Low rpm stall after engine is warm, Alt. Battery, fuselink replaced, issue persists.

Asked by Jul 25, 2013 at 11:47 PM about the 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera 4 Dr S Cruiser Wagon

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

1992 Oldsmobile Cutless Ciera 3.3 V6 - 86,000 miles

Initially, low rpm stalls every month or so, sporadic check engine, fuel economy
unchanged. Progressing to low rpm stalls once a week or when raining hard and at low
rpm. Neutral and gas solved issue each time for at least a week at a time. Recently
unable to keep idle at all given the age and how little money I have in the car I decided
to start with the obvious that likely needed to be done to keep this car for years.
*replaced the alternator-some electronics had dimmed from time to time. First
alternator did not fit, and gas guage was around E but this car has no light and I have
never run out so weather it was out of gas or not I cannot be sure. Returned from a
second store and replaced the alternator again. This time everything worked, idle
sounded a bit rough but didnt stall, winding out the motor there is no hesitation and it is
quite fast and smooth, there was a noise coming from the bearing on the new alternator
from startup, confirmed by removing the belt and running the engine for about three
seconds and shutting off. Planned to remove and drive another car swap out with a new
one, having been up for over 14 hrs after a long shift in the factory it was hot and I was
rushed, so I skipped disconnecting the battery. True to why you should, the weight of
the alternator compressed the rubber insulator enough to cause and arc to ground.
Opted to drive car to shop in case they asked to here the noise, still ran good about 10
miles to store. Replaced alternator in the parking lot, ran fine afterwards till late that
night when it stalled with the kids in the car. Tried jumping, worked briefly, stalled.
Bought battery, installed, found Ign/Starter fuse and radio fuse burnt out, replaced, ran
well for another day. Inspected wiring harnesses, battery light now on, traced alternator
wire to starter where the fuse link was bad, replaced with the correct gauge wire. Ran
good for two days. Low rpm stall now happens after running for only five minutes, can
be mitigated by keeping foot on gas in gear, must use neutral and light pedal to keep
running on downhill as I dont wish to put an extra load on the tranny. I get 12.6 volts at
the battery and 14.6 with engine running at the battery, tested the remaining fuse link
wires, all in good shape.
*I plan on keeping this paid off gem till the wheels fall off, I'm a single widowed father of
three and can't fathom a car payment, and truth be told, it was a one owner garaged
and maintained, has all new tires and brakes, all options on the car work including
*So I'm going to replace as much as I can till the problem is eliminated.
*fuel pump on order
*If unplugging the TCC fixes the problem how long can I drive with it disconnected
without damage? Should I just go ahead and replace this since it seems to be a
common problem in these vehichles?
*Fuel pressure regulator, just go ahead and replace due to age?
*I was told the voltage regulator was internal to the alternator, so if the PCM doesn't
have to "turn on" the alternator and voltage is sufficient, should I replace the PCM just
because, seems to be one of the more expensive and time consuming items? there are
still no other warning lights, and they all work as they flash on briefly when starting as
they should do.
*I've read fuel injector replacement, but wouldn't faulty or dirty ones give some kind of
hesitation when winding out the motor, its as smooth as any engine I've ever had during
The transmission fluid is clear and free of any visible particles, never leaked, level never
gone down, have only put 9K on car since purchase three years ago, it is now the daily
driver since I was recently run off the road and rolled my Grand Caravan 3 times. With
the kids in tow, not sure how we walked away, but grateful to be hear.
I've read the Hanes manual cover to cover, poorly written junk in my opinion.
If anyone one can tell me which order is best to trouble shoot, which items I should
maybe do preventively anyway, it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
**please note I was told my car is an "S" model, but it has "3300" on the engine, so I'm
going with 3.3L, vs the 3.1 that is listed for the "S" model.

6 Answers


Your low idle stall could be due to dirty or faulty idle air control valve. Also you mentioned it doing it in rainy weather. Is it more often in damp weather that it stalls. If so on a real dark night raise your hood with vehicle at an idle and inspect plug wires for spark jumping out of them. ( must not have any light shining under hood to see the sparks) If any spark seen replace all items associated with the spark jump( plug wires, coil pack, ect). Anything you see it jumping from. Sounds like you have your voltage issues well in hand.

2 people found this helpful.

The weather is no longer a key factor, the stall happens anytime I slow down from 35 or so from a constant speed. I drove to work today, keeping a very light foot on the brake and gas and made it sucessfully, it also did not stall when I parked as apposed to yesterday, however it was cold this morning about 58 degrees. So I'm leaning towards tcc but will check for sparks tonight, and read up on air control valve. The factory air intake is just a ovular corrugated tube, I will check the air filter as well. Still would like input from anyone who has personally delt with the tcc as far as access (inside the tranny pan to the best of my knowledge) and what if anything else must be removed to replace it. Thank you!


Ok. Sure sounds like an idle air control valve issue or a throttle position sensor issue. When either of these two goes bad it will cause the issue you are having.

2 people found this helpful.

what codes were in the ecu?


I had a similar problem. Change the oxygen sensor, it solved the problem.

2 people found this helpful.

had a similar problem with my ford, i hit the junk yard for all the parts i thought might be relavent to the idling. what really did the trick was so simple i wanted to puke. remove and clean your egr valve use carb cleaner and q.tips,keep spraying and cleaning till it quits spewing the carbon build up. then using either the 3m treatment,or use throttle body cleaner,being careful not to spray directly on any sensors.clean the flap of carbon making sure it opens and closes dont try to adjust the screw on the throttle or the tps, then remove the air duct where your mass air flow sensor is,using mass air flow sensor cleaner spray the shit oops out of it.Do not attempt to clean or touch the thin blades just the spray. dont reinstall any of the parts cleaned until they have ample time for the cleaner to evaporate.ten fifteen min. the three m stem available is applied into the throttle body while the engine is running.I have not used it. it costs more,and it seems to me too many things could go wrong if you arent really careful. There are lots of little tricks out there that the parts guys would rather you dont know so you will spend fifty dollars for a part you could just as well cleaned. diy means just that. i have way more time than money, research car forum and hear what others say who own the same vehicle. learn from the trials and trouble shooters just like us. since your car has a brain it will believe what you want it to just look for a way. good luck, id guess with what i suggested that should solve the stalling at low rpms since the miles are high the two foot method,or the neutral at the light deal is what i do, the industry has scared us into not fixing our cars so we buy new ones. dont fall for their greed gimmicks

3 people found this helpful.

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