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1988 #1443 - Just Bought, Need to Get it Home in the Next Few Days - HELP!!!


Guest Dan Gibbs

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Guest Dan Gibbs

Hey Guys :)

I just paid for an 88 serial number 1443 that has electronic problems and won't start. It is in the person's pole-barn that I bought it from and I have three days to get it home. It is 23 miles away from my house. As a preface to this story, I already have an 89 in my garage with good electronics modules that I hopefully can use.

The spring of 2012, the person I just bought this from turned on the ignition switch to start the car, and when there was nothing happening, he remembered that he had not reconnected the battery after storing the car for the winter of 2011-2012. He accidentally left the ignition in the Run position, left the car, and reattached the battery cable to the battery. According to the service manual this caused a surge and popped some or all of the electronic modules in the car. He tried a new ECM from Autozone and the car would only honk constantly when he reattached the battery cable and nothing else would work. He decided to sell it since he's not familiar with the electronics in the vehicle and is also disgusted that a simple mistake "bricked" his nice Reatta - he's moved on and wants it GONE.

So.....what do you guys think my odds are of taking the modules from my 89 down to the 88 and being able to start it and drive it home? We hooked up a battery charger to the reattached battery and I tried to turn the engine over, but the starter just clicked. The square idiot-lights underneath the IPC lit up, but not the IPC itself nor the ECC CRT.

IIRC, the BCM is the nexus point of the entire computer system and it's possible that it is blown so the ECM, IPC, ECC, etcetera won't work either.

My generic question is actually will the modules from my 89 work just fine in the 88 to get it home? Should I also grab as many of the fuses and relays from the console fuseblock and also from the relay center under the hood? Anything else if I'm on the right track?

I reluctantly spent past Friday's paycheck to buy this 88 so I don't have much wiggle room to pay two or three hundred bucks to have this flat-bedded home....I will whip out the rarely-used credit card if I have to, but I always try to save a few bucks here and there if I can.

Thanks in advance :)

Dan Gibbs

89 Sapphire Blue Sunroof with Blue Interior

88 Bright Red Hardtop with Grey Suede

Edited by Dan Gibbs
wrong color description (see edit history)
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Guest Corvanti

probably not what you want to hear, but being a 46 mile round trip, i'd "whup out" that credit card and go to your local U-haul (or similar) and rent what's needed to get it to your place. assuming the seller is being totally honest with you, electronics, wires etc. could be "fried" more than he knows. i won't even go into what you may find if he's not totally forthcoming...

get it to your place and work on it with no time pressure, your tools and some other part(s) there that may be needed.

my $0.02! :)

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Guest Dan Gibbs

Yeah, $200 might be a little high but I don't trust my luck - back in 2005 it cost me $60 just to have my Suburban towed less than a mile to my house down the road when it broke down. Their base rate was $60 so I got socked in the wallet.

I'd rather it be brought home on one of the Jerr-Dan flatbeds due to the front lower fascia and air dam under the bumper - I don't want damage to those parts. Plus I sure miss my 92 Suburban, I could've rented a U-Haul two wheeler and got it myself, oh well hehehe.

Dan

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they charge 200 hundred dollars to tow 23 miles around there?btw i don't see why it couldn't be towed on the ground.i'll bet if you call around you can get it towed less than 100 dollars.

Personally, I would rent a tow dolly from UHaul and find a friend with a pick up. You risk cannibalizing your car and still not getting it started.

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I'd rather it be brought home on one of the Jerr-Dan flatbeds due to the front lower fascia and air dam under the bumper - I don't want damage to those parts. Plus I sure miss my 92 Suburban, I could've rented a U-Haul two wheeler and got it myself, oh well hehehe.

Dan

Theres always the proverbial "Good 'ole boy" who's got a roll back that can move it for you for $50 or so. That will be the safest, easiest, and in the long run, probably cheapest way to go about it. If you try to cut corners, it'll come back to bight you.

Ancient Chinese Proverb:

"If you cut off one corner, you will only create two more"

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Have to agree with the consensus here. Do not take good modules from the 89 in an attempt to get it going. You risk damaging the parts from your 89 (and will cost a lot more to fix that than a tow) besides the fact that the 89 BCM and ECM are not 100% cross compatible to the 88. The modules themselves are identical, but the EPROMS in each are different. You would have to swap the ECM MEM-CAL and the EPROM and EEPROM (two different chips) between the BCM's for it to be correct. And, you don't know that the chips in the 88 weren't damaged when the modules got smoked (if that is truly the case).

If it has been sitting in a pole barn for quite a while, mice may have gotten to the wiring harnesses, there could be fuel problems (stale gas in the tank, would have to be drained, cleaned and refilled) or any number of other problems. Also, how are the tires? A 23 mile ride on marginal tires may not be such a great plan.

After all that, consider that if you try to get it running at his place, and can't, you have wasted a day or two already in trying, only to be left to make other arrangements at the last possible minute. 3 days is already a fairly short window, I would arrange a tow or other transport of some kind and get it to your place where you can work on it at your leisure.

The last one I bought (in July) was running, though not right. I took a risk and drove it an hour back home. I did have someone following me, so if it died I wasn't stranded. Even then, it was all interstate drive and much of it rural (70MPH+) and a sudden loss of power could have been very bad. If it had died, it would've been a hassle to do a roadside repair, or very costly to have it towed. And I would have been under pressure to have it towed immediately since it would have been parked on the shoulder of an interstate. Missouri HP does not let cars sit long before they get tagged (sticker on the window), and then subsequently towed off to impound. Then it is a very costly proposition to get the car back.

KDirk

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Guest Dan Gibbs

Hey that's right...I forgot about the under-the-tire tow trucks that strap around the tires. The guy put new tires on it in 2012 so it'll roll like a charm and shouldn't hurt the lower fascia at all.

Yeah I'd borrow my friend's truck, but it's a rusty '92 Chevy with 275k on it, a V6, may-pop tires, and an unknown tranny - again, my luck, I'd end up owing him a new vehicle.

Plus, I work second shift and anyone else I know that may have a truck is working or sleeping when I'm not (I know boo-hoo hehehe).

Dan

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Guest Dan Gibbs

that crossed my mind more than once today, but the towing I pay for on my insurance is for my 97 LeSabre and my guess is they would only pay for the vehicle VIN'ed to the policy. Hell I might just call my insurance agent for sh's & grins :-D

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My AAA "Century +"is $100/year has 100 miles free towing (up to 4 per year) and they don't care who owns the car as long as I am there. When needed I always just have it towed home (and if you tell them it is low and plastic they'll sent the right truck - did that with a Fiero once).

So there is your max: $100.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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My AAA "Century +" has 100 miles free towing and they don't care who owns the car as long as I am there. That said I have a tow dolly I bought used (in Florida it is not enen tagged) for a couple of hundred bucks and tows a Reatta just fine. I used a 2000 lb $49.95 HF winch to get it on and did not strain at all. Brought one home from Tallahassee that way.

All that said a battery does not produce enough of a surge to fry anything, OTOH a hefty charger can.

Hefty charger, as well as jumping it with wires crossed on one end. We recently sent a whole computer set for an '89 to a customer in MD (BCM, ECM, CRT, CPS, IPC, CRTC, and HVAC box) because of his friend who had jumper cables with no markings on the clamps. One wrong guess, and ZAP. All new computers put the car back like new again though!

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Git'r done. Call licensed/bonded local towing companies. Let them know the low bid will get the job and it can be done during their quiet hours.

You could cannibalize your car, drive 46 miles round trip (and take a second driver), drive home on questionable tires... and you still have no assurance you'll get'r home. My advice: Factor it out and go with a known cost rather than an unknown amount of $$$. Once home you can tinker on it on your own time.

All the parts you may or may not need should be available from a total. I would get as many of the electrical parts as available at one time and change them out. You can test the ones from your newly acquired vehicle later and save the good ones for tomorrow.

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Guest Dan Gibbs

Thanks for all of your great tips guys. I called a local tow service new the car and they quoted me ~$85 - even after midnight which is around when I normally get home.

Special thanks to KDirk too for mentioning the BCM EPROM situation. I have a feeling that may be shot from my rudimentary knowledge of how all the systems work together. More question posts to come after scouring the forum for info - I seem to remember reading stuff two years ago regarding exactly what KDirk is talking about. Now if I can only find the info again as the search function on the forum isn't working as I found last week looking for infor by typing "CRT"...no results found

Anyway thanks again guys

Dan

P.S. - Pictures to come when I get it home....this 88 is in reeeeally great looking condition in, under, and out compared to my 89

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Dan, good to hear you have arrangements made. Please keep us updated.

On the BCM chips, if you end up needing a new EPROM let me know, I can burn one for you. If the EEPROM (holds the VIN and odometer) is bad, that will be more complicated as these are unique to each car built. Not sure if I can do one of those due to the checksum protections and secure encoding of the odometer data.

Anyway, look forward to seeing you get this one back up and running.

KDirk

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Guest Dan Gibbs

Hey All :)

Status update:

I was able to get the car flat-bedded home yesterday before work. Kudos to Beeby & Sons Towing in Holly, MI - they were very patient and did a great job for $80 total. When I got back home from the seller's place, I only had time to hook up a trickle-charger to the disconnected battery and put the sale-included car cover on it before I had to go to work. Of course in turns out the car cover is an indoor only cover and it rained all damn day after I got to work. I pulled the cover off once I knew it was indoor only and stuck it in the dryer to prevent mold.

I went out today to check the status of the charge on the battery and have found that the battery is bad. I have it setting on the floor with my Fluke DMM on it and it is reading -0.049Vdc. No wonder the contactor-relay in my large old Schauer charger would keep dropping out - not enough voltage on the battery to keep the contactor engaged.

So I dunno if good luck will reign or not for me - either the battery went bad on the guy or he left it hooked up by mistake during storage back in the 2010-2011 winter, or there's another problem. Boy work sure gets in the way of troubleshooting hehehe. The battery is a Walmart Everstart Maxx purchased new in Aug of 2008, so of course the warranty just expired.

I tried to upload pictures to my gallery earlier, but the sizes were too big so I need to resize 'em some other time.

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Guest Dan Gibbs

Ohhhh...Myyyyy....GAWD!!! (Insert Picture of Jaw Hitting the Floor)

Earlier I put in the new ECM with the car's original prom, reinstalled a 30A circuit breaker for the RAP/HORN/WDO and didn't know what was wrong just yet except that the battery appeared completely discharged. So I manually locked it up for the day until maybe after work in the dark and rain, but not likely in the rain to try anything.

I couldn't wait all day at work to try a different battery, so I just snarfed the one outta my 89 Sapphire in the garage and hooked it in the 88 Bright Red and..........

IT STARTED UP !!!

I was able to turn it around in the driveway!!! I couldn't see anything on the IPC but the ECC CRT came on and I was able to change the radio and all.

All I can say is OMG, ad infinitum!!! I know I'm talking like a 15 yr old girl, but I think this calls for it if ever!

By the way, I unhooked the battery just in case...I sometimes have a bad habit of cheering excitedly just before the explosion and flames enter the picture.

So I'm off to work with a Hee-Yooge smile!

Dan Gibbs

89 Sapphire Blue 1436

88 Bright Red 1443

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Not real surprised, those '80s Delco/Heath electronics are really pretty rugged. Couldn't see popping everything just by connecting a battery. Were the guages registering on the CRT ? If so I'd just start by R&Ring the IPC (five minute job) and see if it heals. If not they are plentiful since unlike 90-91 the 88-89 rarely fails.

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Guest jimmyk

OK where are the photos? Without photos, did it really happen? (Especially since this car was close to (my) home & just want to see her!) Happy for your good fortune in getting this car home & running

Edited by jimmyk
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Guest Dan Gibbs

Hey all :)

If you're interested, I resized and uploaded photos of my "new" 88 Red. These are pics of when it got to my place as delivered by the flatbed. Shor is a purdy one :)

I also added photos of my 89 Blue - some from the day I drove it 40 miles home back in April 2011 and some here lately. Progress has been slow due to different projects over the last two years. Blue will never be a 400-pt car under my custody due to budget constraints, but my goal is to keep it good shape and from going bad until the next custodian takes her when I'm gone and appreciates her even more. Damn I do love that Sapphire Blue Firemist :)

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Guest jimmyk

Looks like same color combo as mine. Red/gray w/black moldings. Not looking to start anything, but I like gray interior much better than beechwood.

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Guest Dan Gibbs

Hey Jimmy.... I agree. The Red over Tan is a classic color combo, but it looks like as the cars age, it ends up with three different shades of tan in the car which becomes less appealing as colors fade and bleach from the sun. That's the one thing I don't like about the blue interior in my 89 is that there isn't a consistency to the blue between the vinyls, the carpets and the leathers.

On another note, I was airing out the 88 Red trunk today only to notice a live mouse scurrying around trying to hide....damnit...so now I have the trunk gutted, the back interior section gutted and may have to go even further inside the car to get the little a-holes outta there. They chewed the wiring and coax to the power antenna and I guess now I'll have to inspect as much of the interior wiring as I can. They may be the source of the dead IPC and interior lighting.

I just put the interior back in 89 Blue and now have to kill mice and remove the interior in the 88 Red....ah the fun of Reatta ownership hehehe :)

Dan

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