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Premium Member
17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Before you post a question about why your car is not running for some reason, please read the sticky threads and the FAQ. They cover many of the common problems and solutions found with the j-bodies of this vintage.
To try to make this forum more user friendly, I am making this thread that will contain a lot of information. If you have a question about an engine noise, smoke, or any other sign that something is wrong, please read the appropriate sections in this thread.

There is a lot of information in this thread. I tried to break it up as best as possible. Each post I made covers a broad general topic which is listed at the beginning of each post. I hope this makes all of the text less daunting.

The table master said:
<SIZE size="150">Table of contents for this thread</SIZE>

<SIZE size="134">1) Engine problems</SIZE>
  • A)Oil leaks and oil Consumption
    C)Head Gasket problems
    E)Poor Performance
<SIZE size="134">2) Testing procedures and How-To's</SIZE>

  • A)Compression and leakdown testing
    B)Reading Spark Plugs
    C)EGR Clean/Rebuild for GM Digital 3-Solenoid
    D)Coil Pack Testing
    E)How to change your oil
<SIZE size="134">3) Diagrams and Charts</SIZE>

  • A)Fuse panel diagrams
    B)Light Bulb Information
    C)Vacuum Diagram
If you have any ideas about how to make this better, or if you have any comments, please post them here

I now have plenty of diagrams and part pictures on my site so please use them.

Here is another great site where you can find repair diagrams, labor costs, and repair information.

Auto Repair Reference Center from EBSCO

username: raiders
password: password

Thanks to misterfu02 for providing the link.


The following information is not my own work, it is from How to Rebuild your 60 Degree v-6 Engine written by Tom Currao (c) Tom Currao 1994[/quote]

Premium Member
17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
<SIZE size="150"> Oil leaks and oil Consumption. </SIZE>

Oil Consumption

Excessive oil consumption is a good reason to rebuild an engine. But how much is excessive? Some oil consumption is normal for all engines. According to GM, an engine doesn't have an oil consumption problem until it's burning 1qt of oil every 750 miles! Yet it's not unusual for a highmileage GM 60deg V-6 in decent condition to use only 1qt of oil every 2,500 miles. Even if your engine is using more oil than this, it still may not require a rebuild. You must first determine if it's burning the oil, or just leaking it, before you think about rebuilding.

Use the Proper Oil

First thing to check: Are you using the correct weight oil? Use of the proper weight engine oil has a direct impact on oil consumption. Engine oil that's too light will more readily find its way past gaskets and seals. This is especially true of synthetic oils. An oil that's too light works its way past the piston rings more readily, and is then burned in the combustion chamber.

Using a heavier weight oil to control oil consumption, however, is not necessarily the answer. An oil that's too heavy, can't get to all the internal engine components fast enough during engine start-up, allowing them to rub against each other without the benefit of lubrication. This increases wear during engine start-up-a time when engine wear is at its greatest.
Beyond an oil's weight, also consider its rating. Only use oils rated "SH," "SH/CC," or "SHlCD" by the American Petroleum Institute. A high-quality, 5W30 SH-rated engine oil will provide excellent engine protection under most conditions.

Internal and External Oil Leaks

Oil leaks can be internal or external. Internal leaks are typically caused by worn piston rings, worn valve stem seals, and the like, whereas external leaks are usually the result of cracked, mispositioned, or hardened gaskets or seals. An external leak of only a few drops per mile can add up to a loss of a quart of oil for every few hundred miles driven. You need to find and eliminate all external oil leaks before condemning the engine to a rebuild.

Finding external leaks is much easier if you first degrease the engine. Foamy Engine Brite by Gunk seems to work best, but Simple Green by Sunshine Makers, Inc., works fairly well and is kinder to the environment. Whichever cleaning product you choose, it's best to scrape off any heavy deposits before applying the cleaner.

The engine can be cold or warm during the cleaning operation, depending on the cleaner you're using, but never hot. If you spray cold water on a hot engine, the resulting thermal shock could crack exhaust manifolds, cylinder heads, or even the block. Remember to remove the air cleaner and cover the carburetor and distributor with plastic freezer bags to avoid spraying water directly on them. Plug any hoses that were attached to the air cleaner so water doesn't end up where it shouldn't, and check that the dipstick is in place and fully seated.

After you've applied the cleaner, use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub any particularly dirty areas. Then rinse the engine with a strong stream of water. Repeat this process twice to ensure the engine's cleanliness. Remove any plastic bags, reinstall the air cleaner, and then run the engine to dry it off. After the engine is clean and dry, you have the choice of taking the low-, medium-, or high-tech route to leak detection.

The Low-Tech Route

Spray the entire engine with aerosol foot powder and run it at 2000rpm for 2-3min while you look for the leak. Any oil leakage will show up as brown or black spots in the white powder. Pay extra attention to the areas where the manifold seals to the cylinder heads and block, as GM 60deg V-6 engines are known for leaking oil there. Don't be fooled by a leaking distributor (or oil pump drive) base gasket, as this gasket has been known to leak as well. Other possible areas of external oil leakage include the valve cover gaskets, oil pan drain plug, oil filter seal, oil pan gasket, front crankshaft oil seal, and rear main seal on the crankshaft.
If you don't find the leak after running the engine, leave a cardboard sheet under the engine overnight. In the morning, note where the drops on the cardboard are, and then carefully check those engine area(s) immediately above the spots. Unfortunately, this technique doesn't work as well on engines that drive their own cooling fans, because the air from the fan tends to push the oil toward the rear of the engine away from the actual leak source.

The Medium-Tech Route

The medium-tech approach entails connecting an air compressor hose to the end of the empty dipstick tube. After applying a maximum of 4psi (no higher, or you'll blow engine seals), spray the engine with a solution of one part liquid dishwashing detergent combined with four parts water. If the seals or gaskets won't hold against the air pressure, you'll see bubbles. For areas that aren't readily visible, use a length of heater hose to listen for air escaping.

The High-Tech Route

If you still haven't found a leak, it's time to try the high-tech route. This requires two items: a bottle of oil leak detector and a high-intensity black light. You can pick up the leak detector (typically 4oz) at many auto parts stores. The same store may also rent black lights. If not, try your local tool rental shop.

To find any leaks, add the detector to the engine oil. Then run the engine while looking at it closely under the black light; any oil leakage will glow green or yellow. If you can't find a leak now, there probably isn't one .Other than leakage, the most common causes for oil consumption include sustained high-speed driving, failing to upshift at a reasonable engine speed, using an oil that's too light in viscosity, and too many short trips. Short trips can cause oil consumption because the engine doesn't warm up fully. This eventually causes the piston rings to stick in their grooves, impairing their ability to keep oil out of the combustion chamber and leading to oil burning.

Internal Oil Leakage

If your engine has been properly maintained and treated well and doesn't have any of the aforementioned problems, but is still an oil consumer, chances are good that it has an internal oil leak. Deteriorated valve stem seals and excessively worn valve guides seem to be the most frequent cause of internal oil consumption. These two conditions, alone or jointly, allow oil to be pulled into the combustion chambers, via the valve guides, where it's burned.

Internal oil consumption can be checked by starting the engine when it's cold. If blue smoke comes out the exhaust just as the engine is started, the valve stem seals are probably faulty or the valve guides may be worn. Valve stem seal replacement can be done without removing the engine (the procedure is covered in Chapter 6) and sometimes is all that's needed to cure an oil consumption problem.

You can do some further checking by letting the engine reach its normal operating temperature, then quickly flooring the accelerator with the car in neutral. If blue smoke bil lows out the exhaust, the piston rings are probably worn. If smoking occurs when you lift your foot off the gas, the valve stem seals or valve guides need attention.

To pinpoint the problem cylinder, remove each spark plug and inspect for oil-fouling. If any are oil fouled, pay particular attention to the piston rings, valve guides, and valve stem seals for that particular cylinder when you tear down the engine.

Other things to check for before removing the engine to repair an internal oil leak are a plugged or incorrect positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve, a restricted PCV valve hose, or plug-ged oil drain-back channels.
A PCV valve helps prevent oil contamination by removing residual gasoline vapor and oil fumes from the engine oil. It also helps relieve crankcase pressure by venting the vapor and fumes back into the engine where they're burned.

If the PCV valve is plugged, restricted, or of too low a capacity, crankcase pressure will build. When pressure surpasses a certain point, the piston rings can't seal as tightly as they were designed to. This allows engine oil into the combustion chambers, where it's burned. Excessive crankcase pressure can also cause oil to push past the seals, causing an external oil leak.

Checking a PCV valve by shaking it to see if it rattles only indicates a failure when the valve is plugged. The rattle test will not identify a valve that is restricted or stuck. If you have any doubts about the PCV valve, replace it. And if the oil consumption problem started when the PCV valve was changed, chances are the new PCV valve is bad and needs to be replaced with another new valve.

Also check the PCV valve hose. Its inner wall will sometimes collapse, causing excessive crankcase pressure, just as a plugged PCV valve would.
If the cylinder heads' oil drainback channels are plugged, the oil that lubricated the valvetrain cannot drain back into the crankcase and remains on top of the heads. Since engine vacuum is prevalent around the valve guides, the oil lying atop the heads is sucked into the combustion chambers and is burned. Restricted oil drain-back channels can also cause this problem, but to a lesser degree.

Check for this problem by removing the valve covers and inspecting the drain-back channels. Each cast-iron head has two channels, one near the front and one near the rear. Each channel is positioned between the rocker arms, at their base. Aluminum heads use three channels each, located near the head's center.

If the channels (or holes) are clear, you should be able to stick the blade of a medium-sized screwdriver into them. If you can't, clean them with a small screwdriver, while using a vacuum to pick up any debris so that it won't get into the engine. It's also a good idea to change the oil after briefly running the engine to allow the old oil to wash any remaining debris into the crank-case, where it will be drained.

Plugged oil drain-back channels indicate that the oil and/or oil filter weren't changed frequently enough, the wrong viscosity of oil was used, or that the oil didn't have an "SF" or better rating.

Oil Pressure Versus Engine Condition

Engine oil pressure can give you an indication of engine and oil pump wear. If the engine is in good condition, filled with the proper weight oil, and is at normal operating temperature, oil pressure should be 25-40psi at 1000rpm and 45-55psi at 2000 rpm. Minimum oil pressure is 15psi at 1O00rpm and 30psi at 2000rpm. If oil pressure is somewhat less than this and drops to 15psi or less at idle, the clearances between the bearings and the crankshaft journals are excessive. Remember, you shouldn't measure oil pressure when the engine is cold because the reading will be higher than when the engine is fully warmed. This might lead you to the wrong conclusion.

If your vehicle isn't equipped with an oil pressure gauge, remove the oil pressure switch and replace it with a mechanical gauge. The oil pressure switch on front-wheel-drive engines is located on the block, just above the oil filter. On rear-wheel-drive vehicles, it's on the oil filter adapter, behind the filter.

If your vehicle's oil pressure warning light comes on when the engine is idling, there probably is a significant internal oil leak. Keep in mind, however, that the oil pressure switch could be faulty. If the engine doesn't produce a ticking noise at idle, which would indicate an inadequate oil supply at the rocker arms, the switch is probably bad. If, however, you do hear ticking noises, the engine most likely has an internal oil leak. In this case the likely sources of the problem are the bypass valve in the oil pump sticking in the open position, worn oil pump gears and/or housing, or worn main, connecting rod, or camshaft bearings.

Premium Member
17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<SIZE size="150"> Smoke! </SIZE>

Where There's Smoke. . .

You say your engine is too young to smoke? Maybe so, but if your engine has taken up this unsavory habit, use the color of the smoke to help you determine the source of your powerplant woes.

Black smoke funnelling out the tailpipe is unburnt gasoline. This can be caused by several things, the most common being a dirty air filter, plugged fuel injectors, a choke that's stuck in the closed position, or a carburetor float level that's too high.

White smoke after a cold engine has been started is caused by water vapor in the engine and exhaust system being expelled. This is normal and will subside once the engine is warmed-up sufficiently. White smoke after the engine is warmed up, however, may indicate that the engine is burning transmission fluid or that a head gasket is blown.
If your car's automatic transmission uses a vacuum modulator and the diaphragm in the modulator is cracked, engine vacuum will pull transmission fluid through the cracked diaphragm into the combustion chambers, where it's burned. Since no engine oil is being burned, the oil level won't drop, but the transmission fluid level will. If the tranny fluid level drops more than one pint or so, the transmission will begin to slip. This would cause what would seem to be an engine power loss, but in reality is transmission slip.

To check for this problem, remove the vacuum line from the vacuum modulator and insert a clean pipe cleaner into the modulator. Withdraw the pipe cleaner; if it has oil on it, discard the modulator and install a new one. Add enough transmission fluid to replace what has been burned.
White smoke billowing out the exhaust when the engine is warm might also indicate a blown head gasket or a cracked block or head(s). This type of problem is usually coupled with coolant seeping out where the exhaust manifold meets the exhaust pipe and the sweet smell of burning coolant.

