since we bought it from my wife's grandmother and has given us absolutly no trouble so far. OK, I really can't think of anything else to add. Please help if you can!


#3

I believe your mechanic is most likely correct, in that it's an ignition module issue. Specifically the ignition switch itself. If teh car has served you well, and you think it will continue to do so once this is fixed, I'd go for it, and put a new switch in. It may not fix it, but it's my only suggestion at this time. More info may lead to a different diagnosis, but as this is all we have...

Why no one has responded could be amny things, as there are a lot of posts that go through this board, and not really that many people trying to answer them. Then, there are those that attack the answers, and may put someone off for a time. Most of us that do try to answer also are working stiffs, and time is valuable, so sometimes things get missed. Maybe touched, meant to go back, but never made it.

Good luck,
Chase


#4

Chase,
Thanks for the response. I replaced the ignition module yesterday and the problem is totally gone! I told my wife I thought it was a 50/50 chance at best and that I normally don’t like just throwing parts at a car without a definitive diagnosis, but I tried it this time and it looks like it worked out.
-Tim