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Saturday, March 15, 2008

My car started to loose power

Question: I have a 1998 Bonneville SE 3.8 I was driving along and my car started to loose power, around 30 mph, the check engine light started flashing then stayed on solid. When it changed to solid on my car ran better. I was limping it home and it happened again, car started sputtering, check engine light flashing. I got it home shut it off and it would not start. I replaced plugs and wires and check the fuel pressure. The car started and ran fine for about 100 miles. Then it happened all over again, the exact same problem. Any ideas? Answer: When the check engine light is flashing, this indicates that a misfire condition is occurring. Changing the plugs and wires is a good start, since these are maintenance items that need to be replaced periodically anyway. Since this did not correct the problem however, it is possible that one of your ignition coils may be failing. Your car has 3 ignition coils mounted on top of the ignition control module; each one fires 2 spark plugs. When the check engine light came on, the car's computer stored information related to the problem in it's memory that can be retrieved with a scan tool. Odds are, there will be fault codes indicating which cylinder(s) are experiencing the misfire condition. I would suggest taking the car in to a repair shop or an auto parts store to have the codes retrieved to see which cylinders are involved; then swap the ignition coil for that cylinder with one of the others and drive the car until the problem recurs. Then, have the codes read again to see if the misfire moved with the coil to a different cylinder (indicating a faulty coil is the cause) or whether the misfire is still occurring on the original cylinder (indicating that the coil is not the cause). I suspect you will find that the misfire moves to a different cylinder, indicating that particular coil is failing. If so, replacing that coil with a new one will resolve the problem.

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