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Thanks, Tester!

It’s been a while since I asked about my '92 Olds Cutlass Ciera engine challenge. (3300 V-6). I purchased a good quality OBD-I code scanner/reader, etc. The challenge did not come up. I tried everything that all of the books said to check. I changed out a lot of electronic components. One thing that nobody mentioned, including the books, (Chilton’s and Haynes), was the dual crankshaft sensor, except for Tester. That was the issue. Changed it out using my experience to get the harmonic balancer off for access to the dual sensor. Used my ingenuity to make a non-magnetic flexible spacer for proper spacing between the sensor and harmonic balancer. Vehicle now runs like it should–and keeps running just fine after engine has reached operating temperatures. THANK YOU so very much, Tester! To others: No matter your experience, if you run into a challenge with an auto, don’t throw a bunch of money at the situation. Get on this site and ask. Someone will steer you in the right direction.–Prof. Handy.

You’re welcome! Glad you got the problem solved.


There are readers who are interested in what the problem was, and the reasoning and troubleshooting used to determine where the problem was, and the repair action.
A lot of responders want to know what idea, not only what part, proved to be beneficial to the problem poser. Other people with a similar could benefit, as well. We are enriched by the feedback.

I related that the '92 Ciera, when it got close to operating temperature, just stopped running. After a short cool-down period, it started fine and ran until the coolant temp. got close to operating temp. Then it died again. I checked Chilton’s and Haynes manuals. No where was it mentioned about the possibility of something wrong with the dual crankshaft sensor possibly being defective so I never checked it. I changed out the fuel pump and filter, which is a (female dog), because you’ve gotta empty out as much fuel as you can, it’s always dirty under there, etc. No difference in engine operation. So I replaced other electronic components like engine temp. sensors, cooling fan switch, a new coil to individually replace each of the three coils, the ignition module, and a new computer! I mean, I replaced everything EXCEPT the dual crankshaft sensor. After pulling the rest of my hair out, slapping myself in the head and face, and almost going crazy, I then got on this site explaining all that I had done. Tester suggested changing out the crankshaft sensor as he had run into this exact situation before. That was it. As for his reasoning, I can’t answer to that other than to say his experience and his relaying that experience to me and all others monitoring the issue caused me to finally figure it out. The code reader showed no problems. The dual crankshaft sensor isn’t part of the code reader’s functions. The books did not address the issue. But an experienced mechanic did steer me in the right direction. As to his reasoning and troubleshooting, I’ll defer to Tester about that. Once again, thanks, Tester. When I run into something in the future that I’m not quite sure of, guess what, Folks? I’m getting onto this site and I’m going to ask up front. I would have saved a lot of grief, aggravation and money. It’s not a complete loss, though. I now have some known-good replacement electronic parts! That includes a back-up computer, fuel pump, coil, ignition module, etc. And do I really need the rest of what little hair I have left? Hey, saves on shampoo and I now use less hot water per shower. Gotta think positive, eh?

I’m glad you’re saving money on shampoo; though, I’m not certain that the cause and effect are the most desirable. A head shave would have worked, also.
In a lighter vein, when an engine suddenly stalls, all of the ignition system is, at first, suspect. Stalling from a fault in the fuel system is, usually, less abrupt.
Experience has shown that when ignition control system components get hot, they can fail until they cool somewhat. The ignition coil is one of those suspects. Another high voltage component is the ignition ignitor. Further experience has shown that the crankshaft position sensor can fail the same way. The VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor) isn’t innocent, either,until it proves itself so.
Here is a link to testing the crankshaft position sensor at Auto Zone’s Web site: