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Cadillac Seville sputtering


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I'm having an issue with my 1992 Cadillac Seville STS. Whenever I drive at night or with the lights on, the car will sputter really bad when I use the turn signal or flick on the brights or even when I roll the windows up all the way. I was thinking maybe it's the alternator but wanted another opinion. The volts reading on the instrument panel read over 14V without the lights on. If I have the lights on, hit the brakes, or use the turn signals, it drops in the mid 13V range and if I have the lights on with the turn signals or the brake lights it drops to 13V and sometimes into the high 12V range. It doesn't always sputter like this but it does a lot and I don't really want to get stranded somewhere. Thanks for your help.

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When you use the term sputter, do you mean that the engine misfires, or do you mean that the lights dim when there is an additional electrical load, for example when you roll down the window?

Bruce

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When you use the term sputter, do you mean that the engine misfires, or do you mean that the lights dim when there is an additional electrical load, for example when you roll down the window?

Come to think of it, the lights dim a little but only for a second. When I've had bad alternators before, the lights would get really dim. But that was after the battery couldn't keep up. I think maybe a better term would be that it cuts out. It doesn't misfire that I can tell. It only cuts out off and on, it doesn't die or anything like that I don't think. I've also noticed it mostly when accelerating or driving at highway speeds. Another thing I noticed is that when it cuts out the tach goes to 0 rpms like the car is off but none of the IPC check lights come on.

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Do you have any codes showing? See reading codes

Have you checked the fuel pressure regulator?

I haven't had any codes so far. As far as checking the fuel pressure regulator, I'm not sure how to do that. I wonder though because it only happens when the headlights, turn signals, brake lights, or any big electrical load in on. I was thinking it might be fuel related too but the fact that it only happens in the above listed situations leads me elsewhere. I don't pretend to know everything though so let me know what to check and I'll do it.

Thanks for the help.

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Your problem sounds like it could be loose battery cables. Either that, or they are very corroded.

The reason why I think this could be the problem is due to you mentioning the tach falling momentarily to 0 and then back up again while not killing the engine. Another reason why I think it may be corroded or loose connections is that I recently suffered the same symptoms with my 94 Seville this winter and ended up cleaning the ends of the positive batt cable at the battery, starter, and electrical box under the hood.

The volt meter gave great and "accurate" readings and lead me to believe nothing was wrong when really I was having problems keeping a charge on a new battery overnight in a heated garage, and when running too many accessories the volts would drop to 12.0 sometimes while driving.

Be sure to use dielectric grease after cleaning (that is if they are even dirty).

Hope this helps.

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I agree with wino-bot and Jim, this is a power problem. As noted check battery cables especially the positive cable, there are two cables sandwidged in there take off the red insulator and take the joint apart and clean it well

It can also be a battery problem have it load tested asap....and I mean asap it could have a short or bad cell. This kind of problem can put strain on your alternator, so nail it down quickly

It can also be a bad ground, check the ground near the coils and the ground at the battery

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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I was checking connections last night and decided to check the distributor. While I was disconnecting stuff inside the distributor, the plastic connector that holds the cam position sensor wires just fell off. I realized that the connector was extremely brittle and it pretty much fell apart. The problem now is that I don't know how the three wires connect to the sensor. The sensor has three blade connections and the three wires are; Red, Brown/White stripe, and Black/Red stripe. This is on the 4.9L engine by the way. If anyone knows how it should be connected I would greatly appreciate it if you could tell me. As far as the connections go, I checked the battery and under hood electrical box. I still need to check the starter connections. Also, I think the problem gets worse as the engine warms up. When I first start the car in the morning, the voltage is over 14V, as I'm driving it slowly decreases until it gets to around 13.5V. After the car is warm it rarely goes above 13.5V. I was thinking this was due to the cooling fan but since it stays in the mid 13s I don't know.

Thanks for the help.

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You can purchase a new one of those plugs from the dealer or good auto parts store

I trust that you are talking about the three wire connector that goes underneath the square box on the distributor?

According to the manual, the plug is aligned

BROWN, BLACK in center, then RED

Looking at the distributor square box straight on, you should connect the wires from the LEFT, BROWN (C-), BLACK (ground), then RED (B+)

I hope that helps, you should purchase a new connector.

If you can't understand this, Ill scan prints from the manual later

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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As far as your charging rate dropping that is normal, it will drop as the battery is charged, and it will usually be highest right after start up

What was the results of

Battery test

Cable cleaning

Ground checking

Try taking a jumper and run it from the negative tower of the battery to the block and see if it improves

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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You can purchase a new one of those plugs from the dealer or good auto parts store

I trust that you are talking about the three wire connector that goes underneath the square box on the distributor?

According to the manual, the plug is aligned

BROWN, BLACK in center, then RED

Looking at the distributor square box straight on, you should connect the wires from the LEFT, BROWN (C-), BLACK (ground), then RED (B+)

I hope that helps, you should purchase a new connector.

Thanks for the info. I didn't want to hook it up wrong and cause more problems. I'll get another connector for it soon so I won't have to worry about it.

As far as the tests went; I haven't gotten a battery test done yet, the cables weren't very dirty on the battery but I just got a new battery a month or two ago, and the grounds that I've checked seem fine.

I need to check the starter connections too I guess to make sure they're fine.

Tomorrow I will do the jumper and maybe I can remedy this.

Thanks again

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Keep in mind that we have had a LOT of problems with the 92, grounds and PCM problems

DO NOT assume that your battery is good, get it tested

DO a TAP TEST on your PCM and see if you can cause the symptom you are having. Drop the PCM down from under the pass kick panel and put it on the floor and tap in it with a finger to JAR it and see if you can cause the symptoms

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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I got the cam sensor wiring lined out and checked out the wiring at the starter. I took the grounds off that were by the starter and they looked good so I just put everything back together and put a ground wire from the intake to the battery. It seemed like it's doing better so far but I'll know for sure by tonight.

A couple questions: Why are there grounds connected down by the starter behind the exhaust manifold where it's possibly the most difficult place to reach? And why does the starter have a bracket that also attaches to this point? Just wondering.

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Having that extra ground seemed to work. I drove for 30 to 45 minutes and the lowest reading was 13.9V when I was sitting at a stop light with my turn signal on. Now I have the code EO41 and the car seems to stumble a little when the RPMs are around 1500. It's a different sort of thing than before and it only does it at a cerain RPM and then it drives normal. It does it less after the car is warmed up it seems.

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Having that extra ground seemed to work. I drove for 30 to 45 minutes and the lowest reading was 13.9V when I was sitting at a stop light with my turn signal on.

Now I have the code EO41 and the car seems to stumble a little when the RPMs are around 1500.

It's a different sort of thing than before and it only does it at a cerain RPM and then it drives normal.

It does it less after the car is warmed up it seems.

E041................... No Cam Reference Signal from Ignition Control Module

But I am not sure what to do to check it out except check all of your connections again.

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Glad you got it straightened out

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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