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Old 05-28-2008, 07:16 PM
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Oldsmobile 3.8 engine won't start

I have an 1998 olds Intrigue with the Buick 3.8 liter engine. I know this is not a classic car but I have a question as this car won't start. I have checked many things and still it won't start. It turns over and has a good battery charge. I pulled a spark plug and there is gas in the cylinders and you can hear the electric fuel pump run for about 3 seconds when you begin cranking. Also, there is spark on all 6 plugs. There is 170 to 180 lbs of compression on every cylinder. I have replaced every gasket on the engine as well as verify the timing chain is okay and lined up with the number 1 cylinder at TDC. All sensors are hooked up including the camshaft and crankshaft position sensor. Oil changed. I have reinstalled the same harmonic balancer which seems okay but does seem to play a key role in the crankshaft position sensor. Every now and then when cranking the engine it seems to want to start but never really catches. It really seems out of time.

What happened to stop the car is the upper intake begin leaking antifreeze into the cylinders and killed the engine. The upper intake is black plastic on this engine. So it ran fine before that fatal day but after replacing the gaskets and doing various tests it won't fire.

I am wondering if there is some sort of computer reset that needs to occur? Any help with this engine is much appreciated. I work on old classics almost every day and have never had one not start after checking the basics but with the computer that is much more difficult.

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Old 05-28-2008, 07:41 PM
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Are the spark plugs becoming wet at all from gas? the crank position sensor controls injector pulse as well as spark timing.
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Old 05-28-2008, 08:27 PM
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I hope you replaced the upper intake, usually the tube thats sticks up from the lower intake melts the upper intake in the coolant heated throttle body area. That fills up the cylinders with antifreeze real quick once it's under pressure. I've seen them hydrolock 3.8's.

Any computer reset would just be leaving the battery disconnected for a few minutes.
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Old 05-28-2008, 08:53 PM
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3.8 won't start

I did replace the upper intake as the old one was no longer usable due to the egr opening and water openings near the throttle body was shot and would no longer make a water tight seal. And yes the spark plugs are wet with gas, but still no start.
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:30 PM
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I bet you have platinum plugs, don't you. Once they have been flooded they are junk. with those engines, when the gasket goes you must pull the fuel pump relay and the plugs, roll the engine over for a minute or more , install NEW plugs and hold 'er wide open, or it will never light. try it. Oh and it's going to smoke like nothing you've ever seen. Dex-cool smells terrible.
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:58 AM
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Car started

Well, my problem was misleading. I had initially needed to replace the upper intake due to water leakage into the cylinders and you would think that my starting issue would be related to that repair or general area but it was not. You have to know that the car ran fine up until the intake water issue. My problem was actually the rear most O2 sensor wires were bare and rubbing/grounding out on the frame and blowing the ECM fuse. Now who would have figured that this problem would surface at the same time. I wrapped the wires in tape and secured them properly and the car started on the first try. I know I had said that I had spark earlier but after a second inspection I did not. I noticed the blown ECM fuse so I replaced the fuse and had spark for about two revolutions of the crankshaft. So I replaced the fuse and again spark for two revolutions and then dead. Then I tracked down all the circuits related to the ECM and that is how I found the O2 sensor issue.

Anyway, maybe this will help someone with an electrical issue.
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