Premium Member
17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
<SIZE size="150"> Head Gasket problems </SIZE>

Another clue that a head gasket has failed or that the block or heads have cracked is engine oil with a milky, coffee-colored appearance. This is caused by a failure of the head gasket material between a lubrication passage and a coolant passage, which allows oil and coolant to mix in the engine. You can check for this by removing the oil dipstick and inspecting the oil on its end. If the oil has the dreaded color of coffee with milk and feels creamy, you can plan on replacing most of the engine's components. Coolant-diluted oil offers very little in the way of lubrication.
Coolant that has mixed with the engine oil doesn't always show up on the dipstick, however. In some cases, the oil will mix with the coolant but go no further than the cooling system. Check the coolant color and condition in the coolant recovery bottle or radiator to see if this is the case.

Another clue that a head gasket is blown is that bubbles will appear in the radiator when the engine is running. Check for this by removing the radiator cap when the engine is cool and then watching the coolant in the radiator until the engine is up to normal operating temperature. It's also common for the coolant level in the radiator to drop when the head gasket is blown, however no coolant leak will be readily apparent.
If you suspect a head gasket has failed, look for erosion between its lubrication and cooling passages when you remove the cylinder heads. Eroded areas on the gasket indicate that the head bolts weren't tight (or that they cracked), that the head and/or block is low in that area, or that the head gasket was faulty.

Another way to test for a head gasket leak is with a combustion leak tester. Although this tester can't detect some leak types, like coolant leaking to the outside of the head, it is effective at detecting carbon monoxide (CO)-a byproduct of the combustion process-in the cooling system. The only way CO can enter the coolant is if the head gasket is leaking.

To use this detector, you need to lower the coolant level in the radiator about 2in to allow any gases in the cooling system to rise to the top of the radiator. Next, pour a small amount of the CO-sensing chemical that comes with the kit into the detector and connect the detector to the radiator in place of the radiator cap. Start the engine and let it idle until it reaches normal operating temperature. If any carbon mono-xide exists, the chemical will turn from blue to yellow.

If the head gasket is leaking, you will usually have to machine the cylinder head and/or cylinder block. And if a head gasket has allowed coolant to mix with the oil, you will probably have to replace or recondition all of the internal engine components.

Premium Member
17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
<SIZE size="184"> Noises </SIZE>

Abnormal Noises

Abnormal engine compartment noises can lead you to believe that something's wrong with the engine. Before you conclude that your engine needs to be rebuilt, however, bear in mind that numerous things external to the engine can cause noise. These can include the power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, alternator, air injector reactor (AIR) pump, water pump, and accessory drive belts. And that's just component based noises; improper ignition timing and/or the use of low-octane fuel can also cause certain types of noises.

For example, overly-advanced ignition timing can cause a type of engine-based noise called detonation or spark knock. This noise can sound like a baby rattle or pans knocking together, but the cause is still the same: gasoline that is igniting before the piston is moving down in the cylinder bore. If this condition is not repaired, it can cause piston ,rings and/or pistons to crack. In severe cases, it can even cause head gasket failure.
Fuel that's too low in octane lacks a sufficient quantity of "antiknock" additive and can also cause spark knock. Be sure to use the right octane fuel, but don't go overboard. If your engine requires only 89 units of octane, you're wasting your money buying gasoline rated any higher.
Fuel quality is just as important as octane rating. High-quality fuel will help minimize deposits in the inlet system and combustion chambers, which helps prevent engine-damaging spark knock and helps maintain peak engine performance over time.

Spark plugs of the correct heat range are also important. Different spark plugs are designed to operate at different temperatures-this defines their heat range. If the spark plugs in your engine are operating at too high of a temperature, the air/fuel mixture can ignite at the wrong time resulting in spark knock. To make sure your spark plugs are of the correct heat range, review the nearby "Reading Spark Plugs" sidebar.

Testing for Abnormal Engine Noises
You can check for noises in three basic ways: by removing accessory drive belts, by listening with a stethoscope, and by grounding spark plug wires.

Removing Accessory Drive Belts
Some engine noises can be isolated by removing the accessory drive belts one at a time. If the noise stops, you'll know that whatever component was driven by the belt is what needs your attention, not the engine. Limit this type of testing to 2min if the belt you're removing drives the water pump--otherwise the engine may overheat, a sure sign of which is knocking.

A glazed accessory drive belt is the usual source of squeals and squeaks. However, if the accessory components are not the cause of the noise or if all the accessories are driven by one belt, you'll want to check further by using a mechanic's stethoscope.

Using a Stethoscope

Mechanic's stethoscopes are available at many auto parts stores and can help you pinpoint the location and distinguishing features of many types of mechanical sounds that your unaided ears can't locate.
To use the stethoscope, screw its metal probe onto the diaphragm and place the ear pieces in your ears. Hold the probe against the suspected area of noise while the engine is running. The stethoscope will amplify any noise; just be sure to stay clear of rotating and hot parts.
It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the noises normally generated by the accessories and engine before you replace a particular part. If you're not sure how a part should sound, listen to the same part-in good condition-on another car.

A screwdriver or metal rod 18in or longer is a cheap alternative to a stethoscope. Place the screwdriver's blade against the area in question and then put the handle against your ear. The downside to this method is
that it may not work as well as a stethoscope, and your ear might be pounded as the screwdriver or rod moves.

A length of heater hose about 2ft long can help you locate vacuum leaks at the carburetor and inlet manifold, among other areas. Hold one end of the hose against the suspected area and the other end against your ear, and listen for a sucking sound.

If you think you've found a vacuum leak, spray the suspected area with carburetor cleaner. If a leak does exist, the engine will draw the carb cleaner in, causing it to briefly run smoother. This trick works best with carbureted vehicles; engines equipped with both Computer Command Control (C3) and fuel injection can compensate for anything short of a massive vacuum leak. You'll need to listen very closely for vacuum leaks on engines equipped with both C3 and fuel injection systems.

Grounding Spark Plug Wires

Another way to isolate the source of a particular engine-based noise is to ground the spark plug wires (one at a time) while the engine is running. To do this, you'll need an ignition system grounding kit. This kit consists of coil-spring-like jumpers and is available at many auto parts stores.
Caution: Don't try this test by merely pulling the plug wires off while the engine is running. If you do, you'll probably destroy the ignition module and you may be electrocuted.

To install the jumpers, remove the spark plug wires one at a time. Rotate the spark plug boot about one half turn while pulling it off the plug to avoid destroying the plug wire. Slide a jumper over the tip of the plug, then reconnect the plug wire. Do this for all cylinders. To ensure the accuracy of your testing, keep the jumpers away from any potential grounding sources.

