Schizoid olds

The speedometer suddenly quits working, (along with the odometer and trip meter), and the car acts like it has an air &/or a gas problem. It did not do it today on the way to work though!. I will be driving along and the engine will suddenly stall, but the electrical is fine. The mechanic replaced the air intake thingamajig, but that did not correct the problem. I put in a new air filter which did not seem to help immediately, either. The mechanic is at a loss for what could be the problem without tearing things apart - and he is reputed to be very honest!. When idling, he could not get the car to stall until I had him rev the engine. Any ideas about what to do - and by the way - I am financially challenged!

have you had the spark plugs or fuel filter replaced recently?

Knowing the model year, mileage and state of basic maintenance wouldn’t hurt.

The mechanic should put a scantool on it and watch what is going on as the vehicle runs & stalls. Given the wacky behavior of the gauges along with the stalling I’d be suspecting a problem with the vehicle’s main power system - failing alternator/battery, bad cables/connections - something of that nature. This is a fairly straightforward thing to check, especially if one puts it on a scantool.

The symptoms are classic indications of computer failure. When I say classic, I’m talking 1985 GM. If you have the misfortune of owning one of these 85s, your luck is improving because the thing cost $100 in the year 2000. My new one was reconditioned. It said Sorensen or Sorenson on the label.

Remove aluminum box above passenger’s right foot on firewall. Take to auto parts store where they will record serial number and order new one. Remove prom chip through small access door to install in reconditioned computer. Door is held on by screw. Install new computer, disregarding any instructions about “drivers” and drive on.

If your car is much newer than 85, get a manual or google instructions.

They’ve been making the Olds Eighty-Eight since 1949. Knowing the year of your vehicle will be essential to helping solve the problem. I’m going to suppose that it’s post-'85 because I’m assuming the “air intake thingamajig” is the air idle control valve (and/or motor), but knowing would be nice.

There are still a lot of things the mechanic should be able to check without tearing the engine apart. If it’s post-1995, definnitely start with the scan too. If that shows nothing, I’d start with the fuel pressure. Yours would not be the first aging fuel pump to “give up the ghost”.

Another good tool he shouls have at his disposal is an engine analyzer/oscilloscope. With such a tool a mechanica can actually read the voltages of the spark pulses, look to see if they’re abnormal, test sensors and other electrical signals and component operations, and do lots of cool diagnostic stuff.

Then there’s the basic stuff like “how do the plugs and wires look”?

There’s lots of stuff a good mechanic can check without tearing the engine open. No disrespect to your guy, but you may want to consider trying another shop.