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Old 03-13-2012, 10:57 PM
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gutless cutlass needs some help

Essentially, I am wondering if i can bypass all the sensor and emissions bull*#$^ on my car by slapping on headers, new carb with manual choke, maybe intake manifold, removing the emissions (i know it takes some time) and straight piping it. also, wondering how likely it is that this would solve all/any of my problems and if i can simply bypass the ecm without any headaches like i hope i can. following, are the dirty details

have an 85 cutlass with a 3.8 v6. It was pretty dirty all around under the hood when i got it and I'm not sure where to start with helping it out. I gave it an ignition tune up and new filters and it ran alright but its got some issues. It doesn't shift right all the time... (won't go beyond 3rd when hot, shifts into 4th at 20 mph when cold)... its got BAD hesitation... usually idles at about 3500 most of the time when it starts and the fast idle won't come down even after its warm... sometimes when you hold the gas in one spot it will go back and forth between accelerating and decelerating like its trying to decide wether or not to shift... and its PAINFULLY slow.

...I suspect a combination of things may be going wrong (cat converter is OLD, maybe plugged, some emissions stuff isnt hooked up right (ecm might be messing up the running due to false reading?) sensors might be bad, (temp, oil pressure, and voltage gauges don't work) there are a couple electrical connectors not hooked up or with wires missing under the hood...

(cheers to anybody who took the time to read all this)
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:14 PM
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also, before the lectures begin, i know the emssions system has many functions and doesnt restrict hundreds of horsepower when functioning properly. what i dont know is how many sensors are directly tied to the emissions that could be causing problems and wether or not it would need a timing change or different distributor curve or such things if this stuff comes off.

i know somebody who took all the stuff off their 85 and got a new carb and headers, it seems to run great.

I'm also taking into account the fact that my exhaust is falling off so i might as well straightpipe it anyway, and i dont want to come up with 150 for a new catalytic converter to add to the cost of the new exhaust.
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Old 03-14-2012, 04:41 AM
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Lectures aside, there's no magic horsepower to be gained from bypassing the emissions equipment.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:16 AM
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what i meant by my statement was "Im not trying to make my car faster than stock by removing the emissions; I am looking for the quickest cheapest way to get it to run like it should and i am fully aware that removing a functioning emissions system has more disadvantages than advantages."
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:07 PM
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I would say the quickest, cheapest way would be to find what is causing the problem and fix it.

I can't imagine how costly and time consuming it would be to eliminate and reinstall the components you are talking about. Headers alone I could imagine a few hundred with out the connection to the exhaust pipes.
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Old 03-14-2012, 03:11 PM
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The very first thing you need is a GM Service Manual for your car, not a chiltons or haynes. You might be able to find a copy on disc, but book versions are available online.

This will allow you to trace any hoses or wires that arent connected. And will supply trouble shooting diagrams for individual problems.

If you scrap the stock carb, you will also need a new distributor that doesnt need the ecm.

If you cant do it yourself, pay someone to rebuild and properly adjust your current carb. Not just the idle mixture, but the fast idle, choke and TV cable(transmission Throttle valve)

Have you done a compression test on all cylinders to determine the basic condition of the motor? No sense in spending money to improve a half dead 6 cyl., if thats the case.
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Old 03-14-2012, 03:22 PM
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your 1985 cutlass with 3.8 buick 231 you replaced the carb.
what about the COMPUTER CONTROLLED DISTRIBUTOR?
you need one pre computer, but even fire buick not odd fire (iirc)
with a vac advance can..
no idea what you are thinking removing all the stuff. but it's not my car..
it's a 110 hp v6 . if you are using the factory distibutor. thats issue #1.
as you've bybassed the ecu..
it's idle'n at 3500rpm..?

if it was mine, I'd put the factory stuff back on ,keeping the headers, and fix whatever was wrong that caused you to remove it all in the first place..
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:53 PM
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i havent actually swapped anything yet... just considering options. headers intake and carb would cost about $700 in the end. i guess more if i would need a new distributor... but... i feel like it'd double the horsepower. the extra power would be a nice bonus if doing all that fixed the issues. ive looked for vacuum leaks with no luck ...i might just have somebody check out my carb and go from there though.
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:55 PM
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Dont spend a dime just yet. You need to know what is wrong to fix it. Headers wont fix anything.
If you want to diagnose it, list the symptoms , accurately as possible and go from there.
Maybe start a thread with new more apprapo title in Modern Engine Electronics.
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latech
Dont spend a dime just yet. You need to know what is wrong to fix it. Headers wont fix anything.
If you want to diagnose it, list the symptoms , accurately as possible and go from there.
Maybe start a thread with new more apprapo title in Modern Engine Electronics.
nothing modern in a 85 feed back carb'd engine
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:36 PM
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Another thought.. I bought a new one in 85 and the "Performance" rear end gear was a 2:43. That coupled with a 2004r trans makes for a real hot rod!!! NOT!!!!
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:57 PM
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Not a Hotrod by anymeans, but it sounds like it could run better.Still not too clear on whats going on driveability wise, maybe he will embellish a little more in a new post.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:23 PM
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It doesn't shift right all the time... (won't go beyond 3rd when hot, shifts into 4th at 20 mph when cold)... its got BAD hesitation... idles at about 3500 most of the time when it starts and the fast idle won't come down even after its warm... (choke pull off was replaced, stopped idling high for a month, started doing it again) but sometimes wont if you dont pump the gas when starting. sometimes when you hold the throttle in one spot it will go back and forth between accelerating and decelerating like its trying to decide wether or not to shift... ive checked vacuum lines, filters, pcv valve, ignition...blah blah. everything looks fine.

^thats as accurate as i can get i think. (i also did start another thread in modern engine)

and, BOBCRMAN@aol.com, no its not a hot rod. you know why? because its stock! maybe i like a challenge. and maybe you should find one. something more challenging than ***** talking in the "hotrodding basics" forum. go find porn or something.

and dear stich, just so you know, the internal combustion engine was invented in the 1880s. an ECM is modern. and the carb wont work without it.
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldsevenfire
i guess more if i would need a new distributor... but... i feel like it'd double the horsepower. the extra power would be a nice bonus if doing all that fixed the issues. :
Unfortunately, you'll have to go further into the engine if you want to double the horsepower. (86 GN has EFI and Turbo for around 240hp)

You have multiple issues involving the carb, so Id start there.
The transmission has a throttle valve connected to the carb, if its not connected or misadjusted, the transmission will not shift correctly.

If you can get the driveability issues corrected, your best "hotrod" improvement would be a better set of rear gears.

If you really want more power, consider a turbo or V8 swap.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:57 PM
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I was thinking the same thing with the V8 swap. But the turbo kits that you can buy will really make them scram with the right rear gears.

Just my 2 cents
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