Now connect a 6ft long piece of 12-gauge (minimum) wire to the battery's negative terminal. This will provide a good ground path when grounding out the spark plug wires. To ground out any plug wire when the engine is running, hold the end of the grounding wire with insulated pliers and touch it to the jumper for that cylinder. If the noise stops or changes tone when a plug wire is grounded, chances are good that something is wrong in that cylinder. The noise should reappear when you disconnect the ground wire.
Caution: Be careful when grounding spark plug wires with the engine running because you can get a strong shock from the ignition system-perhaps even a lethal one if your engine is equipped with a digital ignition system.

This system can be identified by following one of the plug wires from the spark plug to its other end. If the end of the spark plug wire is attached to an ignition coil the size of a small orange, and just one other spark plug wire is attached to it, the ignition system is of the digital type. GM 60deg V-6 engines fitted with DIS have three ignition coils with two spark plug wires running to each coil. In many cases, these coils are mounted on the radiator side of the engine, on the block, below the exhaust manifold.

Always use insulated pliers to hold the spark plug and grounding wires when the engine is running. Using one hand while not touching the vehicle with any other part of your body also reduces your chances of injury by not providing a ground path for electricity.

<SIZE size="150">Locating Abnormal Engine Noises</SIZE>

It's easier to diagnose engine noises if you can characterize the sounds and identify when they occur. Noises generally fall into the categories of knocking, rapping, ticking, or rumbling. Does the noise occur when the engine is cold or hot? Does it get louder as engine rpm increases, or does it just happen more often? Does the noise get louder when the engine is under a load? Answers to these questions will put you well on your way to finding the cause of the noise.

Knocking and Rapping Noises

A torque converter knock will produce several quick raps when accelerating an unloaded engine (automatic transmission in Park or Neutral). This knock can be heard at the engine's rear and sounds like a connecting rod bearing knock. A torque converter knock is much easier to fix, though, so always check for it before you attempt to repair the engine for a connecting rod bearing knock. Depending upon engine idle smoothness, this type of noise may appear at idle when the transmission is in Reverse or any of the forward gears. If you suspect a torque converter knock, check for loose torque converter-to-flexplate attaching bolts and for cracks in the flexplate.

Power steering pumps can produce a knock that sounds like a connecting rod bearing knock. However, a power steering pump knock is heard at the power steering pump and varies with the speed of the pump pulley.

Piston pin knocks are located high on the block and are louder when the engine is cold. They are the result of the piston pin bore in the piston being worn into an oval shape parallel to the cylinder. As the piston reaches the top of its stroke, the upward inertia causes the bottom of the piston pin bore to hit the piston pin. As the piston moves down the cylinder, the piston pin stays tightly against the piston pin bore, but as soon as the piston reaches the bottom of its stroke, the top of the piston pin bore hits the piston pin. As a result, piston pin knocks produce a double rapping sound. The knock will disappear when the spark plug wire from the affected cylinder is grounded.

Piston knock (or piston slap) increases in frequency as engine rpm increases and is located high and to one side of the block. A piston knock sounds like a piston pin knock, but produces only one knock with every crankshaft revolution, whereas a piston pin knock produces a knock twice every crankshaft revolution. A piston knock is due to excessive clearance between the piston skirt and cylinder wall. And since operating clearances are at their greatest when the engine is cold, a piston knock is loudest then. Piston pin knock may disappear when the spark plug wire from the affected cylinder is removed.

Connecting rod bearing knocks can be heard near the bottom of the engine block. This type of problem produces a medium to heavy knocking sound, which becomes more frequent as engine rpm rises. Although rod bearing knocks can sound like main bearing knocks, they're louder when the engine is unloaded. Also, rod bearing knocks usually disappear when the spark plug wire from the affected cylinder is grounded. Connecting rod bearing knocks are usually caused by excessive clearance between the rod bearing and crankshaft journal. This excessive clearance allows the bearing to hit against the crankshaft, producing a knocking noise. Connecting rod bearing knocks can also be caused by loose, misassembled, or mismatched connecting rod bearing caps.

Main bearing knocks are similar to connecting rod bearing knocks in that they are relative to engine speed and are heard low in the block. However, main bearing knocks are heavy and usually louder when the engine is under a load, and they change tone or disappear completely when the engine is unloaded, as when the transmission is in neutral.
Main bearing knocks are usually the result of too much clearance between the main bearings and the crankshaft. This type of knock also occurs when the main bearing caps are loose, in the wrong position on the block, or are installed backwards.

The front main bearing is the most likely place to find a main bearing knock because all the engine-driven accessories are driven off the front of the crankshaft. Since the air conditioning compressor exerts the greatest load on the front main bearing, turn on the air conditioning system when trying to locate a front main bearing knock.

Ticking Noises

Ticking noises usually indicate a problem with the accessory drive belts, exhaust system, mechanical fuel pump, valvetrain, or lubrication system.

Accessory drive belts can produce a
ticking sound if the outer portion of the belt begins to peel away and hits another object while the belt is rotating.
Exhaust systems can produce a ticking noise if the exhaust manifold is leaking. An exhaust manifold usually leaks because its retaining bolts have come loose or its gaskets have blown. This allows exhaust gases to vent before they pass through the exhaust system. Cracked AIR tubes on the exhaust manifolds may cause a ticking noise as well.

Spark plugs that are loose can cause a ticking noise as the compressed air in the cylinder rushes past them.
Mechanical fuel pumps can produce a ticking noise that sounds like a faulty valve lifter. It is heard at the fuel pump housing and is not relative to engine speed. To determine if the fuel pump is the noise source, loosen the pump's retaining bolts, then run the engine. If the fuel pump is the source of the noise, the noise will change tone.

The valvetrain (lifters, pushrods, rocker arms, and rocker balls) is the first place you'll hear oil-related ticking sounds. That's because it's the point farthest from the oil pump and, consequently, the last area that's lubricated. Ticking noises in the valvetrain can be caused by an engine oil level that's too low or too high or by too thin an oil.
If the engine oil level is too low, there won't be enough oil to lubricate the valvetrain. This increases the operating clearance between valvetrain components, allowing them to slam against each other and produce a ticking sound.

If the engine oil level is too high, the oil closest to the crankshaft will be whipped into a foam by the spinning crankshaft. This foamy oil is then fed by the oil pump to the valvetrain, and since it is mostly air, it can't lubricate properly - or fill the spaces between components as a solid film of oil can. Again, the result is greater operating clearances between the valvetrain components and a ticking noise.

Bad valvetrain components can also cause ticking sounds. For example, valve springs that are out-of square or are broken will make a ticking sound heard at or near the valve cover. It is not load-sensitive.
Value guides that are excessively worn will produce a ticking sound because the valve stems are rocking in them.

Value lifters that are sticking, faulty, or damaged will make a ticking sound as well. If the sound lasts only for a second or two after engine start-up, the problem is due to oil bleeding out of the lifter(s) and there is little need for concern. Noise that appears to be from the valve lifter or valve spring area, however, could also be due to an engine oil level that's too low or too high.

Engine oil that's too thin can also cause valvetrain noises because it doesn't adequately fill the clearances between parts.

Rumbling Noises

Dying water pumps produce a low, rumbling sound. If the water pump is engine-driven, the noise may become quieter when the water pump drive belt is loosened.

Popping Noises

A popping noise that comes trom the carburetor or throttle body and is more noticeable under acceleration can mean that the ignition timing is incorrect or that the camshaft lobes are excessively worn. If the lobes are worn, engine performance will be substandard. Instructions on how to check the camshaft lobe lift are given later in this chapter.

Premium Member
17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<SIZE size="184">Poor Performance</SIZE>

Poor performance can manifest itself in several ways. Some of these factors really aren't related to the engine but can cut performance substantially. This can include such things as a slipping clutch or transmission, dragging brakes, under-inflated tires, and poor fuel quality. Check for these problems first. Then check for engine-related problems, such as retarded ignition timing; a cooling system thermostat that's stuck closed; an externally or internally blocked radiator; a collapsed radiator hose; a plugged air filter; fouled spark plugs; an incorrectly adjusted fuel system; a failed ignition system; too great a valve lash; an incorrectly timed camshaft; worn camshaft lobes; leaking, stuck, or broken inlet and/or exhaust valves; worn piston rings and/or cylinders; and a blown cylinder head gasket. Of these, only the last six require engine repair.

Valve lash that's too great reduces valve lift and, in turn, engine power. Repair of this problem requires removing the rocker arm cover(s) and adjusting the rocker arm to pushrod clearance. Cam-shaft timing affects engine performance as well. If the camshaft is not properly timed to the crankshaft, the valves will be open at the wrong time and will affect power output. For more information, see Chapter 6.

Power Balance Test

A power balance test compares each cylinder's power output. If one cylinder has less power than the others, engine rpm will hardly drop when the spark plug wire for that particular cylinder is grounded. This indicates a mechanical problem for that cylinder.

To perform a power balance test, connect a tachometer to the tach lead at the distributor. Idle the engine at 800-900rpm and set the tachometer to the O-lOOOrpm scale. If your vehicle is equipped with an automatic transmission and you can't get it to idle below lOOOrpm, put it in Drive, put the parking brake on, and have someone apply the brakes. You need to have the engine below lOOOrpm so that you can use the more sensitive O-lOOOrpm scale on the tachometer.

To check the power output of each cylinder, ground each spark plug wire following the procedure outlined earlier in this chapter. As each cylinder is grounded out, there should be an approximate 25rpm drop. If the readings vary by more than about 50rpm, suspect a problem. Just remember that the cylinders with the least rpm drop are bad.

Camshaft Lobe Checking

The camshaft lobes should be checked when you notice that the engine lacks power or runs roughly even though the ignition timing is set correctly, there are no vacuum leaks, and the fuel system is working properly.

One of the major determinants of engine power is camshaft lobe height. Generally speaking, the higher the camshaft lobes, the more power an engine will make. On the other hand, if the cam-shaft lobes are worn, power will be reduced. Camshaft lobe testing checks the height (also known as lift) of each camshaft lobe.

One clue that a camshaft lobe is worn is that the rocker arm that is actuated by that lobe will be excessively loose when compared to the other rocker arms. To do a thorough job, measure the height of all the lobes, not just those that are loose. This can be done with the camshaft in or out of the engine.

To check camshaft lobe lift with the cam in the engine, place a finger on the pushrod end of the rocker arm whose cam lobe you want to check. Place a breaker bar with socket on the crankshaft's center bolt and have an assistant slowly rotate the crankshaft in its normal direction of rotation (clockwise as you look at its front) while you feel the rocker arm move up, then down.

When the rocker is at its lowest point, stop rotating the crankshaft and remove the rocker arm and ball. With the rocker arm out of the way, secure a dial indicator stand to the engine. Then position the stem of a O-l in dial indicator squarely into the lubrication hole in the end of the pushrod. Push the indicator stem down onto the pushrod so that it rotates about one revolution (O.100in). This is called "preloading the indicator" and is essential to achieving an accurate measurement.

Now rotate the ring on the perimeter of the dial face so that the indicator needle points to zero. While keeping a careful watch on the indicator needle, have your assistant slowly rotate the crankshaft in the normal direction of engine rotation. As the crankshaft is rotated, the indicator needle will reach a high point, then a low point. When the needle is at its lowest point, it should read zero. If it doesn't, rotate the ring on the dial face until the needle points to zero. This zeroing of the indicator will help ensure an accurate lift reading.

Again have your assistant slowly rotate the crankshaft in the direction of engine rotation while you watch the indicator needle. The highest needle reading equals maximum lobe lift.

If lobe lift is more than O.OO2in below specifications, the lobe is excessively worn -and the camshaft and all the lifters must be replaced. Don't by to save money by using your old lifters because they'll ruin a new camshaft in just minutes.

To replace the camshaft in a front-wheel-drive car or a Fiero, you'll at least have to raise the engine far enough to remove and install the camshaft. Those of you with rearwheel-drive vehicles have it easier in that, in many cases, you'll only have to remove the radiator to remove and install a camshaft.

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17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
<SIZE size="184">Compression and leakdown testing</SIZE>

Compression Testing

Compression testing is an important process. It can help you assess the condition of your engine, as well as provide information about what's wrong with your engine, and the general location of the problem.
An engine's ability to compress air is essential to its making power. A
compression test ensures that the engine is compressing air as it should by testing the sealing properties of the components that are designed to seal air in. This includes the piston, piston rings, intake and exhaust valves, cylinder head, and cylinder head gasket.

Two types of compression testers are available. One has a rubber nozzle that you hold against the spark plug hole in the cylinder, the other has a threaded fitting that screws into the spark plug hole. Since modern engine compartments are cramped and more than 1OOlb of compression force is common, the rubber nozzle version can be difficult to hold in position. A screw-in tester is well worth the extra money as it will be both more accurate and easier to use.

To ensure that the compression test is as accurate as possible, certain conditions should be met. The engine should be warm (but not hot), the throttle held wide open, the battery fully charged, and all spark plugs removed. A fully-charged battery ensures that the engine will crank at the same rpm as you test each cylinder. Holding the throttle open and removing all the spark plugs allows the engine to crank at an rpm sufficiently high to ensure accurate results. However, before you remove the spark plugs, just loosen them and then crank the engine for a few seconds to blowout any dirt and grime that may have accumulated around the plugs.

To prevent unnecessary strain on the ignition system, disable it by disconnecting all the wiring harnesses from the ignition coil or module. Refer to the accompanying photos for details. After the ignition system is disabled, screw the compression tester into the spark plug hole for cylinder #1 (see the accompanying illustration for this location). Press in the relief valve on the back of the gauge to release any residual pressure, and make sure the needle points to zero.

Now have your assistant crank the engine while you watch the gauge needle. If the engine is in good shape, the reading should rise on each compression stroke. Under normal conditions, you'll need four to six compression strokes to achieve full pressure in each cylinder.
If the sealing properties of the rings, valves, and cylinder head gasket are good, compression will build up quickly and evenly to specifications. If the piston rings are leaking, compression will be low on the first stroke and slowly build on the following strokes, but it won't reach specifications. If the valves are leaking, compression will be low on the first stroke, but it won't build up on the following strokes.

Wet Compression Testing

If the reading for any cylinder is below normal, youll need to perform a wet compression test. Simply remove the compression tester, and, using a pump-type oil can filled with clean motor oil, put three squirts of oil into the cylinder through the spark plug hole. Install the tester, and run the test again.

If the pressure reading rises by 10psi or more compared to the first test, chances are good that the piston rings are leaking. The oil helped seal the piston rings well enough to increase the pressure in the cylinder. If the compression reading is unchanged, the valves are leaking or the cylinder head gasket is blown.

Before you remove the cylinder heads to repair leaking valves, first make sure that they're not being held open by the rocker arms. Do this by removing the rocker arm covers and checking that you can move the rocker arms side-to-side slightly when the cylinder is at the top of the compression stroke. If you can't move the rocker arms on the "low" cylinder, they're holding the valves open. This will allow cylinder pressure. to bleed off past the valves. Refer to Chapter 6
for the valve lash procedure, then run the compression test again.
When you've tested all the cylinders, compare their readings. No cylinder reading should be less than 75% of the highest cylinder reading. For example, if the highest cylinder reading is 160psi, none of the other cylinders should be less than 120psi (160xO.75 =120). The less variance among cylinders, the better.

If two adjacent cylinders each have similar pressure readings that are significantly below the other readings, then the cylinder head gasket between those cylinders is probably leaking or blown. When a cylinder head gasket fails like this, the pressure from one cylinder bleeds off into the other, which more or less equalizes the pressure between the two cylinders and lowers it below that of the other cylinders.

Dynamic Compression Testing

Dynamic compression testing can help you decide whether a valvetrain problem is causing an intermittent miss at idle.
To run a dynamic compression test, all the spark plugs except for the cylinder you're testing should be in place and operational. Screw the compression tester into the cylinder in question. Start the engine and run it at idle. To prevent an erroneous compression reading, bleed off any residual compression by pushing in the tester's pressure release valve. As the engine idles, record the reading on the gauge. Perform this test on all remaining cylinders, always using the same idling speed.
After you've tested all the cylinders, compare their readings. If any cylinder has a reading that's 15% or more below the others', the valves aren't sealing properly. This is usually due to a problem with the valves or in the valvetrain, such as improper adjustment. And don't get depressed if compression is 50-75% below a cranking compression test, because that's normal.

Leakdown Testing

Leakdown testing is quite similar to compression testing, indicating the condition of the piston rings, intake and exhaust valves, and cylinder head gasket. Leakdown testing is more accurate than compression testing, however, because you don't have to factor in engine cranking speed; valve duration, or altitude.

A leakdown tester consists of two gauges joined by a block of aluminum or steel. One end of a short length of air hose is screwed into one end of the block and the other end is screwed into the spark plug hole of the cylinder to be tested. An air linefrom an air compressor is attached to the other end of the block.

Air from the air compressor runs to the first gauge, which regulates air pressure going into the cylinder The other gauge measures the amount of air pressure that the cylinder is holding. The difference between these two air pressures represents the leakdown percentage The first gauge is usually set to 1O0psi so that it is easier to determine the leakdown percentage. For example, if the first gauge is at 100psi and the second gauge reads 90psi, the cylinder has a leakage rate of 10% (100-90=10).
It's important that the piston for the cylinder being tested be at top dead center (TDC) on the compression stroke, otherwise the crankshaft may rotate instantly when the cylinder is pressurized. To ensure the piston is at TDC, remove the rocker arm covers and watch the intake valve rocker arm for cylinder #1 as the crankshaft is rotated. When the valve side of the rocker arm reaches its highest point and the timing mark on the harmonic damper at the front of the engine is at TDC, you should be set to leak test cylinder #1. To verify that the piston is at TDC, carefully insert a long, thin screwdriver through the spark plug hole until it gently contacts the top of the piston. Have someone slowly rotate the crankshaft back and forth slightly. Touching the screwdriver, you should be able to feel the piston move up, stop, then move down. When the piston stops at the top of its stroke, it's at TDC.

To help keep the engine from turning over during testing in vehicles with manual transmissions, put the transmission in first gear and apply the parking brake. If your vehicle has an automatic, have your assistant hold the crankshaft damper bolt with a long breaker bar while you test. Be sure to clear anything that could cause injury if the crankshaft were to suddenly turn.

After testing cylinder #1, test the rest of the cylinders following the ' firing order (1-2-3-4-5-6). Then calculate the leakdown rate for each cylinder.

A leakdown rate of 10% or less means that the cylinder is sealing well. If the leakdown rate is 10-20%, cylinder sealing is acceptable, but if it's greater than 20%, you have a cylinder sealing problem.
To determine which component is causing the problem, use your senses of touch and hearing, If you feel and hear air coming out of the exhaust, the exhaust valve is leaking. Conversely, if you feel and hear air coming out through the carburetor or throttle body (when the throttle is open), then the intake valve has a sealing problem. And if you feel and hear air coming out the engine dipstick tube (with the dipstick removed), the piston rings aren't sealing well.

As with dry compression testing, when you've finished testing all the cylinders, compare their readings. If the readings for two adjacent cylinders are significantly below those of the other cylinders, the cylinder head gasket between those two cylinders is blown.

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17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Reading Spark Plugs
The condition of the business end of an engine's spark plugs can tell you a lot about the condition of the engine. And it's the closest you'll get to looking at the combustion chambers without removing the cylinder heads.

  • If the engine isn't burning a perceptible amount of oil and the air/fuel mixture from the carburetor or fuel injection system is near the optimum 14.7:1, the spark plug's porcelain insulator will be a tannish-brown to reddishtan in color. If the plugs are this color, the engine's in good condition and the heat range of the spark plugs is wellsuited to the engine and driving conditions.

  • A spark plug that's black and oily indicates an oil consumption problem in that particular cylinder. This can be caused by faulty valve stem seals or worn valve guides, piston rings, and/or cylinder bore.

  • A spark plug that's a powdery matte-black could be the result of extended idling. It could also indicate an overly rich air/fuel mixture, a plugged air filter, a bad spark plug wire, a bad spark plug, or poor ignition system output.

  • A spark plug that has severely overheated will have a burned or blistered insulator tip and a badly eroded electrode. If a spark plug looks like this, it may be too hot for the particular driving conditions encountered, such as high-speed operation. This problem can also be caused by using fuel that doesn't have enough octane, incorrect ignition timing, an air/fuel mixture that's too lean, or a faulty cooling system.

  • Electrode damage is indicated by a side wire or center electrode that's burned away. This damage indicates that something is seriously wrong and needs to be corrected immediately before valve or piston damage occurs. Electrode damage can be caused by a faulty cooling system, using fuel with too Iowan octane rating, incorrect ignition timing, an air/fuel mixture that's too lean, or spark plugs that are much too hot for the driving conditions encountered.

(this information is not my own work, it is from How to Rebuild your 60 Degree v-6 Engine written by Tom Currao (c) Tom Currao 1994)

This photo may help too.


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17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here is a thread written by krazybaddude for rebuilding the digital EGR valve off of a 1990 through 1994 Cavalier.

<SIZE size="150">EGR Clean/Rebuild for GM Digital 3-Solenoid</SIZE>

Some of you may have wondered, when buying a new EGR valve for your 1990-1994 3.1L, if there is a cheaper alternative than spending 200-400 dollars on a new EGR valve.

Well, there is. I have typed up a How-To, on how to disassemble, clean, check for correct operation, and reassemble your EGR valve. Chances are, that you can get your old, carboned, rusted EGR valve working the way it should be, without spending any money at all. The only reason that you wouldn't be able to restore it is if you have a dead electromagnet.

Step 1: Disassembly

Let's start by taking apart the valve. There will be 3 T-20 torx screws holding the base plate to the electromagnet unit. Remove these, and your valve will come apart like this:(NOTE: Do not try to remove the screws on top of the individual magnets .... these will not come out, and do not need to come out)

From left to right. You have the Base, then the Base Plate Gasket. Then there is the Base Plate. Then you have 3 pintles, which slide into the holes on the electromagnet unit.

Step 2: Testing

(Word of caution, just to prepare you. You may receive a VERY SMALL shock, if you are touching the wires while connecting them, because of the fairly high amount of current being drawn to operate the electromagnets. Nothing major at all, but it may make you jump! )

First we will test the electromagnet assembly. I recommended to obtain a 4 wire egr harness from the junkyard for this step. It is possible to do this step without the wiring harness, but will be very time consuming, and frustrating, trying to get wires to stay on just the pins ..... However, if you must do it this way, i have provided a picture of the pins, and which pins correspond to which wire color:

The top two pins, sitting horizontally, from left to right, are blue and red.
The bottom two pins, sitting vertically, from top to bottom, are brown and pink.
If you are going to use this method, the bottom pin is the positive + (pink), and the top 3 pins are the 3 solenoids ground pins.

It is also NOT recommended to cut and remove your current wiring harness from the car, as the final product will be messy, and unattractive looking. (I'm sure most of you know this, but I had to say it anyway)

Take notice of the wiring harness. You will have a pink wire, a blue wire, a brown wire, and a red wire.

The pink wire will be the positive (+) for the next step. The blue, red, and brown wires each control one individual magnet. These are the grounds (-).

(For this step, you will need a fresh 9V battery, and a 9V battery snap is recommended as well, as it will aid in testing.)

Attach the pink wire to the positive side of the battery. (Note: it is recommend to have a 9v battery snap on hand, so you can twist the wires together, and attach the battery snap right to the battery)
Attach, one at a time, each ground wire (blue, red, and brown) to the negative terminal of the battery. Using a flathead (or Phillips) screwdriver, stick it inside of one hole at a time. When the screwdriver sticks to the bottom of the hole, you know that individual electromagnet is working properly. Repeat this step for each hole, and wire (besides the pink +). If you have no pull or very little pull, in any of the holes, you can stop there .. it is not possible to rebuild it. (Go the the junkers with your T-25 and 9V battery, and find a working one to rebuild. ) If you have a strong pull in all 3 of the holes, and the holes correspond to the wires, congratulations, your valve has successfully passed the magnet test, and you can move onto step 3!

Step 3: Cleaning

Now we begin the fun part! Cleaning all the carbon off of everything (well, almost everything. you'll see)

Let's clean the base first.

You want to clean all of the carbon out of chamber in the base, paying careful attention not to damage the gasket on the perimeter of the chamber. Just get it as clean as possible, within reason. Then flip this piece over, and clean the bottom of it.

The next part in your lineup is a thin gasket. This is called the Base-Plate Gasket.

DO NOT SOAK OR CHEMICALLY CLEAN THIS GASKET. You can carefully clean some carbon off of the raised(bottom) side, but that's about it. This gasket is porous, with gasket material in the pores, and on the topside of it, and any type of chemical or rough cleaning will remove this gasket material. (And as far as I know, GM does not make an internal gasket kit for the EGR...)

You can now move onto the Base-Plate

You can get this part as clean and shiny as you want, as there is no gasket material whatsoever on it.

Now its time to clean the pintles (sorry for the blurry pictures)

Everything on the pintles should be movable. The head should pivot on the bar. Both ends should slide up and down on the bar.

The only thing that should be solid, is the small bar coming from the body shaft of the pintle. You really want to get these as clean as possible, as they are the main moving part in the EGR and need to move very well. Soak them in carb cleaner or gas (or your preferred cleaning solvent) for a few hours, or even overnight if they are bad enough. You also want to clean the body shaft if it is corroded, carbon covered, or rusted.

Take a look into the 3 holes on the electromagnet assembly.

The walls should be very smooth, and you should see no rust or corrosion inside of these. Take one of your pintles, slide it into each hole individually, and press down and up on the pintle. It should slide in and out smoothly, and not bind up at all, in its travel. If it does, you can take some steel wool, roll it up, and clean out the inside of the hole. Make sure to spray some compressed air into the hole when done to ensure no metal flakes inside. (or blow into it if you want).

Well, that should be everything for the cleaning process.

You can now reassemble your valve. Basically just reverse the disassembly process. Slide the pintles into the holes on the electromagnet assembly. Orientation does not matter. Slide your base-plate over the pintles. Note: This base-plate only goes on ONE way. You can slide your screws in, from the top, and make sure that all of the holes line up like they should. Now take your base gasket, raised side up, material side down, and slide that over the pintles. Orientation of this gasket does not matter.

