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patriciabeth

Engine Control Problem Detected - Service Engine Soon

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I have a 1988 Buick Reatta. 155,000 miles. The body is in perfect shape and the engine runs great! When I had the emissions test last year the guy was astonished by the engine readings. Passed with flying colors!

Thanks to all of your posts, I have replaced several parts already in an attempt to get to the bottom of my low mileage (11-15 mpg), the worrisome "Engine Control Problem Detected" error code, the battery drain and the coughing and sputtering at start. (My interior light was coming on and sometimes was probematic in turning off...that is no longer an issue since we made the electrical wiring repairs listed below).

My good friend Nick has been assisting me in the troubleshooting and repair. He is a friggin genius and has a garage of tools and testing equipment.

So far I have replaced the Battery (Should we replace the negative battery cable? I can't find one that looks like the three legged part from the factory and we both hesitate to "manufacture" one.), Oxygen Sensor, the Throttle Sensor, the Catalytic Converter (only got $20 for the recycle...it was falling apart!), 3 relays on the dashboard firewall (we discovered the wire bundle had dropped down on the manifold and had melted 12 wires...no wonder the cruise control, trip meter and fog lights did not work, and headlights were acting up!) repaired, recovered and rehung the wires that were melted with heat resistant material, the Exhaust Gas Recirculation valve (which was toast..it melted and was gummy), Mass Airflow Sensor, new fuel filter, air filter.....I put in new plugs and wires just before all of this started.

Could it be the injectors need cleaning or replacement?

We put 2 cans of sea foam through the system before we started these replacements and I changed the oil yesterday after we put in the new parts.

After driving it 47 miles...the "Engine Control Problem Detected" error came up again. Today I drove 37 miles before it displayed again.

We checked the alternator...it was replaced 6 months ago...it's fine. We cleared the computer again....now I'm nervous to drive it....I want to cry. Does it have to "adjust" or did we miss something?

I have a service manual to reference. You guys rock!

Thanks,

Patricia Beth...Michigander:confused:

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

If the error message is coming up there should be trouble codes stored in the computer. Use the instructions below for getting the codes using the built in diagnostics. Then post the codes you find here to help troubleshoot your problem.

BCM means Body Computer Module and controls the functions of the body.

ECM means Engine Computer Module and controls the functions of the engine.

IPC means Instrument Panel Cluster.

* With the key on, engine running or not, go the climate screen on the CRT and press and hold the OFF and WARM buttons at the same time.

* The service engine soon lamp will light and the ECM codes will be listed followed by the BCM codes and then the IPC codes.

* They go by quite fast so you may want to write them down. Any code with a "h" after it will be a code that was current, but is not now, and is listed a "history" code. Any code that does not have an "h" is a current code.

* ECM codes will start with a "e" and then 3 digits, BCM with a "b" etc.

* After the codes are listed the screen will say ECM? This means do you want to diagnose the ECM.

* If there were "e" codes push "yes" if not, push "no" and the screen will go to the BCM?

* If there are ECM codes after pushing "yes" it will ask several questions.

* Keep pushing "no" until the question "ECM code reset" comes up and then push "yes".

* You can go from the ECM to the BCM and then to the IPC and clear any codes.

You can't hurt anything by doing this procedure and even if you make a mistake simply push "end" or shut off the key and everything will go back to normal.

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I will post the codes once I have my java and get over to the garage where we are working on the car...probably 4 or 5 hours....need to get a cap nap first.

I have read the service manual and am aware of how to access the codes. This car is so cool....thanks for your help when I started this project....it was valuable!

After re-reading "It Never Fails, Except When It Does" I am going to make sure the grounds are cleaned and connecting properly.

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Okay...we replaced the bolt on the battery at the negative connection to the negative cable and brightened up the cable end washer in the black casing. Checked the grounds one more time......

Guess what? No more error codes after clearing the system!

I thought all was well after driving it for 75 miles and getting much improved in town mileage.

The ABS light is on...but the brakes seem to be working fine. The light was not on at all until we rewired the bundle that melted.

Now the battery light on the dash board is intermittently coming on. The alternator tested out fine and was recently replaced (6 months).

The screen summary of the gauges shows the battery is charging and fluctuates between 3.9 and 14.1...

What can be causing these two lights to appear?:rolleyes:

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The battery voltage fluctuating between 3.9 and 14.1 is what is causing the battery light to come on. It is telling you something is wrong. Sounds like you still have a bad ground that is more than likely the battery cable. When you replaced the bolt did you put an extra washer on it before you reinstalled the bolt. If you can still move the cable up and down after you have properly tightened the bolt you still have a problem with the cable. If it is tight check the ground connections behind the battery Below is link that will show you where it is:

Reatta Owners Journal - Negative Junction Box Location

One of the relays connected to the wires you said were melted is for the ABS system and will cause the ABS light to come on if not working properly.

