Question about 1996 Oldsmobile Achieva

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1996 Olds Achieva Engine cuts out

I have a 1996 Olds Achieva with a 3.1L-V6 engine that has 95,000 miles on it. I am experiencing an electrical problem where the engine, while moving, suddenly stops.

Some background: This issue happened to me twice about 4 months ago. While at a stoplight, waiting to turn all of my warning lights flickered and suddenly my engine had stopped. I put the vehicle in park, turned of the switch and successfully restarted the car. About 30 minutes later, while driving on the hwy, the warning lights on the dash board flickered, the engine cut out and I was coasting to a stop without power steering. In both instances the radio remained on. The shop, which is trustworthy, could not replicate the problem and advised that I keep an eye on things.

One month later (Nov '08) my car had more problems. I left the seatbelt in the door, I think this caused the battery to run low (though I am not certain). The car jumped sucessfully, was driven about 10 minutes and then shut-off. Twenty minutes later it would not start and could not be jumped. Subseuently my shop spent several hours to hash out the problem and replaced a fusible link and the starter relay. No further problems for 3 months.

Current problem. A few days ago while in a turn lane, my dashboard warning lights flickered, the engine cut out, I lost power steering and coasted to a stop. After parking car and waiting a brief minute, the vehicle started sucessfully. I went an hour down the road and while on the highway, the engine cut out immediately after the dashboard lights flickered. I pulled over, stopped and restarted the car. In both instances the radio was still playing.

Today, I went to start the car, but the dashboard lights flickered, this time the radio made a clicking sound and it reset the clock. In the next couple attempts to start the car, the vehicle started but cut-out within a few seconds. I waited another minute, then all was fine.

From my reading, it sounds similiar to some problems dealing with the cluster or crank sensor, but I would like to hear the thoughts of others. Any advice and DIY instructions are welcome and will be greatly appreciated.


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  • Anonymous Mar 11, 2009

    Thank you Daves944 for the advice. I removed the battery cables, cleaned them and replaced tightly. I am not quite sure that I understand waht you mean by "battery ground cable." I was able to partially trace the positive cable to where it connected to the engine fan. I could not trace the negative cable due to other plastic hoses. I did however check any plastic connection I could find under the hood to make sure it was tight. I thought of looking from underneath the car, but the clearance does not allow for me to slide underneath.

    I removed the kick panels, but I did not quite what you described. I found two plastic connection under each panel, typically a group of wires of various colors and a group of yellow wires. The plastic connectors are tight. Did I locate the correct wires or do I need to try again. If you are anyone else can recommend I place online to find where the different battery cables trace too, that would be helpful (preferably free).

    Thank your help, I sincerely appreciate your willingness to help me save time and money. It is very kind.

  • sindikit Apr 01, 2009

    I have the same issue, i know what it is for me but am unable to figure out what the part is called that needs work. There are two leads that come of the positive terminal of the batt. one is large and goes to the starter and a smaller one is only about 8 inches long and connects to a fuse box that containes thos large fuses under the hood. There is a cover that is rounded that covers this box. The small wire coming from the batt connects to a bolt at this box and for some reason mine is slightly melted. This could be from maybe a bad voltage reg. from my alt..If i wiggle this wire, i can hear power being restored but i can not tighten the bolt due to the melted state. What is this part called? I am not completely sure that this is your problem, but the symptoms are excatly the same, you may want to check there. Please let me know if you see anything similar.


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Ok; first your car probably has a "rollover switch" this is usally located in the trunk on the right side it can cause this problem but, in your case I think the ground cable that grounds your engine is the culprit check on the engine block for a bolt with a large braided cable that fastens to the frame or sheetmetal of your car remove the bolt(s) and scrape away the paint,grease etc. and, rebolt (the radio is grounded seperately) the gages, lights on dash and, the engine ignition MUST be grounded to the frame to work.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009

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Take both cables of the battery and clean them with a wire brush, reinstall them making sure those little 5/16 hex bolts are nice and tight in the battery. Trace the battery ground cable back to where it bolts to the engine block, make sure it is very clean and tight. There should be a body ground somewhere, this is a conductor between the engine block and the metal body part of the engine compartment- clean and tight as well. If you can't find the body ground, make one.
Now get on your hands and knees and inspect behind both front kick panels and under the dashboard valence, inside the car. You are looking for single or clusters of brown or black wires that are bolted to the body inside the car. Clean and tight for these as well. I promise, this is where your problem lies, but I'm betting on loose battery terminals right now.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009

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