Now do the same thing with the base. This part will only go on one way as well. If you wish, you may use the screws to line up all the holes, but eying it up works pretty good too.

Well, it looks like that's it!

You can now do a final test, to make sure that the pintles move as they should. Using the same 9v battery and snap, perform the same magnet test as in step 2. For each wire/pintle, you should hear a click, and see the pintle move away from the hole on the bottom. If this condition exists for each pintle, then you have successfully cleaned / rebuilt your EGR valve. If you have a problem with the valve after it is reassembled, make sure that the valve passes the tests in step 2. If so, check pintle movement, and plate orientation.

Well, I hope this was informative. Good Luck :)

Written by KrazyBadDude (Dan).

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17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This information was provided by Markeemsz

I got the following directions on how to test the ignition coils and module out of a Haynes book I had lying around. I have to verify the power color wire described in step one of the ignition module testing.

<SIZE size="134">Coil Pack Testing. </SIZE>

Testing the ignition coils requires you to remove them from the vehicle.

Coil Pack/Ignition Module Removal

Tools needed: 10mm socket, 13mm socket, flat head screwdriver, extension and patience.

1) As a precaution I would disconnect the battery terminals from the battery.

2) Remove the air intake from the throttle body.

3) The following is not necessary but will make removal easier. Remove the cooling fan. This is held on by (3) 10 mm bolts.

4) Remove and tag each ignition wire going to the ignition coils.

5) Unplug the 3 wire harnesses that go to the ignition module.

6) There are 3 bolts that hold the ignition module to the engine. They are 13 mm bolts if I remember correctly. They are generally easier to get from underneath the car with an extension.

7) That's it you have removed the ignition module and coil pack from the motor.

Coil pack testing

Materials needed: Voltmeter, 5.5 mm socket.

1)Remove the ignition coil from the ignition module. Each coil is held on by (2) 5.5 mm bolts.

2)There are 2 values to check. They are the primary resistance and secondary resistance. To test the primary resistance flip the coil to the back and set your voltmeter to test for ohms. The resistance value should be between 0.2 ohms and 2.0 ohms.

3)Secondary resistance is tested by measuring the resistance between the coil posts on the coil. The resistance should be between 4,000 and 7,000 ohms. If the coils primary and secondary resistances test with these specs the coil should be good.

Ignition Module Testing

Materials needed: voltmeter

These directions are assuming the module is still on the car and all wiring harnesses are connected.

1)The first step to testing the ignition module is to see if the ignition module is getting power. Probe the power terminal to check for power. This is done by checking the harness with 2 wires. One wire is black and white (ground) and the other is red I believe. The power wire should register battery voltage. If not check the wiring and grounds for a fault or short.

2)Next you check to see if the coils are receiving a pulsating voltage signal from the ignition module. Install a test light to the positive terminal of the battery and touch the tip of the light to the ignition coil terminal. Have someone crank the engine and observe the test light. It should blink for each firing voltage signal. This will show that the ignition module is sending a primary voltage signal to the coil packs. If it doesn't your module is bad.

Premium Member
17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bulb Information:

Info taken from 1992 Factory manual.

Backup 889
Front turn park 2057NA
License 194
Side marker 194
Tail stop turn 2057
Center high mount stop light 1141
Spoiler stop light 577

HVAC control 567
Courtesy lamps 168
Rear compartment 561
Shift indicator 74
Instrument cluster 194

For a 1994 Cavalier:
Back up lights.......................................................1156
Front Parking/Turn Signal.......................................2357NA
Rear Stop Light:
Inside (Carpet Covered).........................................1141
Inside (Pedestal Mount).........................................1156
Outside (Spoiler ,Deck Lid).....................................577
Halogen High/Low Beam.........................................9004
Front Side Marker Lights.........................................194
Rear Side Marker Lights.........................................24
Stop/Tail/Turn Signal.............................................2057
Taillights (Sedan)..................................................194
Trunk Light...........................................................912
Wagon: Rear Side Marker.......................................194

Dome Light (Wagon rear compartment)....................561/562
Dome Light:
Instrument Panel....................................................194
Glove Box..............................................................168
Shift Indicator.........................................................74

Phase 1 headlight bulbs
High Beam.............................................................9005
Low Beam..............................................................9006

Hope it helps.

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17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
How to change your oil

Changing the oil on your car is one of the easiest and most important maintenance tasks on any car. Many a mechanic turned their first wrench while changing the oil in their cars. Changing the oil is a fairly straight forward process and I hope to simply explain the procedure so that even the most mechanically challenged person can understand these instructions.

Oil (4 or 5 quarts will be enough)
Oil filter (make sure it will fit your particular engine)
Teflon tape
Plastic shopping bag (optional)

15mm wrench
Oil filter wrench
Jack and jack stands
Oil pan

Step 1:
Park your car on a flat hard surface and jack up the front of the vehicle and place it securely on jackstands. Alternatively, you can buy ramps that you simply drive onto and will lift the front end of the car up, much easier than using a jack.

Step 2:
If you engine is cold, you should run the engine for a minute or two to warm up the oil enough so that it will easily flow out of the pan when drained. Slide under the front of the car with your 15mm wrench and the oil drain pan, locate the drain plug in the bottom of the oil pan and loosen it and drain all of the oil into the drain pan. Hopefully you were able not to drop the drain plug into the used oil!

Step 3:
While you wait for the oil to drain out of the engine, take the drain plug and clean it off with a rag or paper towel. Then wrap a few layers of Teflon tape over the threads to help prevent leaks.

Step 4:
After the oil has completely drained from the engine, move the drain pan out of the way and replace the drain plug into the oil pan. Tighten the plug with your 15mm wrench. Hand snug is good, you don?t need to crank of the drain plug otherwise it will be a real pain to remove next time.

Step 5:
While still under the car from reinstalling the drain plug, locate the oil filter and position the drain pan underneath the filter. Try to loosen the filter by hand and if it is too tight, you may need to use the oil filter wrench to get it off.

This is where the plastic bag comes in handy. You use the bag as a glove to remove the oil filter after it has been loosened. Then after you get the oil filter off the car and drain the oil into the pan, turn the bag inside out and the oily filter will be inside the bag and your hand will be clean! (thanks to Jason for this tip!)

Step 6:
Install the new oil filter. Make sure to lube up the gasket on the oil filter with a dab of fresh oil.

Step 7:
Time to fill up the engine with the new oil! Using a funnel, pour the oil into the engine, checking the level to make sure that you don?t overfill!

Step 8:
With the oil level at the ?full? mark, start the engine and do a quick check to make sure nothing is leaking underneath the car. Then lower the car off the jack stands and you are done! It is a good idea to write down the mileage of the car so you know when you will need to change the oil again.
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