I would get that "friggin genius" to check it out again to correct the problems. :D

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Was that 3.9 to 14.1v or 13.9 to 14.1v ? (Is the kind of typo I make).

Does the yellow ABS light go out at all after you start the engine ? (need to stay in park until the red light goes out). If not it is most likely the relay though with melted wires it could be anything.

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Was that 3.9 to 14.1v or 13.9 to 14.1v ? (Is the kind of typo I make).

If you are correct and it is a typo, the comments I made about the charging problem would not apply.

I based my comments on what happened to me when my battery cable was loose because of the bolt bottoming out before the cable end was sufficiently clamped against the battery post, causing it to lose connection intermittently.

Edited by Ronnie (see edit history)

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Over the years I have sold several battery and ground cables. The problem is there are three cables that come together at the battery and they are crimped together and then the they are insulated in those big red or black casings. About the only way to find out if the crimps are bad is to remove the insulation and with some vise grips or something similar recrimp the connections. This of course ruins the originality of the cable.

If you can catch the problem when it is acting up you can also pull or push on the cables at the battery and see if the problem goes away.

Other places to look for a loose or dirty connection is the two ground studs right in front of the battery and in the red and black boxes just behind the battery on the fender well.

I have good used battery and ground cable available and can be reached at jfinn@cpinternet.com.

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Just a wild guess, not likely, but have you checked the plug-in connection at the top of the alternator? Sometimes the locking tab gets broken off and the connector moves up and down over bumps. Mine did this. This can cause the charging system to light up and disappear, but it should show a history code. If it is loose, it is easy to buy a replacement clip and solder the wires together.

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While on the freeway you can use the mile markers to see how close your car is reading them. Mine is short each mile. There must also be a "winter" gas blend because I also have terrible mileage now. Lastly ethanol is no help. I guess they are trying to get 15% ethanol approved now.:mad:

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One thing that happens when cold is that tire pressures go down. The difference between 22 and 32 is several MPG.

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Okay...so here are the history error codes being displayed:

E063 (EGR)

B446 (Low Refrigerant) How much should this cost to refill?

B552 (BCM memory reset)

C553 (CRTC Keep Alive Memory Error) ?????

Cleared the codes......

The battery light on the dash continues to "flash" (the one to the left of "service engine soon").

The Engine Electrical Problem Detected error message continues to come up upon start in the monitor.

It appears to this may still be an issue with the negative battery cable or a short in the new battery itself? Or is there something else I am not seeing?:(

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Please add the model of your Reatta, (and any other relative information), to your signature line. It will make it easier for us to help you with answering your questions without repeatedly asking you about the Reatta you own.

Click "User CP" in the menu at the top of this page and scroll down to "Edit Signature"

Thanks!

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Red 1988 Buick Reatta Coupe with two doors and a sunroof.

VIN# 1G4EC11C0JB903441

Third owner

Car has been kept in an enclosed garage all it's life

156,000 miles on original engine (all injectors tested fine on monitor...passed emissions test with flying colors last June before recent part replacements noted in previous posts)

All original leather (tan) interior

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The "electrical problem detected" screen should have more information about "what". There may be a highlighted button in the display.

EGR problems do not normally get reported immediately on startup.

The other codes just happen when you disconnect the battery.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)

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I have the same problem on my 89. Check your code and if it is E041 it probably is the camshaft sensor and most probably the magnet inside. It controlsfuel to the fuel injectors and the engine will not run well. Good luck

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I have an 88 Buick Reatta, I was having the same problem this weekend. After about 15 minutes of driving my car either on the street or freeway it would say ENGINE CONTROL PROBLEM DETECTED "Engine controls computer has detected an electrical problem." I just did the code test & got the following codes: E041 B552 C331 C553. All of these codes were History tho, I cleared them all. Im hoping this will end the problem.

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The EO41 is what triggered the display, others relate to disconnecting the battery. It indicates a cam sensor problem but if the magnet falls off it does not heal. I'd check the wires/connector at the cam sensor.

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Said it was History, if the magnet fell out it should be Current. (Never say Never). On mine I would see a problem within a few seconds of engine start.

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okay so my wires/connector are good i drove my car yesterday & sure enough about 15 mins after running the "Service Engine Soon" light comes on. I check the codes & its E041 again. Im sure its the cam sensor magnet after reading several posts so i will be doing a replacement this weekend. Any step by step instructions or tips to make this go easier on my part? Thanks in advance

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